Tag Archives: child abuse

A Day In The Life With C-PTSD

Today, September 6, the day I’m writing this, was one rough day for me.  I’m hoping sharing it here rather than in my private journal can help others.  I also hope my writing makes sense- it’s really hard to write when the C-PTSD flares up.

 

To start with, I woke up first thing in the morning after a restless night full of nightmares I barely remember & repeatedly waking up for no obvious reason.  I started out my day very tired, which made concentration harder than usual.  It also means my moods are more erratic.

 

I decided to go to the local craft store for some yarn for a new crochet project.  Although I spent 3 days prior out all day & it wore me out beyond description, I thought maybe going for a brief drive & visiting a craft store alone when it’s not busy would be doable.  Yea… that sounds good in theory.. in practice though?  Not so much.  The parking lot was super busy since other stores in the shopping center were packed apparently.  Then, the cashier at the craft store was on her first day, so she was confused & learning as she went rather than being fast like the lady who was training her is.  UGH.. I wanted out fast & there was no escape!  Not one other register was open!  I got my yarn & made a mad dash for the parking lot since I felt like the agoraphobia was going to overwhelm me.

 

After leaving, I went to visit a dear friend.  The brief drive shouldn’t have been full of triggers & anxiety, but it was.  On the way to her home, I followed a car for a good part of the journey that resembled a car an old boyfriend of mine drove.  This ex died in 2014 after killing his boyfriend, then himself, in their home. It was all over the local news at the time & very hard for me to come to terms with for a while after that, since I didn’t realize how he was.  The story was a complete shock to me.  Seeing this car reminded me of our brief relationship, & how incredibly sad his story was.  Also it made me grateful I escaped him unharmed.  I have no doubt he would’ve killed me if I’d stayed with him.  When I left him, I had NO idea how dysfunctional or dangerous he was.  All I knew was he spent hours screaming at me when I broke up with him that evening, telling me I was making a huge mistake, he was a great guy, I’d regret leaving him, I was ruining his life, etc.  (Nothing out of the ordinary for me since my mother screamed at me constantly in my last couple of years before moving out of her home.)  As a result, I spent many years beating myself up for ruining his life.  Learning of his death in 2014, I realized how dysfunctional he was which set me free from that guilt, however, the story was so sad, I still feel pity for him, the man he killed & their families.

 

There was also a surprising amount of traffic out today & the exhaust fumes made me feel sick, thanks to the over-sensitivity I have to carbon monoxide.  Surviving carbon monoxide poisoning can do this to a survior, & frankly, it’s a real nuisance!  I got a nasty headache, stomach ache, & I felt woozy after breathing in the fumes that doesn’t want to go away.

 

I also realized the date on my way to my friend’s house.. September 6.  On that day in 1990, I hurt my back at work.  Not terribly, but pretty painful.  As it was healing, my mother threw me into a wall during an argument which made the pain a thousand times worse.  Shortly after, I had to quit working outside my home.  My mother never believed my back was injured, & told anyone who would listen how I was so lazy that I was faking the injury so I wouldn’t have to work again.  In fact, my doctors even thought I was faking it, & said similar things.  I was told so often that I was faking it, I wondered if I really was faking it.  Years later I learned people with PTSD often have lower back pain with no known physical cause- you’d think a doctor back then would’ve sent me to a counselor, but no one did.  Instead they shamed me for being lazy.  The memories of that experience made me angry.

 

Thinking of how my mother responded to my back pain triggered other intrusive memories I really don’t want to have.  For one, about a year ago, my mother called one day & said my father told her my ex husband hit me.  She said she had no idea, & if she’d have known, she would’ve called a lawyer about this & straightened it out!  The fact is she did know- she blamed me for making him hit me right after it happened.  She saw the bruises I wore- the most obvious injury was the shape of his hands were on my wrists in the form of bruises.  It was just one more time she didn’t care about my pain.  Other memories intruded my mind, against my will & I was unable to push them away.  They reminded me of many painful times that my parents have abused me & I was supposed to tolerate it all quietly, with a smile, including our most recent fight in May & how they have quit speaking to me since then, even though they were in the wrong.  I was angry & sad all at once remembering these things.

 

Did I mention I’m still having difficulty grieving the loss of my 2 cats since May?  Grief seems to magnify other issues, making them even more challenging than usual to deal with.

 

This awful, miserable day meant I had to hold in my tears or anger until I was alone since no one was responsible for the emotions.  It’s just a part of the disorder & no one I was around today should be forced to feel bad for making me cry or making me angry.

 

I’ve also reviewed this post at least 10 times to make sure my writing makes sense, because making sense is so hard to do when the C-PTSD flares up.

 

This is typical of a day in the life of someone with C-PTSD or PTSD.  Any little thing can trigger thoughts that they don’t want to have yet are helpless to prevent.  Mood swings & anger &/or depression can be triggered easily too.  To be honest, it’s sheer hell to live with.

 

PTSD or C-PTSD are not a result thinking too negatively.  They aren’t wallowing in the past or looking for pity.  They aren’t playing some “poor me” card, looking for attention or pity.  They mean someone has experienced such trauma in their lives, it literally broke parts of their brain.  They are serious mental disorders with symptoms that can easily be out of control.  They mean the person who is sick has good days & bad days.  On good days, it may seem like the patient is totally fine.  That isn’t the truth however.  On good days, this usually means the patient is just better at hiding his/her symptoms than on other days.

 

I’m not explaining this because I want pity.  I’m putting it out there because I know many people who read my work live with PTSD or C-PTSD, & can’t always explain it to other people in their life.  I’m hoping this will help those people relate to my crappy day.  Maybe they will now be able to explain to their counselors or their friends & family just how triggering & difficult a typical day with PTSD or C-PTSD can be.  Sure, my specific circumstances may be different, but I’m sure the basics are the same- agoraphobia, unexpected triggers, & intrusive thoughts & wicked mood swings.  Please know, Dear Readers, I pray for you daily.  Living with PTSD or C-PTSD is horrible, & I pray for God to heal you & until He does, show you how to live with the awful symptoms.

 

Also, you’re not alone!  You’re not crazy!  There are so many of us who live with these symptoms due to traumatic experiences.  Having PTSD/C-PTSD doesn’t make you weak or a failure or any other ridiculous thing you’ve been told.  It’s a sign you reacted normally to very abnormal circumstances.

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The Fear Of Hurting Other People

Many adult children of narcissistic parents have an issue with being overly concerned with hurting the feelings of other people.  I wonder if it’s because early on, we learned that we were not to make any waves.  Just silently serve our narcissistic mothers when needed, & otherwise we were to blend silently into the background.  Speaking up & hurting someone’s feelings would make us more human & less “tool like”, which would make using us wrong.  And we all know, narcissists can’t be wrong!

As a grown woman, I still have a problem in this area.  I would rather do something I am unwilling to do than say no & potentially hurt someone’s feelings.  I would rather ignore my own hurt at someone’s thoughtlessness & tell them that it’s ok rather than speak up about how wrong what they did is, even knowing that they need to realize their actions were unacceptable.

This sort of behavior is unhealthy.  Keeping things inside rather than speaking up isn’t good for your physical or mental health at all.  High blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease & diabetes can result as well as depression, anxiety, bitterness & self-destructive behaviors.

I’m not saying you have to spew forth every bad thought that comes to mind or even be harsh with your words.  However, there are times you need to say something, & there is nothing wrong with that.  You need to have a healthy discernment of when to speak up & when to stay quiet, as well as the courage to speak up when necessary & wisdom on what words to use.

I know it sounds difficult (or even impossible), but it can be done.  I’m working on improving in this area myself.

Prayer is of the utmost importance.  Asking God to help you in this area, giving you what you need to accomplish what must be done.  He will do it!  Just follow the promptings He places in your heart.

Also, the more you heal, the more dysfunctional you realize this behavior is, & the more willing you are to change it to get away from the dysfunction.  That willingness helps to give you courage to make the appropriate changes.

Work on your self esteem.  The better you feel about yourself, the more willing you are to make yourself a priority, & to take care of yourself.  You will realize you do have the right to have reasonable boundaries, & if someone hurts you either deliberately or accidentally, it’s perfectly fine to speak up to them about their actions.

You also need to know that there is a difference between hurting & harming.  Hurting someone is temporary.  They’ll get over that pain quickly.  Harming however, the damage goes much deeper. Hurting comes from facing painful truths (such as admitting that something you did hurt someone else).  Even so, it can make a person learn & grow.  Harming, however, causes damage.  So, if you tell someone what they did hurt you or set a boundary, there is nothing harming in either of those things.

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Feeling Ashamed Of Being A Victim Of Narcissistic Abuse

Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is often a very shameful  feeling.  If the narcissist was our parent, we are often ashamed of the fact that our parent didn’t love us & that our childhood was so different than other kids’.  If it was a spouse, that too is embarrassing because we feel stupid- how could we not know how bad a person he was?  How could we be so stupid, we ask ourselves.

While feeling this way is understandable, that doesn’t mean it is right.

As the victim, you had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.  You are innocent.  What was done to you was done because of someone else’s dysfunction, not because of anything you did.  Damage was done to that person long before you came along.  Nothing you did could have made that person do what was done to you.

As you are healing, rather than hiding your problems, why not discuss them?  Be open with safe people as you feel able to discuss things.  Again, you have nothing to be ashamed of.  You are damaged because someone deliberately hurt you.  Would you be ashamed of yourself for having a broken leg if someone hit your leg with a tire iron?  Then why be ashamed of having C-PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc. after surviving narcissistic abuse?  You reacted normally to a very abnormal situation.

Talking about what you have experienced helps you & it also helps others.  It puts a face to narcissistic abuse.  It shows that the victims aren’t crazy, drama queens (or kings), or overreacting like so many people think.  It also shows that narcissistic abuse can happen to anyone, no matter how intelligent or how strong they are.

I’m not saying it’s necessary to talk non stop about narcissistic abuse.  That isn’t good for anyone to focus constantly on something so negative.  I’m saying though to be more balanced.  There is nothing for you to be ashamed of.  You have nothing to hide.  Don’t carry the shame of what was done to you for another day.  That shame belongs on your abuser’s shoulders, not yours.  Let him or her carry the shame & refuse to carry it any longer!

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Stalking & Harassment

Have you experienced a stalker?  Someone harassing you for months or even years on end?  If so, you’re not alone.

 

It’s estimated that 3.4 million people report being victims of stalking each year (according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.), & that is only the reported cases.  Chances are the real number of stalking victims is much higher as many victims either don’t want to report it or are told they don’t have a case, which means a report is never made.  Personally, I’ve experienced stalking twice.  The first time, the policeman actually laughed at me when I tried to report it.  The second time, the policeman was much kinder, but said that there was nothing that could be done from a legal standpoint as this person’s behavior stayed just barely legal.

 

Although the laws have improved, they still haven’t entirely caught up with reality, which means there isn’t usually much that can be done to protect ourselves from a legal perspective.  We’re forced to seek other means of self-protection, as frustrating as that can be.

 

What can a victim do to protect himself or herself?

 

One thing I’ve realized is these people tend to be narcissists.  They think their wants & needs rise above anything & everything else.  They also think they’re above the law- they are so smart, they can harass you & stay legal.   They also seem to think if they just push hard enough, you’ll cave, & see that you should be in a relationship with them.  You’ll see how much they care about you by them harassing you!  I think some stalkers who have been romantically involved with their victims even think it’s romantic.  See how much they love you?  They just can’t let you go!  They can’t live without you!   Amazingly dysfunctional,  I know, but this is often their mindset.

 

Keeping in mind stalkers are often narcissists, you need to remember- narcissists are constantly in search of their precious narcissistic supply, which basically means any attention is good attention as far as they’re concerned.  Good or bad attention, love them or hate them, they’ll take any attention or emotion they can get.

 

The best way to counteract a narcissistic stalker is to ignore them.  They can handle any positive or negative emotion you feel, but they simply cannot handle apathy.

 

Show a narcissist they don’t mean anything to you, act like they don’t even exist, & that you aren’t afraid of them, & they will be completely frazzled.  They won’t know what to do!  I know this can be very frustrating to do.  When someone is stalking & harassing you, you can’t help but want to tell them to get lost (putting that nicely) at some point.  However, doing so will only make things worse.  Ignore them no matter what!  Even if you see them in a public place,  ignore them!  Yes it’s hard, but at some point, most narcissists will quit bothering you & find another target.

 

Another thing you can do is document everything.  Take pictures.  Save emails & texts.  Take screen shots (hit that “prt scr” button on your keyboard, open Microsoft Paint or any picture editor & paste into a document.  Instructions for android & iphones are available online.).  Save every electronic document somewhere that can’t be destroyed.  External hard drives die.  CD’s break or become corrupt.  Flash drives can be lost.  An online cloud service is an excellent alternative.

 

Block your stalker electronically every way possible.  Block them on social media, block their email, block their phone number.  Granted, if they want to reach you badly enough, they can create other social media profiles, email addresses or spoof their phone number, but at least you can make reaching you a real challenge.  Then block the new profile, email or phone number.  Keep blocking!

 

Share your story with close friends or family who believe what you are going through.  It certainly can’t hurt to have others know what is happening.

 

Stay on your toes.  If you can, don’t go out alone.  Stalkers are often nothing but bullies which means they’re cowards.  Having others around you lessens your chances of them bothering you.

 

Put “no trespassing” signs on your property where they can be seen very clearly.  Here in Maryland, if someone trespasses in spite of your sign, you can call the police to escort this person off your property.  Having a police record of this person’s actions will work in your favor.  I would guess this works in other states as well- it’s best to check into your own local laws however.

 

Lastly, if this stalker knows your friends & family, you need to be prepared- they are often quite capable of turning people against you.  As ridiculous as it sounds, many stalkers are great actors (typical narcissistic behavior), & convince others that you are the one with the problem.  The stalker probably says that he or she loves you & is just trying to win you back or be your friend.  The stalker is the innocent victim- you’re the one with the problem.  She/he has no idea why you’re being so mean & unreasonable- all the stalker wants to do is talk or apologize.  And sadly, many people naively believe such nonsense because the stalker is just that good of an actor.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve lost in my life because of my two stalkers.

 

I truly hope that you did not need to read this post, Dear Reader.  Being stalked & harassed is such a nuisance at best & depending on the person, can be very scary at worst.  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  If you are in this situation, then I hope my post can help you to manage this situation.  My prayer is that anyone reading this article will be kept safe & their stalker will leave them alone permanently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s Not All Your Fault

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

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

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

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

Can you relate?  If so, read on..

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

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

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

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

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Just Because A Narcissist Says You Don’t Matter Doesn’t Mean You Don’t

 

Last week, my husband came down with the flu.  A few days ago, I caught it too.  Yippie..

 

Last night, my mother called.  She said she wanted to know how hubby was feeling, but I could tell the real reason she called was that she was angry with me.  I told her he’s doing better, just not quite over it yet.  A few minutes later, before hanging up, she said, “Glad he’s feeling better.  You didn’t catch it, did you?”  (She had to know I was sick- I sound horrible!)  I admitted I did.  Her response?  “Oh.  I remember the last time I had the flu.  Do you remember that?  You took me to the doctor..”  Not a surprising response, but still hurtful that she cares so little.

 

When writing about the incident in my journal a little while ago, I realized something.  My mother makes comments along these lines often.  If I mention a problem, she changes the subject, tells me about someone who has it way worse than me (at least in her mind) or tells me how she thinks I need to fix it.  She also employs another tactic- she blatantly ignores me, a while later mentions someone with the exact same problem, & how sorry she feels for that person.

 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

 

I believe comments & actions like this are made to make me feel like I don’t matter.  She is the only important one, in her eyes.

 

Narcissists love to make their victims feel as if they don’t matter.  One reason is the lower the self esteem, the easier the victim is to manipulate.  The victim can see herself as too stupid to know better than the narcissist, or not strong enough to stand up to the narcissist.  Another reason is narcissists feel powerful when they can tear their victims down.  Having such control over someone gives them the illusion that they have power.

 

As much as the narcissist benefits from making the victim believe she doesn’t matter, the victim is hurt.  Feeling this way can contribute to a root of toxic shame, which affects every area of a person’s life.

 

The next time this happens to you, I would like to encourage you to do as I just did a while ago when writing about this incident in my journal.  Not only did I get my feelings out, but I also told myself my narcissistic mother is wrong.  I told myself that I *do* matter.  Just because she thinks I don’t doesn’t mean it’s true.  My mother thinking I don’t matter is only her opinion, not a fact.

 

The same is true for you, too, Dear Reader!  Just because someone treats you as if you don’t matter, even if that someone is your mother, doesn’t mean it’s true!  You matter!  You matter to God, you matter to your significant other, you matter to your kids (furry or human or both) & you matter to everyone in your life who loves you.  Don’t let the sick manipulations of a narcissist convince you otherwise!  You deserve better than that!  Trust that you do matter & if you’re having trouble doing that, ask God to help you.  Ask Him to show you if you matter to Him.  He will do so & gladly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Narcissists Are Predators

Like true predators, narcissists are very good at knowing when & how to attack their prey in the most efficient way possible.

One of their tactics is waiting until their victim is tired or sick.

If you’re tired or sick, you are less likely to be able to defend yourself properly.  You don’t think as clearly, so your boundaries may be more lax. Unclear thinking also means you may not know how to handle the situation, so you automatically slip back into old, dysfunctional habits.  You may tolerate a lot more than you normally would since you don’t have the physical or mental energy to argue.

When I was sick in bed with the flu a couple of days after losing my cat, Vincent, my mother called.  Knowing that Vincent had been my granddad’s cat before he died, she mentioned this.  She said she heard Vincent died (my father must’ve told her), & he’s better off.  He was so much happier with Granddad than he ever was with me.  He never was happy with me.  Normally, saying such incredibly cruel things would’ve caused me to completely lose my temper & say bad things I would need to repent for later.  Instead, since I was exhausted, feeling horrible & grieving, I just cried.  I couldn’t even speak.  Not only had I lost my beautiful baby, but it was kinda like losing my Granddad again since Vincent not only was his cat, but was a lot like him.  It was devastating, & her words made it more so.  I gave my mother just what she wanted with my reaction- proof she hurt me.

Another time several years ago, my parents came by for a visit.  My anxiety levels were so bad, I kept vomiting.  My mother didn’t care, even when I told her I was sick & needed to rest.  Instead, she treated me like dirt & insulted my furbabies while refusing to leave my home.

These are just two of many, many examples I have.  I bet if you think about it, you can think of several times your narcissistic mother treated you the same way.

So how do you deal with this obnoxious problem?

The best way I’ve found is to avoid your narcissistic mother when you are sick or tired.  Also, don’t forget to prepare- if you know you’re going to see your mother tomorrow, rest up today.  Rest & pamper yourself however you like.

When that is impossible, do your best to set a time limit on your visit or call with your mother.  If you’re having trouble with that, have a friend call you at a prearranged time telling you she needs you now.  Admittedly, this isn’t the best solution, but so you aren’t lying, tell your friend you would like to hang out for a little while or grab some lunch or whatever you feel up to.  Also, have a code word.  For example, if she calls & you say, “My mother is here” she knows it’s time to tell you she needs to see you immediately.  If you say “My mom is here” she knows you’re ok & she doesn’t need to intervene.   It’s a good “in case of emergency” solution if nothing else works.

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What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

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

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

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

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

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

Harboring anger, however, is different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

One thing I learned in the relationship with the narcissists in my life, in particular my mother, is that I am nothing but a screw up.  My writing was never taken seriously.  In fact, my mother told me once it’s “nothing but a waste of time.”  She told my father that “no one wants to read that trash I write.”  I’ve also heard comments like all I do is play on the computer all day, & even been laughed at when I mention working (as if being an author isn’t a job).  I always heard, too, how I never did enough for anyone, & am too selfish.  My mother used to tell me that to have a friend, I had to be one, & by that she meant do anything for others & let them use me.  I had so-called friends who would get very angry with me if I wasn’t available when they wanted me to be or do whatever they wanted me to do.  These narcissists also always made sure I knew that I was wrong because my personality was very different than theirs, I liked things they didn’t like or I disliked things they liked.  They liked to either say outright or imply that I was crazy for such things.  My mother’s favorite phrase was, “You need help” (implying I was in need of psychiatric help) accompanied by a pitying look.  She even threatened to have me committed many times.  (Interestingly, she never once sought counseling for me, so started counseling on  my own at 17).

All of these things were devastating to my self-esteem.  I’ve wasted so much time thinking I was a complete & utter failure in every possible way- a terrible friend. awful girlfriend then wife, lousy pet mom, & even a lousy author.  Depressing doesn’t describe how this felt.  But, I’m sure I needn’t tell you this if you too have been subjected to narcissistic abuse.  You know all too well how this feels.

There is good news though!  You can be healed from this pain & dysfunctional way of thinking!  Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”  And, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (KJV)

God’s word is very true!  I gave my life to Jesus in February, 1996, & from that moment, I began to change & heal.  God has been healing me from all the abuse in my life since then, & definitely has made me a new person.  The wounded old me who was convinced she was crazy, worthless, stupid, & more is long gone.  Thanks to God, I am healing daily, & have no doubt I’ll never return to that miserable, dysfunctional mess I once was.  I may not be totally free of low self-esteem, but it is now much better than it once was & continues to improve.

God can do the same for you.  All you have to do is trust Him to take care of you, & He will.  He loves you so much & wants to bless you.  He wants you happy & peaceful.  He wants to heal you from the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse.  He certainly has done so for me.  Sure, I still have a long way to go, but I also was extremely damaged.   God, being the gentle, loving Father He is, heals me little by little, as I am able to handle it.  He’ll do that for you as well- only give you what you can handle, as you can handle it.

Are you willing today to claim God’s promises for your healing?

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Who Determines Your Self-Esteem?

I read an interesting quote by Warsan Shire: “Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself- what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing.  Recreate & repeat.”  Since I battle low self-esteem, I thought about the times I felt my most confident in the hopes of recreating them.  It was eye opening.

 

I realized the times I felt my most confident weren’t when I had some  personal success or even was wearing a pretty new outfit.  Those feelings were always dependent on another person.  When someone obviously enjoyed being with me or a man telling me how pretty I was.

 

This bothered me.  I don’t like being depending on anyone, especially something so personal.  I asked God why was this happening?  I don’t particularly care what others think of me, so how can I let others determine how I feel about myself?  It makes no sense!  Immediately I knew the answer.

 

When you grow up with at least one narcissistic parent, you learn early that their opinion of you is what matters.  That parent determines your self-esteem, & sadly, it’s always low as a result.  Even if you get to the point of no longer allowing that person to determine your self-esteem, you don’t always know how to stop this dysfunctional habit.   You continue allowing others to determine your self-worth without even realizing it, like I have done.

 

Are you doing the same thing?  (If you are unsure, ask God to show you.)  If you are, then know you aren’t alone.  I honestly had no idea I was doing this until I read the above mentioned quote.

 

I think being aware of what is happening is an important first step, because once you know what the problem is, you can do something to fix it.  After this revelation, I repented.  I told God how sorry I was for allowing anyone but Him to determine my self-esteem & asked for His help to change.  I also asked God to help me get my self-esteem from Him, no one else.

 

Also, years ago I wrote a list of positive affirmations from the Bible that I included on my website.  I plan on reading this list more often now.  The affirmations can be found here: Positive Affirmations

 

In all honesty, I don’t know what to expect from here, but I do believe these steps to be a good starting place for me & I hope for you as well, Dear Reader.  I’m praying for you!  ❤

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

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

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

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

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

Do any of these situations sound somewhat familiar to you?

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

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

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

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

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Shame For Being Abused

We live in a culture where victim blaming is the norm.  People wonder what the woman did to provoke her husband for beating her, & offer her no sympathy because she stays with him.  Rape victims are blamed for being attacked.  If she wasn’t wearing that short skirt or wasn’t drunk, it wouldn’t have happened, they say.  Even many adults who were abused as children  are not often believed, & sometimes even blamed.  “If it was really so bad, why didn’t you tell someone?”  “I really can’t see your mother (or father) doing that.”  “I had it worse than you & I’m just fine.”

This leads to a tremendous amount of shame in victims.  They can feel ashamed for being so “weak” as to be affected by what happened, or ashamed it happened at all.  They blame themselves for being abused.  They may feel terribly about themselves because  so many others have had it worse than they did.  They even may wonder if it really happened.  (Not being believed really can lead to that much doubt!)

I’ve been through this myself, & still battle it sometimes (although thank God those times are fewer than they once were).  I especially have trouble with beating myself up for being so weak as to be so damaged from the abuse I endured growing up.  Not healthy & really not wise!

If this describes you too, Dear Reader, please know that you have no reason to be ashamed!  Abusers are the ones who should be ashamed, not their victims!  Just because you were abused doesn’t mean you have done something wrong.  What it means is there is something very wrong with the person who hurt you!

When you feel this way, I’ve found praying to be very helpful.  Telling God just how I feel helps a lot.  Keeping things secret, I think, gives them power. but bringing things into the open releases their hold on you.  Talking about them helps you in that way, especially talking about them with God, who loves you so much & can comfort you like no one else can.

Also, remembering some of the worst events helps too, believe it or not.  It puts the abuse in perspective & reminds you that yes, it really was bad!  It also reminds you that you didn’t, couldn’t, do anything to deserve what you went through.  Write them out if you like- that way you can look back over them the next time you feel that shame creeping in.  The anger over what happened can be helpful.  While I have forgiven my mother for abusing me, I am still angry over the unfairness of it all, & the damage caused by it.  That anger helps me when the shame starts to act up.

Always remind yourself- the blame & shame for you being abused belongs square on the abuser, not on you.  Remind yourself that it is not yours to carry.  If visuals help you, imagine yourself carrying this large, ugly sack.  Then, see yourself handing it over to the person who abused you & walking away, leaving them to hold this sack.

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Validate Yourself

Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is not an easy thing.  You go through the abuse & somehow survive, only to be victimized further by people who invalidate what you have gone through.

I have heard comments such as…

  • “That doesn’t sound so bad…”(from my high school guidance counselor, referring to my mother screaming at me for hours in my teen years)
  • “You just need to understand her better.”
  • “Nobody’s perfect!”
  • “You need to fix things with your parents.  Get into counseling!”
  • “You need to work things out with your parents.  They won’t be around forever yanno!”
  • (from a different counselor after meeting my mother) “I can’t see you anymore- you’re a terrible daughter!”
  • “You need to find things you have in common with your parents!”
  • “You’re too negative!”
  • “I can’t believe they are that bad!”
  • “Are you even sure that happened?  That’s a pretty serious accusation.”
  • Various excuses as to why my narcissistic parents or mother in-law treated me so poorly such as she isn’t intelligent (she isn’t educated- big difference), her mother in-law didn’t like her, etc.
  • Laughing at my story of being abused.

After hearing such things, I felt victimized all over again.

Victim blaming is very common in today’s society, so it’s not surprising these cruel words & more are said to victims of narcissistic abuse daily.

Unfortunately I don’t believe there is any way to avoid them entirely.  All you can do is use wisdom on who you share your story with.  Even when you do this, sometimes people may hurt you by invalidating your pain.

The fact is though that you can validate yourself.  You can heal from narcissistic abuse even if there is no one to support you but God.

To do this, you need to lean on God.  Talk to Him about how you feel.  He can handle it all & wants to be there for you!  Let Him be!

As for you.. you need to trust that what happened was bad.  Admit it to yourself.  No more excuses, no more telling yourself you’re oversensitive or weak.  Narcissistic abuse permeates every part of a person’s being.  It can destroy one’s self-esteem, perception of reality or even sanity.  It is nothing to take lightly!   If you’re having trouble with this, write your story out.  When I wrote my autobiography “Emerging from the Chrysalis” a few years ago, it was hard.  Very hard.  For the first time, I realized just how bad the abuse I have survived really was.  Yet, as hard as it was to see things in black & white, it was very freeing too.  It gave me a new perspective.  I realized I’m a very strong person.  I also realized God must love me a great deal to have gotten me through all of that.  It also helped me to see my parents as they truly are, instead of making excuses for their behavior or thinking I was the one with the problems- I really wasn’t oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into things, etc.  They have some serious problems & one of those problems is NOT me!

Once you are able to accept the truth about what you have gone through, healing will come.  You will grieve, you will be angry, but these are necessary steps to freedom from narcissistic abuse.  And, the more you validate yourself & heal, the less other people’s invalidation will bother you.  I’m not saying it won’t hurt sometimes- it’s only human to be hurt when your pain is trivialized- but it won’t devastate you as it once did.

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The Garment Of Shame

Psalm 132:18 says, “His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.” (KJV)

I noticed something about this Scripture.  See how it says “will I CLOTHE with shame”??  That really is how it is when you live with shame- it’s like a garment you just can’t take off.  The only way to remove that garment of shame is with God’s help & the truth.

When you’re a victim of narcissistic abuse, you know shame all too well.  You have been made to feel ashamed of everything about you- your thoughts, feelings, likes/dislikes are all wrong, according to the narcissist.  Even things beyond your control are wrong, such as your eye color or weight.  You know that you are a terrible person, wasting space on this planet, & the world would be better off if you hadn’t been born.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  It surely does with me.

Dear Reader, today I want to encourage you to tear off that garment of shame!  You deserve so much better than to feel this way!

It’s not your shame that you are carrying anyway!  You are carrying the shame that the narcissist who abuses you feels inside.  Remember, narcissists are extremely insecure people, ashamed of themselves.  That is why they act so confident, constantly trying to impress others- to convince others (& themselves) that they are in fact good, talented & beautiful/handsome.  They don’t want to feel the shame that they feel, so they try to get rid of it in any way possible.  They try to convince everyone of their awesomeness or they project it onto a target, usually someone that they admire or feel is a good person.  This means they try to make someone else feel as bad about themselves as the narcissist feels about herself.

Putting their shame on someone else means that the narcissist doesn’t have to feel it.  The other person feels that shame, carrying it with them constantly.  This also gives the narcissist a feeling of power since she can have such an effect on another person.

Why would you carry that narcissist’s shame for another moment?  You don’t need to!  The shame is NOT yours to carry, so refuse to do it a moment longer!

How do you go about doing this?  One thing that has helped me tremendously is constantly asking God questions.  “Am I bad for liking *fill in the blank*?”  “Am I ugly because of *fill in the blank*?”  “Please tell me the truth, Father- my mother said I am *fill in the blank*.  Is that true?  Am I really so bad?”  Then, I listen for the answer.  Usually it comes as a knowing feeling inside.  Doing this taught me that I’m really not the awful person I was always ashamed of myself for being.  Instead, I was carrying my narcissistic mother’s shame.

I also talked to other daughters of narcissistic mothers & wives of those married to narcissistic men (usually ex wives, by the way).  I learned their experiences were often quite similar to mine with my mother & my ex husband.  It was very eye opening!  So many narcissists use similar tactics!  That helped me to see that it’s abusive people who say such things, not normal people.

Once you realize the truth of what has happened, that you are carrying around your narcissistic mother’s shame, it is very freeing!  You begin to accept yourself & even love yourself.  You also stop taking her cruel words to heart, because you know that is how she feels about herself- it doesn’t mean that it’s true for you.  In fact, it can be educational too, because you learn just what she feels about herself deep down.  This can benefit you by helping you to learn how to deal with your narcissistic mother.

So please, Dear Reader, make a decision today to throw off that garment of shame & never put it back on again!  It’s not yours to wear, so refuse to wear it a moment longer!  xoxo

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Illness & Injury In Adult Children Of Narcissists

As many of you know, I got very sick in February.  My fireplace’s flue wasn’t functioning right, which resulted in me getting carbon monoxide poisoning.  At its height, I passed out, hitting my head on the log holder beside the fireplace, passing out for around 20 minutes & getting a concussion.  It’s been a long six months living with all the symptoms, & I’m still getting used to them.

A few days ago, I felt really bad because of it.  Everything on my body ached, especially my head, I was exhausted even though I hadn’t done anything tiring, my moods were all over the place & I kept forgetting things.  Yet in spite of the obvious & annoying symptoms, I wondered if I was faking them!

This baffled me.  I don’t know how to convince myself of the body aches or make myself moody.  Besides, I was home alone- no one knew how I felt.  What would be the point of faking it with no witnesses besides my cats & dog?!  They weren’t going to tell anyone anything.  So why would I think this?  I didn’t even get to ask God before He started showing me some things.  I believe what I learned may help you as well.

God reminded me of many things that I experienced that invalidated any suffering I felt when sick or injured.  There are many more but here are a few examples:

  • When I was 5, my mother woke me up one morning by tickling me.  To get away from her I hit my head on the edge of the bookcase headboard on the bed.  She called the pediatrician who saw me then sent me to the ER.  I ended up with several stitches & had lost a lot of blood.  To this day, my mother says how hard that episode was for her.  She also complains that when she took me to the mall after leaving the ER (WHY?!) I wanted new crayons & I already had so many.  Seriously?  $1.50 on new crayons after that experience shouldn’t have been a big deal.
  • In elementary school, I hurt my foot in gym class, & my mother wrote a note excusing me from gym.  That teacher told me I’d never amount to anything if I refused to participate.  I was a failure, lazy & other cruel things.
  • In fifth grade, I got the chicken pox.  For whatever reason, it lasted 2-3 weeks & I was utterly miserable the entire time.  My mother complained about being “stuck in the house” because of me, so my parents & I went out to dinner while I was sick.  She told me to tell my friends she was taking me to the doctor if anyone saw me in the car as she drove out of the neighborhood.  I never saw a doctor, by the way.  She did get me two presents during that time, which made me think she actually did love me.
  • Towards the end of ninth grade, I hurt my foot.  One weekend several days later, my mother wanted to go window shopping & I said I’d rather wait in the car.  She brags that she knew if I wouldn’t go shopping, I had to be in pain, then she got me to the doctor a couple of days later.   She later complained about how her mother’s day was ruined that year because I was on crutches & my father had hurt his back.
  • During that time on crutches, my class was to visit the local high school to see where we were attending school the following year.  My mother sent me to school that day, even knowing how big that campus was & I was on crutches.  Then while trying to keep up with my classmates, I stopped using the crutches briefly & a classmate made fun of me “faking” it.
  • When I was 19 & my mother threw me into a wall, I had pain for 10 years.  For those 10 years, the only people who believed I was in pain were my chiropractor, my ex husband & later my current husband.  The doctors, others I knew & especially my mother said I was faking the injury to get out of working, I was lazy, & I had a low threshold of pain.
  • In 2010, I lost several furbabies & was under a lot of stress.  I got the flu 3 times, probably from the stress compromising my immune system.  My mother & another person said it was my fault for not getting a flu shot.
  • Last year, as my father was recovering from a stroke, I volunteered to help my parents get things done around their home on Sundays.  Unfortunately, the arthritis in my knees didn’t appreciate it & I had to quit.  I told my mother this & she ignored me.  My father listened & understood.  He mentioned it to my mother who called me & asked if I “really had arthritis like my father claimed.  Had I even seen a doctor about this”  Just one of many times she’s doubted I had something wrong with me.
  • I’ve been insulted for how bad my memory is & how hard a time I have finding the right words sometimes even when the other person knows what causes these problems.  (C-PTSD made these things bad, but the carbon monoxide poisoning & concussion made them much, much worse.)

Incidents like these instilled some false beliefs in me:

  1. My pain or illness wasn’t as bad as other people’s.
  2. My pain or illness didn’t matter, but other people’s did.
  3. I shouldn’t bother anyone with any illness or injury.
  4. I just want attention, so I fake illness or injury in an attempt to get it.  I’m not really sick or hurt.
  5. On the off chance I really was sick or injured, it was all my fault & I’m weak.  I deserve whatever I get.
  6. I don’t deserve to have help while recovering.
  7. If I don’t look sick or have other solid, irrefutable evidence of illness or injury, then nothing is wrong.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I believe, set the stage for me to believe these ridiculous ideas easier than if I’d had a healthy upbringing & had normal self-esteem.
I never realized any of this until a few days ago.  These false beliefs were so deeply ingrained in me that it took me until age 44 & healing from a life threatening situation to understand why I handle things so poorly when I’m sick or injured.  Aside from wondering if I’m faking whatever the problem is, I try to cover it up so nobody knows I have the problem.  I also trivialize it.  For example, when I broke a toe last year, I said, “It’s just a broken toe.  No big deal” even though it was my big toe (which surprisingly sees a lot of activity) & a year later, still hurts often.  I also never used crutches or sought medical care.

Dear Reader, please learn from my mistakes.  If you too have a hard time admitting you’re sick or hurt when you really are, ask God to show you why.  Chances are, you have stories similar to mine.  If so, it’s time to reject those false beliefs that cruel people instilled in you.  You are allowed to have problems, you are allowed to ask people for help in your time of need.  You aren’t weak or looking for attention if you’re sick or injured- you are simply sick or injured!  Your pain is just as bad as other people’s & just as valid as other people’s.  There is nothing to be ashamed of if you get sick or hurt.  It happens to everyone at some point in their lives.

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On “Allowing” Narcissists To Abuse You

Have you ever heard that you allowed someone to abuse you, that you gave that person your power or some similar statement that blames you for being abused?

I don’t understand why people feel the need to say such invalidating, cruel things!

While yes, you can stop some abusive actions, you can’t stop them all, especially when it comes to narcissistic abuse.  It is an exceptionally complex type of abuse.

Narcissists tear down their victims, & often make them believe they are getting what they deserve or the narcissist is doing what she does for the victim’s benefit.  Growing up with my narcissistic mother, she had me convinced that she was a good mother, always doing what was best for me.  When her abuse hit its peak when I was 17, she said she was “exercising tough love on me in order to save me from myself.”  I fought back verbally, protected myself from her physical attacks, told her she was hurting me, & more but nothing improved.  In fact, things got worse.   It was much the same with my ex husband.  The worse our marriage got, the more I tried to please him or stop him from being so hurtful, & the worse things got.  He became meaner & more degrading.

How can anyone think I allowed this, that I gave these people power over me?

Dear Reader, I’m sure your situation is much like mine.  You have been a victim of narcissistic abuse, & certainly not by choice.  Maybe you grew up with a narcissistic parent (or 2) or have been married to a narcissistic spouse & unable to afford to move out.  You probably even tried to please your abuser but nothing helped.

These situations are terrible, but not because you did something wrong.  They are terrible because the actions of narcissistic people are terrible, period.  Never let someone make you feel as if you are to blame for being the victim of a narcissist.  You did nothing to deserve it, it is not your fault for making the narcissist abuse you & no one can stop them  from abusing.  (Setting boundaries & enforcing them definitely helps a great deal, but it won’t stop them entirely.)  Narcissists abuse because it makes them feel better about themselves, providing that narcissistic supply, not because it has something to do with the victim or what the victim does.

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Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Healing Changes Relationships With Narcissists

Healing from narcissistic abuse is good for you.  You learn & you grow.  You become more peaceful & happier. You become well equipped to deal with abusive & narcissistic people when they cross your path.

I’ve noticed that something else happens- the narcissistic parent doesn’t really know what to do with you.  Narcissists simply have no clue what to do with someone they can’t control.

I was thinking lately about the relationships with various narcissists I’ve had in my life.  The healthier I got, the more they changed.  One dumped me, claiming I lied to her when I hadn’t (in fact, she lied to me many times).  Another suddenly became a victim when I refused to put up with her games, even sending her daughter to verbally attack me.  Even the relationship with my parents has changed drastically.

It used to be that my parents would call me often.  My mother daily, my father a few times a week.  We got together often, usually going to lunch or dinner.  Then I started learning about narcissism & healing from its abuse.  The communication became less & less frequent.  Now, I honestly don’t remember the last time I went out with my parents.  The last time we spent a lot of time together was when my father was in the hospital last December.  They came to my home to visit me in April just before my birthday, but since my mother was behaving so poorly & I felt sick, I made them leave after only a short visit.  As for the phone calls?  My mother called me once asking me to look something up on my computer for her (my parents don’t own one) & couldn’t get off the phone fast enough, then called a second time earlier this week for about half an hour.  My father calls about once every week or two now, & the calls never last more than about 10-15 minutes where they used to last at least 30.

I had decided on going limited contact with my parents quite some time ago, but apparently healing has made this happen anyway.  I think that’s pretty cool!

Healing has been tremendously helpful not only for me, but also in the relationship with my parents.  Not only do I have to deal with them less often now, but they have moments of being civil with me now since I won’t tolerate the nastiness anymore.  As narcissists, I know they’ll never be respectful like most people are, so I think of these moments when they’re civil as progress.  It’s more than I  ever expected.

Granted, there are times when a narcissistic mother will become enraged by her daughter’s healing.  She will lie about her daughter so she can cut her out of her life without anyone questioning it.  However, it doesn’t always happen this way.  Sometimes, what has happened with my parents happens with other narcissistic parents as well.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today.  If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic mother, continue to focus on your healing.   It will benefit you immensely & it will change how she relates to you.  It may improve your relationship with her as it has mine.  At the very least, you can be sure she won’t attempt to control you so much, because she knows she can’t.  The interesting part about that is although it will make her angry, she won’t be able to take it out on you.  You’re doing nothing wrong, so she has no reason to rage unless she wants to look foolish, & we all know narcissists will do anything to avoid looking foolish.  She may give you the silent treatment, but that isn’t such a bad scenario- it gives you a break from her drama for a while!

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Disliking Birthdays & Holidays

Recently I was talking with one of my readers about holidays. She mentioned Mother’s Day in particular, & said how much she hates the day. Obviously, she has a narcissistic mother. Anyway, she said she has been working on changing her attitude & focusing on enjoying the day with her children, because she doesn’t like feeling this way about the holiday. It hasn’t gone well. Even after several pleasant Mother’s Days, she still isn’t a fan of the day, & felt guilty about her “failure.”

From my experience, I have seen this as a pretty common scenario for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers. Not just with Mother’s Day, but birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or other special days.

I’m no different. After countless awful birthdays, Christmases, & Thanksgivings, I couldn’t care less about those days. I have tried to enjoy my birthday at least, celebrating with friends each year for the last few years. It has been fun, until this year when I was sick & unable to celebrate. Also, my husband wasn’t able to leave work early like he was supposed to be able to do. We were going to spend the day together. Instead, I wasted my day waiting on him to come home instead of enjoying myself. My old feelings of wanting to ignore my birthday came back with a vengeance as a result, & I realized it may be permanent this time.

While aiming to have a positive attitude about days that have been bad for you is certainly a good thing, I’ve come to realize that sometimes, the best you can do is learn not to hate the day. I don’t mean to sound negative, just realistic.

I’ve heard that it takes ten praises to eliminate the negative effects of one criticism. Honestly, I think it takes more. I also think that bad holidays are much like that- it takes a lot of really pleasant holidays to change your negative feelings. I also think that one negative one thrown in with the good ones can hinder changing how you feel. It can set you back.

The reason I am telling you this, Dear Reader, is so that you won’t feel guilty like the lady I mentioned at the beginning of this post if your attitude isn’t better. Unfortunately this happens sometimes due to bad experiences, & beating yourself up about how you feel won’t help you improve your attitude! If anything, it only makes it worse.

So, Dear Reader, if you are dreading holidays or your birthday, I truly wish you the best with learning to enjoy those special days! I pray you will be able to do so! However, if you are unable to, please don’t beat yourself up over it! Unfortunately it happens sometimes. Just know you are not alone in how you feel. xoxo

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Narcissists Are Murderers

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that narcissists are murderers. Maybe not in the typical sense of the word as in they don’t try to shoot you, stab you or run you over with their cars but they are murderers nonetheless. They try to kill the person you are & recreate you into the person they want you to be- blindly obedient, enabling, having no needs, wants or feelings of your own. Basically, a robot here only to do their twisted will.

Once you escape the abuse, a part of your healing should be discovering the person God has created you to be. After all, He made you the way He did for a specific reason which is infinitely more valuable & important than the narcissist’s reasons for trying to turn you into a robot.

God made you to have a special place in this world, blessing others & enjoying being who you are. The narcissist’s only reason for trying to destroy that & remold you into what she wants is selfish- to enable her dysfunctional & abusive behavior. Isn’t it worth shedding the narcissist’s image of you & embracing the person God made you to be?

Rediscovering yourself, or discovering yourself for the first time, is not easy when you are accustomed to being the narcissist’s robot, but it is worth the effort. It also is fun, learning about yourself. Just start paying more attention to your feelings on things- do you like that or not? Are you drawn to things you never were allowed to pay attention to before? Then why not explore those things now? What do you have to lose?

Last February when I got very sick, it really caused me to re-evaluate my life. In my thirties, I tried to discover myself. I made some progress, but I abandoned the effort many times though, slipping back into old, dysfunctional habits. While recovering though, I realized I didn’t want to die knowing I had wasted my life being the person the narcissists in my life had tried to make me into. I didn’t like that person at all. So, I started exploring things that sounded appealing to me. I bought some clay & tried making various items. I tried felting. I also got back into drawing- something I loved to do as a child, but got away from. I feel much more peaceful & more confident doing things just for myself for the first time. I have become more self-confident, even when dealing with my narcissistic parents- I speak up to them more often now when I didn’t used to do so at all. (Using wisdom of course, as many times speaking back to narcissists only causes more problems since they can’t handle criticism or confrontation). I have also begun to take better care of myself & be more understanding & forgiving with myself.

Unfortunately, I also have been slipping back into the old, dysfunctional habits! It’s so frustrating! Like all emotional healing, it’s not a straight uphill path, but a windy one with a few big potholes. One thing helped me a lot, & that was a video I saw on facebook. It’s of Trace Adkins in the movie “Moms Night Out” talking to a lady about her feelings of not being good enough. Watching this brief video was eye opening to me, & I will be watching it over & over again to help keep me on track. I hope it blesses & helps you as it did me, Dear Reader. xoxo

http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/18335687-trace-adkins-in-moms-night-out-scene-god-s-love-for-moms-watch?a=vl&var=GodsLoveForMoms-DUCKYEAH

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Retroactive Justification & Other Dysfunctional Coping Skills Of Narcissists.

My mother recently ended her silent treatment.  She barely spoke to me for several months, & as usual, I don’t know why.

It was an interesting conversation to say the least.  Among things she said, she asked me if my ex husband ever hit me & I said he did, once.  She never asked how badly I was hurt, just said if she would’ve known she would’ve called a lawyer.  (*sigh*  She did know- she saw me all bruised immediately after it happened & made sure I knew she didn’t care in the least.)  Then she said, “His family was really religious though, weren’t they?”  I said no, his mother was.  “So it was his father that was abusive!”  Not really- more neglectful than anything & wasn’t there much since he was an over the road  trucker.  She went on to say no one should be abused, it’s not fair to abuse people, abusers are bad people & other drivel.

Later that night, I’d been thinking of this part of the conversation & wondering why she was trying to justify my ex’s actions.  I couldn’t come up with an answer for that one.  But, I do believe that she was saying he was a bad person to justify why she abused me so badly when I wanted to date him when we were teens.  In her mind, if he was a bad person, she was right in doing the horrible things she did to me in an attempt to keep me away from him.  She used to tell me back then that she was saving me from myself, & probably this could reassure her that it was true.  I thought of this as a sort of retroactive justification for her crazy, abusive behavior

As my narcissistic parents have gotten older, I believe they are trying to cope with their abusive actions.  Normal people would see the error of their ways, & apologize. They may even do something to try to make it up to their victim.  Narcissists however, do nothing of the sort.  They find alternate coping skills, because they refuse to accept the fact that they made mistakes or did cruel, hurtful things.  While you hear plenty about their most common coping skills like projection, there are others you rarely, if ever, hear anything about.

Some of those lesser known dysfunctional coping skills are:

  • Retroactive justification- like my mother just did regarding my ex husband’s abuse.  Finding a reason why they were right to be abusive after the damage is done.
  • Reinventing the past into something nice- things didn’t happen the way you remember, according to the narcissist.  They happened in a much happier, more pleasant way.  My mother loves to talk about what a great mother she has been to me.
  • Denial-  “That never happened!”
  • Selective memories- Only remembering the pleasant things, never the bad.  “I don’t remember that at all…”
  • Creating excuses- “you made me do that!”  “If you wouldn’t have done ____, then I wouldn’t have had to _____”  “You were a very difficult child.”
  • Making themselves the victim-  “I tried to stop your mother from hurting you, but she wouldn’t stop.”  “He’s so much stronger than me.. there was nothing I could do to stop him.”  “It was so hard on me, what she did to you”
  • Feigning incompetence-  “I just didn’t know what to do.”
  • Feigning ignorance when they knew what was happening- “I had no idea she was doing those things to you!”
  • Constant chatter- Both of my parents are  very talkative, but especially with me.  They actually listen to others, but with me, it is pretty much non stop chatter & ignoring anything I say, especially my mother.  I believe having an audience not only provides them with the coveted narcissistic supply, but also means I won’t have a chance to ask questions about why they did the things they did.
  • Looking for comfort from you, the victim- my father is especially good at this one.  When he finds out I’m experiencing a crisis, he wants me to reassure him that I’m ok & all will be fine.  If anything comes up in conversation about abusive things my mother has done to me, it’s the same thing- he wants reassurance that I got through it ok.  Twice I tried to tell him about me having C-PTSD, & twice he changed the subject.
  • Money- my parents never were overly generous with money with me, but in the last few years, they have been very generous.  I’ve never asked my parents for help, but they have volunteered it several times during tight times for me.  I believe it’s to appease their guilt.

So how do you handle these incredibly frustrating coping skills? (And yes, you are going to have to figure this out, because narcissistic parents WILL force you to deal with them at some point.)

In my experience, I decided to let them have their coping skills rather than try to get them to face the truth.  Nothing you can say or do will give them a “light bulb” moment.  They’ll never say “You’re right!  I never should’ve done that to you!  It was wrong & I’m sorry.”  So why try?  It’ll only frustrate & hurt you.  Instead, I’ve found it’s best for me to allow them to have their dysfunction.  Besides, I know in my parents’ case, they aren’t very strong emotionally- I don’t know if they could handle facing the ugly truth about the awful things they’ve done.

While allowing them to use these coping skills, at the same time, I refuse to validate them.  My parents have often wanted me to confirm their false beliefs, & I refuse to do so.  I also refuse to acknowledge that they were incompetent, innocent, ignorant, had to do what they did, or the real victims.  I may allow them to have those false beliefs, but I refuse to validate them & participate in the dysfunction.

When my parents want comfort from me about my problems, I flatly refuse to give it.  I ignore them, or change the subject.  If it gets too bad, I’ll say, “I’m the one with the problem.  I can’t comfort you when I’m the one who’s got the problem & am trying to figure out what to do about it.”  (notice I neglect to admit I’m hurting or any feelings- this is because if I said I felt badly, it’d feed their narcissism.  They’d end up hurting me even more.  Never ever admit your feelings to a narcissist!)

As far as the incessant chatter, I’m not very talkative anyway, so it works for me not to have to create conversation.  Besides, sometimes they do have very interesting things to say.  Like most narcissists, my parents are very intelligent.  Their conversations at time can be quite interesting.  My father knows a great deal about WWII & the War Between The States.  He also was a drag racer in the 50’s-60’s.  My mother knows quite a bit about varied topics, & enjoys crafts.  I enjoy crafts too, so we can have some good chats about crafts we like.  It can be a good thing when you can just sit back & let them do the talking, because you don’t have to try to come up with topics that won’t start an argument.

Even knowing how to handle these dysfunctional behaviors, I still come away hurt or angry sometimes.  My mother discussing the time my ex hit me made me physically ill for that entire day & the next, plus triggered a flashback.  But, the good thing is this sort of thing is a rarity.  Understanding their coping skills & finding ways to cope with them means this sort of thing isn’t the norm anymore.  I no longer leave every conversation with my parents feeling devastated.  In fact, understanding these things mean I usually only feel a bit frustrated or sad that things aren’t better.  That is a thousand times better than feeling devastated or physically ill each time!

This really is about the best you can hope for when dealing with narcissistic parents.  Probably this is partly why so many people think no contact is the only answer.  While it is in many cases, sometimes no contact is impossible or not the desired result.  My prayer is information like this will help those of you still in relationship with your narcissistic parents.

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“They Did The Best They Could!”

The phrase, “They did the best they could” used to make me feel so guilty.  I felt shame for being hurt or angry about the abuse I went through at the hands of my parents & ex husband.  After all, my mother had a terrible childhood, abused by her narcissistic, evil mother & no contact with her father- how could she know how to be a good mother?  My father was in a near fatal car wreck at 15, & has had problems stemming from the brain damage since, so that must be why he never felt able to intervene with my mother abusing me.  As for the ex?  Not like his parents modeled a healthy marriage- no wonder he didn’t know how to be a husband.

I’m sure if you’ve been the victim of abuse, you have heard the same tired phrase, & had the same kind of thoughts that I had.  I think it’s only natural to think things like that under the circumstances.  Today though I want to challenge that phrase regarding how it relates to your situation.

If someone is really doing the best they can, naturally they are going to make mistakes just like anyone does.  They will apologize & try to make the wrongs right somehow if possible.  They won’t repeat that mistake over & over again, make excuses or blame you for making them do what they did.

Someone who is truly doing their best won’t hide their actions or demand someone not to tell anyone what they are doing.

They also won’t be one way behind closed doors & totally different when in public situations.

They won’t criticize your every word, thought or deed.

People who truly are doing their best don’t try to gaslight others, making people doubt their own sanity.

They will try to build you up, encouraging you to be your own person who exercises whatever talents you have, rather than deliberately tear you down, discouraging you to be the person God made you to be.

They will care about others, not only themselves, & especially their children & spouse.

Now, think about the narcissist in your life.  Does this sound like her?  If not, then you need to keep in mind that she really didn’t do the best she could!  Even if she had been abused or through hard times, that does NOT give an excuse to abuse!  If being abused made the victim become an abuser, you would be abusive.  If you think she does not know what she’s doing, then think about this- does she hide the abuse from other people, only raging at you in private?  That is a sign she knows what she is doing is wrong.

Rather than feel guilty because your narcissistic mother “did the best she could”, instead, I encourage you to have a more realistic view of her situation.  In mine for example, with my mother- yes she was abused terribly as a child.  Her mother continued abusing her as an adult.  She’s been miserable married to my father for 46 years.  I do feel sorry for her for those reasons.  However, those reasons were NOT my fault or a reason to take her frustrations, anger & hurt out on me, to expect to be able to live the life she actually wanted through me.  As her daughter, it was never my job to make her happy, although she expected that.  She also knew then & still knows how she treats me is wrong.  I know this because she always worked hard to hide her actions from everyone, including my father.

Looking at my situation logically like this has helped me to no longer feel guilty when someone says that she did the best she could.  It will help you as well.  There is no good reason for you to feel bad when some insensitive, naive person says that obnoxious phrase to you!  Don’t accept their delusion as your reality!

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Telling The Truth About Narcissistic Abuse

Growing up, I think my situation was very typical of many children who have narcissistic parents in some ways.  Mainly in one way- secrecy was of the utmost importance.  My mother never clearly said don’t tell anyone what she was doing to me, but somehow, I always knew telling would be a big mistake.

When I turned 17 & wanted to start dating, her abuse magnified.  She was losing control of me & was less than thrilled with that fact.  That is when she began to scream at me on a daily basis, making sure I spent my school & work lunch breaks with her, & she even had someone at my school report to her daily what I did during the day when she wasn’t around.  It was a bad, bad time for me.  I tried to talk a little about it to friends & even a school guidance counselor.  No one was any help, so I sought out a therapist who turned out to be even less help.  I found out I was completely on my own.

My mother often said during that time that I shouldn’t “air our dirty laundry.”  I failed to realize at the time that it was *her* dirty laundry, not mine.  I did realize though that telling the truth about the abuse she put me through was a bad thing.  When she learned I’d talked to anyone about what she did, she would rage worse than usual.  More screaming at me would follow, telling me what a terrible person I was, she was only doing what she did to help me, since I was so unreasonable she had to practice tough love on me, & more garbage.

As a result, I learned to keep quiet, not discussing what she did to me.  I lived in fear that she would learn if I’d said anything about her.  Plus, I also felt I was to blame.  I believed her lies about what a terrible person  I was.  I must have been terrible to make her treat me so badly- what other reason could there be for what she did, I thought.  Telling also felt disloyal- I felt like I was betraying my mother if I told what she did.

Eventually, I had to talk about it.  I lived through hell with her, even as an adult, & couldn’t keep it bottled up inside anymore. My emotional health was a mess.  I had to talk about it & start to heal.  It was hard to do.  For years I continued to feel guilty for “airing our dirty laundry.”  It finally clicked though a couple of years ago… I felt God wanted me to write & publish my autobiography.  That task was very daunting- once you write a book & it’s published, it’s out there for the world to see.  Having a website is one thing- my parents don’t even own a computer, plus I could take it down if I was so inclined, so that wasn’t too intimidating.  But a book?!  That was terrifying!

To write the book, I finally had to get rid of those dysfunctional thoughts about sharing what happened to me, & God helped me tremendously in doing so.  He showed me the real truth about discussing narcissistic abuse.

He showed me that talking about it isn’t being disloyal or dishonorable- it’s simply telling the facts.  I have yet to embellish anything.  I tell things as they happened.  I never try to paint my parents in a bad light, although I’m sure the stories I tell do just that since they’ve done some bad things.  I try to keep the way I phrase things as respectful as possible.

He also showed me that although I wasn’t a perfect child, I was good & I did nothing to deserve what happened to me.  I never got into trouble or did drugs.  I cut a few classes in high school (which my parents never knew about), but still maintained honor roll grades.  My worst sin was sneaking behind my mother’s back to date the man who is now my ex husband.  Granted not a good thing, but not the worst thing I could’ve done either.  I only saw him at school & work so we didn’t see each other much.

God showed me too that there is nothing my parents can do to punish me anymore.  My mother can’t show up at my job again & scream at me for the whole population of the place to see (that was humiliating!) or force me to listen to her tell me what a horrible person I am for having my own thoughts, feelings & needs.  If she tries to scream at me now, I’ll either leave, hang up on her or kick her out of my home.

Accepting these truths will help you tremendously in your healing as well as your ability to talk about what happened!

And, I found a quote that helped me tremendously in writing my autobiography.  Anne Lammont said, “You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”  It’s very true!  What happened to you at the hand of your abusive narcissistic mother is YOUR story.  You have every right to share it with anyone you like.

I believe discussing narcissistic abuse to be a calling from God.  You have to respect His calling more than fear your parents’ retribution.  You aren’t betraying them by talking about it.  You aren’t being a “bad daughter” either, so long as you share things in a respectful manner.  If you believe God wants you to share your story, then share it!  Not everyone is going to like it, but that isn’t your problem!  Sharing your story will help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse & the damage it causes.  It will encourage others who have been in similar situations.  It lets people know they aren’t alone to read stories similar to theirs.  It also helps reassure people that they aren’t crazy, bad, wrong, etc.  It wasn’t their fault, & your story can help people to learn that.

Share your story, Dear Reader, however you believe God wants you to share it!  xoxo

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Sensory Flashbacks

The last few days, my C-PTSD has been flaring up.  I’m not entirely sure why.  I’ve been especially moody, anxious, depressed, & having more nightmares than usual.  Then last night, I had a very odd experience.

My husband & I were lying in bed, watching tv.  He was starting to nod off, &  I was relaxed, hoping to go to sleep soon, when suddenly I smelled coconut.  Immediately, an ex boyfriend of mine came to mind, as he used coconut scented air freshener in his car & I felt extremely anxious, almost to the point of having a panic attack.

A little background on this boyfriend.. I dated him in 1990, when I was 19 & he was 28.  I wasn’t in love with him, yet he told me I would marry him (no proposal, just a command) & we’d have lots of kids (another command).  He was controlling, jealous & angered easily.  I was not happy in this relationship at all & spent most of our short time together anxious, miserable & trying to avoid his anger.  The night I broke up with him, he spend hours screaming at me, telling me how stupid I was, how great he was & how much I’d regret leaving him.  Fast forward to January, 2014.  I read on my county police’s facebook page that he shot & killed his boyfriend, then himself.  I had no clue he was gay or capable of murder.  It was very traumatic when I realized the kind of person he was & how utterly clueless I was to that. Even looking back, I don’t recall any signs of him being gay or that dangerous.

So back to last night…

As I lay there, smelling coconut, it quickly turned into an actual emotional flashback.  I felt like I was 19 again, back in his home & full of anxiety.  No specific event played out in the flashback, only the awful emotions that were a daily part of our relationship.  Eventually it passed & I was fine, just tired & emotionally drained.  I went to sleep a little while after this.

This morning I prayed about it & the term “sensory flashback” popped into my mind.  I did some research online & found very few details.  At least what I found was somewhat helpful.  Sensory flashbacks involve the senses, such as feeling someone is touching you when no one is.  They are not very different than the typical type of flashback in that you feel like you’re reliving a traumatic experience.  Last night, I had a hard time telling reality from flashback, just like during a typical flashback.

Dealing with a sensory flashback seems to be about the same as dealing with other flashbacks.  You need to ground yourself- touch something, smell something, taste something.  Something that is strong to the senses helps to keep you grounded- hold an ice cube, smell lavender, taste a little lemon juice.  Something that basically “assaults” your senses will help you to stay grounded.

Focus on deep, slow breaths to help you to avoid hyperventilating.

If this happens while you are away from home, try to find somewhere safe to work through it.

Don’t beat yourself up for this.  Many people have flashbacks.  It happens sometimes when exposed to trauma.

Be understanding & gentle with yourself.  Flashbacks can leave you feeling very tired & drained for a couple of days.

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Why Adult Children Of Narcissists Date Or Marry Narcissists

Adult children of narcissists often date or marry narcissists, much to their frustration.  I did- my ex husband was quite narcissistic.  When I realized how much he was like my mother, it baffled me why I married him.  I thought I was stupid.  How could I marry someone so abusive?!  I just got away from my abusive mother a few months prior to our marriage, I & wanted peace.  How could this happen?  Looking back, I understand why this happened.  I think it was pretty normal under the circumstances.

When you grow up with at least one narcissistic parent, you have no real idea of what love truly is.  Since parents are supposed to love their children, you assume your parents love you… even when they abuse you.  You end up thinking love equals criticism, yelling, invalidation, etc.  You think people who act this way genuinely love you.  You may even avoid those with healthy boundaries & who offer praise & compassion because they are so unfamiliar to you.

Narcissists are boundary squashers.  Normal, healthy people respect boundaries, but not a narcissist.  I’m not sure they even see boundaries.  Or, if they do, they seem to take it as a personal challenge to bust through them. They will wear you down.  When my ex husband first asked me out, I said no.  He kept pushing & I kept saying no.  Eventually he wore me down.  I gave in even though I wasn’t attracted to him & I knew how angry my mother would be that I wanted to date someone.  He even wore me down enough to marry him two years later.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, you are deprived of attention & love.  You become desperate for it.  This desperation puts off healthy people, but it attracts narcissists.  They realize that you will do anything or put up with anything because you are so desperate.  They see you as an easy target.

Narcissistic partners are very good at convincing their victims that their abusive behavior is actually loving behavior. Being so desperate for love, it’s very easy for a victim to believe this.  Narcissists know this & take advantage of it.

If you too have fallen into this trap of dating or marrying a narcissist, then please don’t beat yourself up for it.  It’s a very common thing.  Instead, consider it a learning experience.  I know that is hard to do, but it’s possible.  I did that for years after divorcing my ex husband, but finally realized that he was a predator taking advantage of someone very damaged.  I was so damaged then that I didn’t realize this was what was happening.  The good part is I had the sense to get away from him, & I know that if my current husband & I weren’t together, I’d never again date, let alone marry, another narcissist.

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Trauma Changes You

You can’t experience trauma without changing.  It’s only natural that when you experience something life altering or even life threatening that you change.

I’ve had 5 nervous breakdowns to date, & after each one, something about me changed.  After the first & second ones, I got even better at stuffing my feelings.  No one cared what happened, so I took that to mean I needed to not bother anyone with my ‘trivial’ problems.  (You can tell I was surrounded by narcissists at the time & not a Christian..)  After the others, I realized that even if no one cared but God & I, I cared, & needed to take better care of my mental health.

After coming close to death with carbon monoxide poisoning in February, I gained a new strength.  Although I still have problems with anxiety, I refuse to sweat the small stuff as much as I once did. I now get angry quickly & set boundaries immediately if someone mistreats me rather than trying to be understanding.  Oddly, even my eating habits are different.

When these changes first happened after my first two nervous breakdowns, I ignored them.  Then I began to realize that they are happening for a reason.  God is using negative circumstances to get my attention.  I started asking Him to show me what I need to learn, & those prayers were answered.  The information has been very valuable.  I’ve learned I like the new me.

If you’re reading this post, it is safe to assume you too have experienced trauma, most likely narcissistic abuse, since that is what I write about most often.  As you are healing from it, you’ll realize that you have changed.  You may feel differently or think differently.  That is perfectly fine!  Don’t worry about it or beat yourself up over it.   Why not just get to know the new you?  Take the time to really pay attention to how you feel or think.  Get to know the new you as if you were meeting a new friend.

The changes happened in you for a reason, & chances are, because they needed to happen.  While I don’t believe God makes bad things happen, I do believe He will use them for our benefit.  If you are unsure of what good has come from the trauma you’ve experienced, just ask God to show you.  He will help you..

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Logic vs. Narcissistic Games

Recently I realized an effective way to put an end to narcissistic games: ask logical questions. I realize that sounds silly, but I’m telling you, it works!

When the narcissist in your life starts their games, whether it is gaslighting or simply being hateful, immediately start asking logical questions, & watch the narcissist become confused & stop what they are doing.

Some good questions you can ask are:

  • “How is that supposed to help?”
  • “What exactly do you mean?”
  • “I don’t understand..explain that?”
  • “What are you trying to say?”

Once you ask your question, wait for an answer.  The narcissist won’t know what to do!  They may ignore your question totally, but you can be sure of two things: 1- she heard what you said, & 2- she will stop what she was doing.

I have done this recently, & have found it to be not only effective, but funny as well.  It’s funny watching someone who is usually so confident in their talents in manipulation & cruelty suddenly become flustered.  They are so shocked when someone doesn’t just blindly let them get away with what usually works, especially when it’s the person who usually does let them get away with things.

Doing this also helps you to take back some power, while taking away some from the narcissist.  When she realizes her games or cruelty aren’t working, that takes power from her. The bonus is at the same time, it gives you power & confidence.

The next time you’re dealing with a narcissist, I would encourage you to try asking questions.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Projection & Narcissists

Have you ever heard the term projection regarding to how it relates to narcissists? Projection means that whatever they are doing, they project onto another person, accusing them of doing. For example, narcissists are know liars. Often they accuse others of lying to them while defending how honest & trustworthy they are.

Narcissistic mothers are no exception. They love to project, especially onto their children. The child of a narcissist isn’t viewed as the child of a normal, healthy person is. Most people view their children as separate human beings, with their own wants, emotions, personality & more. Narcissists, however, view their children as tools to be used in any way they see fit, not allowed to have their own wants, emotions or personality. Their children are not allowed to have boundaries. A narcissistic mother has no problem reading her child’s diary or snooping through her personal belongings. Nothing is off limits to the narcissistic mother, so why would projecting her flaws be?

I think another part of projection is also when a narcissist criticizes something about you that she wishes she had or could do. My mother is quick to criticize long hair on women, no matter how beautiful it is, yet has always complained that she can wear her thin, fine hair in only one, short style. She also has ruthlessly criticized my furkids, I think because they don’t like her & are very devoted to me.

Projection doesn’t stop just because a child of a narcissistic mother reaches adulthood. I haven’t heard of one narcissistic mother yet who has given up projection just because she is older or her child has grown up. My mother still gets on me about my weight, as she has my entire life, even though she is a lot heavier than I’ve ever been.

So how do you deal with this frustrating thing called projection?

The best way I’ve found is to remember what projection really is- a dysfunctional coping tool for a narcissist to use to deal with her own shortcomings. Remembering this helps to take some of the sting out of her cruel words, because you know it isn’t a personal attack- it is simply her own dysfunction. It still will hurt or anger you though, as it should, because it is unfair of her to use you in such a way.

Once I learned about projection & realized it was about her dysfunction rather than me, I’ve felt pity several times for my mother when I have caught her doing her projecting. She does it so often, she must truly feel awful about herself. It’s sad when you think of it. However, feeling pity doesn’t mean that I should try to make her feel better about herself. With a narcissist, attempting that puts you in the position of being responsible for her self-esteem, iffy as it may be, & she will use you up in order to gain the coveted narcissistic supply that improves her self-esteem. Please remember that if you too feel any pity.

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Grooming & The Narcissistic Mother

One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.

Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.

Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.

This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.

When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.

When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!

You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.

Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!

If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.

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