Tag Archives: child

How Surviving An Abusive Childhood Manifests In Relationships

When you come from an abusive childhood, that can create a lot of dysfunction in your life, but in particular in your relationships.  Today, I want to discuss some of the ways that dysfunction plays out.  Recognizing the dysfunctional behaviors may be painful at first, but it will help you by showing where you need healing.  That is valuable knowledge!

Many abused children struggle with having relationships with any genuine intimacy.  Even with those they are closest to, they aren’t comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts, feelings. desires & dreams.   They may listen to the innermost thoughts, feelings, desires & dreams of those they love, but they still won’t share their own.  They also may change the subject or deny any negative feelings they have if questioned because they are terrified of being this vulnerable with anyone.  This behavior comes from having a parent or two who ignored, mocked or rejected their emotional feelings.  When the most important person in your life who is supposed to love you unconditionally ignores, mocks or rejects something about you, it’s only natural to be afraid other people will do the same.  It takes time, prayer & good, loving, safe people in your life to overcome this behavior.  It also helps to remember that any parent who would do this to their own child clearly was the problem, not the child!

Many abused children have an intense fear of abandonment.  When a child grows up with parents whose behavior was inconsistent & unpredictable, they become afraid they would be abandoned at any moment.  They also assume other people are the same way as their parent.  This fear manifests as a person being clingy with the people in their life, even to the level of being co-dependent.  It also can manifest as being controlling of others with whom they are in a relationship.  My mother was like this.  Her parents divorced when she was very young, & her mother was a narcissist who kept her from her father.  I believe that left her with a deep fear of abandonment that manifested as being very controlling of my father & I.  Conquering this fear of abandonment isn’t easy but it is possible.  The more a person heals & becomes more functional, the healthier their self esteem becomes naturally.  As a result, a part of that is a person becomes more willing to end toxic relationships even if that means they are lonely for a season.  They also begin to attract healthier people who won’t hurt or abandon them, which helps to heal that fear of abandonment.

When parents show their children that their love is conditional, based on the child’s behavior & accomplishments, those children become people pleasers.  Children in this situation assume that unconditional love doesn’t exist, & to be loved, they must earn love.  It’s as if it doesn’t occur to them that the other person in the relationship should earn love though – only they must be the one to earn love.  Unlearning people pleasing behavior is TOUGH!  I’ve been there.  I did find that the more I healed, the less prone to it I was.  I’ve also found that slowing down & asking yourself why you are saying “yes” when you want to say no, or volunteering to do something you want no parts of to be helpful. 

Most abused children have dysfunctional relationships with abusers.  Friends, coworkers & even romantic interests often use & abuse these children until they reach a point in their lives where they start to focus on their own healing.  Possibly the most difficult part of breaking this pattern of behavior is to stop beating yourself up for getting involved with such toxic people, in particular, if you married one of them.  Just remember, you did the best you could with what you knew at that time.  If you didn’t know to do better, how could you expect yourself to do better?  That would make as much sense as expecting a toddler to know how to replace a car’s engine! 

If you find yourself in these situations I have described, it’s ok!  There is hope for you!  Focus on your healing, & the healthier you get, the healthier your relationships naturally will get as well.  I have found God to be vital to my healing.  Psalm 23:4 says that God walks with us through “the valley of the shadow of death” & I firmly believe that to be true!  He will be there for you during the hard, painful times of healing as He was with me. You’re not alone.  Lean on Him & let Him help you to heal!

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Subtle Signs Of Dysfunctional, Abusive Families

No family is perfect, but some families are less perfect than others.  Many of those “less perfect” families are downright dysfunctional & even abusive.  Today I’m sharing signs of the dysfunctional & abusive family.

Parentification is a big indicator of a dysfunctional & abusive family situation.  This is when the parent & child roles are reversed, & the child is supposed to care for the parent.  Children in this position are supposed to do things no child should have to do, such as being their parent’s emotional caregiver including such inappropriate things as listening to their parent’s woes about their marital problems or sex life, nurse them back to health after a hangover or overdose, or even care for younger siblings as a parent should do.  Parentified children are often described as growing up so fast because their role has forced them to behave as adults rather than allowing them to be children.  They also lack healthy boundaries, tolerate one sided relationships & continue to keep their parents as their top priority over their spouse, children & even themselves.  When they are growing up, people on the outside often think these children & their parents are close, & praise this relationship.  This leads the child to feel confused & even ashamed that they are unhappy with this role.

Unmet needs are another sign of a dysfunctional, abusive family situation.  Children have a lot of needs that go beyond the basic food, clothing & shelter such as nurturing, teaching & caring for their emotional health.  Many abusive parents meet those basic needs, yet neglect those other important needs.  Children who grow up this way have trouble with being inappropriately clingy in relationships & overly dependent or they go the opposite way & become very cold & aloof.  Either way causes problems in their relationships.

Unrealistic expectations definitely point to a dysfunctional & abusive family.  Some parents hold their children to higher standards than adults.  Those children are never allowed to be in a bad mood or fail a test, yet their parents are allowed to yell or even hit the child just because they had a bad day at work or someone cut them off in traffic.  This puts incredible stress on the child who feels they must be perfect as a way to earn their parent’s love.

Parents who often fight in front of their child are creating a very dysfunctional & abusive situation.  I grew up this way, & can tell you from experience it is a horrible way to grow up!  I felt so insecure when my parents fought & also like I should do something to help them stop fighting.  This is so typical of how children in this situation feel.  It leads to these children feeling intense anxiety at any hint of conflict & also feeling overly responsible for the other people in their lives, as if they must take care of those people.

People who grow up in such environments grow into dysfunctional adults with a lot of relationship troubles.  They may become controlling people who will do anything or hurt anyone they deem necessary to avoid further pain.  More commonly though, they also may go the exact opposite way & become extremely submissive.  They become people pleasers who will do anything for anyone even at the expense of themselves. 

If any of this describes you, please remember some things.

You are only responsible for yourself.  You are not responsible for meeting the needs of other people.  Yes, you can help them, but doing so to the extent of harming yourself is dysfunctional. 

There is nothing wrong or bad about caring for yourself & having reasonable boundaries.  You need to take care of yourself just as much as & even more than you are willing to do for other people.

Family shouldn’t demand all of your time, energy, finances, etc.

Healthy relationships are a two way street.  Toxic relationships are not.  They take while giving nothing or almost nothing back.

Love should be unconditional, never conditional.  In other words, someone should love you based on who you are, not what you do for them.  Conditional love is one of the hallmarks of abusers.

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Feeling Burdened By Others After Growing Up With An Emotionally Incestuous/Enmeshed/Parentalizing Parent

Growing up with a parent who treats you more as their romantic partner rather than their child is extremely traumatic.  It is referred to as emotional incest, enmeshment, covert incest, parentalizing & parentification, & it’s a form of sexual abuse whether or not sexual contact is a part of this abuse.  It creates a LOT of serious problems in the lives of victims.  Today, we will focus on only one of those problems – feeling burdened by other people.

The person who grows up with an emotionally incestuous parent has spent their entire life focused on their parent.  Their parent is their top priority in childhood, & even into adulthood until they recognize this is a problem.  They listen to their parent’s woes (in particular about their marriage or relationship), they try to cheer them up when they are sad, fix their problems, protect them if the other parent is abusive, & basically anything else their parent wants them to do no matter the personal cost.  After a lifetime of this dysfunctional caregiving, it is natural to feel burned out on doing for other people.  The problem is that natural or not, it is damaging to other relationships.

No one wants to be in a relationship with another person that is totally one sided.  Whatever type of relationship this is, whether it is romantic, family or friendship, this type of relationship is miserable & dysfunctional.  Doing with receiving nothing in return is fine once in a while, but when it is the norm, it is depressing, will lead to a lot of resentment & most likely the relationship will end.

Similarly, no one wants to be married to someone knowing that their parent always will be more important to them, that the demanding parent’s needs always come first, that they are looked at as an intruder & feeling like anything they want from their spouse is a huge burden while anything the parent wants is done without complaint.  It is a miserable way to live, & the majority of people will divorce a spouse like this.

If you are a victim of emotional incest, please know that by continuing to tolerate this abuse from your parent, this is what you are doing to those people in relationships with you.  I am not telling you this to hurt you, only to open your eyes of the damage being done & the unfairness of it all.  People who love you don’t deserve to feel this way.  It’s not fair to them.  It also is not fair to you for your parent to treat you so badly & for that parent to do so much harm to you that you are damaging relationships with people you love. 

And, if you are still in this situation with your parent, please do your best to put an end to it.  Start setting limits & boundaries on what you will & won’t tolerate from your parent.  It can be intimidating to do this at first so start small.  Don’t take their call or reply to their text right away.  It’s a baby step that helps you to take back some of your power.  Do more & bigger things as you feel able to do them.  It may take some time, but you will become able to stop tolerating their behavior.  The more you do this, the less burdened you will feel in general, which means the more you will be able to give back in your relationships.

Get to know yourself better.  Chances are, you didn’t have much time for that because caring for your parent took up too much of your time.  It’s long overdue.  Get to know the real you, not the person your parent wants you to be.  It’ll help you in many ways, including learning what you are willing & unwilling to tolerate in the relationship with your parent.

Get angry about what your parent has done to you.  You have every reason to be angry, because treating anyone this way is simply cruel & wrong!  You never deserved it!  Allow yourself to feel that anger & vent it in healthy ways like prayer, talking to someone close to you, journaling, or even talking to a therapist.

And never forget that you do have one loving parent.  God is the most loving parent you could hope to have.  Talk to Him about what is going on.  Lean on him to help you heal, figure out the best way to handle this relationship with your abusive parent, & to help heal damaged relationships.  He absolutely will do it.

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I Need A Favor From You..

Although I try never to ask for favors, this time I have a serious request for help from any of you who are willing & able to help out.

The link below is to a gofundme page for a very good cause. The beautiful little girl in question needs to be brought back home to safety. She currently is with her father’s family full time, & they are abusive. Her mom needs legal help to get her back home & away from these abusers. Unfortunately, legal help is NOT cheap. That is why the gofundme page.

There is a court date coming up in mid September, so if there is any way you can donate, even a small donation, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much in advance for your generosity!!!

For more details, read the link below. Thank you again for your help!

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When A Toxic Relationship Shifts

In various relationships with the narcissists in my life, I remember a shift in their attitude with me.  It was always subtle, but I noticed it anyway.

My ex husband & I started dating during the second semester of eleventh grade.  By the end of the first semester of twelfth grade, he had become a bit distant.  We wrote notes often as many kids in the 80’s did, & suddenly his went from at least one or two a day to one every few days before suddenly stopping entirely.

Later in life, when I began pulling away from my parents & setting some boundaries, their attitudes became different.  My mother was obviously furious with me, but didn’t admit to it.  My father became controlling for the first time. 

I met my late mother in-law some months before my husband & I began dating, when we were just friends.  One day I was going to drive him to pick up a car he was buying.  I picked him up at his parents’ home, & although I could tell his mother didn’t particularly like me, she seemed somewhat friendly.  Once she realized we were dating, she became ice cold.  After we got married almost 4 years later, she became extremely vicious with me.

This sort of behavior is very common with narcissists.  No matter the type of relationship, at some point, there is a change in their attitude with the victim.  That change often comes about when the narcissist realizes the victim doesn’t want to lose the narcissist.  It also can happen when the victim starts to set boundaries or the narcissist sees the victim as a threat in some way.  Either way, narcissists want to make sure their victim behaves as they want.  What better way to do this than to abuse that victim?  They may make their victim feel so insecure, as if the relationship is bad & it’s all the victim’s fault.  They also may become controlling & manipulative, trying to make the victim feel as if they need to earn the narcissist’s affections.  They may make the victim feel as if it’s best to do whatever the narcissist wants rather than displease the narcissist & face their wrath.  The type of wrath naturally varies between overt & covert narcissists, but in either case it’s best not to face it, so many victims will do absolutely anything to avoid it.

The really horrible part of this is while this abuse happens behind closed doors, the narcissist continues to wear their mask to convince everyone else they are a wonderful person.  When a victim looks for advice & support, those who also know the narcissist often tell the victim how lucky they are to have such a wonderful person in their life.  That person loves the victim so much!  It must be nice having someone so loving in their life.  They’re lucky to have a parent or significant other care so much about them.  Such responses can leave a victim baffled & feeling as if they are the problem in the relationship. 

The result is the victim often stays in the relationship.  The victim feels utterly alone because no one believes them.  They believe the narcissist’s good guy/good girl act instead.  Victims learn quickly there isn’t any point in discussing the abuse because no one believes them.  Meanwhile, the abuse gets worse & worse.

Have you been in this situation?  Are you in it now?  If so, you’re not alone!  This is typical of relationships with narcissists. 

Don’t beat yourself up for getting yourself into this situation or tolerating too much from the narcissist.  Narcissists are experts at psychological warfare.  They can manipulate even the most brilliant of people because they are just that good at what they do. 

You also need to pray a lot.  God willingly gives wisdom to anyone who asks for it according to James 1:5, so ask for it!  He can help you to cope if you’re still in the situation or find ways to help yourself heal if you have escaped it.

Always remember that the treatment from the narcissist isn’t your fault.  Their actions are 100% their responsibility.  Don’t accept the blame for their behavior.  Don’t carry their shame for their actions.  Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, healing from narcissistic abuse & about how to have healthy boundaries.  Take care of & protect yourself.

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Childhood Wounds That Can Affect People Into Adulthood

Childhood experiences help to form us into the adults we become.  Those of us with traumatic childhoods naturally turn into dysfunctional adults.  Hopefully we realize this & want to become more functional & healthy.  Sometimes though we aren’t sure where to start.  I firmly believe that getting to the root of things is best.  If you garden, you know that you can spray a weed with poison & it will vanish for a while, but it’ll come back again.  However, if you pull it up by the roots, it’ll never return.  Healing is the same way, which is why I tell people that getting to the root of issues is so important.

Relating to healing, I mean you need to look at what is causing the problem, not just the problem itself.  If something makes you angry when you remember it, for example, why does it make you angry?  Did you not feel heard?  Did you feel unloved, neglected or invalidated?  Recognizing your anger is only part of the process.  Once you identify how the event made you feel, you can truly start to heal.

Certain childhood wounds cause certain behaviors, which is what we’re discussing today. 

A childhood abandonment wound happens when a parent isn’t there for their child either physically such as if the parent dies or the parents divorce, but also happens if the parent isn’t there emotionally such as in the case of narcissistic parents.  The abandonment wound manifests as someone who hates to be alone, who is afraid of loved ones leaving them, & may be codependent. People who are emotionally unavailable or out of touch with their feelings are very attracted to those who have abandonment wounds.

A childhood neglect wound results from a parent neglecting their child’s needs.  The neglect can be as obvious as not providing the child with food or medical care, or it can be less obvious such as a parent regularly not caring that their child is upset.  This type of childhood wound manifests as low self esteem or even self hatred, a lack of boundaries, being quick to anger, & repressing emotions.  People who are attracted to someone with a neglect wound are the type who don’t appreciate them & often even make them feel invisible.

A shame wound is very common among those who have experienced childhood narcissistic abuse.  Narcissists use shame as a weapon because it is so incredibly effective.  Where guilt makes a person feel as if they have done something wrong, shame makes a person feel as if they are wrong bad or incredibly broken for doing whatever they did.  Shame damages or even annihilates self esteem.  A person with very low or non-existent self esteem is easily controlled & manipulated, because they lake faith in their decision making abilities & intelligence.  They look to others because they feel so ill equipped.  This wound manifests as an intense disdain for asking for help or for things, feeling bad or flawed, & lacking boundaries.  Narcissists are attracted to those who have shame wounds.

If any of these describe you, know that hope is not lost!  You can heal!  Now that you know the root of your problem, you can find the most effective means of healing.  It will take time & work, but you can heal!  I believe in you!

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When Children Aren’t Allowed To Say No

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When Narcissistic Parents Try To Keep Their Children, Children Forever

One subtle way narcissistic parents abuse their children as adults is called infantilization.  This means that the parents continue treating them like they’re much younger than they are.  While this may not sound so bad, it truly is because of the damage it causes.  It often creates severe anxiety, insecurity & lack of faith in one’s abilities to the point they can be debilitating.  It sets a child up for failure as an adult by making sure that child can’t do what they need to.  Even if that adult child has the ability to do something, they honestly believe they can’t.  This means that adult child settles for relationships that are at best mediocre or at worst abusive because they don’t believe they can attract good people.  Even worse, they don’t believe they deserve to be in relationships with good people.  They settle for dead end jobs or careers they hate because they don’t believe they’re smart or talented enough for anything better.  They settle for much less than they deserve in all areas.

Possibly the saddest part of this is that this particular type of abuse is rarely acknowledged.  Parents who behave this way are seen as overprotective or maybe even a bit eccentric, but not as the vicious predators that they are.  The adult child often suffers alone & their feelings are invalidated.

Narcissistic parents accomplish this subtle & sinister form of abuse in many ways. 

Starting in childhood, these narcissistic parents don’t let their child do much.  They may start to do something but their parent takes over because they say the child is doing it wrong.  Rather than let the child learn from their mistake or simply do the activity a different way to get the same result, the parent clearly sends the child the message, “I have to do things for you because you aren’t capable.”

Normal age appropriate activities are discouraged.  Attending school activities, attending sleepovers or even simply spending time with friends are frowned upon or simply not allowed.  As children get older, narcissistic parents often discourage them from working, getting a driver’s license, going to college or even moving out. 

Narcissistic parents trying to infantilize their adult children will tell their children how they feel about things.  A prime example I witnessed was when my mother did this to my father.  At a restaurant one evening, he wanted to try something different for a change of pace.  My mother told him he didn’t want that, & to order what he usually ordered.  They were both over 60 years old at that time.

Another thing they do is discuss things with the adult child that they liked when they were children & act as if they still are into those things.  They don’t acknowledge that their child is now an adult with adult interests.

Telling embarrassing stories about their adult children is another tactic designed to keep the adult child childish.  It is designed to humiliate that adult child.  When the adult child speaks up about their feelings, their narcissistic parent will shame them for not having a sense of humor or being too sensitive.

Remember how in Genesis chapter 3 how the serpent spoke to Eve to manipulate her into disobeying God?  He instilled doubt in her by saying, “Did God really say that?”  That is much like how narcissistic parents make their children feel incapable of doing things even as adults.  They often say things like, “Do you really think you can handle doing that?”  “Aren’t you a little young to do that?”  The underlying message is “You’re too stupid to do that.”  The questions are asked to make you doubt yourself & look to your parent for answers.  The more someone relies on another for answers, the more that someone can control the one looking for answers.

If you are in this situation, you need to remember what is happening.  Your parent is trying to control you.  Whatever your parent says isn’t true- it’s said for manipulation only.  You are capable!  You are smart!  You are talented! 

I also found it helpful to ask God for creative & effective ways to handle the situation.  He definitely will provide them! 

Lastly remember, never let your narcissistic parent see how they hurt you.  If they do, they’ll only do that thing again & again.  Don’t let them have that opportunity!  Act as if their words don’t affect you in the slightest bit while you are in their presence.  Later when you’re alone, you can deal with the emotions however works for you.

I wish you the best in your situation! 

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When Narcissists Claim They Don’t Know Why Their Adult Children Went No Contact

I would like to make one small disclaimer on this post.  I am writing it from the perspective of those in a position like mine, the adult child who severed ties with their parent for valid reasons.  This doesn’t mean I always side with the adult children in these situations & assume all parents to be guilty until proven innocent.  I absolutely do NOT believe in blindly siding with any specific person or even group. 

Many times when an adult child severs ties with their parent, that parent claims to have no idea why their child did this.  They say this happened without warning, totally out of the blue.  My parents did this.  I severed ties with them after a huge argument in May, 2016.  During the fight, I felt all knowledge I have of narcissism went out the window because I was so hurt.  I cried, I used bad language & I told my parents exactly why I was so upset with them rather than remain calm & set boundaries as I usually did.  Oddly, they acted like I did this every day, & weren’t affected in the slightest by my behavior.  It was the last time I spoke with my mother before her death, & one of the last times I spoke to my father before his.  He tried to apologize a few months after the argument, but it was obvious from what he said, he had no idea why I was so upset.  When cleaning out their home after my mother’s passing, I read some things she wrote & she was clearly just as oblivious. 

This is very typical of abusive parents.  My story is only one of many similar ones.  This makes it so hard for the adult child in this situation, because you feel like your parent didn’t even care enough to listen to anything you said, let alone try to make things better.  It’s so painful thinking they’re so unaware & uncaring.  If you’re in this position, you know that hurt all too well.

I’ve come to realize something though.  Whether or not they know, it truly has nothing to do with you & everything to do with them.

Normal human beings recognize when they have said or done something bad.  They apologize & try to make amends.  As anyone who has even a fleeting knowledge of people with narcissistic personality disorder knows, that isn’t how narcissists work.  Apologizing & making amends are beneath them, so that won’t happen.

Also to apologize, they need to recognize they did something wrong. Narcissists lack the basic human empathy to see anything from another’s perspective, even when that problem is glaringly obvious to about anyone else in the world. 

In many cases like this, however, the narcissists do know that they were wrong.  They won’t admit it, but they know.  You’re probably thinking I am wrong on this, but I really don’t think I am.  If you pay attention to what a narcissistic parent in this situation says, there are hints that show they know they messed up. 

They may talk only about their child going no contact with them or how angry that child has been with them.  They talk about how this affects them.  But they leave out things that led up to their child being so angry or making this decision.  They may say things like their child says they are a terrible person or says cruel things to them, but where are the details?  Those are left out.  Sure, this could be a narcissist’s way to keep all focus on them & off their adult child, but I believe in many cases, it’s a way to make them look like the innocent victim & hide their awful behavior.  The listener is supposed to be so distracted by what was done to the narcissist that it never occurs to them to ask what else happened.

If your narcissistic parent has told people they have no idea why you severed ties with them, I know you’ll feel hurt, maybe even unimportant because your own parent doesn’t care about why you opted for no contact.  That is a natural way to feel but that doesn’t mean it is right!  Whether or not your parent truly knows, their behavior is all about them, & is no reflection on you.  Please remember that! 

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How To Handle People Who Shame Adult Children Of Narcissists For How They Treat Their Parents

I saw a comment on one of my old YouTube videos I thought was rather interesting.  The comment said that this person took care of her elderly abusive mother until the end of her life.  She suffered health problems that didn’t run in her family as a result of dealing with their “complicated” relationship, but she is glad she didn’t abandon her like I did my parents.  She went on to say that although she didn’t like my video, she said she’s glad she watched it anyway because she realized maybe she wasn’t such a terrible daughter like me after all. 

Rather than simply delete the stupid comment, I left it up.  It’s sort of a lesson within a lesson.  The original lesson being my video, & the secondary lesson is how to deal with people like this.

This sort of comment happens all the time with adult children of narcissistic parents.  The smug ignoramuses of the world think they have the right to judge how we treated our parents while they truly know nothing of our experiences. We need to be aware that this can happen & how to handle it.

To start with, I believe it’s very important to realize this is a trigger, which is why your reaction may be exceptionally emotional.  Mine certainly was.  I immediately felt rage & wanted to tell this person exactly what I thought of her judgmental words.  I took a few moments to calm down because I recognized my strong reaction was a trigger.  It reminded me of things my own family has said.  If a comment like this is said to you in person or on the phone, you don’t have the luxury of taking a few minutes to calm yourself before responding as I did.  Instead, take a deep breath & let it out slowly.  This will calm your mind & body long enough for you to formulate a good response rather than react.  Reactions in situations like this only cause more problems.  You need to have a calm & calculated response instead.

It’s also important to recognize that a person saying this sort of drivel has some ulterior motive.  Often they are flying monkeys, saying such idiocy to hurt you on behalf of the narcissist.  They may even know the truth but say this anyway simply to hurt you because you hurt the narcissist that they idolize.  In my case, I don’t know this person nor does this person know my parents.  Flying monkey obviously can’t be the case.  I have another idea of what her problem is though…

The commenter in my situation is, I believe, a covert narcissist or at the very least, has narcissistic tendencies.  Covert narcissists will do anything they can to get the word out that they are wonderful, caring, & even martyr like.  That is what this person did with me.  She came across as a loving, devoted daughter who was willing to sacrifice herself & even her health for her abusive mother.  She shamed me for not being a “good daughter” like she obviously was while at the same time building up her martyr image.  I’m glad this person was so obvious in displaying those narcissistic tendencies because that enabled me to know how to handle the situation immediately: provide no narcissistic supply.  I debated deleting the comment, but that would’ve validated to this person how mean & unreasonable I am.  It also would’ve enabled her to look like the victim of my meanness, & provided narcissistic supply.  Instead, I figured it best to respond simply, without emotion.  I said that everyone has to do what they feel is right in their situation.  I did in mine just as she did in hers.  I’m not judging her so please don’t judge mine & if she can’t refrain from that, please stay off my page.  Simple, to the point & calm. 

Whether the person in question in these situations is a narcissist, flying monkey or just some poorly informed person with good intentions, it’s never wise to defend your actions.  Somehow, that always seems to make things worse, so don’t do it!  If you must say something for whatever reason, keep your comments unemotional & logical.  State only the facts, not how you felt.  And, ask logical questions like, “I don’t understand how you think me doing what you think I should makes any sense.  Why should I subject myself to being treated so poorly?”

Lastly, always remember that God is there for you.  If you don’t know what to do, ask Him for help.  Even a prayer as simple as “Please help me!” can work wonders! As the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you need to know how to handle yourself when these situations arise & unfortunately, they will arise.  I hope my situation has given you ideas on how to do that when the time comes. 

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Signs Of Surviving Child Abuse In Adults, & Ways To Cope

There are some very clear ways to identify a survivor of child abuse.  These symptoms also are detrimental to the mental health of said survivors.  If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, then please don’t beat yourself up.  We’ve all been there!  Try to accept them as nothing more than a sign of having experienced some really terrible things, then find ways to heal from them however work best for you.

  • Blaming yourself for what happened.  Children seem to take the responsibility on for their parents’ bad behavior rather than face the fact that their parent has done something pretty terrible.  It’s totally normal!  However, it isn’t helpful once you’re an adult.  It’s ok to admit your parents were less than perfect, & yes, even cruel.  No child can make any parent abuse them, including you.  Abusive behavior lies squarely on the shoulder of all abusers, never their victims.  ALWAYS!
  • Accepting what your parents said as the gospel truth.  Abusive parents lie.  Period.  They also convince their children that their lies are the truth.  Not only that the abuse was the child’s fault, but that the child is unlovable, stupid, ugly, useless, no man/woman will ever want to marry that child & more.  It’s time to start challenging those false beliefs as they rise up in you.  Ask yourself, what evidence is there that what your parent told you is true?  I would guess there is no real evidence at all!
  • Unhealthy coping skills.  Watching too much TV, emotional eating, sex, shopping, drugs or alcohol.  Whatever coping skill used is unimportant.  The fact is the person using such coping skills is trying to avoid the pain inside.  Although these coping skills may have served you for some time, it’s time to retire them & face the pain.
  • Being a people pleaser.  Growing up afraid of rocking the boat where your parents are concerned can create a habit of people pleasing.  This is so unhealthy!  Of course, it’s good to care what people think.  When that rules your life & makes you do things that you disagree with or hurt you, however, there is a big problem!  Learn to say “no”.  It’s perfectly ok!
  • Lack of good self care.  Self care isn’t all bubble baths & eating ice cream.  Self care also involves taking good care of your physical & mental health, resting when tired, not overworking, & having good boundaries.

If you’re wondering where to start changing these behaviors in you, the best place I know of is what I always recommend.  Prayer.  Ask God to help you to be healthier & to heal from the trauma you have experienced.  He truly will!  One thing I do is when something comes up, I ask Him to tell me the truth about it.  “Am I right to feel *insert feeling here*?  Why or why not?” & listen for His response.

Read about the type of abuse you experienced.  Chances are, you’ll find other survivors experience similar things to you.  Learning there are others out there going through what you are can be extremely validating.  It also will help you to learn how to cope with what you’re experiencing when you see how other people got through it.

Do you keep a journal?  If not, now is the time to start!  Seeing things in writing can be so validating & clarifying.  It also can help you to keep track of the truth.  Abusers, narcissists in particular, love to reinvent the past, & lie about the present.  Having written documentation helps you to keep track of the truth so you don’t get lost in their lies.

I truly wish you the best, Dear Reader.  Facing pain & changing dysfunctional behavior isn’t easy.  However, it is worth it when you’re healthier, happier & behaving in a much more functional way.

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Tips For Healing From Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a terrible thing.  It forms so much of who we become as adults, good & bad.  Unfortunately usually there is much more bad than good.

The way to help minimize the bad is to heal.  To do this, you have to face the trauma, & that involves facing the emotions connected to it.  I know, this isn’t exactly fun but it’s quite necessary for healing.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, so not doing so will result in them manifesting in such toxic ways.  They will negatively affect your mental & physical health.  They can draw you to unhealthy relationships & circumstances.  That’s why it’s so much healthier to face trauma than to avoid doing so.

An effective way to do this that I have found is loosely based on Craig Hill’s “The Ancient Paths” book & seminars.  Start by looking at your life.  What areas are you consistently struggling with?  From there, you can ask God to show you what the root of the problem is.  When I have done this, God has shown me a memory, & usually it’s from childhood.  I focus on that memory, remembering everything about it that I can – what happened, where it happened, who was there, even more insignificant things like scents, sounds, who wore what clothing.  Remembering as much as possible makes it more real, which triggers many emotions.  Once I feel the emotions I tell God that in that situation I felt a certain way, like helpless, ashamed, stupid, ugly.  Then I ask Him to tell me if what I felt was right.  Was I right to feel the things I did?  I then listen for His response.  There really is healing & life in God’s word!  When He has spoken to me, I end up feeling so much better!  So much of the pain just disappears.

There is still a bit of work to do after this, however.  You will need to feel your feelings.  I mean really feel them.  Cry, get angry, yell… do whatever helps you to feel those emotions so you can get them out of you.  I often tell God just what I’m feeling.  He really can handle that & offer comfort during these painful times.  You may need to do this a few times to purge yourself completely of the emotions.  That depends on the trauma & how you as an individual feel about the situation.

When I first learned about all of this, I naively thought doing it once or twice would heal me completely.  Unfortunately healing from trauma is an ongoing process.  You have to heal from one incident at a time instead of all at once.  I can’t tell you it’s ever easy, but I can say that the more you do it, the easier it gets.  You get stronger as you heal, which enables you to face things better.  You also grow closer to God, because facing trauma in this manner makes you depend on Him for help.  It naturally strengthens your relationship.  It also helps you see God as He is, your Heavenly Father, rather than how you view your earthly parents.  So many abused children grow up seeing God as unreliable & untrustworthy as their earthly parents.  It’s natural, unfortunately.  Working on your healing in this way naturally changes your perspective on Him, & draws you closer to Him.

Also remember that doing this can be very emotionally draining.  It’s only natural that dealing with such negative & strong emotions would leave you feeling drained & a bit raw emotionally after.  When this happens, take good care of yourself.  Rest, be sure to eat healthy & relax as much as you can.

I know this all sounds intimidating, but truly, you can do it & you’ll be very glad you did!

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Narcissistic Parents Who Abuse Their Adult Children

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When Parents Abuse Their Adult Children

Growing up with abusive parents, most kids think that once they turn 18 &/or move out, all their problems will be over.  Many victims marry very young trying to rush this process along, & who can blame them?

The problem is though, this mindset is wrong.  The abuse merely changes, it doesn’t stop.

In my experience, I left home at 19 after my first nervous breakdown.  Although I didn’t know exactly what had happened to me at that time, I knew in my heart that I had to leave or lose my sanity.  I moved back in 6 months later for only four days.  On the last day, my mother & I got into an argument which escalated quickly into a physical fight, & she slammed me into a wall.  I believe she wanted to kill me that night.  I also believed that since I determined never to live in that house again, the abuse was a thing of the past. My mother never laid another hand on me again after that night, November 28, 1990.  That didn’t mean she never abused me again, however.

After that horrible night, my mother continued to verbally abuse me.  Everything about me was subject to her harsh judgement &  criticisms, just as it had been when I was living with her.  When I had to quit work a few months later due to my back pain from her assault, my mother made it clear she was convinced I was faking the pain because I was too lazy to work.  She never said those words exactly, but she would slap me in the back where my pain was, hand me heavy items or tell me I needed to help her move something heavy.

As my parents got older & frailer, my mother expected me to help them.  When I did help, my parents were cruel, especially my mother.  She gave me a diet soda one day when I was there.  The cruelty was the artificial sweetener in it was known to cause a laxative effect in some people.  She waited until I emptied the bottle to tell me this & how it negatively affected my father.  For the remainder of the visit, she & my father continually asked me how my stomach felt or did I need to use the bathroom.

My mother had irritable bowel syndrome.  After having an issue, she called to tell me I had to wash her clothes the next day because “I owed it to her since she took care of me as a baby.”  The next day I took rubber gloves along in case I had to touch any laundry since I’m not good with body functions.  My mother watched me take off those gloves, then told me to hold out my hands.  With a smile, she put her nasty clothes in my bare hands & said “I forgot, these need to go in the washer too.”

The point of these stories is this: narcissistic parents don’t stop abusing their children when they become adults.  They merely change the ways in which they abuse them.

As narcissists age, they can’t be the physically intimidating presence to their child anymore.  And, their child has grown up, so even if they were able to magically stay the same, their child probably wouldn’t be intimidated like they once were.  Also, threats of punishment from a parent don’t work on an adult as they would on a child.  Due to losing so many of their once successful ways of abusing their child, narcissists have to come up with new ways to abuse.

Some of those new ways may involve financial abuse, guilt trips to make their child think they owe the parent, misusing their medications to make themselves ill, or even threatening suicide.

If such things are happening to you, you’re not alone!  You also have nothing to feel ashamed of!  The shame lies with your parent, not you!  Do what you need to in order to protect yourself.  You do NOT deserve to be abused!!

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Lies Victims Of Childhood Emotional Neglect Tell Themselves

When a child’s emotional health is neglected, they grow up dysfunctional in many ways.  One of those ways is they learn no healthy coping skills.  As a result, lying to themselves becomes a common way for them to cope.

Lying about what?  Anything & everything!  I remember years ago, I got my father a cell phone & my mother was angry about it.  Eventually he was tired of her complaints & got rid of it.  When she told me about it, she said she had no idea why he did that.  I could see that she was trying to convince herself of that, but she knew the real reason.  Remember, my mother’s mother was a narcissist, & extremely cruel to my mother her entire life, including neglecting her emotional health.

That is just one example, of course, but there are many other lies victims of childhood emotional neglect tell themselves.

Another lie is “I don’t matter.”  Of course you matter!  Everyone matters!  The lie stems from being raised by parents who act like you don’t matter.  It’s easier for a child to believe they don’t matter than to believe their parent is incapable of treating them as if they do matter.  Any problem in a relationship between a child & his parents usually means the child assume he is to blame.

“I’m not good enough” is another lie stemming from childhood emotional neglect.  When children are treated by their parents as if they aren’t good enough, they assume it’s because something is wrong with them rather than their parents.  That, however is a big lie!

“I’m unworthy to ask for help.”  Childhood emotional neglect teaches children that they are undeserving of “bothering” others by asking for help, especially from their parents.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Another common lie is, “I should be happy.  I have no reason not to be happy.”  When a child’s emotional health is neglected, they very easily can become depressed, yet may not know why, even into adulthood.  They fail to realize they have been abused which is a valid reason for depression.

“I don’t need anything.”  is a common lie, too.  Of course you need something.  Every person has needs.  Sadly, being emotionally neglected in childhood trains children to believe that their wants & needs aren’t important, so they learn to ignore them.  Years of ignoring them means they aren’t in touch with their needs at all.

Another common lie is, “I’m ok.”  When someone is mistreated, it’s normal to be angry or hurt.  When the child of emotional neglect is mistreated, although they may feel some anger or hurt, they’re disconnected from their feelings enough that they may not realize that.  Or, they may recognize the anger & hurt, but believe they aren’t allowed to feel that way so they say, “I’m ok” instead.

“Anything you want is fine with me.”  When a child survives emotional neglect, they learn early on it’s easiest just to go with what their parents want so they don’t get in trouble.  After a lifetime of this, it becomes such a habit, that these children act this way with everyone about everything.

If you realize you have said these same lies, you are not alone!  Start paying attention to what you say more so you become aware of ways you lie to yourself.  Ask God to help you to help you recognize those lies.   Once you recognize the ways you’re lying to yourself, then you can deal with them.  My favorite way is to ask God to tell me the truth.  Am I right to feel as I do?  Please tell me the truth, Your truth.  He does & it really helps me to see things more clearly.  Writing about how & why I feel as I do is also helpful because seeing things in writing gives great clarity.

I wish you the best in defeating these lies & living a healthier, happier life!  xoxo

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How Abuse In Childhood Manifests In Adults & Ways To Cope

Children who are abused by their parents without fail show signs of that abuse in their adult years.  This post addresses some of those signs.

Abused children grow up believing they have no control over what happens in their lives.  This is because abused children are not taught that they have the right to have boundaries or even to say “no.”  That faulty thinking often carries into adulthood when the abused child finally realizes that he or she has as much right to have boundaries as any other person.

Abused children also grow up into a false person of who they really are.  Children want their parents’ love & approval.  It’s only natural to feel this ingrained need so strongly.  With healthy & functional parents, it’s a good thing.  With abusive parents however, it’s not so good.  In fact, a child can be so starved for their parents’ love & approval, they learn to live in whatever way they believe is pleasing to their parent(s).  A child whose parents tell her she needs to be a nurse when she grows up may become one, all the while hating her line of work because she really wanted to be a teacher, or vice versa.  Sadly, this can continue until that child gets to know the person that God created him or her to be & discards that false self.

Abused children grow up not in touch with their emotions.  Abused children are often told that their emotions are unacceptable.  Usually the only acceptable emotions in a home with abusive parents are the emotions of the abusive parents.  They criticize their children for having a bad temper when they are righteously upset at being abused.  They call their children oversensitive & mock them for their emotions.  These children learn quickly the best way to deal with their emotions is not to deal with them, so they push them deep inside so they don’t have to feel anything.  While this is a useful survival skill with abusive parents, it doesn’t serve anyone well long term.  This child needs to learn to trust his or her emotions, to recognize them & find ways to cope with them in healthy ways.

Abused children often become people pleasers.  Children whose parents abuse them learn quickly the best ways to avoid abuse is to please their parents.  If they can just be good enough, smart enough, talented enough or pretty enough, their parents won’t hurt them anymore & will love them, they believe.  Sadly this mentality carries into adulthood, & that abused child is an adult who worries about pleasing other people at any personal cost.  This adult is angry, bitter & miserable, yet feels unable to make any changes.  Realizing what is happening is the first step.  Once that has happened, learning about boundaries & developing healthy self esteem will help tremendously.

Abused children learn not to trust their instincts.  Narcissistic parents love to gaslight their children.  Gaslighting in its simplest definition is when someone distorts another person’s reality in such a way that the victim learns quickly not to trust their own instincts or perceptions, often even their own sanity.  Children whose parents gaslight them grow up with instincts like every other person, but they lack the ability to trust those instincts.  As a result, they frequently end up in situations that are bad for them or abusive relationships.  Even if they felt somehow that something was bad for them, they ignored it since they don’t feel they can trust themselves to know what is best.  Learning to trust your instincts after a lifetime of gaslighting is NOT a fast process, but it is possible.  Listen to your instincts, & observe what happens.  Chances are, you’ll see those instincts were right time after time.  The more it happens, the more you learn you can trust your instincts.

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How Childhood Trauma Affects Adults

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Why Narcissists Have Children

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How Trauma Can Stunt Emotional Growth

Years ago, prior to learning about narcissism, I had a friend who counseled people at her church.  She told me how she believed many people were stuck emotionally at the age they were when they experienced deep trauma.  This makes a great deal of sense to me, especially knowing what I do now about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Looking at some of the narcissists I’ve known in my life, they were abused, neglected or both in their childhood, or faced something very traumatic such as a life threatening injury.  My father, for example, nearly died at only fifteen from a traumatic brain injury, thanks to some drunk driver hitting his car head on.  Although he was a mature adult in ways such as keeping a full time job, maintaining & repairing his own car & home, in some ways, his behavior was very immature.  He seemed to think he should have whatever he wanted, just because he wanted it.  That is entitlement but it’s also a very immature behavior.

My late mother in-law grew up in an extremely dysfunctional environment.  At 15, she got pregnant & married my father in-law.  By all accounts, their marriage was not a happy one for many years.  Her behavior was quite immature, & often reminded me of a teenager.   Like my father, she seemed to think she should have what she wanted simply because she wanted it.

Obviously, not everyone who has experienced trauma, abuse or neglect in their childhood is like this.  However it seems to me that many narcissists are.  So many act very immature, & if you look at their lives, many also had some sort of trauma in their childhood.

I’m not telling you this to excuse the abusive behavior of narcissists, of course.  There is no valid excuse for abuse!  However, understanding them can help you a great deal.  It can help you not to be as hurt or angered by their abuse because you see it’s something wrong with them.  (This information is always a good reminder since they love gaslighting so much.)  It enables you to predict their behavior so you can protect yourself.  It also can help you to remember that basically, you’re dealing with a bratty child in an adult’s body & deal with them accordingly.

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Why Children Of Narcissists Have Trouble Setting Goals

As children, we’re supposed to figure out what we want to do when we grow up & plan for it accordingly by the time we graduate high school.  Many plans change but at least most kids have an idea of what they want to do with their lives.

 

I didn’t.  I never could figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I didn’t even know if I wanted to get married or not, but I assumed I wouldn’t because my mother told me no man would ever want me.  I’ve kind of fallen into things rather than having a plan to get there my entire life.

 

I’ve thought this was strange since it seemed to me everyone else I knew growing up had some goals.  They knew if they wanted to get married, have kids, travel the world, go to college, & what kind of career they wanted.

 

Recently I realized something.  I believe this is because when you grow up with a narcissistic parent (or two), you learn early on that you’re wrong about anything & everything.  What you think, feel, like, don’t like, want, believe, etc. is all wrong.  So, if you believe you’re wrong, how can you set any goals?  The goals will automatically be stupid, bad, wrong, etc. because you set them.  Why bother even trying to set goals that are going to be so bad?  It’s a waste of time.

 

Plus, many of us with narcissistic parents were told by that parent that they knew us better than we knew ourselves.  Believing this lie would also inhibit us from making goals because obviously we are too stupid to know what we should do & what we want to do.

 

Even realizing this, I still have trouble setting goals but am improving a bit at it.  I have learned I’m not the stupid, ugly, fat, horrible, useless person my mother told me I was growing up.  I have also learned she has absolutely no clue who I am, so saying she knows me better than I know myself was an absolute lie.  I know me much better than she ever has & ever will.  Learning these things have helped me some in this area as well as healing my virtually destroyed self-esteem.  Realizing these truths about yourself can help you too.   Talk to supportive, loving & safe people.  Write in a journal.  Those things will help you to discover the real you, the good person that you are as well as what you want to do with your life.  They also will help you to see that maybe what your narcissistic parent said you wanted, liked or didn’t like was absolutely wrong, & enable you to figure out what makes you truly happy.

 

Dear Reader, if you have this same problem with setting goals, know you aren’t alone.  You aren’t crazy or stupid for not being able to do so.  It is simply one more side effect of growing up with a narcissistic parent.  Focus on healing your wounded self-esteem, & I believe goals will become more natural & easy to set in time.  Ask God for help, too- He will not let you down!

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Unconventional Grief

Most people assume there is only one type of grief, the grief that happens when someone you love dies, but there are other types as well.

People also can grieve when they move, get a divorce or lose a job.  There is also something known as anticipatory grief, which happens when you know someone is dying.  This is especially common in families where someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s due to how this terrible disease destroys a person’s personality before it destroys their body.

Unconventional grief is different.  It is grief that is triggered by unique circumstances.  I experienced it when learning about the many new limitations because of how damaged my brain was after surviving Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  It also can happen when someone is diagnosed with mental illness or when a loved one has a substance abuse problem.  Unconventional grief also can happen as a result of trauma & abuse.

When you grow up with a narcissistic parent or two, & you finally learn about narcissism, although it is a great thing, it can trigger grief.  Suddenly you realize that you aren’t the problem, which is certainly good news of course, but realizing what your parent was is difficult  & painful to accept.  It hurts that the one person who was supposed to love you unconditionally didn’t, & lacks the ability to do so.  You also realize how much your parent took from you, such as your childhood & self-esteem.  And, it suddenly hits you that there is no hope for your relationship.  Prior to learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, most people have some hope that one day their parent will realize what she did, apologize & change for the better.  Learning about NPD squelches that hope completely.  That is a tough pill to swallow!

Facing these ugly truths absolutely can cause a person to grieve, & it’s extremely painful.  It’s also difficult to understand because of the limited view of grief that most people have.  How can you grieve when the person in question is still alive?!  Well, it’s surprisingly easy to do actually.

When my father died in October, 2017, I didn’t cry.  I cry easily especially when losing someone I love, but I didn’t cry.   I barely have felt sad at all since he’s been gone.  No doubt any of my family that may be reading this thinks it’s because I’m a cold, evil person, but that isn’t the case.  It’s because I grieved him enough when he was alive that his death didn’t have a very profound effect on me.  And you know something?  Many other adult children of narcissistic parents I’ve spoken with have said that they felt the same exact thing when their parent died.

Unconventional grief can be incredibly difficult, but you can get through it.

Pray & pray often.  You will need the wisdom, guidance & comfort of God to get through this.

Don’t judge your emotions.  Accept them.  Examine them without judgement or criticism.  Feel them.  Pray, talk or write about them to cope with them.

Anger is an especially common part of this sort of grief.  If you feel a lot of anger, it’s normal!  I know, you probably grew up like most of us with narcissistic parents did, believing you aren’t allowed to be angry.  Stop that now!  Why are you angry?  Face it head on & deal with your feelings.  The pain will lose its power over you if you face it.

You also may start to remember only the good times.  They are good to remember, but don’t forget the bad as well.  Embrace the good & heal from the bad.

Write in a journal.  Writing is very cathartic, plus it will help you to have documentation.  You may even decide that you enjoy writing, & opt to start a blog or write a book.

Find online support groups & websites.  Learning that others are experiencing similar things to you is very helpful.

Don’t expect this grief to end entirely.  It will get better, but it may never end entirely. It’s like losing a loved one- you grieve most right after the person died, but even many years later, the pain is still there, just not as intense as it was at first.

If you’re experiencing unconventional grief, Dear Reader, know you aren’t alone.  You can survive this!  It will take hard work & won’t be easy, but you can do it!

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How Growing Up With A Narcissistic Mother Affects You As An Adult

Growing up with a narcissistic mother is incredibly painful.  It causes a great deal of damage too, not only to one’s mental health but sometimes physical as well due to the intense, incredible stress of living with such a cruel person.

 

Unfortunately, the damage done is still with the child moving out of his or her mother’s home.  While some of that damage is obvious, such as a person having C-PTSD, not all of it is so easily identified.  There are many behaviors that tend to stick with a person even years after the abuse has ended.

 

Many victims accept the blame for everything.  Growing up with a narcissist, you learn early in life that everything is your fault.  If you had any doubts about that, your narcissistic mother would remind you of it.  By adulthood, victims have lost all doubts & know everything is their fault.

 

Closely related is apologizing for everything.  Children aren’t allowed to stand up for themselves, especially to their narcissistic mother.  In fact, we don’t even have any clue how to stand up for ourselves.  Instead, we learn to apologize, whether the problem is our fault or not.  This behavior carries over into adulthood.

 

Narcissistic parents often compare their children unfavorably to their siblings or cousins.  Those children grow up comparing themselves unfavorably to others just as their parent did rather than appreciating the differences in each person.

 

Children of narcissistic parents learned early in life that their purpose was to do for their parent.  Children aren’t even thought of as human to their narcissistic parents, but instead they are merely tools to be used as needed by that parent.  Knowing this means these children believe they aren’t important.  They prioritize everyone else over themselves.

 

Along these lines, children of narcissistic parents also refuse to ask for help.  They believe they are unworthy of help from anyone.  Many are also perfectionists & think they should be able to do things by themselves, without any assistance.

 

Chronic self doubt is another problem narcissistic mothers create in their children.  When you grow up hearing how you can’t do anything right, you’re a failure, you’re stupid or other cruel things, self doubt is normal.  It can make you doubt every single thing about yourself, even into adulthood.  Often it’s like there is a recording in the back of your mind when you try to do something that says those same awful things Mom used to say, & when you hear the recording, it transports you back to childhood, when you felt you were all of those things Mom said you were.

 

Difficulty making decisions happens often with adult children of narcissistic parents, too.  When you suffer with self doubt, decisions can be really difficult to make!  Even simple decisions like when your spouse asks where you want to go for dinner can be very challenging, because you feel like whatever you say will be wrong.

 

Over thinking is another common sign of having grown up with a narcissistic mother.  It stems from having to be “on alert” at all times, needing to know what Mom wanted or how to please her or what exactly she needed at any time in order to avoid a narcissistic rage.

 

The lack of ability to express emotions is common with adult children of narcissistic mothers.  So many narcissistic mothers did their best to stop their child from expressing any emotions, negative or positive.  My mother used to scold me for having “that Bailey temper” that I learned never to show any anger or even simple frustration.  It felt easier to stuff that emotion deep down than to be shamed.  My mother also complained that I didn’t look happy, yet if I was happy, if it had nothing to do with her, she would shame me for being happy. Many narcissistic mothers behave in a similar way with their children.

 

Do you behave in any of these ways, Dear Reader?  If so, please know you are NOT alone & you are NOT crazy.  I’ve experienced them all, & still do experience some of them.  I have found that praying really helps a great deal.  I ask God for help or to show me what I can do to change my behavior.  Simple?  Sure, but also very effective.

 

I also question things.  “Am I really to blame for this?  Why?”  “Should I apologize for that?  Why or why not?”  “Why am I comparing myself to that person instead of appreciating our uniqueness?”  “Am I really not smart enough/talented enough/etc. to do that?  What evidence do I have that shows me I’m not?”  “Is it really unreasonable of me to ask my husband for help when I don’t feel good?  Why?”  These simple questions make me think about the situation at hand more objectively & I can see that sometimes what I’m thinking is nothing more than some old, dysfunctional mindset.  Upon seeing that, I am able to act in a more appropriate way.  If you have trouble doing this, another approach could be to imagine a friend came to you with the problem you’re facing now.  What would you tell that friend?  Imagining a friend is confiding in you rather than thinking about yourself facing the problem can give you a very different perspective.

 

Although these issues are challenging, they can be dealt with with time & work.  Do it- you deserve to be rid of these dysfunctional habits!

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Ways Trauma In Childhood Affects People Throughout Their Lives

Most people who were abused as children face lifelong problems as a result of that abuse.  The problems can be debilitating at worst, or they can at best be really annoying, but they are there nonetheless.  This post is about some of those problems.

Many people who experienced abuse in their childhood develop PTSD or C-PTSD.  It makes a lot of sense this happens considering that abused children are exposed to at least a couple of life altering traumas in their life, usually many more.  In case you don’t know this, PTSD & C-PTSD happen when trauma is severe enough to “break” the brain.  Physical changes actually happen in the brain that cause PTSD & C-PTSD.  Neither are mood disorders or the result of thinking negatively like many people seem to think.  Medication &/or therapy can help you to manage the life disrupting symptoms.

Even if an adult survivor of child abuse doesn’t develop PTSD or C-PTSD, chances are good that person will suffer anxiety &/or panic attacks &/or fears, even phobias.  When you’re raised by someone whose behavior is violent & unpredictable, you naturally become anxious.  That anxiety can stay even long after the abuse has ended.  Ending the relationship with an abusive parent is naturally a smart thing to do, but that doesn’t mean all problems are solved.  While it removes further abuse from happening, it doesn’t stop the anxiety that the abuse created.  It takes a lot of time for that to diminish. It may never stop entirely.  Learning ways to calm yourself such as through deep breathing can help calm you when anxiety gets bad.  Prayer is also very helpful.  Medication can help as well.  Also, learn to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.  Take tiny steps at first, then once you’re comfortable with the small steps, push yourself a bit further.  It’ll help you to be more confident in yourself & less anxious when you see what you can handle.

Lacking good coping skills is common as well.  When you’re subjected to daily abuse, you simply don’t have time to process one trauma when another happens.  It’s overwhelming!  It also leads to a pattern of not knowing how to cope because you haven’t been able to do so.  You will need to learn coping skills, such as how to slow down & look at the situation objectively so you can find ways to cope.

Many adult survivors of child abuse also are willing to settle.  They don’t want to be in the same or a similar situation to what they’ve been through, so rather than take a risk, they settle.  Pushing yourself out of that comfort zone can be scary, but it needs to be done.  Start with small things.  As you get more comfortable, push yourself to do bigger things.

Talk to people you feel safe with, & let them help you as you heal.  It can be super easy to become a total recluse, because it feels like no one else has been through the things you have.  As you open up to safe people, you may realize that others have been through similar situations.  Sharing these experiences can help you to become closer & also to help each other heal.

Many victims also hold in their anger.  As a child of an abusive parent, it’s a useful survival skill.  Abusive parents can’t & won’t deal with their child’s anger, so it’s safer for the child to hold it in.  As an adult though, it’s no longer a good skill.  Instead it becomes unhealthy both physically & mentally.  You have to learn how to release your anger in healthy ways, such as in prayer, writing in a journal or talking things out with a safe person.

Almost all victims of child abuse avoid confrontation as adults.  Growing up with abusive parents, we learned early in life that confrontation involves rage, name calling, possibly even physical violence.  The truth though is that isn’t always the case anymore!  Not everyone is like our parents.  You need to learn that it’s ok, even loving (believe it or not) to confront someone who is mistreating you.

Adult victims of abusive parents also have issues with boundaries.  Abusive parents don’t let their children have boundaries, & perhaps out of simple habit, those children grow into adults with no boundaries.  You will need to realize that you have every right to have & enforce healthy boundaries, as well as learn ways to develop those boundaries.  I highly recommend reading “Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No To Take Control Of Your Life” by Dr.s Henry Cloud & John Townsend.  The book changed my life!  I even created a free online class based on the book.  It’s available at my website at this link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Boundaries-Book-Study.php

Lastly, most adults abused as children also end up in unhealthy relationships.  They replay the abuse they experienced as children in friendships & romantic relationships because it’s familiar.  While this is normal, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  You need to recognize unhealthy people & avoid them as much as you can.  You can do this by learning about people like your abusive parent.  For example, if your parent is a narcissist, learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder so you can recognize the signs easily.

Surviving consequences of abuse is never easy, but it can be managed.  You can & learn to enjoy your life & thrive in spite of your traumatic experiences.

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Narcissistic Grandparents

My maternal grandmother was a narcissist.  She neglected & abused my mother until she died.  However, my grandmother didn’t limit her abuse to only my mother.  She continued it with the next generation.

This scenario is very typical.  I’m sure it happens with male narcissists too, but it seems to be more common with female ones, so we will discuss female narcissists in this post.

Rather than narcissistic mothers becoming loving grandmothers, they simply become narcissistic grandmothers.  Sadly, many children of narcissistic mothers think the abuse they endured won’t happen to their children, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

Many people say that narcissists never change, but I disagree.  The  methods they use to abuse change & they often get even more vicious with their manipulation & criticisms.  If they have grandchildren, they are simply new targets for their abuse rather than happy additions to the family.

Narcissistic grandmothers have zero trouble criticizing their children to their grandchildren.   This not only can affect how your child sees you, but it also can affect your relationship with your child negatively & hurt your child.  When I was quite young, my grandmother would tell me how lazy my mother was as a child & what a terrible person she was.  It really hurt to hear her say those things, but she wouldn’t stop.

Not only will narcissistic grandmothers criticize their children to their grandchildren, but they also will criticize their children in front of their grandchildren. This hurts both the parent & child, & teaches the child that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat Mom &/or Dad like dirt.  After all, Grannie Dearest does it, so it must be ok.

Since narcissists believe they always know best & boundaries aren’t for them, a narcissistic mother will run roughshod over her child’s rules with her grandchildren.  If you don’t want your child to have a cookie nearer than an hour before dinner, you can guarantee that Grannie Dearest will give your child 18 cookies 10 minutes before dinner if she has the chance!  As if this isn’t frustrating enough in & of itself to have your own mother break your rules, this also teaches your child that it’s ok to disobey Mom & her rules mean nothing.

Much of the dysfunction you grew up with at the hand of your narcissistic mother will continue with your children.  If you had siblings, & all of you have children, your children will be treated much like you & your siblings were growing up.  There will be a golden child & a scapegoat, & whichever you were, you can count on your child being in that role.  In my mother’s family, her sister was the golden child & she was the scapegoat.  While my grandmother was abusive to all of her grandchildren to some degree, I believe she saved the worst of her abuse for me.

If you have children & a narcissistic grandmother, it is your job as their parent to protect the children.  Obviously, you don’t want her hurting your children like she’s hurt you!  I believe the best place to start protecting them is to pray.  Ask God for wisdom on how to handle the situation & how to best protect your children.

Also limit your children’s contact with your narcissistic mother as well as yours.  The less contact anyone has with a narcissist, the better.  Limited contact may evolve into no contact at some point.  The less time spent around a narcissist, the clearer your thinking becomes concerning that person.  You may realize no contact is best for you & your children when you hadn’t considered it an option before.

Make sure your children know that they can talk to you about anything & you won’t get mad.  Help them to feel safe knowing that if Grannie Dearest says or does something that upsets them, they can tell you about it, you won’t be upset with them, & you will handle the situation.

Do not leave your children alone with their narcissistic grandmother.  Make sure that you or your spouse or both of you are with them at all times in her presence.  Not only will this help your children feel safer, chances are good that your narcissistic mother will behave better.  Narcissists don’t like witnesses to their abuse, after all.

If you’re in this situation, I believe these tips can help you & your children.  I wish you the absolute best!  xoxo

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Why Do Narcissists Have Children?

Have you ever wondered why people so incredibly self centered as narcissists have children?  I have.  God showed me a couple of reasons why my parents had me, but I’ve also wondered about narcissists in general, not only my parents, have kids.  I think I have figured out some of their “logic”, if you can call it that.

 

The narcissist who was abused or neglected as a child often has a root of shame, I believe, which is why they work so hard to convince people they are so wonderful, amazing, etc.  They’re also trying to convince themselves that they are so wonderful, amazing, etc.  By becoming a parent, this proves to themselves & everyone else that someone found them desirable.  Someone  took this big step with them, so they must be pretty fantastic, right?!

 

If the narcissist grew up feeling or being told she was abnormal somehow,  having a child can be a way to prove to the world that she is normal.  Having children is a perfectly normal step for many people, so if she can have a child, it proves to her & other people that she must be normal.

 

Children are also made to make their narcissistic parent look good, & we know all narcissists are obsessed with appearances.  If the narcissistic parent can mold their child into whatever she wants the child to be, that parent can then take credit for the child’s talents, successes, good looks or anything.  And, if this child is perfect, he or she will prove to the narcissistic parent that her abusive parents were wrong about her, that she really isn’t bad or unlovable as her parents told her she was.

 

This “perfect” child also can gain the narcissistic parent attention for being such a wonderful parent as to raise this perfect little human being.  People notice exceptional children, so as long as this child is perfect, the narcissistic parent will lap up all of the praise & admiration she receives for her amazing parenting skills.  What the narcissistic parent fails to realize is that no child is perfect, & expecting the child to be is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the child.  Trying to meet impossibly high standards creates a great amount of anxiety in anyone, but especially a child who just wants his or her parent’s love.

 

Often, if two narcissists have children together, one will take the main role in raising the child.  That parent gets to enjoy being in control in this capacity as well as looking self-sacrificing & martyr like by doing everything all by herself with virtually no help from the other parent.

 

Because children need their parents, this also feeds the narcissistic parent’s narcissism.  They rely on their child’s dependency because it makes them feel valuable & good to be needed.  They don’t take into consideration that at some point, that child is going to grow up & move on.  It’s as if that thought isn’t even a possibility to the narcissistic parent, so when that happens, they feel betrayed by their child.  How dare that child do something normal by growing up!  Doesn’t the child know that their role is to stay a child as long as the parent wants?!

 

Some parents also have children because they foolishly believe that will repair their relationship or force the partner to stay with them so they can raise the child together.  They mistakenly believe that if they have a child together, their partner will start treating them right or love them more, when nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Along those lines, the narcissist who was abused as a child may think that having a baby will fix her relationship with her abusive parents.  She may think no grandparent couldn’t love their grandchild, so if she gives her parents a grandchild, she finally may have her parents’ love.

 

There are countless reasons people want to start a family, but when it comes to narcissists, you can be sure all of their reasons will be unhealthy.  They will be entirely self-serving to the narcissist, & the child will suffer because of it.

 

 

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Things Adult Children Of Narcissists Do Because Of Their Parents

Being raised by a narcissistic parent or two causes a person to act differently than people raised by healthy, functional parents.  Aside from the most obvious common problem, C-PTSD, being raised by narcissists creates certain unique behaviors that almost every victim exhibits.  This post addresses those behaviors.

 

Being afraid to say no.  Narcissists don’t allow their children to have boundaries.  “No” can be met with abuse- name calling, scathing criticisms, guilt trips & even physical violence.  Children use “yes” as a survival skill as a result.  They learn early in life that it’s easier to do whatever their narcissistic parent wants than to say “no” & face the consequences.  This behavior becomes such a habit that it is often carried into adulthood.   While it served a good purpose as a child, it no longer does as an adult.  Being a healthy adult means having healthy boundaries.  You need to start asking yourself why are you saying yes?  Are you saying yes because you want to or because you’re afraid of disappointing someone if you say no?  Start saying no when you’re saying yes when you don’t want to.  Some people won’t like it, but one thing to keep in mind- healthy, good, caring people respect boundaries.  Users & abusers don’t.  If someone gets upset with you for having a healthy boundary, that isn’t the kind of person you need in your life.

 

Apologizing too much.  Narcissistic parents blame their children for every single thing, so their children learn to apologize for everything, whether or not it’s their fault.  This dysfunctional survival skill also carries into adulthood, & needs to stop.  When you feel the urge to apologize, pray.  Ask God is this truly your fault?  Should you apologize or are you only doing so out of habit?

 

Being unable to express emotions in a healthy way.  Narcissists can’t handle the emotions of other people, including their children.  They force their children to stifle their emotions, often by shaming them for having them.  This tells children their emotions are bad.  To cope, may continue to repress their emotions while others express them in inappropriate ways such as getting angrier than is appropriate for the situation.  It can be hard, I know, but you need to learn to get in touch with your emotions & give them a healthy outlet.  Ask God to help you to do this, because it will get scary, especially showing anger after a lifetime of stifling it.  Journaling can be helpful, too- seeing things in writing brings clarity.

 

Not trusting your intuition & perception.  Constant gaslighting is possibly the most cruel form of abuse there is, & also a favorite of narcissists.  Gaslighting makes a person second guess everything about themselves- their instincts, perception, feelings, thoughts- because it makes a victim feel that they are wrong about everything or even crazy.  The fact is though that you aren’t wrong or crazy- you are FINE!  The gaslighting made you doubt these things but it doesn’t mean that they are actually wrong or flawed somehow.  Your instincts, perceptions, feelings & thoughts are just fine.  They are trustworthy!  Ask God to help you to learn to trust yourself.  Pay attention, too.  You’ll see that the more you you’re right about little things, the more you learn to trust yourself.

 

Over explaining yourself.  Narcissistic parents demand their children behave in certain ways that are acceptable to them, no matter how their child feels about it.  When the child fails to meet the impossibly high expectations, the parent demands an explanation for the failure.  One more dysfunctional survival skill children of narcissists learn is to explain anything & everything, & again, this often continues into adulthood.  It feels strange at first to stop over explaining yourself, but if you stick with it, it gets more comfortable as time goes on.  Always remember, not everyone needs an explanation for what you do.

 

These behaviors, although dysfunctional, don’t have to be permanent.  With prayer & work, you can make healthy changes.

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Being Judged For Not Having Children

I admit it.. I have another big pet peeve: people who label those of us without children as selfish.  After seeing a post on Facebook a little while ago that labeled someone else without children as selfish, I thought I would write a blog post about it.

 

Many people quickly judge people without children.  I’ve been called selfish, immature, told “the reason you don’t want kids is because of your mother” & also told I’d regret not having children one day.  None of that is even close to the truth, as is so often the case with those without children.

 

Some things to consider before judging are…

 

  • Maybe a person doesn’t have children because either she or her mate are infertile.  Infertility is an extremely painful thing for couples to experience.  It’s especially cruel to judge & criticize these people for not having children!  You’re plunging a knife into their hearts when you do that!
  • Some people don’t have children because they grew up in a dysfunctional environment & realize they don’t know how to be good parents.  If you grew up in an abusive or at least dysfunctional home, it’s hard to know how to be a good parent!  How is it selfish for someone who doesn’t know what it takes to be a good parent not to have children?
  • Some people always have felt more comfortable in the company of adults.  That is also me.  I preferred the company of adults, even as a child.  There are  a surprising number of people like me.
  • Not everyone can relate to children.  Some people who may not have spent a lot of time around children when they were growing up or were the youngest in their families may not be able to relate well to children due to not a great deal of experience around them.
  • Not wanting children doesn’t mean a person hates them.  A common belief for those of us without children is that we hate kids.  Sadly, some folks do feel that way.  That isn’t always the case though.  Personally, I don’t hate kids.  I just can’t understand them well.  Big difference between that & hating kids.
  • And, people who don’t want kids aren’t selfish!  We have given this serious consideration before coming to the decision not to have kids.  Another common misconception of childless folks is we’re just selfish jerks.  Nope.  We have given the topic of children a LOT of thought!  I even tried talking myself into wanting kids several times in my life, but it never felt right even as I said I wanted kids or dated men who wanted them.

 

If you speak with someone who doesn’t have children, please consider the things I’ve said & don’t judge or criticize them.  Everyone has different callings on their life.  Not every person feels called to be a parent.

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A Little About Nightmares

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you know about nightmares.  You have them so often, they aren’t a surprise.  They’re just a way of life.  Yet, little is mentioned about the nightmares.

 

I’d always had frequent nightmares, but it got much worse in 2012 which is when I realized I had C-PTSD.  I began having several almost every night, which of course led to a lot of fatigue.  The nightmares also became even more vivid than usual, which is saying something since I’ve always had very vivid dreams.  They became so vivid in fact, that often I would wake up feeling as if I’d just done whatever I did in the dream.  If I dreamed I ran a marathon, for example, I woke up physically tired & achy.

 

After learning about C-PTSD, I assumed the nightmares would be about reliving traumatic events, which does happen, but only rarely.  Most of my nightmares are about strange things- being an adult yet having to repeat high school & relying on my mother to take me rather than driving my own car; while repeating high school as an adult, being unable to find or remember the combination to my locker; my car being stolen &/or totaled; my husband mocking me when I was obviously upset or rejecting me somehow; or someone letting my cats outside & they ran away.  Strange stuff!  I finally asked God about it after waking up for yet one more bizarre nightmare.  What He shared made a lot of sense & I think it will if you too suffer with odd nightmares like I do.

 

The brain constantly processes information, whether the information is good, bad or indifferent.  Our dreams are often a result of that processing, because the brain doesn’t take breaks.  Sometimes we don’t remember dreams because they weren’t important- the brain simply processed something unimportant.  Other times, it tries to make sense of horrible things that have happened, which is where nightmares come into it.  Sometimes the brain relives those awful, traumatic events in an attempt to understand it, but not always.  Sometimes nightmares look as if they have nothing to do with traumatic events on the surface, yet they actually have a lot to do with them.

 

While the circumstances of the dreams may be different, the emotions they stir up feel exactly like some trauma you have experienced.  My nightmare of my car being stolen & totaled?  It caused a huge amount of anxiety & fear, & I felt completely helpless.  Eventually I realized it triggered the exact same emotions of my seventeenth birthday.  That day, my mother took my gifts from my then boyfriend/now ex husband & destroyed them on the way home from school.  She blamed me for making her do that & making her car messy.  The event caused me so much anxiety (knowing I’d have to tell my ex what happened to his gifts), fear (wondering what she was going to do next) & I felt helpless (she destroyed the gifts as I was picking up her Avon order & gone for maybe 3 minutes- I couldn’t have known what she was going to do or stop her from doing it)

 

When these nightmares happen, the good news is that they have a purpose.  They show you that there is an area in which you need more healing.  It can be hard to figure out, so I highly recommend asking God about it.  He loves you & wants to help you, so let Him!  Ask Him what did that dream mean?  If you like, you also can look up symbols on a dream dictionary website- I’ve done this.  I write down everything I can from my dream- items, colors, feelings- then look up what each means & write it down beside each item.  Sometimes things make more sense to me when I see them in writing so that can be a helpful tool.

 

Once you realize what the dream was trying to make sense of, you can heal.  Work on coping with the traumatic event however works for you- pray, talk to a therapist, talk to a close friend, write in your diary.  What you do doesn’t matter, so long as it works for you.

 

I know nightmares are a very difficult part of C-PTSD & PTSD, but they are also unavoidable.  Why not make them work in your favor by learning what they’re trying to help you cope with?  Once you do, the nightmares often go away or at the very least don’t happen nearly as often.  I haven’t had a dream about my car being stolen or totaled in a couple of years.  🙂

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Narcissistic Parents Don’t Want Their Children To Grow Up

When the child of a narcissistic parent is very young, the narcissistic parent is often at her happiest in her role as a parent.  Young children are easier to control & manipulate.  They also don’t want independence.

 

Unfortunately for the narcissistic parent, children don’t stay little forever.

 

As children grow up, many narcissists feel threatened or even betrayed.  The reason being, I believe, is that the harder the child is to control, the worse this is for the narcissistic parent. They want that young child to make them look good by behaving properly, being interested in what the parent wants them interested in, etc.  The younger a child, the easier the child is to control.  This is why the teen years can be extremely hard for narcissistic parents & their children.  Teens are growing up & naturally want more independence.  This is unacceptable to the narcissist, so they use whatever means they can to keep their teenager a young child.  Some weapons they use are:

 

  • Disapproval.  This can be either in the forms of disapproving looks or questioning your choices.
  • Criticism.  Insulting your choices or tastes, usually done under the guise of helping.  The narcissistic parent is trying to make you believe she knows what’s best for you, you don’t.
  • Interfering.  Telling you what you should do, who you should date or not allowing you to date, even sabotaging relationships with people the narcissistic parent doesn’t approve of.

 

Unfortunately, these behaviors don’t end when the child turns into an adult.  Often, they continue well into adulthood.  They certainly did with my parents.  My parents had very strong opinions on what I should do & who I should do it with.

 

There are no ways to get a narcissist to stop trying to infantilize their child, no matter the child’s age.  But, there are some ways you can handle this maddening behavior.

 

You’ll need to limit the amount of information you reveal to your narcissistic parent.  Any information they have can be turned into ammunition used to hurt you.

 

Use good boundary setting phrases, such as, “Thanks, but the situation is under control.”  “I’ve made my decision, & there is nothing more to discuss.”  “I didn’t ask for your opinion on this matter.”

 

Changing the subject may work too.  Often with narcissists, you can’t simply change the subject & expect them to respect that the first time.  It may take doing this a few times or doing it over & over in a short span of time, but it usually works- they get tired of fighting to talk about the topic.  The often short attention span of many narcissists can work in your favor.

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Children & Crushes

When I was in elementary school, there was a boy who made my life miserable.  He stepped on my heels as we walked in line.  He slammed my fingers repeatedly between desks.  He basically was a jerk to me.

 

Naturally, I told my mother.  At first she said ignore him, which is basically what I knew in my heart to do anyway- I never reacted in front of him but instead acted like his antics meant nothing to me, even when they hurt me (I learned this survival skill early on by having a narcissistic mother).  After years of this, she eventually called & talked to his mother.  (Before you get excited, I’m reasonably sure it was simply because she wanted me to stop complaining or because she knew if she didn’t do something she might look bad, not out of concern for my well being.)  One of my fourth grade teachers, who was a lovely lady, but I think rather clueless on how to handle the situation, saw what was happening.  She took me aside & told me to wink at him sometimes.  Smile at him.  Both this lady & my mother said he was acting this way because he liked me.  He had a crush on me & didn’t know how else to show it.

 

Then a couple of years ago, my mother mentioned this boy.  She ran into him somewhere locally- a grocery store or restaurant or something.  She told me he’s now married with a couple of kids.  She thought I’d like an update on his life.

 

This all came to mind recently, & looking at this situation, I am baffled.

 

OK.  Let’s just say when we were kids he did have a crush on me.  Why was it OK for him to show me by causing me physical pain?  Did anyone once tell him that is NOT an appropriate way to show a girl you care?

 

Also, why did my teacher say to smile & wink at him?  Did she not realize my attention could only encourage his actions?

 

Did anyone realize that this was teaching me I deserve to be abused?!  It taught me love equals pain?  It also taught me I was responsible for other people’s actions.  After all, if I’d just ignore him or wink & smile, he’d stop what he was doing.  Riiiight..

 

And, why in God’s green earth did my mother think I’d want to know what he’s up to these days?!  Admittedly, I’m not even angry with him at all anymore.  However, that doesn’t mean I want to know the latest happenings in his life.

 

My point of all of this (aside from to rant..lol) is to talk to those of you who have or know little girls.  If a little boy is hurting her, she needs to be well aware that this kind of behavior it NOT acceptable!  It’s also NOT loving!  It’s abuse!  If this is how he demonstrates having a crush on your daughter, niece, etc. please tell her these things!  Tell her how to deal with him- by telling on him & protecting herself however necessary.  This kind of abusive, bullying behavior is not acceptable!  Maybe by him getting into trouble, he’ll learn his behavior is bad & he needs to change it.  Hopefully he’ll also learn to stop hurting little girls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health