Tag Archives: compassionate

Don’t Judge Other People’s Pain

I really think my mind is much like a Lazy Susan. It just kinda spins & I’m not always sure where it’ll stop.. lol For some reason, a few minutes ago it stopped on 2 people I was close to who both died from cancer.

The first lady died in 2009. She faced cancer I believe it was five times before she passed away. You’d think after having gone through so much pain & misery, she would’ve been bitter, but she wasn’t. She was always kind, loving, caring. Even when she felt horrible, she never failed to ask me how I was doing or what was happening in my life. She genuinely cared about my life. Even if something small but disappointing happened like I got a paper cut, she would offer sympathy.

The second lady died five years later. She also experienced cancer multiple times before it took her life. However, she was much different than the first lady. She lacked compassion. In fact, she came across like if you didn’t have cancer, she thought your problems weren’t important. Even if you had a different life threatening disease, it wasn’t cancer, so it was no big deal to her.

Thinking about this, I realized something. It isn’t just physical problems that can make people act this way. It’s all kinds of problems. I’ve seen similar attitudes in adult children of narcissists. Some who had siblings look down on those of us who were only children. They think we had it easy because we didn’t have siblings. Some who never developed C-PTSD or PTSD act like those of us who do have one of those disorders are weak. After all, *they* didn’t develop it & they had narcissistic parents too. Sometimes this attitude is even evident in those who write about narcissistic abuse. They are the ones who expect their readers to be in the same place in healing they are, or they tell their readers to “just go no contact.. I did it & it worked for me!” without knowing anything about their situation.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today not to act that way! Examine your behavior & if you are acting like other people’s problems aren’t as bad as yours, change your behavior. Ask God to help you to see if you’re acting inappropriately in this area.

Also remember, just because something might not traumatize you doesn’t mean it’s not traumatic to someone else. People are very different & this means we respond & react differently. Two people can grow up with the same parents, experience many of the same things, & they will tell stories of their experiences much differently. One may be upset or even traumatized while the other talks about his or her happy childhood.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others’ joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others’ grief].” (AMP) If you notice, it doesn’t say we should judge their situations or how they feel about their experiences. it just says we should share in their joy or sadness.

Even if you don’t understand why someone feels the way they do, you still can be kind to that person. You can offer to listen to them if they want to talk, to take them to lunch or some other outing to cheer them up or to pray with or for them. Small gestures like these can help a hurting person a great deal, definitely much more than trivializing or even invalidating their pain.

Please think before you speak when someone is trying to tell you why they are hurting. It will do you both good. The person who is hurting won’t be further hurt by what you say & you may become less judgmental & more compassionate.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Is Feeling Compassion For Narcissists Good Or Bad?

I’ve read quite a few times lately that victims of narcissistic abuse should never have compassion on narcissists.  Narcissists don’t deserve compassion.  Feeling sorry for them only opens the door for you to fall for their gaslighting & abuse.

 

Honestly, I don’t totally agree.

 

While it’s true having compassion on someone can lead you to tolerate things you normally don’t allow, that isn’t the case 100% of the time.  For so many of us who have been abused by narcissists, we have learned what narcissism entails.  We can predict the gaslighting & crazy making they will do, so we know how to deal with it when it happens.  We also realize how healthy boundaries look, & have no trouble enforcing those boundaries.  We are  often also able to feel pity for the narcissist who abused us- after all, whatever made them the way they are must have been pretty terrible.  Their behavior is so dysfunctional.  It’s very sad.  We can balance compassion for them with maintaining healthy behavior on our part.

 

God has enabled me to pray for my parents daily, even on those days I am so hurt & angry, I don’t care where they spend eternity.  Sometimes, my prayers are very insincere, but I pray anyway because God understands how I feel & honors the fact I’m trying.

 

So why bother praying for them, especially during bad times?   Why care at all for people who have hurt me so deeply, & who won’t even acknowledge I live with C-PTSD?  They don’t deserve it!  They’ve done too much while refusing to acknowledge anything they’ve done!

 

One reason is because God wants us to pray for other people, even those who have abused us.  I also believe is because having compassion helps me to remember that I am NOT like them.  Some examples of ways they are different than me are:

 

Narcissists don’t care about anything about anyone.  People are nothing more than items to be used to benefit the narcissist.  They are not entitled to normal human feelings, needs, wants, likes or dislikes.

 

Normal people though care about other people.  Even people who have hurt us- we don’t wish awful things on those people.  We may not actively wish the best on those people constantly, but we also don’t wish the worst on them.

 

Feeling compassion, even periodically, for the person who abused you, who made you experience indescribable pain,  I think, can be a good thing.  It’s a reminder that you are NOT like them!  You instead have escaped what is meant to destroy you with your humanity in tact.  That is really a big accomplishment!  Definitely something to be proud of!  Escaping narcissistic abuse without being bitter isn’t an easy task.

 

I truly believe that this is an individual thing though.  Just because I’m good with feeling compassion for the narcissists in my life doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too.  And you know what?  That’s OK!  God has very individualized plans for each person, even those in similar situations.  I’ve met some people with narcissistic mothers who feel no compassion for them, only disgust their mothers chose this dysfunctional, abusive way of life.  It doesn’t mean they’re carrying around bitterness or anger, only disgust for the poor choices their mothers have made.  This works for them just fine.  It enables them to keep firm & healthy boundaries in place or to stay no contact.  It doesn’t hinder their healing process, either.   So if you feel that having compassion for your narcissistic mother is wrong for you, don’t feel bad!  That may just be the path for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

“You Don’t Look Sick”

I’ve been reading a lot lately about people who have a disease or mental illness, who have the handicapped plates on their car receiving nasty notes on their car that say awful things like “You don’t look sick.  Shame on you for using that parking place when someone who is really sick needs it!”  Or, others who have problems that don’t show outward signs are faced with family members & friends who don’t believe they’re actually sick.  These people are accused of things like looking for attention, faking it so they don’t have to work or even faking their illness so they can get certain drugs.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this myself.  Having C-PTSD, some people think is a walk in the park.  If only!  Try to handle a flashback when you have to focus every ounce of strength on staying in reality versus getting lost in the flashback & I dare you to tell me it’s no big deal.  Earlier this year, I’ve also been through getting a concussion when I passed out from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Each day is now a gamble on how functional I can be, because both have done damage.  But, since I look fine, & usually can hold a conversation fairly well, people assume I’m fine,  or some will flat out insult me when my symptoms show up.

It can be so hard not to internalize people’s cruel, thoughtless words!  All too often, I berate myself for being lazy when I don’t feel up to simple tasks or call myself stupid when I can’t remember things or can’t find the right words to express myself.  Internalizing such things demoralizes you & makes you doubt the legitimacy of your symptoms.  It can make you feel as if you’re crazy.

When I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall so hard, I had back pain for the next 10 years.  No one believed me, except for one chiropractor & my ex husband then later my current husband.  Everyone else said I was faking it, lazy, etc.  It sank in.  I doubted myself many times.  Even in the midst of awful pain, I thought I was making it up so I didn’t have to work (the most common thing I heard).  On good days when the pain wasn’t so bad, I was convinced I had to be lying & my back wasn’t so bad.  It was a terrible feeling!

The fact is, with most injuries, diseases & disorders, you have good & bad days.  Just because last Tuesday was a good day doesn’t mean you were lying about the other bad days!  You simply had a good day!

Most people seem to lack empathy for those suffering from debilitating health problems.  If you are one of them, STOP IT!  How do you think you would feel if you had a serious problem & someone  told you to get over it, stop faking it or even you don’t look sick?  You wouldn’t tolerate it happily, so why should someone else?

If you are someone who has been on the receiving end of such ignorant, heartless statements, please remember that the person saying such nonsense has no idea what you live with each day.  Ignore what they say.  You know what you live with on a daily basis.  You know your painful symptoms all too well.  Ignore their words & believe what you see & feel, what you live with daily.  Those things will show you that you are sick & that you aren’t lazy, faking, etc.  While you take care of yourself, don’t forget to ask God to heal you.  And, pray for the heartless person as well.  Ask God to help them to have an empathetic, compassionate heart so they don’t continue to hurt you or other people.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Adult Child Of A Narcissistic Mother, Be Compassionate With Yourself!

Tomorrow, Christmas eve, would’ve been my 24th wedding anniversary, if I had stayed married to my ex husband.

The day always brings some conflicting feelings.  Mostly, I am grateful I was able to get away from him, as he was a narcissist who treated me much like my narcissistic mother used to treat me.  I can’t imagine how bad things would’ve been for me if I had stayed with him.  Chances are good that I would have killed myself if we had stayed together.  I was that depressed with him.

It also makes me sad though, when I think of how damaged I was back then.  I knew marrying him was a mistake, which is why I had broken up with him a few months prior.  Yet I still allowed him to talk me into marrying him anyway.  I married him instead of continuing to date someone who I really enjoyed being with, because I believed my ex when he made me feel guilty for leaving him, & like I owed it to him to marry him for hurting him so badly.

It’s amazing the things that a child of a narcissist will do, isn’t it?

I’m sharing this embarrassing bit of information about myself with you today for a reason.  I’m sure you too have things in your past that you regret.  Bad choices made out of dysfunction, pain or even desperation to be loved.  I want you to know that you’re not alone!  You have nothing to be ashamed of! Mistakes like mine are a normal part of being raised by a narcissistic mother.  You grow up so dysfunctional because all of your growing up years, you were told you were a horrible, stupid, ugly, selfish, etc. etc. person.  You were blamed for things that weren’t your fault, & made to be responsible for things no child should be responsible for, such as her mother’s emotions.  Things like this cause a tremendous amount of damage that permeates your innermost being well into adulthood.  It is completely normal!

Please don’t do like I did for many years.  I beat myself up for being so stupid & marrying someone I didn’t love, for falling for all of his manipulations, for being so starved for love that I believed him when he said he loved me, for ignoring my instincts that told me to stay far from him & for passing up a good man for a narcissistic one.  I asked myself so many times how I could be so stupid, basically continuing the beating up of my self-esteem that both my mother & ex-husband started.  It was wrong & cruel, & I showed myself no understanding or compassion.  Don’t make that same mistake!  You deserve so much better than that!

While yes, you have made mistakes & done dumb things, everyone has!  No one is immune from making mistakes in their life, especially someone raised by a narcissistic mother.  Show yourself some compassion & realize that you have been through some damaging things- it’s only natural you have made mistakes.

Also remember, God loves you & forgives you.  If He forgives you, how can you not forgive yourself?

Be gentle & understanding with yourself, Dear Reader.  You deserve it.  xoxo

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

November 14, 2013

Bishop T.D. Jakes was preaching on television this morning, & I learned a term that was interesting to me- Compassion Exhaustion.  He used the example of a married couple who has experienced a devastating event, then once it was over, divorced.  He was discussing how we can  swim through 500′ of water, then be afraid we’ll drown in the 2′ of water near shore because we are tired from swimming through that 500′ of water.  This example made sense to me.  I have felt that way for the last few years.  I have experienced traumatic event after traumatic event in my life, yet nowadays when something not so traumatic happens, I feel overwhelmed.  

When you have spent much of your life caring for others in some way, you easily can reach that point.  Caring for the needs of others, either physical or emotional, is a lot of work!  Doing it for an extended period of time will exhaust you.  Maybe not always physically, but always emotionally.  

Growing up with the parents I have, I learned early on that I was to take care of their emotions.  When my parents argued, I was often brought into it.  I remember when I was quite young, maybe 5 or so, my parents arguing in the living room where I was.  My mother grabbed me, & took me into my room, slamming the door behind us.  She sat on my bed holding me & crying.  I knew I was supposed to make her feel better.  Not that she said those words, but that was what I somehow knew she wanted.  This type of thing happened over & over during my life- my mother would become upset & cry on my shoulder.  My father, too.  To this day, they still come to me with problems, even about their marriage.   (this is called Emotional Incest, by the way- it’s a form of emotional abuse)

As a result. at my current age of 42, I have about no patience  with either of my parents.  I am no longer a good listener where they are concerned- instead, I get angry or I change the subject.  When they ignore my protests, & continue to talk, I end up exhausted, anxious, very depressed, & often unable to sleep much that night.  Unfortunately, this also leaves me easily frustrated with my husband or friends who want to talk to me about their problems.  While I may not get angry with them or change the subject, I still end up exhausted, anxious, etc.

Does this sound like you too?  I think it describes many children of abusive parents, in particular of narcissistic parents.

I have a few ways I can think of to combat this problem of Compassion Exhaustion.  If you have this problem as well, maybe you can add to the list.  If so, feel free to share your ideas in the comments section!  I for one would love to hear your thoughts.   🙂

Here are some ways I battle Compassion Exhaustion:

  • Pray.  Talking to God is very, VERY helpful!
  • Take breaks as needed.  From people or activities.  
  • Participate in hobbies.  I like to knit & crochet- they soothe me.  Reading transports me into the story, where I can forget my troubles for a while.  
  • Spend time in nature.  Nature is very restorative.  It feels so good to me to spend time outside on a brisk autumn day, looking at the beautifully colored leaves, feeling the cool breeze blow through my hair..
  • Watch fun movies.
  • Listen to music.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health