Tag Archives: cope

“Why Didn’t You Tell Someone?”

When victims of abuse first tell their story, people often ask why they didn’t tell someone when it was happening.  They figure it couldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t even tell anyone.

 

This thinking is incredibly faulty!  Nothing could be further from the truth!

 

Abusers of all types have some things in common.  One of those things is they love secrecy.  They don’t want people to know what they are doing to their victim, so they threaten & scare their victims into silence.

 

Some abusers tell their victims things like, “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill your child/parents/sibling.”  Others beat their victims upon finding out the victim told someone what the abuser has done.  Narcissistic abusers usually aren’t so obvious with their intimidation, but they value secrecy nonetheless.  When I was growing up, my mother used to scream at me when she thought I was “airing our dirty laundry” as she called talking about her abuse.  She would shame me for needing to talk about things, like there was something incredibly wrong with me- everything she did was completely normal, I had no right to think otherwise or talk about her behind her back.  I stopped talking.  It wasn’t worth the screaming & berating.

 

Then sometimes if we tell, people either don’t believe us anyway or they think we’re exaggerating.  When I was a teen & told some people about my mother, no one believed me.  One school guidance counselor said “it didn’t sound so bad.”  When my mother threw me into a wall, I went to my friend’s parents’ home to see if I could stay with them.  Her father laughed at me.  26+ years later & I still don’t get the joke.

 

Reasons like this are why victims don’t tell someone when the abuse is happening.  We’re terrified the abuser will follow through on their threats or hurt us in some way, or afraid no one will believe us.  As painful as staying quiet about what’s happening is, it’s easier than facing the wrath of the abuser or apathy of someone we turn to for help.

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Handling People Who Don’t Believe You

So many people I talk to that have survived narcissistic abuse tell the same story about how people in their lives responded to them discussing the abuse.  They were met with invalidation (“It couldn’t have been that bad!”  “Other people had it way worse than you did.”), scolding (“How can you say those things about your own mother?!”), disbelief or being accused of being unforgiving or needing to “get over it”.

 

Especially in the early days of awareness of narcissism & learning what you went through really is abuse- you aren’t crazy or to blame like you were told- this sort of behavior is devastating.  The more you heal, the better you can handle it, but I don’t think it ever stops hurting at least some to be met with such indifference to your pain.  It can leave you bitter & angry if you allow it to.

 

In all fairness, you certainly have a right to be angry at people who say such things!  It’s heartless & hurtful!  So get angry!  Get it out of you so you can forgive.  You don’t deserve to live with that anger inside of you, stealing your joy!  Whether the other person deserves your forgiveness or asks for it is irrelevant.  You deserve better than carrying around anger inside of you!

 

That being said, there are other ways to cope.

 

Journalling is a wonderful thing. It is a completely safe way to get your feelings out, especially if you use a password protected journalling website.  This will help you to let go of all the negative feelings.

 

Focus on the positive.  Just because one person mistreated you doesn’t mean everyone will.  Appreciate your good friends & let them know you appreciate them!  What other good things are in your life?  Maybe start a gratitude journal- daily, write down at least 2 things you’re grateful for.

 

Accept the fact that not everyone will understand what you’ve been through.  In all honesty, narcissistic abuse can be hard to wrap your mind around, especially if you’ve never been exposed to it.  (Even if you’ve been through it, it’s hard to grasp!)  And sadly, some people have no desire to even try.  With people like this, it’s just smart not to discuss the topic of narcissism.  They won’t be convinced of anything you say because they lack the desire to understand.  When that wall is up, it stays up, & nothing you say can make a difference.  Stick to more neutral topics with this person, & if you need to discuss something you’ve been through, then seek out someone who understands.

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An Idea For Coping With Narcissistic Abuse

On Mother’s Day, I came across a very good article called “A Mother’s Day Card For The Disposable Child.”   One sentence in particular hit home with me.. “She walked away from me and shamed me for asking for a healthier way of relating. If I wanted to go back to the old way, I suspect she’d accept me as her daughter again.”  Reading this sentence, I thought about my parents & that is exactly our situation.

 

As usual when reminded of something so dysfunctional about my parents, it really made me sad.  I knew I needed to deal with this rather than bury it, but I just wanted to finish the article first.  As I scrolled down I read the letter the author wrote to her mother, but never sent.  Upon reading this, what I needed to do clicked in my mind.  I needed to write a letter to each of my parents, but never send them.

 

Have you ever done this, Dear Reader?  Have you ever written out what you would love to say to your parents if it was completely safe to do so?  If not, I urge you to do this.

 

Writing things out can be a very therapeutic experience.  There is something validating about seeing things in writing rather than simply remembering them.  It makes experiences seem more real.

 

Also, by writing things out, you are in charge of who sees what you write.  You can hide it so no one but you & God know about it (I like an online, password protected diary), or you can add to it & turn it into a book.  You are totally in control.  When speaking things out, there can be interruptions, or others can hear what you don’t want them to hear.

 

By writing things out, you’re safe.  If you confront your narcissistic parents, you are far from safe.  Narcissists don’t do confrontation.  They refuse to accept responsibility for things they’ve done since that might make them look or feel bad.  They will do or say anything to avoid accepting responsibility.  Denial, projection, gaslighting are all distinct possible scenarios.  Why subject yourself to them if it’s not necessary?  Yet, you still may need to purge the awful emotions you’re experiencing.  That is where writing letters you don’t send come into play.

 

Writing letters like this helps you to get out your feelings in a completely safe manner.  You can say anything you like, in any way you like, without fear of judgment or narcissistic mind games.  When I write these letters, I don’t worry about bad language or using “I” statements or anything- I let it all out, no matter how ugly it is.

 

Once the letter is done, I’ve noticed I feel very tired & a bit raw emotionally.  It doesn’t last long, thankfully.  This seems to be a typical phenomenon after doing heavy emotional work on healing.  When it happens to you, just remember to be especially gentle with yourself.  Do whatever self-care things make you feel loved & nurtured.

 

 

 

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When They Accuse You Of Being Abusive

One tool narcissists love to use is calling their victim abusive.  Whether overt or covert, this tactic is a favorite of the more extreme narcissists.

 

My overtly narcissistic mother & I were having an argument once when I was 17.  As usual for that time, she had been screaming at me, literally in my face.  Finally she backed off.  She then balled up her fist & pulled back like she was going to hit me.  I immediately closed my eyes & threw the first punch.  Even as dysfunctional as I was then, I was NOT going to let anyone hit me.  When I felt that I’d hit her, I opened my eyes.  She was shocked I hit her, obviously since I’d never really stood up to her before.  Immediately she said, “You hit me in the breast!  Now I’m going to get breast cancer & die & it’ll be all your fault!!”  When my father entered the room a moment later, he asked what was happening.  My mother started to cry (she can turn her tears on & off like a faucet) & said I hit her, failing to mention what she did leading up to that.

 

My late mother in-law was a covert narcissist & extremely good at the covert part, having everyone close to her convinced she was a great person.  She used to go through my purse every time I left it out of my sight when it was at her house.  One time when my husband & I were at her home doing some laundry, she snooped through my dirty laundry, coat pockets & purse.  She left $40 in my purse.  I got my husband alone & absolutely flipped.  I told him I was sick of her crap- there is NO reason for her to snoop through my things & I don’t want her $%^& hush money.  YOU talk to her- she doesn’t listen to me & right now she doesn’t want me talking to her anyway.  He did.  The little bit I heard of the conversation, she was whining about having “allllll this cash just lying around the house” & she didn’t know what to do with it, so she wanted to do something nice for me.  She claimed she had no idea why I was upset.

 

See what I mean?  Narcissists can turn themselves into victims in pretty much any situation, no matter what craziness they have done to you.  The worst part is while you are yelling or crying, they maintain complete calm.  This makes you look & feel absolutely insane.  Or, they pull out the tears, which makes you feel incredibly guilty.

 

When this kind of thing happens, remember, narcissists gain narcissistic supply from this sort of thing.  They feel powerful when they can make a normally calm person act crazy.  Strong emotions, whether positive or negative, make them feel powerful too because they know they have an effect on someone.

 

This is also good for them because if they can prove to you that you’re crazy, over reacting, etc., you will be willing to change your behavior.  You’ll be ashamed of how you acted, so you’ll be more likely to listen to the narcissist’s advice on how you should act.  This tactic makes a victim more pliable.

 

When you confront a narcissist, be as calm as humanly possible, asking God for help.  The more emotion they see in you, the more they will push your buttons & the more likely their victim side will come out.

 

And, before confronting a narcissist, think & pray.  You really need to pick your battles wisely.  It’s not a good situation- narcissists need confrontation to know they can’t get away with the things they’re doing, yet confronting them often is incredibly frustrating.  Sometimes, they behave worse after the confrontation because they know how to provoke a reaction from you.

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When People Tell You How To Feel & How To Heal

From the narcissists’ flying monkeys to even the most well meaning of people, people like to tell victims of narcissistic abuse how to feel.

 

  • “You’re too negative.  You need to be more positive.”
  • “You need to let that go/get over it.”
  • “Aren’t you over that yet?”
  • “You need to forgive & forget.”
  • “You shouldn’t have let them abuse you.”
  • “You need to stop thinking about it.”
  • “You haven’t prayed enough.”

 

Early in healing, such statements add to the toxic shame you already feel stemming from the abuse.  You feel ashamed of yourself for not being over it, not forgiving your abuser & forgetting their awful deeds or being so “negative.”

 

Later in your healing, after you’ve gained some wisdom & experience, such comments really just get under your skin.  You know that there is no way to “just get over” the horrible things that have been done to you.  It takes a great deal of prayer & work to heal, & even then, you may never be “over” the abuse you endured.  If you live with PTSD/C-PTSD, you live with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression & more every single day because of the abuse.  As long as you have the disorder, you are forced to live with the abuse every day, like it or not.  And forgive & forget??  HA.  Even if you are able to forgive your abuser, you don’t forget abusive things done to you.  It also makes you angry people tell you how to heal, as if they know what you need better than you do.  So presumptuous & arrogant!

 

No one has the right to tell you how to feel or how you need to work on your healing.  You know what you need more than anyone else.  Besides, what may have worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too.  Different things work for different people.

 

No one has the right to blame you for being abused, saying things like “you allowed the abuse.”  No, you didn’t.  Abusers abuse, period.  No matter what you did or didn’t do, the abuser planned to abuse you & did so, all of his or her own free will.

 

No matter what happened to your abuser, that does NOT give him or her the right to abuse you.  Many people who grew up in a toxic environment became good, caring people as adults.  Anyone that tries to excuse their abusive behavior because they had a bad childhood or other lame excuses is toxic.  Avoid these people as much as possible!  If you can’t avoid them entirely, at the very least have strong boundaries when you’re with them & refuse to discuss the abuse you endured.

 

You have the right to protect & care for your physical & mental health however works best for you.

 

You have the right to have & enforce healthy boundaries by whatever means work for you.

 

You have the right to limit or end contact with people who are detrimental to your healing, no matter if those people are friends or even family.

 

You have the right (& obligation) to take care of yourself, to rest on bad days, to cry when you’re sad, etc.

 

You have the right to feel whatever you feel.  If you’re angry, you have the right to that anger.  If you’re sad, you have the right to those tears.  Feel the emotions so you can process them & heal, no matter who says you’re wrong for feeling such things.

 

You have the right to decide with who to share details of the abuse.   You don’t have to share your story with everyone.  Even if someone asks you what happened, you don’t have to tell them if you don’t feel comfortable with it.  Besides, sharing with just anyone isn’t wise, since some people will use the information to hurt you.

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Another Helpful Tip For Dealing With Narcissists

I realized something this morning.  When I know I’m going to have some sort of interaction with at least one of my parents, the same thing happens almost every time.  I have either a nightmare about my childhood or a repressed memory come back to the forefront of my mind.

 

For the longest time, I assumed this was simply because I was thinking & worrying about what was coming.  I believe this is wrong though.  I believe God allows these things to happen as a way of enabling me to deal with my parents.

 

As I mentioned before, I want to go no contact with my parents, but God isn’t allowing me to tell them this.  Instead, He wants them to be the ones to pull away.  He has told me that by me getting healthier & tolerating less of their abuse, this will happen naturally.  So far, it really has.  Keeping that in mind..

 

My father plans to visit me on Friday (I’m writing this post on Thursday to publish Friday), & last night I had a horrible nightmare that reminded me of exactly how miserable I was growing up.  I was utterly depressed, even suicidal, yet had to pretend to be happy to appease my mother.  She would get mad at me if I looked depressed, so I had to hide it rather than have her yell at me & shame me.  Remembering this has made me angry.  Angry that my mother would shame me for my feelings, angry that my father never even noticed anything was wrong with me, angry that there was absolutely no concern that I was suicidal.

 

This anger I feel will help to strengthen me around my father during his visit tomorrow.  As hard as I try, sometimes I still tend to fall into bad, old habits around my parents.  But, when I am angry with them, the chances of that are much slimmer.  I have a better focus on just how dysfunctional & abusive they really are, which helps me not to fall into their traps or for their manipulations.  Once the visit is done, I will deal with my anger about the situation & heal a bit more.

 

Remembering traumatic things isn’t easy, I know.  But, God isn’t into waste.  He doesn’t allow things like this to happen for no reason.  There is always a purpose.  I have learned to use such things not only to help me heal by coping with the trauma I remember, but also to help me when I must deal with my parents.  It’s turned out to be a good thing, albeit not an easy one.

 

Does this happen to you too, Dear Reader?  Does something happen to make you angry before you deal with the narcissist in your life?  If so, you’re not alone!  It actually can be a good thing, although it doesn’t feel that way at the time.  It certainly has been for me, & if it can be for me, it can be for you as well. Use that anger to help strengthen you against her manipulations.  Use it as a reminder of exactly how dysfunctional the narcissist is.

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Encouraging Others To Abuse You

No one knowingly encourages people to use or abuse them.  However, some people, in particular those who have been abused before, unwittingly do so.

 

To prevent this from happening, you need to “…be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16, NKJV).  You need to be observant & exercise wisdom.

 

Narcissists are particularly observant of their victims, & are very good at understanding body language.  They can pick up on your mood, your strengths, your weaknesses & anything else by watching you.  This enables them to know the most efficient ways to get what they want from you.  If you must deal with a narcissist, you need to do the same- observe them.  You will be able to pick up on their mood,  etc. & this will enable you to figure out the best way to deal with them at that particular time.  Unfortunately, dealing with narcissists is much like playing a chess game that you don’t want to play.  You have to be two steps ahead of them if you are to deal with them successfully.

 

You also need to have & enforce good, healthy boundaries.  Be very aware of what you are willing & not willing to tolerate.  Be creative in enforcing those boundaries.  Pray for God to help you if you need creative udeas.  Simply saying, “It hurts me when you do…” won’t work with a narcissist.  They will realize they can hurt you & continue to do the behavior.  Change the subject if they’re being critical.  If they are trying to control you or bully you into doing something, refuse to do it.  If it’s something you want or need to do, tell them, “Of course I’ll do it since you asked so nicely!”  I’ve done this with my mother, while wearing a smile, & she stopped bossing me around.  Instead, she started asking me to do things.

 

Always maintain your calm demeanor in their presence, especially when setting boundaries.  Any show of emotion will help narcissists understand what to do to hurt or use you in the most powerful, effective way.  If you can avoid showing them that you’re angry or hurt, their task will be much harder.  Once you’re away from them, though, you need to get your anger & hurt out of you.  It’s never healthy to hold it in, but it’s necessary to do so temporarily when around narcissists.

 

Lastly, keep all conversations superficial.  Don’t share anything important or personal with a narcissist, ever!  If they ask how you’re doing, reply “fine.”  What have you been up to lately?  “Nothing much.”  The less information they have, the less ammunition they have to hurt you with later.  This is easier to do when the narcissist isn’t a parent.  Keeping things from a parent feels like you’re going against nature at first.  But, the more you do it, the easier it becomes, especially when you realize your narcissistic mother has less & less to criticize about you.

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Narcissists & Their Dysfunctional Coping Skills

Narcissists have incredibly dysfunctional coping skills.  Unfortunately this means that their pain can overflow onto those around them.

 

When my mother was still speaking to me, for about 2 years or so, she kept telling me what a great mother she was to me.  She bragged about forcing me to stand up to a bully in seventh grade (she didn’t), taking me to the doctor when I sprained my foot in ninth grade (as she should have) & other ridiculous things.  She also wanted me to validate her delusions, agreeing with how great a mother she was to me.

 

In talking with others who have a narcissistic parent or two, I have learned this behavior is very common.  It’s also very painful.

 

For me, this used to make me so incredibly angry.  How dare she want me to enforce her delusions & pretend I was never abused!   I felt invalidated, as if she was pretending the abuse she put me through never happened.

 

God showed me something though.  My mother doesn’t have any healthy coping skills, so this is what she does.  She knows what she did to me is wrong, but rather than admit that, she goes into denial.  She wants to convince herself she was a great mother, even going as far as to try to force me to agree with her.

 

As ridiculous & dysfunctional as this is, it is her choice & her right.  There is no law against having dysfunctional coping skills.  That being said, that choice can be respected while not reinforced.

 

There is no good reason to reinforce such delusions.  It only allows the person to continue in their dysfunction while invalidating your own painful experiences.  When approached by a narcissistic parent in this situation, I have found it best to remain as neutral & quiet as possible or to change the subject.

 

Also never forget- this is the narcissist’s coping skill.   It has nothing to do with you even though it feels like it does.  It just shows how dysfunctional she is.  Remembering that helps you not to take the comments so personally & to put the responsibility right back onto the narcissist.  This is all about her dysfunction & lack of coping skills- all the responsibility & baggage belongs squarely on her shoulders, period, so leave it there!  Don’t take it on yourself- you deserve so much better than to carry her issues & shame.

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To Heal It, You Have To Feel It

So many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse are simply tired.  Tired after years of walking on eggshells & trying to please the unpleasable.  Tired because the experience gave us C-PTSD or PTSD, which are both exhausting disorders for many reasons.  Tired of working so hard, trying to heal & feel normal for once.  It’d be so nice if we could just forget what has happened.  Put it away like an unloved Christmas present from the mother in-law somewhere in the back of a closet where it wouldn’t see the light of day again.

 

Unfortunately though, that is completely unrealistic.

 

If you want to heal from any traumatic situation, you have to deal with it completely.  This means to heal, you have to feel.  Feel what, you ask?  Feel the anger or the hurt.  Get angry.  Cry.  Scream.  Cuss.

 

Sounds wrong, doesn’t it?  That is partly because narcissistic mothers shame their children for having any emotions, society shames victims for not “getting over it” immediately & the church often shames people for not “forgiving & forgetting.”

 

Dear Reader, I’ve been working on healing from narcissistic abuse since 2000.  I bought into those lies for too long.  I ignored the gentle promptings in my heart from God saying it’s OK to feel my emotions.  I tried forgiving & forgetting.  I tried getting angry & just couldn’t do it- I was afraid of getting angry & losing control.  I also could hear my mother’s voice in my head scolding me for having “that Bailey temper.”   I couldn’t even cry or grieve because I thought I was feeling sorry for myself & needed to pick myself up by my bootstraps & get over it.  And, I was miserable.

 

I ignored God’s promptings for years until early last year.  After nearly dying from carbon monoxide poisoning & suffering a concussion when I passed out from the CMP, I changed.  Both of these things can change one’s personality, so it’s not a surprise that happened to me.  I was surprised how I changed though.  I suddenly was less able to control my emotions.  I had no choice but to feel angry or sad or happy or whatever.  And you know what?  It’s been a blessing!!

 

I have been able to heal more since that happened than in the many years prior.  Feeling things has enabled me to release those emotions.  It’s enabled me to purge myself of the yukky emotions buried inside of me & heal.  It’s much like healing an infected wound.  You can slap a bandage on it, but that won’t heal it.  The wound has to bleed to get the germs & infection out first, then it can heal.

 

Another bonus of feeling my emotions has been I’ve learned how to make anger work in my favor.  My mother couldn’t stand me to be angry, even simple frustration was a problem for her, so she would shame me if I displayed even mild irritation.  As a result, I learned early to stuff anger deep down inside, & carried this dysfunctional behavior into my adulthood.  Now, I no longer do that.  I feel the anger, & when it is a righteous anger (such as when she is hateful to me), I let it give me the strength to set boundaries, walk away or even call her out on her bad behavior.  Righteous anger truly is a good thing for giving you strength & motivation to make changes!

 

Dear Reader, don’t wait until something life altering happens- decide today that you are going to feel your feelings so you can heal.  Give yourself permission to do so.  Talk to someone safe & trusted about how you feel.  Also, you can try the chair technique, where you place an empty chair in front of you, pretend your abuser is in it, & yell, scream, cry or whatever you want to do to vent your feelings.  If you don’t feel comfortable verbalizing them, then write them down somewhere safe from prying eyes.  You can pray silently too- God certainly will listen!

 

And, when you’re feeling your feelings, get it all out!  Don’t worry if your language is bad.  Do you think God’s never heard those words before?!  He gets that you are that hurt, angry or frustrated!  It’s much better to get that ugliness out of you than let it fester inside of you.

 

Please remember, to heal it, you have to feel it.  You can do this!  I know it’s scary at first, but do it anyway.  Ask God to give you the strength & courage to face those ugly, scary, traumatic things head on so you can heal from them.  Once you do this, those awful memories will feel more like a bad dream than something you’ve actually lived through.  That is how you know that event has lost its hold over you.

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Don’t Give Up On God- He Hasn’t Given Up On You

Growing up, I really had no knowledge about God.  My mother said if you’re good you go to Heaven, bad you go to Hell.  No explanation of what was good or bad, & I had no idea how Jesus fit into the equation.

 

As things got worse with my mother as I got older, I decided I had absolutely no use for God.  Obviously He didn’t care about me since I was going through so much at home.  In fact, I believed He couldn’t even exist.  How could a loving God exist & let me go through the things I did?

 

It wasn’t until I was in my twenties I realized how faulty this thinking was.  I finally realized God did indeed exist & cared deeply about the pain I went through.  That is when my healing began

 

If you are being or have been abused, I understand it can be very tempting to give up on God, or at least to think He doesn’t care about your pain.  The truth though, Dear Reader, is that God hurts when you hurt.  He is angry about what has been done to you, too.  He knows all too well the unfairness of it all.

 

That may be hard to believe when you’re hurting, but it’s very true.  Please don’t give up on God for not saving you from bad situations.  The truth is He doesn’t force people to do anything, even when it’s in their best interest.  God is a gentleman, never forcing people to do anything.  He may suggest things, show evidence that certain things are a good idea & others bad ideas, but He never forces anything.  He leaves the final decision on what to do up to each person & unfortunately many people make bad decisions.  They ignore God’s promptings & do whatever they feel like.  That is NOT God’s fault- the blame lies squarely on their shoulders.  Why get mad at God for people making bad choices since it’s not His fault?

 

Dear Reader, God is in your corner.  He always has been & always will be.  If you wonder where He was when you were being abused, He was there, crying over your suffering.  He was angry for you.  He was distraught that your abuser didn’t pay attention to His promptings not to do these things.

 

Now that it’s over?  God is there by your side, wanting to hug you & make it all better.  He wants to help you through your pain.  Let Him.  Don’t get mad at God & shut Him out.  Let Him help you instead.  He will show you how to heal & how to make your pain count for something good.  I know that sounds impossible, but it’s very true.  He has done this for me & will do the same for you, too.

 

 

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Another Type Of Children Of Narcissists

Most people who have learned at least a little about NPD & narcissistic abuse have heard of different types of children of narcissists:  the golden child, the scapegoat & the forgotten child.  Their roles are:

 

  • Golden child: The extension of  a narcissistic parent, this child can do no wrong.  Praise & gifts are heaped upon him even into adulthood.  The golden child is the one most likely to become a narcissist.
  • Scapegoat: The exact opposite of the golden child, the scapegoat is the reason for everything that is wrong in the family, according to the narcissistic parent.  Scapegoats are the children most likely to seek out the truth of the situation & escape.
  • Forgotten Child:  This child gets lost in the shuffle.  Not good enough to be the golden child or bad enough to be the scapegoat, the forgotten child barely gets noticed.  They try hard for their parents’ attention, even well into adulthood.

 

There is another child that I’ve never read about, but have seen.  The family screw up.

 

The family screw up isn’t the same as the scapegoat, but there are some similarities.  The screw up isn’t to blame for all of the problems in the family like the scapegoat is, but like the scapegoat, he can do nothing right.  Growing up, he takes courses in school or college his parents disapprove of.   He doesn’t participate in the right activities either.  As an adult, he marries the wrong person, works the wrong career & does nothing worthy of his narcissistic parents’ approval.  He is a constant disappointment to his parents.

 

When my husband & I first started dating, he told me he was the family screw up.  It didn’t take long to see what exactly he meant, even though at the time I knew nothing of narcissism.  I seemed to be his biggest mistake, at least according to his mother, but it also seemed very clear he could do nothing right according to his parents unless he was doing something for them.  He was met with constant looks of disapproval from his parents, sometimes even followed by a grunt or sigh of disapproval.  He was very accustomed to it, but it still hurt him deeply.

 

I have seen him find some ways to cope that have helped him greatly.  If you too are the family screw up, I think this information may help you as well.

 

Giving up the hope of having parental approval.  It’s hard to do at first, but any child of a narcissistic parent (or two) needs to accept the fact they will NOT get approval from their parent(s).  The golden child may get it briefly sometimes, but even that is fleeting.  No child of a narcissistic parent ever can have their parent’s approval for more than a brief moment, & even that is very rare.  If you can accept that, & release the need for it, you will be much happier.

 

Decide to live in a way that pleases God & not your parents, or any person.  1 Thessalonians 4:1 states, “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”  (KJV)  People, especially narcissists are very hard to please.  They often change what they want, so what may please them today won’t please them next week.  God isn’t like that!  He is constant, & He is not self-serving like people.  Live to please Him instead of mankind- you will be much happier!

 

Choose what contact works best for you, & know it may be subject to change at anytime.  Many people go from constantly talking with their narcissistic parents to lower & lower contact until they go no contact.  They find as they get healthier, they can tolerate their narcissistic parents less & less.  Some are able to maintain low contact.  Every person & every situation is different- you need to pray & pray often about your individual situation & let God lead you to make the decision that will be best for you.

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Respond, Don’t React, To Narcissists

Narcissists know how to push every button you have & many you weren’t even aware of having.  They do this in order to provoke an emotional reaction from you.  Whether you’re angry or hurting, your reaction makes them feel powerful, which in turn provides narcissistic supply, & makes them feel good.  That is why they often act much like a machine gun with their cruelty- quickly pumping out verbally abusive comments one right after another.  The more they can hurt or anger you, the better they feel.  When you have pretty much fallen apart, they are deliriously happy.

 

If you want to put a stop to this behavior, join the club!  We all do.  There isn’t any way I know of to stop it entirely.  But, there are some ways to slow this down.  One very effective way is to learn to respond, not react.

 

Reaction is done immediately, often without thinking.  If a doctor uses that little hammer & taps your knee is a certain spot, your reaction is for your leg to kick.  That is the type of response narcissists want from you- immediate anger or hurt without thinking as soon as they have said or done something hateful.

 

Responding however is different.  It’s slower & more deliberate.  You take time to think, possibly even putting your emotions aside before you give any sort of response.  This is not what narcissists want, & that, Dear Reader is a good thing!

 

The more you react emotionally to a narcissist, the more buttons they will push to get you to react more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  However, the less reaction you give them, the less interest they will have in hurting you.

 

Responding can seem impossible to do at first, but it really does get easier & easier with practice.  The best way I personally learned to do this is a technique common to caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.  When something is said or done, stop for a second.  Take a deep breath in & out, then speak.  That brief moment of the deep breath helps you to think, & also to remind yourself why you must stay calm & focused.  Plus the deep breath relaxes you.  This technique enables you to stay calm & focused in the face of sheer madness.

 

I urge you to give this a try the next time you must deal with the narcissist in your life.  It really does help you.  I have done this when speaking with my narcissistic father.  Now that he has Alzheimer’s, the narcissism has gotten worse than ever.  I don’t feel right about being too harsh with him since it’s the Alzheimer’s making it worse rather than him deliberately trying harder to get attention or hurt me.  (Dementia & Alzheimer’s can make someone with NPD act worse)  But, at the same time, I need to protect myself.  Stopping long enough to take in & release that deep breath helps me to maintain my composure & give a decent response rather than an angry reaction.  It may help you as well!  Try it- what do you have to lose?

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Narcissistic Supply In Overt & Covert Narcissists

All narcissists, whether covert or overt, whether high or low on the spectrum, are all about gaining that coveted narcissistic supply to make them feel good.  Educating yourself on how they get that supply is important so you understand why they are behaving the way they are & protect yourself accordingly.

 

Covert narcissists are much different & more difficult to deal with (at least in my opinion) than overt narcissists.  At least overt narcissists are open about their abuse.  Coverts?  They are much sneakier & more devious in the ways they abuse their victims.  In fact, it takes most victims a lot longer to realize they are being abused by a narcissist when their abuser is a covert narcissist.

 

Overt narcissists are easy to spot.  They are the ones bragging about their accomplishments, talking non stop about themselves, showing no empathy to anyone (& sometimes even bragging about that fact), & having no interest in other people beyond what those people can do for them.

 

Covert narcissists  however are much harder to recognize.  They like to give the impression of being kind & giving, even to the point of martyrdom.  They’re often married to overt narcissists, & look like the innocent victim of that person’s bad behavior.  They rarely, often never, stand up to the overt narcissist, saying there’s nothing they can do.  Even if the overt narcissist abuses their child, the covert claims there’s nothing he can do to stop his wife.  It’s so hard for him watching his wife abuse their child.   He portrays himself as the real victim, not the child, even to the point of expecting the child to console him.  (My father has done this as has my mother in-law).  Covert narcissists can fake empathy & concern for others, although if you look closely, you’ll see it’s simply an act on their part.  They also often mirror others, attempting to act like their victim to make the victim feel closer to them.

 

These differences in overt & covert narcissists also mean they get their narcissistic supply differently as well.

 

Overt narcissists want lots of praise & admiration.  If they are the center of attention, that makes them incredibly happy.  They are quite happy if you don’t talk, allowing them to control the conversation.  In fact, openly controlling you, not only the conversation, will make them gloriously happy.

 

Covert narcissists are much more subtle.  As I mentioned above, they get narcissistic supply by looking like a martyr.  Being married to an overt narcissist is ideal for them, because they get pity for what they put up with & being unable to get out of the situation.  They also appear modest when getting a complement, I think because this often makes people fuss more over them.  Coverts are also very controlling, but not so obviously as their overt counterparts.  For example, I’ve told my parents I don’t like calls after 9 p.m.  My covertly narcissistic father has ignored this repeatedly.  I decided I was going to drive the point home, & ignore him when he called at 9:15 once.  From 9:15 until 10, he called 15 times.  I let the phone ring… until my cousin called at 10:15.  He lives 450 miles away & never calls me so late, so I was worried about him.  It turns out my father called my cousin to tell my cousin to tell me to call my father!  And, my cousin said my father had called my in-laws who he knows I haven’t spoken to in years.  He told my cousin & father in-law he was worried sick about me since I didn’t answer his call.  He looked like a caring father when in fact, he just wanted to control me- he wanted me to answer his call no matter what I wanted or felt.  I didn’t call my father back that night.  Instead, he called me early the next morning, & was obviously upset that I didn’t call him that night.  If I had called, he would’ve gotten his narcissistic supply by being able to control me- it would’ve made him feel powerful.  Instead, I told him exactly why I didn’t take his call, & after that he never called me after 9 again.

 

I recently realized narcissists also get narcissistic supply by rescuing you.  I asked God once why does my father want to tell me how to fix any problems in my life or seem disappointed when I don’t need his help.  God showed me that rescuing me provides narcissistic supply.  It would make him feel like he’s doing something good by helping me, & not in the normal way helping people makes most people feel good.  It goes deeper than that.  Covert narcissists feel that helping others proves that they are good people.  They hope the person they helped will tell others about what was done for them.  They also bring it up periodically, hinting for praise.  “Did that money I gave you help you get your car fixed?”  “This room sure looks better since I helped you to paint it!”  The goal of such comments is for you to say something about how grateful you are for their help, or maybe you couldn’t have done it without them.

 

Overt narcissists aren’t so subtle when they help you.  They may bring it up often, remind you that you owe them or that you wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what you did without them.  I’m not sure about other overt narcissists, but I noticed with my mother, she doesn’t usually mention something she helped me with to my face.  Instead, she tells my father & I’m not sure who else how she’s always bailed me out of trouble (which she only did once- when my dog had to go to the emergency vet).  She also seems to get a thrill out of giving me money even when I don’t need it.  I wondered about this for a while & asked God.  It made no sense to me- I don’t ask her for help nor do I expect it from her, yet a few years ago, she started giving me money.  Immediately God showed me why she does this.  My parents are quite financially comfortable.  Moreso than my husband & I.  She enjoys reminding me that she has more money than me & can give me money without worrying about not being able to pay bills.

 

I pray you learn all you can about narcissistic supply, so if you must deal with a narcissist, you learn what not to do.  The less supply you provide, the less interested the narcissist will be in you.

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Abuse Doesn’t Always Leave Bruises

Since writing my newest book, I have been feeling more of a pull to help those who don’t know why certain people in their lives treat them so badly.

 

 

I used to wonder why my mother treated me so poorly.  I felt as if I was a bother & huge disappointment to her, & like I should stay invisible until she needed me for something.  My ex husband said she treated me badly, but once we were married he treated me the same way.  Both wanted to control me- how I looked, what work I did, who I spent time with, even what kind of car I owned.

 

I never thought of this as abusive.  Not right, sure, but abuse left bruises.  If they didn’t leave bruises or broken bones, it couldn’t be abuse, right?  Wrong.

 

Abuse comes in many forms.  Most everyone knows about physical abuse- when someone causes physical harm to another person.  But, did you know physical abuse doesn’t have to cause injuries?  It is also physical abuse to be threatening (such as punching walls), refusing to allow someone to leave, or driving recklessly.

 

There is also sexual abuse.  Forcing intercourse while threatening with a weapon isn’t the only way a person can be raped or sexually abused.  Saying things like, “If you loved me, you would do this for me” is sexual abuse.  Disregard for a partner’s physical or emotional pain & forcing want you want on them through physical means or guilt is sexual abuse.  These are very common examples of sexual abuse that most people do not consider abusive, yet they are.  Behaviors like these leave victims very anxious or depressed, feeling ashamed, guilty & often thinking things like they are being silly since this request isn’t so bad, they should just do what their partner wants & ignore their own needs/feelings/wants or even that there is something deeply wrong with them for not wanting to go along with their partner’s request.  Others who have not experienced this type of abuse don’t understand the damage it can do.  Many people don’t think a husband can rape his wife, so when she tells people that he did, she is treated as if she is crazy.  Sexual abuse is extremely damaging in so many ways.

 

If you have read much of my work, you know I discuss narcissistic abuse a great deal.  That is because it is extremely common.  Many psychologically abusive people are narcissists.  (psychological abuse includes mental/verbal/emotional abuse).  People who manipulate others, put their needs/wants/feelings/etc. above those of others, who are extremely critical either overtly or more subtly, tell others how to feel, or invalidate you are often narcissistic.  You can read more about narcissistic abuse on my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

 

Because these kinds of abuse leave no bruises, many victims are told get over it, that it’s no big deal or even doubt that what the victim claims is true.  This leaves victims alone, depressed, & often feeling as if they’re going crazy.  Abuse also can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

If you are in one of these situations, please know you’re not alone!  You also aren’t crazy!  If you feel something is wrong, then it is wrong.  Trust your instincts!  Also, pray.  God will show you the truth.  He will show you what is wrong in the situation as well as what you need to do to escape it & to heal.

 

If you are looking for safe people to talk to,  I have a Facebook group.  The members are kind, caring, supportive & wise.  You’re very welcome to join us if you like.  🙂

 

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Another Control Tactic Of Narcissists- Interrupting

As anyone subjected to a narcissist for any length of time knows, narcissists love to control other people.  It gives them a sense of power, which gives them narcissistic supply, in other words, feeds their ego.

 

One tool they use that seems innocuous is interrupting others.

 

Interrupting seems like simple bad manners, but with narcissists, it is much more.

 

Narcissists only care about themselves & procuring narcissistic supply, & interrupting gives them a couple of ways to gain that supply.

 

For one thing, interrupting is often done if the other person in the conversation is not discussing the narcissist or anything about the narcissist’s life.  The narcissist will interrupt & turn the conversation back to what she wants to talk about- herself, her accomplishments, how talented she is, etc.  Most people who have been interrupted allow the conversation to take the new turn, seldom returning to the original topic.

 

Another reason narcissists interrupt is that taking over a conversation gives them a sense of power.  They were able to redirect the conversation, which makes them feel powerful, & provides narcissistic supply.

 

Interrupting may seem not worth fighting over, but anything that provides a narcissist supply can make them want to use you more & more.  That is why it is vital if you’re in any relationship with a narcissist to provide as little supply as possible.  The more supply you provide, the more they will use & abuse you.

 

Interrupting is pretty simple to deal with. My narcissistic mother uses this tactic constantly, & I have learned from her the best way to deal with it is not to deal with it.  I ignore her as much as possible & show no reaction to her.   If I’m talking with someone else & she interrupts, I ignore whatever she is talking about, then when she is finished talking, resume the conversation she interrupted.

 

Sometimes, she uses more unusual methods of interrupting.  Once in a restaurant, my father & I were talking about a topic she wasn’t interested in.  As we spoke, she picked up a napkin, held it to her nose & acted like she was blowing her nose, making loud, gross noises with her mouth.  My father & I stopped talking, & she took the napkin away, & began laughing a very creepy, unsettling laugh.  It was painfully obvious she did this to get attention, & it worked.  Not only were my father & I looking at her, several others in the restaurant were as well.  Thank God, He showed me immediately she just wanted attention, so I quickly resumed the conversation with my father, as if nothing happened.  When ridiculous antics are her interruption tool of choice, I ignore them too.

 

The same goes for nasty comments to interrupt.  When she says something hateful, it’s obvious it’s just to gain attention/supply.  Another example was during dinner with my parents & grandmother once many years ago.  My mother told my father what to order.  He said he wanted a change, & asked what I was going to get.  I said the taco salad, & he decided to try one.  When dinner arrived, he & I were talking.  My mother looked at our plates & loudly said, “It looks like someone threw up on your plates.”  I acted as if she hadn’t said a thing, & continued talking to my father. It annoyed her- my father reacted to her by giving her a shocked expression, but I ignored her.  I’m sure the goal was to get an equal reaction out of me.

 

Ignoring is pretty easy, but sometimes having no reaction can be difficult.  If you remember exactly why this is happening, & how you do NOT want to provide narcissistic supply, that helps you to stay calm.

 

Prayer also helps.  Ask God to help you before you answer that phone or visit your narcissistic mother.  He truly will not disappoint you!

 

Once your visit is done, you’re going to be angry &/or hurt.  Don’t hold it in!  Get it out by praying, talking with a safe person, or journalling.  Maybe a combination of all of them.  Whatever works for you.

 

By staying calm & ignoring your narcissistic mother’s petty interruptions, you are taking back control.  It also will frustrate her, & she will use this tactic less & less frequently.

 

 

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Another Book Sale!

My publisher is offering another sale.  15% off all print books with free mail shipping until July 31!  Enter code “SHIPSAVE16” at checkout.  The code is case sensitive, so enter it exactly as it appears between the quotes.

 

My books can be found at:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Narcissists & The Double Bind/No Win Situation

Double bind situations are another common weapon of narcissists. This means they create a no win situation for you.

 

The most frustrating example I can think of from my own life happened when I was 17 years old. I recently started my first job at the local library, which is where my now ex husband was working. We struck up a fast friendship, much to my narcissistic mother’s dismay. She absolutely hated him upon first sight.

 

We often worked the same shift, closing the library. One night after work, we left the building together. My mother had come to pick me up (as I was not allowed to have a license or car), and told me never to leave work with him again because she hated him. The next time we worked together, he volunteered to hang back so I could leave first. Upon getting in the car, my mother said, “So the coward is hiding! He can’t even face me!” The next time, he left first and I hung back. Her response that time was to yell at me for him being so “cocky”, leaving work like that.

 

It was a completely, damned if I do, damned if I don’t situation. And, when trying to talk to her about it, she screamed at me. I should have known what to do, according to her. What was wrong with me for not being able to figure it out?

 

My mother created the perfect double bind situation. And it was miserable!

 

Double binds are all about control. Because you did something wrong (at least according to the narcissist), you will try something else in order to please her. When that is wrong, you will try something else. These situations may not seem controlling at first, because you are not being openly controlled. My mother never told me what she wanted- she simply expected me to know what she wanted, then screamed at me for not giving it to her. Other times when she has created these situations, she refused to speak to me in order to “punish” me for disobeying her orders that she never gave.

 

So how does one deal with the double bind situation? It is not easy. There is no way to deal with them completely successfully. With the situation with my ex husband at our work? I told him leave before or after me, or walk out with me. Nothing would please my mother, so why bother trying? Any time we worked together, my mother would either scream at me or more quietly tell me what a horrible person he was, and how stupid I was for spending time with someone so horrible. I figured since I was going to be screamed at anyway, I might as well do what I was comfortable with.

 

It also helps to remember that it is a double bind situation. There is nothing wrong with you- there is, however, something very wrong with a person who puts another person in such a situation!

 

Protect yourself with firm boundaries that you enforce however you need to.

 

Refuse to engage this person. When you are told what you are doing or have done is wrong in spite of there being no other solution, you can respond with, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” (Admittedly, that is a passive/aggressive sounding response, but it is suitable in this situation.) Change the subject. Do not apologize for your actions if you believe you were right.

 

Never show emotion. Emotion, good or bad, feeds narcissists their supply. Do not give them supply!!! The more supply you provide, the more they will take from you however they can get it.

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Narcissists & Baiting

Narcissists are obsessed with procuring narcissistic supply, which is anything that makes them feel good about themselves. Even negative attention can provide that precious supply, because to be angry at or even hate someone, you have to feel something for that person. (If you feel nothing for a person, they cannot anger or upset you because you simply do not care about them.) As I have said before, love them or hate them, it is not important to a narcissist. They can handle either love or hate, but never apathy.

 

One way narcissists obtain their coveted narcissistic supply is by baiting their victims. Baiting is anything done or said to achieve a negative or emotional response from someone. If they can make you angry, they have power over you. It makes them feel powerful and important. It proves to them that they matter.

 

As an example from my life, my mother loves to pick on my car. (Many of you know the story of my car. It was my Granddad’s, who gave it to my father in 1976. My father sold it to a junkyard rather than repair it in 1979. I stumbled across it in 2005, thinking it was simply a twin to their car. Shortly after getting the car, my father showed me the VIN he had written down in the 70’s from what had been his car. It matched mine- I have the same car that Granddad gave to my father!) My mother knows I was very close to Granddad & I love this car, so when she runs out of other ammunition, she tells me things like, “I wonder how many junk cars like yours are still on the road,” or, “I would NEVER own a car your granddad owned!” (Even though she did for 3 years). The first couple of times she said such things, I admit, I got angry. Livid even. Until I realized that was the goal. She wanted me upset so she could show herself & any other witnesses how horrible & crazy I really am. I realized it when I started to yell at her then she got a glimmer in her eye. Here we were, in a restaurant where one of my former teachers worked, and I was yelling at my innocent looking elderly mother. I stopped immediately. I refused to give her that supply!

 

If you too have been baited by a narcissist, know you are not alone. I think it is one of their favorite tactics, especially as they get older.

 

There are several ways a narcissist can bait a victim. Some examples are:

 

• You are accused of doing something outrageous and out of character, such as cheating on your spouse, doing drugs, or abusing your children.
• Insulting something or someone you love.
• They damage a piece of your property, usually claiming it to be accidental.

 

Baiting triggers your body’s fight or flight response, usually fight. Your adrenaline kicks in and heart rate increases in preparation for a fight. As a result, you do not have as much control over your responses. You do not think of good ways to respond until much later. Your body is using its resources for physical fighting rather than mental, which is why this happens.

 

There are some successful ways to deal with baiting. To start with, always remember that this behavior is baiting. It is designed to elicit a negative reaction from you to provide the baiter with narcissistic supply. It really is not personal against you- it is to make a sick person feel better about themselves by having so much control over you, you get very angry or burst into tears.

Do not fall into the trap! Stop for a moment to take a deep breath, then respond. DO NOT REACT!! Immediate reactions are never good- a response works much better because it means you have put some thought into what you say or do. Reactions happen without any thought. I wrote a blog post about it. You can see it at this link: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/responding-vs-reacting/

 

Leave this person’s company or hang up the phone. Why be stuck in this position if you do not have to?

 

Most importantly, show no emotion at all. Act is if this person said she was going to pick up a loaf of bread at the grocery store later rather than something so cruel, it cut you to the quick. The less reaction you have, the less likely it is for the narcissist to use this to hurt you again or continuing trying to bait you in this area.

 

Once you are out of this person’s presence, vent. Get your anger and hurt out. Pray. Cry. Journal. Talk to a supportive friend or relative, maybe even a counselor or pastor. Honestly, what is said when someone baits you is hurtful, otherwise it would not be bait! While you should not let the person baiting you see it, that does not mean you need to carry around that hurt and anger. Get it out of you- you deserve so much better than carrying it around!

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God Truly Wants To Help You Heal

God gave me yet another experience last night on just how badly He wants to help His children.  I realized I needed to write it out but rather than simply write it all in my journal, I thought I would share here in the hopes of blessing you, Dear Reader.  I apologize in advance- this probably will be long.

 

A few weeks back, I developed psoriasis on my face, surrounding my mouth.  Never had it before-I’ve always had clear, healthy skin- so it’s been rather upsetting feeling like I resemble Freddy Krueger.  Immediately I looked up what causes this awful skin condition & how to treat it.  For some odd reason, I never thought to ask God about it (not proud of this!).  I chalked it up to stress since it started not long after I lost one of my precious cats plus a few days later had the big fight with my parents, & hormone imbalances.  But, my husband kept saying how odd the location was.  Most people get psoriasis on their arms or backs or chests, but not me.  I agreed, it was odd, but had no answers & for whatever reason, didn’t think to ask God about it.

 

Last night, I went into the bathroom to put cream on my face.  I looked in the mirror & was glad to see the psoriasis is improving, slowly but surely.  I began to wonder why it was where it was, & suddenly, God spoke to my heart, & I knew the answer!

 

When I had that fight with my parents, I broke their rules- I yelled at them & even used some bad language.  I had been so caught up in feeling the pain of my loss plus the anger & hurt at my parents, I didn’t even realize I felt guilty for breaking the rules.  I also felt guilty for  feeling nothing for my parents.  Any emotions died for them during that argument- it was my final straw with them.  So while yes, stress & hormones played a part in why I got the psoriasis in the first place, my own guilt was why it’s around my mouth- because my mouth was the “problem.”  Kind of punishing myself for what I did.  The body is a strange yet interesting thing.  It can take out its own feelings on itself in very unusual ways, which is what happened to me.

 

Once I put the cream on, I returned to the other room, & got into prayer.  Years ago, I read Craig Hill’s book “Ancient Paths” about emotional healing.  I used one of his techniques that I’ve found extremely helpful.  I asked God if I should feel guilty for how I spoke to my parents.  Was I wrong?  Was I overreacting?  Before I could even finish what I was asking Him, immediately, He said I absolutely was NOT wrong- this was exactly what they needed.  They may disagree with me, but they needed to know that they really hurt me with their selfish ways.  They also wouldn’t have listened to me if I had spoken in a reasonable way about the topic- they wouldn’t have realized how devastated I was by their behavior.  They needed to see their reasonable, normally calm daughter so upset, that she acted totally out of character to understand the depths of how badly they hurt me.  Basically, they don’t understand or empathize with my feelings, but they know they hurt me.  Apparently that is something God wanted them to know.

 

As I was thinking about this after praying, I had a flashback..thankfully, it was the “mildest” one I’ve ever had.  I remembered back to 10th grade.  The boyfriend of one of my friends was hit by a car while riding his bike.  The day after the accident, everyone in school was talking about it.. in all the gory details.  Although I didn’t know this boy well, it was still horrific hearing about what happened.  I lost my appetite so I just took my lunch back home after the school day.  Later, my mother asked why I didn’t eat my lunch, so I told her.  Her response was awful.  Rather than show concern for this boy who happened to be the son of one of her friends, or show concern for me being obviously upset, she attacked me.  In an extremely shaming tone, she said things like, “You must really like him to be so affected by this.”  She shamed me for being romantically interested in this boy when the truth was I was simply upset someone I knew might die from a horrific accident.  The flashback reminded me of all the shame I felt that day.  Shame for doing nothing wrong!

 

After that, I remembered a similar incident.  Also in 10th grade, I took driver’s ed.  They showed what were known as “blood & gut” films- footage of the aftermath of car accidents.  The premise was to scare us enough to be careful drivers.  The films gave me nightmares.  One of which involved a fellow student from my economics class dead on the hood my grandfather’s Oldsmobile.  I still remember the nightmare- it was very vivid & terrible.  Strange too- I barely knew him, so I have no idea why he was even in my dream.  When I told my mother of this, her only concern was whether or not I thought this boy was “cute.”  Again, I was shamed for being interested in a boy that I had no interest in as my feelings were ignored.

 

As I pondered these awful memories, I asked God what this was all about.  He showed me why my mother has acted so outrageously in these instances.  She doesn’t genuinely care about other people, she hasn’t the ability to, & is jealous that I do.  Also, when I skipped lunch that day, it was proof I don’t have her issues with food (she’s an emotional eater), which was another reason for her to be angry with me.  Basically I reminded her of a flaw she has.  And lastly, my mother didn’t want me to be interested in boys because that would mean she was losing control of me.  If she could shame me for being interested in them, that would prevent me from being interested, & I would remain under her control.

 

Interestingly, by the way, as difficult as this all should have been remembering such nasty things, it wasn’t too bad.  I’m a bit tired today & have some mild body aches, but not bad compared to when other flashbacks have happened.  God strengthened me & enabled me to handle these things.  It was as if He was somehow  holding my hand as I faced things.   I’m not sure how else to explain it, but  I’m truly grateful He enabled me to do this!

 

The reason God reminded me of these instances was to show me that I have no reason to feel guilty.  There is no reasoning with my mother.  In her eyes, I am nothing but a tool to be used.  I mean absolutely nothing to her beyond what I can do for her.  Why should I feel any guilt or shame for not being willing to tolerate being treated as such?  And, in both of those instances, she was completely unreasonable & she put the weight of her issues on me.  This is not a safe person, nor is this someone I should feel bad for standing up to, mother or not.

 

As for my father, he did nothing to defend me to my mother after those instances.  He didn’t speak one word to her about her ridiculous behavior.  This was typical of him.  In fact, he even told me how hard it was for him watching me go through what I did with her when her abuse hit its peak in my late teens.  I ended up comforting him when he said that, when should have been comforting & protecting me.

 

All of this really got to the root of some problems, which is awesome.  Admittedly, it’s not fun, but to deal properly with problems, you need to get to the root of them.  As hard as remembering such things was, I am truly grateful God showed me such things because now I can heal & ditch the guilt & shame I have felt the past two months.  Hopefully the psoriasis will heal quicker now too.

 

If God did this for me, He certainly will do the same for you, Dear Reader.  He wants you to be healed & enjoy your life!  If you allow Him, He will gently guide you on the right road for your healing & strengthen you to face whatever you need to face!  And, once you face those demons, you can be set free!

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The Difference Between Flashbacks & Repressed Memories

Not everyone realizes the differences between flashbacks & repressed memories returning, so I thought today I would explain them.

 

Repressed memories are memories of events so traumatic, you were unable to deal with them at the time they happened.  To cope, almost immediately, you unconsciously pushed it to the dark recesses of your mind, & forgot about it.  Then some time later (could be months, could be years later), something triggered a reminder of the event.  The trigger could be anything- a facial expression, a scent, the sight of something that resembles an item that was there when the event happened or a sound.  When the trigger forces the memory back to your conscious mind, suddenly you remember what happened.  It feels the same as remembering anything else you forgot in the sense that you are well aware it is simply a memory.

 

Flashbacks are quite different.  Flashbacks aren’t necessarily something you forgot.  You may or may not remember the event before the flashback.  The main difference between repressed memories & flashbacks is flashbacks feel like you’re reliving the event.  For me, this is what makes flashbacks so much worse than repressed memories- the feeling of reliving a traumatic event while trying to stay in reality.  Flashbacks can be triggered by something, such as the soldier who has flashbacks when he hears fireworks, but sometimes they simply happen without an obvious trigger.  Also different than repressed memories are the physical symptoms that can accompany flashbacks, such as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, sweating or chills, & trembling.  My husband has seen me have flashbacks many times, & even so, he can’t always tell when it happens.  I tend to get very quiet & still.  Sometimes I cry, sometimes not.  Flashbacks aren’t always obvious to those witnessing someone have them.  Not everyone having a flashback is vocal or shows obvious physical signs when they happen.

 

If you’re having a flashback, it is vital for you to know how to ground yourself so you stay in reality rather than get lost in the awful memory, which obviously is different than having a repressed memory return to the forefront of your mind.  Grounding techniques basically assault your senses, which forces your mind to focus on them instead of the flashback.  Touching something with an extreme texture such as a soft fuzzy blanket, silk or even burlap can help.  Some people swear by holding ice cubes or stomping their feet hard on the ground.  Smelling something with a strong scent can help too.  Lavender is good because not only is it strong, it has anti-anxiety properties.  A strongly scented cologne, perfume or soap can help.

 

I’ve found that pets can be very helpful while having a flashback, even if they aren’t specifically trained to be service animals.  While taking my cat, Sabrina, to the vet when she was a baby, I drove us past a place I used to work when I was a teenager.  Looking at the building, I immediately had a flashback to a time when my mother screamed at & berated me in the parking lot.  (Thankfully, I was stopping at a red light when it began- I can’t imagine having to deal with a flashback while driving!)  As I sat there & tried to ground myself, Sabrina reached over & scratched my hand.  Not bad, but it was enough to jolt me out of the flashback.  She’s never scratched me before or since, but I’m grateful she did that day. Her brother, Zippy, will get in my face & head bonk me to get my attention.  Neither are trained service animals, but they instinctively know what their mommy needs.

 

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Cemented Beliefs

When a belief becomes an irrefutable fact in your mind, I think of it as being cemented in place.  When something is set in cement, it can later be moved, but it’s not easy to move it.  It takes a great deal of work to break down cement.

 

Beliefs are much the same way.  And, recently, I learned that while most beliefs are formed in childhood, some can be cemented while others are not.

 

Growing up, I learned that I didn’t matter other than what I could do for my parents.  Part of that meant if I was sick or injured, it wasn’t important- I needed to keep going rather than rest.  Even if it was really bad, it wasn’t particularly important.  In fact, when I had the chicken pox when I was in the fifth grade, I had a very nasty case.  It lasted for about two weeks.  My mother was so tired of staying home, & complained because my parents & I hadn’t gone out to dinner in so long.  She, my father & I went out to  dinner one night, even though I was still covered in sores.  As she drove out of the neighborhood, she told me to duck down in the backseat & hide since some neighborhood kids were playing outside.  She didn’t want them to see me.  She said if anyone at school mentioned seeing me, to tell them she was taking me to the doctor.

 

Things like this showed me I didn’t matter & that if I was sick or injured, I should keep on going rather than take care of myself, no matter what, & not bother anyone with my “petty” problems.  Thankfully I did start fighting against that belief once I became an adult, although it was a struggle.

 

Then, I married my husband.  He is of almost pure German decent.  As a result, he’s a hard worker & pretty tough. Very little gets him down, & he expects the same of me.

 

After getting extremely sick last year from carbon monoxide poisoning, I was unable to do my usual housework.  It wasn’t long before my husband was upset about having to do all of the chores.  I ended up resuming housework & cooking well before I felt able to do it (recovery from carbon monoxide poisoning can take months, even years, if recovery even happens, that is.).  I honestly believed I should stop being so lazy & get back to work.

 

Recently, I had a nasty flashback.  After the worst was over, I pushed myself to do things I needed to do around the house, in spite of feeling physically & emotionally drained.  I asked God why do I do this?  I know better!  I have C-PTSD & have had carbon monoxide poisoning along with a traumatic brain injury- I can’t just keep on going!  I need rest & lots of it, especially when something like a flashback happens.

 

God showed me the answer immediately.  My husband’s belief that I shouldn’t “let things get me down” cemented in me the belief that my parents tried to instill in me- I shouldn’t take time to rest/heal, no matter how much I need it, & don’t bother people with my problems.  Yes, I had fought against that belief, & even had made some strides in that area.  However, loving my husband & caring what he thinks of me puts him in a unique position in my life.  I don’t want to disappoint him.  Plus, feeling I should keep on going no matter what is such a habit.  I slid back into that dysfunctional pattern without thinking about it.

 

Has this happened to you too?  Are you living out dysfunctional patterns that you feel unable to break because they are cemented in your mind?

 

Dear Reader, don’t lose hope if your answer is yes.  God wants to help you as He is helping me.  He reminds me that it’s OK to take breaks, to sleep in, & take care of myself as needed.  He will do the same for you no matter what the stronghold is!  Simply ask Him,  “Why am I like this?  Please, Father, show me why!  Heal me & show me what I need to do on my end to stop this dysfunction in my life.”  I know, it sounds simple, but it really makes a huge difference!  Once you see the root cause of the bad behavior, you can heal.  It’s kind of like gardening.  If you want to rid your garden of weeds, you can pluck them, but they’ll come back soon.  If you dig them out by the root though, the weeds won’t come back.  Seeing the root of your bad behavior is much like digging that weed out.  You can see how wrong it was to have the bad belief put on you & let God fill your brain with good beliefs, with the truth.

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Helping Others

On June 26, 1982, my great grandmother passed away.  I absolutely adored her, & her death broke my 11 year old heart.  I still miss her often.

 

Her death was the first death of someone close to me that I experienced as a child, & it was devastating.  No less devastating was the fact my parents didn’t care.  My father was caught up in his own grief.  This was his grandmother who he loved dearly.  My mother simply didn’t care about how anyone felt about her death but herself, so she offered me no comfort.

 

On the day of her viewing, my parents & I arrived at the funeral home, to be greeted at the door by my granddad.  While he spoke with my parents, I looked around, & saw my great grandmother in the coffin.  She was dressed in a lovely long pink dress.  I remembered her wearing that same pink dress a few years earlier, as she rode with my parents & I to a wedding.  I too was wearing a long pink dress.  As we rode along, she patted my leg & said, “Us ladies in our long pink dresses.”  That little gesture made me feel so special, & remembering it as she lay there in that same dress, made me burst into tears.  My parents didn’t notice, but Granddad did.  Even though this was his mother, & he was obviously hurting, he grabbed me & hugged me close as I cried uncontrollably.

 

As this scenario played in my mind as it often does around this time of year, I thought about something.

 

There is such a great lack of empathy in the world, & not only among narcissists.  Not a lot of people will cry with someone who is crying, or get angry with someone who has been hurt.  Many people preach forgive & forget.  Others say you should get revenge on the person who hurt you.  Still others say “Get over it.  That was a year ago (or however long ago it was)”.  And yet others compare your story to theirs, & yours always pales in comparison to how terrible their story is.  They got over it- what’s wrong with you that you can’t?

 

When people open up to others, they are making themselves very vulnerable.  They don’t need to be told they’re awful people for not forgiving & forgetting, or that they need to punish their abuser.  They need someone to do what my granddad did on that sad day back in 1981- hug them & let them do what they need to do.

 

Writing about what I do, I’ve heard it all too, & thankfully, I’ve been able to develop a pretty thick skin.  Even so, sometimes it really hurts me when someone says something heartless, such as I need to get over the abuse I’ve been through.  Early in my healing, comments like that broke my heart!  They made me feel like an utter failure.  I even felt like I was disappointing God.  He couldn’t possibly love someone like me, I thought.

 

My thoughts weren’t uncommon.  Many people who have been abused feel the exact same way when insensitive comments are made to them.

 

How do you respond when people tell you their problems?  I’d like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to think about that question honestly.  If you realize you need to improve your behavior in some way, then do it!  You don’t want to hurt anyone!  Obviously- otherwise you wouldn’t be listening & trying to help that person.

 

If you want to be a good listener & help others, then listen to them.  Really listen!  Don’t interject comments or advice, & let the speaker know you are listening.  Nod & make eye contact.  Only offer advice when asked.  Touch the speaker’s hand or arm- a little physical contact often can help when words can’t.  Maybe hug the speaker if you believe he or she is open to that.  If you don’t know, ask if you can hug him/her. Let the speaker ask you questions if they want to.  Offer to take the person out for a distraction if they seem interested.  Going out for coffee or a walk in the park may be just what the person needs.  If the person doesn’t necessarily want to talk, maybe turn on some music, dance around your living room & laugh a lot.  Sometimes the smallest gesture can offer the greatest comfort.  And, never forget to ask God what to do.  He will give you ideas on what you can do to help.

 

Helping others isn’t really hard if you pay attention to people & get creative.  And, as an added bonus, not only do you help that person, but you help yourself as well.  Helping other people simply feels good!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Butterfly Project

As many of you remember, I created The Butterfly Project a few months ago in a simple attempt to help offer inspiration & comfort to victims of narcissistic abuse, while also raising awareness of the horrors of narcissistic abuse.  I hope you have visited the website or follow the Facebook page, & have decided to participate!

 

I also created a twitter page.  You can visit it at: https://twitter.com/ButterfliesProj  Everything that posts to the Facebook page will publish on twitter now, so if you are one of those who doesn’t like Facebook, then I hope twitter will give you a new option for following the page!

 

If you haven’t visited The Butterfly Project, please take a few minutes to check out the website.  It explains in detail what the project is about.

 

Thank you for your time!  I hope you will consider joining me in this project!  It won’t cost you much money or take up much of your time, but the potential to help others is great!

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Does Your Narcissistic Mother Make You Sick?

I’ve been living with a sinus infection for longer than I care to admit.  Finally it seemed to be improving some.  It was wonderful not having a fever or sneezing & coughing every three seconds!

 

Then my narcissistic mother called.

 

As we were on the phone, I started coughing & sniffling more than I had in a while.  Not that she noticed, mind you.  By the time we hung up, I was feeling yukky.  I checked, & I had a slight fever for the first time in a while.

 

Later in the day I mentioned this to my husband.  He said “I’m not surprised.  Her calls often leave you feeling bad.”  I thought about it & he’s right.  I often hang up from her calls with a bad headache, a backache or if I’m already sick, my symptoms get worse.  It’s not a guarantee that every time I’ll feel bad, but it happens often enough.

 

Have you ever noticed if this happens to you too?

 

If it does, I would hazard a guess to say it’s normal.  Years ago, I read somewhere that many people who have experienced trauma or have PTSD have lower back pain with no physical cause.  In fact, 51% of people with PTSD fall into this category.  If dealing with people who have caused you trauma can cause back pain, why couldn’t it also cause you headaches or exacerbating symptoms of an illness you already have?

 

Honestly, I haven’t found a way to avoid this from happening.  Instead, I have decided that I have every right to avoid talking to her if I am not up to the possible physical problems it may cause me.  It is my right to protect my physical & mental health.

 

The same goes for you too, Dear Reader.  If your narcissistic mother makes you feel bad, either physically or mentally, you do NOT need to answer her calls or texts, or visit her if you don’t feel up to it.  I’m not saying cut all ties- certainly that’s an option & often a good one for narcissists, but that decision is entirely yours.  I won’t advocate going no contact or staying in contact,because no one should influence you on such an important & individual matter.  That being said though, limited contact is a good alternative if you are unable to go no contact or unsure if it’s the right solution for you.

 

Limited contact simply means what it sounds like- limiting the time you spend with your narcissistic mother.  Not answering her call every time she calls, not responding to her texts or emails right away & not spending a great deal of time with her- instead only doing so as you feel able to do so.  This is the option I’ve chosen with my mother & although it’s not a perfect solution (no such thing exists, especially with narcissists), it works pretty well for the most part.

 

I urge you to pray about it, Dear Reader.  If dealing with your narcissistic mother affects your physical & mental health, you certainly have every right to go limited contact with no guilt.  As I said earlier, you have the right to protect your physical & mental health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Be God In Someone’s Life

Many people are suffering these days in some way.  They want answers or help, or at the very least a shoulder to cry on.  Unfortunately, if you’re a good listener & try to bless people, these people often come to you to meet their needs.

 

There is certainly nothing wrong with listening or helping people as you can.  In fact, that’s a good thing.  However, sometimes people take it further than that.  They are so used to you helping them, that they come to expect it.  In fact, they expect you to fix whatever is wrong in their lives, & get mad if you don’t.

 

Many years ago, my ex husband & I shut the ringer off on our phone one evening.  We just wanted a quiet evening.  We heard our answering machine clicking, which meant someone was leaving a message.  This happened repeatedly.  Eventually when we listened, the messages were from a couple we were friends with.  The wife was pregnant & was having problems.  They expected me to take them to the hospital & were furious that they had to find someone else to take them.  In spite of the idea for shutting off the phone’s ringer being my ex’s idea, they were mad at me.  I shouldn’t have done that to them.

 

I’ve been in many other situations where so-called friends were mad at me for not fixing whatever their problems were.  Having narcissistic parents, I always felt that I was responsible for fixing people’s problems, so when I let them down somehow, I felt really guilty.  God showed me that this was wrong.  People need to look to Him, not other people, for their solutions.  While sometimes He may use people to help others, still, the person with the problem needs to keep their focus on God to solve it.  Not doing that means a person is making another person God in his or her life.

 

I never thought of it this way, but it made sense to me.  Being the solution to someone’s problems isn’t a good thing when it happens over & over.  It means they hold you responsible for things that aren’t your responsibility.  This puts a tremendous burden on you that you weren’t meant to carry.  It keeps the relationship unbalanced.  You are meeting their needs, as they expect you to, while there is an unspoken rule that you aren’t to ask them for anything in return.   It also takes their eyes off God when they should be on Him.  And, they praise you instead of God for fixing their problems when He should’ve been the one to fix things & get the praise for it.

 

Whether you are in the position of being the one expecting another to fix your problems or you are the fixer (like so many adult children of narcissistic parents), it’s time for you to make a change.

 

To start with, go to God first.  Ask Him if you should help this person or not.  If not, maybe you can guide this person to someone who can help him or her better than you can.  Or, if you’re the one wanting someone to fix your problems, stop running to that person & ask God what you should do in this situation.

 

You need to remind yourself that your job is NOT to fix everyone!  Growing up with narcissistic parents, I know it feels that way, but it’s just one more lie they told you.  (If you don’t believe me, ask God.  He will tell you the truth!)  They probably wanted you to believe this lie to justify them expecting so much from you.  If your job is to fix everyone’s life, then it’s OK for them to use you.

 

If you are the one expecting someone to fix your life, then before you pick up your phone, remember, it is no one’s job but yours to fix your problems!  If someone helps you, it’s a blessing, not something another person owes you.

 

Breaking old habits can be difficult but that doesn’t mean impossible.  You can make the changes you need to make, & be much happier for doing so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Update On “Stealing Grief” Post

I recently mentioned in this post how I’d had a big argument with my parents on May 5.  I tried mentally to put the incident in a box on a shelf, so I could grieve the loss of my sweet kitty Weeble that passed away only 3 days prior to the argument.  I discussed that in this post.

 

This actually worked pretty well for a short time.  Not perfectly- I kept having dreams that I didn’t remember, which was evidence my mind was still trying to process what my parents did to me.  It also left me quite tired.  But at least while awake I was able to focus more on grieving my loss, as I needed to do.  Recently though, I felt I was unable to keep my parents in that box any longer.  I knew it was time to deal with what they had done to me.

 

I wanted to mention how it worked out because if anyone tries to do as I did, you need to know it really is NOT a perfect solution.  It definitely helped me, but it certainly wasn’t perfect.

 

It is also not a permanent solution.  Stuffing your emotions or refusing to face things is never good for your mental health.  You need to deal with what happens in your life, good, bad or indifferent if you want to remain mentally healthy!

 

Even keeping these things in mind, I still would recommend mentally putting other problems in a box if you’re feeling overwhelmed.  The time I was able to successfully do so enabled me mostly to deal with the more important & pressing matter at hand, which was grieving my loss.  By the time I felt that box had to come off the shelf, I was more able to handle dealing with it than I had been.

 

Also, for me, I knew it was time to deal with that box on the shelf because  thoughts of what happened started forcing their way into my mind even though I didn’t want them to.  I also started remembering my dreams again.  Sometimes when things are too difficult to process or you are too overwhelmed to deal with them, you don’t remember your dreams.  It’s your mind’s way of dealing with things you don’t feel able to deal with.  Remembering the dreams means you are more able to cope.  So pay attention to your dreams!  They are valuable teachers!  Not only what you dream about, but whether or not you remember them.  (Just FYI, I like using http://www.dreammoods.com for a dream dictionary.  That site plus prayer has enabled me to understand many of my dreams.)

 

And, regarding my parents… I reached a decision on what to do regarding them.  After some prayer & talking with my dear friend, I realized what I need to do.  Nothing.  I had wondered if I should go no contact or try to work things out or what, but doing nothing makes the most sense to me.  I’ve always been the one who tries to work things out, & frankly, I’m tired of that.  I quit.  They did me wrong, so they can apologize or not- it’s up to them (although I don’t expect to hear an apology since neither one grasps why I was so angry).  I had planned on taking some time away from them, but unfortunately I slipped up & answered the phone when my father called recently.  I had taken something to help me sleep & was starting to feel a bit woozy, plus it’s such a habit to just answer the phone.  UGH!!!  (I need to remember not to answer the phone after a sleeping pill..)  Turns out he thinks all is fine now.  He gave me some passive/aggressive, snarky comments so he’s happy & doesn’t seem to care that I’m not.  Life with narcissistic parents.. so much fun isn’t it?  lol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some Ways To Deal With Narcissists

Most people who know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder say the only way to deal with a narcissist is not to deal with a narcissist.  Cut ties with them & never look back.

 

Sometimes, though, that isn’t a possible solution, & other times, it isn’t a desired one for various reasons.  I understand this- I have opted to go limited contact with my narcissistic mother.  This comes with challenges, but even so, in my heart I believe it is the right solution for me.

 

Limited contact has forced me to get creative with ways to deal with her.  Today I thought I would share some of them for those of you who are also still in a relationship with your narcissistic mothers.

 

  • Distance.  It’s really our friend.  Limit your contact with your narcissistic mother as much as possible.  When you visit her or are on the phone with her, limit your time with her to what you’re comfortable with.
  • Keep focused.  Narcissists love to gaslight & confuse their victims.  Don’t let her distract you.  Keep the conversation on the topic at hand, not how much more successful your sister is, what a good daughter her friend has or how badly you’ve disappointed your mother by not doing what she thinks you should do with your life.
  • Always respond, never react.  Reacting happens out of emotion where responding happens after a moment of contemplation.  When your narcissistic mother angers you, stop for a second.  Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, then speak.
  • Keep your sense of humor.  It’ll help you keep your sanity when you realize just how over the top ridiculous some of her antics really are.  It also helps her nastiness hurt you less when you can laugh.
  • Be emotionless.  While stuffing your emotions is not a good thing in general, in the presence of narcissists, it is a necessary survival tactic.  If you show your hurt or anger to a narcissist, they see they have power over you & get even more abusive.  Showing no emotions while in their presence minimizes the verbal abuse.  Then, once you leave them, find a safe outlet for your anger & frustration.  Journalling, talking to a safe & supportive friend, etc.
  • Use logic.  Want to frazzle your narcissistic mother?  Use logic. For example, if you lose your job & your narcissistic mother responds by reminding you that you have rent & a car payment, you can respond by asking (in a very matter of fact tone of voice) how is this supposed to help you?  Did she really think this hadn’t crossed your mind?  She won’t know how to respond to you.
  • Live your life on your terms.  Nothing will drive a narcissistic mother crazier than you living your life, your way.  It will bother her that she can’t make you do whatever it is she thinks you need to do with your life.  And the best part is you will enjoy your life!

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Even Strong People Have Needs

I’ve always been a strong person.  In fact, the night of my first nervous breakdown, thanks to my mother’s verbal attack, I didn’t sleep at all, then went to work the following morning.  That’s pretty strong!

 

As the years have passed, I developed C-PTSD that left me much less able to cope.  Three years after that, I got a brain injury from passing out from carbon monoxide & hitting my head.  The TBI changed me a great deal.  One of those changes is I’m no longer the strong chick I once was.  I get overwhelmed by the tiniest things, such as having to change my daily routine.  And, if I’m already stressed, it gets even worse.

 

I’m still getting used to not being strong anymore.  I’ve noticed though, that people around me haven’t seemed to notice the change.  People still think I’m able to handle pretty much anything which isn’t even close to reality.

 

When you’re a strong person, people tend to forget that you need help or need a break sometimes, too.  Even if you haven’t changed like I have, you still need help or a break.  Everyone does, but often people forget that when they are accustomed to relying on you.

 

If you are in this position, then it’s time for a change.  No one, no matter how strong, can keep going indefinitely.  Everyone needs help sometimes, & there is no shame in asking for that help.  It’s time to start telling people you need a break or asking for help.  I know it’s hard to do when you aren’t used to doing it, so don’t forget to ask God to help you in this area!

 

Ask God also to help you to have & enforce good boundaries.  Don’t keep pushing yourself when you’re exhausted.  You have the right to take care of your physical & mental health!

 

Remember, “no” can be a very good word sometimes.  If people look to you for help or support constantly, they aren’t looking to God.  He is where they should be looking, not you.  God should be that person’s everything, not you!

 

One thing that helps me a lot is alone time.  If you’re an introvert too, then be sure to tell people you need time alone to recharge.  Some extroverts don’t like to hear that, but that isn’t your problem.  Make sure they understand that it’s not them- alone time makes you feel like being around others makes them feel.  Take the alone time you need.  Or, if you’re an extrovert, then plan fun times with good friends or go to parties so you can recharge.

 

Remember, just because you’re strong doesn’t mean you need to be strong 24/7/365.  Everyone needs breaks & help sometimes.  There is no shame in that!  Besides, taking care of yourself also means you’ll be more able to help others when they do need you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do You Validate Abuse?

Most of us who have experienced abuse in our childhood have trouble standing up for ourselves even as adults.  It feels wrong, like something you should never do.

 

But, did it ever cross your mind that by not defending yourself, you are validating the abuse?  It gives the abuser permission to treat you however they want to.

 

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, it’s not always easy to put a stop to their evil actions.  They seem to think they have the right to do anything they want to whomever they want.  Even so, it’s a good idea to set some boundaries with them.

 

Remember, with narcissists, you can’t set boundaries like you can with normal people.  Normal people will respect it when you say that something they did hurt you.  They will apologize & try to make it up to you when appropriate.  Narcissists are the complete opposite- they will not only refuse to apologize, but remember what you complain about to do it more often.  They also may blame you for making them do that, being oversensitive or even making things up.

 

You have to get creative in setting boundaries with narcissists.

 

First, ask God for creative ideas.  He will NOT disappoint you!  Once, my mother told me where a former teacher of mine works.  She said he asked about me & she told him I don’t work (apparently being an author isn’t a real job.. could’ve fooled me!).  That made me angry, her discounting my writing yet again.  In venting to God, He put an idea in my head.  I made up new business cards, & when I saw this teacher with my parents a couple of weeks later, proceeded to give him one in front of my mother.  The look of shock on her face was priceless!  And, she couldn’t say a thing or else she would have looked bad in front of my old teacher.  HA!

 

Secondly, always do your best to appear happy or neutral when setting a boundary.  Never show your hurt or anger, as I mentioned above.  Also, it flusters them when you can set a boundary cheerfully after their valiant attempt to hurt you.  When they get flustered, they will stop what they are doing.

 

And, don’t forget- subject changes can be your friend.  Rather than saying you don’t want to talk about whatever topic they are using to hurt you, change the subject.  It may not always work, but it will help you sometimes.  Just be sure to keep changing the topic back to what they wanted to talk about if they try to change it back.

 

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Stealing Your Grief

I coined this phrase, stealing grief, after losing my sweet kitty, Vincent.  Vincent had been my granddad’s cat, & a cousin took him after Granddad died.  Several years later, she asked me to baby sit him while she moved, then said I could keep him.  I was blessed to have him for just over 2 years when he passed away very suddenly & unexpectedly.  Losing him was especially hard for me, not only because he was an awesome cat, but he had been Granddad’s best friend.  I felt like I was losing a part of Granddad as well as losing Vincent.  The combined loss was devastating.

 

I told my father about losing Vincent a day or so after his death.  The following day, my mother called as I was not only grieving but in bed sick with the flu.  She told me my father told her about Vincent.  She also said how he was never happy with me- he was only happy with Granddad.  He was miserable in my home, according to her.  Between feeling very sick & grieving, I couldn’t even respond to what she said.  I just cried.  Her words hurt me to my core, even though I knew they weren’t true.  For a while, I was so hurt, I focused on that instead of grieving Vincent.  I felt my grief process had been stolen due to the hurt I felt from my mother’s hatefulness.

 

Prior to that incident, when losing cats, if my mother even acknowledged the loss, she told me that they were better off dead than with me as their mom or “oh well.. at least you don’t have any sick ones now.”  Each time her callous & evil words interrupted my natural grief process, leaving me wounded & hurting even more than usual because of being oversensitive due to grief.  I stopped telling my parents when we’ve lost furbabies because of this.

 

I realized that this was done purposely.  My mother, in typical narcissistic fashion, likes to hurt me, & when I’m already hurting, she is capable of hurting me much more deeply than usual.  She is opportunistic, kicking me when I’m down, as narcissists are.

 

I also realized that this isn’t simply another jab at me.  It’s incredibly disrespectful to my furbabies, because she is distracting me from the natural course of grieving the loss of a wonderful creature.

 

I know that grief isn’t fun.  In fact, it feels like hell on Earth when you’re going through it.  However, it’s also necessary if you are to process the pain of losing someone you love in a healthy manner.  It’s the price you pay for loving someone.  It shouldn’t be interrupted!  It should be allowed to run its course until you reach that place of acceptance that the one you love is gone, & you can begin to adapt to your new life without that person.

 

Interrupting grief drags the process out & makes it much harder than it already is.  It adds to & prolongs your suffering, which is no doubt what the narcissist enjoys so much.  Now your grief will take longer & be harder, plus she was able to dump more pain on you!  YAY!  Sick?  Oh yea.  But that’s how narcissists think.

 

I have learned the hard way that this has to stop.  I can’t make my parents stop trying to steal my grief, but I can continue grieving in a healthy way in spite of them.

 

When we lost our 16 year old tabby cat with an attitude, Weeble on May 2, a few days later, my parents & I got into a big argument.  I mentioned it in this post.  It was extremely hurtful, even though I’d been expecting a fight, just not quite this exact one.  In the heat of the fight, I told my father I couldn’t deal with this topic since I’d just lost Weeble.  I ended up telling him 2 things about that- please don’t tell my mother because I don’t need to hear her nastiness & I also need time to myself to grieve.  He disregarded this & called me non stop two days later, trying to bully me into answering the phone, because HE wanted to talk to me.  My wishes meant nothing apparently.  When I finally did talk to him, I told him again I need time to myself, leave me alone. This past Monday, my parents’ number showed up on my caller ID repeatedly.  Again.  UGH!  Wednesday night, my mother called & my husband talked to her since I wasn’t up to it.  Would be nice if they listened when I set boundaries.. sheesh.

 

Anyway, I’ve taken the time to mentally put his & my mother’s horrible behavior on the back burner.  I imagine putting them in a box, & putting it on a shelf, to deal with later, when I am able to.  For now, I’m focusing on my grief.  I’m grieving fully the loss of a beautiful, wonderful little girl who made my life better, which she deserves & I need to do.

 

If you too end up in this painful position with a narcissist, then please remember this!  Don’t let them steal your grief.  You need to take care of yourself during this fragile time.  If you need space, take it & without guilt.  If you must deal with your narcissistic parent(s), then try doing as I have- imagine putting her (them) in a box & placing it on a shelf, until you are able to deal with that pain.  I know that stuffing emotions is a bad thing, but this is different- it’s simply postponing dealing with them temporarily until you are more able to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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