Tag Archives: cope

Encouragement For Those Still In A Relationship With A Narcissist

I’m writing this post for those of you who are currently  unwilling or unable to go no contact with a narcissist.

Almost every article out there regarding victims of narcissistic abuse says the same thing – “just go no contact.”   The tone in many of these articles & even some fellow survivors can be downright shaming.  They make it sound like being unable or unwilling to go no contact means you’re weak, stupid or something is very wrong with you.

No contact is almost always the best way to deal with a narcissist, but that still doesn’t make it an easy solution.  It always hurts to end a relationship, even when the person with whom you’re ending it is abusive.  The closer the relationship the more it hurts, too.  If you’re ending a relationship with your parent, that is going to hurt a great deal more than ending it with someone you have dated only a month.  Narcissists usually abuse those closest to them.   This is why the most abusive relationships with a narcissist are close relationships, such as parents & spouses.

There is also the fact that narcissists are able to behave & treat people right (they just prefer acting the way they do because it gets them what they want).  When they behave, they can be so very good & loving!  Seeing that, it’s hard to want to leave them because you can’t help but hoping that good part of them will stick around for good.

Not wanting to end a relationship with a narcissist doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or you’re weak.  It means you’re normal!

It often takes a lot of time to work up the inner strength to be able to go no contact.  Narcissists beat their victims down so badly, they can utterly destroy their victim’s self esteem.  Even when you learn what is happening, it still takes time to repair your self esteem & to build up enough strength to sever ties.

Or, maybe you believe in your heart that the timing isn’t right just yet  for no contact.  That happened to me with my parents.  I wanted to go no contact with them for well over a year before I felt God was saying it was time.

A lot of times, a victim who lives with a narcissist is financially dependent on that narcissist.  Narcissists love using money as a means of control, so often they take away any access a victim has to money, even if it’s his or her own paycheck.   It takes time to be able to find means of supporting oneself in these situations.

There are also some narcissists who are pretty low on the spectrum.  Yes, that person causes problems but they aren’t over the top in their behavior.  In cases like this, some people would prefer to learn ways to deal with these people than end those relationships, & it is their right to do that.

None of the above situations make a person weak or flawed.

For those of you who are in situations like these, I want to encourage you today.

It’s very difficult at best being in a relationship with a narcissist, I know.  Until the time comes when you are ready & willing to go no contact, there are some things you can do to make your relationship with this person a little easier.

The first thing you should do is ask God to show you creative & effective ways to cope with this person & also to enable you to go no contact if that is your desired result.

Always remember that narcissists are all about gaining narcissistic supply.  It’s the motivation behind everything they do.  Any attention or reaction you give them, good or bad, provides supply.  Learn to be as boring to the narcissist as possible.  Show them no anger, sadness or happiness.  Be calm & collected in the presence of the narcissist.  Offer simple answers without explanations.  Provide no personal information.  This is known as the Gray Rock method.

Don’t forget to question whatever the narcissist says.  They are masters of gaslighting & manipulation, so basically almost everything they say needs to be examined.  Ask yourself if what they say is true or not.  You also can question the narcissist directly.  If you opt to do that, do it calmly in your best gray rock way.  “Why do you think that?”  “Explain how that makes sense.. I don’t follow you.”  Logical & calmly asked questions can throw a narcissist off balance.  They show her that you’re onto her.

Never forget to keep & enforce healthy boundaries.  You have every right to tell the narcissist no & to expect to be treated with respect.  Don’t explain your boundaries either, as the narcissist will tell you why your boundaries are wrong, & may make you doubt yourself.  Or, if you feel you absolutely must explain something, remember to stay gray rock & keep all explanations minimal.

Never forget that whatever any narcissist is doing isn’t about you.  It’s about them.  Everything is always all about them!  Yes, that person is hurting & abusing you, but it’s because it makes her feel better.  It’s not because you have done something to deserve it.  Also, nothing that person says about you is true.  Narcissists project their own flaws onto their victims.  It doesn’t mean you actually are whatever the narcissist says you are.  In fact, if you listen to what the narcissist says about you, you can learn a lot about that person.  If she calls you a liar, it’s because she lies often.

If your goal is to go no contact in the future, low contact may be an excellent option for you.  It’s as the name describes – you are in low contact with the narcissist.  You don’t take phone calls or visit  often, but only when you feel able instead.  Low contact can be a really good stepping stone to no contact.

While there are no easy, one size fits all solutions for narcissists, these tactics can help you at least.  And, don’t forget – there is nothing wrong with you for being unable or unwilling to go no contact.  It’s a very big decision, & every person has to do it only when & if they feel equipped to do so.

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When You Don’t Know What To Say To Someone Who Is Suffering

It seems like when someone is suffering in some way, the majority of people have no clue on what to say.  Rather than saying nothing or admitting they don’t know what to say, most people make insensitive, hurtful or even invalidating comments….

  • “You should be glad your grandmother died.. she’s not suffering anymore.”
  • “I know you’re sick.  I had that same problem & it was horrible.  I ended up in the hospital & in more pain than I thought was possible!”
  • “The reason you have this problem is you just don’t have enough faith!”
  • “You should be grateful it’s not worse!  Other people have it much worse than you do!”

Comments like these are invalidating & hurtful.  They also make the person with the problem feel as if they are whining about some petty little problem instead of the crisis they are facing.  These are the last things a person needs to feel but especially at this time!

If someone you know is having a problem, then please, PLEASE seriously think about what you say to that person.  You don’t want to make them feel worse than they already do.  Also, a good idea is to ask God to give you the right words to say.  He will be glad to do so.  Luke 12:12 says, “The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say at the moment when you need them.” (VOICE)  

Don’t forget too that people are individuals.  Even if you have experienced the exact same problem as your friend, you both will handle it differently because you’re individuals.  Just because your friend feels differently than you did or is handling the situation in a different way than you did doesn’t mean that friend is wrong.

Remember, the situation is about your friend, not you.  Even if you experienced the exact same problem, keep the main focus on your friend, not you or what you did.  It’s fine to share that information if your friend asks, but the main focus should be on your friend.

This brings me to another point.  Don’t offer advice unless asked for it.  A lot of times, people just want to vent or talk about their problem to help them get some clarity.  They aren’t looking for you to solve it.  They’re looking for you to listen & offer empathy.

Don’t go too far with positivity.  Sometimes being too positive comes across as invalidating.  When I survived carbon monoxide poisoning in 2015, I nearly died.  It was tough to come to terms with.  Upon telling one person that I came very close to death, that person said, “But you didn’t die!”  That comment came across as something was wrong with me for being upset instead of only being grateful I survived.  “I’m so glad you didn’t die!” would’ve been a much better response.  That response would have shown the person accepted that the situation was bad & they care about me rather than basically shaming me for being upset as any normal person would’ve been.  Being positive can be a good thing but sometimes it’s also ok to admit something is very wrong, & to respond accordingly.

There are also some situations where you simply have no clue what to say.  When a person loses someone they love, for example, there is nothing in this world you can say to make their pain go away.  Rather than try, simply be honest.  Admit that you don’t know what to say, but you’re there for them if they need anything.  When my father was dying, a couple we’re friends with stopped by our home one day.  Neither had said anything so I wasn’t sure if they knew about my father or not.  I mentioned it along with the abuse I received from the flying monkeys at the time during our conversation.  They said, “We saw you mentioned it on Facebook, but honestly, we had no clue what to say.  We’re sorry all this is happening.”  That may have been the best thing anyone said to me at that time.  They were honest, non-judgmental & not critical at all, which was just what I needed.

Lastly, don’t forget to offer to pray with & for your friend.  I’ve noticed even people who don’t share my faith appreciate the offer a great deal.  Prayer seems to offer comfort to most people, no matter their religious beliefs.  However, if the person in question is angry with God or adamant in believing He doesn’t exist, this is not a good thing to say.  Nothing says you can’t pray for that person when not in their presence though…

Dear Reader, please keep these things in mind when someone you know is suffering.  These simple tips will help your friend & maybe even strengthen your relationship.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Anger After Narcissistic Abuse

One topic that I haven’t seen a great deal of information on is anger after narcissistic abuse.  It’s a pity too because most victims face a great deal of it, & rightly so!

Not long ago, as I was praying, God spoke to my heart & said that I have a lot of anger inside.  He was not accusatory, simply stating a fact.  He also said it’s time to face it.

I was less than thrilled with this.  Like all other victims I have spoken with, anger was just one more facet of myself I ignored rather than face my mother’s ridicule or shaming for my terrible temper.  It’s only in the last couple of years I’ve begun to recognize & face when I get angry, & it’s not fun!  I’m still not used to it.  Even so, God’s been helping me.

He showed me why this happens in victims, why so many of us stuff our anger.  It isn’t only due to the ridicule & shaming from the narcissists.  It’s also because in many cases, we had two narcissistic parents, & when the overt was abusive, the covert turned the situation around to him or her, & how painful it is for that parent.  As children, we comfort that parent rather than face our anger regarding what was done to us.

There is also the fact that most narcissistic parents don’t give their children time to recover from one abusive incident before inflicting another.  There simply isn’t time to process the anger!  The victim is too busy trying to survive, so emotions get pushed aside so survival instincts can work.  This becomes a habit, even into adulthood, & victims ignore their emotions without even realizing it.

Often, people don’t want to hear our stories.  “It’s in the past”  “Let it go”  “Stop wallowing” “You need to forgive & forget!” & other callous phrases show victims it isn’t safe to talk about their experiences & emotions, so they continue ignoring their emotions.

We can’t forget the flying monkeys, either.  Prior to learning about narcissism or in the very early stages of learning about it, it’s easy to buy into their nonsensical logic.  “That’s your mother!”  “You only get one set of parents!”  “They won’t be around forever yanno!” Such gibberish can make a person feel guilty for their feelings, & resume the dysfunctional lifestyle that is so familiar.

While these situations are understandable, that doesn’t mean they need to be permanent!  Dear Reader, maybe it’s your time to face your anger too!

I know facing anger is scary, especially when you haven’t done it before, but it is also necessary for your mental & physical health!  Holding it in can cause all sorts of physical & mental problems such as high blood pressure, kidney problems, pains without a physical cause, depression & more.  You deserve better than that, don’t you agree?

Once you decide to start facing it, pray.  Let God help you through this difficult process.  I found He guides me to what I need to face & only allows things in small doses.  The anger isn’t overwhelming that way.  I also talk to Him a lot about what I feel, which helps so much in getting it out of me.

Journaling about it is also very helpful!  Seeing your story in writing can be shocking at first, but it also reminds you that yes, this happened, yes it was awful & no it was not something you deserved.

Talk to safe, non judgmental friends.  They can be a gift from God!  They’ll understand, support & validate you, all of which are so very important!

As you work through your anger, you may feel like suddenly you’re angry about all kinds of things that never bothered you before.  I firmly believe this is normal.  I believe facing the unfairness of the awful things done to you seems to make you more aware than you once were of just how many awful or even simply wrong things have been done to you.  I don’t mean things like someone stealing your parking space.  I mean things like how you are usually the one to compromise with your spouse.  Maybe you’ve just always done it, but suddenly you’re seeing that isn’t right & your spouse could do some compromising too for a change.  Just work through that anger like the rest, & have a talk with your spouse when you are able to do so calmly.

You can get through this ugly process, Dear Reader, & you will be so much better for doing so!  You’ll feel freer & more peace & joy than ever.  xoxo

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Phrases That Shut Narcissists Down

Don’t you wish you knew some ways to shut the narcissist in your life down & make them behave?  Well, I can’t promise you some magical words that make narcissists behave, but there are some things you can say to shut them down temporarily…

  • Don’t let the narcissist change the subject.  When you need to discuss something important to you such as the narcissist’s bad behavior, you can count on her changing the subject in an attempt to avoid being called out.  As frustrating as it can be, keep changing the subject back to what you want to discuss.
  • Let the narcissist know she doesn’t scare you.  Narcissists love to intimidate their victims, but truthfully, most of their “intimidation” is nothing but smoke & mirrors.  In typical bully fashion, narcissists often make threats they won’t follow through on in an attempt to scare victims into doing their will.  What is the worst this person can do to you?  Chances are when you think about it, you’ll realize it’s not really a lot.
  • Use logic.  Ask logical questions.  “So you think I should do what you want even though I don’t want to do it.  Why?  How does doing that benefit me?  Seems to me it benefits you & hurts me.”  “You think I’m fat?  You know I weigh 110 pounds.  Unless a person is 2′ tall, that’s not fat, & I’m taller than that.”  “How is it my fault you lost your job?”  Doing this in a calm way calls the narcissist out in such a manner that she can’t get mad at you without looking foolish.  Often, they simply change the subject when a victim does this.  End of nasty comments!
  • Do not allow the narcissist to make decisions for you.  Any decisions that the narcissist makes for you gives her a bit of control over you, even if it’s something as simple as what you order for dinner.  If she tells you to try the soup, order a sandwich.  Simply say something like, “No thanks.. I want to do/try this instead.”  in a calm manner & follow through.
  • Do not take orders from the narcissist.  Narcissists do love to control others, don’t they?!  My mother used to bark out orders to me like I was the hired help.  I found a way to put a stop to it when I realized just how much she enjoyed doing this.  When she told me to do something, I would do it but add in a comment like, “Of course!  I’d be glad to do it since you asked so nicely.  You’re welcome!”  The first time I did that, the look of shock on her face was priceless.  But, it did change her behavior for a bit.  When she slid into her old habits, I said the same kind of comment & she behaved again for a while.  Or, if it was something I didn’t want to do, I’d nicely say, “Nope.  Not gonna happen.” & change the subject.  Usually a small narcissistic rage followed both of these, but it was very small usually consisting of a few snarky comments.
  • Say, “no” without any explanation.  This might just make the narcissist’s head explode.. lol  There isn’t one narcissist alive who is ok with being told no, but especially sans a good explanation.  You owe no one any explanation, especially a narcissist who will just twist your words around to make you look & feel bad, so don’t give them that opportunity.  Honestly, doing this can kinda be fun too.. if you’ve read this story of mine before, I apologize for the repeat but it’s such a good example!  Years ago, when my husband & I were at his parents’ house, my mother in-law said she wanted me to do something for her.  I didn’t want to, plus I had an appointment on the day in question.  Although I could’ve rearranged things, I opted not to because she was so hateful to me.  “Quality time” with her was not something I wanted.  When she told me I could do this thing, I said no, I couldn’t.  She said, “Oh.  Well it must be awful important if you won’t help me because of it.”  I gave a non committal “hmm mm.”  As the visit wore on, she kept bringing it up.  “You must be doing something for your parents that day.”  “Nope.”  I forget what all she asked me, but each time, I either said no or didn’t respond at all.  By the time we left her house, I was surprised her head didn’t explode!  She was dying to know my plans & couldn’t get mad at me for not sharing them without looking like a jerk to my father in-law & husband!  It was amazing!!!

Although nothing can stop narcissists completely, doing these simple things will help you to keep your sanity & make them behave better even if only temporarily.  I wish you the best in your situation!

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Simple Answers Are Often The Best Answers

Matthew 5:37  “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one.”  (AMP)

One common sign that you grew up with a narcissistic parent is the need to over explain everything about yourself.  For example, if someone asks you to go with them & you don’t want to, you feel you must give them a very valid reason why you can’t rather than say “I don’t want to go there” or even simply “No.”

Maybe this is because our narcissistic parents made us so afraid of upsetting them, we learned early always to have a reason that they could accept.  Anything beat facing that scary narcissistic rage!

In any case, there is rarely a valid need to explain yourself, & definitely no need to over-explain yourself anymore.  Even the Bible says in Matthew 5:37 to keep it simple.  It doesn’t say you should go into great detail.  In fact, it says anything more comes from the “evil one.”

I don’t believe that this Scripture means you are evil if you over explain yourself.  I think it tells us that if you feel the need to do so, that someone evil or at least influenced by evil is putting that need in you.  If you think about it, mentally healthy people may ask for an explanation, but they don’t need a lot of details & they accept it even if they disagree with it.  Narcissists, however, require much more.  Let me provide an example..

Years ago, my late covertly narcissistic mother in-law asked me if I could do something for her in a few days.  I said no because I had an appointment that day.  (Granted, I could’ve moved things around & helped, but frankly, I didn’t want to- she was awful to me every single time we were alone.)  At this point, a mentally healthy person would’ve said, “Oh ok..” & figured out someone else to ask for help.  Not my mother in-law.  She obviously was upset I wouldn’t help her & wanted to know what I had to do that was more important to me than help her.  She asked what I had to do & I ignored her question.  She said, “Are you doing something for your parents?”  I said, “No.”  She said, “Well, it must be awful important if you can’t help me…”  (nice attempt at guilt, no?  lol  It didn’t work.)  I forget the other things she said, but until my husband & I left her home about 20 minutes later, she continually tried to get me to tell her why I wasn’t able to help her rather than simply accept the fact I had something else to do.  (On a funny note: Refusing to give her the information she wanted infuriated her.  But, she couldn’t admit that without looking bad in front of my husband & father in-law who were in the room with us.   It was hilarious to me, watching her get more & more frustrated & unable to do anything about it as I stayed calm.  Not sure how I didn’t laugh in her presence, but I held myself together until we were in the car & away from her home.)

This is typical narcissistic behavior- they feel they have the right to know every tiny detail about you when the truth is, they don’t have that right.  My no should have sufficed.  She truly didn’t care about me or what was going on in my life.  She only wanted to know what I was doing that day so she could use the information to criticize me for not helping her (“You think that is more important than me?!  That’s so mean!!  What’s wrong with you?”) or blab to her whole family my personal information.  Is that behavior not evil?

I think it is a good idea to use the reaction of a person to your “yes” & “no” as a gauge to see how safe a person is.  Safe people may sometimes ask you why you said what you did, but are satisfied with a simple explanation such as, “I have an appointment at that time & can’t make it.”  Unsafe people will respond as my mother in-law did- refusing to simply accept your answer, & doing their best to get you to explain in great detail why you responded to them as you did.

 

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Simple Ways To Set Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents

As I’ve said many times, my heart goes out to those in the position of being unable or unwilling to go no contact with their narcissistic parents.  You’re in a tough, tough place, & I understand since I’ve been there.  I want to help you if I can, & that is what today’s post is about.

There are some small, easy ways you can set boundaries with your narcissistic parent while not eliminating them from your life entirely.

For starters, reduce the amount of time you spend with your narcissistic parent.  Don’t visit or have your parent visit you as often.  Stop taking their calls every time they call.  Ask yourself if you feel up to dealing with your parent, & if not, don’t take that call or visit.

When you must visit or speak with your parent on the phone, set a time limit.  Don’t allow your narcissistic parent to waste half your day when that is so hard on you!  Set a limit, then say “I have to go” & go.

Also if you visit your narcissistic parent, have a way out.  Plan something to do so you only have a limited time to spend with your parent.  If you can’t think of something, say you just remembered something you have to take care of & go.  It’s not a lie- you remembered you have to take care of yourself!

Remember to keep the conversation away from you.  Your love life, in-laws, job, troubles & even your mental & physical health should be off the table for topics to discuss with your narcissistic parent.  Giving any narcissist personal information is just asking for trouble such as criticism & unasked for, useless advice.  Change the subject if your parent wants or demands to know something personal about you.  If all else fails, ask your parent about something that matters to her.  Chances are excellent she’ll drop the matter at the opportunity to talk about herself.

If you’re dependent even slightly on your narcissistic parent financially, find ways to put an end to it.  Narcissists love controlling their adult children with money, so remove that tool if at all possible.  If not, then at least find ways to reduce the amount.

If you have pets or kids, have strict boundaries in place.  It is your job to protect them & that includes from abusive & narcissistic parents.

When it’s time to set boundaries with your parent, remain calm.  Show no emotion, simply state the facts.  Any signs you are upset will fuel your narcissistic parent’s behavior.  Stay calm, state your boundary & the consequence of your parent not respecting the boundary, then enforce it if necessary.

If you’re friends on social media, unfollow your narcissistic parent.  You will remain friends, but you won’t see her posts which can reduce stress.

If you must go somewhere with your narcissistic parent, drive separately.  That way, you are free to leave at any time if need be.  Also, cars are a great weapon for some narcissists.  There is no escape- you have to put up with whatever they do when you’re in a car together.   My mother loved having me trapped in her car, & used it to scream at me when I was a kid or belittle me as an adult.

Always remember the Gray Rock Method.  Think about what gives your narcissistic parent narcissistic supply, & refuse to provide it.  Basically, you need to be boring to her.  Don’t admire her.  Don’t praise her.  Don’t get angry at her so she can portray herself as the victim.  Don’t coddle her.  Don’t share anything personal about yourself that she could use against you or as fuel to spread lies about you.  Don’t empathize with her if someone has hurt her.  Show no real interest in her problems.  If she needs your assistance with something, do the bare minimum, don’t go above & beyond.  Gray Rock can be hard at first because every tiny thing can provide narcissistic supply, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Lastly, pray & pray often.  Ask God to help you cope with your narcissistic parent, to give you the right words to say, & to give you effective, creative ways to cope with her behavior.  He will NOT disappoint you!

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Ways To Repel Narcissists

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Ways To Shut Down Narcissistic Abuse

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Some Reasons People Try To Stop Victims From Discussing Narcissistic Abuse

I’m sure we’ve all been there.  We try to discuss some about our traumatic situations with a narcissist only to be met with someone trying to shut us down.  They clearly don’t want to hear about it & say things to invalidate your pain such as “Just get over it already,”  “Lots of people were abused by their parents but you don’t hear them talking about it,”  or (possibly the stupidest one yet) “But that’s your MOTHER/FATHER!!”

When this happens, it can make you feel bad in many ways.  It can make you ashamed of “whining”, it can make you feel like you’re petty or overreacting to things that weren’t a big deal, or it can make you feel like a bad son/daughter or even Christian for being upset about your parents abusing you.

Dear Reader, I want to tell you today, please do NOT feel bad when someone treats you this way!  The truth is, their wanting to shut you down is about them, NOT you!  These people have their reasons for wanting to shut you down,  They aren’t good reasons, but they also have nothing to do with you.

The person may be gaining something from supporting/enabling your narcissistic parent or partner.  What that is can be anything- maybe they get money, things or even just the narcissist’s praise.  If this person is also a narcissist as many flying monkeys are, that praise is extremely important to them after all.  This person obviously is not willing to jeopardize losing whatever it is he or she is gaining, so it is more beneficial for them to shut you down than to listen to what you have to say.

The person also may have their own issues, & you facing yours reminds them of theirs.  That can make them want to shut you down quickly, because you make them feel uncomfortable by reminding them of their similar situations.

What if a person has codependency issues?  If that person is raised in an emotionally incestuous/parentalizing environment, that person is going to believe it is a child’s job to take care of & cater to their parent forever.  At least until such time as they learn how unhealthy this situation is.  But, if a person doesn’t realize how unhealthy it is, they think everyone should do as they do, & cater to & care for their parents no matter what.  They may even think it’s loving & “Godly” to tolerate whatever abuse their parents dish out.  If you’re standing up for yourself, setting boundaries or even *gasp* saying your parents are less than perfect, to this person, you are committing a terrible sin in this person’s eyes.  They want to shut you down so they don’t have to hear about it.  They think everyone should do as they do.  That is their reality & it makes them uncomfortable if you threaten it in any way.

There are two other possibilities that God spoke to me when my father was dying in October, 2017.  As I wrote about before, at the time, people continually harassed & tried to bully me into visiting my father.   I mean, not only daily but often multiple times in a day.  I eventually asked God why were they so cruel to me?  He told me two things…

They were in denial about my father.  They wanted to believe he was a good guy, & me refusing to speak to him threatened that denial.  They wanted me to go to him so they could remain in denial.  After all, if I went, it would be proof to them that all was fine.  People in denial will do about anything to protect their delusions.

God also said to me that they don’t know me now.  They remembered me as that scared of everything little kid I once was, that was also blindly obedient to my parents.  By that person being strong enough to face her own issues, it makes them feel weak for not facing theirs.  They wanted to push me back into being like I used to be so they didn’t have to feel weak.  If the person in your situation knew you when you were being abused, they knew a different version of you.  They knew the beat down victim that we all have been at some point.  It’s very possible that they may want you to stay that way so they don’t have to feel badly for not dealing with their own issues.

Just remember, Dear Reader, when people invalidate you or try to shut you down, it’s not your fault.  It’s not about you.  It’s about them & their own issues.

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Thoughts On Emotional Healing

Recently, seemingly out of nowhere, I suddenly felt as if a ton of bricks landed on me.  I have had one very hard, painful year & currently have quite a bit going on.  The intensity of it all hit at once.  I really felt overwhelmed for a while & couldn’t stop crying.

 

Eventually I did though, & realized what was happening.  I hadn’t really dealt with things very well.  In fact, I avoided thinking about some things, stuffing my emotions like I always used to do.  Old habits die hard, & apparently that one resurrected briefly without me realizing it.  I think my old habit returned because I had so much happening at once.  I didn’t have time to cope with one thing when three more bad things happened.

 

Upon realizing all of this, I have formed a plan.  I will take things one issue at a time.   When I first realized I had problems stemming from my childhood, I thought I could deal with everything at once.  Forgive my parents, accept the fact they were abusive, face being depressed & anxious, think positive, & all would be fine.  Naive?  Oh yes.. but truthfully, I didn’t realize how deep my issues went or have any grip on this emotional healing stuff.  Now I know better, & I have learned that a lot of times, it’s best to face one issue at a time, as it arises.

 

What I mean is this…

 

As an example from my life, part of my issue is the fact that when my father was dying, so called “family” came out of the woodwork to tell me what I needed to do regarding my parents,what a horrible person I was for not obeying them or “forgiving & forgetting” & not “honoring” my parents.  Mind you, this is on top of the death of my father.  Instead of lumping this all into one thing to deal with, I’m dissecting it, & dealing with each issue as I am able.  Here are the issues:

 

  • My father died.
  • I was attacked by many people at that time over a few months, but in particular my father’s final month of life.
    • Some people were strangers, so dealing with their nonsense isn’t too hard.  I don’t know them so they don’t mean anything to me.
    • Others were family & those relatives fall into 2 categories:
      • Family I once had been close to & felt betrayed they treated me this way.
      • Other family I never was close to so the fact they attacked me was a big shock in addition to the pain of the things they said & did.

 

I think it’s healthier to deal with things this way because the events of that time are very distinct & complex, not to mention overwhelming to face all at once.  Even just the one part with family is difficult because there were two very different dynamics at play.  My relationships with these people were very different, so naturally that means I must deal with the situations differently.  Plus, doing this also gives me smaller things to cope with rather than trying to tackle one huge issue.  Smaller bits will be easier to cope with, which is especially important since I have C-PTSD.  Having the disorder means my brain is broken.  I have to treat myself gentler than a person without C-PTSD treats themselves.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed too, Dear Reader, I’m sorry.  It happens sometimes & it’s rough, I know.  Just try to remember to approach the situation in small doses, especially if you too have C-PTSD.  Break it down into manageable parts, & deal with those however works best for you rather than tackling the big picture all at once.  The little things will add up to form the big picture.  Also remember, Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  (KJV)  Sometimes when you’re facing your pain, it feels like you are all alone.  People don’t understand, & may avoid or even abandon you during your darkest hours.  God isn’t that way though.  He loves you & is with you no matter how bad things may be.  xoxo

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse, part 2

There is one thing I’ve noticed that sometimes happens with people who write about narcissistic abuse.  They become smug.

 

As an example, I’ve seen conversations online where someone has recently learned their mother is a narcissist.  She’s naturally overwhelmed & relieved, as all of us in that position have been.  She finds someone who writes on the topic & follows them on social media.  This author responds to her comments by telling her “Just go no contact.  I don’t know why you’re dragging your feet about it.  I did 8 years ago & it worked fine for me.”

 

Thankfully, I haven’t seen this scenario often, but I have seen it. No one in this position needs shaming, especially at this time.  She needs understanding, compassion & information!  She also needs time to let this newfound knowledge sink in before she can even think about making such a huge decision as no contact.  Learning your mother is the abuser & you’re the victim rather than the other way around is a shock.  It takes time to accept, & that is the first step in healing from narcissistic abuse.

 

If you write about narcissistic abuse, there are times it can be frustrating when you’re speaking with someone in an abusive situation who isn’t making moves to protect themselves.  Once you’ve been there, done that & found freedom from your abuser, you often can see what would be the best course of action for other people in similar situations to take.  It can be very frustrating that they either can’t or won’t see it too.

 

If you get angry or smug in those situations, you may be dealing with burnout or compassion fatigue.  When you write about narcissistic abuse, you pretty much live & breathe narcissism.  People tell you their stories, you do research, & you work on your own emotional healing.  Chances are good you also have C-PTSD.  Narcissism is a huge part of your life & you get tired of it.  Although you want to help people, sometimes you want to never think of this topic again.  When people tell you their stories, you can feel indifferent to their suffering & their need for good information.  That is a big sign of compassion fatigue.  It isn’t that you don’t care.  You do.  You’re simply burned out & need a break.

 

Compassion fatigue is common in helping professions such as those in the medical field, caregivers, counselors/therapists, or law enforcement.  It’s very evident by how they interact with people.  Have you been to a doctor who acts like you’re bothering him with your health concern or seen a caregiver in a nursing home who is testy with the patients?  That is compassion fatigue.  Thankfully, it’s fixable.

 

When you realize that you feel burned out & even indifferent to people’s problems, it’s time to take action immediately.  Take a break.  I don’t mean 15 minutes away from what you do.  I mean as much time as you can.  If you run an online forum, find someone who you know you can trust who can watch it for a few days.  If you write a blog, I highly recommend writing many blog posts that you can schedule to publish so if you need a break, your blog continues on as normal in your absence.  If you’re working on a book, stop.  Take time away from it.

 

Once you’ve decided to take a break, spend your time doing things that nurture you.  Pray, spend time in nature, snuggle your furkids, watch funny movies or listen to music.   And, do NOT think about narcissism!  If you have flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive thoughts, I know this is a challenge since those things have a mind of their own.  If they happen, deal with them as usual & once that is done, resume not thinking about narcissism.

 

Also, reevaluate your boundaries.  You can’t help everyone- you aren’t God!  That’s ok!  Instead of trying to help everyone, pray with or for them.  Remind them that they need to pray as well as read their Bible.

 

Reevaluate how you spend your time.  Find where you can cut back on obligations, & do it.  This will give you more free time which is so vital to your mental health.

 

Pray.  Ask God to show you what changes you should make & how to make them.  Ask Him to weed out the people in your life that aren’t good for you & that you’re not good for, so you have more time for those that are good for you.

 

Writing about narcissistic abuse can be incredibly difficult, I know.  It is possible though when you don’t neglect yourself.  Good self care will make you a better writer as well as a happier person.

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Helpful Tactics For Dealing With Narcissists

As anyone with experience with narcissists knows, you can’t avoid them entirely.  Try as you might, they are everywhere.  Because this is a sad fact of life, everyone needs to have some effective weapons in their arsenal.

 

Below is a list of things that can help stop narcissists in their tracks.  While I always recommend prayer as the best place to start, these are some useful tactics I have found that can be helpful as well.

 

  1. Show no emotions when in the presence of a narcissist.  Narcissists feed off the emotions of their victims.  If you act happy, they will do their best to make you unhappy.  If you’re sad, they’ll try to make you sadder.  Angry?  They will push your buttons to attempt to make you even angrier.  In the presence of a narcissist, show NO emotions.  You aren’t happy, sad, angry or anything.  You simply are.  This gives them nothing to work with.
  2. Ask the narcissist, “How does that make sense?”  It is best to ask this question logically, minus any signs of emotion aside from confusion.  Narcissists are highly illogical beings, so when you ask them to explain their actions, it can stop them in their tracks.  It also can cause a narcissistic injury, but not one they usually react to with narcissistic rage.  They know if they do, they’ll end up looking ridiculous, & that fact stops them in their tracks.
  3. “No.”  Simply, no.  No explanation, no excuses.  If they continue to try to pressure you for more information, simply continue saying no.  Narcissists don’t know what to do with this, especially when you refuse to explain your no.  They may try to intimidate you with their anger or make you feel guilty for your no, but if you stay dedicated to your no while showing no emotions, they will give up fairly quickly.
  4. Make eye contact.  People who have nothing to hide or are honest have no problems making eye contact.  Narcissists have plenty to hide & are very dishonest.  Eye contact will freak them out.  They don’t know what to do with a person who meets their gaze.
  5. Let them know that the world doesn’t revolve around them.  Narcissists expect the world to center on them.  If you let them know this isn’t the case where you are concerned, it will fluster them.  To do this, you can refuse to do something for or with them because you have other plans at that time.  “I can’t.. I have plans that day” without any explanation is a perfectly acceptable response.  “Oh” when they cry to you about how mean someone was to them also works.
  6. Let them know they don’t scare you.  Overt narcissists in particular love to intimidate their victims.  Intimidation means a victim will do whatever you want, & overt narcissists rely on that fact.  But think about it- what can this person do to you?  Chances are, not much.  If that person belittles or criticizes you, remember that narcissists project their flaws onto their victims & do their best to tear a person down.  That doesn’t mean what they say is true!  If you remember that & show no fear or even act a bit bored, you aren’t showing fear.
  7. Let them know their guilt trips don’t work on you.  If the narcissist is a covert narcissist, rather than try to intimidate you, chances are very good they will use guilt.  Guilt can be difficult to fight.  Instead of accepting their guilt trips, ask yourself if what they say makes sense.  Should you feel guilty for what they say you should?  Was that truly your responsibility?
  8. Show your self-confidence.  I adopted a chow chow mix dog in 2002 for my husband for his birthday.  What I didn’t know about Bear at that time was that chows are known for having a very dominant nature.  Combine that with the fact he obviously had been abused, & it was a recipe for disaster.  It took a lot of work to turn him into the wonderful, loving, kind dog he turned into.  The main thing that helped was to let Bear know he was NOT in charge.  Dominant dogs need a very strong leader or they will take over, & Bear was no exception.  Narcissists are much the same way.  If you show any sign of weakness, narcissists will take over.  If you refuse to believe the awful criticisms they say or be manipulated, & make your feelings know, narcissists will back down.  Bullies are at their heart cowards, & since narcissists are usually bullies, this applies to them as well.

 

Nothing is guaranteed to stop any narcissist from abusing you for good, but using these comments can stop them at least temporarily.  They may even stop the narcissist for good on specific topics.  I wish you the best with the narcissists you face, & hope these tactics help you!

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Ways To Frazzle Narcissists

Sometimes avoiding narcissists is impossible no matter how hard you try & how much knowledge you have about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  When that happens, there are some ways that you can fluster them enough to where they will want to leave you alone.

 

If you have & enforce good boundaries, narcissists won’t like you.  A good victim has weak or non existent boundaries.  If you have & enforce your boundaries, a narcissist won’t know what to do with you.  They may try to make you feel stupid or wrong for having them, but when you are secure in the knowledge what you are doing is right, their gaslighting won’t work.

 

Having healthy self esteem is a huge turn off to narcissists.  The lower a  person’s self esteem, the easier that person is to control.  Similarly, the healthier a person’s self esteem, the harder that person is to control.  While narcissists often enjoy the challenge of controlling a person with healthy self esteem, they will give up when they see that person isn’t going to tolerate their abuse.

 

Knowing about NPD is also a huge turn off to narcissists.  Even if you don’t explain the ugly details of narcissism to them or call them out, so long as you know what these people are like & what they are capable of, it will be a problem for them.  Narcissists don’t want anyone to figure out what they are doing, because a person who understands their games cannot be controlled or manipulated, & won’t create any narcissistic supply.

 

Self validation is a powerful weapon against narcissists.  They want their victims to look only to  them for validation.  A person who doesn’t need the narcissist for validation won’t provide any narcissistic supply or be controlled by a narcissist.

 

Understanding that no contact is a very viable option gives you strength when dealing with a narcissist, & they can’t handle that.  Narcissists want to be the ones in charge at all times.  If you know that you have options, & don’t have to let the narcissist make all decisions in the relationship, you will become a problem to a narcissist.

 

If a narcissist knows you don’t need him or her, you become a threat.  Narcissistic parents & spouses in particular like to make a victim completely dependent on them, preferably financially or emotionally.  If they see you are well aware you don’t need the narcissist, can leave the relationship anytime & still survive just fine, you won’t be a good victim to the narcissist.

 

Avoiding all narcissists seems to be impossible, unfortunately.  However, if you can implement some of these tools, you will be able to handle yourself very well when you must deal with them.

 

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Dysfunctional Ways Narcissists Cope- Retroactive Justification

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Coping When Narcissists Hit A New Low

I got quite the surprise this past Christmas.  A letter from my parents’ attorney arrived in the mail two days before Christmas.

 

IMG_20171224_0001 - Copy

 

Pretty special, huh?  Notice it was sent both regular & certified mail.

 

I’m sharing this not only for entertainment value (really- how bizarre is this?!) but also to remind you that there is no low that is too low for any narcissist & to help you to cope when things like this happen to you.

 

To cope, you need to think logically not emotionally.  You certainly will need to deal with the anger or hurt or whatever you feel, of course, but when trying to find the best way to deal with a bad situation, it’s best to leave emotions out of it as they can cloud your judgement.  Look at the problem from all angles & ask God for help figuring out ways to cope.  One way that might help is if you think of the problem as if a friend came to you with it- what would you tell that friend?

 

Also trying to understand the motivation behind the actions, because that can help you.  I firmly believe everything narcissists do boils down to gaining narcissistic supply.  Once I realized that, it helped me not to be as hurt or angered (because what they did wasn’t personal- it was to benefit them), or to be manipulated.

 

To show what I’m talking about, I thought I’d share my thoughts about this letter:

 

Notice the timing.. as I said, this arrived two days before Christmas, the last possible day to get anything in the mail before Christmas day.  Growing up, I loved Christmas.  My mother thinks I still do, & never believed that I have grown to hate it.  It’s safe to assume the timing was an attempt to ruin my holiday.  If she thinks she ruined my holiday, that’s narcissistic supply.

 

Check out the wording in the letter.  The lawyer could have mentioned asking me about the car on my mother’s behalf without the attempt to manipulate me & the comments such as “accept this as a heartfelt expression of her love.”  Totally unnecessary.  That was flying monkey behavior which means it has no basis in truth & reality.  Why should I take anything he said seriously under such circumstances?!

 

Also.. as I said, it came from an attorney.  Seems obvious to me that was meant to shake  me up a bit.  Who wouldn’t be upset seeing a letter from an attorney in their mailbox & then a notice it was also sent certified mail prior to learning the contents of the letter?!  More potential narcissistic supply for my mother- upsetting me.

 

I also think it’s safe to assume that being from her attorney was an attempt by my mother to force me to deal with her.  Manipulation attempt/more narcissistic supply.

 

When I first got this letter, it did shake me up, I’ll admit it.  I was livid my mother would go to this extent to try to get me in touch with her when it’s very clear I want no parts of her in my life.  But, after some time to pray, calm down & think clearer, I realized the things I mentioned.  This letter wasn’t a huge deal like it felt like at first.  It simply was my mother’s means of attempting to manipulate me & gain her precious supply.  Realizing all of this meant I was able to relax & decide the best way to handle the situation properly.

 

Dear Reader, I’m sure if you haven’t faced some especially low behavior from the narcissist in your life, you will.  It’s how they operate.  When that happens, please consider this post.  Deal with your emotions but not while trying to consider how to handle the situation.  Pray & use logic.  It will help you to understand what’s happening, which will enable you to come up with the best solution.

 

Oh, & if you’re interested.. I did write back to the attorney about a week later.  All I said was “Regarding your recent letter about my mother, I don’t want my father’s car.”  I decided that I should respond rather than take a chance of my mother finding other ways to harass me about this situation, since I’ve had enough harassment to last a lifetime.  I did so in my own timing, however, to let her know she can’t make me do anything her way.  I also decided it’d be best to acknowledge NONE of the flying monkey nonsense or say anything that could be read into, which is why my entire “letter” lasted ONE sentence.  🙂

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Triggers

Triggers are things that remind us of things in our life.  Good triggers are wonderful, such as the sound of that whipped cream in a can being sprayed always reminds me of my late kitty, Delta, who would do a little happy kitty dance for a dollop of that whipped cream.  Her cuteness always made me smile.

 

Unfortunately there are also bad triggers, such as something that triggers a bad memory or even a flashback to abuse or trauma.  Although I live not far from the town my parents have lived in since the year before I was born, I avoid going there as much as possible.  So many things in that town trigger bad memories & even flashbacks there.  On my way to the vet’s office once, as I passed the library where I worked in my late teens, I had a flashback behind the wheel!  Thankfully it happened at a red light.  Also thankfully, Sabrina, the cat that had the appointment, knew something was wrong & helped to bring me out of it by gently scratching my hand. (Interestingly that was the only time she has scratched me in her entire life)

 

When you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you naturally try to avoid the bad triggers as much as possible.  Even so, triggers still happen.   No matter how careful you are, at some point, someone will say something, you’ll hear a sound, or you’ll smell an old & familiar scent that can mentally transport you back in time to a place you try never to think about.  It’s simply impossible to avoid triggers entirely no matter how careful you are.

 

Since you can’t avoid triggers, the only other thing you can do is manage them when they do happen.  The best ways to manage bad triggers that I have found are to stop what I’m doing, breathe deeply a few times, ask God for help, & focus on something to help keep me grounded.  Good triggers can help in this situation.  I have some perfume that my grandmom gave me when I was a kid.  Smelling it helps to keep me grounded because not only is the scent fairly strong, it automatically reminds me of someone very special to me when I smell it.  Like flashbacks, it takes something rather strong to the senses to help keep your focus- a very soft or rough fabric, a strong scent, or something very cold (like an ice cube).

 

I have a small flashback “kit” that contains two small sample size perfume vials- one of that perfume from my grandmom in one & the other lavender scented oil (lavender is known for its relaxation properties) & a very smooth, pretty pink quartz rock to hold.  I’ve found these things help to keep me grounded during a flashback or trigger.  If you find things that work for you, I would suggest creating your own flashback kit, & keep it with you in case you are subjected to a trigger or have a flashback.

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

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