Tag Archives: cope

When People Blame Others For The Trauma They Experience

Extremely dysfunctional people often have a very bad habit.  They find ways to blame the innocent for cruelty or even abuse others inflict on them.  These are the people who ask someone what they said to make their spouse hit them, criticize a woman’s choice of clothing on the day someone raped her, or say things like, “I don’t know why you two just can’t get along” in a shaming tone when someone says their elderly parent is abusive.  They also may minimize the trauma, invalidate the person’s feelings about it or even deny it happened altogether.

This bad habit isn’t simply dysfunctional for the person who behaves this way.  It’s also exceedingly cruel to the people they say such comments to & treat so poorly.  Saying such things is shaming, & it implies someone deserves whatever trauma has happened to them, brought the abuse on themselves & are to blame for not turning an abusive relationship into a good one.  Of course, such words aren’t spoken directly, but the implications are still there.  To someone who has suffered trauma & is in the vulnerable position of admitting that to someone else, this behavior can make a person feel ashamed for suffering, not preventing the trauma or even bringing it on themselves.  Minimizing, invalidating & denying trauma also are cruel, because they make a person feel ashamed of themselves for feeling as they do.  They feel they are wrong, flawed or even crazy when subjected to someone who minimizes, invalidates & denies the trauma. 

When a dysfunctional person treats an innocent person this way, they have their own reasons for doing so, & those reasons are never healthy.

This person may be on good terms with the abuser, & doesn’t want to think they could be so close to someone who is so cruel.  Admitting someone you think highly of is in reality a toxic monster isn’t exactly pleasant of course.  Blaming someone for making the person they care about behave badly is much easier for people like this to handle.

Some are simply cowardly.  To support victims, you have to do things.  You offer them compassion, caring, kindness, & support.  You listen to their horror stories because it helps them to talk about it.  Blaming an innocent person makes what happened to them something they deserved, & in that case, they don’t deserve any of the things that victims deserve.  It’s much easier than supporting someone who has been traumatized.

Some of these extremely dysfunctional people have experienced their own trauma, & you facing your trauma offends them.  It reminds them of pain they want to forget, which makes them extremely uncomfortable.  Or, they see you facing your pain & feel cowardly for not facing their own.  They don’t take this as a sign that it’s time to start facing their pain.  Instead they try to shut down the victim.  That is why they say such cruel things.  Their goal is to stop this person from making them feel things that they have worked very hard to avoid feeling.  Shaming someone is a very quick & effective way to accomplish that.

If you have experienced being treated this way, my heart goes out to you.  It’s not fair or right in any way.  Please never forget though that it has absolutely nothing to do with you.  There is nothing wrong with you for wanting to discuss what happened to you.  There is, however, something very wrong with someone who is willing to treat someone who has been traumatized so poorly.  Don’t let their dysfunction determine how you feel about what happened to you.  You know the truth about the situation.  You were there.  You lived through that & are living with the aftermath of it.  The cruel person who treated you so badly wasn’t.  This means they don’t know nearly as much as they think they do, so why would you seriously consider anything they have to say on the matter?  There is no good reason to!

Rather than taking their cruelty to heart, ignore them.  Focus on taking good care of yourself & your healing, & leave the dysfunctional to their dysfunction.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Narcissists are angry people.  They believe they are entitled to say, receive & do anything they want.  This includes demanding the blind obedience of their child.  Any time their child dares to set a boundary or say no, narcissistic rage will follow.

Rather than own their anger like your average mature adult, narcissists project it onto their child.  They accuse their child of having a bad temper.  I can’t begin to count the times my mother would see me anywhere from slightly frustrated about something to angry, & in a shaming tone, say, “There’s that Bailey temper!”  I heard it enough that I grew up assuming I had a terrible temper.  This sort of scenario is very common for children of narcissistic parents.

A narcissistic parent also has no tolerance for any of their child’s emotions, good or bad.  In fact, any emotions of the child’s are met with mocking, shaming or even being ignored.  The child learns very early in life not to display any emotions because of this.

This type of environment results in a child who grows up full of anger & toxic shame.

Adult children of narcissistic parents need to know that their feelings of anger & shame are normal under the circumstances.  There is nothing whatsoever wrong with them for their feelings.  They are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

That being said, however, it doesn’t mean it’s your lot in life to suffer through life with these feelings.  They can be dealt with & healed from with prayer, hard work & time.

My best friend has a saying that I just love, “You have to feel your feels.”  In other words, you have to feel your emotions to process them effectively.  It’s very true.  You do have to feel your feels!  It’s ok to get angry about the things you are dealing with.  In fact, that is the only way I know of to truly heal.  Face those ugly emotions.  Talk about them, with someone safe such as a trusted friend & with God.  Cry.  Write in a journal.  The more you do this, the less power they have over you.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with the old legends of vampires, but part of the legend is that in darkness, a vampire can do anything.  They possess super natural strength & abilities.  Yet, that same vampire in the sunlight will turn to dust.  Emotional issues are much the same way.  If you keep them in the dark by not facing them, they possess a great deal of power.  If you bring them into the sunlight by discussing them, that power dissolves.  

Another very helpful thing I have learned is to question things.  Let’s use the example of my mother accusing me of “that Bailey temper.”  When I first started facing this issue, I asked myself why she would say that?  What times did I show I had a bad temper?  When she’d accuse me of being angry, was I really angry or just frustrated?  If I was really angry, why?  Was I truly overreacting like my mother said I was?  I realized I wasn’t overreacting.  When I was frustrated or angry, it was justifiable.  In fact, I didn’t get angry easily at all.  Later, when I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I also learned about gaslighting & projection, which showed me why my mother said what she did to me.

Doing these things lifted a HUGE weight off my shoulders!  I learned the truth about this particular issue, & was set free of being ashamed of my terrible “Bailey temper”.

I encourage you to do the same things I did, Dear Reader.  You don’t deserve to suffer any longer with the anger & toxic shame.  Use what I did as an example of how to get started, & change things or add to it to help you to heal.  You deserve to experience freedom from such toxicity in your life!  xoxo

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

Not Everyone Who Displays Some Narcissistic Traits Is A Narcissist

After narcissistic abuse, we function in high alert mode to bad behavior.  The first hint of selfishness or lack of empathy can make us quick to label someone as narcissistic.  This can be good in a way because it means the likelihood is slim of being abused by another narcissist.  In another way though, this is bad.  Someone having a bad day, in a selfish phase or is just your average jerk becomes labeled as a narcissist unnecessarily, & treated accordingly, when this isn’t a good way to handle that particular situation.

I was talking with my best friend once about someone I know who came across as a know it all, & how much it bothered me.  She pointed out that most likely why the behavior bothered me so much was because my narcissistic ex husband was a know it all.  Later, in thinking about this, I began to consider the situation.  Yes, this person exhibited some narcissistic traits, but was he truly a narcissist?  After prayer & considering what I know about the person, I realized no, he’s not a narcissist.  I believe his personality to be the ISTJ Myers Briggs type, & when they function out of dysfunction or even exhaustion, sometimes they can appear narcissistic even when they truly aren’t.

Realizing that as well as considering what I knew about his life made me realize I needed to treat him differently.  Gray rock & other ways to interact with narcissists wouldn’t work in this situation because he wasn’t a narcissist.  I knew he’d been subjected to a lot of negativity & little encouragement, so I became freer with complements.  I did some small things for him, too, including giving a gift I knew he would like out of the blue.  These behaviors changed how he interacted with me.  He became much more pleasant to be around, even less know it all-ish.  We get along much better now.

I want to encourage you to do the same.  I know all kinds of alarms can go off when someone shows some narcissistic traits.  Those alarms can serve you well, but be sure that the person is indeed a narcissist before treating him or her as such.  Consider what you know about the person.  Is this the first time he has behaved in such a way?  Are there other clear signs of narcissism?  Once you really think about this person, you may realize there aren’t other signs.  For example, maybe this person is behaving in a selfish manner, but also expresses genuine empathy.  This person simply could be going through a hard time privately that is dictating the bad behavior.  Narcissists lack empathy & nothing changes their bad behavior, so the person in this example most likely isn’t a narcissist.

It is a good idea to try expressing gentleness & kindness to this person if you know they truly aren’t narcissistic.  The person in your life could be like the person in mine who was lacking such things, & when exposed to them, changes their behavior in a positive way.  Or, they could be struggling through a hard time & a little gentleness & kindness can provide them with just the encouragement they need, which will make them want to treat you better. 

Just remember, while narcissists are surprisingly common, that doesn’t mean every single selfish or thoughtless person is one.  Consider the person in question & ask God to give you discernment so you can treat the person in question accordingly.

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Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

Another Helpful Tool For Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

Whether you are currently suffering at the hands of a narcissist or have suffered narcissistic abuse in the past, chances are you have questioned yourself.  Whether they are questions like, “Was the narcissist right about me?” or, “How could I have not seen what this person was really like before we got married?!” I will guarantee you have had many questions.  Pretty sure that is just a part of the experience of narcissistic abuse.  After all, narcissists want their victims to question themselves & never the narcissist. 

You can deal with those questions though & in such a way that it helps you to heal.  If you’ve followed my work for long, you know I always recommend starting with prayer.  I’m suggesting an effective addition to prayer, not a replacement for it.  I’m talking about using simple logic.

Whatever your question is, I strongly recommend asking God to help you to see the truth about the situation before you do anything else. Then, consider your question not from any emotional standpoint, but instead one of stone, cold, logic.  For example, let’s say you asked yourself how you could’ve missed the signs pointing to narcissism before you married your narcissistic spouse.  Consider the relationship as if you were watching someone else in this situation rather than yourself.  Are there any tell tale red flags of narcissism?  And, what was known about narcissism at that time?  If nothing, it is perfectly normal not to recognize the red flags.  It is also normal to be swept off your feet by a narcissist.  They are in their best behavior when in the beginning of a relationship.  They can be so skilled at seduction that even one who knows a great deal about narcissism can cast caution to the wind.

This type of thinking is also very useful when it comes to the narcissist’s criticisms.  Don’t think about how it makes you feel.  Instead, ignore any emotions attached to this for a few minutes.  Then, ask yourself what evidence there is that what this person says is true, & look at the situation objectively.  Is there evidence that you are as terrible as the narcissist says you are?

How about when the narcissist tries to convince you that your friends & family want nothing to do with you?  Is there evidence that this is true or is the only so-called evidence what the narcissist has told you?

By taking some time to pray, calm down, consider your situation without emotions to skew your thinking & look at it objectively, you can see the truth in the situation.  The truth is incredibly freeing & healing, which is why that is the goal.

Also, when I say you should ignore your emotions while considering your situation, please keep in mind I only recommend it temporarily.  Ignoring emotions isn’t a healthy thing to do for any length of time as a general rule.  They don’t go away but instead manifest in unhealthy ways.  Ignoring them for a very brief period of time to focus on truth & healing, & then dealing with the emotions once you learn what you need to know, is a healthy thing to do.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

A Very Important Life Skill

If you are interested in psychology like me, then I would really like to recommend the Netflix series “Mindhunter”.  It’s a fictional series based on how the science of criminal profiling came into existence.  The FBI team attempts to learn about criminal profiling.  Two male detectives are the main focus of the show.  They interview various serial killers in an attempt to understand why they did the things they did.  The plot is fascinating & the acting is very good!  My husband, who usually isn’t particularly interested in crime shows loves “Mindhunter” as much as me if this tells you just how good it is!

Anyway the reason I’m mentioning this is there was a fantastic quote on the show by Agent Ford, one of the two male detectives I mentioned earlier.  Ford has excellent instincts & listens closely to them.  In one episode, he let someone talk him into something other than listening to his instincts.  It turned out his instincts were right on, as usual.  He was upset, naturally & said the most interesting thing.. “The only mistake I ever made was doubting myself.” 

When a person is subjected to narcissistic abuse, doubting one’s self becomes the norm.  I always had pretty strong instincts, but learned early in life to ignore them due to the narcissistic abuse.  I was sure I was wrong because I believed I was ignorant of so much, too judgmental, & even just plain stupid.  This is so typical of the mentality of victims of narcissistic abuse, but that doesn’t mean it’s correct.

Whatever a narcissist has told you about yourself, I want to encourage you today to question it.  Logically, as if you were an outsider looking at the situation rather than someone directly involved in the situation.  If you do this, chances are excellent that you will realize just how wrong the narcissist was about you.

I also want to encourage you to pay attention to your instincts.  I realize some folks are naturally more in tune with theirs than others due to differences in their personalities, so some of you may not be overly interested in doing this.  Please consider giving it a try though.  I firmly believe the reason instincts are so accurate is because they are the Holy Spirit guiding us.  Doesn’t that make them worth listening to?

To learn to trust your instincts doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen.  Pay attention to what they tell you.  When you feel strongly, do what you feel your instincts are leading you to do.  Early on when doing this, you are going to make some mistakes along the way, but don’t give up!  The more you listen to your instincts, the more in tune with them you will become.  And, the more you do this, the less mistakes you will make.  That means the more you will learn to trust them. 

Being in tune with your instincts is a wonderful thing in many ways.  You can avoid many problems by trusting them.  You also will learn to avoid toxic people by trusting them.  Your instincts pick up on subtle cues to people & situations that the cognizant mind doesn’t notice.  Instincts also put pieces of the puzzle together which help you to learn what you should or shouldn’t do, what is good or bad for you & even what people it is best for you to avoid.  Don’t you think it’s worth investing the time in fine tuning this skill to help you improve your life?

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Help When You Can’t Avoid Dealing With A Narcissist

Most of us who were raised by narcissistic parents go on to have other relationships with narcissists.  We become their friends or worse yet, we marry them.  Thankfully, we also learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, see exactly how lethal & dangerous these people are & we move away from them onto healthier relationships.  It would be wonderful if that was where the experience with narcissists ends, but that isn’t the case.  While we can avoid future close relationships with them, we still can’t avoid narcissists entirely.  They are everywhere, unfortunately!  Because of this, we must learn how to deal with these people in a healthy way.

Most everyone has heard of the Gray Rock method of relating to narcissists.  Basically, you become incredibly dull to them.  You show them no emotions no matter what they do to upset you.  You don’t give in to their attempts to manipulate & control you.  You provide them no praise or criticism.  You also provide them with no personal information so they have no information to use to hurt you or tell other people.  This is absolutely the most successful way I know of to deal with narcissists.  One thing has been left out of the description of this tactic though. 

Never, ever tell a narcissist about how anyone has hurt you in the past.  Never!!

The reason being, if a narcissist knows someone has hurt you, they will on some level take this as a competition.  They will try to hurt you even more than that person has. 

What is the point of this, you may wonder?  It’s because narcissists are incredibly competitive creatures.  If someone has hurt you badly, that person has made a very big impact on your life.  The narcissist wants to make a big impact on your life, too.  Bigger than that other person, in fact, & if it takes hurting or even destroying you to make that happen, well, them’s the breaks! 

After my divorce yet long before I knew anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I began to realize something.  My ex husband treated me a lot like my mother did.  He wasn’t as obvious about it, but he still treated me much like her.  Both wanted to control my every move.  Both wanted my blind obedience.  Both wanted me to have no likes or dislikes that differed from theirs.  It was pretty disturbing to say the least! 

At that time, I chalked it up to I was gravitating to what was familiar by being with my ex & I married him because I fell for his manipulation.  Now though, I wonder if they were in some sort of deranged abuse competition.  My mother & ex both accused the other one of controlling me.  In all fairness, both were right about the other.  So both knew the other was making my life miserable.  That may have inspired them to try to out do each other.  My ex won because I moved out of my parents’ home as soon as I could & later married him.  But eventually, my mother won because I divorced him.

Can you relate to this story?  Have you experienced something similar?  If not, can you imagine narcissists you know or have known doing this sort of thing?  I am guessing you can imagine it if you haven’t experienced it already.

Please just remember- when you meet a narcissist that you can’t avoid, don’t tell them about any trauma in your past!  Keep that information to yourself.  It will be be in your best interest!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

The Real Truth About Denial

Today’s post admittedly sounds different than my usual posts. I hope you’ll continue reading anyway, because I believe the message is important.

I woke up recently from a nightmare, as I often do.  In it, I was driving a young girl somewhere while she used my phone to call one of my relatives.  As a funny aside, I know in the dream I blocked my number from showing up on the relative’s phone when she called.. just as I would do in real life.  Anyway the phone was on speaker, so I could hear the conversation.  It sounded innocent enough.  I was fairly guarded anyway, because although I haven’t had any negative interactions with this relative, I also haven’t had any positive ones either.  I wasn’t sure if this person was safe or unsafe.  This relative asked to speak to me, & the girl looked at me before answering.  I quietly said, “maybe tomorrow” & she said that to the other person.   Suddenly this person’s demeanor went from normal to viciously trashing me.  She said I was selfish to the core, a spoiled brat & many more awful things that my family has said to & about me.  I grabbed the phone to hang up as I drove & that is the point I woke up. 

It triggered a nasty emotional flashback as I woke up.  It emotionally took me right back to the time when my father was dying, when my family attacked me constantly & daily for his final almost three weeks because I didn’t say goodbye to him.  When I was able to physically calm down a bit, I began to pray, as I often do when I have nightmares.  This turned out to be very interesting.   God not only comforted me as usual, but He also told me some things.

God reminded me of that awful time when my family was attacking me, & how He told me then that they did so partly out of denial.  They wanted to believe my father was a great guy, our family was great & I was the problem.  Me not saying goodbye threatened their denial, which is mostly why they were so cruel to me at that time.

He also told me about facing truth opposed to living in denial.  He said denial isn’t simply a poor coping skill.  It comes straight from the devil himself.  Denial is about lying to yourself rather than facing the truth.  Since the enemy hates truth, of course something coming from him would embrace lies & reject truth.  John 8:44 in the Living Bible says, “For you are the children of your father the devil and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and a hater of truth—there is not an iota of truth in him. When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars..” 

People who are deeply entrenched in denial hate anyone who is a threat to it, & will do anything to protect it.  The reason being, God said, is that they become “entwined” with the enemy.  I found that choice of words interesting, so I looked it up to be sure of exactly what it meant.  According to Cambridge dictionary’s website, the definition of entwined is “closely connected or unable to be separated.” 

A person gets into this entwined state so subtly, they fail to recognize it.  It starts out as learning something painful.  Anyone’s natural reaction to pain, physical or emotional, is to pull away from it.  The devil uses this reaction to his advantage.  He convinces people just don’t think about the pain & it won’t hurt anymore.  Simple, subtle & very effective.  This happens repeatedly with other painful things, & the more it happens, the more entwined someone becomes with the enemy.

When a person is deeply entwined with the enemy, they can’t see their bad behavior as bad.  They are so entangled with him that they will not see truth.  They almost never see how their denial hurts other people.  On the rare occasion that they do see it, they are so deceived that they see any person who tries telling the truth as a real problem.  That means they think hurting anyone who tells the truth is acceptable & sometimes even a good thing to do.  With my situation that I mentioned earlier, God showed me at that time that my family truly thought they were doing the right & even Godly thing by trying to harass, bully & shame me into saying goodbye to my father.

Being involved this way with the enemy doesn’t mean they aren’t entwined with him in other areas as well.  Since he found one access point into a person’s life, he certainly can find others just as easily.

I know that all of this may sound hard to believe.  I get that.  However, I firmly believe this to be accurate since it can be backed up by Scripture.  Consider Ephesians 6:12 also from the Living Bible.  It says, “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.”  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the devil & his minions stopped attacking people.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Psalm 55:3, Psalm 38:20, Psalm 64:1, Psalm 69:4, Ephesians 6:11 & 2 Timothy 4:18 are just a few examples.

Please seriously consider what I have said here today.  Pray about it for yourself, & ask God to show you the truth if you have doubts.

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

One Way To Handle Narcissists

Talking to narcissists is incredibly frustrating at best.  They think they know best on every topic, & aren’t open to hearing other people’s views.  Even more frustrating is when they are abusive, because when confronted on that behavior, narcissists turn things around to where the victim is to blame, over sensitive or overreacting.  They may even deny the incident happened altogether.  So often it’s easier to avoid confrontation & provide no reaction whatsoever, thus depriving the narcissist of their coveted narcissistic supply. 

There is one other way to handle abusive behavior by narcissists I have discovered in my personal experience that can work pretty well.  And, I’ve learned it’s also Biblical! 

When a narcissist says or does something abusive, rather than react, responding is always best.  Reactions are immediate & without thought, which means they can be overly emotional.  Seeing victims overly emotional feeds narcissists, so it’s best to deprive them of that.  Instead, take a moment to inhale deeply & exhale.  This short task helps to calm both the mind & the body, which will help you to formulate a good response.  The best response in these situations I have found is one that is completely logical & void of emotions while asking questions.

As an example, let’s say a narcissist tells their victim they’re stupid.  Rather than the victim reacting & making a bad situation worse, a victim would do best by staying calm & asking logical questions.  “You say I’m stupid?  I don’t understand why you think that let alone say it.  I have a degree in engineering.  You know that.  I just don’t understand why you think that, let alone think it’s an acceptable to say.  Why do you think these things?”  Another example could be something my ex husband used to say often, as many narcissists do.  A narcissist tells their victim they are the only person in the world who would be upset by the narcissist’s behavior.  A great way to respond would be, “Really?  So you’ve really talked to every other person?  I had no idea!  Thanks for telling me!  I guess I should change my beliefs then so I’m not the only person in the entire world who believes this way, shouldn’t I?” 

Responses like this show the narcissist that you recognize what he or she said is foolish, but without calling the narcissist a fool.  It also shows them that you are on to what they are doing, whether that is trying to manipulate you or tear you down.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, & as I said, it’s even Biblical.  Proverbs 26:5 in the Good News Translation says “Give a silly answer to a silly question, and the one who asked it will realize that he’s not as smart as he thinks.”

As long as you stay calm & logical in the situation, without showing any sign of anger or hurt, the narcissist may get angry about what you say, but they also know they can only get so angry without looking completely foolish.  Since they are so focused on appearances, they want to avoid looking foolish at all costs, even if no one is around but you. 

As an added bonus, responses like this do make them back off in this one particular area.  I’ve seen it happen first hand.  I used this tactic with my mother several times.  A close friend of mine mentioned using it with narcissists she knew as well, also with excellent results.

The next time you’re in a challenging situation with a narcissist, try this!  I think you’ll be quite pleased with the results too.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Hangovers – Not Always What You Think

When people hear the word hangover, they usually associate it with drinking too much alcohol.  Did you know that other things can cause hangovers too?

Migraine headaches can cause a hangover.  I used to get migraines years ago & learned early on about the dreadful migraine hangover.  Once the headache had subsided, I was left feeling tired, drained & generally blah.

Introverts also can experience the socializing hangover.  Introverts need alone time to recharge & reenergize themselves.  Spending too much time socializing can leave them feeling physically hungover.  It sure does me.  Even spending time with people I love can leave me feeling hungover.  I need some alone time to recover from my “extroverting”.

Symptoms of C-PTSD also can lead to hangovers, & in my personal experience, they are the worst of the lot.

If a person has a flashback or nightmare, or if something triggers extreme stress or the trauma responses of fight, flight, freeze or fawn, once the episode is done, that usually leads to a hangover.  Adrenaline was forced into action.  Once it is no longer needed, the body & mind feel hungover because of what adrenaline does to a person.  It makes the body & mind work very hard to get a person through some especially challenging situation.  It’s only natural that once it’s done its job, a person would feel pretty yukky after because their muscles, joints & their mind just worked really hard for a while!  This is an adrenaline hangover.

Even a particularly nasty depressive episode can leave a person feeling hungover.  Feeling nothing but negative feelings wears a person down.  Having no hope wears a person down too.  Being suicidal absolutely wears a person down.  After such an episode ends, there is a terrible hangover.  How could there not be?  Depression is known to trigger aches & pains without a physical cause.  Also, I always feel like my muscles get very tight during depressive episodes.  Once they relax, they are going to ache from being in that state for a while.

Yet, the only hangover that is acknowledged regularly is the one that comes from over indulging in alcohol.  While that one is physically painful, the others are not only physically painful but emotionally painful as well.  They deserve to be acknowledged.

If you are in the position of having these miserable hangovers that stem from C-PTSD, I hope you realize that your hangovers are a normal part of this disorder.  They may make you feel like you are crazy, but really, you aren’t.  They are just one more facet of C-PTSD.

When you experience them, don’t judge or criticize yourself.  Just accept it for what it is & work with it the best you can.  Much like how having a cold has to run its course, that is how these hangovers work.  Process your emotions.  Also treat yourself gently & let yourself recover, like you would if you were physically sick.  The hangover will pass.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

How People Handle You Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

When people have known you a long time, it can be difficult for some of them to handle your healing. Functional people will respect your healing though, & even encourage you.  They will be so happy to see you growing stronger & healthier, & learning how to live a good life, especially if they knew you during the abuse you endured. 

Dysfunctional people however, won’t be so happy or encouraging.

While not all dysfunctional people are abusive, of course, they still may not be happy about your healing.  Sometimes that is because it makes them feel badly about themselves.  They see you learning, growing & becoming happy, & they resent not doing the same.  The seriously dysfunctional won’t be motivated by feeling this way to work on their healing.

Others are on the side of your abuser, & can’t handle your healing because it is proof that the abusive person wasn’t the wonderful person this flying monkey thought they were.  Rather than face that truth, some especially cowardly people prefer to stay in denial & try to force the victim to maintain the status quo so they can continue to think of the abuser as a wonderful person rather than face the truth.

Whatever the motivation, these dysfunctional people have a goal of putting the victim in their place, so to speak, so they can continue living in their dysfunction.

A common way people accomplish this by refusing to acknowledge the new, healthier you.  They will mentally keep you in their box of what they expect you to be, & treat you accordingly. 

When I was growing up, I was completely submissive to my parents & did only as I was told.  I was a very good doormat.  As an adult who had focused on my healing for quite some time, my family still treated me as the doormat I once was.  Most spoke to me however they wanted, which was usually disrespectful & cruel.  This was especially evident during the time my father was dying. Their level of cruelty & vile words was astounding.  My family daily harassed & tried to bully me into ending no contact to say good bye to him.  Not one person cared about my thoughts or feelings on the matter, only theirs, & clearly they were furious they couldn’t force me to bend to their will.  The way they treated me is very common among narcissistic families. 

As you make small steps in your healing, even if those steps aren’t celebrated, they shouldn’t be diminished or totally disregarded.  Every single person changes over the course of their life, & that is to be expected.  Anyone who refuses to acknowledge changes you make or acts like something is wrong with you for growing clearly has problems. 

When you come across these people, please do NOT give in to whatever it is they want from you.  Be the best you that you can be.  Focus on your healing & never give up on it.  People like that don’t have your best interest at heart.  They only have their best interests at heart, & maybe even those of your abuser.  They aren’t worth trying to please.  Instead, be more concerned with pleasing God, pleasing yourself & pleasing those people you are the closest to, such as your spouse.  The rest really aren’t all that important, especially those who refuse to see you as anything but who you were at your worst. 

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Some Lesser Known Signs Of Trauma

When you have experienced trauma in your lifetime, in particular repeated trauma, it’s going to affect you. Some expected signs of trauma in a person are things like depression & anxiety. There are a host of other, lesser known signs that can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life.


Hyper-vigilance may be the most common sign of trauma in a person’s life. It happens often in a person who has lived with their abuser, such as the child or spouse of the abuser. Living with an abusive person means you must be on your guard at all times, so you don’t do anything that upsets the abuser. That hyper-vigilant behavior often stays with a person long after they have ended the relationship with their abuser. It also leads to a host of other problems.


Physical pain in victims of abuse is often a sign not of an injury or illness, but of having experienced trauma. In particular, this pain often manifests in the neck & back. This is due to living in a hyper-vigilant state for an extended period of time. Hyper-vigilance causes your body to be in a state of not only emotional but physical stress, & that can cause physical pain in spite of there being no injury.


An extreme startle response is also caused by having to be in a state of hyper-vigilance. It manifests as being drastically more startled than you would expect to be in a specific situation. This startle response often cause anger or even tears in the startled person.


Sleep disturbances is another common sign of trauma in a person’s life. Nightmares that either relive the trauma or trigger emotions similar to those experienced during traumatic episodes happen often. Waking up often during the night or struggling to fall asleep in spite of doing things to help even including taking sleep aids are also common. Some people can wake up throwing punches, because they are so accustomed to protecting themselves. This happens quite often with those suffering from PTSD who have served in the military or those in law enforcement.


Being too busy is a trauma response that many people employ. These people will keep themselves as busy as possible during their waking hours. They work long shifts, participate in many activities & rarely take time to just rest, even when they’re sick. They do this as a way to avoid facing their pain. If they don’t have time to think, they also don’t have time to think about their pain.


Similar to being too busy is losing yourself in activities. Staring at social media or watching tv for hours is another way to escape facing pain by focusing attention elsewhere. While neither is bad, doing so for hours on end is unhealthy, especially if the one doing so is unable to stop.


Eating disorders can be another sign of unresolved trauma. They can be a way for someone to regain some control in their life when a person feels like they have no control otherwise.


Avoiding places & people that remind a victim of past trauma are more trauma responses. No one wants to face reminders of pain, of course, but those who have been through extreme trauma will go to great lengths to avoid it.


Avoiding conflict
is very common in those with traumatic pasts. When abuse happens during conflict instead of dialog designed to work things out, it instills fear in a person about conflict with anyone, not only the abuser.


If you recognize yourself in some or even all of these symptoms, hope is not lost! The more you deal with the trauma in your life, the more these unhealthy patterns will break. Not overnight, but they will happen. Keep working on your healing however works for you. Pray, write in a journal, talk to a supportive friend or therapist… whatever you do that helps you, keep on doing it even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress. Healing isn’t a simple thing. Sometimes it looks like nothing is improving, then suddenly you make big progress. Other times, you’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional habits for a brief time. It’s ok! It’s just a part of the healing journey. Don’t give up!

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Abusers Warp Victims’ Perceptions Of Abuse

When a person has been abused chronically in their childhood, naturally they grow up different than the average person.  One difference is they grow up with a very different perception of abuse over the average person.

When parents abuse a child, that child assumes abuse equals love.  Children seem to be unable to comprehend that their parent doesn’t love them, so instead they naturally equate abuse with love.  They excuse & white wash abusive acts or even subconsciously repress the memories of these acts.  Unfortunately these behaviors that help these children survive at the time also cause major problems later in life.

As this child grows up, they often end up in abusive relationships with friends & romantic partners.  This happens because they assume when someone is abusive, it means that person loves them.  The red flags at the beginning of the relationship that would cause most people to walk away from the relationship go unnoticed or are excused away by the adult abused child.  They try harder to please the unpleasable abuser.  This makes the abuser more & more demanding, because abusers enjoy watching their victims jump through hoops trying everything to please them.  The victim keeps trying, & the miserable cycle continues.

 As if this isn’t enough, abusers also encourage victims to white wash or even forget that they have abused their victim.   If an abuser can get a victim to excuse the abuser or even forget it ever happened, they can continue to abuse their victim.  If a victim can believe that this is the first time something has happened, they will tolerate more of it than if they realize this is the umpteenth time that has happened.  They simply continue the relationship as if no abuse happened.

This warped perception of abuse also raises the victim’s tolerance for abuse, because they become desensitized to it.  Their abusers have convinced them that the abuse is no big deal, they are just being too sensitive or everyone acts this way, or the victim is stupid for not realizing that this is normal behavior.  Victims assume what their abusers told them is true, so they tolerate the abuse.

Abusers use some other tactics to warp their victim’s views of abuse.  Love bombing is a very common tactic abusers use, in particular among romantic partners.  They shower their victims with romance, gifts, complements & other loving gestures.  Love bombing also can happen with friends or family, though.  They show their victims love, respect, gentleness & even kind words.  The idea is that these gestures will make the victim focus on them & less on the horrific acts the abuser perpetrated on them.  Often though the encouragement takes the form of gaslighting.  Abusers shame their victims for bringing up abusive episodes by saying things like, “You need to let that go,”  “You’re living in the past,” “You’re too sensitive!” or,  “I don’t see what the big deal is.”  They also may attack your religious beliefs by saying things like,  “You say you’re a Christian.  You need to forgive & forget,”  or, “You aren’t honoring me as your parent by acting that way.  The Bible says you should honor me.”

If you have experienced such things, you’re not alone!  Almost every victim of abuse has experienced them to some degree.

To cope, as always I recommend praying as the best place to start.  Ask God to help you have clarity & discernment, & to identify the truth over the lies.

I found a very difficult but incredibly effective way to help me in this area.  I wrote my autobiography.  I’m not saying you need to write yours & publish it as I did of course, but at least consider writing it.  There is something about seeing your story in writing that is incredibly validating!  It helps you see your story from a different angle, & it makes it more real somehow.  Like I said, it’s difficult, but it’s very well worth doing considering how much healing it can bring.

 

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If You’re Still In A Relationship With A Narcissist

January 12, 2018, I had a very strange experience.  That was my father’s birthday, his first since he died the previous October.  I was thinking about that when God told me that my father wanted Him to tell me something.  He said, “Encourage the weak, like me.”  I knew what that message meant immediately. 

After my father died, God showed me a lot about him.  He showed me how my father felt trapped in their marriage & unable to protect me.  At the time of his death, upon meeting God, he also finally saw how wrong he had been to me.  God showed me how weak my father felt he was.  When God said to encourage the weak, I knew immediately He meant that I should encourage those who are in similar situations & also feel weak for it.

Every January on my father’s birthday, I write a blog post to do just this, to encourage those who also feel weak & in a relationship with a narcissist.

If you have been unable to end a relationship with a narcissist, I don’t think this makes you weak at all, although I certainly understand why you could feel that way.  Fighting a narcissist is incredibly draining & makes you feel weak both mentally & physically. 

Maybe the narcissist in your life has destroyed you financially & you are dependent on them.  Sadly this is incredibly common.  Narcissists excel at financial abuse.  That doesn’t make you weak!

Maybe the narcissist has made you feel forced to maintain the relationship with them.  Many make terrible threats if the victim says they want to leave.  They threaten to keep them from their children or even kill their children.  They threaten to kill their loved ones or pets.  When this happens, how can you not stay out of fear the narcissist will follow through on such threats?!  That doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you someone who loves others & wants to protect them.

Narcissists also often make their victims feel obligated to them somehow.  They may twist Scripture around to make you seem evil for considering ending the relationship with your parent or spouse.  Or they may manipulate your good nature & make you pity them.  My ex husband made me feel so guilty for breaking our engagement that I later married him, even though I was incredibly unhappy with him.  Manipulation is what made me return to him & stay as long as I did.  If that is your situation too, it’s manipulation, not weakness on your part!

Maybe the narcissist has destroyed your self-esteem so badly, you feel completely unable to make it without that person.  Sadly, this happens!  Feeling this way isn’t a sign of weakness at all.  It’s a sign of a cruel person abusing you to put you in such a terrible state.

Maintaining a relationship with a narcissist is hard!  It takes a great deal of strength to maintain your sanity & courage to continue on in this way.

If ending the relationship is your goal, that is brave!  It also isn’t the easy fix many people seem to think it is.  If you live with the narcissist, it takes time to prepare financially, to arrange for a new place to live, & more.  Whether or not you live with the narcissist, it also takes time to figure out the best way to end that relationship to minimize their rage as well as for you to summon the courage to follow through with your plans.

No, you aren’t weak for staying in the relationship with a narcissist.  If you’re looking for solutions, that shows you are strong.  Obviously you want to survive this situation & that courage of yours will pay off.  You will get through this with your dignity & your sanity in tact!

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The Phrase, “Hurting People Hurt People”

If you have been subjected to abuse, chances are excellent you’ve heard the phrase, “hurting people hurt people.”  And, my guess is when you first heard this phrase, you immediately felt badly for being upset about being abused.  Either you felt guilt for being upset, because the abuser is wounded & has no control over acting out of those wounds or downright shame for your feelings.  I have felt that shame so I understand!  I also can tell you that there is no reason to feel that guilt or shame!  That phrase is a lie!

Saying that hurting people hurt people assumes all who have been abused have zero control over their reactions.  Abusers are absolved of any & all guilt with this phrase, & that is completely wrong!  There are very few people who truly are unaware of the differences between right & wrong.  Most people are aware of the differences.  Narcissists are aware, too.  The difference is they don’t care what is right & wrong.  They only care about what they want.  They shouldn’t be lumped into the same category as those who are so damaged they truly don’t recognize the difference between right & wrong.     

Another problem with claiming that hurting people hurt people is that it means their victims can’t be angry at being abused.  How absurd is that?!  No matter the circumstances of the abuse, abuse is wrong & every single person who has been abused should be angry about the wrongness of what was perpetrated on them!  People need to have a healthy anger at things that are wrong & cruel, because not to feel that anger normalizes the behaviors, & such things never should be normalized!

I do realize that many narcissists come from a place of being traumatized & abused.  My narcissistic mother was one of them.  Her narcissistic mother was abusive to her until she died when my mother was in her 60’s, her mother in her 80’s.  My mother’s pain isn’t solely responsible for her narcissism, however.  I think it started that just ball rolling.  She adapted narcissistic behaviors when she was a child as a way to cope with her pain & gain attention.  However, I also believe she, like many other narcissists who experienced similar circumstances, shut down the natural empathy that most people are born with by ignoring any guilt for her hurtful actions.  The more a person does this, the less affected they become by the pain & suffering of other people.  They lose their empathy & become full fledged narcissists who enjoy hurting & manipulating other people.  People who do this shouldn’t be given a free pass to be abusive because they were abused!  Many people have suffered abuse yet turned out to be good, caring, kind & empathic people. 

And lastly, the final problem I have with this phrase is that it shuts down victims.  It makes people feel as if they can’t be angry with their abusers because that poor person was hurting, too, & they didn’t have any better way to deal with their pain.  That is completely unfair!  Victims never should be shut down from discussing their traumatic experiences!  Discussing such events is helpful when it comes to coping with pain & healing from it as well as helping other people.  There is no valid reason a person should be made to feel as if they need to stop discussing their trauma!  Many people who make others feel that way only do so because they are uncomfortable.  Either they don’t want to hear about it because it makes them think less of the abuser they are so fond of, or they are reminded of their own pain that they are too cowardly to face.  Neither situation is healthy & both situations are cruel to victims of abuse!

If you come across anyone who tells you “hurting people hurt people” when you mention your traumatic experiences, then I hope & pray you will remember what I have said & that it empowers you.  Don’t feel guilty or stop discussing your experiences!  While it’s best to stop discussing them with unhealthy people, that doesn’t mean you should be quiet.  Set the world on fire with your story!  You will heal while also helping others to heal!

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Slipping Up As You Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

Healing after narcissistic abuse is messy.   There is nothing easy about it!  It’s not like walking on a nice, level, freshly paved sidewalk.  It’s more like walking on a rocky, narrow path up a steep hill.  Lots of ups & downs & struggles.

There are going to be times on your healing journey when you struggle & even fail.  You’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional patterns.  You’ll apologize for something that isn’t your fault or over explain yourself.  You’ll feel guilty for setting boundaries & maybe even give up on those boundaries since it seems easier not to have them.  You may even resume a relationship with the narcissist you had kicked out of your life.

Times like this are incredibly frustrating, but they also are incredibly NORMAL.  Everyone has had setbacks like these as they heal.  Yes, they’re awful but they happen.  Narcissistic abuse is extremely damaging, so this happens to everyone.

Rather than beat yourself up for being stupid, a failure or whatever other terrible things you’re telling yourself, stop it right now.  Beating yourself up does no good.  Besides, didn’t the narcissist in your life do enough of that for you to last a lifetime?  Why add to it?

Instead, try to relax.  Fix the things you can.  Reestablish those shaky or removed boundaries.  Remind yourself that you owe no one any explanations & stop offering them.  If you resumed a relationship with the narcissist in your life, then end it again & this time, stick to it.  Block their phone numbers, emails, social media accounts.  Avoid going places they go to as much as humanly possible.

Never forget that this was only a stumbling block on your healing path.  Just because you may have fallen into a ditch doesn’t mean you have to stay there.  Pick up where you left off.  If you’re really struggling, ask God to help you.  In fact, even if you aren’t struggling much, ask Him to help you!  We all need His help to survive this incredibly difficult journey, & He is more than happy to help His children however possible.

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“You Never Said That Before!”

Many times, victims are accused of changing their story when they discuss the traumatic abusive episodes of their past.  It can be understandable to a degree that people are concerned with that, because many people lie.  How many false rape accusations have you heard of, for example?  I would bet quite a few.  Or, how many times have you heard of someone being arrested & changing their story either before the trial or while they were in court? 

The problem is that with many victims of abuse, the story can change some but that doesn’t mean the accusations are false or that the victim is lying.  There are several reasons for this.

Many victims have repressed serious trauma.  One way the mind copes to serious trauma is to hide the memory until such a time as one can cope with it.  When you are in an abusive relationship, you endure trauma after trauma, with no time to cope with the first trauma when the second comes along.  Then the third.  Then then fourth & so on.  The mind can handle only so much.  Rather than try to juggle coping with the barrage of constant trauma, it hides some.   Basically, it’s as if the mind puts some events in a box on a shelf.  Later, when in a safer environment, the mind can relax & not function in survival mode.  Those times are often when it decides to take those boxes off the shelf as it is able to cope with them.  This is why immediately after a trauma, sometimes a person can forget key aspects of the situation then days, weeks or even years later, suddenly remember them.  To someone unfamiliar with the mechanics of repressed memories, they can look as if the victim is changing their story even though it is nothing of the sort.

Some details are too embarrassing to share, so they prefer to censor some of the story.  Being involved with an abusive person in any capacity is embarrassing, but it seems to me that being involved with them romantically is especially embarrassing.  It’s embarrassing to admit you fell in love with someone so awful, because it makes you feel stupid & incredibly flawed.  I never was in love with my ex husband, although I thought I was & said I was.  I tried to be.  Even so, for a long time I felt ashamed of myself for wasting my time with someone like him.  As if that isn’t enough though, a lot of narcissistic spouses are very demeaning sexually.  They have no problem raping their spouse through violence or guilt/shaming tactics.  They also seem to get a thrill from degrading them by expecting them to perform acts that cause them either physical or emotional pain or both.  Most people aren’t overly comfortable discussing details of their sex life even when they have a normal one, but discussing the details of the degrading things your narcissistic spouse has done to you or made you do is even worse.  No one wants to admit to having done or been subjected to such awful things!

Most victims also realize that not everyone is capable of emotionally handling the gory details of abuse, so they edit their story for some people while sharing more with others.  This doesn’t mean a victim is trying to get attention from certain people.  It means we’re all pretty aware that there are some folks who can handle our story better than others, & we feel more comfortable sharing details with them. 

As you heal, you become more comfortable discussing your story.  The more you heal, the more comfortable you are with your story.  You realize you aren’t the awful person the narcissist convinced you that you were.  You realize the abuse wasn’t your fault.  You also realize the shame of the abuse isn’t yours to carry, but your abuser’s.  The things you are willing to discuss today may not be things you were willing to share last year.  It’s simply part of the healing process to be more comfortable with being open about your story than you once were. 

If someone jumps you for never saying that before or some similar comment, remember these points.  There is nothing wrong with divulging more or less during certain times or to certain people as long as you’re telling the truth.

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10% Off All My Print Books Until October 1, 2021

My publisher is having another sale. 10% off ALL print products, which naturally includes my books. Simply use code BUY10 at checkout. You can see my books at the link below:

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Ways To Handle Flying Monkeys

In scrolling through my memories on Facebook recently, a picture came up.  The picture is one taken of my parents on their wedding day while they stood by my father’s car.  I originally shared it on Facebook in 2014 because I thought the picture was nice & my family might enjoy seeing it.  The car in the picture was special to my father, too, & I thought they also might remember it.  One of my cousins said something about how my father & I both love cars.  I responded that was true, it was one of the few things we had in common.  Out of nowhere, one of my aunts verbally attacked me for not trying harder to find things in common with my father.

Does this sound at all familiar to you?  If so, welcome to life with narcissistic parents & their awful flying monkeys!

Flying monkeys absolutely love to tell the victims of narcissistic abuse what we need to do, how we need to work harder for the narcissist, how we should ignore our own needs in favor of the narcissist & so much more.  The pressure can be unbearable sometimes.  It also can trigger a lot of anger, as my situation with my aunt did.  I hope to help you to find ways to help you deal with these awful people in this post.

The very first thing you should do when trying to learn ways to deal with flying monkeys is to pray.  Ask God for wisdom, clarity, strength not to cave into their unrealistic expectations & creative ways to help you to cope.  He absolutely will grant you those things!

Some flying monkeys are people who were genuinely duped by narcissist, but not many are.  Many flying monkeys are truly horrible, evil & narcissistic people that enjoy causing others pain while simultaneously acting as if they are only trying to help so no one can be angry with them.   The way to tell the difference is by listening to what these people say.  The genuinely duped are open to hearing your side & admitting that the narcissist might just be wrong.  The evil flying monkeys however have no interest in hearing your side of the story.  They are convinced you are wrong, the narcissist is right & that is the end of the story.  They have zero interest in truth, & their minds are completely closed to anything that disagrees with their views, no matter how slightly.  People like this are toxic, & need to be removed from your life.  It’s not likely that those who are genuinely duped need to be removed from your life.  They may see the error of their ways & aren’t so toxic.  Use your best judgment with them regarding whether or not to remove them from your life.

If you’re unable to remove the toxic flying monkeys from your life, it’s best to interact with them as little as possible.  If you must interact with them, share as little personal information as possible.  Telling them anything personal means that most likely, they will run to your narcissistic parent to share that information as quickly as possible.

Refuse to discuss your narcissistic parent with the flying monkeys.  Remember, the toxic ones are online interested in what supports their perspective.  As a result of that, they WILL hurt you by invalidating or shaming you.  They will attempt to force you to do what they believe you should do, such as resume contact with your narcissistic parent no matter how toxic your parent is.  Change the subject, even if it means doing it repeatedly or being rude.  Only discuss neutral topics with flying monkeys such as the weather.  Or, ask them about things in their lives.  There’s not a narcissist around that will pass up the opportunity to discuss themselves, so why not use this to your advantage?

Show no emotions whatsoever to the flying monkeys.  Narcissists feed off emotions, & their flying monkeys do too.  In fact, they use any emotions you show as proof that the narcissist is right about you, & you’re crazy, angry, unreasonable & more.  No matter how justifiable emotions are, flying monkeys still take them as proof of a victim’s mental incompetence.  Once they are convinced of your mental instability, they will use that to hurt you, so it’s best to refuse to show them any emotions that you feel.

Flying monkeys are miserable, awful people who thrive on hurting others.  Not dealing with them is the best solution, but if you must deal with them, I hope the tips in this post will help you to do so.

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Stop Comparing Your Struggles To Someone Else’s

One thing I have noticed a great deal of in the community of abuse survivors is comparisons.

Those without PTSD or C-PTSD sometimes think those with either disorder are weak, & shame them for being so weak.

Those who have siblings shame those of us who are only children, because they think we had it so easy growing up without abusive siblings.

Still others who were older children look down on their younger siblings for having it so easy as to be “spoiled” by the same parents that abused them.

The problem is that these mindsets make no sense whatsoever.

Someone who managed to escape an abusive childhood or abusive marriage without PTSD or C-PTSD should be grateful for that fact rather than judging others who live with these disorders.  Those without such disorders are in the minority.  The fact is that surviving an abusive relationship often causes either disorder, & it’s not very common to escape without them.  Rather than looking down on those of us you may deem weak, instead be grateful that you don’t live with PTSD or C-PTSD.  Be grateful you don’t have any idea what it’s like to live with crippling anxiety & depression, or have nightmares every night, or live with being so hyper-vigilant that your own spouse coming into the room where you are can make you feel blind terror for a few moments.  Living with such horrible things is an absolute nightmare.  Be glad you don’t suffer with this! 

If you think those of us who were only children had it easy, then think again.  I won’t say it’s easier for only children to survive an abusive upbringing than those with siblings, because each situation has its own unique challenges.  I will say as an only child, I can speak from experience in saying that being the sole focus of a narcissistic parent’s rage is a nightmare.  It’s just as bad of a nightmare as it is for someone who grows up with siblings who turn out like their parents, & abuse their scapegoated sibling.  One is no better or worse than the other, simply different.  Different does NOT mean one had it easy & another did not.

Rather than waste time comparing your experience to someone else’s, I would like to encourage you today to accept not only your experiences but the experiences of others to be valid.  Everyone who has survived abuse has seen some horrific things.  While yes, some experienced worse than others, that does not make the experiences of those who experienced less horrific abuse any less valid or abusive.  Abuse is abuse & it hurts.  Period.  Accept that.  Validate your experiences.  There is nothing wrong with this!  In fact, doing so can help you to heal.  Not doing so, & comparing your experiences to that of others invalidates your pain.  It makes you feel your experiences don’t matter.  They weren’t so bad, so just ignore them & pretend they never happened.  That mindset is incredibly unhealthy!  I know facing your demons is hard, but it also is healthy, brave & a strong thing to do.  It’s necessary if you wish to heal from the trauma in your life.  So why waste time comparing your experiences to those of other people when you can help yourself to heal?

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A Way To Cope With Dysfunctional People

Unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world with flawed people.  Many of those flawed people are very dysfunctional & they refuse to change.  There is no escaping them, so we all need to find ways to cope with them.

One way I have found to deal with such people is by accepting these people where they are.  Please don’t think I am saying people have the right to treat you any way they want & you should accept it.  That isn’t what I mean at all.  I mean recognizing that some people are comfortable operating in their own dysfunction & that is their right.  You have every right to protect yourself from such people, of course.  You have the right to have & enforce healthy boundaries.  You also have the right to distance from such people to protect yourself. 

Here is an example from my life of what I’m talking about.

For quite some time, my mother went through a phase of often telling me how good a mother she was.  She regaled me with stories of how she took such good care of me.  The stories were strange to say the least.  While there was some truth in many of them, she twisted some facts around to make herself look good.  Other times, she denied any wrong doing towards me at all.

When she first began to do this, I felt like she was invalidating the pain she caused me yet again.  First, by doing the things she did that caused the pain, then later by acting as if such things never happened or spinning the stories around to make herself look good.  And, to add insult to injury, she clearly wanted me to validate her delusions. 

Naturally, I was incredibly hurt & angry when this happened.  I literally could feel my blood pressure rise when she would start telling her tales, or if not then, when she wanted me to agree to her stories.  In time, I realized something though.  This was how she coped. 

I realized that my mother felt badly for doing abusive things to me.  Not like a normal person would though.  She didn’t feel badly for causing pain.  Instead, her actions were so embarrassing to her that she simply couldn’t bear the thought of anyone knowing what she had done.  That is why she started to reinvent the past.  She worked very hard to convince herself, others & even me that she didn’t do the horrible things she did or the events didn’t happen that way I remembered.  She spun facts around in some way to make her look good.  The fact it hurt me didn’t seem to cross her mind.  Often when she said or did things to hurt me, she looked pleased with herself, but that didn’t happen with her stories.  I think she was simply so focused on helping herself feel better, how it affected me simply didn’t occur to her. 

When these things happened, I prayed & God showed me what I told you just now.  This was how my mother coped.  Many people do this exact same thing, narcissist or not.  It is incredibly dysfunctional for sure, but it also is a person’s right to live as functionally or dysfunctionally as they want to do. Naturally I wanted better for her than this for my sake as well as hers, but there was nothing I could do to make my mother operate in a healthier way.  This was her choice & even her right to behave this way.

When I realized that, it helped me to accept my mother’s behavior for what it was.  Dysfunctional but also her right. I kept that in mind when she started sharing her stories, & I was no longer so negatively affected by them. 

I also realized that just because she wants to drag me into this behavior doesn’t mean I have to be a part of it.  While it’s true people have the right to behave badly, that doesn’t mean you have to participate in it.  I never validated my mother’s stories like she wanted me to.  Instead, I changed the subject or ended the phone call.  You too have the right to protect yourself from the awful behavior of other people. 

Accepting people where they are while not encouraging their dysfunctional behavior can make coping with them so much easier!

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Celebrate Your Healing!

Some time ago, I shared something on Facebook someone else disagreed with. The way this person stated their opinion triggered shame in me because they sounded much like my mother & ex husband used to sound when they disagreed with me. The good part about this was I realized very quickly what was happening. This person didn’t intend to shame me. The way they stated their opinion was simply a trigger, nothing more. I also realized this person was wrong, but rather than blindly believe this person or get into some big debate (which I absolutely hate), I simply deleted my post.

Do you have any idea how very important this is?!!?

Until the last few years, when someone disagreed with me, I automatically assumed I was wrong, they were right & I should be ashamed of myself for thinking what I did. Growing up hearing how wrong you are about everything will do this. You naturally assume you’re wrong about everything, even when every fiber of your being knows otherwise. I’m sure many of you who also were raised by narcissistic parents can relate all too well to this. The behavior goes deep & is hard to change. Yet, I conquered it!!! That is worth celebrating!

Another common behavior of those of us with narcissistic parents is to minimize our accomplishments & not celebrate them. I always thought my parents expected me to do great things not because I was smart or talented, but just because they thought I should do those things. As a result, I learned not to celebrate anything I did because I figured I was just supposed to do those things. It took me writing several books before I created a celebratory ritual that I do once I publish a book. Prior to that, I just published a book & started another. No celebration was involved.

Some time back, after considering such things, I decided to celebrate more often & that includes when I recognize how much I’ve healed. The incident I mentioned at first almost went uncelebrated. Old habits die hard, after all. It took a few days for me to realize what had happened & that I should be proud of myself for healing to this point. When I did though, I gave myself a mental pat on the back for healing.

I want to encourage you, Dear Reader, to do the same.

There are going to be times when you backslide in your healing journey. We all do that. Chances are good you spend plenty of time beating yourself up for those times. I certainly do! Why not spend at least the same amount of time celebrating your successes? The more you do that, the better you’ll feel about yourself. And as an added bonus, the less the backsliding times will affect you. They’ll still annoy you of course, but they won’t be devastating.

By celebrating these times, I don’t mean you have to have a big party or anything so elaborate. If you like that, by all means, go for it! If not, that’s fine too. The celebrations can be simpler. I often reminded myself of how far I’ve come. I remember some things from my younger & much more dysfunctional days then thought of how that person is now a stranger. God has helped me heal so much, I don’t even recognize the old me. I sit with that for a while, knowing God truly has blessed me. Sure, I still have issues. I still have C-PTSD. But, I also no longer make rash or foolish decisions based on what other people want while ignoring what I want. Other people can no longer control or manipulate me. These are really important accomplishments! It took a lot of work & listening to God’s guidance to get to that point & I am proud of myself for what I have done.

You should feel the same! Be proud of everything you have accomplished in your healing. Even the baby steps count, so if you feel you’ve healed in one tiny way, be proud of yourself for that! That still took work & is something special. Congratulate yourself on a job well done!

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Being An INFJ With A Broken Brain

I was going to simply write about this in my journal but since many of you who read my work have told me you share the INFJ personality with me & also have various types of brain damage, I figured putting this out there might help others too.

Being an INFJ isn’t easy.  Naturally we feel things deeper than many other people. We also see red flags of toxic people many don’t even notice & think something is wrong with us for noticing.  We’re often misjudged because we tend to be quiet around people we don’t know well & we’re naturally rather private people.  We also are subjected to some pretty ridiculous expectations, like no matter what is happening in our lives, we should always be willing to listen when people have problems & be the one to do all the work in relationships.  It also seems to me that people think we either don’t have problems or are able to handle anything, so we aren’t really allowed to have bad days or be in a bad mood. 

Even more frustrating than this is being an INFJ with a malfunctioning brain either due to a traumatic brain injury or C-PTSD or even both.  Being an INFJ with both C-PTSD & a traumatic brain injury, I can tell you that frankly, it really just sucks sometimes!  Today has been one of those times.

I woke my husband & myself up at 4:30 this morning from a nightmare that made me wake up having a particularly nasty panic attack.  It took quite some time to fall back asleep & by the time I did, it was time to get up.  A few hours later, I had a flashback.  One of these alone would be hard enough to deal with but having both in a short period of time was rough.  Add in the brain injury making my cognitive skills not function as they should & that makes everything even harder.  It’s been a really long day already & it’s not nearly over yet.

The natural inclination for INFJs in such positions is to go on as normal & not burden anyone with their problems.  I’m no exception.  I even hate writing about this when it’s not going in my journal where only I will see it.  But, for some reason, I felt I should write this out today to let my fellow INFJs know you’re not alone!

Being the rarest of the MBTI personality types, it’s just a given we will be misunderstood.  This can make you feel like a freak but just because you feel that way doesn’t mean it’s true.  Unique isn’t a bad thing at all!  Far from it!  It sure beats blending in with the crowd.  Besides, I’ve noticed INFJs tend to find other INFJs & become friends with them.  We also get along well with INFPs who can understand us surprisingly well.  These friendships are truly a treasure!

If you too have C-PTSD, I know it’s awful.  Absolutely awful in every way.  But, there is one good thing about it.  C-PTSD is not a sign of weakness like many people foolishly think it is.  Quite the opposite.  It is proof that you survived something that was meant to destroy you.  I’m not saying be grateful for C-PTSD of course.  If it could be returned to a store like a bad birthday gift, I’d say return it today!  What I’m saying is just remember C-PTSD is proof that you are an amazing person who is strong, courageous & has a great will to survive.

Lastly, if you have a brain injury too, I truly feel your pain, literally & figuratively.  Brain injuries are incredibly frustrating at best.  They cause some really obnoxious physical symptoms such as terrible headaches & seizures.  They can steal your identity, your talents, your memories & leave you feeling incredibly stupid.  They also can help you to recognize what is truly important in your life & give you the courage to focus on those things.  They can help you to gain the courage to stop tolerating people in your life who don’t love & appreciate you.  There are very few good parts of having a brain injury but the ones I just mentioned are extremely good!

I hope this post helped you to know you aren’t alone in your struggles.  Don’t forget to take good care of yourself, mentally & physically, but especially during trying times.  If other people don’t understand your natural need for self care, that isn’t your problem.  Do what you need to do! 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

Acting Normal After Trauma Can Create Shame

I’m a huge fan of the ID channel’s true crime shows, & I watch them often. It fascinates me the things that people are capable of. Not only those who commit heinous crimes, but those who have the strength & wisdom to outwit their attackers & survive brutal attacks.

Recently I was watching one of these shows. In it, a woman’s ex boyfriend kidnapped her under the guise of saying he wanted her to come with him to say good bye to his daughters. He said there was a party in another town, & he would take her to the party where his daughters would be so she could say good bye. On the way there, he threatened her & even tried to choke her. Sadly, when they got inside the house where the party supposedly was, it was empty & abandoned. It’s where he killed her.

What got me about this show was what happened just before they got to that house. The boyfriend told her to behave herself when they arrived at the party, in other words, act like he hadn’t just tried to choke her. It struck me – that is exactly how narcissists act! They can do the most painful, vulgar thing to a victim, & victims aren’t allowed to show others any signs of the trauma they just survived.

Naturally, narcissists do this to hide their horrible behavior so they can continue to do it & to impress whoever they want to impress. However, there is another facet of this behavior. Not allowing someone to act as if they have been through trauma instills shame in them.

Hiding your emotions in such a situation is good for survival, but at the same time, it can make you feel like something is very wrong with you for being upset about the trauma. I wonder if it’s partly because of how narcissists think. Many act like their victim is supposed to be able to do anything. Not because that victim is capable or smart, but because they want the victim to do things. Certain things are just expected of a victim, no matter the victim’s abilities, strengths or weaknesses. Acting normal after trauma is one of those expected things. When you feel as if you can’t act normally or struggle to do so immediately after a traumatic event, you can feel ashamed of your feelings.

Another reason for shame in such situations could be how many people treat victims. So few people are sympathetic to victims. Many people expect victims to “just get over it”, “let go of the past” or “forgive & forget.” Not a lot of people have patience for a victim who still shows signs of having been through trauma & they do their best to get them to act normal. Being around such people can instill a great deal of shame in a victim.

I’ve also experienced shame by being around someone who isn’t affected as strongly as I am by similar traumas. As an example, my husband is someone who can go on no matter what. No trauma slows him down. I’m not sure why he’s that way & trauma hits me much harder. There have been plenty of times I would see him keep going to work, working in the yard & doing other normal things after something traumatic happened. Yet, let something not as traumatic happen to me & I struggle to do things I do every day. This kind of comparison also can instill shame just like being told to act like nothing happened can.

When you experience this type of scenario, & chances are you will at some point, you need to turn to God. Pray about it. Tell Him how you feel & ask for help.

Also think about your situation objectively. It’s not normal to act like nothing happened after trauma. It’s normal to feel certain things & to act differently. If it was 95* outside, it’d be normal to sweat. Would you be angry at yourself for sweating in such hot weather? No, because it’s totally normal & understandable. Similarly, it’s normal & understandable to act differently after trauma. You have no reason to feel shame for acting differently.

Just remember, Dear Reader, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you for being affected by trauma, no matter what the narcissist or insensitive people may think. xoxo

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

When Gratitude Can Be Toxic

Gratitude is a topic that is presented as of the utmost importance in society.  And, gratitude is a wonderful thing.  Life is much happier when you are grateful for the good things in your life.  I feel so much joy when I focus on appreciating little things, like going for a drive with some good music playing in the car.

There are times though that gratitude isn’t the best solution.  It may even be impossible. 

If you have lost a loved one, for example, you will get to the point where you are grateful they’re no longer suffering & that you had them in your life for however long the time was.  To get to that point though, you first will need to go through the grief process.  That is going to take time, & involve some unpleasant emotions like feeling lost & alone, anger & intense depression.  To get to the grateful place is messy, & shouldn’t be skipped over.  Focusing only on gratitude for that person while not properly grieving means you’re ignoring pain that needs your attention in order to heal.  Ignored pain finds alternative ways to get your attention, & those ways aren’t healthy.  It can manifest as unhealthy relationships, addictions, physical & mental health problems.

This is also true when it comes to dealing with abuse in your past. 

There are people who tell victims that they need to be grateful for the trauma because it supposedly made them strong or it made them who they are today.  This can be so harmful for victims!  It’s invalidating & also can create a great deal of shame in a victim who is struggling & unable to feel any gratitude.  It is so cruel to tell someone this & make their struggle even harder than it needs to be!

This post is for people who have hurt such comments about how they need to be grateful for what they have been through.  There is nothing wrong with you for not feeling grateful.  Healing is ugly.  It involves a lot of terrible feeling emotions.  It also is a grief process, because you have to accept that some pretty terrible things were done to you, & that caused you to lose precious time in your life, maybe even your whole childhood if your abuser was your parent.  How can any human feel gratitude during such a process?!  It takes a long time & a lot of healing first before you can feel any gratitude related to your situation.

Rather than try to create a grateful heart at this time, forget that.  Not necessarily forever, but for the near future at least until you are further along in your healing journey.  Focus on your healing instead of gratitude.  Feel all the ugly emotions & process them fully.  Then, maybe you can be grateful for some aspects of your experiences.  There are a few things to be grateful for after all.

You can be grateful the trauma & abuse didn’t destroy you, that you have a lot of inner strength that enabled you to survive it, that the abusers are no longer in your life & that God has found some purpose in your pain such as writing about it to help other people.  You also can be grateful for having the courage to face your struggles, because that courage isn’t something everyone has.  Please remember that gratitude can be a good thing to help a person add joy to their life, but it isn’t a cure all.  It isn’t a healthy alternative to pain.  It isn’t like an ointment that will soothe your pain either.  You can feel gratitude while also facing painful, even traumatic things have happened to you.  Just remember not to try to rush yourself into feeling gratitude.

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

15% Off My Print Books Until May 7, 2021

If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.

My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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

Thoughts On Being Comfortable With Who God Made You To Be

I recently had an interesting dream.  In it, I was at a concert of one of my favorite bands ever, Motorhead.  The dream was a bit odd since I’m not exactly a concert goer.  Watching them on TV is as close as I get.

When I woke up, I prayed then looked up what music & concerts meant on my favorite dream dictionary website, dreammoods.com.  According to the site, dreaming of a concert symbolizes unity & cooperation.  Very cool.. my husband & I were moving soon & the dream made me realize how well we’re working together to accomplish this.  Dreaming of music meant something different though.  The site said that dreaming of music depends on the dreamer.  Each genres means something different & if the genre is something you like, the music is offering you advice.  When I read this, it clicked in my brain immediately.

I’ve been a Motorhead fan for a long time, but in particular a fan of their late singer, Lemmy Kilmister.  In some ways he was your typical heavy metal musician.  But, in other ways he wasn’t & I always thought those ways were really interesting.  Not only was he highly intelligent but had a very unique personality.  He was fascinated by history.  Most of all though, he was unapologetic for being himself.  Not like a narcissist of course, just he had this attitude of, “This is who I am.  I like me.  Your approval isn’t required.”  Never having such an attitude myself, I admire & even somewhat envy it in others.

I believe my dream was trying to tell me that I need to share Lemmy’s attitude.  There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own skin & not caring what others think about you.  I realize narcissists try to make victims feel that way, but that doesn’t mean they’re right.  They don’t want victims to feel that way because an insecure victim with low, or better yet NO, self esteem is easy to control.  A person who is insecure doesn’t know what they want, think, feel & believe, which means they are going to be easily controlled.

Someone who has a healthy self esteem, however, is a threat to narcissists.  They know who they are.  They know what they want, think, feel & believe.  They are well aware of their boundaries.  Because of such things, they aren’t easily controlled or manipulated.  They may be briefly but they catch on fast, & put an end to being treated that way even if it means ending the relationship.

Anyway I don’t think the lesson in this dream was only for me.  I think it was for other victims of narcissistic abuse.  If it was for you too, I’m sure this resonates with you as it did with me.

I have tried to develop Lemmy’s attitude.  This is what I figured out about how to do that.

Naturally pray.  Ask God to tell you the truth about yourself.  That alone is eye opening!  I did that myself some time ago & was shocked at what He had to say.  He told me to research the personality of wolves, because that is what he created me to be like.  I assume because of being such an animal lover, that was why He used that example.  It was fascinating & so eye opening!  I never would have thought that is what God created me to be like.

Once you do this, remind yourself often of whatever it is He tells you about yourself.  Having the knowledge is a good thing of course, but reminding yourself of it often is what will get that knowledge inside of you.  This was where I made my mistake.  I didn’t focus on it as much as I should have, which is probably why I had the dream.  Learn from my mistake!  Think about what He said.  If it helps leave notes or pictures around your home that remind you of it.  Let this valuable knowledge get inside you & help you to blossom into the wonderful person He created you to be!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Illness Changes Personality & Behavior

When a person faces serious health problems, they change & not only physically.  Their personalities change, too.  That is normal.  Sometimes the personality changes can be very bad.

A dear friend of mine lost her husband some time ago after caring for him for several years.  Not long before he died, she told me some very disturbing things about his behavior.  This once good, kind, loving man was suddenly exhibiting many narcissistic traits.  In particular, he didn’t want his wife to be with other people, including their children.  It was bizarre since narcissism doesn’t suddenly show up, like when you catch a cold.  The more we talked about things, the more I thought of something… 

After I survived Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, the hospital gave me no information & even said my elevated carbon monoxide levels “weren’t so bad.”  They also said I had no brain injury in spite of showing many signs of a concussion from hitting my head when I passed out.  The hospital said I could return to work two days later, but by that time, I still felt just as miserable as I did when I left the hospital.  I was lost, so I started researching my condition.  I also joined a traumatic brain injury group on Facebook.  I noticed immediately most people in the group showed a LOT of narcissistic tendencies & were very insecure.  I left the group quickly, but I realized something.  I was starting to behave much as they were!  I wanted my husband to be with me non stop & was very annoyed he wasn’t.  I knew he had demanding, elderly parents with health problems, plus a full time job which all left him exhausted much of the time, but even so, I was annoyed he didn’t spend more time with me.  Realizing how selfish I was behaving was a real wakeup call!

I told my friend about my experiences plus what I witnessed in that group & in time, we realized what happened with her husband was much like what happened to me.

The reason I’m sharing this is so many people are affected by serious health concerns either in themselves or in those they love.  Whether you are the person with the condition or someone you love is, it’s vital to understand that serious health problems can change someone’s personality drastically.  The condition doesn’t even need to be something that affects one’s brain directly like Alzheimer’s, stroke or traumatic brain injury for this to happen. 

When you become seriously sick or injured, you become scared.  Even if you’re getting the best of care & have a great prognosis, health problems are terrifying. 

Add in that you can’t do things you once took for granted & are forced to rely on other people for help.  That too can make you feel afraid, especially for the person who has always been self reliant, & is a serious blow to the self esteem.

Having to rely on other people also can make you feel like a burden, which unsurprisingly is terrible for one’s self esteem.

Feeling like a burden can make you feel that you need to put your best face forward & not show others just how miserable you feel or how much you’re struggling.  There is a very difficult balance in this situation.  If you act as if your symptoms aren’t as bad as they are, or not happening at all, people often think you’re faking the health crisis.  But, if you are honest about it, people often think you’re exaggerating your symptoms, feeling sorry for yourself or looking for attention.

Feeling insecure & afraid naturally change a person.  Many people get angry.  Many others talk about their illness non stop in an effort to educate people, which often alienates them because people get tired of hearing about this topic.  Most people though seem to become insecure, some even to the point of displaying narcissistic tendencies.

If you are the person who is ill & behaving this way, please work on healing!  You are only hurting yourself & those around you!  I know it’s hard but you can change!  Watch your behavior, & change it accordingly.  Apologize when you mistreat someone or have unfair expectations on them.  Stop expecting people to meet your needs & focus on God to do that. 

If you are the person in a relationship with someone who is behaving this way, remember, you can’t change their behavior.  They have to change themselves.  But, you aren’t helpless.  You need to have good boundaries in place & enforce them.  Talk to this person & explains that their behavior hurts you.  Non-narcissistic people will respond to that!  I know it seems hard to believe if you’ve dealt with a narcissist, but it’s true.  Remind yourself that their behavior isn’t personal.  It’s their illness making them act this way rather than something you are doing wrong.

Whichever position you are in, remember to stay close to God. Nurture that relationship.  That is what will help you more than anything else!

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Filed under Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Miscellaneous

How To Find The Right Therapist

Finding a good therapist isn’t always as easy as it may seem.  Every person has their own unique personality, beliefs, ways of thinking & more, so finding a therapist who is compatible with you can be a challenge.  When you are seeing one to help you to deal with the effects of narcissistic abuse however, the challenge can be much more difficult.

For one thing, there are many therapists out there who are narcissists.  Narcissists are drawn to the helping type professions such as teachers, clergy, doctors, law enforcement & even the mental health field.  I’m not saying all teachers, clergy, doctors, law enforcement officers & mental health professionals are narcissists of course.  Many very good people are in those fields too.  When it comes to finding a therapist that can help you cope with issues stemming from narcissistic abuse though, it’s especially important to be certain your therapist isn’t a narcissist.  No one needs to be subjected to a narcissistic therapist!  It only makes things much worse!

There is also the fact that most in the mental health field received little to no training on the cluster B personality disorders like narcissism.  Unless a therapist has personal experience with a narcissist, chances are they won’t know ways to help you to heal.  They may not even recognize the type of person who abused you.  And, if they don’t understand the person who abused you, there is the chance that they may not believe you let alone be able to help you heal.  Honestly, much of what narcissists do is pretty unbelievable.  I think back to the things I was subjected to at the hands of narcissists, & can barely believe it.  I was there!  It shouldn’t be hard to believe it, yet it is. If your therapist doesn’t believe you, that is a sign you need to find a different one.

If you are considering therapy after narcissistic abuse, I hope I haven’t dissuaded you.  That certainly isn’t my intention at all.  I just want to let you know that finding one who can help you may not be easy.  That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though!

Many therapists have areas they specialize in such as drug rehabilitation, sexual problems, marriage counseling & more.  Find one who specializes in trauma & abuse. Often their specialty is listed on their website or on your insurance carrier’s list of providers who accept your insurance. 

If you know other people in your area who have been to counseling, ask them about their counselor.  What did they like or dislike about that counselor?  Even if they saw that counselor for a different issue than what you want to see one for, you never know.  That counselor may not specialize in helping others recover from narcissistic abuse, but may be highly empathic & able to think outside the box enough to help you.

Remember that the first counselor you see may not be one that you stay with.  Or the second counselor.  Or even the third.  Things may start out just fine then something happens that makes you think this counselor may not be the one for you.  Don’t worry about that!  It happens sometimes.  Not everyone is compatible with every counselor.  Don’t give up easily, but don’t stay with a counselor for longer than you feel comfortable either.  The goal is to help yourself, so do what you need to in order to help yourself.  It doesn’t mean you’re a failure if it takes you seeing a few counselors before you find one that you really like. 

Don’t be biased, either, when seeking a counselor.  If you’re a woman, you may be more comfortable talking to women about personal issues as a general rule, but that may not be the case with a counselor.  You may end up finding a male counselor more effective for you.  Or, vice versa- a man may prefer a female counselor.  Remember, men & women think very differently as a general rule, & sometimes those differences can be very helpful. 

I wish you the best in your quest to find a good counselor!

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

Willful Ignorance

Many people realize the truth will set you free.  They know that even the ugly, painful truth is always better than a pretty lie, & no matter how much it may hurt, always aim for truth in their lives.

Then there are other people who are nothing like that.  They prefer pretty lies any day.  They excuse the bad behavior of others readily & deny those people have done anything wrong.  These people are practicing something called willful ignorance.

Willful ignorance is a legal term which basically means a person has made a poor decision to circumvent information as a way for people to avoid making uncomfortable decisions.  On a more personal note, it is the avoidance of information or evidence that would force a person to face something unpleasant.

One of the best examples of this came from my personal life.  As I’ve written about before, at the time my father was dying, I had been no contact with him for several months.  My family attacked me via any means possible daily, trying to force me to go say goodbye to him.  Every time I would block one means, they’d find another.  I finally asked God why.  One of the things He said was that me staying away meant I was proving that not everything was ok.  If I would have gone, that would have shown them that my father was the great guy they wanted to believe he was.  I was threatening their willful ignorance. 

This also happens in cases where a person is abused by their parent, spouse, in-laws, etc. & other people refuse to believe it rather than get involved & try to protect the victim.

While it is certainly understandable to avoid painful things, willful ignorance is incredibly dysfunctional.  It sets people up for disappointment & unnecessary suffering because they refuse to acknowledge the warning signs most people see.  It hurts those closest to those who engage in this behavior because they are helpless to help the person they love.  These people are so devoted to their dysfunction that they will ignore what the person who loves them says, & will fight with them to protect their denial.

It is so hard being in this situation, whether you are the one practicing willful ignorance or the one who loves someone who practices it.

If you are the one practicing it, please stop!  I know the truth can be scary & painful, but by avoiding facing that, you’re hurting yourself, not helping yourself.  You need to know that God loves you & will help you to face whatever needs facing.  If you have trouble with that due to having an abusive parent figure in your life, He understand that too!  Be honest & tell Him just how you feel.  It’s ok!  I can promise you, He won’t cast you into hell or strike you down with a lightening bolt.  He will gently help you to see you can trust Him which will help you to start facing the painful things you must face.

And, if you are someone who loves a person who is willfully ignorant, I want you to know that God understands your pain & frustration.  Ask Him to show you how to support our loved one in a healthy way.  He will!  Don’t get sucked into the dysfunction either.  Stick to the truth & don’t let this person convince you of their false beliefs.  Keep your boundaries in place & protect yourself from the dysfunction of this situation.  This person has the right to engage in their dysfunction to their heart’s content, but you also have the right to engage in healthier ways.  Part of that means protecting yourself & not getting involved in their dysfunction.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

Another Sale On My Print Books!

This time, my publisher is offering 10% off all print books until March 19, 2021 when you use code SELL10 at checkout.

Check out my print books at the link below…

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

If you prefer ebooks, those are also availble at the link below…

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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