Tag Archives: covert

The Value Of Detoxing From Emotionally Incestuous (Enmeshed) Family

When someone grows up in an enmeshed, emotionally incestuous family, they naturally have many issues stemming from this.  One of those many issues is that they need time away from their toxic family to detox.

One example of this that comes to mind is a good friend of mine.  Around me, he’s usually kind, caring, fun loving & laid back.  I always can tell when he has dealt with his toxic immediate family in the recent past however, because that great guy disappears.  The person who replaces him is impatient, irritable, & quick to judge & criticize.  In other words, nothing like who he usually is.  It takes some time away from them for the hard to deal with person to go away & the good guy he usually is to come back.  I’ve started referring to this as his detox.

Sadly, this need to detox after being around an emotionally incestuous family is normal for the adult who grew up in this situation.  Also sadly, it makes sense if you think about it.

Someone who doesn’t understand the extreme toxicity that is emotional incest wants to fit in with their family, even if they hate the dynamic.  They will behave however they need to in order to fit in.  On some level however, they know this isn’t normal so they are dealing with cognitive dissonance.  In other words, they grew up thinking this is normal & anything that threatens that belief makes them extremely uncomfortable & confused.  Time away from their toxic family is their detox, & it relieves them of that uncomfortable feeling, at least until the next time they deal with their family.

Even if someone is aware of what is happening & just how dysfunctional their family is, being around such people can bring old habits back to the surface disturbingly easily.  It’s a lot like drug addicts.  They can stay clean much easier when they avoid people who are still addicts & are around people who don’t do drugs.  Getting around those who are still actively addicted makes it very hard for them to stay on their healthier path.  When they backslide, they may get clean again but they are NOT going to be happy with themselves for backsliding.  The same goes for those with emotionally incestuous families.  If a person has worked hard to get healthier, then slides back into old habits, they are going to be pretty upset with themselves when they recognize their bad behavior.  They need time away from their family so they can detox to get back on the right path.

Another problem is the emotionally incestuous family encourages the dysfunctional behavior.  They reward bad behavior, throwing some breadcrumbs of affection or praise to their family members who follow the rules of the family & don’t try to make any healthy changes.  No matter how much someone may want to break free of this to live in a healthier way, the pressure to “behave” & get those crumbs of affection can be very great, which also can account for the need to detox after leaving.  Distance from these highly dysfunctional people helps them to recognize what is happening, & to get back on the right path.

Emotionally incestuous family members also despise anyone who doesn’t enable & encourage their toxic behavior.  They will talk badly about anyone who encourages someone in the emotionally incestuous family to distance themselves from the toxicity.  If someone in such a family has a friend or spouse that speaks against this behavior, the family is not going to tolerate this quietly.  They will tell everyone just how awful that person is, how they’re trying to tear apart the family or even steal their family member away from the family.  If someone hears this enough from their family, they may believe it in time, & return to the dysfunctional fold.  Time away from them, time to detox from the dysfunction, can clear their head.

If your family is emotionally incestuous, then please, do yourself a huge favor & take the time to detox from them as frequently as you can!  It will be good for your mental health!  Or, if someone you know is in such a situation, encourage them to do the same.  Be willing to listen to them without judgment & speak the truth to them about what their family is really like (gently of course!). 

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People Who Don’t Have Any Friends & Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I have a habit that I believe is shared by others who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  I gravitate to those who don’t have any friends.  Not that this is always a bad thing, but it can be.  Sometimes these people are detrimental to your mental health.

People who don’t have friends may be in this position for valid reasons.  They may be extremely introverted, preferring very little socialization since it drains them quickly.  Maybe they just recently moved to the area & haven’t had time to meet new people.  Or maybe they recently escaped an abusive relationship, & while in it, their abuser isolated them from friends & family.  Once away from that person, they may not feel ready to trust new people in any capacity just yet.  There are plenty of valid reasons like this a person has for not having friends.  These people are not the ones I am referring to in this post.

The people I’m referring to are the ones who have no friends for years on end.  They may discuss former friends, & always in a negative light.  Those friends weren’t there for them when they went through hard times, they wouldn’t help them financially or in other ways or they say their friends just stopped speaking to them without any reason or warning.  Everyone has friendships that weren’t good or ended badly, but when someone says such things about the majority of friendships they have had, it’s a big red flag.  The average person’s friendships usually aren’t intensely negative experiences.  Their friends may not be there for them every single time, but they will be there at least most of the time.  Also, if people continue walking away from someone, there is a good reason for that.

Years ago, I felt so badly for these people.  I naively thought it was so sad that life had treated them so badly, leaving them without good friends!  I treasure my closest friends & can’t imagine not having them!  Knowing these people weren’t able to share this kind of friendship made me feel sorry for them, so I would befriend them.  It usually didn’t take long before I realized this was a mistake. 

People like this are friendless for legitimate reasons!  Some are covert narcissists, portraying themselves as innocent victims to unfair life circumstances & needing someone to take care of them.  Even ones I knew that weren’t, were still highly dysfunctional at the very least.  These friendships started out full of flattery & kind gestures, which made me want to be there for them.  Much like love bombing behavior narcissists are known for doing in romantic relationships.  Before long, they would monopolize my time whenever possible.  They would call me often, keeping me on the phone for hours listening to them drone on & on about their problems & not listening when I said I had to go.  At that time, sometimes they would ask what was happening in my life, then after a couple of minutes, turn the conversation back to them.  They never wanted my advice, even when they asked for it.  They just wanted me to pity them.  They also wanted to get together on a constant basis, even when knowing I had other things going on in my life that needed my attention.  Once in a while, they would feign interest in something in my life, but it never lasted long.  They would become minimizing or invalidating quickly, letting me know whatever I said wasn’t a big deal, & certainly not as big a deal as what was going on in their life.  Simply put, these people were emotional vampires, draining my energy to feed their dysfunction. 

There are so many people out there like this, who love gaining the friendship of victims of narcissistic abuse.  They know that victims are often very giving, understanding & patient, glad to help others.  Don’t fall for it as I have!  If someone you meet says they don’t have any friends, learn why.  If there isn’t a valid reason such as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, stay away from this person.  They may come across as naïve & a bit needy, but they are nothing so innocent.  Given time, they will use you for everything they can, & if you set boundaries with them, they’ll cry victim to anyone who will listen. 

Like so many things in life, the more you heal from the abuse, the less frequently you will interact with such people.  People like this are repelled by functional, healthy people with good boundaries who don’t tolerate their manipulation.

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Common Myths About Narcissism

There are many myths about narcissists.  This post addresses some of the common ones & why these myths are wrong.

“Narcissism is a disorder.  They can’t help their behavior.”  While narcissism is listed as a personality disorder, it isn’t a typical mental disorder.  Personality disorders describe dysfunctional behavior rather than a physical problem with someone’s brain.  If you doubt this, watch any narcissist around someone they want to impress & their victim.  Their behavior will be extremely different with each person.

“Narcissists don’t know what they’re doing hurts people.”  Yes they do know.  They know that what they are doing causes pain & suffering, but they don’t care.  This is because one of the hallmarks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a complete lack of empathy.  If you have doubts, watch a narcissist’s reaction when they hurt you.  Chances are you will see a sign of satisfaction the moment they realize how badly they hurt you.  A slight smirk, smug facial expression or glimmer in their eyes are the most common signs.

“If you tell a narcissist that what they’re doing hurts you, they’ll change their behavior.”  That lack of empathy thing?  That is exactly why this is wrong.  Narcissists do NOT care about any pain & suffering they cause.  In fact, if you tell them that something they have done hurts you, chances are excellent that they’ll do that behavior again because they know how much it hurts you.

“He/She has been abused.  That behavior is all they know.”  Maybe this is true.  Many narcissists have been abused & because of that, they don’t know how to behave in a healthy way.  That being said though, anyone knows that if something hurts them, it will hurt someone else.  That should be a sign that they shouldn’t do certain things!  Even if they don’t really know what to do, they absolutely know what they shouldn’t do.

“Narcissists aren’t so bad.  They’re just selfish.”  Narcissists aren’t your average, garden variety selfish jerk.  Average selfish people simply don’t think of others as much as they should.  They aren’t necessarily out to cause pain, but rather it is a consequence of their lack of consideration of others.  When they learn they have hurt someone, they apologize & try to change their behavior.  Narcissists enjoy causing pain.  They also care only about what they want, so hurting others to get those things won’t upset them.  They won’t apologize sincerely or change their selfish behavior no matter how much pain they cause.

“No one can be a narcissist & be active in the church/a teacher/a doctor/a police officer/a therapist.”  Narcissists are attracted to the so called “helping professions.”  People admire, respect & obey those in helping professions.  Narcissists crave that sort of treatment from others like oxygen.  They also enjoy being in control, & those positions offer them some degree of authority over others.

“Narcissists are all alike so it’s easy to find ways to deal with them.”  Lots of no in this statement!!  While many narcissists behave much the same way, that doesn’t mean they’re all alike.  Not only are there different types of narcissists, but each one is also an individual with their own unique personality, likes, dislikes, quirks & more.  Also Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a spectrum disorder.  Someone who exhibits almost all or all behaviors of NPD is known as a malignant narcissist.  They are impossible to deal with & are much more dangerous than someone who exhibits only a few traits.

“Narcissists are easy to identify.  They brag about themselves & their accomplishments.”  There are overt narcissists who behave this way but that doesn’t describe all narcissists.  Covert narcissists are the opposite.  They are often meek, quiet, appear very unassuming & even not very intelligent.  They appear selfless & even martyr-like.  People admire them for being such good people, which provides them a lot of admiration.

This is hardly an all inclusive list of myths, but I hope this short list helps you anyway.

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One Thing You Can Expect After Going No Contact With A Narcissist

Some abusive people are relentless.  They abuse their victims for years, sometimes their entire lifetime or their victims’ lifetime.  When their victims finally sever ties, this should mean the end of the abuse, but often it doesn’t.  Abusers are notorious for harassing & even stalking their victims, sometimes for years after the victim ended the relationship.  Not all abusers do this however.  Sometimes, they send out their evil minions to do their dirty work.

Flying monkeys is a commonly used term used to describe the evil minions who help narcissists abuse their victims.  They are quick to tell victims that they need to fix the relationship with the narcissist because the narcissist is such a wonderful person.  They not only sing the narcissist’s praises, but they use guilt & shame to try to manipulate victims into tolerating the abuse.  They say things like, “He is so miserable without you!”  “Your mom isn’t getting any younger..”  “You only get one set of parents!”

You would think once the relationship is over, the flying monkeys’ jobs would be over too, but sadly, that’s not always the case.  These mindless cronies still take their work seriously & can amp up their dysfunctional tasks.  Sometimes they will try contacting victims even years after the victim removed the narcissist from their life.  Sometimes they do it because they think now that time has passed, the victim has had the time to “get over” whatever the narcissist did to them, so now they’ll listen to the flying monkey’s logic about why they should resume the relationship.  Other times, they are on fact finding missions for the narcissist, hoping to find out whatever the narcissist wants to know about the victim.  Most times it seems they are hoping to find the victim is utterly miserable & destitute without the narcissist.  Still other times, these flying monkeys do it just to harass the victim while telling themselves they’re simply trying to help, which, in true covert narcissist fashion, enables them to think they’re good people.  Whichever the case, their behavior boils down to creating strife in the victim’s life, & that is something that the Bible speaks against very strongly.

Strife means to create discord, clash with or to antagonize another person.  Naturally strife can lead to other problems such as anger, hatred or thoughts of revenge, which is probably why the Bible speaks so harshly against it.  Galatians 5:19-21 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “19Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], 21 envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

People who are willing to start such strife do so for various reasons, none of which are good.  Proverbs 15:18 describes the type of person who starts strife in various ways in different translations.  Hot tempered, quick tempered, wrathful, & hothead are some of the words used in that particular Scripture.  Proverbs 16:28 also describes this type of person as a troublemaker, perverse & even evil.  Another motivation for some people is hatred, according to Proverbs 10:12.  Pride is yet another motivation which is mentioned in Proverbs 13:10 & 28:25.  The pride aspect proves my theory that many flying monkeys are covert narcissists.  They interfere because not only do they enjoy abusing, but they think they look like good people just trying to help fix a damaged relationship.

The best way to deal with flying monkeys is not to deal with them if at all possible.  No matter who they are, there is Biblical evidence that there is no need to have a person like this in your life.  Proverbs 22:10 says, “Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go away; Even strife and dishonor will cease.”  A scoffer is someone who mocks others or treats others with contempt.  That is often the perfect description of not only narcissists but their flying monkeys as well, so I believe this Scripture applies to them all.  Protect yourself & remove these dreadful people from your life if you can.  There is no good reason to tolerate such awful behavior from anyone!

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Real Evil Relating To Narcissists

I recently read an article that discussed real evil.  It claimed real evil doesn’t hide, it is fearless, it makes its plans known & basically shows them off.  As I read this article, I thought how completely inaccurate the statement is.  Real evil isn’t always so easy to spot.  If it was, life would be much easier because everyone would recognize evil & could avoid it.

In truth, real evil hides its true motives.  Considering what I believe are some signs of real evil, that confirms to me what I’ve suspected for many years, that narcissism is evil & even demonic in nature.

It can come across as naivete, as if someone truly has no idea their actions are less than good & pure.  Covert narcissists are prime examples of this.  They often come across as simple, not very intelligent people.  While their overt counterparts cringe at the thought of someone thinking they are anything less than super intelligent, covert narcissists love to be underestimated.  This helps them to do whatever awful deeds they wish to do & get away with it because people think they truly don’t know any better.  

Real evil also hides behind a mask of pretending that all abuse is done for the ultimate benefit of the victim.  My mother used to claim that her abuse wasn’t abuse at all.   It was done to help me.  In fact when her abuse hit its peak when I was in my late teens, she said she was “trying to save me from myself,” & it was merely “tough love” done because she was trying to help me.   That so called tough love involved raging at me daily, often multiple times a day, berating me & more.  Many narcissists do the same thing to their victims, abuse them while claiming the abuse is done to benefit their victim somehow.

Real evil denies & excuses bad & abusive behavior, rather than accepting responsibility for it.  A functional & healthy person may not like to do it, but they’ll admit their bad behavior & accept responsibility for it.  They try never to repeat it.

Real evil also blames victims for making someone abuse them.  This is incredibly low & wicked, in my opinion, because it abuses a victim twice while absolving an abuser of blame.  First, the victim is initially abused, then abused again by receiving the blame for making someone hurt him or her.  The abuser is exonerated of all guilt for their cruelty by putting all blame unfairly on a victim.

Real evil never apologizes.  A truly evil person may say the words, “I’m sorry”, but they won’t mean it.  In fact, they’ll give what I call a non apology.  This means rather than saying, “I’m sorry I hurt you.  I was wrong.  What can I do to make it up to you?”, they will say something like, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  “I’m sorry I did that, but I wouldn’t have done it if you wouldn’t have done what you did.”  or,  “I said I was sorry… what else do you want from me?”  The only reason they say the words “I’m sorry” is to appease their victim so they can resume their awful behavior.

While real evil can be obvious, such as in the case of serial killers, it most often is very subtle like in the examples I have given.

When dealing with a narcissist, if you start to believe their lies, I pray you’ll remember these points.  Real evil is subtle & manipulative.  Narcissists use it to their best advantage while tearing down their victims.  Being aware of their tactics can help you to avoid further narcissistic abuse in the future.

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Common Myths About Narcissistic Abuse

There are many myths about narcissistic abuse.  This post’s purpose is to debunk some of the more common ones.

“You let him/her get away with treating you that way.  That’s why he/she does what they do.”  Narcissists aren’t normal people who respect boundaries.  They don’t care that their actions cause pain & problems for others.  They only care about what they want.  No matter what consequences you give a narcissist, chances of them respecting your boundaries are slim to none. 

“Narcissists only abuse the weak & stupid.”  Anyone can be abused by a narcissist, no matter their intelligence, personality, religious beliefs, social standing or gender.  Narcissists are incredibly good actors & can convince anyone of whatever they want them to believe.  Even people who know a great deal about Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be fooled temporarily.  Someone who doesn’t know about it can be fooled much easier & for a much longer time before they realize something is very wrong.

“You must have done something to attract this type of person.”  This is nothing but victim blaming & shaming, & is incredibly cruel!  Do you know the kind of person narcissists are attracted to?  People with kind, loving & gentle spirits who have a great deal of empathy.  It is wrong to make people like this feel badly for being this way, especially when these are all wonderful qualities!

“You just need to learn how to stop making him angry or stay out of his way.”  No one is responsible for another person’s abusive behavior beyond the abuser.  Nothing anyone can do can prevent any abuser from abusing, period.  Narcissists are also incredibly toxic people who enjoy torturing their victims.  One way they do this is to keep their victims in a constant state of high alert by changing what angers them & what they want.  No matter how much a person may want to avoid angering the narcissist in their life or stay out of his way, it’s impossible.

“You need to fix this relationship!”  One of my aunts told me this regarding the relationship I had with my parents.  She is far from the only person to think in such a dysfunctional & foolish manner.  The problem is no one person can fix a relationship.  While one person can destroy a relationship, it takes two people to fix one.  Not to mention, in the mind of narcissists, their relationships are fine.  They don’t need fixing, at least so long as the victim does whatever the narcissist wants & tolerates the abuse.

“If it’s so bad, just walk away/go no contact.”  Anyone who says this most likely lacks empathy.  Ending relationships is always hard.  Ending a relationship with a narcissist is even harder, especially if that person is someone you love a great deal such as a spouse or parent.  Chances are the person who says this also has no concept of trauma bonding.  Trauma bonding is common among narcissists & their victims.  This is when the narcissist interjects some kindnesses in with their abuse.  They also destroy their victims’ self esteem, making them think they can’t survive without the narcissist.  There is also the fact that many narcissists financially ruin their victims so they are dependent on their narcissist.  Narcissists also isolate their victims from friends & families, so they have no one they can trust to help them.  Leaving narcissists isn’t as simple as “just walking away” for these reasons & many more.

“You’ve been away from the narcissist for a while so you should be over it by now.”  Narcissistic abuse often creates Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in victims.  This disorder as well as the tremendous amount of psychological warfare waged against victims by narcissists mean there is no “getting over it”.  It takes a lot of time to come to any sort of terms to what happened & if you have PTSD, to learn to manage your symptoms.

These are only a few of the myths about narcissistic abuse, but even so, I hope my debunking helps you. 

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Covert Narcissists Are Poisonous

A member of my Facebook group shared a meme made from a quote from author & life coach Lisa Romano.  I don’t remember the meme, but one of her comments on it said this:  “Narcissism at its finest is like carbon monoxide. Your inner world will become chaotic and every aspect of your life will become suffocated by dysfunction, but you will not know from where the poison is coming from.”

Having suffered both narcissistic abuse & carbon monoxide, I really related to this comparison.

While narcissistic abuse is often thought of as loud, sometimes even physically abusive & basically easy to identify, that isn’t always the case.  Overt narcissists are that way of course, but coverts aren’t.  They are so much more subtle.  They can abuse undetected.. much the same way carbon monoxide can injure or even kill.

Carbon monoxide has absolutely no smell whatsoever.  You don’t see it hanging in the air like you would smoke, either.  It silently & subtly does its damage, & you don’t even realize it until the damage has been done.  The day I survived carbon monoxide poisoning, I knew I felt bad, but I didn’t know why.  The thought of calling 911 or my husband for help also never crossed my mind.  The poison ruined my ability to think clearly or recognize what the problem was.

Covert narcissists are much the same way.  They aren’t like their overt counterparts who yell & scream to get their way.  They’re often soft spoken.  They come across as unassuming & meek, sometimes even not very intelligent.  They may help people by donating to or volunteering with charities.  They may be active in their church.  If they are financially comfortable, they’re the first one to give money to someone they know who is struggling.  People not close enough to the covert narcissist to see behind the make usually think they are really good, kind, generous people who will do anything to help someone in need.  This allows covert narcissists to fly under the radar, abusing however they like.  Even If someone does recognize a problem, most likely they’ll excuse the abuse because they claim the person meant well or doesn’t know any better.

What few people see is that covert narcissists wear a very convincing mask.  Behind that mask is someone who rules their family with guilt, shaming, feigned helplessness, or exaggerating or even faking sickness.  These weapons are every bit as effective, if not more so, than an overt narcissist’s screaming & raging while appearing innocent.

Often, these covert narcissists even control their overtly narcissistic spouse by quietly pushing their buttons until the overt narcissist snaps & attacks them either verbally or physically.  Covert narcissists love this, because any witnesses to this see the covert narcissist as the long suffering, wonderful spouse of a crazy & even abusive person.  They also get pity, which they love.  Also in this situation, children of this narcissistic couple automatically side with their covertly narcissistic parent, & become protective of him or her.  They never question why their parent expects their protection when it’s really parents’ job to protect their children instead.  This behavior stays well into adulthood, which usually causes problems in the adult child’s marriage.  Narcissistic parents are usually terrible in-laws.  They expect their adult child to keep them first priority, not their spouse or children.  When the spouse says something, the adult child often protects their covertly narcissistic parent, as they’ve always done, which causes strain in the marriage for which the spouse is blamed.

While there are carbon monoxide detectors to help protect us from that terrible poison, there aren’t such detectors to help us identify covert narcissists.  There are ways you can protect yourself, though.

Pray.  Ask God to give you discernment & wisdom.  Then if you meet someone who you get an inkling about that something isn’t right, pay attention to the feeling!  If their actions seem innocent but leave you feeling guilty or angry, chances are good that you’re in the presence of a covert narcissist.

If you discover you are dealing with a covert narcissist, again, pray.  You’ll need all the wisdom you can get, especially if that covert narcissist is a parent of your spouse.  Remember the Gray Rock method.  When you & your spouse discuss the problem, stay calm, stating only the facts as calmly & logically as you can.  Stick to your boundaries, too.  Showing your anger will make your spouse more protective of that parent & angry with you. 

Remember, just because covert narcissists come across safer than overt ones doesn’t mean they are safe.  They really are like carbon monoxide- they may not appear dangerous, but they absolutely are!

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When Your “Good” Parent Is A Covert Narcissist

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Tactics Of The Covert Narcissist

This post is similar to the last one, except it helps to identify some of the tactics of covert narcissists.

Covert narcissists are like their name implies, very covert in their actions.  Because of that, they can be much harder to identify than their overt counterpart.  Their actions can leave a victim wondering if they are being oversensitive or reading too much into things.  I’ve said many times that if I have to deal with a narcissist, I’d prefer an overt one simply because I know exactly what I’m dealing with.

Covert narcissists are quiet in how they get attention.  They don’t get attention by bragging or being loud & obnoxious like overt narcissists.  They get it by appearing gentle & humble.  They “let it slip” about how they helped someone in need or that they are very active in their church.

Covert narcissists appear fragile & vulnerable, like they need someone to take care of them.  They give off an air of naivete & needing someone to protect them that makes people want to take care of them, in particular, their children.  The life purpose of the child of a covert narcissist is to take care of their parent’s every need.

They are always the victim.  No matter what a covert narcissist does to someone, you can guarantee they will blame the victim for being so mean to them for reacting as they did.  After all, they often say, they were just trying to help or they had no idea that the person would be upset by their actions.  The covert narcissist comes away from this situation looking innocent while the victim is shamed & even shunned for being so mean.

Covert narcissists have no empathy.  Unlike overt narcissists, however, coverts are quieter about this.  They will simply act bored, discreetly change the subject or walk away if someone is talking to them about their problems.

Covert narcissists manipulate in subtle ways.  A covert narcissist looking to manipulate someone won’t use fear or intimidation like an overt narcissist.  Instead they may use tactics like guilt, pretending to be helpless or even acting concerned.  Covertly narcissistic elderly parents also are known to use their health problems as a way to manipulate others, in particular their adult children.  They may even go so far as to skip taking medication or taking too much to make themselves sick.

Covert narcissists will ask how their victims are doing & other questions about them or their friends & family, but it isn’t out of genuine concern or love.   It’s about gathering information that can be used against the victim.  They will use what they learn to smear the victim’s reputation to other people or to criticize the victim & those the victim cares about.

Speaking of criticism, covert narcissists have no problem using scathing, cruel criticisms, but only will do so when no one is around other than the victim.  Covert narcissists always want to be seen as good people, so when they are verbally abusive, you can guarantee there will be no witnesses.  That way, no one sees their awful behavior, which also makes it harder for the victim to be believed.

Covert narcissists can change according to who they are around.  If a covert narcissist is around someone they wish to impress, they will claim to share the same likes, dislikes, beliefs & more as the person they wish to impress.  This is called mirroring, because the narcissist is behaving as a mirror to the other person.  Mirroring makes a person feel closer to the person mirroring their behavior, because it appears that they have a great deal in common.

While this list isn’t a fully comprehensive list of the many tactics covert narcissists use, it should help you to recognize several red flags, at least, & help you to protect yourself from these people.

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No Child’s Job Is To Heal The Parent(s)

Emotional incest, covert incest, parentification & parentalizing.  All describe the same abusive behavior & a topic I’ve written about before.  When a parent treats their child as an equal rather than their child, expecting that child to listen to their woes, tales of marital discord, details of their sex life, &/or expecting their child to care for them in ways such as cooking & cleaning for them well beyond what is age appropriate, it damages the child psychologically.  The child in this situation often grows up anxious, depressed, lacking healthy relationship skills, feels guilt for things they aren’t responsible for & may even have issues with addiction.  Often at the very least, they choose very poorly suited romantic partners.

Sadly, parentalizing is barely discussed in a negative light.  Many people see a child & her parent behaving in this way & praise their “close” or “loving” relationship.  They even tell the child how lucky she is to have a mom who loves her so much, how she has to be strong for her mom or other similar comments.  And, when the child, no matter the age, does something that upsets her parent or *gasp* thinks of herself first, she is labeled unappreciative, selfish, a spoiled brat & more.  This lays even more unnecessary guilt on that child, & it is absolutely unfair!

Let’s get one thing straight.  No one is responsible for anyone else’s emotions.  Yes, someone you love can make you feel happy, sad, angry, etc. sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they are in control of your emotions.  YOU ARE!  This is especially true for children.  Children need to be children, not their parent’s emotional caregiver!

When a parent is abandoned by someone they love, & the only person close to them is their child, it can be understandable they reach out to their child for comfort & companionship.  That doesn’t make it right, though!  Children are growing up – that is enough responsibility on their little shoulders!

Children also didn’t ask to be born.  It’s not their fault if the parents couldn’t maintain a healthy & loving relationship.  Making the child feel that they must step into the role of that other parent is cruel, abusive & unfair!

If you grew up in this sort of situation, my heart goes out to you.  I am so sorry for the pain & suffering you have been through.  Having been there myself I know it is a miserable situation.

If it is still happening, you’re going to have to set some serious boundaries with your parent.  Change the subject as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable.  Tell your parent you’re leaving or hanging up the phone if she insists on talking about your other parent that way, then follow through with your threat if need be.

Whether the abuse is still happening or not, you’re going to need to heal from the damage done.  Pray.  Get angry.  Cry.  Remind yourself what was done to you was unfair & undeserved.  Write in a journal.  Talk to a trusted friend or therapist.  Do whatever helps you to heal!

You can heal from the effects of emotional incest.  It takes time & work, but it can be done.  xoxo

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About Accepting A Covertly Narcissistic Parent Is Abusive

Overt narcissists & covert narcissists often marry because this creates a perfect, dysfunctional union.  The real problem begins when they have children.  Overt narcissists are not only able to be the center of attention in this family but also abuse the child without interference from the covert partner who refuses to defend the child.  The covert narcissist is able to look like the martyr, the long suffering spouse.  People wonder how this wonderful person can put up with being married to that  awful spouse.  The covert narcissist is also able to convince everyone, including the abused child, that there is no way for him or her to protect the child.  In fact, often, the child becomes protective of the covertly narcissistic parent & comforts that parent when the overtly narcissistic parent abuses them rather than the parent comforting the child as it should be.  The covertly narcissistic parent appears to be the true victim in this scenario, not the child.

Once that child grows up though, she usually learns first that the overtly narcissistic parent was abusive.  She accepts that truth, as painful as it is.  She may even change her behavior to be healthier such as setting boundaries.

The problem adult children in this situation often have is the covertly narcissistic parent.  Accepting that parent was equally if not more abusive is a very hard pill to swallow.

I wondered why this is for a long time, & came up with some ideas.

When you compare an overt & a covert narcissist, the covert doesn’t look so bad.  That person isn’t the one who beat you, cussed you out, tore your self esteem to shreds or destroyed your identity like your overtly narcissistic parent did.  It was much harder to deny that your overtly narcissistic parent was abusive when that parent did such awful, hurtful things to you.  Your covertly narcissistic parent probably seemed normal or even loving by comparison because of not doing those terrible things.

Chances are, your covertly narcissistic parent also was nice to you sometimes, maybe doing nice little things for you that your other parent didn’t know about.  Nice behavior mixed in with abusive creates a great deal of confusion, especially in a child.  No one wants to believe that a person who can do such nice things can be abusive.

And, that parent made you feel as if you needed to care for him or her instead of he or she caring for you.  That created a strong bond to that parent that wasn’t created with your overtly narcissistic parent.  Caring for another person naturally creates a bond.  Look at mothers who care for their children or adult children who care for their elderly, frail parents for example.

When discussing this topic with a friend of mine some time ago, she also added that she thinks part of the reason it’s harder to accept that the covertly narcissistic parent is abusive is because that means that neither of your parents truly loved you, which is incredibly hard to face.  That is an excellent point.

Accepting one parent was abusive & didn’t love you is hard enough, but BOTH parents?!  That is incredibly painful.  No one wants to feel they aren’t loved by one parent, let alone both.  Even if you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realizing both your parents didn’t love you can be devastating to your self esteem.  It can make you feel unworthy, because you think if your own parents don’t love you, you must be unworthy of love.

Dear Reader, if you’re in the position of having one overt & one covert narcissistic parent, please know you aren’t alone.  This sort of situation happens more often than you might think.  And if you’re struggling coming to terms with it, you’re definitely not alone.  Many, many people have been there, including me.  As painful as it is though, you need to find a way to come to terms with the fact your covertly narcissistic parent is also abusive & not the good parent you thought he or she was.  It’s hard, but you can do it!  It will help you to accept the truth.  After all, the truth sets us free!  xoxo

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About The Consummate Victim

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Accepting Your Parent Is A Covert Narcissist

I remember when I first realized that my mother was a narcissist.  Although it was painful, I was glad finally to understand why she treated me as she did.  The raging, the silent treatments, the manipulation & control.. suddenly it all made sense.  She blamed me for all of it, but the truth was it wasn’t me.  It was her!

It was another few years before I realized my father was a narcissist as well.  It took me so long because he was a covert narcissist.

My mother being an overt narcissist made it obvious something wasn’t right.  Normal mothers didn’t keep their daughters from getting to know their extended family.  They also didn’t scream at their teenage daughters daily, often multiple times in a day.  They didn’t accuse their daughters of completely uncharacteristic behaviors, such as having sex with their entire high school football team, especially when there was no evidence to support this wild claim.

My father was nothing like this at all.  For most of my life, I was convinced he was my one nice, normal parent.  I was wrong.

While my father didn’t scream at me or accuse me of outrageous behaviors, he abused me nonetheless.  He didn’t protect me from my mother.  In fact, when I told him of some of her abusive behaviors, he would tell me how hard this was on him, & how there was nothing he could do to protect me.  In spite of my pain, I often ended up comforting him after my mother abused me.

Compared to my mother’s constant criticisms & rages, I didn’t think this was a problem.  He told me he loved me, unlike my mother who stopped saying it when I was in my teens.  My father also complemented me, & bragged about me to other people.  My mother didn’t do either.

As an adult, married with my own home, I finally noticed some subtle changes in my father’s behavior.  He became critical.  Nothing obvious like my mother at first, but still critical.  He became more critical over the years.  He also became more controlling in subtle ways.  If I didn’t answer his call immediately, the next time we spoke, he would tell me how he thought I must be mad at him since I didn’t answer the phone.  If I said I wasn’t home at the time, he didn’t believe me.  Or, he would call folks we both knew, asking them to contact me & have me call him immediately because he was worried about me.

Eventually, I realized my father was a covert narcissist, & that fact truly hurt.

My situation is quite similar to that of many adult children of narcissistic parents.  Accepting the overtly narcissistic parent is abusive is difficult, but it can be done.  Accepting their covertly narcissistic parent is abusive is a much more difficult task, & can be impossible for some people.

The nature of a covert narcissist’s abuse is what makes the abuse so hard to comprehend.  There is no obvious abuse.  They don’t hit or scream.  Their abuse is so much more subtle.  They use guilt, disapproval, silence & portraying themselves as innocent, naive, in need of saving or protection.  They also can turn a situation around to where they look like the innocent victim instead of the abuser, rather than the other way around as it should be.

This creates a cognitive dissonance in victims.  In other words, the victim often may see the truth, but doesn’t want to accept it because it’s so painful.

There is also the fact that it’s hurtful enough to accept that one parent didn’t love you.  Accepting both parents didn’t is even more so.  Even when you understand it’s because they’re narcissists, knowing both of your parents didn’t love you can make you feel unlovable.

If this describes your situation, I’m so sorry, Dear Reader.  You are in an extremely painful situation.  Pray, journal, talk to safe people… do whatever you have to do to help you face this ugly truth & to heal.  It will help you in the long run to face this awful situation.  You can do this!

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Emotional Incest, Covert Incest, Parentification, Parentalization

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Parentalizing & The Shame It Causes

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Fixing Your Narcissistic Parents’ Problem Is A Bad Idea

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Covert Narcissist Flying Monkeys

Clearly not all flying monkeys are narcissists.  There are some well meaning people who are genuinely fooled by the narcissist you know.  We’ve all been fooled by narcissists, so it’s understandable this happens.  It’s hard to be too mad at them when you see their eyes begin to open & they realize that the narcissist isn’t that great person they thought they were.

 

Unfortunately though, I believe there are many flying monkeys who are covert narcissists.  They enjoy torturing you on behalf of the narcissist while at the same time, making themselves look like the good guy who is just trying to help.

 

A huge red flag that you’re dealing with a covert narcissist flying monkey is when someone claims to care for or love you, but they don’t show any interest in you.  They don’t care about what is happening in your life, what you’re proud of, what struggles you face, your needs, feelings, likes or dislikes.   They only want to talk about the narcissist or what you need to do to fix that relationship.

 

When you try to talk to this person, they shut you down quickly, no matter the topic.  They can accomplish this through interrupting you, making jokes at your expense or making you feel foolish for whatever it is you’re talking about.  Or, this person may listen to you or read something you’ve written only to tell you that you’re wrong.

 

If you try to talk to this person about the narcissist in your life, you can guarantee this person will shut you down quickly & in whatever way they believe will make you feel the most ashamed.  One of my parents’ flying monkeys was my Facebook friend for quite some time.  She had a lot of confidence online, saying things she would never say to my face.  She butted in on a conversation I had with someone else regarding my parents to say, “You need to get into therapy to figure out how you can fix things!  Don’t you dare tell me it won’t work!”  In a completely different conversation, I mentioned to someone else that although my father & I had virtually nothing in common, we did share a love of classic cars.  The flying monkey said, “Honey, you need to figure out some things you two can share!  You need to start finding things you two have in common right now!”  I deleted the comment, & a few days later, she commented on another post with, “I know you don’t want to hear anything from mean old me, but I think you should….” (I forget what the topic was she felt she needed to advise me on).  I knew what she was about by this point, so her behavior didn’t manipulate me.  It only made me angry she said the ridiculous things she did.

 

Covert narcissist flying monkeys also play dumb very well.  They may claim that they don’t know why you’re angry with the narcissist.  They try to get you to confide in them about the problem, saying it’s because they care for you, when the truth is they’ll only run to the narcissist with anything you say.  And, if you sever ties with this person, they may ignore the fact you’ve blocked their phone number, email address & social media & find other ways to contact you “just to say hi”.  Their message most likely will appear sickeningly sweet.  The flying monkey I mentioned earlier?  Her message like this called me “sweetie” & was signed, “love you.”  She never called me sweetie any other time, so yes, I took that as a red flag.

 

So why do these covertly narcissistic flying monkeys act this way?  I think they have what they consider to be excellent reasons.

 

They want to prove to you that narcissistic behavior is OK, & there is something wrong with you for thinking otherwise.  If they can convince you of that, they can control you as can the narcissist for whom they’re the flying monkey.

 

Also, if they can convince you that narcissistic behavior is acceptable, then they think they can convince you that you should do all the work in the relationship with them & the other narcissist.  If you feel obligated in that way, a narcissist has it made.  They can get you to do anything at all they want.

 

These flying monkeys are extremely devious & convincing.  You need to be fully aware of what they’re up to in order to protect yourself against their mental warfare.

 

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Flying Monkeys

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Ways To Frazzle Narcissists

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Narcissists & Feigning Ignorance

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My Newest Book About Covert Narcissists Is Now Available

Hello, Dear Readers!

 

I just wanted to let you know that my newest book, “In Sheep’s Clothing:  All About Covert Narcissists” has been published in both ebook & print formats.

 

If you want to check them out, you can click on the links in the last paragraph, or go to my website at:  http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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The Pain Of Having A Covert Narcissist Parent

Last night, I had two extremely vivid nightmares about my parents.  I woke up anxious & afraid from both, but especially the second one.

 

I got to thinking & praying about the dreams, I realized they showed me something.  It is incredibly hard to accept a covert narcissist parent as the evil, abuser that they are!

 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve had a LOT of dreams about my father & when I prayed, God would tell me to pay attention to them- they are showing what he is really like, as He did when I asked about last night’s nightmares.  Yet in spite of the many warnings, I was still shocked when he did certain things like calling the police twice on me for “welfare checks” after I stopped speaking to him, accused my husband of keeping me from him or sending several flying monkeys after me.

 

When you’ve been raised with an overt narcissist & a covert narcissist, it is hard to accept the covert narcissist is bad.  After all, compared to the overt, the covert doesn’t seem so bad.  The covert doesn’t scream at you or hit you or shred your self-esteem.  Plus, it’s incredibly hard to accept that both of your parents didn’t love you.  One is hard enough, but two?  Incredibly painful.  So, many people tell themselves that their covertly narcissistic parent isn’t so bad.   Sure, that parent has flaws, but it could be worse, right?

 

Wrong!!

 

I firmly believe covert narcissists are way worse than overts.  At least with overt narcissists, you know where you stand & what they’re capable of.  Not so with covert narcissists.  Due to their subtlety, they can abuse so discreetly, a person doesn’t even realize it’s happening.  They also give such a good appearance as a victim that on the off chance you recognize they’re behavior is abusive, you don’t have the heart to upset them by confronting them.  They also love to appear naive & innocent.  This makes you doubt they know what they’re doing is wrong.  It also means if you tell people you both know, you won’t be believed.  Covert narcissists also make you feel sorry for them, which is another guarantee that you will let them get away with anything they want to do.

 

If anyone meets my father, they get the impression he’s a simple country boy- laid back, good sense of humor & a pleasant person.  And, now that he’s pushing 80 & has Alzheimer’s & other health problems, they also feel bad for him.  They don’t realize the incredibly evil, twisted things he is capable of because they only see the way he presents himself.  They don’t believe that when my mother abused me, he not only failed to protect me, he also turned the situation around so I would comfort him because he said he was upset she hurt me.  They wouldn’t believe he expected me to apologize to him for breaking a wall when my mother threw me into it when I was 19.  Yet, these things are absolutely true.

 

Dear Reader, if you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please pray about your situation.  If you’re maintaining that relationship thinking that parent isn’t as bad as your overtly narcissistic one, you’re probably wrong.  I thought that myself & I certainly was.  It’s taken me a lot of painful events, & long time to see my father for the wicked narcissist he is.  It took many nightmares & painful events to realize it.  I would love to spare you the kind of pain that I have had to experience because I didn’t want to accept the truth, so please, please pray about your situation.  Ask God to show you the truth about your parent, to enable you to handle it & what you should do about it.

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Being Your Parent’s Parent

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A Message For Those Who Support Narcissistic Abusers

I always said I’d keep my writing real & I’m doing that with this post.  Be forewarned, it’ll be ugly because I’m very angry as I write this.  It also isn’t going to be pretty or succinct, but it’s going to be real.

 

**note- this post had to be edited for clarity before publishing.  For a short time after a flashback, my brain doesn’t work very well.  I made tons of spelling errors & unclear thoughts when I first wrote this post.  I needed a couple of days to recover then correct this post before publishing.  Although I wanted this post to be 100% real, that wasn’t quite possible if the post was to be readable.  I did maintain the thoughts & original message, I just prettied it up.  This post isn’t indicative of how coherent I am after a flashback. Thanks for understanding!**

 

This was just going to be a journal entry, but I felt instead I should make it a blog entry.  It felt important enough to put out there for the world to see & to rearrange my scheduled posts so this will post in just a couple of days.  When I prayed about this, God told me, “It needs to be said.”  So, I’m saying it.

 

A little while ago, I was watching “Law & Order SVU”.  One of the detectives was talking to a young woman about statutory rape.  That phrase triggered a flashback as soon as I heard it.

 

When I was 17 & trying to date my now ex husband, my overt narcissistic mother’s abuse was at its peak.  She didn’t like him, & was determined to keep us apart at any cost.  One of the many cruel things she did during that time was accuse me of things I wasn’t doing, including having sex.  She was absolutely obsessed with that topic, thinking I was having sex not only with my ex but a LOT of guys at our high school, including the entire football team.  Anyway one day during one of her many daily screaming fits at me, she told me that since my ex was six months younger than me, she could easily have me arrested for statutory rape for having sex with him.  I can’t describe the blind fear that put in me.  Not because I was actually doing anything, but because I was certain that the police would believe her.  She had about everyone we knew convinced I was nothing but a promiscuous juvenile delinquent.  I couldn’t believe the police would think otherwise.  It also made me wonder exactly what else she was capable of.

 

As I was writing this in my journal, trying to process this abuse, I also had another thought.  I thought about people who blindly support narcissists.  They need to know things like this, things the person they’re so devoted to is capable of doing.  If you know someone who is on a narcissist’s side, then by all means, feel free to show them this post if you think it’ll make a difference!

 

The rest of this post is directed at them.

 

Dear supporter of a narcissist:

 

Think for a moment about what I shared above.  My own mother threatened to have me arrested for something I wasn’t even doing.  And, this is just one example of how she abused me.  She screamed at me for hours every single day, telling me what a terrible person I was, I was stupid, ugly, a disappointment & so much more.  She didn’t just say it, although that would’ve been bad enough.  She literally screamed it repeatedly each & every day several times a day.  She often was so close I could feel her breath on my face.  (To this day, I still get panicky if I feel someone’s breath on me thanks to her.)  My ears would ring after she stopped screaming, because she was so loud.  Many narcissistic parents do the same kinds of things my mother did to me to their children.  How can you support a person who is capable of doing this to their own child?!  Do you honestly think that person is truly worthy of your loyalty?

 

Not only did my mother abuse me daily, but my covert narcissist father did nothing to stop it.  When I told him, he would say something about the way she treated me was hard on him, but there was nothing he could do to stop it.  As if failing to protect me wasn’t quite enough, he also wanted me to comfort him instead of him comforting & protecting me like any decent parent would do.  This is abusive & it’s pure evil, treating your own child this way, yet many covert narcissists do this & more.  Why does someone like this deserve any of your respect, loyalty & devotion??

 

Here we are, almost 30 years after the threat of being arrested & the daily scream-fests.  I’m still dealing with it & countless other similar incidents.  Thanks to the abuse I endured, I have C-PTSD, which means have flashbacks on a pretty regular basis.  Today’s was not an isolated incident.  Anxiety & depression often get so bad that I can’t even leave my home.  My moods are a roller coaster & it takes a LOT of strength not to yell at my husband or cry on him most days even though he’s not the cause of the mood swings.  I have nightmares more nights than not, when I can finally get to sleep that is.   Usually, even with sleep aids, I still have trouble falling & staying asleep.  We won’t even discuss how pitiful my short term memory or my comprehension are thanks to C-PTSD.  Many adult children of narcissists also suffer with C-PTSD because of being abused by the people who were supposed to love & protect them- their parents.  We are the ones who deserve  love & support, not the abusive, wicked narcissists who derive pleasure from hurting others, even their own kids!

 

Meanwhile, like most narcissistic parents, my parents tell people they don’t know what’s wrong with me.  (They obviously didn’t care enough to listen when I told them during our last conversations why I was upset with them, even though I was in tears.)  They don’t get why don’t I call or visit or take care of them.  The simple truth is I had to get away from them to protect what’s left of my sanity & protect myself from further abuse.  I just couldn’t take any more.  My mother made it easy by removing herself from my life last year.  My father wasn’t far behind.  I just saved him the trouble by going no contact before he did.

 

And as if all of this wasn’t bad enough, then there are many people out there who defend these evil narcissistic people & invalidate their victims!  They say victims need to get over it, fix things with their parents, use guilt laden phrases like “your parent won’t be around forever yanno!” (they must have forgotten many children die before their parents)  or simply don’t believe them.  Talk about a slap in the face!  It’s just one more incident of abuse heaped on the pile.  Discrediting a victim especially when you don’t know the facts is abuse!  It’s invalidation!  

 

People who blindly side with someone when two people are having problems are acting incredibly foolishly.  It makes no sense to side with one person while not knowing all of the facts!  It’s even worse when the side chosen is the side that enables & encourages a person to abuse their own child, no matter what the child’s age!  Unless a person is truly naive enough to be duped by a narcissist, the only reason a person would do such a thing (that I can fathom anyway) is they get a thrill from abusing the victim like the narcissist does.  I believe there are many wicked people like that, which is partly why I refuse to engage with anyone who shows me they are on the side of someone who is clearly abusive, in particular to me.

 

Does this describe you?  If you are reading this & offended, I’m sorry- I don’t want to offend anyone.  But, I do want to get people to think & one way to do that is to spell out the ugly truth.  If someone you know has told you they’re being abused, don’t brush them off!  Most people don’t make up lies like this.  It takes a lot of courage to admit you’re being abused, especially by a parent.  Don’t think that parent is too nice & couldn’t possibly be abusive either.  All abusers have a public persona & a private one.  Appearing “nice” in public is a way to make sure no one believes a victim.  They aren’t genuinely nice.  Don’t be naive enough to think otherwise.

 

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Scapegoats In The Narcissistic Family

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Two Types Of Narcissists, Part 2 Covert Narcissists

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About Covert Narcissists

One thing about narcissists is that they are extremely good at hiding how vicious they truly are from everyone except their victims.  Covert narcissists are even better at this than their overt counterparts.  Coverts can be so skilled at hiding their abusive actions that even the victims don’t consider it abuse.  Often, if they tell others about what the covert narcissist is doing, they aren’t believed.

People often make excuses for the covert narcissist…

 

  • “She just doesn’t know any better.  She didn’t even graduate high school, after all…”
  • “He’s getting old- he probably just didn’t even remember/think about….”
  • “Well, he was diagnosed with Dementia.. he can’t help himself.”
  • “Everyone loves her.  She helps so many people.  I must’ve overreacted.  She wouldn’t have knowingly hurt me like that.”
  • “Just look at what she puts up with from that awful husband!  She was probably just stressed & didn’t mean to hurt me..”

 

If any of these excuses sound familiar because you have heard them or said them, then chances are you are dealing with a covert narcissist.

 

Are you still wondering?  Here are some other clues…

 

  • Does this person act innocent, even slow or naive, but you know for a fact they aren’t that way?
  • Does this person act incompetent, unable to take care of herself or himself?  Maybe relying completely on their spouse to make household decisions, pay bills, etc.
  • Does this person come across as in need of protection?  As if they are too weak to protect themselves?
  • Do you feel as if you shouldn’t confront this person because they are too fragile to handle your confrontation, no matter how gently you approach them?
  • Does this person offer looks of disapproval more than saying critical things?
  • Does this person not give the disapproving looks when you both are around other people?  Perhaps even complementing you in the presence of others?
  • Does this person expect to be taken care of?  For example, elderly parents with plenty of money who refuse to call a lawn care service, instead, expecting their adult son with his own home to maintain their lawn.
  • Is this person married to an overt narcissist, & never stands up to him or her?
  • If married to an overt narcissist, does he or she leave parenting to the overt narcissist, never protecting the children from that parent & appearing as the real victim of the overt narcissist?

 

Covert narcissists are much harder to spot than overts since they are so much sneakier & more deceptive.  This is what I believe makes them even more dangerous than overt narcissists.

 

Dealing with covert narcissists is even more of a challenge than dealing with their overt counterparts.  You still have to have & enforce strong boundaries, refuse to provide them with supply, limit your time in their presence, etc. like you do with overts.  The problem is with coverts, they will slip into the victim role extremely easily & quickly.  It can be VERY hard not to apologize or give in.  The more you stick to your guns, though, the easier it gets.

 

Another thing I’ve found to be helpful is being cold & logical with them.  Show them no emotion.  If you do, they will try to squelch your joy or provoke you when they know something makes you angry.  Instead, show them no emotion.  Walk away if you feel emotions reaching a boiling point if you must, even if it appears rude.

 

Change the subject as needed.  Since covert narcissists are pretty passive in some ways, this tactic works quite well with them.

 

Limiting or even ending contact with them is your best bet.  The more time you spend with a covert narcissist, the worse they seem to get.  At least that’s been my experience.

 

And lastly, never forget- just because a covert narcissist isn’t screaming in your face doesn’t mean they aren’t just as vicious as overt narcissists.  In fact, many strike me as being even more vicious.  They are simply better at hiding their viciousness under the guise of whatever works best for them- naivete, being helpful or innocence.

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Grieving Covert Narcissistic Parents Is Often Harder Than Grieving Overt Narcissistic Parents

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an amazing thing.  It gives you answers you’ve always wanted & shows you that you were lied to- not everything was your fault.  It’s a wonderful thing in that way!

 

Yet at the same time, learning about NPD also means you grieve.  You realize that your narcissistic parents never will be the kind, loving, caring parents you always wanted & hoped they would be.  It destroys that hope that one day, they’d see the error of their ways & start treating you well.  Thank God, grieving does get easier, but I’m not sure it ever goes away entirely.

 

In my experience, I’ve realized something else about the grief process.  For me, it was easier to grieve when I learned my overtly narcissistic mother was a narcissist than when I learned my covertly narcissistic father was one.  Her actions were so obviously wrong, that there was no denial she was that way.  There was no questioning that she was out to hurt & control me.  I knew that even before learning about NPD.

 

My father, however, was a different story.

 

My father always acted naive, even though he’s very intelligent.  He can play the victim or pitiful card well, too.  When I went to him with problems about my mother, he would act sad & tell me he couldn’t do anything to help me.  It was hard on him knowing she was hurting me, he said.  I ended up comforting him when he should’ve been comforting & protecting me.  He’s also very subtle at his manipulations, so it’s easy to miss what his true motives are unless you’re very familiar with narcissism.  For example, there were times when I didn’t answer his phone call or didn’t call him when he thought I should.  He would tell other people he’s so worried about me- he doesn’t know why I haven’t called him in a while.  If they talk to me would they mind have me call him?  Sounds like a concerned father, doesn’t it?  Yet, it’s about making me do what he wants, not concern or love for me.

 

Because my father is so good at being subtle (the opposite of my mother), it’s been really hard to accept that he’s a covert narcissist.  I always thought of him as the good, loving parent.  He never called me names, verbally tore me down, or screamed at me like my mother did, so he had to be the good parent.  Or, so I told myself.

 

Besides, having two parents who don’t love you is a very painful thing to accept.  No one wants to believe neither of their parents care about them.  It’s easier to deny that the covertly narcissistic parent is that way.  Their actions are so subtle anyway, it’s easy to miss their abuse, unlike overt narcissists.  Compared to an overt narcissist parent, the covert seems like a tiptoe through the tulips.  At least until you learn about covert narcissists & how diabolical they truly are, hiding behind the mask of the good parent.

 

 

If you’re having a tough time accepting that you have a covertly narcissistic parent, please don’t feel bad.  It’s tough to accept!  It really hurts & is very disappointing when you realize the one parent you thought loved you really didn’t.

 

You need to grieve & get your hurt out to come to a healthy place of acceptance.  As you do, you may find yourself going through an angry phase.  I have.  Angry about being fooled, angry at being manipulated into thinking he was the good parent, angry about being manipulated & guilt tripped.. lots of anger.  I think this is very normal.  Covert narcissists work even harder than overts do to fool people.  Most overts worry about fooling those they want to impress, while not caring about their victims.  Coverts, however, want everyone to think they’re good people, including their victims.  Since we do buy their “good guy/good girl” act, it’s incredibly maddening to find out how badly we were duped.  So, when the anger surfaces, just know- it ain’t gonna be pretty, but it’s OK.  Get it out however works for you- pray, journal, talk to someone safe.

 

The anger also may come back even when you think it’s all gone.  Nothing wrong with that so long as you’re dealing with it when that happens.  Anger isn’t always easy to process.  Sometimes it takes a long time.  Sometimes, you’re only able to deal with it in small doses, so God hides some things from you until you’re able to cope.  All you can do is deal with it in whatever ways help you the most.

 

Never forget, God will help you get through it all.  Ask  for help & wisdom on how to do what you need to do.  Listen to what He tells you.  Trust Him, & you will be just fine.  xoxo

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The Most Dangerous Of All Narcissists- Covert

When people first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the almost always learn about overt narcissists.  They read that narcissists are always loud, brash, braggarts who openly use & abuse people.  Which is mostly true.  Overt narcissists are absolutely that way.

 

What is equally true is not all narcissists are like that.  Some narcissists come across as insecure & passive, even offering apologies sometimes which overt narcissists don’t do.  They make you feel sorry for them.  If you’re romantically involved with one, he may not even be someone you were attracted to at first.  Somehow though, he acted in a way that gained your attention.  He pretended to share your values while also gaining your sympathy, thus making him attractive to you.  He probably says things like he’s never loved anyone like he loves you, he’s waited for someone like you his whole life & other lies.

 

Over time, the mask slips & a much more devious & sinister person comes to light.  Yet when you have believed that this person was good, believing that they are cruel doesn’t compute.  You think the abuse can’t be real.  You must be paranoid.  You must be imagining things or reading too much into it.  After all, when you approach this person, he blames you & says he is the victim of your cruelty.  Someone so good wouldn’t abuse you..

 

Or would they?

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at hiding their abuse.  So much so even victims don’t always consider it abuse.  They make excuses- “she just doesn’t know any better,”  “He was just kidding!”  “She was just trying to help…”

 

Confronting a covert narcissist never goes well.  They tell you that you’re crazy, wrong, reading too much into things, they never said or did what you believe they did & more.

 

In this position, victims often submit to the twisted beliefs of the covert narcissist, losing their self-esteem in the process & doubting their sanity.  Some try harder & harder to please the narcissist, never being able to do so.  The narcissist constantly changes what they want so you aren’t able to please them.  The victim’s self-esteem continues dropping, & they try harder to please the narcissist, & the cycle continues.

 

If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child

 

Covert narcissists are a thousand times worse to deal with than overt narcissists, in my opinion.  At least with an overt narcissist, you know what you’re getting.  They are bold & “in your face” with their actions, leaving you no doubt what they’re like.  Covert narcissists keep you guessing.  They use your natural instincts of kindness against you.  While overt & covert narcissists both can make you feel like you’re crazy, chances are you will figure out that you aren’t much sooner with an overt narcissist.  Coverts are not only great at manipulation but also using pity to get what they want.  Victims don’t want to think the covert narcissist is trying to make them feel crazy, & they’re afraid of upsetting him, so they are less likely to question what they are told.

 

Covert narcissists are everywhere.  The mother in-law who won’t let go of her adult son & quietly treats her daughter in-law like dirt when no one is around.  The father married to an overtly narcissistic wife who fails to protect his child, instead wanting her to comfort him because his wife abuses his child & it’s hard for him.  The husband who everyone thinks is a good guy, but behind closed doors, criticizes his wife in every area possible, compares her unfavorably to other women & makes her feel guilty for not measuring up.  The parent who sexually abuses their child.

 

These people are incredibly dangerous!  Covert narcissists should NOT be underestimated!  Be aware of what to look for with covert narcissists, & protect yourself accordingly!!  Have good, strong boundaries.  Pay attention to their words & actions.  Don’t let your guard down around them.  Keep conversations very superficial.  Most of all, pray.  Pray lots!  Ask God for wisdom on how to deal with this person.

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