Tag Archives: critical

How To Cope With Smear Campaigns

When something happens with a narcissist, either an argument or you go no contact with them, they almost always start a smear campaign against you.

 

A smear campaign is when the narcissist tells anyone who will listen how cruel & unreasonable you were to her, how she doesn’t understand how you can treat her this way after all she did for you & other similar nonsense.  She may even add in lies, such as you’re mentally unstable or an addict to discredit you to the listener.

 

It’s only normal to want to defend yourself against such nonsense.  It hurts when people believe these lies, especially when those people are close to you.  Any normal person would want to convince those people that what the narcissist said about you was nothing but lies.  However, this is not a good idea!

 

By speaking out against the narcissist’s lies, it only serves to convince those who believe the lies that the narcissist is right.  They think you are crazy, jealous, bitter, unreasonable or other awful things that the narcissist said you are.  It’s not fair, but it’s how this situation works almost every single time.

 

The only way to defend yourself successfully against a narcissist’s smear campaign is not to defend yourself.  Although it sounds counterproductive, please hear me out.

 

Everything narcissists do boils down to them trying to gain narcissistic supply.  Any strong reaction from you, whether it’s positive or negative provides them with supply.  By creating this smear campaign, they are hoping to provoke anger & even hatred from you since that would provide supply.

 

The smear campaign is also done to discredit you in case you start speaking about the things the narcissist did to you.  If they can make people think you’re crazy, unreasonable, etc., people won’t believe what you say about the narcissist.  The narcissist’s reputation will be protected while yours is ruined, if the campaign goes as well as they expect it to.

 

By living your life as if nothing is happening, you’re depriving the narcissist of her precious narcissistic supply, which means she will get bored with you & leave you alone at some point.  You also are creating doubt in those who believe the smear campaign.  They will see that you act as a normal person, & start to wonder if the narcissist is really right about what she said.  You sure don’t seem crazy, unstable, etc. like the narcissist said.  Maybe what she said about you isn’t true after all.  In fact, the narcissist’s mask may fall off entirely, & others will see the monster under the mask.

 

So remember, Dear Reader, when this happens to you (& it will at some point if you’ve had a narcissist in your life), ignore the smear campaign!  Although it bothers you, never let that show.  Vent to safe people close to you, journal about your feelings & as always, pray, but do not let your hurt, anger or frustration show to anyone involved in the smear campaign!

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Narcissistic Parents Don’t Want Their Children To Grow Up

When the child of a narcissistic parent is very young, the narcissistic parent is often at her happiest in her role as a parent.  Young children are easier to control & manipulate.  They also don’t want independence.

 

Unfortunately for the narcissistic parent, children don’t stay little forever.

 

As children grow up, many narcissists feel threatened or even betrayed.  The reason being, I believe, is that the harder the child is to control, the worse this is for the narcissistic parent. They want that young child to make them look good by behaving properly, being interested in what the parent wants them interested in, etc.  The younger a child, the easier the child is to control.  This is why the teen years can be extremely hard for narcissistic parents & their children.  Teens are growing up & naturally want more independence.  This is unacceptable to the narcissist, so they use whatever means they can to keep their teenager a young child.  Some weapons they use are:

 

  • Disapproval.  This can be either in the forms of disapproving looks or questioning your choices.
  • Criticism.  Insulting your choices or tastes, usually done under the guise of helping.  The narcissistic parent is trying to make you believe she knows what’s best for you, you don’t.
  • Interfering.  Telling you what you should do, who you should date or not allowing you to date, even sabotaging relationships with people the narcissistic parent doesn’t approve of.

 

Unfortunately, these behaviors don’t end when the child turns into an adult.  Often, they continue well into adulthood.  They certainly did with my parents.  My parents had very strong opinions on what I should do & who I should do it with.

 

There are no ways to get a narcissist to stop trying to infantilize their child, no matter the child’s age.  But, there are some ways you can handle this maddening behavior.

 

You’ll need to limit the amount of information you reveal to your narcissistic parent.  Any information they have can be turned into ammunition used to hurt you.

 

Use good boundary setting phrases, such as, “Thanks, but the situation is under control.”  “I’ve made my decision, & there is nothing more to discuss.”  “I didn’t ask for your opinion on this matter.”

 

Changing the subject may work too.  Often with narcissists, you can’t simply change the subject & expect them to respect that the first time.  It may take doing this a few times or doing it over & over in a short span of time, but it usually works- they get tired of fighting to talk about the topic.  The often short attention span of many narcissists can work in your favor.

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

Judging Others

Matthew 7:1-3 states,  “Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (KJV)  Yet, it seems to me not many people really take this Scripture to heart.

I’ve been noticing this on facebook lately, regarding two popular issues in particular.  As many of you know, Cecil the lion was killed in a protected area illegally by a trophy hunter.  Also, Planned Parenthood has been accused of selling parts of the babies they aborted for profit.  (sorry- I haven’t read much about either so I can’t provide better details).  Granted, both are terrible issues.  Neither situation should have happened.  Naturally, people are very passionate about both issues.  People also are very judgmental about people’s feelings on these issues.

I’ve seen many posts from folks upset about Planned Parenthood criticizing those upset about Cecil the lion.  “It’s just a lion!”  “Who cares?  It’s just a man eating beast!”  “Children being slaughtered & their parts sold is more important!”

This has been bothering me because it happens every day with all kinds of issues, not only these two.  They are simply a recent example I’m using.  People aren’t tolerant of the simple fact that people have different passions.  It’s how God made us.  Someone like me with a lot of pets is naturally be more upset over trophy hunting an innocent, majestic lion than the horrible practices of Planned Parenthood, whereas a mother with seven children naturally will be more upset over Planned Parenthood’s actions than the lion’s death.  This does NOT mean one of us is wrong!  It simply means we are different people with different priorities & passions.

Not everyone is going to feel the same way, & that is fine!  People need to accept that about you just as you need to accept that about them.  You don’t have to agree with someone 100% to be in a relationship with them.  I have friends who are very interested in politics while I couldn’t care less about it.  We may discuss politics slightly but that’s all, & we’re fine with that because we have other common interests.  I have other friends who like animals but aren’t as obsessed with them as I am.  The same thing happens- we may discuss animals slightly but that is fine because we too have other common interests.  My political friends aren’t offended that I don’t share their passion & I’m not offended other friends don’t share my animal passion.  We accept each other’s differences without judgment.

I’d like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to do the same.  Accept the fact no one shares your same passions.  Even if you do, chances are you’ll both handle it a bit differently anyway.  Instead of judging, just accept the fact that God made you both differently.  If your friend feels strongly about an issue, maybe try to learn some about it.  You may discover a new interest or at least learn a little.

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Toxic Shame Resulting From Narcissistic Abuse- There Is A Way Out!

As of yesterday, it’s been one month since I got sick with carbon monoxide poisoning & a concussion.  It’s been quite an interesting month, too.

My recovery is a slow one, but at least it is giving me a much needed break from life.  It’s also given me more time to think & pray.  

Shortly after returning home from the hospital, God showed me that I had a big problem with toxic shame, which stems from emotional neglect & criticisms in childhood.  (it’s why I felt I didn’t deserve any help from the ER staff, even though that is their job, & my husband shouldn’t help me recover- I should do it all on my own.  That’s pretty bad, especially considering the severity of my illnesses!)  I believe this is a very common problem for adult children of narcissistic parents, so I thought I would share a bit about this past month’s journey with you.

When God first revealed this to me, I was happy & sad.  Happy because I finally understood what was wrong, why I felt I deserved nothing.  Also sad because, well, let’s face it- this is pretty depressing realizing I was made to feel so poorly about myself.  I also had no idea how to cope with this problem, & had to ask God to show me.  He gave me some really good  ideas, which I shared in the post I originally wrote on this topic.  Please read that post at this link.  I’ve been trying to do the things I mentioned in that post. I also have been doing other things, such as paying more attention to my dreams, which have been revealing a great deal to me about how much I need to take care of myself.  (Almost nightly, I’m having dreams that show me that, so obviously God thinks it’s important!)

I also told God I want to change this problem- I want to be rid of this toxic shame once & for all, & I want to learn to take care of myself too instead of only everyone else.  Was that a powerful prayer!  He has been helping me tremendously!!

About a week after I got sick, I got an email from a jewelry company.  They had a lovely ring on sale that reminded me of one my paternal grandmother had when I was a kid.  This wasn’t a real diamond like hers, but it was still beautiful.  I felt that instead of thinking it’s pretty & ignoring it, I should ask hubby if we could get it.  That took a lot of guts for me- I hate asking him for anything, let alone something frivolous.  He said sure, go ahead & get  it.  When I got on the website to order it, I saw they had an identical ring with a much larger stone that I liked even more.  I ordered it, even though it cost a bit more.  For once, probably the first time in my life, I realized I deserved something special & felt no guilt about it.   Getting myself that prize was a big step towards shedding the “I don’t deserve…” mindset of toxic shame.  Now the company has failed to fulfill my order, but I’m not giving up- I will just get that ring from another company .  🙂

Also, I’ve had trouble with my recovery.  I need to relax, avoid any strenuous physical activity & stress until I am healthy again.  This means hubby gets to do the bulk of housework.  It’s been hard just laying around while he works, then comes home & does laundry & cleans.  Every time the guilt comes up, God reminds me to relax.  I need to recover- I’ve been poisoned by carbon monoxide & have a nasty head injury.  Anyone in that situation would need to relax & recover so stop beating myself up!  Besides, hubby has never really had to take care of anyone before, so this is good for him, having to prioritize another person’s needs.

Although I haven’t told my parents about my illnesses, I’ve spoken with them a few times during my recovery.  Instead of the usual feelings of guilt, hurt or anger when they play their head games, God has reminded that they have problems.  For example, my father recently said I should call if I need anything or just want to talk.  I felt guilty for not calling more often, like a bad daughter, but only for  a second.  Almost immediately, I realized he only wants more contact with me to receive his narcissistic supply, not to spend time with me.  The guilt was alleviated immediately.  I realized I’m not a bad daughter, but instead am someone who doesn’t wish to be used.  Life is too short to be someone’s narcissistic supply!

Something else interesting just happened that made me realize what progress I’m making. I just had a good, long cry.  You see, when some of my pets have died, God has comforted me by telling me shortly after their death that a certain song reminds my recently departed of me- the song then becomes our song.  Aerosmith’s 1988 hit “Angel” just came on. That’s my lovely snowshoe Siamese cat Jasmine’s & my song.  When I heard the song, I started to cry.  I miss Jasmine so badly, & maybe because I’m very sensitive due to my illnesses, the magnitude of missing her hit me very hard.  As the tears finally came to a stop, I realized something- I felt no shame for them!  As much as I love my animals, because my grief at losing them has been so severely invalidated repeatedly, I’ve often felt shame for crying because of them & did my best to ignore my pain.  Especially years later, when I “should be over it”, according to many people. Today was different.  It was the first time I can say I honestly felt no shame, & was able to cry without holding back.  It was actually a very good feeling.  Jasmine was a very brave, amazing & special cat. She survived 4 strokes before she passed away in 2011 & fought hard to come back from each one.  She deserved the love & respect of being grieved properly, yanno?

I’m sharing these things with you today in the hopes of encouraging you.  If you too suffer with toxic shame, God can help you to heal as He is helping me.  He is breaking the hold of toxic shame in my life & will do the same thing for you!  Living with toxic shame is no way to live!  You deserve so much better than that, as do I.  God wants us to be happy & healthy- two things no one living with toxic shame can be.

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Emotional Neglect & Critical Words

Lately, I’ve been reading some about emotional neglect & criticism, & their detrimental effects, especially on children.  They can cause anxiety & toxic shame, both of which are absolutely horrible to live with.

I’ve been seeing lately how much anxiety & shame I carry, & as I mentioned in this post, now I understand why I have them.  When a parent doesn’t care about their child’s feelings, acts as if the child is a bother &/or is overly critical, seeds get sown in the child.  The child becomes fearful.  She learns early that people will hurt her with their words or actions (or both), & no one will protect her, not even her parents.  She also internalizes the fact no one cares enough to protect her, & becomes deeply ashamed of who she is. After all, if her own parents don’t love her enough to care about & for her, she must be deeply flawed, unlovable, a terrible person.  Or so she believes.

These dysfunctional beliefs carry into adulthood.  It means she settles for dysfunctional or abusive relationships (friendships or romantic relationships), lives with extreme anxiety especially when dealing with other people, has a hard time asking for assistance, & doesn’t believe she is worthy.  Worthy of what?  Pretty much anything!  Anything from setting healthy boundaries to taking care of her health to getting new clothes because her old ones are worn out & more.

It is a miserable way to live, & no one should have to live like this!  If you recognize yourself in this post, then please read my other post I mentioned above.  In it, I offer some ways I think can help you overcome toxic shame.  As it diminishes, the anxiety should follow.  It has for me.

I’m praying for you, Dear Reader.  May God bless you, & help you to overcome the pain of toxic shame & anxiety!  xoxo

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