Tag Archives: depressed

Experiencing Grief After Narcissistic Abuse

A common feeling many people experience after narcissistic abuse is grief.  It makes sense since there is a great deal to grieve!  If the narcissist in question was a parent, you grieve the loss of your childhood, the pain of having a parent who didn’t treat you right or love you, the years wasted trying to please your impossible to please parent, the parent you wish you had & more.  If the narcissist was a spouse, there is grief too, because that person married you not out of love, but out of wanting to use & abuse you.  There is also time wasted with this person that could have been spent in much better ways.  You also may grieve the loss of the person you thought the narcissist was at first.   If you passed up a good person to marry the narcissist, there is regret & grief over losing that good person.  If you had children together, no doubt there is also a great deal of guilt over giving your children this terrible person as a parent. 

Whatever your situation, if you’re grieving after escaping narcissistic abuse, please know you are normal!  It’s awful to experience but it’s also very normal.  Grief isn’t only something to be experienced after someone dies.  It comes after all kinds of losses.

You need to experience & process your grief after narcissistic abuse just as you would after losing someone you love.  It is healing to cry & be angry about the unfairness of it all.  Ignoring it, pretending it isn’t happening or even shaming yourself as if something is wrong with you for feeling this way isn’t healthy at all!

Rather than do those unhealthy things, why not try accepting your feelings without judgment?  They’re not abnormal, they’re not wrong & you aren’t crazy for feeling the way you do.  Stop criticizing them.  Accept them for what they are- your feelings that are completely valid.

As you accept them, sit with them for a while.  Cry or yell if you need to.  I know this can be difficult for those of us shamed for having feelings by our narcissistic parent, so if those are too much, then try writing things out.  If you don’t have a journal, it may be an excellent time to start one.  If you want to be certain no one ever reads it, there are online journals that are private & password protected.  I use Penzu’s free version, but there are plenty of others as well if it doesn’t meet your needs.

I’ve also found writing letters to the narcissist very helpful.  I wrote out everything I thought & felt about what they did, not censoring myself.  The especially important part of this is I never sent the letters.  I wrote them to purge myself of the awful things I felt because of the actions of a narcissist, not to tell the narcissist how they made me feel or to try to make them see the errors of their ways.  Doing such things is a complete waste of time & energy with a narcissist.  In fact, if you do them, chances are you’ll only feel worse after instead of better because the narcissist will try to convince you that you’re oversensitive, overreacting or even crazy.  Instead, I’ve found ripping the letters up & throwing them away or burning them to be very helpful.

If you have a safe friend, relative or even counselor, talking about your grief or praying with them can be very helpful as well. 

You also need to be aware that grief doesn’t have time limits.  You can’t expect to get over the trauma in a set time.  In fact, a part of you most likely always will grieve to some degree, just like when someone you love dies.  It does get easier in time though.  You also learn to rebuild yourself & adapt to your new life without suffering narcissistic abuse. Whatever you choose to do to cope isn’t important.  What matters is that you deal with your grief & accept it as a natural part of the healing process.

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

Being Real

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I was thinking about trying to write something positive & encouraging today, & I couldn’t come up with anything. Why? Honestly, I’m in a pretty lousy mood. There have been a lot of negative things going on in my life lately, & all the things I’m learning for the new book are a lot to take in. I’m learning about so many behaviors that are abusive, that I never thought were abusive. I’m seeing clearly just how many people have abused me during my life, even people I never thought of as abusive. It’s really a lot to process! Plus, the heat & bright sun of the summer tends to depress me anyway. I’m so NOT a summer gal! Give me autumn or winter instead, please!

This all makes it hard for me to be positive & encouraging right now. I was starting to feel guilty about that (only adding to my lovely mood), & prayed. God immediately showed me something. People do not need positivity & encouragement only. They need genuine people, which is what I am. While it’s good to be positive, people also need to see that sometimes, you don’t feel positive, & that is ok. Everyone has off days. Sometimes, if people see you as only positive, they feel bad about themselves when they have an off day or two. They feel as if they’re sinning, not measuring up or failing.

We all have off days, sometimes several in a row, & that is OK!  Take it easy & practice good self-care on those days. As for me, I am going to take off this week, & not work on the new book. I’m going to relax as much as possible & help myself to feel better soon. 

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

Bad Things People Say To Those With Mental Illness

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I read something this morning.  It said it’s best not to say “It’ll get better.   You need to move on” to someone who is depressed; instead say, “It’s ok to be sad.”  While this makes sense to me, I got to thinking- there are plenty of things that those of us struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD do NOT need to hear.  I hope writing them here will help you to respond to others when they say these things to you.  And, unfortunately someone will say something hurtful or invalidating to you.  Even the most well-meaning people slip up sometimes.  No human is perfect!

-“Get over it.” “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”  Cold, heartless statements like this are very shaming, & there should be no shame in having a mental illness any more than in having a physical illness.  “Is there anything I can do to help you?” is a much better thing to say!
-“Yanno, *insert name here* has it way worse than you. You should be grateful you didn’t go through what she did!”  This only makes a person feel guilty for being depressed or having PTSD because that other person survived worse things than you did.  No one should feel guilty for struggling with a mental disorder!  Ever!   Instead, offering support without judgement is a MUCH better alternative!
-“I wish you would smile more often.”   News flash- you’re not the only one!  Mental illness is miserable!  Smiling is a hard thing to do when going through a depressive episode or PTSD/C-PTSD is flaring up!  How about instead offering reassurance that she isn’t crazy or bad or whatever she may be feeling?
-“Life can be hard.”  While this is true, this hurts!  It makes a person feel like she doesn’t matter.  Make sure she knows she *does* matter instead!
-“You just need to think more positive/pray more often.” “Happiness is a choice.”  “Christians don’t have mental illness!”  While there is great power in prayer & positive thinking, mental illnesses are just that- illnesses.  God certainly is able to deliver you suddenly from any situation, however, I believe He prefers to walk with us through the situation.  Remember Psalm 23? “Yea, though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death..”  Going through things offers us great wisdom & experience which can help other people who are going through similar situations.  Sudden deliverance is nice, but it doesn’t teach anything. Going through trying, painful times has a purpose! How about instead offering to pray or with her??
-“I had a bad childhood too, but I just don’t think about it.” Well goody for you.  If that works for you, fine, but some of us experienced brutal abuse that we can’t forget, as much as we might like to.  Although we don’t think about it voluntarily, we still experience nightmares, flashbacks, & intrusive memories even though we would like never to have such things again.  The past just doesn’t want to let us go, even though we have done our best to let it go. Understanding that & the frustration we feel over it would go a long way!
-“You just need to find the right medication & you’ll be fine.”  Not necessarily true!  While sometimes anxiety & depression are basically simple malfunctions in the brain that can be fixed with medication, more often they are instead connected to abuse in one’s past. This means while the right medications may help some, counseling & other treatments are needed, especially if they are connected to PTSD/C-PTSD.  How about learning about your loved one’s mental illness & the treatments involved instead?
-“You just need to get out more.”  Really??  Many of us with PTSD/C-PTSD have agoraphobia, & leaving home only causes more anxiety.  Anyone who knows even a little about PTSD/C-PTSD understands this.  Again, learn about your loved one’s disorder.

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

Thank You!

Thank you so much to everyone for your support & kind words this past week.  Losing my sweet Georgie then my aunt four days later has been really rough. 

Grieving is always painful & difficult, but it’s even harder for me since the C-PTSD fully developed two years ago.  C-PTSD seems to exaggerate the normal grief depression, & my anxiety levels are very high.  My short term memory is worse than usual, & I’m having more trouble than usual finding words.  Just getting through each day is a challenge, because frankly, I’d rather crawl into bed & not come out for a long time.  And, tomorrow, I have to drive my father & I an hour one way to my aunt’s memorial service.  That doesn’t help the anxiety!  I haven’t driven this or any busy highway in probably eight years, so yes, I am panicky.

In spite of how I feel, though, I know God will keep enabling me to get through this hard time.  I’m grateful for that.  I don’t know how I’d survive right now if it wasn’t for God in my life.  He’s even helped me to make some progress on my new book about narcissistic mothers.  Usually when I’m grieving or the C-PTSD is flaring up, I can’t work.  It’s awesome to me I’ve been able to work at all this past week.

And, the funny part is, I haven’t been praying as much as usual.  I withdraw from everyone, even God, during bad times.  Thankfully, He understands that, & obviously loves & cares for me anyway.

God is so good!  He is so loving, gentle, understanding & kind.  If you haven’t thanked God for His love today, I’d like to encourage you to do so now.  If you aren’t feeling loved for some reason, then think about what has been going on in your life lately.  I bet you can think of little ways that God has shown He loves you.  If not, ask Him to show you.  And, when you see those things, let Him know how grateful you are.  It not only pleases God to hear that, but it makes you feel good, too.  A grateful heart, aware of God’s blessings & unfailing love, is a happy heart.  It also strengthens you to make it through the hard times, which is what’s happening with me right now.

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