Tag Archives: dysfunction

Speak Out Or Stay Silent?

There are conflicting messages for victims of abuse.  Some people encourage victims to speak out.  Help raise awareness!  Confronting your abuser will be good for you!  Others encourage victims to keep quiet.  Stop dredging up the past.  Forgive & forget.

 

Rather than stating what I think victims should do, I would like to encourage you to decide what is right for yourself.  After all, being vocal about being abused can be very challenging.  Being vocal about it means you’re reliving some of the most painful experiences of your life.  It also means some will criticize you harshly.  You may lose friends & family who side with your abuser.  Is this something you can deal with?

 

There are pros & cons for speaking out as well as staying quiet.  You need to consider them seriously before making any decisions.

 

Silence isn’t always good, as it can encourage an abuser to continue abusing.  Knowing the victim won’t tell anyone what is happening gives the abuser free reign to do as she/he pleases without fear of consequences.  It also means things can stay pretty much the same for the victim in that her friends & family will continue treating her as they always have.  Silence allows the victim to continue in the familiar place that she is accustomed to.  This can be a good thing, to a degree, especially if she does not feel strong enough to confront her abuser or even discuss what has happened, & if this is only a temporary place.

 

Telling her story can empower the victim.  She takes back the power that her abuser stole by forcing her to stay silent.  She realizes it’s her story & she can do as she sees fit with it.  She can help & inspire others who have been through similar circumstances if she opts to go public with her story (such as blogging about it, for example).  By speaking openly about what happened, she also can give her family the opportunity to grow & to heal.  However, telling also means that she can be setting herself up for criticism, even from those closest to her.  Those she believed were on her side may turn against her.  They may refuse to believe her, tell others she’s lying, or invalidate her pain if she speaks to them about the situation.  And, if she opts to confront her abuser, that can open up a new world of pain.  Abusers hate confrontation, especially narcissistic abusers.  The abuser may turn the entire situation around, blaming the victim for what happened or denying they did anything wrong.  Often, the one telling the truth is demonized by abusers as well as those who may have known about the abuse but did nothing.  Many people can’t live with what they have done, so they vilify the victim.

 

What do you think is your answer, Dear Reader?

 

Before you answer that question, I urge you to pray.  Let God give you advice on which way to go, & how to go about it.  Also, allow Him to give you the strength you need, because either way is very challenging.  You will need His strength.  And remember, 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.”  (GNT)  God will empower you to do anything you need to do!

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

Do You Have Something That Is Just Yours?

A little while ago, I was listening to some music from the 80’s.  Being a teen in the 80’s, it’s often my go to genre.  I was really enjoying the songs & a thought crossed my mind.  Most people who listen to their childhood music are transported back to happy days of their youth.  I’m not. My childhood wasn’t happy.  Even so, I still love the music of the era.  As I wondered why, & didn’t even have a chance to ask God why, He gave me the answer.  My taste in music was the first thing that was just mine, that my narcissistic mother couldn’t ruin for me.

 

My mother likes 50’s music & country music by the Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys & similar sounding artists.  My father is mostly into outlaw type country- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt.  Neither likes 80’s music.  When I first got into it, my mother harshly criticized it, yet she didn’t spoil my love of it in spite of her valiant efforts.

 

She tried to squelch my love of other things over the years too- my taste in cars, other types of music I like (such as Southern rock & metal/hard rock), my love of feminine clothing & perfumes, knitting, scary movies & books. I’m positive her motivation was to make me dislike these things & replace them with things she likes or approves of.  (Narcissists love to change people into what they think they should be, rather than allowing people to be individuals.)  It hasn’t worked, however, & these things all bring me a great deal of joy, even when she insults them or me for liking them.

 

When you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, holding onto something that the narcissist couldn’t ruin for you or take away from you is precious!  It makes you feel strong.  In spite of every hateful thing she tried, she couldn’t take this from me!  There was one thing she couldn’t destroy about me!  YAY ME!!

 

Do you have something that is just yours, that your narcissistic mother couldn’t take from you?  What is it?  Whatever it is, I urge you to celebrate it!  Enjoy it to the max!   Relish in the fact she couldn’t take it from you no matter what.  Be proud of yourself for having the fortitude to hang onto that thing!

 

If you can’t think of anything, that is ok too!  Find something!  Try something new- a new hobby, a new type of tea, listen to a different genre of music.  You’ll find something that is so special to you, that even the meanest narcissistic mother can’t take away, & you will thoroughly enjoy it.

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Can You Ever Be Completely Healed After Abuse?

I recently was talking recently with a lady about this very topic- can someone be completely healed of the effects of narcissistic abuse?  We both shared the same opinion.  With God, of course, all things are possible.  However, to be completely healed isn’t necessarily the norm.

 

For one thing, narcissistic abuse infects every area of your being.  The stress of it can affect you physically, such as developing high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease.  The negativity & crazy making affect you mentally.  So many victims feel like they’re crazy.  Many lose their self esteem or live with depression & anxiety.  A lot of victims live with PTSD or C-PTSD after leaving the relationship with a narcissist.  Many people in a relationship with narcissists are affected financially.  Narcissists see people as nothing more than tools to be used in whatever way benefits the narcissist, so many victims lose a great deal of money to their narcissist.   Many victims are also affected spiritually because of the narcissist’s weird religious beliefs or being overly “religious”, using God to make the victim feel like a bad person, God is punishing them or the like.

 

For another thing, if you had a narcissistic parent (or two), the abuse is even worse simply due to the nature of the relationship.  It goes so deeply against nature for a parent to abuse a child instead of loving & caring for her, that it’s virtually impossible to accept.  That can deeply affect a child no matter that child’s age.  Many are in denial, saying their narcissistic mother was just quirky or over protective rather than narcissistic.  Some believe their covertly narcissistic parent was naive, & didn’t know any better.  Or, they believe the covertly narcissistic parent was incapable of stopping the overtly narcissistic parent from abusing them for various reasons.

 

Also, childhood forms who you are as an adult.  Whether you had a good or bad upbringing, you are a product of your childhood.  I think childhood is much like the foundation of a home.  If a home’s foundation is damaged, the home won’t be safe.  If you had a bad childhood, your adulthood won’t be healthy until you fix the damage done to you in childhood.

 

You may never fully heal from the abuse.  It’s quite normal.   If you get to the place the abuse doesn’t consume you, you’re doing great.  If you can think or talk about certain events without feeling devastated, but instead feeling more like you’re remembering an unpleasant dream, you’re doing great.  It’s quite possible you may not be healed more than that.  In my personal experience plus observations of the many other victims of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with, complete healing isn’t common.  In fact, I haven’t seen it myself.

 

If you are like most of us & still struggling even many years after the abuse happened, please know you’re not alone!  Not by a long shot!  You also aren’t weak or a failure.  God hasn’t abandoned you either.  In fact, He is with you during the worst times, whether you feel His presence or not. I’ll close this post with a beautiful reminder of that fact..

 

Psalm 23

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

(KJV)

 

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When You’re Upset In The Presence Of A Narcissist

You know it’s best to be as emotionally neutral as possible around narcissists because they use your emotions against you.  As hard as you try though, there still may be times when you can’t keep your emotions in check around a narcissist.  You try your best, but no one is perfect.  You may be having a bad day or their cruelty hits you especially hard because you’re fed up.  So what can you expect during those times?

 

Narcissists have various reactions to their victims being upset in their presence, but all of their reactions are designed to let victims know their problem isn’t important.  They may mock you by saying things like, “Awww… the poor baby is upset!  WAHH!”

 

Or, they may be invalidating, saying you have nothing to be upset about, get over it, or they don’t see what the big deal is.

 

They may be blatantly insulting, telling you how stupid you are for being upset.  They may even go from insulting to downright shaming, telling you something is wrong with you for feeling the way you do.  If you’re upset at the narcissist, chances are good they not only don’t want to hear what you have to say, but will be very shaming to you for feeling that way.  You have no right to feel that way, they may say.  After all, you made them do whatever it is they did.

 

Another reaction they have is to be ice cold, clearly showing you they don’t care you’re upset.  They may even act bored as you cry.  I once watched my narcissistic maternal grandmother act completely bored as one of my cousins cried to her, hurt over things she had done.  My own narcissistic mother has done the same with me- act completely bored with me when I’m clearly suffering.

 

Some narcissists also try to say what they think they should say when you’re upset.   For example, many years ago I was upset with my mother in my narcissistic mother in-law’s presence.  Since my husband was with me, I’m sure she wanted to give him a good impression, so she hugged me tightly & said, “Don’t be upset!  I’m your mother now!!”  Maybe that sounds nice, but truthfully, it didn’t feel nice.  It felt creepy!  She always seemed to want me to pretend I had no family & morph into hers.  Remember the Borg from “Star Trek”?  That’s how it came across to me- I was to Borg into her family & this gave her an excuse to verbalize her wishes.  Resistance was futile- I would be assimilated.  lol

 

These scenes are incredibly frustrating.  Normally, you might want to scream or cry louder, trying to get the narcissist to understand you.  That isn’t a good move though.  If you can remember it, try to remember to simply disengage.  Walk away.  Hang up the phone.  The more you try to convince the narcissist you have a right to feel as you do, the more they will try to hurt you or even make you look like you’re crazy.  This only hurts you more.  When you feel things starting to elevate, try your best to stop for a second & take a deep breath.  Ask God for help during that moment.  Ask Him to help  you to remember to disengage before you get to this point.

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Intrusive Thoughts

I saw an interesting special on TV recently about Andrea Yates, the mother of five who drowned her children in the bathtub.  I always wonder what makes people do what they do, especially when what they do is so unbelievable, such as in the case of Ms. Yates, so this show intrigued me.

Apparently she developed post partum psychosis that became worse after the birth of each child.  She had hallucinations & heard voices that told her that her children needed to die now so they could go to heaven or else they would grow into evil adults & go to hell.  Thankfully, this is quite rare!  But one of the most amazing parts of the story to me was that when Ms. Yates & her then husband sought treatment, she received very little treatment.  One doctor told her she just needed to “think happy thoughts.”

Think happy thoughts?!  Gee, I bet she never thought of that!  *facepalm*

Guessing this doctor never heard of “intrusive thoughts.”

Intrusive thoughts come with some mental illness.  They are thoughts that come to mind that you can’t distract yourself from.  Having C-PTSD, I have experienced them myself.  Sometimes, they’ve been in the form of a memory of abuse, other times they are anxiety laden thoughts (what if this doesn’t go right?  Then what do I do?  What if that doesn’t work either?!) or they are depression related (things aren’t going to get any better, I’m a horrible person, etc).  Since getting a concussion last February, mine are much harder to deal with than they used to be.

When intrusive thoughts happen, I’ve found the best way to deal with them is to talk to God.  Ask for His help.  1 Corinthians 2:16 states that as children of God, we have the mind of Christ.  Although it doesn’t feel like it during painful & frustrating intrusive thoughts, it is still true.  What did Jesus do doing His most difficult & painful times?  He talked with His Father, & received answers & peace in return.  Following Jesus’ example truly helps.

Try to slow down, & deliberately focus on your thoughts.  Question them, tell them they are unwelcome, ask God to tell you the truth about what the thoughts are saying- do you have a real reason to be so anxious?  Why is this awful memory back in my mind- is it something I need to deal with?

Understand intrusive thoughts.  Everyone has them, but to varying degrees.  If you’re fortunate, you don’t have them often, & can distract yourself from them.  If not, they may be a sign of a mental health issue that needs addressing.  It may be a good idea to discuss them with your doctor or a therapist if you find yourself having them often & unable to distract yourself.  Intrusive thoughts don’t mean you are crazy or broken beyond repair!  Often they are a symptom of anxiety, depression or having experienced trauma.

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Why Do Narcissists Care More About Strangers’ Opinions Than Loved Ones?

One of the hardest things to understand about narcissists & their awful actions is why they care more about what strangers think about them than the opinions of those closest to them.  I believe there are several reasons for this.

 

Narcissists can’t bond.  Most people automatically form bonds with those they love, but narcissists don’t even love in a normal, healthy way.  Everything they do is about getting their coveted narcissistic supply (what makes them feel good about themselves), so they may love what you do if you provide it, but that doesn’t mean they love you.

 

Narcissists don’t do deep, meaningful relationships.  They want superficial relationships, where there is no real responsibility.  They simply want to be adored.

 

Strangers providing narcissistic supply thrill narcissists. It’s easy to show strangers what the narcissist wants them to see, & hide the bad parts.  Strangers can provide instant supply.  This is very gratifying to narcissists.  Strangers are much easier & more fulfilling to get supply from than those close to them.

 

Narcissists don’t get their narcissistic supply from their own actions.  Most people feel good about themselves when they do something well, but narcissists aren’t that way.  They only feel good about themselves when another person provides their narcissistic supply.  It’s relatively easy to get supply from strangers.

 

I hope this helps you to understand a little about why narcissists care more about strangers than those closest to them, Dear Reader.  It truly isn’t about you or something you’ve done wrong- it’s all about them & their dysfunction!

 

 

 

 

 

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What To Expect When Your Narcissistic Parent Goes No Contact

As I’ve mentioned before, my parents have stopped speaking to me recently.  Since, I’ve been experiencing a plethora of emotions, & I’m going to hazard a guess they’re pretty normal under the circumstances.  I also realized when a narcissistic parent goes no contact with you, it feels a lot different than when you are the one to go no contact.  In 2001, I went no contact with my mother (she initiated contact with me in 2007, & I allowed her back into my life at that point).  Seeing both types of going no contact has been eye opening to me.  I’m hoping sharing this with you will help you if your parents have gone no contact with you.

 

When I went no contact with my mother, it’d been after a great deal of prayer & consideration on the subject.  I knew in my heart it was the best thing I could do, & I was as prepared as I could be to sever ties with my mother.  And, I only went no contact with my mother.  At the time, I had no knowledge at all of narcissism.  Naturally I didn’t realize my father was a covert narcissist & abusive in his own way that was different than hers, so I kept in touch with him.  Anyway, I was able to grieve losing my mother, then face some of my own issues stemming from her abuse.  The time apart was just what I needed at that time.  It was a good thing for me.

 

Fast forward to this year.  I answered my parents’ phone call not expecting the huge fight that followed.  It was a complete surprise.  I’d expected a bit of a disagreement, but not in the really big fight that actually took place with both of my parents.

 

I wasn’t surprised my mother stopped speaking to me afterwards.  She is the queen of the silent treatment, & I’m sure me defending myself to her was a huge narcissistic injury worthy of the silent treatment.  What did surprise me was my father.  Since he always wants to look like the good guy, I never expected him to stop speaking to me.

 

Another big surprise is when praying about the entire situation some time later, God told me He wants them out of my life.  I’m not sure if He means forever or a season just yet, but either way- that was a big surprise too.  He’s showed me repeatedly that I need distance from their toxicity.

 

The element of surprise can be pretty intense in such a situation.  For one thing, since narcissists are so obsessed with appearances, they seldom want to end contact with their own child because it might make them look bad.  Can’t have that now can we?!  So when they do sever ties, it can come as a complete shock.  Even though some time has passed, I still feel quite shocked at the turn our relationship took.

 

Also, any loss can trigger grief, even when the loss is your own dysfunctional & abusive parents.  When I first felt this grief, I wondered what was wrong with me.  These people have made my life a living hell ever since I can remember.  I should be glad they’re gone!  Why wasn’t I reveling in them being gone, I wondered.  God showed me that abusive or not, they’re still my parents.  Losing your parents, whether they’re loving or abusive, is a hard thing to handle for anyone.

 

No contact has triggered a lot of anger in me, too.  I’m angry my parents had the unadulterated gall to get mad at me when they were the ones clearly in the wrong in our argument.  It’s glaringly obvious to anyone who knows the story that they were wrong, yet they would prefer being wrong & pretending to be right than have me, their own daughter, in their life.

 

I’ve found too, that triggers are everywhere, & in strange places.  When I hear or read about a parent showing concern for their child, no matter the child’s age, it upsets me easily now.  It makes me sad since that’s something I’ve never had & never will have.  It also makes me angry because the reason for our fight, my late mother in-law, was never a source of concern for my parents when it clearly should have been.  I told them for years how cruel she was to me, & they truly did not care.  I know my mother didn’t even believe me when I said she choked me when my husband & I told her we had eloped.  (As if I’d make something like that up!)  You’d think a physical assault might warrant some concern from my parents, but it never did.  Anyone else I told that story to was shocked.  My parents?  Bored.

 

Intrusive thoughts have been a constant as well.  Things I’d really just as soon not think about pop into my mind constantly, against my will.  I can’t even escape at night because I have nightmares every single night.  I may not remember details of them, but I remember my parents were in them & I wake up feeling the anger, fear or depression I felt in the dreams.

 

There is sadness & depression too.  I think my parents’ going no contact with me has really made it sink in how little they have been there for me in my life.  This is just one more of those times.  Sure, growing up, they provided for some of my needs- I always had food, clothing & shelter- but there was no emotional nurturing or genuine love.  In fact, there was more abuse than anything else.

 

I also think these things were magnified because of the fact I was going through a particularly hard time at the time of our argument.  When you’re already stressed or upset, any little thing can feel even worse.  So when you experience something very painful, it really hurts, even worse than it would under better circumstances.

 

In spite of all of these negatives, something absolutely wonderful has come out of it all, & makes it all worthwhile.  Freedom!

 

Without my parents in my life, I have found a new freedom.  For the first time, I’m finally free to be the person God made me to be.  No longer do I need to be “on”  so much.  After all, when dealing with narcissists, that’s how it is- you’re on your guard the entire time you’re with them.  You also have to mentally prepare when you know you need to interact with them in the near future.  Finally, I’m able to relax.

 

I’ve also been able to get to know myself for the first time in my life.  Growing up, I was told who to be.  My ex husband tried to mold me into what he wanted me to be.  Later when I married my current husband, I tried to be what he wanted me to be & even what his mother wanted me to be in the hopes of making her hate me less.  In the last few years, I’ve tried off & on to be me, the person God wants me to be, & while I had some success with that, it’s been much more successful without my parents in my life. The constant disapproval of everything about me I think made me feel like who I am is a bad person, wrong, etc.  Without that disapproval, I’m free to be me.

 

I’ve realized something else good that came with this freedom.  Because I stood up to my parents during that argument in May, it’s given me a new confidence.  If I could stand up to them at that time when I felt weak & was caught off guard,  I can stand up to anyone about anything now.  In fact, that confidence even stirred a new fire in me to speak out more against narcissistic abuse.  I think that’s pretty cool!

 

God has been using this time apart in a great way for me.  As hard as it’s been, He has been carrying me through.  He had reasons for removing my parents from my life.  Allowing me to heal, enabling me to be more the person He created me to be & less who they want me to be & giving me more confidence to speak against narcissistic abuse have all been a huge blessing for me.

 

If your narcissistic parents have opted to go no contact with you, then please know it can be a blessing in disguise.  Yes, it hurts.   Yes, it’s mind boggling that they treated you so badly & had the gall to act like you’re such a bad person, they had to go no contact with you.  Yes, it makes you angry.  But, one thing about God is He can make good things come from bad situations.  Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  (KJV)  If you’re not seeing anything good, ask Him to make good come from this situation & to show you the good you need to see.

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Before You Confront A Narcissist

I believe picking your battles with a narcissist is among the most challenging thing a person can do when in a relationship with a narcissist.  They need to know their behavior is unacceptable, yet when confronted, the person doing the confronting often ends up frustrated & even more hurt than they were after the original event that made them think they should confront the narcissist.

 

Second only to deciding when to confront a narcissist is how to confront them once you decided to do it.  Narcissists love to play the victim & also to twist a situation around so you’re the bad guy.  It can feel impossible to know the best way to go about this incredibly difficult situation.

 

I firmly believe in staying calm & sticking to the facts.  Force the conversation to stay on topic, otherwise the narcissist will steer you completely off topic, & most likely onto what they think is wrong with you.  They may provoke you into getting so caught up in defending yourself, you forget what the original topic of the conversation was supposed to be.

 

There is one thing that I have found to be even more important though, & that is prayer.  Before talking to a narcissist, pray.  If they are calling, quickly ask God should you take the call or let it ring.  If you feel you should take the call, ask Him to help you through the conversation.  He truly will not let you down!!  And, it may be in a different way than you expect, but it will be the best way possible.

 

Last May just after my mother in-law died, I didn’t tell my parents.  I realized they’d see her obituary in the local newspaper.  I expected them to call me, & say how sad it was, she was a great woman, blah blah… things I did NOT want to hear about the woman who hated me & treated me like dirt for the first 8 years of my husband’s & my relationship.  When my parents called a few days after she died, I knew the call wasn’t going to be pleasant.  I  also knew I might as well take the call because if I didn’t, they’d call back constantly until I answered since that’s what they do & they’d think this was an important topic.  I also asked God to help me have the right words to say.  My parents shocked me by saying they wanted to attend the funeral, & were upset they didn’t even know she passed until they saw her obituary.  Wasn’t expecting that!  It immediately angered me, especially when my parents acted like something was wrong with me for being angry.  I ended up yelling at both of my parents, even using some bad language which are all not my normal behaviors with them.

 

Once I hung up the phone, I told God how sorry I was- I don’t even know what happened to me, why I reacted that way.  It’s not like this was the first time my folks cared more about someone who has hurt me than me.  God spoke to my heart & said this is exactly what they needed.  They needed to know that they hurt me so badly, that I would act that way, so out of character.   He answered my prayer- He gave me the right words for the situation at hand- just not in the way I expected.

 

In the months that have passed, I realized God wanted my parents out of my life, & this was a way to do it.  They have cut ties with me, so I can’t be accused of going no contact with them.  Anyone who hears about this situation has to see the ridiculousness of it.  My parents cared more about someone they saw twice in the 22 years my husband & I have been together, than me, their own daughter.  It’s only logical I’d have been upset by that.  Not even the most devoted flying monkeys can justify their incredibly hurtful behavior, which is probably why I haven’t heard from any of them.

 

My point (finally) is that praying before confronting a narcissist is absolutely vital to dealing with them.  If I wouldn’t have prayed before talking to my parents last May, I have no doubt our relationship would be as it always was.  Extremely painful for me.  As it is though, I’m much happier than I’ve been in a long time, in spite of grieving the loss (dysfunctional or not, losing your parents is still a loss that needs to be grieved).  It’s amazing the power of prayer.  James 5:16 states in the last half of the verse, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. ” (MSG)  That is so true!  Utilize that power & God will help you in ways you never imagined, even when it comes to something so complicated as dealing with a narcissistic parent!

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Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Your Mistakes

I’ve always had a knack for remembering dates.  Even after the TBI I got in 2015, I still remember many dates that have been important to me at some time in my life.  For example,  I got my first car on July 6, 1989.  I moved out of my parents’ home on June 9, 1990.  I met my husband on March 14, 1992 & our first date was November 4, 1994.

 

Don’t get me started on my furbabies- I remember who I adopted when or when who was born, & when who passed away.

 

Remembering dates can be convenient sometimes, but it also can trigger some very unpleasant memories.  For years, I beat myself up from August 23 until November 24 because that was the short time I was involved with a man who I thought was a good guy, but I was unhappy dating.  When I told him I wanted to break up, he did his best to make me feel stupid & like a failure, which sunk in with me.  I believed I ruined his life & was a terrible person for it.  Many years later, I read that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself in their home.  It finally clicked that maybe he wasn’t the good guy he portrayed himself as.  I started remembering our short time together & realized that he was a very disturbed man.  I didn’t have clues then to just how disturbed, though.

 

In a way, learning this information was a good thing.  I finally was set free from the guilt of leaving this man.  It was as if I finally had permission to accept that leaving him was for my own safety.  It also helped me to think about something…

 

I have spent my life beating myself up for way too many things!

 

The disturbed man I mentioned?  I was only 19, he was 28 when we dated.  He was very controlling & I was so accustomed to being controlled, although it bothered me, I didn’t realize it was wrong.  It was so bad, in fact, that I didn’t want to date him.  I only did because he was pushy & my friend at the time said I should.  After growing up with narcissistic parents, this behavior of allowing others to control me is pretty normal.  I see that now, but for years, I told myself how stupid I was for this.  I should’ve known better.  HOW?!  How could I have known better?!

 

I’ve also beat myself up for not standing up to my parents more often, for tolerating way more than I should have.  This also doesn’t make sense- they’re my parents!  Aside from the dysfunctional teaching I grew up with that said I deserve whatever is done to me, being parents puts them in a unique position in my life no one else shares.  Most people are like me in that they are more willing to tolerate things from their parents than other people.

 

Does this describe you as well?  Have you spent way too much time chastising yourself for things that really aren’t your fault?  If so, please stop it right now!

 

Everyone makes mistakes!  Those of us raised in abusive, dysfunctional environments tend to make even more than most people because we simply do not know any better.  Frankly, it sucks, but it happens!

 

Have you learned from your mistakes?  Good!  That shows you don’t want to continue being dysfunctional!  That is something to be proud of!!

 

Do you realize that sharing stories of things you did & what you learned can encourage other people?  It really can!  I’m hardly proud of sharing the things I have in this blog, but the good part is they encourage other people.  I have the emails & comments to prove it.  In a way, my mess has become my ministry.  Not only the mess of my dysfunctional upbringing, but the mess of the dumb things I did as a result.  That encourages me too, because I know it means my pain has a purpose.  It wasn’t for nothing!

 

Your pain has a purpose too, Dear Reader!  If you don’t feel that way, then talk to God about it.  He will reveal the purpose to you, & comfort you!

 

 

 

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Talking About Your Trauma

I’ve been reading lately about discussing abusive & traumatic experiences.  It seems many people have very definite opinions on the matter.  Some think it is the duty of the victim to talk about it, to raise awareness & help other victims.  Others think talking puts unfair pressure on the victim, & they’ve been through enough.

 

It seems to me that in a way, they’re both right.

 

Proverbs 31:8-9 says,

“8  Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.

9  Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  (KJV)

 

I believe this clearly states that it is right to speak up against abuse.  But, if you notice, it says to “speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”  That could be those who are still being abused & unable to escape, but it also could be those who are recently traumatized or even those who only recently realized they were abused (as abusers love to convince victims they are helping, the victim made them hurt them, it isn’t abuse, etc).  It can be hard or even impossible to talk about your trauma when you’ve only recently escaped your abuser or learned what was done to you was abuse.

 

So how do you know what is right for you to do?  Pray.  Ask God to show you what He would have you to do.

 

If you feel speaking about your experiences is the answer for you at this time, it can be scary, I know.  Lean on God to enable you to do it. Not everyone who discusses their abusive experiences is in the public eye.  God may not want you to write a book or blog.  He may instead send people across your path periodically who need to hear your story.  That calling is no less important than those who are in the public eye.  Helping people cope with their pain is an extremely important calling, no matter how it is done.

 

If you don’t feel the need to discuss your experiences, probably this means you have some healing to do first.  Talking about things really isn’t easy.  Abusers always make victims afraid to talk.  When you first escape the abusive situation or first realize what was done was actually abuse, you may need to think & pray a lot to come to terms with things.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!  Do what you need to do!  Prayer, writing in a journal & even writing letters you never show to the abuser are excellent places to start.  Never feel bad if you’re in this place!  Everyone starts their recovery somewhere, & often it’s alone.  Besides, if you hope to be one who can help other victims, you have to be able to do so.  Self-care is vital!  You have to take care of yourself if you want to be of any help to others.

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Ways To Respond To Someone Who Doesn’t Understand Mental Illness

Not many people have a good grasp on how to treat people with mental illness.  Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD in particular seem to be targets for those with little to no  compassion.

 

Following are some examples of bad things people often say to people suffering with mental illness.  One thing that seems to diffuse people from further insensitive, invalidating comments is a calm, logical response.  Some examples of ways to use that logic follow the examples.

 

“It’s all in your mind.”  This one tells me the person saying it thinks you’re crazy & has no patience for you.  Not exactly something to make you feel all warm & fuzzy, is it?  A good response could be, “Well, yes it is.  It’s a mental illness after all.  Where else would it be?”

 

“Think happy thoughts.”  Well, gee, why didn’t I think of that?!  *facepalm* Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD can come with intrusive thoughts that may be impossible to control.  Depression steals your hope, anxiety fills you with often irrational fears, PTSD & C-PTSD steal your hope, fill you with fear in addition to reminding you of all of the horrible, traumatic things you’ve been through.  A possible response could be, “You seem to forget- my brain doesn’t work like yours.  It’s physically broken.  It’s not that easy for me to just think happy thoughts.”

 

“You should just…”  Unasked for advice is never fun.  It’s even worse when the person giving it has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. This one really gets under my skin, especially when it’s wrapped in fake concern.  “I mean this in love, but you need to get over that…” for example.  I’ve responded with, “Thank you but I didn’t ask for your advice on this subject.”  The person who did this with me stopped speaking to me for months after saying that, but I don’t know if that is a typical response or not.  She’s the only one I said that to so far.

 

“I know how you feel.”  No.  No you don’t.  You aren’t me.  You don’t live with the mental illness that I do.  We are two very different people.  So no, you don’t know how I feel.  <– I believe that is a good response.  I admit, I get snarky when told this.  My responses aren’t usually this nice.  Mine have been “You spent most of your life suicidal too?  You have C-PTSD too?  Aren’t those flashbacks terrible?  Oh, you don’t have them.. then I guess you really don’t know how I feel.”  Not nice, but it tends to get people’s attention when nicer comments don’t.

 

“That doesn’t sound so bad.”  I think people forget that we are all different.  What doesn’t sound so bad to one person can devastate another.  My high school guidance counselor told me this phrase after telling her my mother would scream at me & tell me how horrible I was.  It made me feel wrong for being traumatized.  I was young & didn’t know about narcissism then, so I didn’t respond.  Now?  I think I would say something like, “Maybe it doesn’t sound so bad to you, but you weren’t there.  You weren’t the one going through the trauma.”

 

“You can’t have PTSD.  You weren’t in the military.”  Unfortunately, because there has been attention on PTSD in soldiers, the rest of us with it resulting from non-military trauma have been disregarded.  It reminds me of when AIDS was first coming into the public eye in the 80’s, & people thought it was a “gay disease.”  AIDS isn’t a “gay disease”  & PTSD isn’t a “military problem”.  It’s a trauma problem.  And, reminding someone who says you can’t have it because you weren’t in the military is a very good response.

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Old Anger Coming To The Surface

The other night out of the blue, I thought about the fight with my parents in May.  As if that didn’t anger me quite enough, then I thought about when a year or two ago, when my mother called me & said my father told her my ex husband hit me.  She asked if that really happened & said if she would’ve known, she would’ve called a lawyer. (a lawyer, not the cops?! Trying to profit off it?)  Both my parents saw me all bruised & battered right after it happened, & didn’t give a damn.  My mother blamed me, in fact, for “making” him do that.

 

So many other times my parents haven’t cared about me popped into my head.  (gotta love intrusive thoughts..gggrrr!)  The hateful comments when I’ve lost a furkid, such as, “they’re better off dead than with me as their mom.”  Or, “Oh, you still upset that cat died?”  a week after losing a furbaby.  Snide comments when my back was injured, thanks to my mother, about being lazy.  Or, criticizing my writing- it’s trash, a waste of time, no one wants to read it, etc.

 

This morning I’m still very angry.  It sickens me how anyone can be so cold & cruel to another human being, but especially their child that they are supposed to love.  I can’t fathom treating anyone that way.

 
I felt embarrassed about being so angry.  After all, part of being a Christian is forgiving others easily.  Preachers speak about it constantly.  “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger!”  “Forgive so your Father may forgive you!”  It’s embarrassing to be an angry Christian, no matter how valid the reasons for your anger.  I tend to feel guilty & ashamed if I’m angry partly because there isn’t good, Biblical preaching out there on anger (at least that I have found).

 

Also, I honestly thought I’d forgiven my parents for everything, other than the fight in May.  I’m seeing now that I have a lot of anger for how selfish they are.  They can’t see beyond their own noses.  If it doesn’t directly affect them, it doesn’t matter (typical narcissists), which makes me angry.

 

However, I’m seeing this anger isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  This anger is helping me to maintain my healthy boundaries & distance.  It’s giving me courage that I may not have otherwise to keep a distance from my parents.

 

The anger also helps me to focus on the truth that they are dysfunctional, cruel & abusive, & I have every right to protect myself & my little family from that.

 

It also isn’t bad in the sense that I’m not planning to hurt my parents or get them back somehow.  I truly wish no bad on them, I just know I need to keep my distance.  Hardly a bad thing.

 

Another good thing is the anger is giving me the courage to speak out against narcissistic abuse more openly than ever.

 

God’s also showed me this anger is normal in my situation. I’ve had too many years of stuffing my anger. It has to come out!  Let it out & deal with it appropriately.  He has not told me my anger is wrong, & after 20 years in a relationship with Him, I’m quite in tune with His voice.

 

I do know that in time, I truly will forgive my parents.  But, I doubt I’ll ever lose the righteous anger about narcissistic abuse & the devastation it causes.  There is nothing wrong with that either- even God gets angry about injustice & when people are mistreated.

 

Hoping this maybe helps some of you that read my work, which is why I’m sharing.  I can’t be the only one who has experienced this.  If you are too, you’re not alone!  Please don’t be ashamed for how you feel or beat yourself up for it.  xoxo

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Emotional Flashbacks & Sensory Flashbacks

Most people have heard of flashbacks, where you feel as if you are reliving a traumatic event.  It can be so difficult to tell reality from the awful memory during a flashback.  They are horrible, & I wouldn’t wish them on anyone.

But, this isn’t the only type of flashback.  Emotional flashbacks happen too.  They are when something triggers an overwhelming feeling in you.  For example- being late makes me feel tremendous anxiety & shame.  My mother would get me to high school at the last possible moment to show me she was in charge, telling me how lucky I was she would do this or anything at all for me, considering how awful I treated her.  It’s been almost 30 years since she did this yet anxiety & shame still kick into overdrive if I’m running late.

Other examples of emotional flashbacks are things like believing if you make a mistake it makes you bad or feeling shame if someone disagrees with you, or doesn’t like something you like.

There is also such a thing as a sensory flashback.  Sensory flashbacks are brought on by something that affects the senses.  For example, smelling a certain perfume or seeing a style of clothing like your narcissistic mother wore creates terrible anxiety in you.

Emotional & sensory flashbacks can be managed with the same methods used to manage regular flashbacks.  Grounding techniques can help you to get through it.  Use something to stimulate the senses, such as smelling something with a very strong scent, or touch something with a very coarse texture or even hold an ice cube.  Something that strongly stimulates at least one of your senses will force your mind to take notice, & help to loosen the flashback’s hold on you, keeping you in reality.  And, once it’s done, don’t forget to take care of yourself while you recover.  Flashbacks, even mild ones, can take a lot out of you.  You need to rest & pamper yourself to recover afterwards.

Although flashbacks can be extremely painful to experience, they also can be beneficial.  They show you what areas you need healing in.  I encourage you to try to use that awful flashback to help you in this way.  As you feel strong enough, face whatever issue came up & cope with it the best you can.  Pray- ask God to help you to heal.  Learn about ways to forgive your abuser, because you deserve to be happy, without carrying around anger or bitterness.  Learn ways to take care of yourself, to be the nurturer you never had.

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Print Book Sale!

My publisher is offering a sale on all print books: $5 off any $20 or more purchase.  Simply use code NEWMOON at checkout. (code is case sensitive, so use all caps!)  Sale ends June 5 at midnight.

 

You can find my books at this link:

 

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

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Talking About Narcissistic Abuse

When you begin to heal from the narcissistic abuse you experienced, you begin to talk about it.  This can mean your narcissist learns about it, & that is never pretty.  All narcissists seem to think their victims should stay quiet, never telling anyone of the pain they inflict.  Victims should simply take any & all abuse with a smile, never questioning or challenging the narcissist.  After all, this scenario is best for the narcissist, & that is all the narcissist cares about.

 

Talking about your experiences can be very difficult- friends & family may invalidate or abandon you, & it just feels so strange to discuss something that was supposed to be just between you & your abuser since you can feel as if you’re betraying her.  As difficult as it can be though, it’s especially when the narcissist gets angry with you for daring to talk, but do it anyway!  The narcissist gave you no choice when she abused you, so why should you give her the power to take away your voice?  This is your story & you have the right to share it if you want to do so.  Don’t let anyone silence you, not even your narcissistic mother.

 

Other Christians may point you towards Scripture such as  Proverbs 17:9 “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.”  (KJV), 1 Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”  (KJV) or even Exodus 20:12  “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” (KJV)  While these Scriptures are certainly valuable, they don’t really apply in this type of situation.

 

If you are discussing what happened to you in order to heal, there is nothing wrong with that.  How could there be?!  You just want to heal!  Seems perfectly normal to me!

 

If you’re discussing your experiences to help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse, you’re trying to help others.  Again, how could there be anything wrong with that?!

 

Even if you confront your narcissistic parent in the hopes of changing their abusive ways, this isn’t dishonorable when it is done in a respectful way.  Cussing the parent out, not good of course, but saying, “It hurts me when you ..” is perfectly respectful.  Love, God’s kind of love, wants what is best for people, & improving bad behavior of a narcissist is a loving thing.

 

If you feel you need to talk about your experiences, then never let anyone silence you.  Yes, use wisdom regarding who you talk with- avoid those flying monkeys who are close to the narcissist or those who are naturally invalidating.  But, if you feel you need to discuss your situation, do it!  Whether it’s only with a close friend or therapist, or even being so bold as to write your autobiography, do it!  God will show you what to do & how to do it.  You won’t be sorry!

 

 

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Some Ways To Deal With Narcissists

Most people who know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder say the only way to deal with a narcissist is not to deal with a narcissist.  Cut ties with them & never look back.

 

Sometimes, though, that isn’t a possible solution, & other times, it isn’t a desired one for various reasons.  I understand this- I have opted to go limited contact with my narcissistic mother.  This comes with challenges, but even so, in my heart I believe it is the right solution for me.

 

Limited contact has forced me to get creative with ways to deal with her.  Today I thought I would share some of them for those of you who are also still in a relationship with your narcissistic mothers.

 

  • Distance.  It’s really our friend.  Limit your contact with your narcissistic mother as much as possible.  When you visit her or are on the phone with her, limit your time with her to what you’re comfortable with.
  • Keep focused.  Narcissists love to gaslight & confuse their victims.  Don’t let her distract you.  Keep the conversation on the topic at hand, not how much more successful your sister is, what a good daughter her friend has or how badly you’ve disappointed your mother by not doing what she thinks you should do with your life.
  • Always respond, never react.  Reacting happens out of emotion where responding happens after a moment of contemplation.  When your narcissistic mother angers you, stop for a second.  Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, then speak.
  • Keep your sense of humor.  It’ll help you keep your sanity when you realize just how over the top ridiculous some of her antics really are.  It also helps her nastiness hurt you less when you can laugh.
  • Be emotionless.  While stuffing your emotions is not a good thing in general, in the presence of narcissists, it is a necessary survival tactic.  If you show your hurt or anger to a narcissist, they see they have power over you & get even more abusive.  Showing no emotions while in their presence minimizes the verbal abuse.  Then, once you leave them, find a safe outlet for your anger & frustration.  Journalling, talking to a safe & supportive friend, etc.
  • Use logic.  Want to frazzle your narcissistic mother?  Use logic. For example, if you lose your job & your narcissistic mother responds by reminding you that you have rent & a car payment, you can respond by asking (in a very matter of fact tone of voice) how is this supposed to help you?  Did she really think this hadn’t crossed your mind?  She won’t know how to respond to you.
  • Live your life on your terms.  Nothing will drive a narcissistic mother crazier than you living your life, your way.  It will bother her that she can’t make you do whatever it is she thinks you need to do with your life.  And the best part is you will enjoy your life!

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Do You Protect Your Narcissistic Parents?

I believe many of us raised by narcissistic parents are very protective of those parents.  We try never to hurt their feelings, or we don’t discuss how they abused us, keeping their dirty little secret.  While very common, this can be very damaging to do!  It angers you, which can lead to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure or even diabetes.  Mentally, it takes a toll on you as well.  It can leave you feeling depressed, angry or damage your self esteem because putting abusive people as a priority over yourself makes you feel worthless.
While I’m not saying yell a laundry list of their sins from the rooftops or cuss them out every time they abuse you, I am saying it isn’t your job to protect your narcissistic parents.  Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  (KJV)  People need to receive consequences of their actions, both good & bad, so they can learn & grow.  Consequences teach a person & help them to learn & grow.  Admittedly, narcissists aren’t exactly fans of self-improvement, but that doesn’t mean that the opportunities for such shouldn’t be there.  Interrupting the natural laws of sowing & reaping doesn’t help anyone in the long run.  It only enables their poor behavior which teaches them they can continue to mistreat you, & can cause you physical or mental health problems.
So why do it?  Why would anyone protect their abusive narcissistic parents?  I think there are a few reasons.
Narcissistic parents train their children from the moment of their birth to take care of them.  Children are supposed to be their narcissistic parents’ emotional caregiver (emotional incest).  Protect that parent from any kind of discomfort or pain at all costs.  It’s OK if the child is hurt, that is not important, but never the parent.
Part of protecting narcissistic parents is to pretend the abuse isn’t happening.  The child always knows that she is never to confront her mother about being abusive nor is she to tell anyone about it.  Secrecy becomes deeply ingrained in the child.  So much so, secrecy is second nature for her.
Narcissistic parents destroy their children’s self-esteem.  Their children grow up believing they are nothing, they don’t matter & they have absolutely no value to anyone.  This means they also believe that they have zero rights.  These children believe that the abusive parent is much more valuable than they are, so they can’t speak up.  They don’t have the right to do so.
I believe these three things work together to create a perfect storm, if you will, where the adult child of narcissistic parents grows up willing to do anything to protect her narcissistic parents in any way possible.
How do you replace this dysfunctional pattern with a healthier one?
First & foremost, as always, ask God for help.  Pray for guidance, wisdom & anything you may need to change this pattern.
Work on improving your self-esteem.  Don’t forget that you have just as much value as anyone else.  The better your self-esteem is, the more willing you are to make yourself a priority & to take care of yourself.
Remember the law of sowing & reaping.  That law is God’s law- it is NOT your place to interrupt it for anyone, not even your parents.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with telling your narcissistic mother you will not tolerate her abusive behavior.  There is also nothing wrong with answering someone’s questions truthfully if they ask about your relationship with your mother.
If you feel the desire to discuss the abuse you endured, that is OK.  You aren’t doing something bad or wrong.  I aim to discuss my experiences in a matter of fact way so as not to be disrespectful to my parents.  If they ever read anything I write, as angry & hurt as they may be, at least I can have a clear conscience that I was not cruel or trying to hurt them.  Talking about your experiences shouldn’t be done out of revenge or desire to cause pain, but instead to help yourself & maybe others as well.
It isn’t easy to stop protecting your parents after a lifetime of doing so.  Chances are you are going to slip up sometimes.  Don’t beat yourself up for that!  It happens.  We all make mistakes!  Just keep on trying, & the more you try, the easier it will get for you to behave in a more functional, healthy fashion.

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The Fear Of Hurting Other People

Many adult children of narcissistic parents have an issue with being overly concerned with hurting the feelings of other people.  I wonder if it’s because early on, we learned that we were not to make any waves.  Just silently serve our narcissistic mothers when needed, & otherwise we were to blend silently into the background.  Speaking up & hurting someone’s feelings would make us more human & less “tool like”, which would make using us wrong.  And we all know, narcissists can’t be wrong!

As a grown woman, I still have a problem in this area.  I would rather do something I am unwilling to do than say no & potentially hurt someone’s feelings.  I would rather ignore my own hurt at someone’s thoughtlessness & tell them that it’s ok rather than speak up about how wrong what they did is, even knowing that they need to realize their actions were unacceptable.

This sort of behavior is unhealthy.  Keeping things inside rather than speaking up isn’t good for your physical or mental health at all.  High blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease & diabetes can result as well as depression, anxiety, bitterness & self-destructive behaviors.

I’m not saying you have to spew forth every bad thought that comes to mind or even be harsh with your words.  However, there are times you need to say something, & there is nothing wrong with that.  You need to have a healthy discernment of when to speak up & when to stay quiet, as well as the courage to speak up when necessary & wisdom on what words to use.

I know it sounds difficult (or even impossible), but it can be done.  I’m working on improving in this area myself.

Prayer is of the utmost importance.  Asking God to help you in this area, giving you what you need to accomplish what must be done.  He will do it!  Just follow the promptings He places in your heart.

Also, the more you heal, the more dysfunctional you realize this behavior is, & the more willing you are to change it to get away from the dysfunction.  That willingness helps to give you courage to make the appropriate changes.

Work on your self esteem.  The better you feel about yourself, the more willing you are to make yourself a priority, & to take care of yourself.  You will realize you do have the right to have reasonable boundaries, & if someone hurts you either deliberately or accidentally, it’s perfectly fine to speak up to them about their actions.

You also need to know that there is a difference between hurting & harming.  Hurting someone is temporary.  They’ll get over that pain quickly.  Harming however, the damage goes much deeper. Hurting comes from facing painful truths (such as admitting that something you did hurt someone else).  Even so, it can make a person learn & grow.  Harming, however, causes damage.  So, if you tell someone what they did hurt you or set a boundary, there is nothing harming in either of those things.

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And Life Got Even More Interesting..

Last Thursday evening, I ended up in a heated discussion with my parents over the phone.  It got ugly.  Really ugly.  Honestly, I don’t remember all of the details of the conversation. I was so hurt by it all I blocked a lot out immediately.

 

Funzies.  Not.

 
My father called Thursday night.  He apologized as soon as I answered for not going to the mother in-law’s funeral.  “We would’ve gone, but we didn’t know until we read it in the paper..”   I noticed his tone was kinda shaming, like I should’ve told him, but I ignored that.  I said, “Why would you have gone?”  “We wanted to pay our respects!”  “To a woman who hated me from the day we met & treated me like dirt?”  He went on to say they wanted to pay their respects & see my father in-law.  I said she treated me like s**t for years, why give her any respect?  He started back peddling & said, “I told your mother that..”  Yea, spare me.  I don’t believe that for a moment.  Somewhere in the conversation, I forget exactly where, I also told him I felt betrayed that he cared more about her than me.  He didn’t say a word in response.  When he spoke though, he did ask if we’re still married.  Apparently since I didn’t attend her funeral, my father assumed we were separated.

 

He then brought up the cemetery plots my parents bought Eric & I so we could be buried with them probably 15 years ago by now.  (Mind you, they never asked us if we wanted that, or even if we wanted to be buried over cremated.  It was decided we would be buried with them, period.).  He asked what I wanted them to do with them.  I said get rid of them. I’m being cremated & Eric doesn’t want to be buried in Glen Burnie any more than I would.  He said he was sure Eric’s father had Eric’s plot anyway, since he’d want to be with his son.  Really?!  Also, why do we need to discuss this now?!  I told him Eric would figure out where he wants to be buried, & I can’t deal with any of this conversation right now, because I lost one of my babies.  He said he was sorry to hear that, & I thanked him.  Also said please don’t tell mom, because I don’t want to hear the usual “she’s better off dead than with me as her mom” comments.  He said he wouldn’t, but I’m not holding my breath.  Then my father asked if Eric was home, & I said no.  “Oh. Mom wants to talk to him.”  I said tough, he’s not here.  “I guess she’ll have to talk to you then..”   How nice.  Oh joy…
So my mother got on the phone & started the same apologizing for “disappointing my father in-law” by not being at the funeral.  Yea, like he lost sleep over this. He’s seen my parents in person twice in almost the 22 years Eric & I have been together.  Guessing they weren’t even a blip on his radar since he was busy burying his wife of 65 years!   I said “You too eh?  Nice.  Why are you two so damned worried about her?!  Why do you care at all after how badly she treated me all those years?!”  My mother said, “That’s Eric’s mother!”  I said, “But I’m your daughter!  I feel really betrayed!”  You could’ve heard crickets.  Dead silence for a few seconds.   Then my mother asked if I would’ve been mad if they went.  I said, “Yes!  She treated me like dirt!  Don’t you know anything about loyalty?!  She then said, “But she’s his MOTHER!”  I reminded her that this lovely mother in-law of mine choked me when we told her we got married.  More crickets.  SERIOUSLY?!  Not a peep?!  I sarcastically thanked my mother for caring so much more about Eric’s mother than me.  That’s really fricken awesome.  I said more but I forget what it was.  My mother kept playing deaf saying, “I can’t hear you Honey- you need to speak up!”  I was yelling!   It was a game to her to make me yell more.  I know it well- she does it often.  (in all honesty she has hearing trouble, but she also uses it when convenient to her.)  So I said “Yanno, I can’t deal with you & this topic.  I’m done talking about it.  What else do you have to talk about anyway?”  “Well my back hurts….”  “I’ve seen Dr. Silva twice since I went to the hospital…”  (went to the ER a couple of weeks ago & learned she has vertigo- nothing serious).   I said, “Of course.. whatever.”  That really ticked her off & she said, “Well I guess I should let you go then.”   She was obviously really mad I didn’t  care about her health complaints.  I said, “Yes, you really should.  Goodbye.”  We both pretty much hung up on each other at that point.

 

Sadly, I knew a fight was coming when my husband said his mother’s obituary would be in the local papers earlier in the week.  My parents get a local paper & my mother reads the obituaries first thing.  I knew my mother would want to make some fuss over this to me, rather than simply send her condolences to my husband.  I didn’t expect her to say they should’ve gone to the funeral though.  Unfortunately because of grieving after losing my precious little kitty last Monday, I’m more sensitive than usual.  That along with the surprise of attending the funeral being an option hit me harder than it normally would have.

 

Normally, I don’t flip out on my parents or cuss at them.  I’m a pretty reasonable person, & able to tolerate a lot of hurtful words & actions from them because I am so accustomed to them.  You would think they would’ve been surprised I raised my voice & used bad language, but they acted like this happens every day.  They both were completely unaffected by my reaction.  Stone cold!  Neither had one word to say when I said I felt betrayed that they cared more for someone who has hurt me than me.  Honestly, being ignored like that hurt more than when my mother has told me I’m stupid for feeling a certain way.  Being ignored is the ultimate invalidation, I think.  It says, “You’re not even worth acknowledging.  You don’t matter enough for me to use my breath to speak to you.”

 

So now, I don’t know what’s going to happen.  I really don’t.  My mother was extremely angry with me last night, so she may not want to speak to me again.  And frankly, I’m fine with that.  I’ve opted to go low contact for years now, & it’s been hard.  (No contact never really felt right which is why I stuck with low contact)  Maybe this is God’s way of ending it.  I don’t know.   Time will tell, I suppose.

 

I did get a call from my father yesterday morning.  He said he was sorry- he & my mother thought they should pay their respects to the Rug family, it wasn’t anything against me, I matter (could’ve fooled me!) & also there was no excuse for how badly my late mother in-law treated me.  My father likes to say what he thinks you expect him to say, but truthfully, he doesn’t have the empathy to understand truly what I feel.  There was more to the conversation, but it wasn’t even worth talking about.  I’m sure he thinks it means all is fine now, but it’s not fine.  In fact, I wasn’t even going to answer his call, but I know my father- if I didn’t take that call, he’d call me back constantly until I answered.  I hate that, so I figured I might as well get it over with.

 

I also wonder… I firmly believe that if you opt to confront narcissists, your best bet is to be calm & collected.  Don’t show that you’re hurt or angry because it only gives them more ammunition to hurt you.  During our argument, I was completely the opposite of that.  I wonder if that was what they needed.  Neither of my parents get consequences for their actions from anyone but me, & I have let a LOT slide.  Maybe it was time they saw all the pain that their actions have caused.  Maybe it sunk in on some level that they caused me a great deal of hurt by caring more about complete strangers than their own daughter.  I doubt it, but I sure hope so.  I hope this all wasn’t in vain, & there was a real purpose for it.  I believe God can make something good come out of anything, so He can do it with this situation too.

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Stalking & Harassment

Have you experienced a stalker?  Someone harassing you for months or even years on end?  If so, you’re not alone.

 

It’s estimated that 3.4 million people report being victims of stalking each year (according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.), & that is only the reported cases.  Chances are the real number of stalking victims is much higher as many victims either don’t want to report it or are told they don’t have a case, which means a report is never made.  Personally, I’ve experienced stalking twice.  The first time, the policeman actually laughed at me when I tried to report it.  The second time, the policeman was much kinder, but said that there was nothing that could be done from a legal standpoint as this person’s behavior stayed just barely legal.

 

Although the laws have improved, they still haven’t entirely caught up with reality, which means there isn’t usually much that can be done to protect ourselves from a legal perspective.  We’re forced to seek other means of self-protection, as frustrating as that can be.

 

What can a victim do to protect himself or herself?

 

One thing I’ve realized is these people tend to be narcissists.  They think their wants & needs rise above anything & everything else.  They also think they’re above the law- they are so smart, they can harass you & stay legal.   They also seem to think if they just push hard enough, you’ll cave, & see that you should be in a relationship with them.  You’ll see how much they care about you by them harassing you!  I think some stalkers who have been romantically involved with their victims even think it’s romantic.  See how much they love you?  They just can’t let you go!  They can’t live without you!   Amazingly dysfunctional,  I know, but this is often their mindset.

 

Keeping in mind stalkers are often narcissists, you need to remember- narcissists are constantly in search of their precious narcissistic supply, which basically means any attention is good attention as far as they’re concerned.  Good or bad attention, love them or hate them, they’ll take any attention or emotion they can get.

 

The best way to counteract a narcissistic stalker is to ignore them.  They can handle any positive or negative emotion you feel, but they simply cannot handle apathy.

 

Show a narcissist they don’t mean anything to you, act like they don’t even exist, & that you aren’t afraid of them, & they will be completely frazzled.  They won’t know what to do!  I know this can be very frustrating to do.  When someone is stalking & harassing you, you can’t help but want to tell them to get lost (putting that nicely) at some point.  However, doing so will only make things worse.  Ignore them no matter what!  Even if you see them in a public place,  ignore them!  Yes it’s hard, but at some point, most narcissists will quit bothering you & find another target.

 

Another thing you can do is document everything.  Take pictures.  Save emails & texts.  Take screen shots (hit that “prt scr” button on your keyboard, open Microsoft Paint or any picture editor & paste into a document.  Instructions for android & iphones are available online.).  Save every electronic document somewhere that can’t be destroyed.  External hard drives die.  CD’s break or become corrupt.  Flash drives can be lost.  An online cloud service is an excellent alternative.

 

Block your stalker electronically every way possible.  Block them on social media, block their email, block their phone number.  Granted, if they want to reach you badly enough, they can create other social media profiles, email addresses or spoof their phone number, but at least you can make reaching you a real challenge.  Then block the new profile, email or phone number.  Keep blocking!

 

Share your story with close friends or family who believe what you are going through.  It certainly can’t hurt to have others know what is happening.

 

Stay on your toes.  If you can, don’t go out alone.  Stalkers are often nothing but bullies which means they’re cowards.  Having others around you lessens your chances of them bothering you.

 

Put “no trespassing” signs on your property where they can be seen very clearly.  Here in Maryland, if someone trespasses in spite of your sign, you can call the police to escort this person off your property.  Having a police record of this person’s actions will work in your favor.  I would guess this works in other states as well- it’s best to check into your own local laws however.

 

Lastly, if this stalker knows your friends & family, you need to be prepared- they are often quite capable of turning people against you.  As ridiculous as it sounds, many stalkers are great actors (typical narcissistic behavior), & convince others that you are the one with the problem.  The stalker probably says that he or she loves you & is just trying to win you back or be your friend.  The stalker is the innocent victim- you’re the one with the problem.  She/he has no idea why you’re being so mean & unreasonable- all the stalker wants to do is talk or apologize.  And sadly, many people naively believe such nonsense because the stalker is just that good of an actor.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve lost in my life because of my two stalkers.

 

I truly hope that you did not need to read this post, Dear Reader.  Being stalked & harassed is such a nuisance at best & depending on the person, can be very scary at worst.  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  If you are in this situation, then I hope my post can help you to manage this situation.  My prayer is that anyone reading this article will be kept safe & their stalker will leave them alone permanently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Narcissists Care More About Strangers Than Their Families

Narcissists simply do NOT care about anyone but themselves.

 

  • When I got into therapy at age 17, my mother cared more about what I was telling the therapist than the fact I felt so badly I sought therapy.
  • When I told my parents I was divorcing my ex husband, my father’s first words were, “Can he & I still be friends?”
  • My cousin once confronted our narcissistic grandmother (my maternal grandmother) about many lies she had told & other hurtful things she had done.  As my cousin was sitting there, crying openly, our grandmother ignored her tears.  She instead demanded that my cousin tell her who would say such things about her (aka, the truth).

 

Do scenarios like this sound somewhat familiar to you?

 

If so, please know that you are not alone.  This is typical narcissistic behavior, caring more about themselves than you, even if you are hurt or going through something devastating.  It truly is no reflection on you or anything you have done.

 

If you can accept that this awful behavior is typical & it’s really not about you, it can help you a great deal.  It takes much of the pain out of the awful things the narcissist in your life has said & done to you.  Instead of taking their abuse personally, you understand that they have problems, & are attempting to put those problems on you.  You have done nothing wrong & you are OK!  The narcissist, however, is dysfunctional, & unfortunately, you were chosen to be a casualty of that dysfunction.

 

This probably sounds strange, but it really has worked for me.  It’s been a very helpful coping technique when dealing with my mother in particular.  It has helped me release a lot of the hurt I’ve felt when she has put herself ahead of me.  Yes, this behavior proves she doesn’t care about me which hurts, but it also proves how incredibly dysfunctional she is.  It also reaffirms that she is narcissistic, which means she is incapable of caring for anyone- it isn’t something wrong with me, but instead with her.

 

Not that accepting this behavior is typical makes it OK.  Nothing makes it OK.  It’s hurtful & dysfunctional, never doubt that!  You also do not need to tolerate it, & are well within your rights to tell the narcissist they are hurting you if you think that will help your situation.  My only point in discussing this topic with you today is to help you: to help you to release the hurt over times this has happened & to not be so hurt when it happens again if you are still in a relationship with the narcissist.

 

 

 

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It’s Not All Your Fault

Like many survivors of any type of abuse, one thing I have struggled with my entire life is thinking that everything is my fault.  It’s very easy to see why this has happened…

  • My mother blamed me for making her abuse me.  She claimed she was “saving me from myself”, if I wasn’t so bad she wouldn’t have to do the “tough love” thing on me, & I was too upset to drive after a fight with her when I was 19 so her solution was to throw me into a wall & hurt my back.
  • On our third anniversary, my ex-husband started a big fight.  I needed time to calm down & think, so I left.  When I came back, his mother (we lived with his parents) chewed me out for making him punch her wall after I left, & told me how I needed to fix this.  I needed to apologize to him & never leave during an argument again.  She also wanted me to apologize to her husband for making my husband so angry.
  • My current in-laws blame me for stealing my husband from them & keeping him from his family, according to my husband’s sister.  They also don’t understand why I have a problem with how my mother in-law has treated me (she’s a very devious  covert narcissist).
  • When talking about problems with my parents, I have been told that I need to make things work with them.  It’s my job to fix things, period.

You simply can’t survive things like this without learning that everything is your fault, and you deserve whatever you get.  It’s your fault for making people act that way.  You need to try harder.  If the relationship is going to work, then you have to be the one who makes it work.

This type of behavior is extremely common among adult children of narcissistic parents.

Can you relate?  If so, read on..

I want to tell you today, Dear Reader, that there is no way that everything is your fault.

It is simply impossible for one person to do every single thing wrong in a relationship while the other does every single thing right.  Even people with the best intentions & good relationship skills will make mistakes sometimes.

It’s also not one person’s responsibility to make a relationship work.  Relationships are not a one way street- they are a two way street.  Both people need to be willing to work on the relationship, no matter what kind of relationship we are talking about.  Whether the relationship is husband & wife,  friends, relatives, co-workers or parent/child, both parties need to work on the relationship if it is to be a successful.  One person simply cannot make it work, no matter how hard they try.  Sure, one person can make the relationship work briefly, but it won’t last long.  The one with all of the responsibility will become resentful quickly at best, or feel like a complete failure when it falls apart.

You need to know today, Dear Reader, that not everything is your fault or your responsibility!  You have your own voice, your own feelings, & your own needs.  Never let anyone convince you otherwise!  You have your own worth & value, no matter what anyone else says.

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Making Yourself A Priority

Many of us who grew up with a narcissistic mother learned early in life to put ourselves last in every way.  This carries over into adulthood, making for some very sad & resentful adults.

Even so, we usually are unwilling to change this. We want to be different than our extremely selfish narcissistic mothers, so we go in the completely opposite direction.  And, with Christians, being concerned for & helping others is a big part of who God wants His children to be.  How could we be so selfish as to put ourselves first?  We certainly don’t want to disappoint God!  And, if your narcissistic mother claimed to be religious, no doubt she used religion to reinforce that belief in you that taking care of yourself is selfish.  Even if she wasn’t religious, she probably told you, as mine did, that it was selfish & bad to take care of yourself.

The fact is though that taking care of yourself is NOT selfish!  Taking care of yourself is necessary.  I know, that feels so wrong after a lifetime of training from your narcissistic mother, but it’s very true!  How else can you expect to function or to be there for other people if you are sick or exhausted?

Also, if you consistently put yourself & your needs last, it tells other people that they can do the same.  It sends the message that you are so unimportant that even you mistreat yourself.  If you can mistreat yourself, then it is perfectly acceptable for someone else to do so.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today to realize that you have every right, a duty to yourself even, to make yourself a priority.  Making yourself a priority doesn’t make you selfish, so long as you do so in balance.  (Narcissists take a healthy thing & make it completely out of balance)  It doesn’t make you a bad person, in spite of what your narcissistic mother will say.  Jesus even did so- there were times when He needed time to Himself & he took it, refusing to be interrupted.  If Jesus did it, & as Christians we are to be like Him, don’t you think you can do this too without being selfish or bad?

Make yourself your top priority, starting today.  You deserve nothing less.

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Just Because A Narcissist Says You Don’t Matter Doesn’t Mean You Don’t

 

Last week, my husband came down with the flu.  A few days ago, I caught it too.  Yippie..

 

Last night, my mother called.  She said she wanted to know how hubby was feeling, but I could tell the real reason she called was that she was angry with me.  I told her he’s doing better, just not quite over it yet.  A few minutes later, before hanging up, she said, “Glad he’s feeling better.  You didn’t catch it, did you?”  (She had to know I was sick- I sound horrible!)  I admitted I did.  Her response?  “Oh.  I remember the last time I had the flu.  Do you remember that?  You took me to the doctor..”  Not a surprising response, but still hurtful that she cares so little.

 

When writing about the incident in my journal a little while ago, I realized something.  My mother makes comments along these lines often.  If I mention a problem, she changes the subject, tells me about someone who has it way worse than me (at least in her mind) or tells me how she thinks I need to fix it.  She also employs another tactic- she blatantly ignores me, a while later mentions someone with the exact same problem, & how sorry she feels for that person.

 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

 

I believe comments & actions like this are made to make me feel like I don’t matter.  She is the only important one, in her eyes.

 

Narcissists love to make their victims feel as if they don’t matter.  One reason is the lower the self esteem, the easier the victim is to manipulate.  The victim can see herself as too stupid to know better than the narcissist, or not strong enough to stand up to the narcissist.  Another reason is narcissists feel powerful when they can tear their victims down.  Having such control over someone gives them the illusion that they have power.

 

As much as the narcissist benefits from making the victim believe she doesn’t matter, the victim is hurt.  Feeling this way can contribute to a root of toxic shame, which affects every area of a person’s life.

 

The next time this happens to you, I would like to encourage you to do as I just did a while ago when writing about this incident in my journal.  Not only did I get my feelings out, but I also told myself my narcissistic mother is wrong.  I told myself that I *do* matter.  Just because she thinks I don’t doesn’t mean it’s true.  My mother thinking I don’t matter is only her opinion, not a fact.

 

The same is true for you, too, Dear Reader!  Just because someone treats you as if you don’t matter, even if that someone is your mother, doesn’t mean it’s true!  You matter!  You matter to God, you matter to your significant other, you matter to your kids (furry or human or both) & you matter to everyone in your life who loves you.  Don’t let the sick manipulations of a narcissist convince you otherwise!  You deserve better than that!  Trust that you do matter & if you’re having trouble doing that, ask God to help you.  Ask Him to show you if you matter to Him.  He will do so & gladly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Exactly Is Harboring Anger?

When you have been abused, you eventually get angry.  It’s only natural.  Many people think that this means you are harboring anger.  It can be very discouraging & painful for you, because so many people will tell you you need to let it go, it was so long ago so why are you still holding onto this & other painful, invalidating things.  Christians often will quote verses on forgiveness & make you feel guilty for being angry.  I actually was told once by a Christian lady, “God says forgive so I do it.  I don’t know what your problem is.”  *sigh*  I can’t even express how ashamed of myself I felt when she said that.

I always find it interesting that these judgmental people never have good advice on how to forgive, but they sure are quick to tell us we need to do it!

The truth of the matter is anger is not easy to deal with.  Some people are very blessed & are able to let it go easily, but they are pretty rare.   The rest of us have to feel it, & get really angry before we can let it go.  Often several times.

Anger can also be somewhat deceptive.  You can think you are done, you’ve forgiven someone, when suddenly something triggers anger at that person all over again.  I experienced that a few months ago regarding my ex husband.  I thought I’d forgiven him long ago, then after my mother bringing him up in conversation, it triggered a flashback which made me very angry at some things he had done to me.  It was frustrating because I was sure I’d completely forgiven him.

Anger is a complex emotion that demands to be heard & dealt with in some way.  So long as you are trying to deal with it however works best for you though, this doesn’t mean you are harboring anger, resentful, bitter, etc.

Harboring anger, however, is different.

Harboring anger involves not trying to let the anger go.  People who have no desire to forgive are harboring anger.

It also includes a disdain & intense hatred for the person who abused you,

Harboring anger also means you don’t care why the person hurt you- you only care that you were hurt.  A mature person tries to understand why someone acted the way they did rather than only knowing their actions. They know if they can understand, even a little, it may help them to forgive the other person & not take on the blame for that person’s actions.

People who harbor anger are very bitter.  For example, if someone has a spouse who cheated, she assumes all men are cheaters or he assumes all women are cheaters.

These people also hold grudges for years.  They can still be just as angry today as they were the day they were hurt 37 years ago.

These people also talk badly about whoever hurt them at every opportunity.  Those who aren’t holding onto anger are different- if they discuss that person, they do so in a matter of fact way, without name calling or insulting.

Today I encourage you, Dear Reader, to examine your actions.  Are you harboring anger or are you angry but trying to forgive your abuser?  If the latter, then please, stop listening to those who are trying to convince you that you are a bad person for feeling the way you do!  Ignore the ignorance of other people, & do what you need to do to heal & forgive!

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No Is A Valid Answer

Closely related to yesterday’s post about boundaries, today I want to tell you about another aspect of boundaries that not everyone is aware of.

No is a valid answer.  Really.

I know it can be hard for some of us when we first learn to set boundaries.  Saying no means we often feel like we need to explain every single reason why we’re saying no & make sure those reasons meet the other person’s approval.  That is often a by product of surviving narcissistic abuse.

Unless you’re being interrogated by the police, you do not have to explain yourself to another person if you don’t feel comfortable doing so.  People don’t need to know every single thing about you if you don’t want to share every detail.  Really!

If the person you feel you must explain yourself to is a narcissist, then for your sanity’s sake, just say no instead.  Offering explanations only gives a narcissist more ammunition for embarrassing or hurting you at some point, providing them their coveted narcissistic supply.  For example, let’s say you can’t take your narcissistic mother to her doctor’s appointment on Thursday because you have a doctor’s appointment for yourself.  If you tell her this, she probably will demand to know why you’re going, & do you really feel comfortable telling her it’s for renewing your prescription for birth control pills?!  How awkward would that be?  Or if it’s something more serious, you know she’ll spin it around to how it would affect her if you were very sick or, God forbid, were dying.  Do you feel like dealing with that while you’re afraid yourself?  No?  Then remember to tell her no, without any explanation.  If you really feel the need to elaborate, simply say “I can’t, because I have an appointment (or plans) at that time that can’t be changed.”

And, don’t let her push you into telling you either!  Ignore when she hints around, wanting to know why you can’t help her.  Pretend you don’t grasp that she is hinting for you to tell her anything.  If she demands to know, change the subject.  If she offers guilt trips (“I guess you have better things to do than take care of your mother…”), IGNORE!!  You have every right to your privacy, & don’t let her convince you otherwise.

Always remember that no is a valid answer, & you have every right to use it as you see fit.

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

Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

One thing I learned in the relationship with the narcissists in my life, in particular my mother, is that I am nothing but a screw up.  My writing was never taken seriously.  In fact, my mother told me once it’s “nothing but a waste of time.”  She told my father that “no one wants to read that trash I write.”  I’ve also heard comments like all I do is play on the computer all day, & even been laughed at when I mention working (as if being an author isn’t a job).  I always heard, too, how I never did enough for anyone, & am too selfish.  My mother used to tell me that to have a friend, I had to be one, & by that she meant do anything for others & let them use me.  I had so-called friends who would get very angry with me if I wasn’t available when they wanted me to be or do whatever they wanted me to do.  These narcissists also always made sure I knew that I was wrong because my personality was very different than theirs, I liked things they didn’t like or I disliked things they liked.  They liked to either say outright or imply that I was crazy for such things.  My mother’s favorite phrase was, “You need help” (implying I was in need of psychiatric help) accompanied by a pitying look.  She even threatened to have me committed many times.  (Interestingly, she never once sought counseling for me, so started counseling on  my own at 17).

All of these things were devastating to my self-esteem.  I’ve wasted so much time thinking I was a complete & utter failure in every possible way- a terrible friend. awful girlfriend then wife, lousy pet mom, & even a lousy author.  Depressing doesn’t describe how this felt.  But, I’m sure I needn’t tell you this if you too have been subjected to narcissistic abuse.  You know all too well how this feels.

There is good news though!  You can be healed from this pain & dysfunctional way of thinking!  Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”  And, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (KJV)

God’s word is very true!  I gave my life to Jesus in February, 1996, & from that moment, I began to change & heal.  God has been healing me from all the abuse in my life since then, & definitely has made me a new person.  The wounded old me who was convinced she was crazy, worthless, stupid, & more is long gone.  Thanks to God, I am healing daily, & have no doubt I’ll never return to that miserable, dysfunctional mess I once was.  I may not be totally free of low self-esteem, but it is now much better than it once was & continues to improve.

God can do the same for you.  All you have to do is trust Him to take care of you, & He will.  He loves you so much & wants to bless you.  He wants you happy & peaceful.  He wants to heal you from the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse.  He certainly has done so for me.  Sure, I still have a long way to go, but I also was extremely damaged.   God, being the gentle, loving Father He is, heals me little by little, as I am able to handle it.  He’ll do that for you as well- only give you what you can handle, as you can handle it.

Are you willing today to claim God’s promises for your healing?

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

Who Determines Your Self-Esteem?

I read an interesting quote by Warsan Shire: “Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself- what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing.  Recreate & repeat.”  Since I battle low self-esteem, I thought about the times I felt my most confident in the hopes of recreating them.  It was eye opening.

 

I realized the times I felt my most confident weren’t when I had some  personal success or even was wearing a pretty new outfit.  Those feelings were always dependent on another person.  When someone obviously enjoyed being with me or a man telling me how pretty I was.

 

This bothered me.  I don’t like being depending on anyone, especially something so personal.  I asked God why was this happening?  I don’t particularly care what others think of me, so how can I let others determine how I feel about myself?  It makes no sense!  Immediately I knew the answer.

 

When you grow up with at least one narcissistic parent, you learn early that their opinion of you is what matters.  That parent determines your self-esteem, & sadly, it’s always low as a result.  Even if you get to the point of no longer allowing that person to determine your self-esteem, you don’t always know how to stop this dysfunctional habit.   You continue allowing others to determine your self-worth without even realizing it, like I have done.

 

Are you doing the same thing?  (If you are unsure, ask God to show you.)  If you are, then know you aren’t alone.  I honestly had no idea I was doing this until I read the above mentioned quote.

 

I think being aware of what is happening is an important first step, because once you know what the problem is, you can do something to fix it.  After this revelation, I repented.  I told God how sorry I was for allowing anyone but Him to determine my self-esteem & asked for His help to change.  I also asked God to help me get my self-esteem from Him, no one else.

 

Also, years ago I wrote a list of positive affirmations from the Bible that I included on my website.  I plan on reading this list more often now.  The affirmations can be found here: Positive Affirmations

 

In all honesty, I don’t know what to expect from here, but I do believe these steps to be a good starting place for me & I hope for you as well, Dear Reader.  I’m praying for you!  ❤

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

The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

After years of talking to my readers, I’ve learned that many of us who have either been raised by or married to narcissists, hate the holidays.  Me too!  My narcissistic mother griped constantly about how much work she had to do (yet never hosted a family dinner or party, barely decorated..) & criticized the fact I enjoyed the holidays as if I was abnormal.  As an adult, my narcissistic ex husband spent holidays with his family, whether or not I went with him.  My current husband also spends holidays with his family.  Some people have tried to guilt trip me into attending holiday parties even though I was unable to because my husband was working or I was unavailable.  Others have shamed me for my lack of enthusiasm & tried to force me to “get into the holiday spirit.”   So yes, like many other people, I am no longer a fan of holidays.

In spite of feeling much like I do, many people often feel forced to participate in Thanksgiving & Christmas get togethers.  It is for you I am writing this post.

First, please know that as an adult, you are not obligated to do as you are told regarding gatherings.  You do not have to attend these events if you don’t want to!  You are allowed to do as you see fit.  Attending or not are within your rights!  No one has the right to attempt to manipulate you into going if you don’t want to!  And if they try, you are perfectlly within your rights to ignore their manipulation.

If you opt to go, you have the right to set boundaries.  You need to, in fact, especially if you’re going to have to deal with narcissists.

Decide ahead of time how long you are going to stay, & leave at the time you have settled upon.  You don’t owe anyone explanations of why you have to leave when you do.

Many relatives want to discuss topics you aren’t comfortable with, such as “why don’t you have a boyfriend”. “When are you two getting married”  or “When are you going to have a baby.”   You don’t have to discuss such topics if you don’t want to.  Change the subject, repeatedly if necessary.  You can say you don’t want to discuss this topic.  You can remind the other person that this topic is none of their business.

If you need to leave, you can do that too.  Spending time with narcissists is hard enough, but it potentially can be worse during a holiday get together.  Maybe after a couple of glasses of wine or just because there is an audience, but it can happen.  It may get bad enough for you to want to leave.  You have that right!  If you don’t feel able to just walk out, make an arrangement with a friend ahead of time.  If you call her & let the phone ring a couple of times, she can call you back or text you saying she needs you to come over immediately.

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy your holiday season the best you can!

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Why Don’t People Care About The Feelings, Needs & Wants Of Children Of Narcissistic Parents?

I’ve realized just recently that all my life, many people have acted like my happiness means absolutely nothing.  It’s like they think I am here to serve, & do so without any feelings or needs of my own.

When I broke up with my ex husband before marrying him a few months later, many people told me I should go back with him because he was miserable without me.  Not one person cared how miserable I was with him, however.

When my father was in the hospital a few years ago, & my mother wouldn’t tell his family or friends, I did via facebook.  (I also provided my parents’ phone number & asked people to tell other relatives what was happening.)  There are a lot of us Baileys, & I don’t have many people’s phone numbers or emails, so facebook was simply the easiest way for me to reach the most people.  One person called my father in the hospital & told him I was a “spoiled little brat” for not calling her personally about this matter.  Other people got upset & chewed me out for using facebook instead of calling them personally.  No one got mad at my mother for failing to tell them anything, even though it was her responsibility to do so.  No one took into consideration the anxiety I was under daily or how exhausted (mentally & physically) I was.

There have been countless times over the years I was going to spend time with a friend & that friend either stood me up or ran very late, without letting me know what was happening, causing me to wait & worry about them.  When I finally did contact them (mind you they didn’t contact me!), no apology was given or any sign that they felt guilty at all for wasting my time or disappointing me.

Do any of these situations sound somewhat familiar to you?

I am reasonably sure that these kinds of situations happen quite a bit to those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents.  The only reason I can come up with is because we are groomed from day one to be subservient.   Our narcissistic parents firmly believe (& instill the belief in us) that we are put on this earth to take care of & please our narcissistic parent with absolutely no regard to our own feelings, wants or needs.  As we grow up, naturally that relationship stays this way, but we extend this dysfunctional role to include others.  Because we believe this is what we are supposed to do, we show others that we believe we deserve to be used & ignore ourselves.  Often even good people will treat us the way we believe we deserve to be treated simply because it’s natural to treat people how you see they expect to be treated, good or bad.

By saying this, please don’t think I’m saying we get what we deserve when people mistreat or use us!  Not by any stretch.  It’s still on an individual to control his/her behavior.  Ultimately, it is the other person’s fault if they are abusive, period.

To deal with this super annoying problem, I have found that getting healthier & increasing my self esteem has done wonders.  I think because I no longer give off that “It’s ok to abuse me” energy.  As I’ve gotten healthier & my self esteem improved, I no longer have any patience for being abused, & I think people pick up on that.

Prayer is extremely helpful as well.  Asking God how to deal appropriately with people who want to abuse me & how to set & enforce healthy boundaries has helped to give me wisdom & strength in bad situations.

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