Tag Archives: dysfunctional

Encouragement For Those Who Pray For The Narcissists In Their Lives

Praying for people you love is easy & comes naturally as a Christian.  Praying for people who have done bad things to you is much harder.  Praying for a narcissistic parent who tried to destroy you is about a hundred times harder.  If you have taken it upon yourself to pray for your narcissistic parent, I want you to know that I truly get how hard it is.  I want to offer you some encouragement today to keep doing it, even when you don’t want to.

For many years after I became a Christian, I prayed for the salvation of my narcissistic parents.  Matthew 5:44 says we are to pray for our enemies, so I started praying for them out of obedience to God.  Honestly, my heart wasn’t really in it though.  Even before learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I realized their behavior was that of people who didn’t think they needed God in their lives in spite of saying they prayed & loved God.  Praying for them seemed pointless.  Not because God was unable to reach them, but because they clearly turned their backs on Him.  No matter what He did, if they didn’t want to hear or acknowledge His voice, they wouldn’t.  I got more lax in my prayers for them for a while.

As they got older & their health began failing, I stepped up my prayers more.  It was obvious they weren’t going to be around for a long time, so in spite of my lack of hope, I prayed for them daily.

The day my father died, a former friend of mine got a vision from God about my father.  The story is readily available on a link on the menu at the top of my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you would like to read it.  Rather than repeat it here, suffice it to say that my father turned to God at the very end of his life.

Almost exactly eighteen months later, my mother died.  During the conversation with the funeral director, he asked my husband & I about our religious views.  Turned out he too was a Christian.  As we were discussing the final arrangements, he suddenly stopped.  He said God told him to tell me that my mother was with Him in Heaven!  A short time later, I found a tiny Bible in my mother’s house.  Apparently it was a gift to her when she was only 9 years old.  Printed towards the end was the Sinner’s prayer.  My mother signed it!  I believe that was proof that the funeral director was correct with the message he told me!

The reason I’m sharing these stories with you today is to encourage anyone who struggles with praying for the narcissist in their life.  I know it’s hard.  I also know that if you can do it, often you feel like a hypocrite because your heart isn’t in it.  There were plenty of times when I prayed for my parents I told God, “I don’t want to do this.  I don’t even care anymore what happens to them.  I’m only doing this because You want me to.”  Terrible, isn’t it?  Yet, not once did He make me ashamed of how I felt.  In fact, He understood that & was glad that I was praying for them in spite of not wanting to.  Clearly, He honored even those awful sounding prayers!

I also realize that it can be so disheartening to pray & see no improvement or hope that things will change.  Even so, please keep praying anyway!  All things truly are possible with God.  Just look at what happened with my parents.  And, just because you haven’t seen any change yet doesn’t mean that change won’t happen.

Please remember too, that you may never see the results of your prayers.  I didn’t.  When my father died, I hadn’t spoken to him in months.  When my mother died, it was just under 3 years since we spoke.  Just because I didn’t get to see the results of the prayers in this lifetime didn’t mean they didn’t happen!  Clearly, they did!

Lastly, if it seems as if God is taking too long answering your prayers, I know that can be frustrating!  Please don’t give up though!  Some people are very stubborn & close their hearts to God.  It can take a long time or something drastic to happen to break through that.  An answer delayed doesn’t necessarily mean an answer is denied.  2 Peter 3:9 in the Amplified Bible says,  “The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

5 Comments

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

Print Book Sale!!

From now until October 22, 2021, my publisher is offering a sale on all print books. Simply use code SPOOKY15 at checkout & get 15% off your purchase.

Visit the link below to see my print books:

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

Perspective On Personal Problems After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been subjected to abuse at the hands of a narcissist, whether that person was a parent or romantic partner, obviously it does a lot of damage.  Most everyone knows about the depression, anxiety, C-PTSD, low or non existent self esteem, inability to make decisions & difficulty trusting other people.  One thing that is almost never mentioned though is how greatly your perspective about your problems is damaged.

What I mean is this.  I mentioned a problem in passing to a friend recently & didn’t really think anything of it.  Her reaction was shock that this had happened.  I had offered no clues anything was wrong, let alone I was going through something so difficult. 

Later I thought about this & realized I’m pretty messed up!!  First, the problem was serious & I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have.  I brushed off my feelings about it as not important, & me overreacting rather than recognizing there is a problem that needs attention.  Second, in coping with said problem, talking about it never crossed my mind.  I’ve always been the one to talk to, not one who talks about my problems.  Not to mention the bad experiences I’ve had when I finally do open up.  Often when you aren’t one to talk about problems, people assume you’re stronger than you are.  When you finally do open up, some people invalidate & minimize because they think you should just handle things & leave them out of it.  That is a topic for another post though.

In contemplating all of this, I realized that the reason I am messed up in this area is due to narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists constantly make sure their victims feel unimportant & are all too aware that the narcissist is the only person in the relationship that matters at all.  Naturally, if they are the only important person, then their problems are important too.  By default, this means their “unimportant” victim’s problems are also unimportant.  After being exposed to this treatment, over time, it affects a person.  Eventually, you too believe that your problems are unimportant. 

Narcissists also convince their victims that they are oversensitive or overreacting, which also gets inside a person over time.  I haven’t been around a narcissist in years, but my automatic reaction was still to assume I was overreacting to my problem.

Narcissists also value secrecy.  They forbid their victims to discuss the abuse.  If they do, the victim will pay dearly.  This secrecy becomes a way of life in time.  Discussing things like personal problems isn’t something a victim may consider an option.  For me, it’s such a deeply ingrained habit not to discuss them, it seldom crosses my mind that I have people in my life I can talk to.

If you are like me in this area, I would like to let you know what I am telling myself.  It is perfectly OK to question things.  If something bad is happening, don’t automatically minimize your feelings.  They are valid!  Consider the situation & ask yourself why do you feel this way?  Maybe you are being overly sensitive, but that is fine!  That simply shows an area where you need more healing.  Or, maybe you aren’t.  Maybe you have been wronged & are upset for a very good reason.  If you need to deal with this challenging situation, your emotions can help motivate you to do that.

If you are unsure, then one thing that can help is stepping out of your comfort zone & talking to someone.  You are allowed to do that!  No one can tell you what you can & can’t discuss.  Talk to someone safe & non judgmental.  That person’s reaction will tell you plenty.  Remember my friend being shocked at my situation?  I honestly didn’t realize my circumstances were so bad until she reacted that way.  That was very eye opening to not only that particular situation but my incredibly dysfunctional way of handling problems. 


While God created people to rely first on Him, there is nothing bad about looking to friends for help sometimes.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 in the Amplified Bible has this to say about friends, “Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; 10 for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, then they keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? 12 And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

14 Comments

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

A Way To Cope With Dysfunctional People

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 Comments

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

How Dysfunctional People Respond To Genuine People

I’ve noticed that people respond very passionately to genuine people, either positively or negatively. 

I realized something else about this phenomenon.  The healthier a person is, the more positively they will respond to genuine people.  The more dysfunctional, the more negatively they will respond to genuine people.  This makes sense when you think about it….

Healthy people are genuine.  If they’re having a bad day, they won’t deny it.  They will say, “Today hasn’t been a good one” rather than pretend all is right in their world.  Not to say they’re negative, of course, they’re just being real & admitting the truth.  They also have no trouble admitting they make mistakes or have flaws.  They don’t judge others for their mistakes or flaws either. 

Dysfunctional people are very different.  They value the appearance of good over what is real.  I learned this when my father was dying, & various relatives attacked me for not going to say goodbye to him.  Their daily influx of abuse was intense to say the least.  One day, I asked God why they acted this way.  He showed me that they were operating out of their own dysfunction.  One of the reasons behind their behavior was they didn’t want to face bad or traumatic things.  They clearly never dealt with their own traumatic experiences.  They instead created this illusion that all was right in their world & everyone in our family was good.  Me not being there for my father at the end of his life threatened this delusion by showing that things were so bad, I opted not to say good bye to my father at the end of his life.  Rather than face the fact that maybe this delusion isn’t a good thing, they tried to force me to go along with their delusion so it could be reinforced.  If I had gone, they would have had proof everything was good, & could continue in their dysfunction as they had before. 


My situation with these dysfunctional people wasn’t terribly unique.  Many of my readers have said they experienced something similar with their family.  Sometimes it was when a narcissistic relative was dying, but not always.  It also happened when some severed ties with a narcissist.  They were attacked by their own family, those who should have been there to support & love them. 

To sum it up, it seems to me dysfunctional people often treat genuine people like the scapegoat.  They act like genuine people are the ones with problems, who are lying & nothing but troublemakers.

The more you heal from narcissistic abuse, the more genuine you will become.  It just seems to be a natural event.  Unfortunately, this can mean the dysfunctional people around you will be cruel to you for it. 

My hope is that you will see the situation for what it is & not change your ways!  Being genuine is a wonderful thing!  It’s so refreshing in a fake world!  Don’t try to change to please these people who are too dysfunctional to appreciate the real you.  Instead, you just do what is right.  Be genuine & if others don’t like that, remember that is not your problem.  They are functioning in their own dysfunction.  Their negativity or even abuse isn’t personal.  It’s simply a reflection of their dysfunction rather than a reflection of you.  They’re allowed to be dysfunctional if that is what they want to do.  It’s certainly not a good choice but it is their right.  And, you also have rights. You’re allowed to be functional & protect yourself from their toxicity.

36 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

A Commonly Ignored Narcissistic Behavior

The Bible has plenty to say about minding your own business & gossiping.  In the Amplified Bible, 1 Peter 4:15 says, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or a thief, or any sort of criminal [in response to persecution], or as a troublesome meddler interfering in the affairs of others;” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says, “and to make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you.”  Leviticus 19:16 says, “You shall not go around as a gossip among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor [with slander or false testimony]; I am the Lord.” Proverbs 20:19 says, “He who goes about as a gossip reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with a gossip [who talks freely or flatters].”

Yet in spite of these Scriptures being very clear, many people have no problem keeping track of others, & talking badly about what they learn while snooping into other’s business.  In fact, some even act like anyone who is bothered if someone does this to them is the one that has a problem, not the other person.

Some time back, I decided to separate myself from every single abusive, awful person in my life & those who associate with them.  I blocked all means of access such as phone numbers, emails & social media.  I made one mistake.  I forgot to block the husband of one of these people.  As a result, I learned that his social media profile has been used to snoop on mine.  I doubt he would do this, so it’s a safe assumption his wife does the snooping using his profile. 

This may not sound like a big deal to most people, but to me, it is.  This person lost all rights to any access whatsoever to my life by how she has chosen to treat me.  Plus, I have no doubt she discusses her findings with someone close to her who is just as hateful as she is.  I feel very angry & violated!

This type of behavior is so common & is rarely thought of badly.  It seems to be socially acceptable to keep tabs on people on social media in particular.  And honestly, who hasn’t looked up someone, maybe an ex boyfriend or girlfriend that you’ve thought about frequently since you broke up five years ago, then told your best friend what you found out?  I think that is pretty normal & that isn’t what I’m referring to.  I’m referring to those people who routinely check out someone’s social media or if they see them at the local grocery store, follow them around & then tell other people what they learned.  That is the behavior I’m addressing & find so disturbing. 

This sort of behavior says someone is very envious.  They see someone as better than them somehow.  Maybe they think this person is more attractive, talented or successful than they are.  Rather than act like a mature adult & focus on improving themselves, instead they look for reasons to be angry with that other person & to make other people think badly of them. 

Acting this way isn’t simply unbecoming & ungodly behavior.  It is very typical behavior of narcissists!  One of the most common tactics of narcissists, whether the narcissist is overt or covert, is to tear other people down in order to make themselves look & feel better.  It can be devastating to the victim of this abusive behavior, which no doubt is why God is so clearly against it as to include Scriptures on the topic in the Bible.  Even if it is done by someone not particularly close to you, while it may not be as devastating as it is when it’s done by someone close, it really can be very hurtful & is just wrong!

My hope is that those of you who are reading this today don’t engage in this behavior, but if you do, please consider what I have said & make changes.  Whether you mean to cause harm or not, chances are, you are causing someone harm & for no valid reason.

6 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Misconceptions About Introverts

Being an introvert means being someone who recharges through solitude & who prefers it to the company of large groups of people.  It’s really that simple, yet in spite of that, introverts are often a very misunderstood bunch.

Being an introvert myself, I have plenty of experience in this area.  One example that comes to mind is how extroverts who haven’t bothered to get to know me have mistakenly thought I believe that I’m a snob who thinks I’m much better than them simply because I’m quiet & reserved when around most people.  Another misconception is people assume all introverts are weird.  The majority of people who assume this do so simply because we don’t divulge a lot of information about ourselves to those who aren’t very close to us, so they fill in the blanks with what they think.

Those misconceptions can be annoying, but after being subjected to them my whole life, I’ve come to accept people think that way.  It no longer upsets me like it once did.  There is one misconception that still bothers me to no avail & I can’t seem to change my feelings on it however.  That is that introverts need to do the majority of the work in relationships, & when they fail to meet the other person’s expectations, they are criticized harshly for it.  I don’t see this as a common misconception for all introverts, but I have noticed it happens mostly with those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.

Those of us who have suffered at the hands of a narcissist were made to feel responsible for that relationship.  We were to please that person at all times, be there for them & basically be & do anything that person wanted.  Even after the relationship has ended, sometimes long after, we tend to be people pleasers.  People pleasers are naturally the ones who are given the task of maintaining relationships in their lives. 

While this often happens naturally, that doesn’t mean the behavior is right.  It isn’t. 

Relationships should be full of love, care for & compassion for each other.  It’s not fair to expect a person to treat you that way if you aren’t willing to treat them the same way. Being the one responsible for calling the other person, planning activities together & everything else in the relationship is exhausting.  Those things should be shared among both people in a relationship, not only one person’s responsibility! 

If you know an introvert who hasn’t contacted you in a while, it might be time to consider your behavior with that person.  Are you expecting them to do most or all of the work in the relationship?  If so, it’s time to apologize to this person & make some changes!  If not, then rather than get angry with the introvert for pulling away, think about that person.  There are a plethora of reasons an introvert may pull away in relationships, & the reasons aren’t always personal.

Sometimes, introverts get overwhelmed with life & need space from everyone.  It doesn’t mean they’re angry or hurt.  They just need some space to recharge.

Sometimes, introverts just don’t think about reaching out.  Again, it’s not personal.  It may mean they have a lot on their minds, are working extra hours, have someone else in their life in need of their attention more than you, they might simply be tired or sick or for some reason reaching out simply hasn’t crossed their mind.  I am this way & got worse after a brain injury.  I don’t think about calling friends all that often.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care.  Far from it!  I do care, & think of them often.  My brain just doesn’t seem to make the connection between good thoughts of them & picking up the phone for some reason. 

If you’re an introvert & in the position of being treated as if you are responsible for the relationships in your life, know that you are NOT solely responsible for those relationships.  You have every right to set boundaries & to expect people to treat you with respect, love & compassion.  If they can’t, then you also have the right to remove such people from your life.  It won’t make you a bad person.  It’ll make you a person with healthy self respect!

19 Comments

Filed under Mental Health, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

When Healthy People Vent vs When Toxic People “Vent”

I have had more people come to me with their problems during my lifetime than I can remember.  It just seems to be a fact of my life.  Most of the time, I find people usually just want someone to validate them & say things like, “I understand” or, “I’m sorry that happened to you!”  It can be draining, but I can handle that. 

Then there are the emotional vampires like narcissists who only want a listening ear.  Unlike other more functional people, they don’t want validation.  They don’t want advice.  They want to treat someone as their emotional trash can, dumping all of their negativity onto that person in order to make themselves feel better with no regard to that person’s feelings.

For a long time, I didn’t realize one of these two types of people was just using me & being toxic.  Eventually I figured out some ways to tell the difference & I hope sharing them will help you.

If someone needs to vent, often they have respect for your time.  They will ask if you have a few minutes because they need to vent.  You are free to say not now & their feelings won’t be hurt.  The more toxic the person, the less likely they will do this & the more likely they also will take up a LOT of your time.  As an added “bonus”- they won’t apologize for taking up your time when they realize they have been talking for hours.

Someone who is venting wants a solution.  If there isn’t one, they are frustrated about that fact.  A person who is toxic has no desire for a solution.  Instead, they simply ramble on & on about their issue, & every time a possible solution is offered, they offer reasons why that solution won’t work. 

Similarly, the toxic person also isn’t open to constructive criticism.  If they have done something wrong in the scenario they are discussing, they don’t want to hear about it.  They get defensive or make up excuses as to why what they did was ok & the other person was all wrong.  Healthy people are open to constructive criticism & will own up to any mistakes they have made.

If you are the listener & you try to show the speaker in this situation the perspective of someone else, a healthy person is willing to consider that.  A toxic person isn’t.  They don’t care about the other person’s perspective in the slightest, only about their own.

When the speaking person was clearly wronged, you can see the difference easily between a toxic person & a healthy one.  The toxic person will not only be upset about what happened, but will play the victim.  In other words, they will accept no responsibility for any wrong they have contributed to the situation, they will claim life is so hard & unfair for them, claim they had no other option but to be in this painful situation & more.

Toxic people in these situations also are notorious for dumping a barrage of issues at once on their listeners.  They don’t seem to notice that the listener has become overwhelmed, either.  They just keep on talking.  Healthy people don’t do this.  They vent about one issue, sometimes two, but that is all.  They also notice if their listener is feeling overwhelmed.

If you have the misfortune of one of these toxic types treating you as their trash can, my heart goes out to you!  Just remember, you have every right to set boundaries.  You can leave the room or hang up the phone.  You can refuse to take their calls if they call you often.  And yes, you even have the right to end the relationship.  Protect your mental health!

23 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

15% Off Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 15% off all of my print books until July 16, 2021. Simply use code SUMMER15 at checkout.

Click the link below to see all of my print books..

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

Leave a comment

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

When People Minimize Or Dismiss Good Things About Scapegoats

Most of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse know about the scapegoat.  Scapegoats are often labeled the problem child, spoiled, selfish, disrespectful, rebellious, trouble maker, outcast & more.  They are blamed for all problems in the family, even when they have nothing to do with those problems. 

One other very common way scapegoats are abused is by minimizing or dismissing anything good about the scapegoat.  If you’re the scapegoat, no doubt you have been in this situation.  You were excited about getting a promotion at work, winning a contest, or even getting pregnant.  In the joy of the moment, you told someone in your family who immediately changed the subject, totally ignored you or compared your situation unfavorably to someone else in a similar one.

Here is one example from my life.  Before becoming an author, I did some editing work.  I got a job for a local author & was excited.  Foolishly, I mentioned the new job to my mother since I didn’t know about narcissism at this time.  She changed the subject quickly.  A short time later when we were talking she said she was thinking of getting into editing.  After all, it’s easy work.  Obviously anyone can do it. 

It isn’t only accomplishments that are minimized or dismissed.  It also can be a talent.  If the family scapegoat is a talented cook, others will not praise any food he or she makes, offer suggestions they can do to make the dish better next time or compare the dish unfavorably to someone else’s version of the same dish. 

Appearance is another sore spot for those who abuse the family scapegoat.  If that scapegoat is attractive in any way, the family will be sure to let that person know how ugly they think the scapegoat is.  They will criticize anything & everything about the person’s appearance.  If the scapegoat is sensitive about something, that something will be the main source of the family’s criticism.  I’ve noticed when the scapegoat is female, weight is often the main source of criticism, no matter the actual figure of the scapegoat.

Along these lines, scapegoating family members also can’t handle when the scapegoat is praised or complemented in their presence.  If this happens, the scapegoat WILL be treated especially poorly for quite some time after the complement.  I went through this with my mother & her mother, my grandmother.  Any time I received a complement in their presence, I cringed because I knew for the remainder of that visit at the very least, they were going to say the most hurtful things they could think of to say to me.

The reasons that scapegoating family members are this way depend on the individuals.  Obviously they could be narcissists.  Narcissists can’t handle anyone appearing better than them in any way, but especially someone they have deemed so unworthy as the lowly scapegoat.

Another possible reason is any person who engages in scapegoating behavior has absolutely no healthy coping skills.  This is why they have a scapegoat in the first place.  They refuse to face the truth.  They prefer to blame all problems on one convenient target instead.  That way, they can be angry at the scapegoat instead of doing the much harder work of handling things in a healthy way.

To make blaming the scapegoat acceptable, they must have a specific image of the scapegoat in mind.  It is perfectly acceptable in their minds to scapegoat someone they believe is stupid, a bad person, incompetent & even ugly.  To keep that narrative alive, they reject anything good about the scapegoat.  As an added bonus, doing so also damages the scapegoat’s self-esteem, which makes him or hear easier to control.

If you’re in this position, please recognize what is going on.  What these people are saying or how they are treating you has nothing to do with you.  They are trying to make you feel badly so they can make themselves feel better either by gaining narcissistic supply or proving to themselves that you deserve anything said or done to you.  They clearly have problems & that is no reflection on you!

1 Comment

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

Regarding Those Who Justify Narcissistic Behavior While Blaming Victims

Proverbs 17:15 states, “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.” (KJV)  All verses in the Bible are important of course, but this one strikes me as being especially important in these days where Narcissistic Personality Disorder is so prevalent.

So many people have similar reactions when someone tells them that they were abused at the hands of a narcissist.  They often defend the narcissist, saying something along the lines of he or she probably didn’t mean what was said THAT way.  They excuse the abuse because the narcissist was abused as a child or some other equally lame excuse.  They also may minimize or even deny the abuse ever happened.  One of my aunts referred to the abuse I endured at the hands of my parents as “childhood hurts”, & told me I needed to get over them. 

As bad as such behaviors are, a person condemning a victim is even worse in my opinion.

According to Merriam- Webster’s online dictionary, to condemn someone means “to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation/ to pronounce guilty.”  Telling someone who has been subjected to horrific cruelty that they are wrong or evil for the abuse that they had to endure is simply reprehensible!  Subjecting such a person to harsh judgment or blaming the victim for “making” their abuser hurt them are also reprehensible behaviors!

Treating someone in these ways can create a great deal of unnecessary toxic shame in them, adding to the already large amount that the narcissist in their life created.  Anyone who does this, in my opinion, is a sorry excuse for a human being.  However, my opinion isn’t really what matters here.  God also has some very strong feelings on this behavior.

Also according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the word abomination means, “a thing that causes disgust or hatred.”

Can you imagine God, the loving, compassionate, kind & gracious God who created the universe & everything in it, feeling that way towards a person He has created?  It seems impossible, doesn’t it?  But it isn’t impossible!  It happens & probably more often than we care to admit. 

As much as God loves His entire creation, even He has limits & no tolerance for certain things.  The next time you are subjected to someone either defending or excusing the narcissist who has abused you, or blaming you for the abuse, I urge you to remember Proverbs 17:15.  When you do, remember, that people like this need prayer though so if you feel able to do that, then please pray for them & guard your heart against their toxicity getting inside of you.  Remember, what they say is WRONG, so protect yourself against their lies taking root in your heart & mind.

4 Comments

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

Executive Dysfunction After Narcissistic Abuse

Have you ever heard of executive dysfunction?  As the name describes, this is when executive functions don’t work properly.  Executive functions are cognitive & mental abilities that enable us to accomplish things.  They help us by directing & controlling our behavior, planning, prioritizing as well as giving motivation.

Executive functioning is higher level cognitive functioning.  Some examples are:

  • Emotional regulation, such as working through anxiety.
  • Impulse control.
  • Attention, such as directing attention where it is necessary to accomplish things.
  • Planning such as creating & following a schedule.
  • Self assessment, such as making sure you’re taking a reasonable amount of time on the task at hand.
  • Using working memory, such as following directions or reading.

Anyone can experience executive dysfunction periodically, in particular when overly stressed or tired.  That is entirely normal.  It becomes abnormal when executive dysfunction interferes with daily life.  Difficulty with decision making, concentrating, organization & low motivation are some examples.

Executive dysfunction is often caused by brain damage.  Traumatic brain injuries, dementia & Alzheimer’s disease are known causes, but mental illness can cause it as well.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are known to cause it as well. 

PTSD is another mental illness that can cause executive dysfunction, & that is the reason I felt it necessary to discuss executive dysfunction.

May of us who struggle with PTSD or C-PTSD also struggle with executive dysfunction, yet are unaware that was what our problem is.  It doesn’t help that those in our lives call us lazy, tell us we need to get out more often or offer other equally useless & unsolicited advice.  Useless or unsolicited, it still can take a toll on the self esteem especially since it’s already been so damaged thanks to the narcissists in our lives.

Those of you who have been down this road, I want to let you know today that you aren’t lazy!  There is something wrong with you & it’s not your fault that you have this problem!  Your brain has been broken due to the trauma or traumas you have experienced.  Brain damage in any capacity is no joke!  It’s a horrible thing! 

Brain damage is also not something you can fix easily, like a broken bone.  Brain damage may heal completely or it may not heal at all, no matter what you do or don’t do.  The brain is a very unique organ & very unpredictable in how it responds to injury, trauma & even healing.  I’m not telling you this to make you lose hope.  I’m telling you this so you can be realistic in what to expect.

With the symptoms of executive dysfunction, you can learn ways to work with your symptoms. 

Set up a routine & stick to it.  Not so much you become rigid about it because there will be times you need to change it.  Even so, having a set schedule takes some pressure off because you know what you need to do each day.  It becomes a habit, so it’s easy to remember over time, too.

Use a calendar app on your phone to help you remember appointments & tasks that are out of the ordinary.  One with alarms is especially helpful.

Utilize sticky notes & to do lists to help you to stay organized. 

When motivation strikes, use it!  There tend to be more days without it than with, so when it happens, use it to the best of your ability.

Executive dysfunction isn’t easy to live with I know, but you can learn ways to cope!

10 Comments

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

Abusive People Side With Narcissists & Shun Victims

Several years ago, I posted something on my personal Facebook page that turned into a disaster.

The date was May 31, which is the day that my Granddad passed away in 2003. Each year in May, I get depressed because it’s been so difficult losing such a wonderful man. Some years I discuss it, some I don’t. One year, I mentioned it on Facebook & shared a few pictures of him. This simple act caused one of my relatives to be very angry with me. She left a nasty comment on my post for sharing this because she felt I was disrespecting my grandmother by not mentioning her, & only mentioning Granddad.

Think about this for a moment. It was the anniversary of my granddad’s passing. Doesn’t logic dictate that he was the center of my focus on that particular post rather than my grandmother? I adore her, but May 31 was more about Granddad in my mind & that seemed only logical under the circumstances to me. Besides, I mentioned her on her birthday, the date of her passing & my grandparents’ anniversary, so it’s not like she was ignored!

As if this relative’s reaction to my post wasn’t inane enough, it got worse.

The following May 31, I said nothing since I didn’t want to be attacked again. I didn’t think much about this until another one of my relatives (who happens to be a very malicious covert narcissist) mentioned it being the anniversary of my Granddad’s passing. This relative even shared the exact same pictures I had!! She also said similar things in her post as I had in mine the prior year! Her wording was almost word for word the same as mine. And yes, I compared our posts because I was reasonably sure she had copied mine! It was very shocking to me how she so obviously copied me, but what was even more shocking is the relative who the year prior chewed me out for being so “disrespectful” praised this person for doing the exact same thing as I had! She told this person how incredibly kind & thoughtful it was of her to remember Granddad & how much she loved her.

Frankly, the whole scene made me nauseous.

This type of scenario is very common in narcissistic families. The one who is honest about narcissistic abuse is shunned in so many ways by their own family for not conforming, for not being like the rest of the family & for being open about the family’s secrets. However, the narcissists in the family are treated so much differently! They are showered with love, support & encouragement.

If this is happening in your family, you aren’t imagining it. You aren’t over reacting. You aren’t being over sensitive for being angry about the insanity & unfairness of it. You are a person with a normal reaction to this dysfunctional situation. Unfortunately, for dysfunctional families with a narcissist (or more), their behavior is also pretty normal. Many people don’t have the courage to face the fact that someone in their family is an abusive monster or stand up for what is right. Instead, they side with the abuser. Standing up for what is right means actively doing things, like offering support to the victim & calling an abuser out on their actions. It is easier for cowardly people to side with the abuser. Besides, chances are good they will gain something from their allegiance to the narcissist. It could be favor with the narcissist or gifts or anything really.

All of this means that there is nothing wrong with you! It also is nothing personal, even though it feels that way. The problem lies with not only the abusive narcissist, but his or her flying monkeys as well. You are fine, they are not! Please try to remember that, & keep on telling your story!

7 Comments

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

Marrying Into A Narcissistic Family

In families with narcissistic parents, the person who marries into this family is in for quite the adventure.  I learned this from my own experience, but apparently a lot of stories are very similar to mine.  Parents decide immediately whether or not they like the person their son brings home.  That decision is often based on simply ridiculous, trivial things such as what kind of work does she do or where she grew up.  It can be even more ridiculous such as something about her appearance being a problem.  If she is too pretty, if she is over or under weight or maybe she is tall when their family is short.  It also could be simply a matter of differences in personality.  Rather than be polite for the sake of their son, they hate this new woman in his life.  They also demand she respect them while not returning respect to her.  And, their definition of respect is that she be seen & not heard, only doing what benefits the family.  Her needs & wants mean nothing to this family. 

In these situations, the family functions as one unit in an “it’s us against her!” manner.  As I have said before, they remind me of the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.  They all function as one, focused only on what the Collective dictates.  In this case, the Collective is usually a narcissistic mother pulling everyone’s strings to make them act according to her whim.  One whim the “Collective” usually has is to tell the son & have others in the family tell him as well what a terrible person this new woman is.  She isn’t good enough, she stole him from their family, she keeps him from them & similar lies are the most common, but some also will say more drastic things she is unfaithful, steals, uses drugs & more.

It never seems to cross their collective mind that this man could get fed up & walk away.  And really, why would it?  No doubt he has tolerated all manners of maltreatment & even abuse at the hands of his family.  They place demands on him like giving them money or otherwise bailing them out of their problems with no thought to how this could affect him, & he does as he is told.  Why wouldn’t he?  This is what he has done his entire life.  Often siblings in these situations call this one mean spirited nicknames his entire life, even as an adult, as an attempt to let him know that he is still a child in their eyes.

Families like this are entitled beyond belief.  They honestly think they are entitled to treat this poor man any way they like.  By default, they believe they are also entitled to treat his significant other just as badly.  They have groomed this man to take any abuse they dish out without complaint, & expect the same behavior from his wife.  If she complains, all hell can break loose. 

At this point, families like this don’t consider anything that led up to the complaints.  They only see the problem at hand, which is someone is setting boundaries on their abuse.  The horrors!!

Sadly, the son in this situation doesn’t often realize how disrespectful & insulting his family is to him. 

His family has no respect or love for him if they won’t at least try to be civil to the woman he loves.  If they did, they would manage basic civility, unless of course that woman was abusive to him.

Clearly his family also thinks he’s stupid.  After all, they expect him not to think for himself, but instead to blindly listen to them regarding his life.  As if he doesn’t know what is best for him or isn’t smart enough to choose a good woman to marry!  How insulting is that?!

It’s a truly sad situation!  If you are in this situation, my heart goes out to you!  I pray you & your spouse can work together to set healthy boundaries with this Borg-like family.  Being clearly a team is the best thing you can do as a couple in this situation.

Leave a comment

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

Willful Ignorance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

Narcissists Don’t Like People Who Are Different

Narcissists expect everyone to be just like them.  Not only do they expect other people to lie, manipulate & project, but they expect other people to share their likes, dislikes, beliefs & more.  When others aren’t exactly like them, narcissists shun & try to change those people.

My late mother in-law & two sisters in-law have been great examples of this in my life.  My personality is naturally quite different than theirs.  We never shared likes, dislikes, beliefs or really anything in common. 

The three of them hated how different I was, & tried to make me like things they did.  Usually by insulting things I care about, like my mother in-law insulting me for “liking to be all dirty” by helping my husband repair our car.  There was also manipulation though.  In passing, some time before Christmas one year, I’d mentioned to my mother in-law how I dislike cooking.  Apparently she told her daughters, because that Christmas, all three of them gave me cooking paraphernalia.  Cookbooks, utensils, food, seasonings & more. I refer to that Christmas as the Christmas of cooking.

They all are much more extroverted than me, too.  Naturally I’m pretty quiet but compared to any extrovert, I seem excessively quiet.  One sister in-law told my husband that I was a snob, thought I’m so much better than them & treated them all as, “Poor white trash”.

My own family is no better.  My parents insulted my writing even before I started writing about narcissism.  My mother called it a “waste of time”.  My father asked me one day in a skeptical tone, “Does anyone even buy those books you write?”  Others have insulted me for writing about the topics I do, in particular my faith. Obviously I’m not a good Christian in their opinion, because of what I write about.

There is nothing abnormal about this at all for narcissists.  This is how they all seem to think.  If you don’t fit inside their box, that means you’re bad, wrong, stupid & even crazy. 

If you have witnessed this sort of behavior, it’s not your imagination.  Really, this is how they & their flying monkeys act!  You’re not overreacting!  Maybe you were on the direct receiving end of the hatefulness.  Maybe you have seen it happen to others, for example in an online forum.  If you were a witness to this behavior & defended the person that was targeted, chances are you quickly were targeted.  Anyone who disagrees with a narcissist is targeted.  Their egos can’t handle that someone might think they are wrong about something, so rather than reflect & consider their own perspective, they prefer to attack an innocent person.

If this is your situation please know there is nothing wrong with you.  Your flaws are only in the mind of the narcissist.  Everyone is different, & that is ok!  There is nothing wrong with you for having different likes & perspectives from a narcissist.  There is nothing wrong with you for defending someone you think it was unfair of them to attack or at least judge & criticize.  In fact, I think defending that person makes you a good person because it shows you won’t be one of those people who does nothing in the face of injustice.  That is a rare & wonderful quality!

Just remember, when this happens to you that this isn’t proof that something is deeply wrong with you.  It proves that something is deeply wrong with the one behaving in this manner.  Healthy, functional people accept that not everyone is the same & even appreciate the differences in others.  Only completely dysfunctional, closed minded & foolish people want everyone to be just like them.

7 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

On Insulting & Critical People

My husband & I were watching a true crime TV show not long ago, as we often do.  On it, a man shot & killed another.  At the time, he was very high on drugs & paranoid.  He mistook a simple comment made by the victim as insulting & disrespectful, which infuriated him enough to shoot this man.

I thought about how ridiculous this is.  Even if the man had been insulting, who cares?!  That was no reason to kill the guy!

Growing up with narcissistic parents, people often go one way or another.  Some turn out like what the comedian Christopher Titus referred to as an insult Navy seal.  After your parent has said unimaginably cruel things to you & called you dreadful names, no one else’s insults can hurt you.  You’ve built up a high tolerance to insults, & it takes a LOT to upset you.  Then there are many other people who have gone the other direction.  They have a thin skin when it comes to insults, & are easily devastated.  You are the folks I am writing this post for.

Nobody likes to be insulted.  Pretty sure that is just a given.  That doesn’t mean insults need to be devastating though.  For one thing, no one can please everyone.  You can be a beautiful person, inside & out, highly intelligent, successful in every area of your life, & someone still will have something negative to say no matter how perfect you are simply because no one can please every single person.

For another thing, emotionally healthy people aren’t judgmental or critical.  They are usually way too focused on managing themselves, learning, growing & being good people to worry about picking someone else apart.  This tells me that the majority of critical people aren’t emotionally healthy, like critical narcissists.  Do you really care about the opinion of someone like that?

Many insults are said out of jealousy.  For an example, a person struggling in college may be very critical of their friend who appears to be sailing through without any problems.

There is also something called morbid envy.  Narcissists are quite prone to this.  They envy someone so much that they are excessively cruel to that person.  They can be extremely nit picky towards the subject of their envy too, such as criticizing small things like a woman having a broken nail or a man’s hair being slightly disheveled.  Another common sign of morbid envy is when a person receives a complement & the narcissist immediately insults either the receiver or giver of the complement or even both.  In any case, morbid envy makes a person very insulting towards others!

And don’t forget.. there is a big difference in someone being insulting & offering constructive criticism.  Constructive criticism is worded to offer help & be as not offensive as possible.  Insults aren’t said to help, but only to hurt.

My point in sharing these thoughts with you is to help you realize that when someone is insulting to you, Dear Reader, it’s not about you.  It’s truly about that person.

What they say also has no basis in reality, only in that person’s dysfunction.  An insulting person is trying to hurt or control you by any means possible.  That doesn’t mean that what they say is true.  In fact, most likely it isn’t even close.

If you can remember these points when you come across someone who is insulting & mean to you, it really will help you to avoid being upset by that person’s nastiness.  A different perspective can be a truly helpful thing sometimes, in particular when it comes to dealing with very dysfunctional, hateful people.

10 Comments

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

When You Feel The Only Way To Save Your Marriage Is To Sacrifice Yourself

Not long ago, something crossed my mind.  I thought it may help some of you who follow my work.

During my first marriage, I was so dysfunctional I wasn’t sure exactly why it wasn’t a good marriage, but I still knew something was wrong.  My ex said it was fine, but I didn’t buy it.  I took my vows very seriously so I spent a lot of time reading marriage books & trying to figure out what I could do to fix these problems that I couldn’t identify.  It was always my job to fix things in relationships, as is often the case of those who have narcissistic parents.  Plus, it seemed logical at the time that if I was the only one who had a problem, I should be the one to deal with the problem.

After my reading & contemplating things, I came up with a solution that I was certain would fix everything.  If I could just ignore any of my own identity, needs, wants, opinions & feelings in favor of his, I just knew that would fix everything. 

Obviously, this didn’t work.  Although I was successful at doing this for a while, even that wasn’t enough.  By the time we got a divorce, I felt like an utter failure & carried the guilt & shame of that for quite some time.

I mentioned this to my best friend recently who admitted she had a very similar experience when married to her ex husband.

If you are married to a narcissist, I would love to help prevent you from going through this pain.  Please, listen to the voice of experience when I tell you that although it seems like simply giving in to a narcissist in every way is an “easy” way to keep the peace, it’s not. 

Losing yourself in this way is a lifetime job, not something you do once & it’s done.  When a narcissist sees you are willing to do this, he or she will expect you to do it over & over, every single day of your relationship.  It makes you miserable & erodes you into a shell of your former self.  As the saying goes, it’s like a death from a thousand cuts. 

Narcissists also are like endless voids when it comes to things that provide them with their narcissistic supply.  Nothing is going to fill that void.  You simply can’t give a narcissist enough supply.  Even when you give everything to a narcissist, it isn’t enough.  I was basically a robot that my ex could control, & it still wasn’t enough to please him.  He still wanted more even though I had nothing left to give, & was angry when I wouldn’t give it.  This is typical! 

Also, behaving in this manner enables the narcissist to be the abusive monster that he or she is.  There are no consequences when someone tolerates abuse, so abusers naturally see no need to stop.  In fact, they often step up the abuse because they know they can do anything they like without fear of repercussions.  In the end, this will destroy you.  It may not physically destroy you, although the stress of living this way certainly has the potential to create an overabundance of health problems, but at the very least it will emotionally destroy you.  By the time my ex & I separated, I lost so much of my identity.  I had no idea who I was, what I really liked, wanted, felt, or needed.  I was well aware though that I carried a great deal of guilt & shame for being entirely at fault for our failed marriage.  If I had any doubt, his friends & family were glad to remind me that everything was my fault.

Dear Reader, if you are in this unenviable situation of being married to someone who wants everything from you while giving nothing in return, please don’t give that person everything!  It doesn’t help the marriage & only creates problems!  Learn from my mistakes & don’t give in.  Instead, take good care of yourself.  Question everything your spouse says about you & demands of you.  Surround yourself with healthy, functional, caring & supportive people.  If your spouse has isolated you from friends & family (as abusers do), there are online support forums full of amazing people who can help you.  And most of all, stay close to God.  Lean on Him, & let Him help you in this painful situation.  I wish you all the best!    

14 Comments

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

Dysfunctional Family Holiday Gatherings

During the holiday season, many families get together.  They share a good meal & enjoy each other’s company.  There is no pressure about these gatherings & everyone genuinely looks forward to them.

Then there are the dysfunctional family gatherings.  They are something very different.

On first glance, dysfunctional family gatherings may look the same as their functional counterparts.  Family members get together & share a big meal.  But, that is often where the similarities end.

With dysfunctional families, the stress is terrible.  There is usually intense pressure to show up at the get together no matter what.  Sick?  Who cares?  You aren’t so sick you can’t attend!  Car trouble?  So what?  Figure out how to get there!  You would prefer to spend the day at home or with some friends?  Clearly something is very wrong with you!  No one is as worthy of your time as the dysfunctional family, & the holiday dictator will be highly offended if you even consider spending time with anyone else.  You need to attend this gathering & act like you are happy when you’re there, even if you are miserable.  Your misery means nothing, after all.  This gathering is all about appearances, not about having a good time.

There’s also the dysfunctional clique action.  Some people are going to shun other people or at the very least talk badly about them.  Maybe the other people didn’t bring a large enough casserole.  Maybe their gifts didn’t cost as much as the shunning people think they should have cost.  Maybe the other people weren’t wearing the appropriate holiday attire.  In any case, something will be found to criticize even when there isn’t anything to criticize.

The truth is that very few people genuinely enjoy this get together.  They may dread it but feel no other option is available but to attend & pretend to have a wonderful time. 

So why participate in this gathering at all?  Wouldn’t it just make more sense to do whatever you enjoy on the holidays & forego the dysfunctional family nightmare hoopla?  It would, but few will do that.  There are several reasons why.

One reason is no one wants to anger the holiday dictator.  Doing so can result in guilt trips, anger, &/or shaming.  No one wants this.  Many people think it is simply easier to sacrifice a holiday than to deal with the guilt, anger or shaming.

Another reason is that by participating in these get togethers, it gives the delusion that this family actually is a big, happy, functional family.  They can pretend that everyone gets along & is a “normal” family because after all, they got together for this holiday gathering.  That is a perfectly normal thing to do, so it must prove they are all normal.

When you are aren’t someone who is capable of blindly going along with people’s delusions & denial, these gatherings can be described as nothing less than excruciating.  The fakeness of it all is exhausting & repulsive to those who believe in facing the truth.

When you are faced with these dysfunctional family gatherings, you can cope.  You have choices.

You can choose not to attend.  This decision is a tough one, because those who are in favor of this get together will judge & criticize you harshly for not attending.  Even so, it may be worth it.

You can attend, but with strict boundaries in place.  You can avoid the critics as much as possible.  You also can set a specific time to give to this gathering then leave at the allotted time.

If you attend & the critics start their nastiness, you also can simply say, “Well, isn’t that nice” & walk away.  In the southern part of the United States, that comment is known to be a polite way of saying, “I really don’t care.”   I have said it many times then walked away.  It feels good!  It also tells the critics their opinion means nothing to you. Believe it or not, you do have options during the holiday season.  Exercise them!  It is your right!

9 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

When People Choose To Spend A Holiday With Your Abuser

3 Comments

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

My Ebooks Are 25% Off Until January 1, 2021

Many of my ebooks are on sale until January 1, 2021! Use code WINTER30 at checkout. See my books at the following link:

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

Leave a comment

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

It’s Good Being The Black Sheep!

As a black sheep, I have plenty of experience in the role.  I hope my thoughts here help my fellow black sheep!

To be a black sheep in your family, you have to be very different from that family.  We’re labeled that way because we talk truth rather than denial & we aren’t willing to live in the same dysfunctional patterns as our relatives.  Rather than that being a good thing, we’re ruthlessly judged & criticized for not following in our family’s dysfunctional footsteps.  Rather than applaud our courage for breaking the cycle, we’re called things like crazy & ungrateful, & treated as if we’re the scourge of the earth for going against “family”. 

You also can marry into a family where you’re the black sheep.  I’ve done this as have many other women I know.  My mother in-law hated me from when we first met, which meant her two daughters did as well.  I am very different from all of them.  My interests, beliefs & more are different than theirs.  These differences were obviously a big problem, among other things.  Not submitting to their control was a problem, too.  If I just would’ve let them mold me into whatever they wanted me to be, they might have been able to tolerate me.

It’s not easy being a black sheep because of such treatment.  Your own flesh & blood being so cruel hurts.  Not only their words, but their betrayal too.  Or, in the case of in-laws like mine, it’s frustrating because you never had a chance.  Nothing you could’ve done or done differently would’ve made any difference. 

In these situations, I believe that feeling your emotions is important.  It’s ok to be sad or angry that things are as they are with your family &/or in-laws, or that people you thought loved you would turn their back on you.  It’s ok to be sad or angry that the family of the person you love has so little love & respect for that person, they can’t manage even basic civility to you, that person’s mate.  Any person with even a bit of love in their heart would be emotional about these things! 

Accept people.  This doesn’t mean you should tolerate abuse, of course.  It just means that you accept that these people are in a place of dysfunction & that means you two aren’t going to get along because you want to be healthy.  It’s comparable to a former drug addict.  That person isn’t going to spend time with his former dealer if he wants to maintain his sobriety!  If you want to maintain your functional ways, you’re going to have to avoid dysfunctional people.

Recognize that their mistreatment of you isn’t personal.  It’s merely their dysfunction coming out.  When my father was dying & my family attacked me for not going to say goodbye, God showed me that it had nothing to do with me or my father.  It was about them maintaining their delusions.  My not going was proof our family wasn’t perfect, which is a truth they were unable to accept.  This seems to be common among family members who shun the black sheep.

If you think about it, do you really want to fit in with people like this?  I thought about my family in this context.  Almost every person is fake, judgmental, critical, hypocritical, greedy, wicked & more.  Not long after my mother died I learned a couple of relatives conned a great deal of money out of her after my father died.  How despicable!  I have NO desire for anyone like that in my life, family or not.  If you think about it, you may feel the same way. 

If you’re struggling with your black sheep role, always remember you can talk to your Heavenly Father about it.  God will help you to cope & give you comfort.  Let Him!  He’s more than happy to do that for you.

4 Comments

Filed under Narcissism

Protecting Your Spouse From Your Narcissistic Family

If you are in a long term relationship or are married to someone & at least one of you has narcissistic parents or family members, there is something you should know.  Standing up for your partner to your narcissistic parents is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.

When a couple makes a commitment to each other, a big part of that commitment is taking care of each other.  Part of that involves not tolerating anyone hurting your partner.  If you stand up to someone on behalf of your partner, you show your partner that this person’s well being & safety are extremely important to you.  You prove that you love that person & will do your best to keep them safe.  This is incredibly good for your relationship! 

Not tolerating someone hurting your partner also shows the abusive person that you are well aware of their actions, & there are consequences for their behavior.  Not doing so only proves to an abuser that they can do anything they want without consequences.  This means that they will continue what they have been doing & in time, their behavior will get even worse.  And, your partner will be left feeling abandoned & alone, which is potentially relationship ending.  No one in a committed relationship should feel that way!

If you struggle with defending your partner to your abusive family members, then please consider a couple of things.

If it is your family that mistreats your partner, this means they are your problem!  It is NOT your partner’s job to deal with your family.  If your partner confronts your family rather than you, your family will be highly upset.  That happens in many families, but especially in narcissistic ones.  Chances are they will tell you what a terrible person your partner is, how he or she isn’t good enough to be in your life or other nonsense as a way to deflect your attention from their terrible behavior.  If you are the one to confront them, they still may try to deflect & criticize your partner, but there is a better chance of them listening to you than your partner!

Also if anyone in your family mistreats your partner, they have absolutely no love or respect for you.  If they had any respect or love for you, they would manage to be civil to your partner no matter how much they disliked this person.  If your partner is abusive to you, any children you share or your family, that is a different scenario.  They should civilly address their concerns with you, be loyal to you & care more about your safety than civility.  However, if the reason they dislike your partner is because of simple differences in personality, your family should manage basic civility at the very least to this person out of love for you.  When you love someone, it’s not that hard to be polite to someone they care about even if you can’t stand that person.  I have done it & while it can be hard to be polite to someone you really dislike, reminding yourself of the person you care about can make this much easier.

Dear Reader, if you are in this position of having someone in your family mistreat or even abuse someone you love, then please consider what I have said.  Protect your loved one!  It will protect their mental & physical safety but also help your relationship!  In fact, protecting your loved one will increase the bond you both share.

6 Comments

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

When Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents Marry

Often, two people who were raised by narcissistic parents marry each other when they grow up.  Ideally, they understand each other’s past, offer support & help each other cope if their parents are still a part of their lives.  Sadly though, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes when two adult children of narcissistic parents marry, they learn each person is on a very different page.  One is trying to be healthy while the other remains in denial of just how toxic his or her parents are.  This is hardly an easy position to be in for either person.

If you are in this painful situation, I hope this post can help you today!

To start with, you need to pray.  Ask God for any help you need to cope with the situation, whether it be patience, understanding, wisdom or anything.  Prayer is always the best place to start in any difficult situation, & situations don’t get much more difficult than this one!

Next, you need to accept that you & your partner are in a different place.  Your spouse may never see the truth about their parents.  They also may never see the truth about yours, for that matter.  You can’t change this, so you need to accept that painful truth.

You also need to accept that you can’t change your partner.  As much as you’d like to, you can’t make him or her see the truth.  We all have to face the truth as we are able.  Forcing someone to see the truth before they’re ready isn’t good for their mental health. 

You may need to stop discussing anything about your parents with each other to avoid conflict.  I know this is incredibly frustrating because you should be able to discuss any topic with your spouse.  In an ideal world, that is how things are.  Unfortunately though, when dealing with two fallible human beings, that isn’t always feasible.  If discussing anything about parents causes strife, it may be best to find someone else with which to discuss the problems.  A close friend or relative, your pastor or even a counselor may be a much better option for you. 

If you have issues with your spouse’s narcissistic parent, unfortunately, you can’t expect support from your spouse if he or she doesn’t see that parent is narcissistic.  Don’t expect it from him or her.  I realize this goes against what is natural & is very painful & hard to accept, but you need to do it anyway.  Accepting this painful truth is hard, but it is easier than to be disappointed in your spouse repeatedly.

You also will need to find ways to deal with your narcissistic in-laws on your own, & chances are slim your spouse will approve of how you deal with them.  This is tricky.  There is no way to avoid your spouse’s anger in this situation.  The best you can do is to remain calm when dealing with your awful in-laws & your spouse.  Also be logical when your spouse gets angry.  If he or she says you’re hurting the narcissistic parent, for example, you can say that parent has hurt you too.  Why was that acceptable behavior but you setting a reasonable boundary to protect yourself wasn’t? 

Never forget to take care of yourself & your mental health.  A spouse in denial can be very good at making the healthier spouse feel as if they are wrong, over sensitive or even crazy.  Don’t buy into this gaslighting!  You are doing what is right by facing the truth about your narcissistic parents & in-laws.  Don’t let anyone, including your spouse, convince you otherwise!

2 Comments

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

Escaping The Scapegoat Role

When you’re the family scapegoat, not only do your narcissistic parents abuse you, but other relatives as well.  It seems that people think if your own parents abuse you, doing so much be acceptable behavior.  It’s a miserable life!  It doesn’t have to stay that way though!  You can break out of the scapegoat role!

To start, you’re going to need to get to know yourself so you know what you will & won’t tolerate. Pay attention to how you really feel about everything.  Question yourself.  Do you like or dislike things because that is genuinely your taste or because your parent told you to?  Writing things down may be a big help to you.

Look at yourself objectively, & recognize the truth about yourself.  The more you do this, the more you’ll learn to reject the terrible things your abusers have told you about yourself & the healthier your self esteem will become.  If it helps, write things down.  Maybe write down what they have said about you, & what you observed about yourself.

Learn to stop explaining yourself.  Your abusers don’t deserve to know why you do or don’t do things.  It isn’t their business.  If you feel you must offer an explanation, keep the explanation to a minimum, such as comments like, “I already have plans.”  The less information narcissists have, the less they can use to hurt or control you.

Learn about boundaries.  When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you have absolutely no concept of boundaries.  Narcissistic parents & their children often blur together.  Their children are merely extensions of their parents.  That is terribly unhealthy!  Make healthy changes & learn about boundaries.  Learn where you end & other’s begin, & what is & is not your responsibility.  Narcissists hate boundaries because they make a person much harder to control, so at first the narcissist in your life may fight your new boundaries.  Keep learning & growing though!  Your mental health will appreciate it!

Learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  You can’t possibly fully understand it, I don’t think anyone can.  You can get a decent grasp as to what motivates narcissists & what they do, however, which will help you to cope with them.  You will learn what to expect from them which will help you to figure out ways to deal with the behavior when it happens.  And, when you get a revelation on the fact that they have some serious problems, you won’t take their abusive behavior as personally.  You will recognize that they act as they do because they have issues.  This makes their behavior hurt less, & makes you less easily manipulated.

As a bonus, learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder also helps you when it comes to the narcissist’s flying monkeys.  I firmly believe many flying monkeys are narcissists since they display so many narcissistic behaviors.  Plus, whether or not they are, when you realize that people are blindly supporting someone as wicked as a narcissist, that also gives you a new perspective on them.  You realize their opinions on your life are worthless because anyone who would want you to maintain such a horrible, destructive & dysfunctional relationship clearly doesn’t care about you.

Breaking free of the family scapegoat role can be intimidating at first, but I promise you, it is well worth the effort you put into it!  You can’t help abusive people live their lives in a healthy way, but at least you can prevent them from putting their dysfunction & abuse on you!

2 Comments

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

Signs Of Surviving Child Abuse In Adults, & Ways To Cope

There are some very clear ways to identify a survivor of child abuse.  These symptoms also are detrimental to the mental health of said survivors.  If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, then please don’t beat yourself up.  We’ve all been there!  Try to accept them as nothing more than a sign of having experienced some really terrible things, then find ways to heal from them however work best for you.

  • Blaming yourself for what happened.  Children seem to take the responsibility on for their parents’ bad behavior rather than face the fact that their parent has done something pretty terrible.  It’s totally normal!  However, it isn’t helpful once you’re an adult.  It’s ok to admit your parents were less than perfect, & yes, even cruel.  No child can make any parent abuse them, including you.  Abusive behavior lies squarely on the shoulder of all abusers, never their victims.  ALWAYS!
  • Accepting what your parents said as the gospel truth.  Abusive parents lie.  Period.  They also convince their children that their lies are the truth.  Not only that the abuse was the child’s fault, but that the child is unlovable, stupid, ugly, useless, no man/woman will ever want to marry that child & more.  It’s time to start challenging those false beliefs as they rise up in you.  Ask yourself, what evidence is there that what your parent told you is true?  I would guess there is no real evidence at all!
  • Unhealthy coping skills.  Watching too much TV, emotional eating, sex, shopping, drugs or alcohol.  Whatever coping skill used is unimportant.  The fact is the person using such coping skills is trying to avoid the pain inside.  Although these coping skills may have served you for some time, it’s time to retire them & face the pain.
  • Being a people pleaser.  Growing up afraid of rocking the boat where your parents are concerned can create a habit of people pleasing.  This is so unhealthy!  Of course, it’s good to care what people think.  When that rules your life & makes you do things that you disagree with or hurt you, however, there is a big problem!  Learn to say “no”.  It’s perfectly ok!
  • Lack of good self care.  Self care isn’t all bubble baths & eating ice cream.  Self care also involves taking good care of your physical & mental health, resting when tired, not overworking, & having good boundaries.

If you’re wondering where to start changing these behaviors in you, the best place I know of is what I always recommend.  Prayer.  Ask God to help you to be healthier & to heal from the trauma you have experienced.  He truly will!  One thing I do is when something comes up, I ask Him to tell me the truth about it.  “Am I right to feel *insert feeling here*?  Why or why not?” & listen for His response.

Read about the type of abuse you experienced.  Chances are, you’ll find other survivors experience similar things to you.  Learning there are others out there going through what you are can be extremely validating.  It also will help you to learn how to cope with what you’re experiencing when you see how other people got through it.

Do you keep a journal?  If not, now is the time to start!  Seeing things in writing can be so validating & clarifying.  It also can help you to keep track of the truth.  Abusers, narcissists in particular, love to reinvent the past, & lie about the present.  Having written documentation helps you to keep track of the truth so you don’t get lost in their lies.

I truly wish you the best, Dear Reader.  Facing pain & changing dysfunctional behavior isn’t easy.  However, it is worth it when you’re healthier, happier & behaving in a much more functional way.

3 Comments

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

Breaking Free From Being The Family Scapegoat

Leave a comment

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

Reasons Why Being The Black Sheep Is A Good Thing

When someone mentions the black sheep of their family, the common mental image people get is someone who is very different from the rest of the family.  Maybe the black sheep is the one person in the family who is in trouble with the law or is a surly type.

More often than you would think, this isn’t the case though.  Instead, the black sheep is nothing like their bad reputation.  The only thing they are guilty of is not being like the rest of their family, aka the White Sheep.  In these cases, this is usually a very good thing!

As I’ve mentioned before, I think of dysfunctional families much like the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”  The Borg were all alike & only focused on what was best for the Collective.  Individuality was not tolerated.  This is exactly like a dysfunctional family.  Individuality is discouraged & all that matters is the Collective, aka the family. 

Dysfunctional families are the same way, so when a member is different, they aren’t pleased.  They are even less pleased if there is abuse in the family & someone discusses the abuse openly.  It is a guarantee that person will be labeled the Black Sheep, referred to as mentally unstable, oversensitive & more.  Their traumatic experiences will be invalidated or even denied. 

This has been my experience as a black sheep in my family & my in-law family.  The good part though is although it hurt at first, it taught me a lot.

People who treat someone who has been abused this way are cowardly.  They have no integrity either, because they would rather do nothing than stand up for what is right.  I’m glad not to be like them!  I’d rather be a person of integrity who is willing to help others than be a coward!  If being labeled the black sheep means I’m someone with integrity, I’m absolutely fine with the label!

When you consider your situation, chances are good you’ll realize that the opinions of the White Sheep really aren’t important as I did.  Why should you care what they think of you?  Just because they’re family?  That isn’t a good reason!  The only people whose opinions should matter to you are those who genuinely love you & want what is best for you, whether or not those people are related to you.  People who want you to fit inside their little box of what they think you should be, like the Borg, don’t love you God’s way, nor do they want what is best for you.  Why should their opinion of you matter?   Being weighed down by the opinions of other people is exhausting, especially when their opinions of you are so restrictive!  It’s truly a blessing & freeing not to have to worry about such things. 

White Sheep family members often think the Black Sheep of their family has nothing in common with them.  They often are right about that!  That being said though, it doesn’t mean they’re right & you’re wrong.  You’re simply different from them.  Different does NOT equal bad!  That is a very important thing to realize!  Different can be a wonderful thing.  People who think differently invented all kinds of great things, heal others mentally & physically & more.  Besides, the world would be incredibly dull if we all thought the same!

The things that make you unique also could be something that makes the White Sheep envy you.  Did you ever think of that?  They could be labeling you out of simple envy.  Many people do this rather than try to improve themselves. 

Or, they could be too afraid to face their own issues & are trying to shut you down because you facing yours makes them feel badly.  This is something God told me that my own family has done to me.  It’s better in their mind to shut me down than to face their demons.

Whatever the case, I want to encourage you to embrace your Black Sheep label.  Being a Black Sheep requires courage & strength.  Be proud of yourself for possessing such wonderful qualities, & don’t try to please the White Sheep.  You get this one life to live.. you should live it in a way that pleases you, not others.

3 Comments

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

My Ebooks Are On Sale!

Just a friendly reminder that all of my ebooks are still 25% off until July 31, 2020. They can be found at this link:

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

2 Comments

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

Enmeshment

14 Comments

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