Tag Archives: dysfunctional

You Have The Right To Protect Yourself From Abusive Family Members!

I read a really good article the other day.  It gave me another reminder that it’s ok to cut toxic people out of my life, even if they’re so called “family.”  I thought I’d pass this excellent reminder along to you, Dear Reader.

Although family is supposed to be a safe haven, that isn’t always the case, as no doubt you are well aware.  Many families are downright cruel & abusive to their own family members.  When their victims defend themselves, they often are shunned by other relatives (even ones who know how the abusers are), friends & society in general.  Why people seem to think you should tolerate abuse from someone because you share some genes & maybe a name is beyond me!

Being related to someone by blood or by marriage does NOT give a person the right to be abusive.  In fact, there is NOTHING that gives any person the right to be abusive. 

As the victim of an abusive person, you have rights…

  • You have every right to protect yourself from all abuse- spiritual, mental, emotional, verbal, financial, physical & sexual.
  • You have the right to expect people to treat you with basic respect- be polite, not try to cause you harm or pain, etc.
  • You have the right to be upset when you are mistreated or abused.
  • You have the right to say no & to have healthy boundaries & to expect them to be respected.
  • You have the right not to tolerate guilt trips, manipulation & attempts to control you.
  • You have the right to be in a relationship without losing yourself, to maintain your own identity & independence that is pleasing to you.
  • You have the right to live your life in a way that is good & healthy for you, even if others disapprove.
  • You have the right to end a relationship with an abusive person, even if that person is “family.”

 

Remember these rights, Dear Reader.  If someone in your family is abusive, you absolutely have every right to eliminate that person from your life if you have to do so to protect yourself.

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

Boundaries Are Important, & Not Only With Narcissists

Boundaries are a very important part of life, but perhaps even more so in victims of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists don’t allow their victims to have any boundaries.  This creates victims who think they aren’t allowed to have boundaries not only with the narcissist, but with everyone.  Lacking healthy boundaries sets a person up to be used & abused.  Even the kindest, most well meaning people can inadvertently take advantage of someone without good boundaries, because the person doesn’t say no.  How can anyone know what they’re asking someone to do is a problem if that someone doesn’t say no?

Boundaries are like the fence that surrounds your yard.  They show you where you end and other people begin, & what is & is not your personal responsibility.  Your emotions, beliefs, desires & behaviors are your responsibility.  Likewise, the emotions, beliefs, desires and behaviors of other people are their responsibility, not yours.  You do not even need to have an opinion on these things.  If they are hurting you or are being self-destructive, however, Ephesians 4:15 says that you may speak the truth to them in love about the issue.

No one can control someone with healthy boundaries.   You will show others that you have confidence & self-respect, & that you love yourself enough to take good care of you.

By learning about boundaries, you will quickly learn what is & is not important to you, therefore you know what you need to confront another person about, & what you can let slide.  You will be more sensitive to the early signs of resentment or anger that let you know that your boundaries are being violated.  It is best to nip things in the bud, rather than to let the problem continue until it is much bigger.

Boundaries also enforce consequences.  Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Often, many people try to interfere with this natural law to avoid painful consequences, however, doing that often causes bigger problems.  Boundaries allow this reaping to take place because you know that it is not your place to interfere.  People need consequences for their actions, good or bad!  How is someone who does good things for others benefited by never receiving recognition or a reward for their good works?  That person becomes discouraged, potentially even bitter.  Or, what good does it do anyone to say or do anything they want, & never suffering when they cause others to suffer?  This person learns nothing, nor does she have any opportunity to grow and mature or grow closer to God.

When you first begin to set boundaries, some people will not like it.  They will tell you that you are being selfish or uppity, or they may ask what happened to the “good girl” you used to be.  Reasonable, safe people will accept & respect your new boundaries with no problems.  Unsafe people will not.  If others cannot respect your healthy boundaries, then they are the ones with a problem, not you.  Setting boundaries is a very good way to learn who is safe & who is not.

For your first step in getting started on boundaries, I strongly suggest you spend some time asking yourself these questions, & really think about your answers:

• What things am I no longer willing to tolerate from other people?
• What things do I need from other people?
• What boundaries do I need to set in my own life?
• How can I enforce them in a healthy way?

When setting your new boundaries, be very decisive about them. Wavering in your boundaries can lead to problems, such as others not not respecting your new boundaries.

You also need to figure out healthy ways to enforce those boundaries. Some simple phrases that may help you are:

• “I’m not going to do that.”
• “I won’t discuss this subject with you.”
• “You’re entitled to your opinion, but so am I.”
• “If you don’t stop talking about this subject, I’m going to hang up the phone (or leave the room, etc).”
• “No.”

Enforce your boundaries with consequences when necessary.  Hang up the phone, leave the room, or whatever your consequence is.  If you do not enforce your boundaries, people not only will lose respect for the boundary you are setting, but they will lose respect for you as well.

Remember to respect the boundaries of others too.  You may need to write down what you are & are not responsible for regarding others in your life.  Everyone is entitled to the same things that you are- lack of judgment on their own emotions, beliefs, desires, & actions.  And remember- you are also not responsible for the feelings & well-being of others.  People are also allowed to freely express their emotions.  While you may offer sympathy, it is not your responsibility to make things all better for them.  If you have done wrong by them, however, then it is certainly your place to apologize & try to make it up to them for the pain you caused.

You will need to tailor this information to your unique situation, but you can do this!  Even if you are afraid, as most people learning to set boundaries for the first time in their lives are, do it anyway!  The benefits of boundaries outweigh the risks.  You will have more inner peace than ever before, you will feel less burdened & freer since you do not need to be responsible for some things you once were (such as the happiness and choices of others), & you naturally will begin to attract much healthier, happier people into your life.

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

Are You Thinking Of Reconnecting With Someone?

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Signs Of Unhealthy Behavior In INFJs

Since  I first learned about the Myers Briggs personality test a few years ago, I’ve become fascinated with it, in particular my type (INFJ)  & my husband’s (INTJ).  It’s been very helpful in getting to know us both better.

Recently I learned about some of the signs of an unhealthy INFJ.  I realized I have too many of these qualities!  Since I know some of you who read my work are also INFJs, I thought you might want to learn this information too so you can work on getting healthier like I am.

Unhealthy INFJs excuse toxic behavior.  “He didn’t mean it- he was just tired.”  “She really cares, but isn’t necessarily good with words.”   Sound familiar?  I’ve noticed that I do this mostly when I’m under a great deal of stress.  I think it’s a coping skill- there is so much to deal with, I can’t cope with dealing with one more toxic person, so I excuse the behavior.  Since INFJs can be logical, not only emotional, it’s a good idea to look at  situations logically.  It helps you to see toxicity when it’s there.

Being over the top perfectionistic.  It’s a good thing to do things to the best of your ability.  But, being too much of a perfectionist can steal your joy.  It’s OK to make mistakes sometimes!  Everyone does.  Don’t let your self-esteem be too tied to what you do.  You are more than your accomplishments!

Always putting others’ needs ahead of yours.  It’s great to be selfless, but when other people come before you & your needs constantly, that is unhealthy!  It can lead to resentment, anger & burn out.  It’s ok to say no!  Your needs are just as valid as anyone else’s- treat them accordingly.  Remember to set & enforce healthy boundaries.

Walls are firmly built.  While it’s just smart to protect yourself, an unhealthy INFJ can build walls around themselves that are impossible for anyone to penetrate, even those close to us.  This can happen when we don’t resolve an issue.  An argument with my husband, even a minor one, that wasn’t resolved well can result in me building concrete walls around myself until it is resolved.  Walls also can happen when an INFJ is especially anxious or overworked.  Learn to recognize those walls, & why they’re in place, then deal with what made you build them.

Feeling responsible for everyone else’s feelings.  As INFJs, naturally we want to see other’s happy.  We want to cheer up our best friend when she’s sad or our husband after a bad day at work.  This is a wonderful trait, but when taken to the extreme, it is also extremely unhealthy.  Caring so much for others leaves no room to care for one’s self.  Remember that everyone is responsible for their own feelings.  It isn’t your job to take care of everyone’s emotional needs.

INFJs can be too passive.  Most INFJs are pretty laid back, content with letting others have their way most of the time.  While this isn’t a bad thing, when taken to the extreme, it can lead to the INFJ being taken advantage of.  Remember that it’s OK to ask people for things & to have your own way sometimes.

 

While learning you behave in these unhealthy ways can be discouraging, please don’t be discouraged.  The healthier you become & the more you heal emotionally, the more your behavior will change naturally.  You may not even work on these behaviors specifically, but one day realize you are no longer that way.

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Are You Considering Reconnecting With Someone With Whom You Went No Contact ?

Anyone who has made the decision to go no contact has no doubt thought about resuming that relationship at some point.  This is especially common when a person ends a familial relationship.

 

I really think this is because God made people to need relationships, in particular those with our families.  Ending a familial relationship is abnormal, no matter how valid the reasons.  It goes against nature so it’s very painful to do & also to live with.  As a result, it’s only natural to reconsider the decision to go no contact with family.  When parents are involved, that decision is doubted even more often.

 

If you’re reconsidering your decision to go no contact, first of all, please know you aren’t abnormal, a glutton for punishment or anything else bad you may be feeling right now.  You’re normal.  In spite of the tremendous amount of prayer & consideration that goes into going no contact, I seriously don’t think there is one person who doesn’t have doubts about it at some point.  I certainly haven’t talked with anyone who hasn’t doubted their choice.  I can honestly say every single person has, including myself.

 

If you end a relationship with a family member, chances are slim that person will be out of your life entirely.  You may see each other at family parties, reunions, weddings & even funerals.  Even if you haven’t spoken to each other in a long time, you still share relatives & they will mention that person at some point.  They may mention what is new in that person’s life or that they saw that person recently.  If that person develops health problems, you are guaranteed to hear all about it, whether you want to or not.

 

When you see that person after a long time or when a mutual friend or relative mentions that person is having health problems, those are likely times for you to consider reconnecting.  Before you do that, please pray & think long & hard before you do anything.

 

When you pray about it, listen to what God has to say.  He probably won’t give direct orders by saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord….”  Instead, you may feel a “knowing” about what you need to do.  Listen to that!  I firmly believe those “knowings” are from God.

 

Think long & hard about what this person you’re considering reconnecting with is doing.  When your mutual friend or relative talks about that person, do you see old familiar patterns in that person’s behavior?  Is that person still controlling?  Critical?  Abusive?  If so, reconnecting is a terrible idea!

 

Another thing to watch for- if that person has told someone to tell you that they are sorry, do that person’s actions back up the words?  Has the person accepted responsibility for their abusive actions?  Did she mention specific acts that she was apologizing for or did she say non apologies like “I’m sorry you feel I was mean to you” or “I’m sorry for whatever it is you think I did wrong”?  Non apologies are NOT real apologies!  They are said to lure you back into the relationship thinking all is OK now.

 

Also watch the person’s behavior.  Does that person respect the fact you wish to stay no contact or try to contact you even years later?  Safe people don’t like when someone ends a relationship with them, but they at least respect that person’s decision.  They don’t inundate them with phone calls, texts, emails, posts on social media, etc.  They stay out of the life of the person who ended contact with them.  Unsafe people are much different.  If they don’t want to end a relationship, they will fight hard not to let it end.  They often harass, stalk, & bully.  My mother & I stopped speaking to each other in 2016, & all was fine.. until my father was dying in October, 2017.  Suddenly she called & sent me notes in the mail often & the flying monkeys attacked me constantly.  Two months to the day after he died, & also two days before Christmas, I received a letter from her lawyer in the mail trying to force me to talk to her.  This behavior shows me that nothing has changed with her.  She still believes what she wants is what matters.

 

So Dear Reader, if you are considering ending no contact with someone, then please consider what I said.  Pay attention to what you hear & observe about the person before allowing that person back into your life.  And most of all pray!  God will NOT lead you wrong!

 

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Holiday Thoughts

For many people, the holiday season is a glorious time of year.  The time to enjoy friends, family & celebrations.  For others like me who have survived demanding, controlling, entitled or even narcissistic parents &/or in-laws however, the mere thought of the holidays brings about a feeling of dread.

 

My first & current mothers in-law both always demanded my husband’s & my presence every Thanksgiving & Christmas, no matter what.  Divorcing my ex & cutting my current in-laws out of my life in 2002 naturally ended their demands for me at least but the damage was done.  The enjoyment I once felt for the holidays was gone.  Years of spending holidays with people who obviously hated me or alone while my husband spent the day with his family destroyed all pleasure I’d once had in holidays.

 

I know that my story isn’t all that unusual.  So many others have been through very similar situations that I thought sharing some thoughts I’ve had on this topic might help you, Dear Reader.

 

When you develop this holiday bitterness, people aren’t always understanding.  Most people seem to want everyone to look forward to holidays with enthusiasm & joy, & if you don’t, they can be shaming.  Many others I know & I have been scolded for not trying to enjoy holidays, told they need to just focus on the joy of the day, everyone loves holidays, etc etc.  What these people fail to realize is this holiday bitterness didn’t happen over night.  We have tried to enjoy the holidays repeatedly, but demanding people ruined it by commanding us to do what they want us to do & treating us badly when we didn’t do it (well, often worse than usual since bad treatment is the norm with narcissists).  It came about when in-laws demand we ignore our own family in favor of them, & treated us badly & acted like something is wrong with us for not wanting to spend a holiday with them.  They also shame us for wanting to spend a holiday with our immediate family- our spouse & kids- rather than with them.  These people think shaming us & ordering us around is OK.  Really, how does that make any sense?

 

I’m not saying holiday bitterness is a good thing.  Frankly, it stinks!  I miss looking forward to the holidays & hate how I dread what was once a time of year I looked forward to.  What I am saying though is that there is no shame if you feel differently about holidays than the average person does.

 

Sometimes, too many bad seeds have been sown to overcome.  Something unpleasant is the only possible harvest when that happens.  Of course it’s a good idea to try to counteract the bad feelings, but if nothing works, it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that you’re a bad person.  If you can’t conquer holiday bitterness, it just means that some really bad things have been done that caused you to feel this way.

 

Dear Reader, I’m sorry you feel this nasty holiday bitterness.  I hope you can conquer it by starting your own traditions, avoiding negative people around the holidays, suggesting holiday gatherings with extended family on a different day near the actual holiday while you spend the holiday with your immediate family, etc.  If you can’t however, then at the very least, please don’t beat yourself up over it.  It’s simply a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances, & it happens more often than you might think.

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Believing All Parents Love Their Children Can Harm You

Children need to believe that their parents love them.  Normally, this is a very good thing, since most parents do love their children.  When the child’s parent is a narcissist, however, this is NOT a good thing!

 

Because of this need, abused children will make excuses for their parent abusing them.  I did – I told myself my mother loved me which is why she was “overprotective” rather than admitting she controlled my every move.

 

Children also will come up with reasons why the abuse was their fault, not the parent’s, taking all the blame while the parent gets away with abusing the child.  The child will think that she needs to get better grades in school, be better behaved, etc. to please the parent, so the parent doesn’t have to abuse her anymore.  Children don’t realize that narcissists are impossible to please, & will abuse their child even if the child is 100% perfect.

 

Some parents are actively abusive – they mentally, physically &/or sexually abuse their child – while others are more passive in their abuse, standing by quietly while the other parent obviously abuses the child.  Passive abusers also do not care about the child’s pain, & often will turn the active abuser onto the child if that person is mad at the passive abuser, simply to distract them.  If a child has one actively abusive parent & one passively abusive one, the need to believe that her parents love her will cloud her discernment greatly.  Even if she comes to realize that the actively abusive parent is abusive, it will take much longer to realize the passively abusive one is equally abusive.  The desperation to believe that at least one parent loves her will make the child think that the passive abusive parent loves her because at least that parent isn’t verbally, physically or sexually abusing her.  The child also may make excuses for that parent, saying that parent just didn’t know what to do or had no power to stop the abuse.  In fact, the child may feel pity for that parent, offering comfort after the child has been abused.  This happened with my father.  My mother would abuse me, & my father would tell me how he couldn’t do anything to stop it,  & how hard it was for him knowing how mean she was to me.  I would comfort him rather than him comforting & protecting me.

 

This need to believe parents love their children can cause many problems for adult children of narcissists, as you can see.  So I urge you today, Dear Reader, to look at your situation.  Are you harboring any beliefs that stem from that need?  Are you making excuses for your parent(s) because you think it’s easier than admitting your narcissistic parent never loved you?  If so, you’re only hurting yourself.

 

John 8:32 says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV)  This Scripture is absolutely true!  As difficult as facing the truth about your parents is, it is worth it.  Clinging to the childish belief that your parent loves you only hurts you.  It’s a domino effect of dysfunction, really.  You make more & more excuses for your parent’s abuse because you want to believe she loves you.  This only serves to keep you tolerating more & more abuse.  Facing the truth is the only thing that will set you free.

 

Admitting that your narcissistic parent doesn’t love you & never has is painful.  I understand this all too well.  It causes you to grieve your loss of not having a loving parent.  However, doing so will enable you to see things much more clearly & objectively, which helps you to find ways to become healthier.  You’ll be able to think more about ways to set & enforce healthy boundaries instead of tolerating abuse so you don’t hurt your parent’s feelings.  You may limit your contact with your parent or go full no contact with that parent because you realize that your parent only wants you in her life to provide her with narcissistic supply, & you deserve better than that.

 

I know admitting your parent doesn’t love you is painful, but I can promise you that it is well worth the pain.  And, it’s much less painful than clinging to that false belief!

 

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Abuse Doesn’t Always Leave Bruises

Since writing my newest book, I have been feeling more of a pull to help those who don’t know why certain people in their lives treat them so badly.

 

 

I used to wonder why my mother treated me so poorly.  I felt as if I was a bother & huge disappointment to her, & like I should stay invisible until she needed me for something.  My ex husband said she treated me badly, but once we were married he treated me the same way.  Both wanted to control me- how I looked, what work I did, who I spent time with, even what kind of car I owned.

 

I never thought of this as abusive.  Not right, sure, but abuse left bruises.  If they didn’t leave bruises or broken bones, it couldn’t be abuse, right?  Wrong.

 

Abuse comes in many forms.  Most everyone knows about physical abuse- when someone causes physical harm to another person.  But, did you know physical abuse doesn’t have to cause injuries?  It is also physical abuse to be threatening (such as punching walls), refusing to allow someone to leave, or driving recklessly.

 

There is also sexual abuse.  Forcing intercourse while threatening with a weapon isn’t the only way a person can be raped or sexually abused.  Saying things like, “If you loved me, you would do this for me” is sexual abuse.  Disregard for a partner’s physical or emotional pain & forcing want you want on them through physical means or guilt is sexual abuse.  These are very common examples of sexual abuse that most people do not consider abusive, yet they are.  Behaviors like these leave victims very anxious or depressed, feeling ashamed, guilty & often thinking things like they are being silly since this request isn’t so bad, they should just do what their partner wants & ignore their own needs/feelings/wants or even that there is something deeply wrong with them for not wanting to go along with their partner’s request.  Others who have not experienced this type of abuse don’t understand the damage it can do.  Many people don’t think a husband can rape his wife, so when she tells people that he did, she is treated as if she is crazy.  Sexual abuse is extremely damaging in so many ways.

 

If you have read much of my work, you know I discuss narcissistic abuse a great deal.  That is because it is extremely common.  Many psychologically abusive people are narcissists.  (psychological abuse includes mental/verbal/emotional abuse).  People who manipulate others, put their needs/wants/feelings/etc. above those of others, who are extremely critical either overtly or more subtly, tell others how to feel, or invalidate you are often narcissistic.  You can read more about narcissistic abuse on my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

 

Because these kinds of abuse leave no bruises, many victims are told get over it, that it’s no big deal or even doubt that what the victim claims is true.  This leaves victims alone, depressed, & often feeling as if they’re going crazy.  Abuse also can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

If you are in one of these situations, please know you’re not alone!  You also aren’t crazy!  If you feel something is wrong, then it is wrong.  Trust your instincts!  Also, pray.  God will show you the truth.  He will show you what is wrong in the situation as well as what you need to do to escape it & to heal.

 

If you are looking for safe people to talk to,  I have a Facebook group.  The members are kind, caring, supportive & wise.  You’re very welcome to join us if you like.  🙂

 

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My New Book Is Available!!

After a conversation with a dear friend in early July, she inspired me to write a new book.  It is designed for a slightly different audience than usual.  Normally I write for those of us who know at least some about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This book, however, is written for those who know something is wrong with a person in their life who is extremely selfish & manipulative, but they just aren’t sure what it is yet.

 

“It’s Not You, It’s Them: When People Are More Than Selfish” helps these people to understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, deal with the behaviors if they opt to stay in a relationship with the narcissist, & ways they can help themselves heal.

 

I’ve learned so much about NPD in recent months & have felt such a strong desire to help victims of narcissistic abuse & raise awareness, I believe this book had to be written.  Admittedly, I’ve never written a book so quickly before, but I believe it must be for a reason.  I pray God is going to use it mightily.

 

If you’d like to check out the new book, the timing is good- my publisher is offering a sale on all print books.  15% off with free mail shipping until August 14.  Simply use code AUGSHIP16 at checkout

Links are below..

 

Ebook:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/656668

 

Print book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/its-not-you-its-them-when-people-are-more-than-selfish/paperback/product-22817234.html

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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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Taking Back Some Power

Recently, I wrote this post about being angry at all of the things I feel have been stolen from me due to having C-PTSD.  The anger that was simmering kicked back into overdrive briefly on Tuesday night.

I had to speak with my mother that evening.  I ended up pretty angry with her by the time I hung up.  Shortly after I got the wonderful call from my vet that I mentioned in this post.   In spite of the incredibly good news, I was angry.  Although my mother didn’t do it on purpose, I felt like, as usual, she’s interfering in my life & stealing my joy- making me angry at a time when I should’ve been completely happy.  I felt in my heart I needed to make a decision at that time..Either continue to be angry or to thank God for & enjoy the wonderful news I had just gotten.  I decided to focus on the good news for the night, & deal with my anger at my mother later on.  Oddly, this turned out to be a good thing for me in a way..

I feel like I took back some of my power!

I think by being able basically to put my mother aside for a while was helpful for me.  It showed me  that my mother & her narcissistic ways haven’t stolen everything for me, as it so often feels like.  She isn’t in control anymore, & I am more powerful than I feel.  Instead of being angry with her & failing to enjoy the miraculous news I’d just received, I was able to refocus my mind onto the good.  I had an entire evening of basking in joy, then dealt with the anger the following day.

Have you ever tried anything like this?

In all honesty, I can’t say I’m sure this type of thing is a good thing to do on a regular basis, but doing it once was a good experience for me.  It may be for you too.  I would encourage you to ask God about it, if you’re in a similar situation.  It may help you as well.  But, if God advises you against it, please listen to Him & don’t try it!

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The Civil Connection With Narcissistic Mothers

One of my readers made an interesting point. She read my post about The Silent Treatment that I wrote a couple of days ago, & mentioned how she gives her mother what she calls the silent treatment.  Hers is a bit different than her narcissistic mother’s silent treatment- she doesn’t try to punish her narcissistic mother with it (as narcissists do).  Instead she only speaks to her mother on her terms (when she is able to talk with her), & is very careful with the limited information she shares.  This is also what Dr. Karyl McBride, author of “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” calls the civil connection.

I’ve done this with my mother & mother in-law.  Both are narcissists, my mother being the overt type, mother in-law the covert.  Both have responded very differently to it.  My mother used to get very frustrated, but it didn’t take her long to get to the point where she gives up quickly on me.  I’m more stubborn than her, & she knows that, so I assume she realizes there’s no point in trying to get something “juicy” from me once I’ve made up my mind not to give anything up.  My mother in-law, however, was a different story.  She would become visibly flustered, & try any tactic she could to force me to talk.  It became just plain funny to me after a while!  Watching her get angrier & angrier, yet unable to say or do anything about it for fear of looking bad, became very entertaining to me.

Have you tried this with your narcissistic mother?  If not, you have to try it!!  If nothing else, it’ll amuse you!

I like to give one word (or close to it) answers.  For example…

Mother: “How are you?”

Me: “Fine.”

Mother: “What have you been up to lately?”

Me: “Not much.” (she already thinks I’m lazy, so she’ll believe I haven’t done much)

See how that works?  It’s really easy.

Chances are, your narcissistic mother will start to push for more information from you when you give her such curt responses.  She will hint around, trying to get you to talk, as she won’t ask outright for fear of looking unreasonable, bad, or whatever.  Refuse to respond!  Ignore the hints.  I’m telling you, it will fluster her, & if you’re lucky, she’ll give up trying to get news from you.

Once, I had a doctor’s appointment on a day when my mother in-law thought I should do something for her (which is amazing in itself- she’s hated me from the day we met, so why would she think I would be willing to help her in any way?!).  I told her I couldn’t do it- I had a doctor’s appointment that afternoon.  I should have said “prior obligation” instead of admitting what I was doing, but it slipped out.  It turned out to be hilarious for me though!  She said things like,  “Well, if you’re seeing the doctor, it must be serious.  I understand why you can’t do this for me…” (I simply said “Thanks” in response), “If you can’t reschedule it, that isn’t a good sign.  I’m so worried about you!” (yea, right!  She didn’t care- she just wanted information, so I simply told her I was fine.), “Why are you seeing the doctor?” (the only direct question she asked, & I ignored her question, as I was listening to my husband & his father talk- I pretended I didn’t hear her over them), or “I guess you can’t do this for me since you HAVE to see the doctor on that day & no other…I don’t understand why it has to be THAT day..” (to which I responded with, “Nope, I can’t do it.”)  By the time my husband & I left her home shortly after, I was surprised her head didn’t explode!  I barely made it to the car before I started laughing!

If you haven’t tried this type of interaction with your narcissistic mother, please consider doing so!  Not only will it entertain you, it will give her less opportunities to hurt you.  You will speak to her only as you are able to do so, & by limiting your conversation as well as your exposure to her, you will give her less to criticize about you.  It really will make your interactions with her much easier for you!  Also, it’s not disrespectful, so if you are concerned about not honoring your mother, as many Christian daughters of narcissistic mothers are, please don’t worry!

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

Gifts & Narcissists

Giving gifts can be a wonderful thing.  It makes the receiver feel loved because someone would listen closely enough to know what gift would make the receiver happy, then spend the time to pick out this gift, spend the time to wrap  it up pretty & all this shows that they cared enough to want to do these things.  The giver is also blessed because there is a great joy in seeing someone’s face light up when they get a special gift that you are responsible for picking out.

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, this isn’t the case.

 

For one thing, narcissists are notoriously terrible at giving gifts.  To give a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to listen to what the receiver says about their needs & wants.  You have to know things about them, such as their favorite color, the size clothing they wear, styles they like, their favorite author or singer.  Narcissists can’t be bothered with such “trivial” matters, so they will choose what they like or what they think you need instead.

 

Narcissists also give you gifts in order to try to make you more like what they think you should be.  Clothing in a color or style that they think you should wear instead of clothing you like, or a CD from a band they like instead of from a band you like.  Probably fifteen years ago or so, during a conversation with my mother in-law that took place not long before Christmas, I mentioned the fact I don’t like to cook.  I do it of course, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.  For Christmas that year, she & both of my sisters in-law gave me a lot of cooking paraphernalia.  I got spoons, spatulas, cook books, food & the largest, ugliest pasta dish I have ever seen in my life (I did find a good use for it eventually.  When the roof leaked, in the short time before it was fixed, I used that ugly dish to catch the rain water that leaked into the attic ..lol)

 

And of course, in true narcissistic fashion, when they give gifts, the purpose is self-serving.  Giving makes them feel like they are good people.  See how caring they are?  They gave someone a gift!  Yay for the narcissist!!  My mother gives me things constantly, often things she has gotten as gifts but didn’t like, clothes she wants rid of, clothes she will buy for me because she likes the color/style (not that I like them), or things she has received in return for donating to a charity.  For the longest time, I felt like I should hold onto these things, I think because on some level, I thought these gifts meant she actually cared for me.  Once I realized that she was giving me things not to bless me, but to serve her own agenda or clean out her own junk, I didn’t feel that need any longer to hold onto her gifts.  Some, yes, but not many.

 

There also may be another motive when receiving gifts from a narcissist.  They may want something from you.  They may want you to do something for them, so when they ask for you to do that favor, they can say, “How can you say no after I gave you that great gift?”  My in-laws are like that.  Gifts come with strings attached.  They give my husband birthday & Christmas cards with money, & in return, he is to help them with whatever needs they have, no matter how ridiculous.  (Not that he shouldn’t help out his aging parents of course, but when they call him to take one of them to the emergency room rather than 911 in an emergency, something is very wrong!)  Have they ever spelled this out?  No.  It is an unspoken rule, as many narcissistic families have.

 

Some narcissists also give to others in the hopes of making themselves appear to be the martyr, taken advantage of by ungrateful people.  This often makes the recipient of the gifts feel as if they are taking advantage of the giver, & they offer to repay the “generous” narcissist somehow.

 

If you receive a gift from a narcissist, just be forewarned- the gift probably has some pretty hefty strings attached to it!

 

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What Is More Important To You- God’s Word Or Tradition?

Last night, I was watching Jesse Duplantis preach on the TBN channel. I love his preaching- not only is he fun, his preaching isn’t “fluffy” like some other preachers. He touches on deeper issues than how to be blessed, how to be healed, how to prosper financially, etc. such as holy living.

So anyway, last night’s topic was very interesting. It came from his sermon series “Gospel Casino” (available at http://www.JDM.org if you’re interested). He mentioned how when he was first saved, & first going to church, there were so many traditions & ways the church he went to did things. Their traditions were extremely important to them. Rev. Duplantis said something in his heart felt wrong so he started looking up what the Bible had to say about certain things. The first thing he found was Mark 7:13 ” Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” He realized his church’s traditions were more important to them than God’s word! Upon reading this, he started researching what God says about all kinds of things in the Bible. As a result, he has become an absolutely wonderful, inspiring preacher!

I got to thinking a bit after listening to this sermon.. how many people do this very thing- put their own traditions, habits, whatever ahead of God’s word? This is a very common behavior especially for us daughters of narcissistic mothers. We grew up knowing our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, even instincts were all flawed-Mom knows what’s right, not us. So, we often continue dysfunctional behaviors into adulthood because it is what we were told to do- it became habit.

In my last entry, I mentioned how when I got together with my husband, I quickly lost “Cynthia” & became “Eric’s wife.” This is a good example of what I’m talking about- I grew up thinking I was such a terrible person, no wonder I became what I thought my husband wanted instead of hanging onto my real self! I carried my old, dysfunctional beliefs into adulthood just because it was what was normal to me. Thank God He’s been pestering me for years about getting myself back! Only recently have I had the inner strength to begin doing just that, & I am grateful He is helping me do it!

I want you to think about your life. What do you do because Mom always did it? What do you do a certain way because that’s how it was always done in your family? Do you go to a specific church because Grandma went there, then Mom & it’s expected for you to go too? Did you get into a certain line of work because that was expected of you?

Whatever you are doing, I encourage you to pray about it. Ask God what He would have you do, then make changes as necessary. Once you begin doing that, you will feel such indescribable joy! There is an amazing satisfaction & peace knowing you are doing God’s will for your life.

I know I’m hardly the most famous author in the world. Even so, I love what I do! I get an incredible satisfaction from writing in this blog & writing my books. And, when people tell me they were inspired from something I’ve written or learned something from it, I am thrilled! 🙂

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

March 31, 2013 (2)

Hello again, Dear Readers!

I was looking at the stats on my website (www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com, in case you haven’t checked it out yet).  It looks like more than anything else, the information on there about dysfunctional mothers is what gets attention.  I mentioned this to my husband, who had a great idea.  He suggested I write a book on this topic.  Information about some types of dysfunctional mothers & how to cope with them, & letting women know that they aren’t alone.  So many daughters of these mothers think no one else understands, when the truth is many, many others do!  

I thought I would post the question to you.. what would you like to see included in a book on the topic of dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship?  Feel free to reply to this post, or email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com, if you prefer privacy.  

Thank you in advance for your input!  I look forward to hearing from you!  🙂

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