Tag Archives: emotional abuse

Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is just one of the many things that is stolen by narcissistic abuse.  It can be devastating & causes a great deal of problems in one’s life.  The good news though, is that you can learn to love yourself, & repair the damage the narcissist in your life did to you in this area.

The first step to take is to have a close relationship with God.  Lean on Him & ask Him to help you in this area.  He is a proud father, & has PLENTY of good things to say about you!

Study your Bible.  There is a lot of good information in it regarding who you are as a child of God.  I made a list & put it on my website.  You can see it here:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php

Always remember- when someone criticizes you & it isn’t constructive criticism that is meant to help you, what they say most likely reflects what they feel about themselves, not what they think about you.  Chances are good she is criticizing you in order to make you feel as bad about yourself as she does about herself.

Listen to what people say to you when they complement you.  People don’t complement others just to hear themselves talk.   They complement because they mean it.

Sometimes even an especially unfair incident can make your self esteem kick in.   Last February when I got very sick, only a few people close to me cared.  I lost friends & some that stayed had no desire to hear it if I wasn’t feeling well.  It hurt tremendously, but the unfairness of the situation woke me up.  I realized how wrong this was- I had been there for them repeatedly, yet they couldn’t be bothered with me after facing a life-threatening illness.  It was cruel & unfair.  I realized I deserved better than that, & suddenly my self-esteem was better.  Sometimes being abused, mistreated or taken for granted can work in your favor in that way.  Not that they are good things of course, but sometimes something good can come out of it at least. God really can work good out of bad situations!

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Some Information About Living With Mental Illness

Society has skewed so many mental health issues badly.

  • “I about had a panic attack!” is said when someone was really nervous, with no clue to how awful panic attacks really are.
  • Some people think remembering unpleasant things & flashbacks are the same thing.  They fail to realize that during a flashback, it can be almost impossible, or sometimes it is impossible to tell reality from flashback.  You have to fight with every fiber of your being to stay in reality instead of being lost in the awful flashback.
  • They even joke about something upsetting giving them Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dismissing the fact PTSD is caused by extreme trauma.
  • Saying “I’m so depressed” when the truth is they are just sad.  The person has no idea how debilitating depression can be.

Ignorant comments such as this along with the lack of compassion for people with genuine mental illness has done much to create a terrible stigma about mental illness.  The mentally ill are thought of as weak, wallowing in the past, stupid & more.  Even some in the medical field are not immune to having  these warped views.

Living with mental illness & putting up with this cruel stigma is not easy!  If you too have a mental illness, I applaud you!  As if the disorder isn’t bad enough, putting up with the ignorance of others makes it even harder.  It can create so much shame in you that you shouldn’t be forced to carry!

My hope is that writing about my experiences with C-PTSD helps to show that just because a person has a mental disorder doesn’t mean they are crazy, stupid, drama queens or even “less than.”  I’m a normal person who happens to have an illness, that is all.  It doesn’t mean I am weak- quite the opposite, as I’ve always been strong. The fact I have C-PTSD means that I’ve been through repeated traumatic experiences, not that I’m weak or feeling sorry for myself.

That is what you are too, Dear Reader.  If you battle mental illness as well, don’t tolerate people making you feel badly about yourself.  You are fine- you just have an illness.  Would you be ashamed of your illness if you had diabetes, cancer or heart disease?  Then why be ashamed of having a mental illness?  Why should mental illness be something to be ashamed of when physical illness is not?

If you’re like many who read my work & have PTSD or C-PTSD stemming from narcissistic abuse, I also want you to know that you are not alone.  I know it can feel that way sometimes, but it’s not true!  Unfortunately, many others have survived narcissistic abuse only to develop PTSD or C-PTSD as a result.  Sadly, they are normal results from abnormal circumstances like narcissistic abuse.  No one escapes narcissistic abuse unscathed.  Anyone who says they are completely fine is lying, especially to themselves.

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

Validate Yourself

Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is not an easy thing.  You go through the abuse & somehow survive, only to be victimized further by people who invalidate what you have gone through.

I have heard comments such as…

  • “That doesn’t sound so bad…”(from my high school guidance counselor, referring to my mother screaming at me for hours in my teen years)
  • “You just need to understand her better.”
  • “Nobody’s perfect!”
  • “You need to fix things with your parents.  Get into counseling!”
  • “You need to work things out with your parents.  They won’t be around forever yanno!”
  • (from a different counselor after meeting my mother) “I can’t see you anymore- you’re a terrible daughter!”
  • “You need to find things you have in common with your parents!”
  • “You’re too negative!”
  • “I can’t believe they are that bad!”
  • “Are you even sure that happened?  That’s a pretty serious accusation.”
  • Various excuses as to why my narcissistic parents or mother in-law treated me so poorly such as she isn’t intelligent (she isn’t educated- big difference), her mother in-law didn’t like her, etc.
  • Laughing at my story of being abused.

After hearing such things, I felt victimized all over again.

Victim blaming is very common in today’s society, so it’s not surprising these cruel words & more are said to victims of narcissistic abuse daily.

Unfortunately I don’t believe there is any way to avoid them entirely.  All you can do is use wisdom on who you share your story with.  Even when you do this, sometimes people may hurt you by invalidating your pain.

The fact is though that you can validate yourself.  You can heal from narcissistic abuse even if there is no one to support you but God.

To do this, you need to lean on God.  Talk to Him about how you feel.  He can handle it all & wants to be there for you!  Let Him be!

As for you.. you need to trust that what happened was bad.  Admit it to yourself.  No more excuses, no more telling yourself you’re oversensitive or weak.  Narcissistic abuse permeates every part of a person’s being.  It can destroy one’s self-esteem, perception of reality or even sanity.  It is nothing to take lightly!   If you’re having trouble with this, write your story out.  When I wrote my autobiography “Emerging from the Chrysalis” a few years ago, it was hard.  Very hard.  For the first time, I realized just how bad the abuse I have survived really was.  Yet, as hard as it was to see things in black & white, it was very freeing too.  It gave me a new perspective.  I realized I’m a very strong person.  I also realized God must love me a great deal to have gotten me through all of that.  It also helped me to see my parents as they truly are, instead of making excuses for their behavior or thinking I was the one with the problems- I really wasn’t oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into things, etc.  They have some serious problems & one of those problems is NOT me!

Once you are able to accept the truth about what you have gone through, healing will come.  You will grieve, you will be angry, but these are necessary steps to freedom from narcissistic abuse.  And, the more you validate yourself & heal, the less other people’s invalidation will bother you.  I’m not saying it won’t hurt sometimes- it’s only human to be hurt when your pain is trivialized- but it won’t devastate you as it once did.

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The Importance Of Realistic Expectations When Dealing With Narcissists

When dealing with a person who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realistic expectations are extremely important for the sake of your mental health.  They will help you not to be constantly disappointed or hurt.  They also will help you to be prepared for whatever may come, because you understand that this is how the narcissist in your life acts.

For many adult children of narcissistic parents, adjusting their expectations to be realistic is very hard.  It’s hard not to hope that this will be the time things are different, the one time that Mom actually cares about me or doesn’t  insult my husband.  It’s also hard to grasp that normal things- such as treating your child with basic respect- are things that no narcissistic parent wants to do.

If you feel that way about your narcissistic mother, you’re perfectly normal.  However, Dear Reader, I urge you to consider taking care of your mental health, your peace & joy, & lowering your expectations of your narcissistic mother.

Realistic expectations of narcissists are very different than those of other people.  Most people, you are safe in assuming that they will have some level of empathy, think of people other than themselves & not viciously criticize anything they wish to about you.  Not so with narcissists.  Let’s look at some features of a narcissist:

  • They are constantly looking for narcissistic supply- anything that helps boost their self-esteem.
  • They are incredibly entitled- they feel as if they deserve anything they want, even if it means hurting others (yes, even their own family) to get it.
  • They have absolutely no empathy- never will a narcissist genuinely understand or care about your pain.  Never.
  • Narcissists are excellent manipulators- they read people very well to find out their vulnerabilities so they can exploit them for personal gain.
  • Narcissists don’t care how much they hurt you, destroy your self-esteem or even destroy your sanity as long as they get what they want from you.

These few qualities alone mean you cannot deal with any narcissist as you would a normal person if you wish to survive this relationship with your mental health in tact.  Keeping realistic expectations of the narcissist will help you tremendously.

So what are realistic expectations of a narcissist?  Basically, have no expectations.  Never expect to be able to run to your narcissistic mother with your problems without her criticizing or mocking you.  Never expect her to be able to genuinely celebrate your victories either.  She may try to take credit for what you have done, ignore it completely or trivialize it.

What you can expect from most narcissistic mothers-

  • She will criticize everything about you without mercy.  I don’t mean constructive criticism- I mean mocking, insulting, saying cruel things that can bring you to tears.
  • Gaslighting.  Lots & lots of gaslighting & mind games.
  • Conversations will be all about her.  If you try to mention something about yourself, she’ll find a way to bring the conversation back to her.
  • No empathy.  It doesn’t matter if you broke a nail or are getting a divorce- your narcissistic mother will treat any problem you have exactly the same way.  She won’t care.
  • Her trying to destroy any joy you have over something good that has happened to you.
  • Demands or hints rather than requests.  She thinks she deserves your complete obedience.

Of course, each narcissist is a bit different, so I’m sure you can add to this list.

The good thing though is that if you keep in mind that your narcissistic mother is going to do these things, it will help you tremendously.  You won’t be caught off guard by her outrageous behavior.  You also can plan ahead of time how you wish to handle her outrageous behavior.  You  won’t be so hurt because you know it’s coming.

And, if you know what to expect, when your narcissistic mother calls or comes by, you can decide whether or not you can handle her on that particular day before you pick up the phone or answer the door.

Lastly, having these realistic expectations of your narcissistic mother also will help you to remember what kind of person she is, which will help you to remember that she has problems.  You aren’t the terrible person she claims you are!

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

How Long Does It Take To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse?

I have been asked quite a few times how long it takes to recover fully from narcissistic abuse. I believe it to be a lifelong battle, unfortunately. However, I don’t want to discourage you with that, because there is good news. Although it can be a lifelong battle, it does get easier!

You will stumble sometimes, but even so, you are constantly getting stronger as you heal. The more wisdom you gain about NPD & the effects of its abuse, the more strength it gives you. You finally realize it wasn’t your fault, & that you’re suffering the normal effects of abnormal treatment.

The dark times of depression come less frequently & don’t last as long when they come.

There are times you feel stuck, as if you are always going to be depressed, anxious, or feel like you’re going crazy. But, the longer you have been healing, the less frequently those times happen. They, like depression, won’t last as long on the rare occasions when they happen.

Your self-esteem soars. Sure, sometimes you may backslide into feeling like the worthless piece of garbage your narcissistic mother always said you were, but at least that isn’t how you constantly feel anymore. They’re merely fleeting moments. When you realize this dysfunctional thinking is happening, you remind yourself that isn’t true. Healthy self-esteem also stops the dysfunctional people-pleasing at your own expense ways many children of narcissistic parents possess.

You try to practice good self-care rituals- prayer, relaxing activities, participating in fun hobbies. Granted, sometimes you let your schedule get too busy, but the healthier you become, the quicker you are to realize this mistake & make the appropriate changes.

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to change how you think about your recovery. While it may be a lifelong battle with no definite end, try to focus instead on the good that comes during your healing. Focus on each baby step, every bit of progress you make. Your narcissistic mother tried to destroy you, but she didn’t! You are like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Little by little, you are getting healthier & happier. Maybe right now you aren’t where you want to be, & feel like you have a long way to go. How about instead focusing on how far you have come? You are no longer that wounded, dysfunctional little child, but instead are a grown woman who is getting stronger & healthier each day!

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

Narcissists Are Murderers

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that narcissists are murderers. Maybe not in the typical sense of the word as in they don’t try to shoot you, stab you or run you over with their cars but they are murderers nonetheless. They try to kill the person you are & recreate you into the person they want you to be- blindly obedient, enabling, having no needs, wants or feelings of your own. Basically, a robot here only to do their twisted will.

Once you escape the abuse, a part of your healing should be discovering the person God has created you to be. After all, He made you the way He did for a specific reason which is infinitely more valuable & important than the narcissist’s reasons for trying to turn you into a robot.

God made you to have a special place in this world, blessing others & enjoying being who you are. The narcissist’s only reason for trying to destroy that & remold you into what she wants is selfish- to enable her dysfunctional & abusive behavior. Isn’t it worth shedding the narcissist’s image of you & embracing the person God made you to be?

Rediscovering yourself, or discovering yourself for the first time, is not easy when you are accustomed to being the narcissist’s robot, but it is worth the effort. It also is fun, learning about yourself. Just start paying more attention to your feelings on things- do you like that or not? Are you drawn to things you never were allowed to pay attention to before? Then why not explore those things now? What do you have to lose?

Last February when I got very sick, it really caused me to re-evaluate my life. In my thirties, I tried to discover myself. I made some progress, but I abandoned the effort many times though, slipping back into old, dysfunctional habits. While recovering though, I realized I didn’t want to die knowing I had wasted my life being the person the narcissists in my life had tried to make me into. I didn’t like that person at all. So, I started exploring things that sounded appealing to me. I bought some clay & tried making various items. I tried felting. I also got back into drawing- something I loved to do as a child, but got away from. I feel much more peaceful & more confident doing things just for myself for the first time. I have become more self-confident, even when dealing with my narcissistic parents- I speak up to them more often now when I didn’t used to do so at all. (Using wisdom of course, as many times speaking back to narcissists only causes more problems since they can’t handle criticism or confrontation). I have also begun to take better care of myself & be more understanding & forgiving with myself.

Unfortunately, I also have been slipping back into the old, dysfunctional habits! It’s so frustrating! Like all emotional healing, it’s not a straight uphill path, but a windy one with a few big potholes. One thing helped me a lot, & that was a video I saw on facebook. It’s of Trace Adkins in the movie “Moms Night Out” talking to a lady about her feelings of not being good enough. Watching this brief video was eye opening to me, & I will be watching it over & over again to help keep me on track. I hope it blesses & helps you as it did me, Dear Reader. xoxo

http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/18335687-trace-adkins-in-moms-night-out-scene-god-s-love-for-moms-watch?a=vl&var=GodsLoveForMoms-DUCKYEAH

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“They Did The Best They Could!”

The phrase, “They did the best they could” used to make me feel so guilty.  I felt shame for being hurt or angry about the abuse I went through at the hands of my parents & ex husband.  After all, my mother had a terrible childhood, abused by her narcissistic, evil mother & no contact with her father- how could she know how to be a good mother?  My father was in a near fatal car wreck at 15, & has had problems stemming from the brain damage since, so that must be why he never felt able to intervene with my mother abusing me.  As for the ex?  Not like his parents modeled a healthy marriage- no wonder he didn’t know how to be a husband.

I’m sure if you’ve been the victim of abuse, you have heard the same tired phrase, & had the same kind of thoughts that I had.  I think it’s only natural to think things like that under the circumstances.  Today though I want to challenge that phrase regarding how it relates to your situation.

If someone is really doing the best they can, naturally they are going to make mistakes just like anyone does.  They will apologize & try to make the wrongs right somehow if possible.  They won’t repeat that mistake over & over again, make excuses or blame you for making them do what they did.

Someone who is truly doing their best won’t hide their actions or demand someone not to tell anyone what they are doing.

They also won’t be one way behind closed doors & totally different when in public situations.

They won’t criticize your every word, thought or deed.

People who truly are doing their best don’t try to gaslight others, making people doubt their own sanity.

They will try to build you up, encouraging you to be your own person who exercises whatever talents you have, rather than deliberately tear you down, discouraging you to be the person God made you to be.

They will care about others, not only themselves, & especially their children & spouse.

Now, think about the narcissist in your life.  Does this sound like her?  If not, then you need to keep in mind that she really didn’t do the best she could!  Even if she had been abused or through hard times, that does NOT give an excuse to abuse!  If being abused made the victim become an abuser, you would be abusive.  If you think she does not know what she’s doing, then think about this- does she hide the abuse from other people, only raging at you in private?  That is a sign she knows what she is doing is wrong.

Rather than feel guilty because your narcissistic mother “did the best she could”, instead, I encourage you to have a more realistic view of her situation.  In mine for example, with my mother- yes she was abused terribly as a child.  Her mother continued abusing her as an adult.  She’s been miserable married to my father for 46 years.  I do feel sorry for her for those reasons.  However, those reasons were NOT my fault or a reason to take her frustrations, anger & hurt out on me, to expect to be able to live the life she actually wanted through me.  As her daughter, it was never my job to make her happy, although she expected that.  She also knew then & still knows how she treats me is wrong.  I know this because she always worked hard to hide her actions from everyone, including my father.

Looking at my situation logically like this has helped me to no longer feel guilty when someone says that she did the best she could.  It will help you as well.  There is no good reason for you to feel bad when some insensitive, naive person says that obnoxious phrase to you!  Don’t accept their delusion as your reality!

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

Grooming & The Narcissistic Mother

One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.

Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.

Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.

This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.

When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.

When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!

You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.

Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!

If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.

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How Understanding Abusers Can Be Beneficial

I have read in some places recently that it isn’t necessary to understand what is behind an abusive person’s actions. All that matters is he or she abused you. This hasn’t really sat right with me.

I’m certainly not saying you have to excuse your abuser’s horrible actions away, because there is no excuse to abuse. I’m also not saying you need to really, truly understand exactly what made the person act as they did (especially in cases of being abused by a narcissist- who can really truly understand why they do what they do?!). However, if you understand a little about the abusive person in your life, it can benefit you greatly, because you can truly grasp that the abuse was not your fault.

So many victims of abuse tend to blame themselves. How many children of narcissistic parents grew up hearing that it was their fault their parents acted the way they did, & still believed that nonsense well into adulthood? I certainly did. My narcissistic mother blamed me for making her act as she did. If I wouldn’t have been so bad, she wouldn’t have had to use “tough love” (what she called her abuse) on me. I believed I was a bad person for most of my life as a result, & if I could have been better as a child, my mother wouldn’t have abused me.

Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder has helped me more than I can say. I finally have an answer to why my mother treated me as she did, & the answer isn’t that I was a bad kid! The answer is that she learned early in life that acting in this incredibly dysfunctional way got her whatever she wanted- attention, control, or the freedom to do anything she wanted. That has absolutely nothing to do with me! She wouldn’t have been kinder or loving to me if I had been a better daughter! No matter how I acted, my mother would have treated me exactly the same way- abusively.

I have known about NPD for I think four years now, & in that time, I have learned a great deal. Even so, I still read any information I can find on it. Why? For one thing, NPD seems to be a bottomless pit. Just when I think there can’t be anything left to learn, something else shows up. For another thing, reading about it often is a very good reminder that what happened to me isn’t my fault. In spite of the wealth of knowledge I have on this topic, I still battle wondering what I could have done differently, or did I do something to make my mother abuse me. Granted, those times are very few & far between now, but every now & then, they still happen & have to be dealt with.

Many people I have spoken to who have been through narcissistic abuse read constantly about NPD & surviving narcissistic abuse. Like me, they have been told they are too focused on NPD or being too negative. I disagree- reading about NPD is extremely beneficial to its victims! That being said though, as I have written about many times, it is equally vital to take breaks where you refuse to think about NPD or the abuse you endured. The negativity & evilness of NPD can depress you greatly, so breaks are of the utmost importance.

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The Past – Wallowing Or Helpful?

So many people say you’re just wallowing in your past if you talk about being abused.  I am sure some people are wallowing- it is a very hard thing to move past, being abused, especially if your abuser was a narcissist.

However, I do not believe that this describes the majority of people who have survived abuse.   Judging from not only myself but many people I have met, we have a much different reason for discussing the abuse we have been through.

Talking about painful experiences brings them into the open, where they can be analyzed & even become learning experiences.  Talking about them brings healing.

When I was growing up, I was never allowed to discuss or question the abuse I was going through.  I was supposed to tolerate it quietly & change into whatever my mother wanted me to be at that moment.  Now though, as a woman in mid life, that does not work for me. I have been through too much.  Talking about it breaks the hold over me being abused once had.

Looking into the past helps you to set yourself free from the abuse that has been done to you.  It allows you to question things that you could not question at the time they were happening. It allows you to confront the lies you were told, & discover the truth.  It also allows you to grieve for the horrible things done to you over which you had no control.  (Grieving is necessary if you want to move on.)

Looking back at the good things helps you as well.  Remembering good times helps to brighten your day.  Lately, I often think of the fun times I spent as a child with my great-grandmother.  They always make me smile, as she was a lovely woman.  Remembering good times also can help you to understand why you are the way you are.  You get to know yourself when you pay attention to those things that make you happy or sad, or the things you like or don’t like.

Once you deal with things in your past, you have less desire to look backward towards the bad things.  The bad memories also won’t interrupt your thoughts as often.  Good memories will occur more often than the bad.  Making peace with your past helps you tremendously in the present.

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Are You Always The Strong One?

There is a saying that is pretty common, but especially here in the South.  “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I believe it to be very true.  The very things that have been meant to kill me, such as narcissistic abuse, have instead strengthened me in the long run.

But, the truth is, in spite of being grateful for the strength I’ve gained, I’m pretty tired!  Tired of the nonsense I’ve lived through, & mostly tired of always being the strong one who carries other people can fall apart.

Many people, especially those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse, are a great deal stronger than we realize.  This doesn’t usually escape the notice of other people, however.  They notice it right away & often, don’t hesitate to use our strength to help themselves out.  Even when they know we’re going through a crisis, they’ll come to us for comfort, advice or to meet some other need, often without even asking how we’re doing.  When faced with a difficult person, we are the one who is always supposed to be understanding or the “bigger person”, & let the offenses go.  People know we’re strong & can handle bad situations, so they assume we never need help, a shoulder to cry on or, well, anything really..

The simple truth is that even the strongest among us need help sometimes.  Being strong can be hard enough, but feeling as if you’re completely alone in your struggles with no one to help, & you have to be strong all of the time for others is incredibly hard.  It’s extremely depressing, because you know you can’t count on anyone else to let you lean on them.  It’s also mentally & physically draining.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you understand this all too well.  I would like to encourage you today to make self-care a priority.  Take breaks as needed from work or from other people (especially the ones who lean on you without reciprocating).  Set & enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself.  Do nice things for yourself often.  What makes you feel good?  Make it a priority to do those things as often as possible.  Participate in your hobbies often.  Express your creativity often.

And, remember- sometimes you need to lean on others as they have leaned on you.  It’s actually a good thing for a relationship- it makes you depend on each other instead of the relationship being one sided.  It also increases intimacy in the relationship, because asking for help makes you vulnerable.  I understand that it is very hard to do, but I encourage you to step out & try it.  Ask God how to do this & who to ask- He won’t guide you wrong!

And, speaking of God, don’t forget to lean on Him as well!  He loves you so much, & wants to help you in every way you need help.  I’ll never forget what happened when I was sick at the end of February.. I was relaxing, just playing a game on my tablet, & I couldn’t get past this one level.  It was frustrating me.  I muttered & asked God to help me get past this stupid level.  Suddenly, I did it!  I started to cry.  Granted, I was super emotional because of the concussion I got only a few days prior, but even so, it was a lovely moment.  I knew God helped me to win that game because He loves me so much that He even cares about something so trivial that means something to me.  He loves you just as much- allow Him to show it.  Trust Him & lean on Him.  He won’t disappoint you.

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Anger In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

This scenario may sound somewhat familiar to you..

Growing up, my mother often accused me of having “that Bailey temper”.  I could be slightly frustrated or very angry for a valid reason, & it didn’t matter.  She would criticize my terrible “Bailey temper” in a very shaming tone of voice.  (interestingly, she now uses this phrase with my father).  The result was I began to stuff my anger inside.  I refused to show anger on the outside, no matter how valid a reason I had for feeling that way.  It was easier, or so I thought, to stuff my angry feelings deep down inside than to hear her berating, critical, shaming words.

As a result, I almost never showed it to anyone, no matter how valid my reasons for the anger were.  It’s only in recent years I’ve stopped squelching my anger & been learning to vent it in healthy ways.  By doing this, I’ve also learned that I really don’t have a bad temper at all.  It takes a lot to make me angry & when I am angry, I never scream, rage or destroy things.

So why did my mother accuse me of having such a terrible temper as a child?

I believe she did the exact same thing that many narcissistic parents do- she projected her own shortcomings onto me.  Narcissists are angry people.  They get angry when they aren’t treated as reverently as they feel they should be treated, praised as highly as they believe they deserve, or acknowledged to be the most special, amazing, talented, attractive people in the universe.  They also are angry when they aren’t blindly obeyed, when people don’t believe their lies or people do healthy things such as set boundaries with them or even end their relationship with the narcissist.

Narcissists can’t handle any bad quality (real or perceived) in themselves, so they project that bad quality onto other people.  Accusing someone else of that bad quality allows them to get mad about the flaw while not accepting any responsibility for having it.   It’s a very common tactic of narcissists, especially with their own children or spouse.

In addition to projection, victims of narcissists can be angry people, too.  How can you not be angry at the unfairness of the relationship with a narcissist?  They are selfish to the max, they couldn’t care less about you other than what you can do for them & they criticize every single little thing about you.  These things are hard to handle in any relationship, but when it is your own mother doing it, that seems to make it even worse.  Mothers are supposed to be loving, caring, gentle, protective & all around wonderful, yet here is your mother abusing you at every turn.  If that doesn’t make a person angry, I don’t know what would!

To add insult to injury, you aren’t allowed to express your anger to the narcissist, because she can’t handle any criticism, nor will she accept responsibility for what she has done. Instead, she will turn it around, blaming you for having a vivid imagination since that even never happened, or if you wouldn’t have done *fill in the blank,* then she wouldn’t have had to “discipline” you so harshly.  So, now you have someone who not only is abused, but told they are the cause for the abuse.  Again, if that doesn’t make a person angry, what will?!

Anger is a nasty side effect of narcissistic abuse.  It can be scary, because after so many years of stifling anger, once it starts to come out, we can be afraid of losing control.  It can feel like now that it’s out, it’s going to be out permanently- you’ll be angry forever.  Thank God though that is not the case!

Anger is a natural emotion just like all of the others people experience.  I know it can be hard at first, but try not to fear it.  Anger can be dealt with in a healthy way, & you need to learn how to do that.

Keeping a journal or talking to safe people about your feelings are very good ways to help manage your anger.  Telling God all about it is an even better way to deal with it.  And, say, “I feel angry because..” as it helps to validate your feelings to yourself.  Your feelings have been invalidated long enough- they deserve validation & recognition, especially by you!

I have written letters that I never sent when I was really angry.  I let it all out in those letters too- bad language, name calling, whatever I felt.  Sometimes I saved them, but usually I just burned them.  I found something healing in watching them go up in smoke.

Always remember that your feelings are valid.  There is a reason you are feeling angry!  People don’t just get angry for no obvious reason.

Forgive when you feel able to do so.  Don’t let other people criticize your faith in God or your Christian walk by accusing you of being cruel & unforgiving.  Forgiveness is a wonderful thing- it releases the power the other person  has over you.  But, rushing it never works out well.  You have to forgive when you are ready, with help from God, to completely forgive.

If you are considering discussing your feelings with your narcissistic mother, before you do it, pray.  Lots!  Narcissists don’t hear the other person’s valid points when confronted- instead they get defensive & shift blame.  That being said, for some people, telling their narcissistic mother how they feel can be a good thing.  They feel better just getting their feelings out to her.  I’m different- it makes me feel worse to have my mother invalidate me & fail to take any responsibility for her actions yet again, so I almost never confront her.  You need to be absolutely certain of how you are, & do what feels right to you.

And lastly, stop stifling your anger!  I know, old habits die hard, so this isn’t an easy thing to do.  However, it’s not healthy!  Not physically or mentally healthy.  Besides, emotions demand to be dealt with- stifling them only postpones that, it doesn’t stop it.  It is much better to face things as they come up rather than once they’ve been sitting deep inside, growing & morphing into something bigger & harder to deal with.

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Black & White Thinking Is Dangerous

Many people who grew up abused tend to have black & white thinking.  For example, you may think you’re a bad employee because you made a mistake at work, or a bad spouse because you forgot your wedding anniversary rather than just thinking you made mistakes.  Most people aren’t so hard on themselves, & are much more forgiving than that.

This type of thinking can damage relationships as well as your self-esteem.  If, as an example, you grew up told by your narcissistic mother that all people who listen to heavy metal music are bad & accepted that belief, then you are either missing out on potentially good relationships, or if you later find out someone you’re close to likes metal, you’ll end that relationship.

Black & white thinking has its roots in childhood, like so many other things.  When you grow up with a parent berating, shaming & criticizing you, you take it to heart!  You tend to continue to do those same behaviors to yourself as an adult.  It’s time to stop doing that to yourself!  You don’t deserve to continue the abuse that was so unfairly done to you!  You deserve better!

Today, I want you to decide to stop with the black & white thinking!

To do this, you’ll need to do several things.  First of all, ask God to help you.  Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth & the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight”.  God wants to help you think better!  Allow Him to do so.

You also need to challenge how you think.  Slow down & pay attention to your thoughts.  When you make a mistake & begin to beat yourself up for it, stop!  Stop right there & remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes.  EVERYONE!  Not only you.  If people didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  Mistakes are a part of life- you need to accept that fact.

If you find yourself thinking something or someone is bad, then again, stop.  Ask yourself why you think this.  If you realize it’s because your narcissistic mother dislikes a quality that person has, then it’s time to challenge her opinion.  Not to her but to yourself.  Did she say why she hates something or someone?  Do her reasons make sense?  If not, discard them & form your own opinion!  You don’t have to share her beliefs or feelings.  You have the right to have your own!

Black & white thinking also can be a hindrance in healing from abuse.  If you’re like me, you tend to frequently tell yourself that you should be better by now, you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for too long, you need to let this go & more unhealthy things. Please, please, please stop it right now!!!  Easier said than done, I know, but please try anyway.  I’ve gotten better at this, although I still slip up sometimes.  When I tell myself these awful things, I remind myself narcissistic abuse is a terrible thing.  Healing from it is a lifelong task.  Narcissistic abuse is insidious & permeates every part of your being.  You can’t heal from that kind of pain & suffering in a month or even a year.  It’s perfectly normal to heal little by little over the course of your life.  It’s also perfectly normal for healing to be an up & down process.  Emotional healing is never strictly an uphill battle. It’s more like an uphill battle with periodic falls into valleys & side trips.

Dear Reader, please be encouraged today to be better to yourself.  Think about what you’re thinking about.  Challenge those things that aren’t beneficial to you, & change how you think into more healthy thoughts.  You deserve it!

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Feeling Invisible

Narcissists treat their children as if they are mere tools- they take them off the shelf when they need their narcissistic supply or need the child to do something for them, then they put them back when done, & expect the child to stay out of sight & out of mind the rest of the time.  (Isn’t this also how your average screwdriver or hammer is treated?)

Many narcissists also tell their children that children are to be seen & not heard, speak when spoken to only or other such hurtful things.  They also clearly don’t wish to be bothered with their child’s needs or wants.

These things mean the child grows up learning to behave as if she is invisible.  She stays quiet, & stays out of people’s way.  People treat her as if she is invisible as well, because they see how she acts.  (Your behavior shows others how you expect to be treated.)  Their treatment reinforces to her that she needs to be invisible, & the painful cycle continues.  It is so frustrating when even total strangers treat you this way.  A few years ago, I stopped by a convenience store.  When I was done & backing out of my parking space,  I looked.  No one was behind me so I backed out.  Suddenly my car jolted to a stop.  Someone in an SUV backed into me.  We got out of our vehicles & she immediately began screaming at me for upsetting her by hitting her truck.  I couldn’t even get in a word to tell her she had backed into me, not the other way around!   Thankfully no damage was done to my car & she said none to her SUV, so we walked away from the incident.  Her behavior hurt though.  I felt like she thought I was so unimportant I shouldn’t be allowed to say one word.

This invisible thing results in a deep sense of shame about your very existence.  You feel as if the fact you exist is a bad thing, & this can destroy your self-esteem.  I know  this from personal experience- I’ve never had healthy self-esteem.  In fact, at 44 years old, I still battle low self-esteem often.

I have been working  on becoming visible instead of staying invisible off & on for a few years now.  I’ve learned that to do that, you need to start setting some boundaries.  Don’t let others call all of the shots, all of the time.  For example, I’ve always let others end the phone call first, & now  I’m starting to do end it when I feel strong enough. (sad.. such a mundane task shouldn’t be so stressful!)  If someone wants to go out with me but I have plans, instead of rearranging my plans, I suggest another time.  Basically, I’m finding little, reasonable ways of making myself noticed.  The good news is it does get easier & easier, the more I do it.  I hope you will try to do the same thing so you no longer feel invisible.  You deserve so much better than that!

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It’s Not Your Job To Tolerate Abuse Or Do All The Work In Your Relationships!

A pretty common phenomenon I’ve noticed about adult children of narcissistic parents is this belief of others that we are always supposed to allow other people to mistreat or even abuse us without complaint.  Also, if something is wrong in a relationship, it’s supposed to be our job to fix everything while the other person does nothing.

My mother in-law treated me like dirt for the first eight years of my husband’s & my relationship, until I finally severed ties with her.  My husband told me constantly that I “needed to understand her better,” I should “be the bigger person & let things go.”  He didn’t believe me when I told him what she had done, or (worst of all) blamed me for her abuse.

My ex husband & I lived with his parents for about a year.  During that time, he & I had a big fight on our third wedding anniversary.  I left the house to cool off for a while.  When I came back, his mother jumped me, blaming me for the fight (which he started, not that she knew this), for making him angry & for him punching a wall in his anger.  She told me I needed to talk to him & smooth things over.

During a very bad time in my marriage, I talked to a good friend of mine about something extremely painful my husband had done.  He tried to make excuses for my husband’s behavior & suggested things I can do to help fix our marriage rather than comfort me or help me.

Do scenarios like this sound familiar to you as well?

If they do, I want to tell you today that it’s not your job, nor your purpose in life, to be used or to do all of the work in your relationships!  Relationships are NOT one sided, at least healthy ones are not.  A healthy relationship has two people working together.  Relationships where only one person does all of the work are extremely dysfunctional & miserable.

It also is not your place to tolerate abuse or make excuses for the abuser!  No one deserves abuse- NO ONE!  There is no excuse to abuse, there is nothing you can do to make someone abuse you & abusive people are sick.  None of this has anything to do with you.

I believe this warped behavior happens because of being raised by narcissistic parents.  You’re raised to be nothing more than a tool to be used as needed, much like say, a screwdriver.  You’re kept in a drawer until needed, pulled out, used, then put away until the next time you can serve some purpose. While you’re “in that drawer,” you need to be completely invisible- you have to stay out of the narcissist’s way! Don’t “bother” her with your trivial needs.  Hers are so very much more important than yours, after all.  As a result, you grow up continuing to act as if other people’s needs are more important, yours mean nothing, & being a people pleaser. People naturally read other people, & abusers in particular are extremely good at it.  Abusers look for people like this to abuse, since they’re easy targets who won’t complain about how they’re treated.  Then there are other people don’t deliberately seek out people they can abuse.  Instead, they see you believe you are: invisible, you deserve to be treated poorly, etc. & they treat you that way.

To help fix this problem in your life, work on your healing.  You will learn to spot the abusers quickly, & avoid them.  You’ll develop & enforce stronger boundaries.  Your self-esteem will improve, making you less willing to tolerate nonsense, including being the only one to work on your relationships.  You also need to really grasp the fact that you are NOT what your narcissistic mother says you are.  You are someone with great worth & value.  God loves you, no matter if your parents don’t.  If you have trouble believing that, ask Him to show you how much He loves you.  Read the Bible- there are countless times in it where God states His love for you!

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The Truth Really Will Set You Free

I recently read a wonderful quote from Jefferson Davis- “Truth crushed to the Earth is truth still, & like a seed will rise again.”  As soon as I read this, I thought about how it relates to those of us who have been raised by narcissistic parents.

Many of us grew up in this toxic environment, learning very early that we are never to discuss the abuse going on at home, nor are we allowed to protest it.  We also aren’t allowed to have or express feelings, wants or even needs. This results in growing up “stuffing” everything deep down inside & ignoring things, even pretending the abuse we endured wasn’t so bad.  After all, others had it much worse, right?  *sigh*

The truth is we do have needs, wants, & feelings.  We also have been through unimaginable abuse.  And, as Mr. Davis said, those truths will rise again.

There comes a point in your life where suddenly you no longer can “stuff” everything.  You have to admit that you were abused, & that it did a great deal of damage to you.  You also can’t ignore the fact you have wants, needs & feelings any longer.  You want to be heard for the first time, instead of being treated as if you’re completely invisible.  You also may get angry, very angry, that you have been treated in such a way.

At first, this is scary.  You aren’t used to feeling anger or wanting to be heard.  It feels very abnormal to say the least.   And, the thought of discussing what happened to you at the hands of your narcissistic parent(s)?  Terrifying!  However, if you are at this point, I would like to say to you today to push on!

You have just reached a turning point in your life.  It’s actually a very good thing, even though it may not feel that way at first.  This is the point you start to realize you have worth & value, & you are not the terrible things your narcissistic mother said you were.

As abnormal as it feels, keep on healing, learning & growing.  Work through your feelings of fear, & ask God to help you however you need that help.  They won’t hurt you.  In fact, the experience will make you stronger.  You will become comfortable knowing you have the right to have your own needs, even if one of those needs is discussing what your narcissistic mother did to you.

Regarding discussing what happened with your narcissistic mother, by the way, I’m not saying that you have to discuss it with everyone, or write a book or even a blog like this.  I am saying though that you don’t need to feel as if you’re hiding some dirty little secret, like her abusing you was something for you to be ashamed of.  You have nothing to be ashamed of, but your mother has plenty.  The shame of what she did to you is hers, not yours, so don’t carry it any longer!  Put the shame back where it belongs- on your mother.  Refuse to carry it one more day!

Dear Reader, lean on God. Let Him help you to heal & grow.  He truly will, because He loves you so much & wants to bless you.  You can get through this painful time, & will come out on the other side so much stronger, healthier & happier for it!  xoxo

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How Do You Treat Those Who Are Suffering?

I was talking with a good friend recently.  She told me about something traumatic that happened to her a while back.  She also said that many of her friends & relatives told her that she needed to get over it & trivialized her awful experience, rather than offer her compassion & support.  Naturally, it upset her badly that people she expected to be compassionate were instead cold & unfeeling.

Unfortunately I understand her feelings all too well.  Since I got sick at the end of February, I’ve experienced this same thing first hand more times than I can count, starting at the hospital.  Apparently even a potentially deadly illness isn’t enough to warrant compassion from most people.

There is a terrible lack of love, empathy & compassion in the world today.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “1 But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].  2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane.  3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good.  4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.  5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].”  (AMP)

I firmly believe this is what is happening today, why people are so indifferent to the suffering of others.  Look at how people behave.  Money & things mean more than people & relationships.  Animal & child abuse are commonplace, as is hypocrisy.  And most importantly, God is rarely invited into, well, anything.  Not many people have God as their top priority in life.  Without God, it’s impossible to truly love people God’s way- full of compassion, caring, & great empathy.

Dear Reader, I’m certain you have been on the receiving end of this hurtful type of behavior. Your pain has no doubt been trivialized or even invalidated.  (This is especially common for adult children of narcissistic parents, since our parents didn’t always leave bruises or broken bones like physically abusive ones did, & they act like good people around everyone but their own children.)

While there is certainly no way to control how people act & completely avoid their coldness, you can remember that a person who acts this way has a problem.  That will help you not to internalize their words, thinking something is wrong with you for being upset over whatever trauma you experienced.  You need to remember that, because you are not wrong, crazy, oversensitive, etc. for being upset when something bad happens to you.

And, also remember that people with problems naturally turn self-centered to varying degrees.  Some people become so self-centered that they don’t have it in them to care about others who are also suffering.  Remembering this too will help you not to internalize being treated so poorly.

I would like to also encourage you to consider how you react when someone tells you about a painful or traumatic experience.  Do you offer compassion?  Empathize with their pain?  Or, are you so wrapped up in your own problems you refuse to see anything or anyone except what relates directly to you?

If you are the type to have a hard time empathizing when you too are suffering, it may be time to change that.  Aside from the fact that behavior can be hurting others, being good to others also is good for you.  It takes your mind off your problems, even if only temporarily.  You also may learn that this person & you share a common problem, & now you have someone to talk about your problems with.  You may be able to help each other!

Don’t know how to change this about yourself?  Ask God for help.  Ask Him to increase your empathy, to make you more aware of the feelings of others  & to give you wisdom on how to help those He puts in your path & wisdom with your words.  God will honor your prayer, & bless you for wanting to help others.

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Do You Validate Or Invalidate Yourself?

Validation is very hard to come by.  People are very quick to minimize the successes of others & to tell others their pain isn’t so bad.  When others either fail to validate you or directly, deliberately invalidate you, it hurts.  It also leads many people to invalidate themselves, especially when the invalidation starts early in life by their own parents.  Parental invalidation of a child easily can instill a belief in the child that she or he isn’t worth validating.  Accomplishments, dreams, needs, feelings all become trivial, unworthy of any recognition.  I believe invalidating a child helps to instill a root of deep shame in him or her.  The child becomes ashamed of his or her own needs, wants, feelings & even accomplishments.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, this is a very common phenomenon.  In my own life, I have only recently begun to see how badly I have invalidated myself.  I tend to look at what I haven’t done rather than what I have, & berate myself for what I haven’t done rather than be proud of what I have. Or, if I accomplish something good, I just look at it as something anyone can do, or it’s something I should do so why should that be celebrated?  My wants, needs & feelings come after those of others, even if I have a crisis.  While I am getting a bit better at these behaviors, it’s difficult since they are so deeply ingrained in me.  Plus, by behaving this way, I have essentially told others it’s perfectly OK for them to invalidate me, which means others do so on a regular basis.

If this describes you as well, I want to encourage you today to do as I am trying to do myself- begin to validate yourself!  It’s time to recognize that your wants, needs, actions & feelings are just as important as those of other people.  To do this, ask yourself why you believe the way you do.  What makes you think your wants, needs, etc. are less important than those of other people?  If you are unsure, ask God to show you.  Once you realize why you feel the way you do, ask Him to speak truth to you about why you feel this way.  Are your feelings accurate?  Or, are they the result of someone else invalidating you?  How can you change this false belief into the truth?

Also, pay attention to those things you feel, good & bad, & acknowledge them.  Don’t brush things off so easily- feel your feelings.  If someone hurt you, then feel that hurt & be good to yourself by doing nice things that make you feel good.  If you feel good because you accomplished a task that was on the back burner for too long, stop & bask in how good that feels for a few minutes.  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Maybe even celebrate by giving yourself a gift.

Another thing to think about.  People who invalidate on a regular basis are often toxic.  They can be narcissists (or even just plain self-centered people) who believe they are the only ones worthy of validation, passive/aggressive types who use it as a means of punishing others, or they can simply be the superficial type of people who don’t like to delve into any deeper subject matter.  Superficial people don’t care for anything that requires much thought or effort on their part, & validation requires some of both.  Validation requires one to see things through another’s eyes if you wish to truly understand their feelings, plus you have to consider the right thing to say to properly validate another person.

In any case, the point is an invalidating person is the one with the problem, not you.  People want & need validation.  It’s how God made us, & is completely normal to want it!  I believe it is also abnormal not to wish to bless people by giving it freely.  There is nothing wrong with you for being hurt or disappointed when you are invalidated.  But, since it is becoming a rare thing in today’s society, you can validate yourself.

And, while you’re becoming more aware of the importance of validating yourself, don’t forget to validate others as well!  People are starving for validation- be a blessing, & validate others!  If you are unsure when it’s appropriate, ask God to show you who to validate & when.

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Suicidal Tendencies After Narcissistic Abuse

Many people are quick to judge anyone who either is suicidal, has attempted it or has followed through on committing suicide.  It’s such a shame people can be so heartless!

Many people who have survived narcissistic abuse live with depression, & as a result are suicidal.  In fact, many also have developed C-PTSD or PTSD as a result of the abuse, & depression & suicidal ideation are symptoms of both dreadful disorders. The judgmental attitudes of others make this awful situation even more painful.  People readily accuse suicidal people of being selfish, weak, wanting to take the easy way out or seeking attention.  Others say it’s a sin that God won’t forgive, so if they do it, they’ll go to Hell.

This is horrible & it shouldn’t be, but sadly not a lot of people have much compassion or are able to see things from another’s perspective.  Feeling suicidal isn’t exactly the walk in the park many people think it is.  It’s a dismal, depressing place where you believe the only means of escape is death.  It doesn’t sound like a bad choice- your pain will be over, you’ll have no more misery of this life & it’s not like anyone would care if you’re gone anyway.  (At least that is how you feel.  That doesn’t mean it’s the truth however!)

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, the last thing that person needs is to be lectured or judged.  The person instead needs a great deal of compassion, empathy & love.  They need to know that their presence makes a difference, & they would be greatly missed if they died.  They also need to know that you are willing to help them through this dark patch.  Make sure this person knows that you love her, are willing to pray with & for her, listen to her without judgment & are willing to do whatever you can do to help.

If you are the one who is suicidal, please know that you are here on this Earth at this time for a reason.  If you don’t know what that purpose is, ask God to show you.  Also follow your passion- that is where your calling(s) lie.  Although it probably doesn’t feel like it at this time, there are people who love you & would be devastated if you were no longer around.  You make a difference to many people.  Please remember that losing you would hurt them terribly, & you don’t want to do that.

There is a way out.  God.  Pour your heart out to Him- He loves you & wants to help you.  Let Him pour His love out on you & comfort you.  Spend time alone in His presence sharing your most intimate feelings- He will help you come out of that dark place!  Remember Psalm 23:4 “Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.” (AMP)  God is with you, even in this dark place, taking care of you!  I know this may sound trite to you, but please believe me- it is very true.  I’ve been suicidal many, many times in my life, so I have plenty of experience on this subject.  God has been the only thing that has helped me during the darkest of times.  If He helped me, He will help you too.  All you need to do is ask..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Narcissists & Pawning Off Pain

I read something recently about how narcissists dump their inner pain & torment on others in order to attempt to relieve some of the pain they feel inside.  This makes a great deal of sense when you think about it.  For example, my narcissistic mother has very low self-esteem, & she has done her best to make sure I also have low self-esteem.  She obviously feels a great deal of shame, so she has put that on me as well.  My narcissistic mother in-law never felt good enough for her mother in-law, & from day one, she made sure I knew I was never good enough to be a part of her family.

There are so many (often very subtle) ways a person can try to put their pain on another.  Did your narcissistic mother accuse you of being fat although your weight was normal & hers above average?  Did your narcissistic spouse accuse you of cheating, shaming you greatly, when in fact you were faithful & he was the one sleeping around?

This trying to transfer their pain to another seems to be a pretty normal thing for narcissists to do, but that doesn’t make it right.  Rather than excusing their actions, I wanted to discuss this with you today so that you know when this type of thing happens, it’s not your fault!  Like many narcissistic behaviors, it isn’t even personal even though it feels like a personal attack- it’s simply the narcissist hurting & wanting to make herself feel better.  You getting hurt in the process isn’t important to her, of course, so long as she feels better.

If you can keep the perspective that some abusive behaviors aren’t personal, but about the narcissist, it makes coping a bit easier.  It still hurts of course, & is painful to accept it happened, but it does help some at least.  Any help is better than none, right?  Really grasping that what was done to you was the narcissist’s fault & not yours will help you to avoid the always painful thinking that what happened was your fault, that you made her do that terrible thing, or if you would have only done or not don  *fill in the blank* then she wouldn’t have hurt you.

I urge you today to keep this post in mind when your narcissistic mother says something hurtful to you.  Remember, she is trying to make you feel bad so she doesn’t have to feel bad.  That is why she’s accusing you of whatever awful thing it is she’s accusing you of!  You’re fine, she isn’t.

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Trauma Changes You

No one can go through something life altering & not change in some ways.  Whether the experience is losing someone you love, a divorce, abuse or something that threatened your life, that experience will change you somehow.

While sometimes the changes aren’t positive ones, like developing PTSD or C-PTSD (which are unavoidable, unfortunately!!),  sometimes the changes can be good.  That can take a deliberate choice to make the changes good, but it’s worth it.  Some examples are:

  • Losing a loved one, which causes you to realize how suddenly life can end.  You can either become terrified or you can decide to enjoy life more.  Also, you can decide that it’s time to start showing those you love just how much you love & appreciate them more often.
  • Going through a divorce can make you give up on love, or you can think of it as a stepping stone to find the person God meant you to be with.
  • Abuse can make you bitter & afraid, or you can learn from it.  You can learn how to identify abusive people, how to be compassionate with & help other victims of abuse & learn ways to heal. Also, surviving abuse gives you a different perspective than others who haven’t been abused.  You can appreciate the fact that you’re strong & don’t get flustered easily over the little things.

What have you been through that has changed you?  Are you trying to learn from your experiences?  If not, I encourage you to do so.  If you’re at a loss as to what good could come from your pain, ask God to show you.  Romans 8:28 says,  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (KJV)  Although it may not feel like it, there is some  good that can be gleaned in your painful situation, & God will show it to you, gladly.

I mentioned a while back how I went through a potentially life-ending experience with carbon monoxide poisoning.  Aside from the fact I survived, I wasn’t sure if any good could come of it, but it did.  God showed me through that event that I had a big problem with toxic shame, which was causing me a great deal of pain & suffering.  He also showed me what I needed to do to cooperate with Him to set me free of that, & I’m making progress!  I also grew up with narcissistic parents, & also have narcissistic in-laws.  In the last few years, I have learned a great deal about narcissism, which has enabled me to help others in similar situations.  Although I’m not grateful for the painful experiences, I am grateful that God has been able to make something good from them.  That is my wish for you too, Dear Reader- that you too can see something good that has come from your awful experiences & appreciate those good things.

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Abandonment Relating To Children Of Narcissistic Parents.

Abandonment comes in many forms.  It can come about for the newborn baby left in a dumpster, a child whose parents suddenly die in a car wreck, divorce, or death of a loved one.  There is a form of abandonment that many people seldom discuss- when close friends & relatives leave you.

This type of abandonment is common after divorce, especially if you are the one who initiated it.  I lost all but one friend after mine.  No one saw him as the manipulative narcissist he was, so they rallied to his side, abandoning me.  Abandonment also happens after surviving the death of someone you love.  After her daughter died, a good friend of mine said it seemed like once the funeral was done, people thought she should be over losing her daughter, as if the funeral being over meant her grief should be over. Abandonment also can happen after experiencing a traumatic event, as some people think you should “be over it by now.”

It’s also very common for children of narcissistic parents to be abandoned repeatedly in their lives.

First, we’re abandoned in the sense of not having a real mother (&/or father).  Just because a narcissist has conceived & birthed a child doesn’t make that person a parent by any means.  We also may be abandoned by the other parent, usually a covert narcissist, who throws us under the bus to the overtly narcissistic parent to cover their own butts during an argument, & who fails to protect us.  We’re also abandoned by anyone who sees the abuse yet fails to do anything to help us: teachers, counselors, relatives, friends or their parents.  As we grow up, we tend to attract narcissists & other abusive people into our lives, who will drop us in an instant once we’ve outlived our usefulness to them.  They also are often skilled at turning others against us too, so we not only lose that person, but friends as well at the same time.  Then eventually we learn about narcissism & the damage it causes, & we begin to talk about it.  That is when our closest friends & relatives often claim we just want attention, need to get over it, So & So had it much worse, your narcissist wasn’t so bad or seemed like a good person to them, & more before abandoning us for being too negative, living in the past, etc.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  I’m guessing it sounds all too familiar.

Constant abandonment like this cuts a person to the core.  It also can lead to many problems- low self-esteem, depression, anger, self-destructive habits such as addictions, & even losing your self-identity.

So how do you deal with this pain?  You grieve your losses much like you grieve when someone you love dies.

Some people say there are five stages in grief, others say seven.  I tend to believe more in seven..

  1. Denial.  What happened is too shocking to accept.  You can’t believe it happened.
  2. Guilt.  You feel guilty.  “Maybe if I had done *fill in the blank*, this wouldn’t have happened.
  3. Anger &/or bargaining with God.  This is the time when you ask “Why did this happen to me?  I don’t deserve this!” or, “God, if you bring him back, I’ll never do *fill in the blank* again.”
  4. Depression.  The magnitude of what happened becomes real to you at this stage, & it hurts.  Badly.  This is often the longest lasting stage.
  5. Starting to move on.  The depression starts to lift some & you begin to adjust in small ways to life after what happened.
  6. Moving on.  You really begin healing at this stage.  You read & learn about how to adjust & heal.
  7. Acceptance.  You have accepted what happened.  You start to look forward to things once again.  You may never again be the person you once were, but you are moving forward.

***sometimes when grieving, you may bounce back & forth between steps a few times.  This is normal***

While going through the stages of grief is never a fun process, it is a necessary one when it comes to big losses, & being abandoned, especially repeatedly, is a big loss.

While experiencing each stage, it is important to talk things out.  I encourage you to pray a lot.  Tell God everything you feel, & listen for any wisdom He wants to share with you.  Also, if you’re like me & it helps you to see things in writing, then journal.  Sometimes seeing things in black & white brings a clarity that simply talking about them doesn’t.

Always be patient, non-judgmental & gentle with yourself while experiencing the grief process.  You need such things in your life during this time, & especially from yourself.

Exercise wisdom in who you share your experiences with.  Many people don’t understand grief in any form, & others don’t wish to hear such “negativity”. Don’t discuss your journey with people like that- instead only share with people who are non-judgmental, compassionate & who love you unconditionally.

I know this is not an easy time for you, but you can get through this, & you will be a stronger person too.  Also, you’re not alone!  Many people have experienced this same pain you have, including me.  If you would like to meet others, feel free to check out my facebook group & my forum, links to both are on my website at:  www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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Emotional Neglect & Critical Words

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

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

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

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

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

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My New Books

I thought I would let you know what’s happening on the book front with me..

I now have two books I’m working on as I can.  Unfortunately I’m still recovering from the carbon monoxide poisoning & the concussion that came with  it, so writing is a challenge for me at the moment. (as if writing with C-PTSD isn’t enough of a challenge sometimes..lol)  But, I’m trying to do a little as often as I can.

My one book is a fictional story I started over a year ago.  I had it about halfway done when the external hard drive it was on crashed, taking my book with it.  (Tears were shed, let me tell ya!)  I decided to start working on  it again, trying to recreate what was lost.  It was inspired by the movie “Gaslight”- the movie from which the term gaslighting was coined.  It takes place here in Maryland in the late 1800’s.  It’s about a young widow who, after her mourning period, is caught up in a whirlwind romance with a man who in truth is only after her money.  In order to have full access to it, he decides to drive his pretty young wife insane.  He enlists the help of the young maid he’s having an affair with by telling her that his wife is really his sister, & he’s trying to help her show symptoms of her “illness” since she usually hides them from the doctor.  She reluctantly agrees.  As they are in the process of driving this woman insane, the wife & maid end up learning the truth, & decide to turn the tables on him, driving him insane instead.

My other book is going to be about recovering from narcissistic abuse.  I’ve read so much about it, but there are plenty of things I haven’t read- I had to experience them & learn about them firsthand instead.  For example, if you read about C-PTSD (very common with survivors or narcissistic abuse), it says many people experience nightmares.  It’s often implied that the nightmares are about re-experiencing the traumatic events.  I have learned that although that happens, it’s more rare, & nightmares are often things that are very upsetting yet symbolic of past trauma instead.

So anyway, these two are my current projects.  I’m not sure when they’ll be released.  Honestly, I don’t even feel comfortable setting a goal on that right now, not until I recover more.  I’ll be sure to share when they will be released as the day comes closer though.

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Anger

When you were raised by a narcissistic mother, & you finally learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the first reaction usually is relief.  Relief that you really aren’t the terrible person your mother said you were, that instead it was her projecting  her own issues onto you.  Relief that you really aren’t the terrible person she always told you that you were.  Then, other emotions kick in, such as grieving.  You grieve for your lost childhood, the fact that you were so terribly abused, & the fact that your own mother deliberately hurt you to forward her own agenda.

Eventually, you also get angry over those same things.

Recently, I’ve learned that anger changes as you heal.  For me, I’ve become angry at people who have hurt & abused me over the years.  Many so-called friends, my narcissistic in-laws, my narcissistic ex husband, an extremely controlling ex boyfriend & even my husband for some dysfunctional behaviors he used to exhibit in our relationship. I’ve also been angry with my parents, because if they hadn’t raised me the way they had, I wouldn’t have grown into a narcissist magnet & doormat.  And, if I wouldn’t have been that way, people wouldn’t have thought it was perfectly acceptable to abuse me.

After praying about it, I believe this to be a normal part of healing.  As you heal, naturally your self-esteem improves.  And, people with healthy self-esteem have no tolerance for being abused because they know their value.  They know they don’t deserve to be treated in such a way.  Plus as you heal, you begin to realize that some behaviors you once thought were normal were in fact abusive.  Realizing that will make you angry.

Also, being a  narcissist magnet & doormat, you’re often stuck in more than one abusive relationship at a time- I certainly was!  This means you are so busy trying to survive that you don’t have time to deal with your anger properly.  You’re just trying to get through each encounter with these people with your sanity in tact!

So how do you deal with this old anger?

Some people are fortunate.  They are able to ask God to help them let things go & forgive, & then it’s over for them.  Honestly I envy those people.  I’m not so fortunate- I have to feel things to fully process them, then I can let things go.  If you’re like me, read on- I’ll share some tips of what works for me below.

What helps me mostly is prayer.  I talk to God about it.  I also write it out in my journal if I don’t feel like talking about it.   Either way, I let it all out, & He knows what I feel.  He listens without judgement, no matter how ugly what I say is.

You can also talk to someone non-judgmental, such as a good friend, a close relative or a counselor.  As long as you get the feelings inside, out of you, that is the main thing.  Anger is a very strong emotion that demands to be heard.  If you ignore it, it will come out sooner or later- it never just vanishes.  Either you end up taking it out on  those closest to you who have nothing to do with why you’re angry, or you get depressed (depression is often repressed anger), or you can become physically ill.  Isn’t it much better to get your feelings out?

I also ask God to help me get rid of the anger.  I certainly don’t want to carry it around, & He wants us to forgive our enemies since it’s beneficial for us, so I know He helps me to release that anger.

Don’t forget, too, to ask God to comfort you.  This process isn’t a pleasant one- a little comfort can go a long way in helping you to get through it all.

And, don’t judge yourself for this.  Anger happens, & sometimes it’s delayed for whatever reason.  That is all that is happening- something normal.  Don’t criticize yourself for doing something perfectly normal & understandable under the circumstances!

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Discrediting The Victim- A Common Phenomenon

No matter what type of abuse or trauma you have suffered, often discrediting you, the victim, happens.  Often by outsiders who say ridiculous statements such as…

“Well if you wouldn’t have worn that short skirt, you wouldn’t have been raped!”

“If you had just been a little nicer to him, your husband wouldn’t have hit you!”

“Your mother did the best she could-  you need to understand that she had been abused.  She just didn’t know how to raise you, so you have to forgive & forget.”

Even more frequently, the person who perpetrated the abuse works hard to discredit you.  Narcissistic parents are especially good at doing this.  They tell others they are concerned about you, because you have been acting strangely, you have a vivid imagination, you’ve been making up stories, they did the best they could do by you, but you were always a difficult child & more.

Publicly stating that the victim is not a victim, but instead the problem helps to convince others of that fallacy.  The narcissistic abuser has great conviction when lying- people who aren’t extremely close to her rarely doubt her stories, especially if said under the guise of concern for her child.

This works well for the narcissistic mother, as she is able to convince people quite easily that her child  is the problem, thus turning people against her child & supporting her.  People then will look down on or fail to believe the child if she openly discusses the abuse or tries to stand up to or set boundaries with her narcissistic mother.  I experienced this myself in my teen years. My mother’s friends had once liked me, but as the abuse escalated & I tried to protect myself, suddenly those friends no longer liked me.  They barely even spoke to me or made eye contact with me.

Discrediting the victim also serves to make the victim question herself rather than the abuse she has come to believe is normal.  There were times in my teen years I felt as if I was going crazy.  My mother told me I was crazy anyway, even threatening to have me committed many times. That along with acting like & saying I was the problem caused me to doubt my sanity more times than I can count.

Also, another benefit for the abuser of discrediting the victim is that all eyes are on the victim, not the abuser.  The abuser can do anything she likes, because no one will notice.  They are too focused on how bad, wrong, crazy, etc. the victim is.

If you fall victim to this, please know you are NOT alone!  This is a typical tactic of narcissistic abusers.  It does NOT mean that you are to blame.  Instead, it is just one more sign that this person is the problem, & that this person  is evil.  After all, only an evil person would blame an innocent victim instead of accepting responsibility for their own actions.

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Fixing Your Narcissistic Parents’ Problems- Not A Good Idea!

Boundaries are  a very necessary part of life.  Having them means you are free of the need to please others or take care of things that should be another person’s problem.  They are especially helpful for those of us raised by narcissistic parents since we grew up with very vague or even non-existent boundaries.

Even after you’ve learned about having healthy boundaries, & put what you learned into practice, sometimes it can be hard to maintain those boundaries though, especially with narcissistic parents.

I spoke to my mother yesterday.  She mentioned how she & my father rearranged the living room furniture.  Knowing her, this means she told him what to move & where to put it.  And, knowing him, this means he blindly obeyed her.  Normally, I figure if he’s willing to obey her & not stand up for himself, that’s his problem.  However, this time it bothers me.  He is now 77 years old, & had back surgery just before last Christmas.  he should NOT be doing things like this!!  But, this isn’t a first.  Part of the reason he needed the back surgery in the first place was lifting something very heavy he shouldn’t have been lifting, only because my mother wanted it moved.  Why they didn’t ask my husband or I for help, I don’t know…

Times like this can be very difficult for the adult child of narcissistic parents.  Old habits tend to want to kick in & you want to fix things or take care of the parent that is being pushed around.  However, this is NOT a good idea at all. Fixing things simply enables the dysfunction to go on while drawing you into the middle of it.  Chances are it will go on no matter what, so why put yourself in the situation?

I know it’s hard, but remember- it is that parent’s choice to do what he/she is told to do or not.  That parent is most likely trying to avoid a narcissistic rage by doing whatever they are doing.  While this is understandable to a degree, it’s still not good.  Yet, it’s still his/her decision to obey rather than take a chance on standing up to their narcissistic spouse & maybe ending the control.

It is NOT your place to rescue him/her!  Your parent is an adult, & needs to take care of his or herself, just like all adults do.  Everyone’s actions & choices are their own responsibility, & each person needs to reap the consequences of them, good or bad.  Do not allow your parent to draw you into the position of standing up for him/her to the other parent!

Often, the parent needing rescuing is a covert narcissist.  Does this parent portray him or herself as a martyr or at least as someone innocent in all of the problems in his/her relationships?  Does he/she come across very naive, innocent & in need of frequent rescuing?  Here is a link that explains some of the differences between over & covert narcissists:  Overt vs Covert Narcissists

Do you really want to get drawn into that dysfunction?  No, you don’t.  If you’re having trouble with not getting involved, remember how it has hurt you when you’ve been in this type of situation before.  Remember how hurt you were, how badly you were treated.  I’ve had to do this myself since I’ve been in the situation many times.  It’s a horrible position to be in.  It makes you feel used, angry, resentful & hurt at how quickly you’re discarded once the problem is solved.

Remember, you deserve better than to be treated as a “fixer.”  Most narcissistic families have a “fixer,” someone who is the one who is supposed to fix everything.  To the narcissists, the fixer is nothing more than a tool to be used, taken out when needed, then put back on the shelf.  Don’t you believe you deserved to be treated better than a hammer, screwdriver or flashlight?

This type of behavior is a part of emotional incest.  Emotional incest, covert incest or parentalizing are all terms used to describe the same abusive behavior.  When I child is put in a position of an equal or a partner to the parent, that is emotional incest.  Being expected to listen to a parent complain about a loveless marriage or sex life, talk to another person (usually the other parent) on the parent’s behalf or providing emotional support to the parent instead of the parent getting it from their partner, friend or family member are all examples of emotional incest.  While this may not sound so bad, its effects can truly be devastating to the child.  She grows up feeling overly responsible for other people, often becoming involved in co-dependent or abusive relationships.  She grows up very anxious, depressed & constantly feeling guilty.  You do NOT deserve to be abused like this!  Put a stop to it immediately!  Refuse to listen if one parent complains to you about the other or to get involved in their arguments.  Emotional incest is detrimental to your mental health, & you need to protect yourself from it!  You deserve that!

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Take A Break, And Do It Often!

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time writing.  Even these brief blog entries are an issue most days.  It kinda stinks, because I love writing so much.  Having C-PTSD contributes to my difficulties with focus sometimes, but it isn’t always why I have trouble focusing.

I’ve been feeling very burned out lately, & I realized why.  Focusing on one’s healing & mental & emotional health is a very good thing.  It enables you to work through issues, to forgive, to heal.  However, it really is possible to focus too much on such things.  The mind needs breaks from hard work, just as the body does, & focusing on healing is certainly hard work!  The mind also needs a break from negative things as well.  (Please know that I’m not saying be positive about the truly negative things in life, as that isn’t healthy either.)  If you too have C-PTSD I believe these breaks become even more important to your mental health.

When you grew up with a narcissistic mother, it can be hard to be a balanced adult.  Early on, once you first realize that your mother is abusive, you’re angry.  Very angry.  All this time you thought what she did to you was your fault, & you finally learned she lied- it wasn’t you, it was her.  That is a tough pill to swallow!  Then you learn more & more about narcissism, & so many things finally make sense, things about you & about your mother.  It’s very easy to become consumed & focus constantly on your mother’s abuse, on NPD, on the problems you have as an adult that stem from that abuse & more.  However, this is not healthy to do at all!  Like I said, the mind needs breaks sometimes, & it needs balance.

How do you achieve balance?  You make a conscience effort to do these things.  I know it can be hard, especially with the obsessive thoughts that often happen with C-PTSD, but it can be done!  Force yourself to focus on something fun.  Watch a movie.  Play with your kids, furry or human.  Go for a walk in the woods.  Visit a local park. Go for a drive. Buy a coloring book & crayons.  There are many things you can do to bring a little joy into your life & those things needn’t be expensive or require a lot of planning. Be creative, & I’m sure you’ll come up with some fun things to do.

Spend time in God’s presence. Spending time in nature, admiring the beautiful creations He has made is not only good for drawing you closer to the Father, but it’s also very restorative to the soul.  Many people are affected by the weather such as in cases of those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  If that describes you, I would suggest holding off on the nature time until the weather has a more positive effect on your mood. Fall is my favorite time to do this, so if you catch me wandering around during the summertime instead when the heat & bright sunlight depress me, something is very wrong with me!  lol

Another thing I have found  that helps me is to collect some things that you enjoyed as a child.  I’m a child of the 70’s-80’s, & I think we had some pretty cool toys!  I have Spirograph, Magic 8 Ball & Lite Brite apps on my tablet. I have an atari with quite a few games.  I have a few stuffed animals, my old Merlin handheld game, Rubix cube, Snake & Bowlatronic.  I just saw a hot pink Tonka jeep that I had (& loved!) as a child on ebay, & am considering ordering it.  I also ordered a set of the Crystalite animals- I collected them in first grade. I’ve also purchased a few board games over the years that my husband & I both remember from our childhoods & we enjoy playing. Although my childhood was less than stellar, some of my fun old toys do make me smile to this day.  Having them helps me to remember some positive memories for a change, & it feels good.

Also a nostalgic thing I enjoy is collecting old pictures.  There are a couple of facebook groups I belong to- one is for the area where I grew up & the other is for the area where my family is from in Virginia.  Both are history groups, & share many old pictures of both areas.  I save the more interesting pictures of places I enjoyed growing up. It’s so much fun looking back over the pictures of how those towns were when I was a kid.  It does make me a bit sad how much they’ve changed, but even so, it’s fun remembering how things used to be.

Music is another wonderful way to break away & feel good.  I still love the music I grew up with, & listen to it often.  Some songs take me back to a happy place.  Journey always reminds me of going to dinner with my wonderful paternal grandparents at a tiny local Italian place when I was a kid.  My grandmom gave me change for the jukebox- something my mother always refused to do.  “Who’s Cryin’ Now” was one of the Journey songs  played, so yes, their music takes me back to a fun evening.  Listening to good music that transports you back to a happy time can be very good for your mood & very relaxing.

Pamper yourself.  Also hard to do when you grew up with a narcissistic mother who undoubtedly told you how selfish you were for showing yourself any kindness, but remember- narcissists project their flaws onto other people so they can then get angry about those flaws.  Your mother was wrong- you aren’t selfish!  Doing nice, pampering gestures for yourself aren’t selfish either- they are healthy, & they show you that you care about yourself.  Nothing wrong with that!

I think distractions like these are also very helpful because they empower you.  If you think about what you’ve gone through constantly, it’s as if your mother still has power over you.  She’s still controlling you, by being in your thoughts so much.  If you purposely kick her out of your mind sometimes, you are taking back control of your life, & your thoughts.

Also, distracting yourself sometimes is good for your anxiety & depression levels. The more you focus on the abuse you endured, the more anxious & depressed it can make you.  Focus on healing- get angry, cry, do what you have to do- but take at least the same amount of time to relax & have some fun!  It’s good for you!

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Encouragement For Anyone Who Is Considering Going No Or Low Contact With Their Narcissistic Mother

So much writing you find on the topic of narcissistic mothers says that no contact is the only answer.  Just sever ties with her & your life will be so much better, they say.  While this certainly is true in many cases, there are also many cases where going no contact isn’t a desired solution, or even a possible solution.  Still others know that is their best option, yet don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet.  Others prefer the limited contact option, as I have chosen, where they only speak to their mothers rarely, as they are able to do so.

Normally, it is those who are either unwilling or unable to go no contact I feel strongest about attempting to help with my writing. Today though, I feel I need to write to everyone who either has gone no/low contact, is considering going no/low contact or who is unable or unwilling at this time to go no/low contact.

There are so many people who have very definite feelings on the contact issue, & love to make those feelings known to you at any opportunity.  They will state their feelings as if they are not simply the person’s feelings, but the gospel truth.  You also may find these opinions on websites or in books.  These views will make you feel a plethora of things, such as doubting your decision, feeling stupid for making the decision you’ve made, feeling guilty & more.

I want to encourage you today to ignore the critics!  Going no or low contact with your narcissistic mother is a very big decision, one that you & you alone should make for yourself after a great deal of thought & prayer.  No one understands exactly how you feel, nor have they experienced the things that you have.  They also have no idea how you cope with the abuse your narcissistic mother dishes out, or exactly how much abuse she puts you through.  Very few people also truly understand how desperate a person is to consider severing ties with or greatly limiting contact with their own mother, or how much pain they have experienced to even consider such a thing.  No contact is far from a black & white issue!

I know it can be very painful when people force their unasked for views on you on this issue, but please please PLEASE- ignore their unsupportive views!  Once you have made your decision on how to handle the contact you have with your narcissistic mother, the absolute last thing you need is people telling you how wrong you are or how poorly you’re handling things. Ignore those people!  Their opinions are NOT facts, so you do not need to be bothered with them.

Instead, follow what you know in your heart is right for you.  I believe those “gut feelings” or intuition are God’s voice telling us what we need to know, so you can’t go wrong if you listen to them, especially listening to them over people who have no idea what they are talking about.

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