Tag Archives: emotional healing

Can You Ever Be Completely Healed After Abuse?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Psalm 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

(KJV)

 

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To Heal It, You Have To Feel It

So many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse are simply tired.  Tired after years of walking on eggshells & trying to please the unpleasable.  Tired because the experience gave us C-PTSD or PTSD, which are both exhausting disorders for many reasons.  Tired of working so hard, trying to heal & feel normal for once.  It’d be so nice if we could just forget what has happened.  Put it away like an unloved Christmas present from the mother in-law somewhere in the back of a closet where it wouldn’t see the light of day again.

 

Unfortunately though, that is completely unrealistic.

 

If you want to heal from any traumatic situation, you have to deal with it completely.  This means to heal, you have to feel.  Feel what, you ask?  Feel the anger or the hurt.  Get angry.  Cry.  Scream.  Cuss.

 

Sounds wrong, doesn’t it?  That is partly because narcissistic mothers shame their children for having any emotions, society shames victims for not “getting over it” immediately & the church often shames people for not “forgiving & forgetting.”

 

Dear Reader, I’ve been working on healing from narcissistic abuse since 2000.  I bought into those lies for too long.  I ignored the gentle promptings in my heart from God saying it’s OK to feel my emotions.  I tried forgiving & forgetting.  I tried getting angry & just couldn’t do it- I was afraid of getting angry & losing control.  I also could hear my mother’s voice in my head scolding me for having “that Bailey temper.”   I couldn’t even cry or grieve because I thought I was feeling sorry for myself & needed to pick myself up by my bootstraps & get over it.  And, I was miserable.

 

I ignored God’s promptings for years until early last year.  After nearly dying from carbon monoxide poisoning & suffering a concussion when I passed out from the CMP, I changed.  Both of these things can change one’s personality, so it’s not a surprise that happened to me.  I was surprised how I changed though.  I suddenly was less able to control my emotions.  I had no choice but to feel angry or sad or happy or whatever.  And you know what?  It’s been a blessing!!

 

I have been able to heal more since that happened than in the many years prior.  Feeling things has enabled me to release those emotions.  It’s enabled me to purge myself of the yukky emotions buried inside of me & heal.  It’s much like healing an infected wound.  You can slap a bandage on it, but that won’t heal it.  The wound has to bleed to get the germs & infection out first, then it can heal.

 

Another bonus of feeling my emotions has been I’ve learned how to make anger work in my favor.  My mother couldn’t stand me to be angry, even simple frustration was a problem for her, so she would shame me if I displayed even mild irritation.  As a result, I learned early to stuff anger deep down inside, & carried this dysfunctional behavior into my adulthood.  Now, I no longer do that.  I feel the anger, & when it is a righteous anger (such as when she is hateful to me), I let it give me the strength to set boundaries, walk away or even call her out on her bad behavior.  Righteous anger truly is a good thing for giving you strength & motivation to make changes!

 

Dear Reader, don’t wait until something life altering happens- decide today that you are going to feel your feelings so you can heal.  Give yourself permission to do so.  Talk to someone safe & trusted about how you feel.  Also, you can try the chair technique, where you place an empty chair in front of you, pretend your abuser is in it, & yell, scream, cry or whatever you want to do to vent your feelings.  If you don’t feel comfortable verbalizing them, then write them down somewhere safe from prying eyes.  You can pray silently too- God certainly will listen!

 

And, when you’re feeling your feelings, get it all out!  Don’t worry if your language is bad.  Do you think God’s never heard those words before?!  He gets that you are that hurt, angry or frustrated!  It’s much better to get that ugliness out of you than let it fester inside of you.

 

Please remember, to heal it, you have to feel it.  You can do this!  I know it’s scary at first, but do it anyway.  Ask God to give you the strength & courage to face those ugly, scary, traumatic things head on so you can heal from them.  Once you do this, those awful memories will feel more like a bad dream than something you’ve actually lived through.  That is how you know that event has lost its hold over you.

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A New Perspective On PTSD & C-PTSD

I recently had an interesting revelation that I’d like to share with you today, Dear Reader.

 

A friend of mine has PTSD as a result of time in the military.  One story he told me was how he was on patrol in the gunner hatch of a humvee, in the lead vehicle, when they were approached by a 12 year old boy carrying a teddy bear.  My friend told him to stop, but he wouldn’t.  Even firing a warning shot into the air didn’t deter this boy, & my friend had no alternative- he had to shoot the boy.  It turns out the boy’s teddy bear contained 6 pounds of explosives- he could’ve killed so many people!

 

When this story crossed my mind the other night, something else crossed my mind: I’ve been through enough trauma at the hands of narcissists to give me the same disorder as this man who has been through unspeakable trauma.

 

Wow.  Talk about giving a new perspective!  It really showed me just how bad the abuse in my life has been.

 

So many people with PTSD or C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse tend to trivialize their experiences & I have been one of them.  They think it’s not so bad because they weren’t in the military or their narcissist didn’t hit them.  They even try to hide their awful symptoms because it’s embarrassing they have the disorder because the abuse “wasn’t so bad.”  They think they’re weak for having PTSD or C-PTSD.

 

Having PTSD/C-PTSD aren’t signs of weakness.  They are anything but!  They are signs of having experienced trauma so severe, it actually physically broke your brain.  They are normal reactions to extremely abnormal circumstances.  They are a sign you survived something pretty horrific.

 

If you live with either PTSD or C-PTSD, please know you have nothing to be embarrassed about.  Would you be embarrassed if you got diabetes?  Cancer?  Then why be embarrassed about having a mental illness?  Also, just like you can’t do anything to get a physical illness like cancer, you didn’t do anything to get PTSD/C-PTSD.

 

If you feel able to, please talk about your experiences with PTSD or C-PTSD or even the abuse you endured.  Talking things out is good for you- it helps you to heal.  Also, talking about what you live with as a result of the trauma can help to raise awareness of PTSD/C-PTSD.  People truly have no idea what it’s really like to live with such an awful mental disorder.  They have these crazy, false ideas of what it means to have PTSD/C-PTSD & those ideas need to be eliminated & replaced with the truth!

 

I would like to encourage you to ask God to show you if He wants you to discuss what has happened to you or the PTSD/C-PTSD, & if so, how.  Does He want you to speak to groups?  Write a book?  Write a blog?  There are many ways to raise awareness. Maybe you have a calling to one of those ways.

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What Matters To You?

My entire life, I thought if something mattered to me, but not to other people, it wasn’t important.

 

I believe this stems from narcissistic abuse.  Narcissists do their level best to convince their victims that nothing about them matters.  Not their feelings, thoughts, desires, or even their health.

 

Amazing how narcissistic abuse seems to infect every single area of your life, isn’t it?  It’s so insidious, that I didn’t even think about the fact I thought that what mattered to me should matter to others until recently.

 

Now that I realized there is a problem, at least I can fix it while sharing what I learn with you, Dear Reader.

 

To start with, I’m talking to God about it.  It’s the best place to start that I know of.  I asked Him, “What makes the things that matter to me less important than what matters to others?”  “Are my desires less important than those of others?”  He responded me by reminding me that no one is more important than another person.  My wants, needs, etc. are just as valuable as those of other people.  I matter!  I also asked God to help me remember such things when I slip up, which no doubt will happen sometimes.

 

I think it’s also important not to beat yourself up when you slip into old, dysfunctional habits.  I do that very easily simply out of habit, & it’s very unhealthy.  It’s depressing & damaging to self-esteem.  Rather than beating yourself up, why not just accept that you’ll make mistakes.  No one is perfect, & mistakes happen, especially when trying to form a new habit.  Shake it off.  Accept that you made a mistake & try not to repeat that mistake.

 

When you realize you’re improving in this area, celebrate!  Reward yourself for a job well done!  How?  That is up to you.  At the very least, thank God for helping you & tell yourself you did a great job.  Changing old mindsets & habits isn’t easy, so you should be proud of yourself for making the appropriate changes & allowing God to help you to do so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“You’re Too Negative!”

One thing many victims of narcissistic abuse have told me is people have told them they are too negative if they discuss their experiences.   I’ve heard it too.  “You’re too negative.”  “Your problem is you don’t think positive” (I guess thinking positive will fix my C-PTSD.. if it was only that easy!)

 

What people fail to realize is telling the truth about narcissistic abuse isn’t being negative.  It’s telling facts.  It’s telling your story.  It’s raising awareness of this awful epidemic.  It also helps us to heal, discussing things.  (The constant gaslighting/crazy making made us doubt ourselves so much, & talking about things helps us to keep a healthy perspective & remember the narcissist was the real problem.)

 

There is nothing negative or critical or even dishonorable about discussing your experiences with narcissistic abuse!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!  Talk about it as you are comfortable.  Help raise awareness!  Help yourself heal!

 

One important thing to remember though- if you’re seeking validation by discussing your story, you may not get it.  Many people don’t understand narcissistic abuse, nor do they want to.  Even those close to you may invalidate your pain.  You have to accept that not everyone will provide the support & understanding you crave.

 

If you’re worried about the narcissist finding out you’re talking about what she did to you, I understand.  It’s scary.  Narcissists, in particular narcissistic parents, can be scary, especially during a narcissistic rage.  But, keep in mind- there is really nothing they can do to you anymore!  Scream at you?  Call you names?  Talk badly about you to other people?  Chances are, after years of it, you’re so used to these things they barely phase you anymore.  I understand!  As a grown woman, I sometimes get afraid someone will tell my parents what I write about.  I remember my mother screaming & raging at me as a kid.  When that happens, I remind myself that I’ve experienced her rages so many times, that I’ve become pretty numb to them.  I also remind myself that this isn’t just her story- it is mine too.  I have every right to discuss it with whoever & however I want to.

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“Just Let It Go”

I think all of us who have been abused have heard this invalidating, hurtful phrase at some point.  You say something about your experiences, & the listener tells you to “just let it go.”  They may even say “I mean this in love…” first, as if that will soften the blow of their hurtful words.

 

“Just let it go” can be among the most painful words a victim can hear, & also among the most common ones.  It’s also among the most stupid thing to say.

 

For one thing, if the person saying them says they’re saying these words out of love for you, that is a lie.  The simple fact is that what you have said about your experiences makes the person uncomfortable.  I can say this with confidence, because I believe what the Bible says about love:

 

1 Corinthians 13  1″Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.  (KJV)

 

Nowhere in there does it say love means invalidate others or hurt them.  Love is kind, rejoices in truth & bears all things- sounds to me like real love means you support those in pain instead, even if the topic makes you uncomfortable.

 

“Just let it go” also doesn’t make sense because who we are is a result of what we have experienced in life, good & bad.  You shouldn’t “just let go” of your past as if it didn’t happen because of that.  You can learn a lot about yourself by not only what you have been through, but also by how you responded to things that have happened to you.

 

When you have been through traumatic experiences, there is another problem with “just letting it go”:  you can’t.  Even if you want to, you can’t.  PTSD & C-PTSD mean like it or not, you’re going to live with depression, anxiety, flashbacks, insomnia & more because of the trauma you’ve been through.  I’ve heard it said that PTSD & C-PTSD don’t mean you aren’t letting go of the past, but they’re the past not letting go of you.  It’s VERY true!

 

There are some things that you can & should “just let go” however…

 

  • Believing you are 100% responsible for making relationships work.
  • Believing something is wrong with you or you’re a bad person, because others have mistreated you.
  • Believing that if you would just do *fill in the blank*, the other person would treat you better.
  • Believing you have to “forgive & forget” or else you’re a bad person.
  • Believing you have to be in a relationship with your abuser.  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse from anyone.
  • Hope that the other person will one day apologize to you for everything they’ve done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Does Your Narcissistic Mother Make You Sick?

I’ve been living with a sinus infection for longer than I care to admit.  Finally it seemed to be improving some.  It was wonderful not having a fever or sneezing & coughing every three seconds!

 

Then my narcissistic mother called.

 

As we were on the phone, I started coughing & sniffling more than I had in a while.  Not that she noticed, mind you.  By the time we hung up, I was feeling yukky.  I checked, & I had a slight fever for the first time in a while.

 

Later in the day I mentioned this to my husband.  He said “I’m not surprised.  Her calls often leave you feeling bad.”  I thought about it & he’s right.  I often hang up from her calls with a bad headache, a backache or if I’m already sick, my symptoms get worse.  It’s not a guarantee that every time I’ll feel bad, but it happens often enough.

 

Have you ever noticed if this happens to you too?

 

If it does, I would hazard a guess to say it’s normal.  Years ago, I read somewhere that many people who have experienced trauma or have PTSD have lower back pain with no physical cause.  In fact, 51% of people with PTSD fall into this category.  If dealing with people who have caused you trauma can cause back pain, why couldn’t it also cause you headaches or exacerbating symptoms of an illness you already have?

 

Honestly, I haven’t found a way to avoid this from happening.  Instead, I have decided that I have every right to avoid talking to her if I am not up to the possible physical problems it may cause me.  It is my right to protect my physical & mental health.

 

The same goes for you too, Dear Reader.  If your narcissistic mother makes you feel bad, either physically or mentally, you do NOT need to answer her calls or texts, or visit her if you don’t feel up to it.  I’m not saying cut all ties- certainly that’s an option & often a good one for narcissists, but that decision is entirely yours.  I won’t advocate going no contact or staying in contact,because no one should influence you on such an important & individual matter.  That being said though, limited contact is a good alternative if you are unable to go no contact or unsure if it’s the right solution for you.

 

Limited contact simply means what it sounds like- limiting the time you spend with your narcissistic mother.  Not answering her call every time she calls, not responding to her texts or emails right away & not spending a great deal of time with her- instead only doing so as you feel able to do so.  This is the option I’ve chosen with my mother & although it’s not a perfect solution (no such thing exists, especially with narcissists), it works pretty well for the most part.

 

I urge you to pray about it, Dear Reader.  If dealing with your narcissistic mother affects your physical & mental health, you certainly have every right to go limited contact with no guilt.  As I said earlier, you have the right to protect your physical & mental health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Be God In Someone’s Life

Many people are suffering these days in some way.  They want answers or help, or at the very least a shoulder to cry on.  Unfortunately, if you’re a good listener & try to bless people, these people often come to you to meet their needs.

 

There is certainly nothing wrong with listening or helping people as you can.  In fact, that’s a good thing.  However, sometimes people take it further than that.  They are so used to you helping them, that they come to expect it.  In fact, they expect you to fix whatever is wrong in their lives, & get mad if you don’t.

 

Many years ago, my ex husband & I shut the ringer off on our phone one evening.  We just wanted a quiet evening.  We heard our answering machine clicking, which meant someone was leaving a message.  This happened repeatedly.  Eventually when we listened, the messages were from a couple we were friends with.  The wife was pregnant & was having problems.  They expected me to take them to the hospital & were furious that they had to find someone else to take them.  In spite of the idea for shutting off the phone’s ringer being my ex’s idea, they were mad at me.  I shouldn’t have done that to them.

 

I’ve been in many other situations where so-called friends were mad at me for not fixing whatever their problems were.  Having narcissistic parents, I always felt that I was responsible for fixing people’s problems, so when I let them down somehow, I felt really guilty.  God showed me that this was wrong.  People need to look to Him, not other people, for their solutions.  While sometimes He may use people to help others, still, the person with the problem needs to keep their focus on God to solve it.  Not doing that means a person is making another person God in his or her life.

 

I never thought of it this way, but it made sense to me.  Being the solution to someone’s problems isn’t a good thing when it happens over & over.  It means they hold you responsible for things that aren’t your responsibility.  This puts a tremendous burden on you that you weren’t meant to carry.  It keeps the relationship unbalanced.  You are meeting their needs, as they expect you to, while there is an unspoken rule that you aren’t to ask them for anything in return.   It also takes their eyes off God when they should be on Him.  And, they praise you instead of God for fixing their problems when He should’ve been the one to fix things & get the praise for it.

 

Whether you are in the position of being the one expecting another to fix your problems or you are the fixer (like so many adult children of narcissistic parents), it’s time for you to make a change.

 

To start with, go to God first.  Ask Him if you should help this person or not.  If not, maybe you can guide this person to someone who can help him or her better than you can.  Or, if you’re the one wanting someone to fix your problems, stop running to that person & ask God what you should do in this situation.

 

You need to remind yourself that your job is NOT to fix everyone!  Growing up with narcissistic parents, I know it feels that way, but it’s just one more lie they told you.  (If you don’t believe me, ask God.  He will tell you the truth!)  They probably wanted you to believe this lie to justify them expecting so much from you.  If your job is to fix everyone’s life, then it’s OK for them to use you.

 

If you are the one expecting someone to fix your life, then before you pick up your phone, remember, it is no one’s job but yours to fix your problems!  If someone helps you, it’s a blessing, not something another person owes you.

 

Breaking old habits can be difficult but that doesn’t mean impossible.  You can make the changes you need to make, & be much happier for doing so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Talking About Narcissistic Abuse

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Some Ways To Deal With Narcissists

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Do You Avoid Depending On & Trusting People?

Something else I recently learned was about counter dependency- another common issue in victims of abuse.

 

Counter dependency is where a person has issues trusting other people.  They avoid depending on, opening up to or trusting others.  They appear extremely independent, even pushing other people away.  Often they have a deep fear of intimacy & fear asking for any help.  When you consider what the typical childhood experiences of a child of a narcissistic parent are, this behavior makes sense.  Narcissistic parents don’t care about their child’s feelings & needs, basically forcing their child to be independent of them.  For a child, being pushed away by a parent is devastating.  She learns early in life not to trust other people.

 

After reading about counter dependency, I realized this describes me very well.  As an example, if my husband & I have a disagreement, I shut down with him.  If he later asks how I am, my answer is always fine.  What did I do today?  Not much.  I let him talk about his day at work or anything else he wants to, but I divulge little to no information about myself.  It happens so automatically, I didn’t even realize I was doing it until the last couple of weeks. It took some more time for me to learn this behavior has a name.

 

As of now, I’m not entirely sure how to change this dysfunctional behavior.  I am only guessing, but I think talking about my experiences would help.  Mostly with God of course- He is always the best place to start- but also with safe people or writing about it in my journal.  Talking, praying or writing about things can bring a clarity to you, & enable you to understand why you are behaving in a dysfunctional way.  And of course, once you understand the root of your behavior, you can understand the truth which is you don’t need to behave that way.  You can behave in a healthier way.

 

As I learn about counter dependency, I’ll share what I learn.  We can learn & grow together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anger Isn’t Always A Bad Thing!

Anger is an emotion that strikes fear into many people.  In Christian circles, many think anger isn’t of God.  It’s from the devil & to be avoided at all costs.  If you’re angry, you’re a sinner/wrong/a bad person.  People who were abused fear anger, assuming the angry person is going to hurt them like their abuser did.

The truth is though that anger is simply one of the many emotions God gave us, & if God gave it, it can’t be bad.  What you do with the anger can be good or bad though.

I have learned that sometimes, it is good to hold onto some anger.  If I think back on the terrible, abusive things my narcissistic mother has done to me, although I have forgiven her for doing them, the unfairness of them still makes me angry.  This is not a bad thing at all!  If I can remember to focus on that anger, it helps me to stay strong with my mother when she does something else hurtful.  The anger empowers me- it helps me to have the inner strength to call her out on her actions when I need to, rather than letting her get away with abusing me.

There is also a big difference in being angry at the injustice of a situation & angry at a person.  God commands us to forgive one another repeatedly in the Bible,  I believe because it benefits us so much to forgive others.  (A few examples are: Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-32, Matthew 18: 21-22 & Matthew 6:14-15.)  Not forgiving others can lead very easily to bitterness or tainting your judgment of other people.  (example: if your husband cheated on you, you think all men are cheaters)  Being angry with a righteous anger at the unfairness of a situation though, does not have the same results.  Yes, an unjust situation makes you angry but it doesn’t make you bitter, & it gives you strength to stand up for what is right.

If you feel anger, I urge you to really delve into why you are angry.  If you are angry at the person who hurt or abused you, then by all means, please try to let it go.  I wrote about the topic of forgiveness on my website.  You can click this link if you’d like to read it.

If you’re angry about the unfairness of a situation though, I would urge you to hold onto that righteous anger.  It will help you if you ever are faced with a similar situation.

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Trauma Changes You

Trauma actually can cause physical changes in the brain. That is why PTSD & C-PTSD happen- the brain is actually broken due to traumatic experiences. The physical damage to the brain causes the awful symptoms of both disorders.

However, I don’t believe you have to have an actual disorder to be changed by trauma.

I have C-PTSD, but the symptoms didn’t fully manifest until the spring of 2012. Prior to that, I have experienced many traumas, & I realized I changed after several of them, long before the C-PTSD.

In 2010, my house was hit by lightening while my husband & I were at a friend’s wedding reception. When we came home we learned a window unit air conditioner had been hit, & caught fire, but somehow the fire went out. The neighbor’s tree beside our driveway, where my car sits, was hit, as was their brick chimney. There were large limbs & bricks surrounding my car, but nothing touched my car. Coming so close to losing my car, furkids & home was extremely traumatic. It made me appreciate them all even more. I constantly snuggle & tell the furkids how much I love them now (sometimes to their disappointment..lol). Cleaning my home & car also aren’t as big of a nuisance as they once were.

Shortly after the lightening incident, upon leaving a store, my shoe got caught on the curb & flung me into oncoming traffic.  Thankfully I was only sore & embarrassed, but that oncoming truck that came within inches of hitting me scared me!  It made me realize that life can change or even end in an instant.  Since then, I take better care of my mental health now instead of ignoring when the C-PTSD flares up. I am less rigid in my routines, opting to do fun things whenever the opportunities arise. I also constantly reevaluate things in my life & am much more open to making changes than I was.

Things like what I have experienced are normal. Trauma is so dramatic, how can it not change you in some way?

The changes may not be as drastic as mine have been. Sometimes, it’s small changes. For example, since I developed C-PTSD, I am not as interested in knitting & crocheting as I had been. I loved doing both ever since I was five years old, so suddenly losing interest has been very strange to say the least.

Have you changed as a result of trauma? If so, you are completely normal! It’s ok! These changes may simply be a part of the new you. Why not embrace the changes? You may discover new interests or a renewed passion for an old one. You may have a new appreciation for the people, pets or even things in your life. You may wish to end old relationships that aren’t beneficial to you or the other person, & that too is fine. It may be a good thing. Maybe it’s time for a fresh start. You also may change often, your likes or dislikes changing frequently.

I encourage you to pray if you are unsure of or uncomfortable with the changes happening to you. God will reassure you of what is fine & let you know if something is wrong.

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Something New

As you may remember, last year, I created The Butterfly Project.  I would send people a small butterfly to remind them that they are much like the butterfly- they’ve been through a dark place (narcissistic abuse) yet emerged into a beautiful new creation in spite of the pain, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

 

I decided to make some changes to The Butterfly Project.  You can see the new website for it here: TheButterflyProject.tripod.com   And, you can check out the new facebook page for it here: The Butterfly Project  (Please feel free to like the page & share it as well as my site!  Thank you!)

 

To summarize, I decided not only to send people butterflies if requested, but also to make them, pray over the recipients of each one, attach a tag to the butterflies to bring people to the above mentioned website & leave these little critters around town in public places where they can be found easily.  My hope is that I won’t be the only one doing so- I’m hoping other people in various areas will do the same.  Information on how to participate can be found here: http://thebutterflyproject.tripod.com/want-to-help.html

 

Please consider joining me in The Butterfly Project.  I think it’s a fun way not only to help offer some inspiration & comfort to victims of narcissistic abuse, but also to help raise awareness.

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Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Going Backwards Sometimes As You Heal

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, you learn early on that certain things are facts.  You have no right to have any opinion, feelings or needs, you are here to be used, you are fat/skinny/ugly/stupid as a few examples.  Hearing these things so often, especially when said with such conviction, you come to accept them as the absolute truth.

Eventually you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Finally, you have an answer to what has been wrong all these years, & lo & behold, it isn’t you!  You begin the long healing journey to repair so much damage.

Sometimes though, as you’re healing, you have backwards moments.  During those times you’ll slip into old, familiar yet very dysfunctional behaviors.  You may feel an incredible sense of doubt.  Is what you’ve learned wrong?  Is it really the truth or is it a lie?  It feels like a lie, because you’re going against things that your narcissistic mother ingrained so deeply in you.

I often go through feeling like what I’m learning is a lie.  It’s really annoying & very hard!  It involves a lot of false guilt, because I feel like a part of me is betraying my mother for rejecting what she worked so hard to instill in me.  I can feel like I’m betraying my mother, too, by even discussing my experiences since she was so adamant about me staying quiet.   It also produces a lot of anxiety because of stepping so far out of my comfort zone.  Often, it even produces nightmares too.

When these times happen, I’ve found the most important thing to do is accept the fact that these times happen.  There is no point in beating yourself up over them, because they are natural.  Like I’ve said many times, healing isn’t like a straight, concrete path.  It’s more like a very twisty, rocky path through the woods with many peaks & valleys.

You’ll need to confront the false beliefs that are rearing their ugly little heads, too.  Ask God to tell you the truth.  “Please Father, tell me the truth.  What I learned- is it a lie like my mother would say it is?”  “Should I feel guilty for believing these new things?” “Is it ok for me to talk about what happened to me?”  He will tell you the truth.  Even if you have to ask over & over again, He won’t lose patience with you & will tell you the truth repeatedly if that is what you need.

Always keep God in control of your healing.  He will lead you to the right information as you need it & are able to handle it.  He will not guide you wrong!  Trust that, & when your trust wavers some, ask God to give you more faith, to help your unbelief.

Music is surprisingly helpful too.  Listen to whatever empowers you, & do it often.  I love classic rock, hard rock, heavy metal & Southern rock for empowering music.

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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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A Way To Help Yourself Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

I’ve learned that being objective can be a helpful tool regarding your healing from narcissistic abuse.

When you grew up abused by a narcissist, the abnormal was your normal.  Not much phased you, because you were used to so many outrageous & horrible things.  Plus, your narcissistic mother made sure you knew that you never had any real problems- she was the only one who knew suffering.  You were accused of faking being sick or in pain to get attention.  On the off chance you were really sick or had a problem, hers was much worse than yours ever could be.  You also knew you weren’t to bother anyone with your “petty” problems.

The result of growing up like this means that even after you’re aware of narcissistic abuse & its devastating effects, you still don’t think you have the right to be affected by it.  The dysfunctional beliefs your narcissistic mother put on you as a child are naturally deeply ingrained in you.

The truth is though, that these beliefs don’t serve you well.  In fact, they hurt you.  You can become very depressed, because you know you have problems resulting from the abuse you endured, but you feel deep down that you don’t have the right to be affected.  You may even wonder if you’re faking it or exaggerating your problems.  You may even think you’re being too hard on your narcissistic mother.  You feel guilty or even wonder if you are going insane.

None of this is good for you!   You need to be able to look at the situation objectively, without emotion or dysfunctional beliefs if you want to see the truth & begin to heal.  It can be easier than you think to do.

Simply consider your situation differently.  Imagine that a good friend has come to you with this horrible story of growing up with an abusive, narcissistic mother.  What would you tell her?  Would you tell her to get over it or it wasn’t so bad?  Or, would you offer her compassion, telling her she has nothing to be ashamed of, it was terrible what she had been through & other caring things?

Treat yourself as you would treat that good friend of yours, with deep compassion.  Accept that you have been through some serious & traumatic things.  Once you do that, you are validating your pain & you can truly begin to heal.  You most likely will begin to grieve- grieve for your lost childhood, for the pain you endured, for the unfairness of the situation,  for the fact your father didn’t protect you & for the loss of hope that your mother will change into a loving mother one day.  This is a vital step towards healing.  It isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile to go through it.

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

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

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

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

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

Do any of these situations sound somewhat familiar to you?

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

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

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

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

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Shame For Being Abused

We live in a culture where victim blaming is the norm.  People wonder what the woman did to provoke her husband for beating her, & offer her no sympathy because she stays with him.  Rape victims are blamed for being attacked.  If she wasn’t wearing that short skirt or wasn’t drunk, it wouldn’t have happened, they say.  Even many adults who were abused as children  are not often believed, & sometimes even blamed.  “If it was really so bad, why didn’t you tell someone?”  “I really can’t see your mother (or father) doing that.”  “I had it worse than you & I’m just fine.”

This leads to a tremendous amount of shame in victims.  They can feel ashamed for being so “weak” as to be affected by what happened, or ashamed it happened at all.  They blame themselves for being abused.  They may feel terribly about themselves because  so many others have had it worse than they did.  They even may wonder if it really happened.  (Not being believed really can lead to that much doubt!)

I’ve been through this myself, & still battle it sometimes (although thank God those times are fewer than they once were).  I especially have trouble with beating myself up for being so weak as to be so damaged from the abuse I endured growing up.  Not healthy & really not wise!

If this describes you too, Dear Reader, please know that you have no reason to be ashamed!  Abusers are the ones who should be ashamed, not their victims!  Just because you were abused doesn’t mean you have done something wrong.  What it means is there is something very wrong with the person who hurt you!

When you feel this way, I’ve found praying to be very helpful.  Telling God just how I feel helps a lot.  Keeping things secret, I think, gives them power. but bringing things into the open releases their hold on you.  Talking about them helps you in that way, especially talking about them with God, who loves you so much & can comfort you like no one else can.

Also, remembering some of the worst events helps too, believe it or not.  It puts the abuse in perspective & reminds you that yes, it really was bad!  It also reminds you that you didn’t, couldn’t, do anything to deserve what you went through.  Write them out if you like- that way you can look back over them the next time you feel that shame creeping in.  The anger over what happened can be helpful.  While I have forgiven my mother for abusing me, I am still angry over the unfairness of it all, & the damage caused by it.  That anger helps me when the shame starts to act up.

Always remind yourself- the blame & shame for you being abused belongs square on the abuser, not on you.  Remind yourself that it is not yours to carry.  If visuals help you, imagine yourself carrying this large, ugly sack.  Then, see yourself handing it over to the person who abused you & walking away, leaving them to hold this sack.

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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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How Grief Can Help You Heal

Last night, I dreamed a lot, but don’t remember about what.  I assume one had to do with my mother hurting me badly a few months ago, because when I first woke up, I couldn’t get the incident out of my mind for quite a while.  She asked one day if my ex husband ever hit me.  I said he did once, & her response was to tell me she had no idea.  If she would’ve known, she would’ve called a lawyer.  Didn’t ask if I’d been hurt or anything, just kept the focus on her- how she felt about it & what she would’ve done if she had known.  Apparently she doesn’t remember she saw me shortly after, when I looked rough, complete with bruises on my wrists in the shape of his hands where he’d grabbed me.  She also forgot telling my father she couldn’t imagine what I did to make him hurt me like that.  The conversation hurt so badly, I began crying while she was on the phone, which I try never to do.  Thankfully, she didn’t notice because of being so caught up in her narcissistic monologue.

That incident hurt me terribly.  It left me feeling very depressed for quite some time as I grieved the fact my mother doesn’t care enough about me to remember such a traumatic incident in my life.  I couldn’t even think about it sometimes, because I simply couldn’t tolerate that hurt.

Thankfully, when I woke up this morning & was forced to think of this incident (gotta love intrusive thoughts..), I realized something had changed.  My period of grief was done.  While thinking about it made me a bit sad, it was nothing like it once was, & mostly I was angry.  It was a healthy, righteous anger at the unfairness of the situation.  My own mother doesn’t care enough to remember seeing her daughter bruised & injured.  What kind of mother does that?!  The anger empowered me, & this is a good thing, I think.  It will enable me to be stronger when I have to deal with my mother, to enforce my boundaries better  & to tolerate less nonsense from her than I have been.

Grieving is a vital part of healing from abuse.  Releasing the pain & sadness for all you went through can help to bring you to a healthier perspective of your situation.  It clears your head, allowing room for other, healthier thoughts & emotions to come in.  It certainly did exactly this for me in the above mentioned situation.

I think many people are adverse to grieving the abuse they endured, because they think of it as feeling sorry for themselves.  Society places so much value on picking yourself up by your bootstraps & moving on that people want to just do that, while ignoring the process that enables moving on to happen.  Instead, they tend to ignore their pain, stuffing it down & putting on a happy face.  There is nothing wrong with feeling sorry for yourself for a time though!  I think of it as self-compassion, rather than self-pity.  If you would feel bad for a friend who told you her painful story, what is wrong with you feeling that same way regarding yourself & your own painful story?

Grieving is more than feeling self-compassion though.  It is processing what happened which allows you to release the pain.  Maybe all of it or maybe only most of it, but once pain is released you are then able to function better & think more clearly.

Allow yourself to grieve over the painful things you’ve experienced!  Cry about them, get angry about them, say out loud that what happened to you was unfair, cruel & simply wrong.  Do what you need to do to get the pain & sadness out of you- you will be much happier in the long run.

For more information, please follow this link to my website: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Grieving.php

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Making Some Changes With My Writing

Recently, I had an interesting dream.  It showed me that I need to change direction slightly with my writing.  I’ve been sensing I need to do this for a while, but I think now is the time to do it.

While definitely narcissism & what I learn about it as I go will be a priority, I believe it’s time to include other, lighter topics as well.  What those topics are, I’m not sure yet.  God will lead me, as always.  I’m open to suggestions though- you can comment on this post or email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com.  I’ll pray about the suggestions I receive before writing about them, so your suggestion may appear a while in the future or may be tweaked a bit when I write about it.  Please don’t take that personally- I lean on God a lot with what I write, much more than people.

Anyway, I think this is a good idea to lighten up some.  The simple fact is writing & focusing about narcissism so much can be pretty overwhelming for me, & I don’t need the C-PTSD triggered any more than it already is.  I think reading about it can have the same overwhelming effect on many people.  Learning about narcissism & the damage it causes is essential to your healing from narcissistic abuse, of course.  It helps you to heal & gives you the answers you’ve been wanting.  However, it is also an extremely negative topic & can take a toll on your emotions.  Physically it can drain you, too.

I find it’s best to have balance- times where you learn about narcissism & related topics, time where you focus on your healing, but also times where you refuse to think about such things, instead focusing your energies into more positive, lighter endeavors.  Not doing so, but instead focusing constantly on it brings you down badly.  I’ve noticed it on various Facebook pages or groups for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers.  So many people obsess, & you can tell just by how they write that they aren’t happy.  They spend all their time thinking about the horrors they have been through or abusive people- how could they be happy??

Instead of doing that, I would like to encourage you today to take breaks.  You’ll know when you need one- you’ll begin to feel your emotions starting to sink.  You’ll catch yourself thinking of your own awful experiences or you’ll be angry at your narcissistic mother often.  You’ll think mostly about narcissism.  These are signs it’s time to take a break.  Take an afternoon or even a few days where you deliberately refuse to focus on anything related to NPD.  Indulge in your favorite hobbies, read a new book, hang out with close friends.. do things that you enjoy & make you feel good.  Then, you can get back to a more balanced approach.  You’ll feel much better about it after your break.

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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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Should Narcissistic Parents Reap What They Sow?

Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Have you ever thought about how this Scripture applies to your narcissistic parents?

It seems to me that many adult children of narcissistic parents try to interrupt this natural event.  Many refuse to discuss the abuse they endured when they should be more concerned about the damage done to them than their parents’ reputations.  Others spend their entire lives trying to please the unpleasable narcissistic parent instead of setting healthy boundaries & ignoring the personal costs to themselves.  Still others will move their elderly narcissistic parent into their home, allow her to upset every member of the household & face no consequences for her actions.

Narcissistic parents train their children very well in many ways, but possibly the most impressive area is when they train them to take care of their parents at any & all costs.  No sacrifice is too big for many children of narcissistic parents. even though the parent acts as if no sacrifice is big enough.

This is not good!  People learn from reaping what they sow, which is why God wants us to reap what we sow.  And yes, even narcissists can learn from consequences.  They need to have consequences if there is to be any hope of them changing.  Giving them consequences is also good for you, because it breaks the unhealthy, dysfunctional patterns you have lived in for so long.

I know it can be hard to unlearn the lifetime of training you received from your narcissistic parent, but it can be done.  First & foremost, ask God for help.  Ask Him to show you what you need to do & how to do it & for the courage to do this.

When situations arise, remind yourself of the truth.  For example, the truth is that it’s not your job to protect your narcissistic mother’s reputation!  If someone asks you something about your mother & the truth isn’t necessarily pretty, tell the truth.  I’m not saying be disrespectful, bashing her, or calling her names of course, but you can tell the truth in a matter of fact way, even if the truth isn’t pretty.

Another situation could be when your narcissistic mother is elderly & in need of care.  The truth is it is up to you whether or not you are her caregiver.  Many adult children of narcissists don’t help their elderly parents & have peace about their decision while others feel the same peace about caring for them full or part time.  It is a very individual choice that only you can make.  (If you opt not to do hands on care, though, I would recommend helping them to find proper help. There are many great resources out there that can offer help through your local Department of Aging.)

Also, I have noticed that feelings are no exception to this rule of reaping what you sow.  My feelings have dwindled greatly for my parents after a lifetime of narcissistic abuse.  I used to beat myself up for this, telling myself I was a terrible person & a terrible daughter.  During prayer one day though, God told me they are reaping what they have sown, & I’m not a terrible person.  They haven’t sown many good, loving seeds with me so they are reaping a harvest of indifference in some ways from me.  It  is completely normal to feel the way I do.  If you feel the same, please know that you are normal!

Dear Reader, I urge you to let your narcissistic parents reap what they sow.  They won’t like it, but if God allows certain things to happen to them, it must be for a reason.   Let Him allow what He knows is best to happen.

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Love Changes, & Not How You May Expect It To

I’ve experienced a very odd thing a few times in my life.  I would guess I’m not the only one who has dealt with it so I thought I should write about it.  Sometimes, after being treated very badly by someone, the love & compassion I once felt for that person died suddenly.  This doesn’t mean I wish someone harm or harbor any anger towards them- it just means I feel nothing.  It’s indifference, which I believe is the opposite of love.

As I write this, my mother in-law is in the hospital.  I wish I could say I was concerned, but I feel nothing other than concern for how this situation will affect my husband.  This sounds terrible, doesn’t it?  But, the fact is that for the first eight years of our relationship, she was extremely verbally abusive to me & that took a toll on me.  Then one night in 2002, she called to talk to my husband who wasn’t home from work yet.  She screamed at me because he was still at work & for his allergies that were flaring up.  That wasn’t even our worst conversation, but still, something in me shut down as she was screaming.  I wasn’t even angry- I just felt nothing for her at that point.  I haven’t spoken to her since & have no desire to do so, even though she isn’t doing well.

Something similar happened with someone else I was close to.  She once told me out of the blue that I needed to get over my “childhood hurts”.  It was the last of several similar hurtful comments she’d made over the years, & it killed the love I’d once felt for her.  When she died about a year later, I felt virtually nothing.

No one seems to talk about this sort of thing.  It seems acceptable to say you’ve fallen out of love with your partner, but not to admit that the love you once felt for someone died because of their hurtful, abusive behavior.  However, I think it must be normal.

Everyone has what I think of as a love account for each person in their life.  It’s like a checking account, except it doesn’t hold money, it holds love.  Gentle, sweet, thoughtful actions put love into the account, while harsh, thoughtless ones take love out of it.  If someone is good to you, that account stays on the positive side, building up a good balance.  Yet, if someone is cruel to you, withdraws are made.  If too many withdraws are made, your love account balance can go into the negative.  At this point, hopefully that person will flood you with loving gestures in an attempt to repair the relationship & bring the balance back up.  If he or she doesn’t though, this is when your love can die for that person.

If you have experienced this too, Dear Reader, please know you aren’t alone.  I’ve been there!   Don’t beat yourself up for it.  You can ask God to help you to restore the love you once felt if you like, but don’t be surprised if He doesn’t.  He hasn’t with me.  I have learned to trust Him.  Maybe this happened because it was time to end the relationship.  Or, maybe if the relationship continued as it had, things would have gotten worse.  I don’t know, but I do know to trust God in this area.  He truly knows best.

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Balance Is Healthy

In life, many people say out of balance things, such as always look for the positive or always listen to your heart. While this may sound good, it isn’t healthy. Sometimes, there is little or no positive to be found, & that is fine. Valuable lessons can be learned in negative circumstances, not just positive. And, listening to your heart is always wise, but logic must intervene at some point too. I know if I listened to my heart only, I would never accomplish anything around my home- I’d spend my time writing, being creative, playing with the furkids & such without doing laundry or cooking. While that sounds amazingly fun, it’s also amazingly impractical.

I just wanted to take a moment today to encourage you, Dear Reader, to have some balance in your life. So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse have trouble in this area. We often put others ahead of ourselves even when it isn’t best for anyone involved, we give at the expense of our own selves or we even can become obsessed with learning about narcissism since it finally gives us the answers we’ve been seeking.

Think about your life- what areas are out of balance? Do you listen to your feelings over logic every time? Do you always make sacrifices for others while expecting nothing in return? Are you a workaholic? Do you read non-stop about narcissism?

Please stop those out of balance behaviors! Balance is a good thing- it helps you to stay happy & healthy, two things you deserve. While working or doing for others are certainly admirable, you still need breaks from doing them. The same goes for learning about narcissism. You absolutely must learn about it if you wish to heal from narcissistic abuse, but even so, take breaks where you refuse to think about it sometimes. Narcissism is such a deep & negative subject- your emotions need breaks from thinking about it so you don’t plummet into depression.

How do you achieve balance? To start with, ask God to show you what areas you need to improve. Make any changes you know you need to do. Also, ask God to show you if you need to make further changes & to help you to do so.

If you are close to someone who is also out of balance, you could see if this person wishes to be an accountability partner. You could be accountable to each other, discussing your situations & what you are doing. You could pray together, too.

Listen to your heart. If you feel resentment or dread regarding certain tasks, that is for a reason. You may be focusing too much in that area.

Learn about boundaries if you haven’t already. Learning to set & enforce healthy boundaries will help you so much.

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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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Disliking Birthdays & Holidays

Recently I was talking with one of my readers about holidays. She mentioned Mother’s Day in particular, & said how much she hates the day. Obviously, she has a narcissistic mother. Anyway, she said she has been working on changing her attitude & focusing on enjoying the day with her children, because she doesn’t like feeling this way about the holiday. It hasn’t gone well. Even after several pleasant Mother’s Days, she still isn’t a fan of the day, & felt guilty about her “failure.”

From my experience, I have seen this as a pretty common scenario for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers. Not just with Mother’s Day, but birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or other special days.

I’m no different. After countless awful birthdays, Christmases, & Thanksgivings, I couldn’t care less about those days. I have tried to enjoy my birthday at least, celebrating with friends each year for the last few years. It has been fun, until this year when I was sick & unable to celebrate. Also, my husband wasn’t able to leave work early like he was supposed to be able to do. We were going to spend the day together. Instead, I wasted my day waiting on him to come home instead of enjoying myself. My old feelings of wanting to ignore my birthday came back with a vengeance as a result, & I realized it may be permanent this time.

While aiming to have a positive attitude about days that have been bad for you is certainly a good thing, I’ve come to realize that sometimes, the best you can do is learn not to hate the day. I don’t mean to sound negative, just realistic.

I’ve heard that it takes ten praises to eliminate the negative effects of one criticism. Honestly, I think it takes more. I also think that bad holidays are much like that- it takes a lot of really pleasant holidays to change your negative feelings. I also think that one negative one thrown in with the good ones can hinder changing how you feel. It can set you back.

The reason I am telling you this, Dear Reader, is so that you won’t feel guilty like the lady I mentioned at the beginning of this post if your attitude isn’t better. Unfortunately this happens sometimes due to bad experiences, & beating yourself up about how you feel won’t help you improve your attitude! If anything, it only makes it worse.

So, Dear Reader, if you are dreading holidays or your birthday, I truly wish you the best with learning to enjoy those special days! I pray you will be able to do so! However, if you are unable to, please don’t beat yourself up over it! Unfortunately it happens sometimes. Just know you are not alone in how you feel. xoxo

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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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