Tag Archives: emotional health

Stop Beating Yourself Up From Mistakes!

As I mentioned in this post, recently, my parents came by for a visit.  I thought it went very well- I set boundaries & didn’t let my mother get away with her usual nasty games.  It went so well in fact, that I knew my mother was extremely angry with me.  So angry, she didn’t even call me on my birthday last Tuesday for the first time ever.

 

The following day though, she called.  It was a very hurtful conversation, & I didn’t handle it very well.  During the visit & seemed to have the right answers for every situation.  During the call though?  I had nothing.  I wasn’t feeling well at all & was tired, plus her call caught me by surprise.  I shouldn’t have answered the phone, but did anyway, against my better judgment, & ended up very hurt & angry.

 

I was beating myself up about this situation.  Here I’ve been telling other adult children of narcissistic parents to be strong & how to do it, yet I failed miserably at following my own advice.  Talk about feeling like a hypocrite!  Not a nice feeling.

 

I realized some things from this experience though.

 

We all make mistakes.  My mistake was picking up the phone & ignoring my instincts that told me to let it ring.  Instead of beating myself up for making a mistake, now I’m looking at it as a reminder to listen to my instincts every single time.

 

I also learned to be mentally prepared for her calls.  Always, without fail ever, it’s best to remember to pray before answering her calls, asking God for strength, courage, the right words to say & whatever I need to successfully deal with her.  That is exactly what I prayed before my last visit with my parents, & God certainly didn’t disappoint me!  He never has when I’ve prayed those things.  In fact, I may start praying for them daily just in case she calls when I’m not expecting it so I can be prepared.

 

Also, I’ve been beating myself up for being so hurt by my mother’s usual nastiness.  She made sure I knew she wasn’t listening to or cared about anything I had to say, as she so often does.  Being in a weakened state, it hurt more than usual, & it usually hurts pretty bad.  When telling a very good friend about this, she reminded me that all children, no matter what age, want their mother’s love.  It’s normal.  Even though logically I know my mother hates me & won’t change either that fact or the way she treats me,  on some level, I wish things were different.  That is normal.   Thanks to my friend, I was reminded that it’s not right to beat yourself up for wishing things were different or being hurt by your narcissistic mother.

 

Lastly, I took a very bold step to take care of myself too.  I blocked my parents’  phone number on my phone.  Not permanently, but for a few days until I feel better & stronger, more able to deal with her if I need to.  This way, I have guaranteed myself some peace for a while.  I’ve never done this before, but I think it’s a good move.  I won’t have the usual debate I have inside when the phone rings & I see their number on the caller ID- Can I handle them right now?  Can I deal with the fallout later by not answering this call?  There’s no debate because I don’t see their number.

 

I hope what I learned will help you, Dear Reader.  Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes regarding your narcissistic mother.  No one is perfect!  Don’t wallow in those weak moments, but instead look at them as learning experiences.  Stop judging & criticising yourself, & instead just glean knowledge from those moments & go on.

 

 

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

Birthdays For Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Today is my birthday, which gave me the idea for something to write about.  Well, ok, technically I’m writing this before my birthday to publish on the day so I can take that day off..  lol  But anyway..

So many of us adult children of narcissistic parents hate our birthdays.  I’ve been battling this myself for many years, since my seventeenth birthday when my mother ruined my day & spent a good part of it screaming at me.  My eighteenth, when she gave me a gift she said she didn’t even know why she was giving me anything since she didn’t even like me.  There have been plenty of other lousy birthdays over the years, too, that weren’t related to my mother. These bad times set the stage for me to start dreading my birthday once the month of April begins.

A few years ago, a friend of mine messaged me on facebook shortly before my birthday & asked what I was going to do for my birthday.  I said nothing.  At the time, my father had started chemo & wasn’t feeling well- I felt I should be available in case my parents needed me.  My friend proceeded to chew me out. Gently but still.. lol  Birthdays are very important to him, he said, & pretty much ordered me to do something nice for myself that day, even if it was only picking up lunch from my favorite restaurant.  Something in me clicked.  I realized he was right.  Since then, each year my husband & I have gone to our favorite restaurant on the water not far from home with a few friends. We share a meal & some laughs in a cute little place with a scenic view.  It’s always a lot of fun.

In my experiences of meeting many other adult children of narcissistic parents, I’ve realized that I am hardly alone.  Many others dread their birthday because of bad memories their mothers attached to the date.  If that describes you, Dear Reader, please reconsider your feelings. Your birthday is a special day- it’s the day you made your grand entrance into this world. It is the day God assigned for you to bless the world with your presence!  That makes it a very special day.  And, you are a very special person!  In spite of what your narcissistic mother most likely told you, you are a wonderful person, & your birthday is a day that should be acknowledged & celebrated!  Why don’t you decide today to start doing just that?

When I first started to try to celebrate & enjoy my birthday, it felt so strange.  I even felt guilty, like I was doing something bad & wrong. But, as time has worn on, I’ve gotten better at it.  In fact, I’ve even looked forward to my birthday a few times.  Admittedly, I’m still struggling in this area, but at least I’ve made progress.  Progress is so much better than cringing every single time the month of April begins!  It may take you a little time & practice as it has me to start consistently looking forward to your birthday, but it is worth it!

To start, you don’t have to start big, like with a huge party, if you aren’t comfortable with that. Just do a little something nice for yourself.  Like my friend said, get your favorite lunch from your favorite restaurant.  Bake yourself a cake or buy a slice from a nice restaurant.  Buy yourself a nice gift- it doesn’t need to be extravagant if you don’t want it to be or can’t afford it.  A new book would suffice.  Go out for coffee with your best friend(s).  Buy yourself some fresh flowers or plant a pretty garden in your yard.  The point is to do something special just for you, to celebrate the wonderful day that you were born.  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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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Narcissism

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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Do You Celebrate Enough?

Do you celebrate the good things in your life?  Not necessarily throw a big party over every good thing, but at least revel in your joy for a few moments.

Life can be so hard & full of negative things, the good can get pushed aside.  It’s very easy to do.  However, I would like to encourage you today to start looking for more good things & celebrating them.  Focus more on what you have accomplished than what is still left to do.  Be proud of the fact you lost five pounds or finally painted your living room.  Think about how blessed you are that a good friend of yours brought you lunch when you were sick, or offered to take your child to school when you were unable.  Enjoy the fact your spouse took off work on your birthday to celebrate & spoil you.  Take a few moments just to think about those good things & feel good about them.  Bask in the good feelings for a few minutes.  Truly this will help you to feel good, & it will help to cement these positive experiences in your memory by attaching good emotions to them.  Experiences with emotions attached stick with us much better than those with little or no emotions.

I have stressed many times the importance of taking a break from emotional healing sometimes, as it can be very draining.  As much as you need to heal from narcissistic abuse, it can be very complex & deep, so periodic distracts are very important.  However, I think equally important is looking for & celebrating the good things.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent, accomplishments were always undermined.   We heard negative, critical, judgmental things our entire lives.  In fact, I think of my parents as the “could be a tumor” kid from the movie, “Kindergarten Cop.”  Do you remember that kid?  If not, here you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaTO8_KNcuo&list=FLyHVkrFotB51_ZKqh7BqAXg&index=27

These things our parents did became habits.  We learned to do them to ourselves.  We became highly critical & negative about ourselves, even trivializing the good things we’ve done.  Why continue the abuse that your parents started?  Stop it & stop it now!  You deserve so much better than that, & you deserve to be happy.  Start today by celebrating something good.  Take a few minutes to bask in the joy of the blessing or the event, whatever it is.  Focus on how good it feels to have received something or to have accomplished something.  Even if it’s simply cleaning your house- doesn’t it feel good to have that task completed?  Focus on that good feeling for a few minutes.  Thank God for the good things.  That’s all you have to do.

Now, try that celebration with other things, big & small.  Relish the enjoyment!  You’ll be a happier person for it!  xoxo

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New Ways To Cope With Anxiety Taught Me A Way To Deal With Narcissists

I was talking with a good friend of mine recently.  She, too, has problems with anxiety, although hers isn’t associated with C-PTSD.  It still sounds pretty bad, unfortunately.  While we were discussing our experiences, I told her that since I got since in February, my anxiety levels have been a lot better.  She asked what I have done to change things.  Honestly I couldn’t think of what to say at that time.  I had to get alone, pray & really look at things later on.

I got a new revelation on how quickly life can change or even end when I got sick.  When I got sick that February day with carbon monoxide poisoning, I didn’t realize just how serious it was, nor did anyone at the hospital tell me.  I read about it on the Mayo Clinic’s site & Wikipedia after I got home & was shocked at just how close I came to death or the possibility of permanent brain damage.  I made myself face how I felt about this situation instead of ignoring my feelings (as I learned early in life to do), & although it’s been painful to go through, it’s been good.  Coming  that close to death really gave me a new revelation on just how fast life can change, or even end.  That revelation has helped me tremendously to have a better perspective.  I don’t sweat the small stuff so easily now.  I don’t want to waste whatever time I have upset if I can help it.  We only have a relatively short time on this earth, & I have wasted enough years upset, angry, hurt & anxious- I want to enjoy the rest of the time I have as much as possible!

Wanting to enjoy my life as much as I can also made me enforce my boundaries better.  I’m learning to respect how I feel & say no sometimes.  I began asking myself some tough questions:  What is good or right about making myself miserable just to make someone else happy?  If someone wants that, they certainly are selfish & don’t have my best interests at heart.  And, what makes that person so much more important than me anyway?  Why is their happiness so much more important than mine?

Before I got sick, I was too stressed & anxious.  So much so, my hair is damaged & broken.  This was another sign that things had to change.  If my hair was showing such awful signs of stress, what could be happening on the inside to my heart or other organs?  I made the decision that I deserved better than this- it’s time to fight the anxiety & stress.  Making that decision was important.  The decision enabled me to slow down or even stop when anxiety kicks in & talk to myself.  I ask myself is this going to hurt me, is there something I can do to make this situation better, what am I so worried about?  Questions like that make me think about the situation logically, which cuts back on  or even eliminates anxiety.

I have begun to focus more on relaxing.  When I take my daily shower, I enjoy the feel of the warm water instead of just rushing through it.  I exfoliate my skin often & use a good quality lotion I like after my shower so my skin feels great.  I shampoo & condition gently with good products to take care of my fragile, recovering hair.  Often too, I turn on some good music, & light a scented candle while in the shower.  This turns a boring daily ritual into something I enjoy & that relaxes me.  I also turn on music when I do household chores, as the music makes me feel good.  When I get into bed, I take a moment to relish how comfortable & cozy it is.  I have a collection of pictures on my tablet that make me feel good- pictures of serene scenery, Victorian era images or even inspiring quotes that validate me.  Little things like this add to squelching anxiety.

Often, people talk to me about their problems.  (I think many adult children of narcissists are often the friend everyone talks to about their problems).  I’ve recently begun to remind myself that I’m not God- it’s not my place to fix other people’s lives.  Just because my parents raised me to fix their problems doesn’t mean that fixing people is my responsibility!  My job is to offer compassion, advice if asked, help them in some way if I feel God is leading me to & direct them to God.  This has enabled me to feel less anxiety because I can detach emotionally some now in these situations.

Most importantly, I also remind myself constantly that God is in control & is my provider. No matter what we do, God still is in charge.  He wants what is best for me & wants to bless me.  He has brought me this far for a reason, & has not once forsaken me.  Reminding myself of such things has brought me closer to God & our relationship has drastically improved.  Not that I have complaints about how it was before, but even so,  I feel so much closer to Him now & my faith has grown.

Granted, this doesn’t conquer all anxiety every time it happens.  I still battle agoraphobia every time I leave my home or wake up with panic attacks sometimes.  However, things have improved greatly.  And a bonus has happened- by slowing myself down to deal with anxiety, it’s become such a habit, I’ve also started doing it automatically when dealing with my narcissistic parents.  Instead of immediately getting angry or hurt over what they do, I am now able to remind myself that whatever they’re doing isn’t about me- it’s about their dysfunctional behavior.  For example, if they try to make me feel guilty for not calling more often, I remember that they don’t want me to call more because they care about me, but because they want that narcissistic supply.  The result is I don’t feel guilty- I realize they are trying to get supply from me & I have the right to protect myself from  it.  Talk about a bonus!  I can cope better with anxiety & my parents too?!  It feels good not to feel guilty, hurt  or angry every time I hang up the phone from talking to my parents!

I believe what I have learned can help you as well.  I urge you to pray about what I’ve written & put it into practice if God leads you to do so!

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Compassion Fatigue- A Common Problem

Many adult children of narcissistic parents grow into very compassionate, empathetic adults.  We listen to others & offer support, even when strangers approach us in a grocery store & want to tell us their problems.  We help generously.  We’re often caregivers in many ways- taking care of the sick as well as providing emotional or even financial support to those in need.  And, truthfully, we often enjoy it.

Whether you enjoy caregiving or not, though, sometimes it burns you out.

It’s like a bank account- you can’t withdraw money without ever putting in a deposit or you will overdraft your account. The exact same thing happens with your mental health- if you do nothing but give, there is nothing left over for you.  You become tired, mentally & physically.  You also become very irritable & bottle up your emotions.  You may abuse substances or overeat.  You isolate yourself because you feel you don’t have the energy or patience to deal with people.  You become indifferent to their suffering.  You have plenty of aches & pains without a physical cause & you have difficulty concentrating on things.  Some people stop their good self-care habits, even hygienic habits.

This is a frustrating place to be!  I’ve felt some degree of compassion fatigue for years, but it has reached a peak during my recent recovery.  When all you can do is lay around & do very minimal tasks, it gives you plenty of time to think.  I realized how very few people close to me genuinely cared about the fact I came very close to death recently.  Very few have even asked how I’m doing more than once.  Aside from the obvious anger about this, it hurt me badly.  I have done my best to be there for those in my life as much as possible, & this is how I’m treated after trauma?  This seemed to rocket the compassion fatigue into overdrive.  As I write this, there aren’t many people I’m close to that I can muster up some empathy for at this time.

So.. how does one combat compassion fatigue?  Honestly I had to research it because I’ve never found a way to do it on my own.  The suggestions I’ve found are below along with some things I’ve been trying to do myself.

  • Sometimes people won’t be there for you, but God will be.  Give Him first priority in your life, & go to Him when you need comfort before you go to people.
  • Don’t judge yourself for how you feel.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Practice good self-care rituals.
  • Set & enforce good boundaries to give yourself a break as you need.
  • Remember, when people come to you for help, you should do your best to point them back to God as much as possible, & not become a god to them by fixing their problems.
  • Talk with others who understand how you feel.
  • Participate in your hobbies often, or start new ones.

I hope this helps you to combat compassion fatigue & to achieve a healthier balance with helping other people.  May God bless you!

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

You Make Me Feel…

So many people say that no one can make you feel a certain way, & imply that you are weak if you “allow” someone to hurt you.  While saying no one can make you feel anything sounds empowering, I find it to be ridiculous, & often a form of victim blaming.

While it is certainly true in some cases, in many cases, people definitely can make you feel certain emotions.  If someone you love tells you that you look beautiful, they will make you feel good.  If that same someone tells you that you look horrible, they will make you feel bad.  If a total stranger said the exact same things, it wouldn’t mean so much to you because you won’t care nearly as much what a stranger thinks of you as you care about what someone you love thinks of you.  In fact, if a stranger said either thing, you may not even care at all.

So often when you have a narcissistic parent, other people don’t understand how, as an adult with your own life, their cruel words can hurt you.  They may say you should just ignore her, stop letting her get to you, you’re letting her make you feel that way, or similar invalidating things.  If it was only so easy!  It’s much easier to ignore a nasty stranger than it is your own mother, the woman you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is saying these things for the sole purpose of hurting you.  How can someone, especially your own mother, wanting to hurt you not affect you?  You would have to have a heart of stone not to be at least a little hurt by such a thing!

I want to encourage you today to have some balance.  Don’t let the ignorance, rudeness or even nastiness of some people bother you when you are able, & deal with the upset feelings when you aren’t able to disregard bad behavior directed at you. If you care even a little about another person, they absolutely can make you feel things, & that is totally normal!  There is nothing wrong with you or abnormal about you for being hurt by your narcissistic mother.  She is your mother- that role gives her a unique position no one else ever had or ever will have in your life, so don’t you think it’s only natural that she has the ability to hurt you or anger you when she is hateful to you??

Telling the victim of narcissistic abuse that no one, including her narcissistic mother, can make her feel a certain way to me is a type of victim blaming, which is sadly very common in today’s society.

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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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Abandonment & Invalidation For Adult Children Of Narcissists

One thing I have learned in the past few years is that people do NOT like unpleasant subject matters, & will go to great lengths to avoid them.  Many people with terrible health problems know this all too well- they lose friends & even family after receiving a diagnosis of a dreadful disease.  The people who once were closest to them suddenly have no time for them any longer.

This also happens with adult children of narcissistic parents.

It’s happened in my own life.  Once I started learning that my mother was abusive when I was seventeen, & talking to a few people about it, my circle of friends became smaller.  I talked less about it until many years later, once I started learning about narcissism.  Then, I began to talk more & also to write about it.  While my writing career suddenly began to take off, my personal relationships changed, especially when I also admitted to having C-PTSD.  Some of my relationships became closer, especially with those who also survived a narcissistic upbringing, but many did not.  Some people suddenly became very judgmental, telling me how I needed to just get over it, let it go, forgive & forget, stop living in the past, I use having C-PTSD for attention & even how I needed to be the one to fix things in my relationship with my parents.

This hurt & made me so angry!  It’s not fair & it’s not right! I began to feel like I did as a child- everything wrong with my parents’ & my relationship was all my fault, I should fix it & if I didn’t, I was a failure.  Not a nice way to feel at all!

If you too have experienced similar losses & invalidation in your relationships, you are not alone!  I understand your pain & frustration!

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any way to completely avoid such situations.  The fact is, like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, people don’t like unpleasant subject matters.  They prefer light, fluffy, happy things, as the unpleasant things make them uncomfortable.  Many people also cannot handle discussing unpleasant things about the parent/child relationship.  They may come from a good home, & can’t comprehend that a parent would abuse a child, or they came from a dysfunctional home, & you discussing your own painful experiences trigger feelings they aren’t ready to deal with yet.  Others may feel that you talk too much about your experiences.  (Please see my post on taking breaks– not to make others more comfortable, but for your own mental health!)  Whatever the reason, no one has the right to invalidate your pain!

To deal with the pain when this happens, please try to keep the last paragraph in mind.  Most people aren’t trying to hurt you by what they say or do- they simply have their own issues or are even convinced they’re trying to help you.  In any case, them treating you poorly isn’t about you doing something wrong, it’s about them.

Also, acknowledge your feelings.  Yes, you’re hurt &/or angry, & it’s OK.  Cry, talk to someone safe, journal or pray, but get your feelings out.  Feelings are a natural part of life- respect them, don’t ignore them.  Ignoring them never leads to anything good, only bad things like depression & health problems.

Be aware that part of the reason that what was said upsets you so much is it triggers old feelings that you experienced at the hand of your narcissistic mother.  Narcissists demand their abuse be kept secret, so when someone else wants to silence you years later, that guilt for “telling” may show up.  Or, invalidating your pain makes you feel as you did when your mother did it to you as a child- like you’re not allowed to have feelings because they’re only a nuisance to others.  I’m not saying that these triggers mean you’re overreacting to being invalidated, of course.  I’m simply saying that those triggers may make you less able to realize at first that you aren’t wrong for discussing this topic.

Be good to yourself afterwards.  Once you get a firm grasp on your feelings & triggers, do something nice for yourself.  A bubble bath, read a good book or some other little thing that makes you feel good.

And, ask God to help you let go of the hurt & anger you feel.  You deserve better than to carry around those negative feelings.  Besides, you have too much already to deal with considering you’re recovering from growing up with a narcissistic mother.  That needs your attention much more.

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Are Introverts Normal?

One thing I have learned about adult children of narcissistic parents is the majority of us are introverts.  Introverts keep to themselves, like quiet activities, are focused & intelligent, prefer deep to superficial relationships & conversation, often have only a few interests but explore those interests deeply, & gain energy from alone time rather than from other people.

Extroverts are the exact opposite, & much more common.  As a result, the life of an introvert can come with challenges.  Some people think there is something very wrong with introverts, & will try to change them.  They may believe the introvert is depressed, & constantly say things like, “Cheer up!” or “You’ll feel better if you come to the party with me.”  Society in general seems to push people to be extroverts- you are told you must go to Christmas parties, have a big Thanksgiving dinner or have the whole family come by for your birthday.

These things can make us introverts feel uncomfortable, even flawed, & wondering what is wrong with us.  The truth is that there is NOTHING wrong with us!  Being an introvert isn’t a disease, some terrible character flaw or a mental disorder.  Introversion is simply a personality trait.  You would have just as good of luck “curing” yourself of introversion as you would changing your eye color.  You were born with your specific eye color just like you were born being an introvert.

I also can’t help but to think that being raised by a narcissistic parent may contribute to introversion.  The fact is narcissistic parents are very mentally & emotionally draining.  After growing up with that, it seems natural to me to seek out quiet & peace, especially if you naturally are introverted & long for that anyway.

If you’re an introvert, then please don’t think there is something flawed or wrong with you for being this way.  You’re in great company. Besides, being an introvert, you’re in great company.  Some known introverts are Abraham Lincoln, Elenor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Ghandi, Laura Bush, Rosa Parks & Warren Buffet.

Also, there are many positive traits that introverts often have over extroverts.  Introverts are often very good listeners, they often maintain long lasting friendships, they are responsible, analytical, intelligent & creative.

There is one down side to being an introvert that I have found.  Naturally, as a die-hard introvert myself, I prefer alone time. Although there is nothing wrong with that, it can be a problem when it comes to hard times.  Most people, I think, tend to isolate themselves to a degree when going through a really tough time, but introverts do it on a grander scale. And, if like me you’re an introvert with C-PTSD, it can be really bad.  One of the traits of C-PTSD is wanting to isolate.  Throw in the introvert trait & when I’m going through a hard time, it’s a miracle if anyone other than hubby & the furkids see me or talk to me for weeks.  While isolation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it needs to be balanced. God made people to need Him as well as other people.  I have learned with myself when I isolate myself for too long, it contributes to the depression that accompanies C-PTSD.  I just want to encourage you to have balance.  Isolate yourself when you need to, but if it goes on too long, realize you need to spend time with people you love & who love you.  Go & do something fun!  It really can make you feel better.

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Give Yourself Permission To Feel Your Feelings

Being raised by narcissistic parents, you learn early in life that your feelings have no value.  No one cares if you are angry or sad, so you need to ignore those feelings.  Keep that to yourself & don’t go bothering Mom or Dad with them!

Unfortunately this dysfunctional, unhealthy habit often continues into adulthood.  I admit it, I’m guilty of the same thing.  I will be 44 years old in April, & still automatically stifle my feelings.  Not good!

Stifling your feelings is unhealthy both mentally & physically.  Mentally, stifling our feelings can make us very angry &/or depressed.  Physically, health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure & ulcers can happen.  Feeling them, the good, bad & indifferent, however, leads to less physical problems & more peace & joy.  My husband & I were friends with the realtor who helped us to find our home.  He was very open about the fact he had bipolar disorder.  He explained he lived with it since his teens, but went undiagnosed for a long time. Eventually, he was diagnosed & found the right combination of medications that helped him stay stable.  He was also very in touch with his emotions, probably as a result of living with the awful disorder, which I thought was so cool!  (Honestly, I was a bit jealous since I’ve always had problems in that area)

God gave us feelings to let us know when something is good or bad.  They are the reason we can enjoy a lovely day with our spouses or we know when someone is mistreating us.  Feelings are a wonderful thing, so long as we don’t live life guided only by them.  If we did, then we would do only the things we want to do.  Not good since we wouldn’t do the less fun things in life such as- going to the grocery store, doing laundry, visiting a sick friend or relative in the hospital or other necessary things.

I just wanted to encourage you today to give yourself permission to feel your feelings.  In spite of what you probably heard as a child, you *are* allowed to feel things.  You are allowed to be angry, sad, or happy.  If God gave you these feelings, then you certainly are allowed to feel them in spite of what anyone else tells you!  Choose today to listen to Him, & silence the voice of others who want to control you!  They only want what is best for them, not what is best for you.  God wants what is best for you!

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Strength Isn’t Always What You Think

It seems like so many people believe being strong is about shaking things off, ignoring things as if they don’t bother you, not showing negative feelings & the like.  This can be extremely discouraging to hear when you have survived abuse, because you’ve always been told to be quiet, don’t tell people what happened to you, don’t be a baby- that wasn’t a big deal & similar things.  Once you realize you’ve been abused, you want to start to talk about it, & to express your feelings for the first time.  Yet, people make you feel as if you’re weak for being that way.  I believe those people are absolutely WRONG.

Sweeping things under the rug & ignoring your feelings aren’t strength.  In fact, I find them to be very weak.  It doesn’t take any courage at all to ignore something or to stuff your feelings inside, just a desire to do so.

Facing things, however, that takes strength & courage.  It isn’t easy to face painful things!  It hurts!  But, the good part is it dealing with things loosens their painful grip on you.  Ignoring those painful things, however, means you will feel pain for as long as you refuse to deal with them.  Better to suffer for a short time than indefinitely!

Feeling your feelings takes a great deal more strength than ignoring them.  I grew up ignoring my feelings.  I knew they had no value to those around me, so I figured they must have no value- why share them with anyone?  As a result, even to this day sometimes I have trouble expressing them out of fear of being mocked or invalidated.  Even writing things in this blog scares me quite often for those reasons.  It takes great courage to be willing to be vulnerable, especially in a society where people condemn any feelings other than happiness.  I’ve learned that I feel much more peaceful when I can share my feelings instead of hiding them, even if it’s only writing about them in my journal.  Feelings demand to be expressed, the good & the bad ones.  Holding them in makes you miserable, & can lead to all kinds of health problems- high blood pressure, kidney or heart disease, arthritis & more.

If you’ve survived abuse, please don’t let dysfunctional people tell you that being strong means stifling your negative feelings or pretending the abuse didn’t happen!  You have every right to feel how you feel & to acknowledge the abuse!  If you’re already doing these things, then please be proud of yourself!  You are brave & strong!  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!  Many people who try to silence others don’t have the courage to face their own emotions & painful pasts- don’t let them drag you down to where they are!  Instead, hope that by you being so brave, you will inspire them to find their own courage.

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Are You A Narcissist Magnet?

Does it seem like not only are narcissists everywhere, but they all find you & want to be your friend or romantic interest?

I’ve felt that way myself.  I’ve had so many failed friendships with people I later realized were narcissists.  I probably would’ve had more failed romantic relationships with narcissists as well if I wasn’t so particular about who I dated before I got married.  So many times in my life, I’ve felt like a narcissist magnet- if there’s one within ten miles of me, they will find me quicker than a bloodhound on the trail of a rabbit..

And, it’s not just me.   Many other people I’ve talked to share this experience.  This made me wonder why do some of us keep ending up with such dysfunctional, abusive people in our lives?  I came up with a theory…

Like me, the other folks I’ve talked to who have had many narcissistic relationships also were raised by at least one narcissistic parent.  This means they learned very early in life to behave in a certain way- to work hard to please others, not to ask much (anything, really) from others in a relationship, to tolerate abuse, to offer much praise & no criticism.  These behaviors are extremely pleasing to narcissists, so upon meeting people who behave that way, narcissists are instantly attracted.  They then begin their own version of “love bombing.”   Love bombing is when a narcissist inundates their prospective “love interest” (more like victim..) with loving gestures- romance, gifts, words of love & praise, wanting to take care of the love interest financially or rescue from a bad situation.  Narcissistic friends do this minus the romantic aspect.  They  listen to you, pretend to share things in common with you, & more to draw you into a relationship with them.  Once you’re in though, the mask comes off & the true person is revealed.

So how do you avoid attracting narcissistic friends & romantic interests?  Get mentally healthy!

The more mentally healthy you are, the less able narcissists are to use & abuse you, which is an incredible turn off for them.  While many narcissists enjoy the challenge of destroying someone who is strong, empathetic, & intelligent, they do like someone who can be molded into whatever they want.  An mentally healthy person won’t let that happen.  She knows her boundaries, & enforces them strictly.  She also recognizes dysfunctional & abusive behavior quickly, & won’t tolerate it.  Being mentally healthy is more valuable than having a high IQ when it comes to deterring abusive people from wanting to be in a relationship with you.

I’ve seen this come to pass in my own life.  The more mentally healthy I’ve become, the less interested in me narcissists are.  I seldom find any interested in talking to me for more than a short time, let alone pursuing a friendship.  Plus, I usually can spot them a mile away now, so when I realize the person I just met is a narcissist, I’ll have fun with them.  I’ll change the subject off of them, their interests, etc. onto  something else.  Preferably me, since narcissists have no interest in talking about anyone other than themselves.. heehee!

Something else has come from being healthier too- not only do I attract less narcissists, but I attract more mentally healthy people!  I honestly can say right now that I do not have ONE abusive &/or narcissistic friend in my life.  My friends are caring, compassionate, intelligent & generous.  If we have a disagreement, we can work things out, even if we never come to agree.  We know it’s OK to agree to disagree.  We don’t always share many similar interests, but we do respect each other’s right to be interested in what the other is interested in without judgment.  We often think very much alike & share similar religious beliefs.

I’m not saying attracting narcissists in your life is your fault, or that you have to be completely mentally healthy & over the narcissistic abuse to have good friendships.  Not by any means!   Please don’t think that is what I mean at all!  It’s still completely on the narcissist that they seek out victims.  And, once you start recognizing & failing to tolerate abuse, things will change naturally.  Abusers will start seeing you as an unavailable target & seek another victim.

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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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Dreams- The Surprising Wisdom They Contain

The Bible is full of stories of people who dreamed powerful dreams full of deep & personal meaning.  Abraham, Job, Ezekiel, & Daniel just to name a few.

Although many years have passed since those men dreamed their dreams, dreams are still a very important part of life today.  Acts 2:17 says, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (KJV)  I believe this is happening today, & is partly why so many people are having more dreams & more memorable dreams than they once had.

I’ve always had very vivid dreams, but especially since developing C-PTSD.  Now, if I dream of being at the beach, I wake up with tired legs that feel like I’ve walked through sand.  If I dream of running, I wake up out of breath. It’s very strange!  Plus, my dreams are often very odd.  Common dreams people have include the ability to fly or being naked in a public place.  I have no such dreams- they are always something much more unusual.  So unusual in fact, that I asked God what was going on with these weird dreams of mine.  He had some very interesting things to say..

For one thing, people who have experienced trauma have nightmares.  From what I read, I assumed that meant nightmares about the traumatic incident(s).  However, this is not necessarily the case.  Sometimes that happens, but usually the nightmares are about other  things that the dreamer would be upset about.  For example, cars symbolize your life in dreams.  I also happen to have three classics & adore classic cars, so cars are often a part of my dreams.  Fairly often, I dream that my ’69 Plymouth has been vandalized or totaled somehow. Usually, that dream happens when I feel someone is trying to control or change me.

The brain is constantly trying to process trauma.  Even when you’re asleep, the brain is still trying to process what happened.  Even if you aren’t dreaming about a traumatic episode, or even if you dream isn’t upsetting only odd, it still may be your brain trying to process trauma.

There will be many dreams you don’t remember.  If you don’t remember some dreams, you’re normal!  The brain works every moment of every day, which means it is still trying to understand or process some things (not necessarily even traumatic things) while you’re asleep.  If you don’t remember some dreams, it means you don’t need to remember them.  I think of those dreams much like those programs that run quietly in the background of your computer.  They’re necessary to function, but not necessary to know all the details about.

The brain knows what you need, even if you aren’t aware of it, & can try to tell you that via your dreams.  If you’re working too hard, you may dream about being on a vacation, then wake up with a strong desire to take a trip.  That was your brain’s way of saying it’s time for a break.

Sometimes, God speaks to us through our dreams.  Daniel 2:19 says, “Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” (AMP)  God spoke directly to Daniel & others via their dreams sometimes.  I believe God spoke to me via one of my recent dreams.  I had a dream about being in a hospital emergency room where I was treated (rather uncaringly) by a doctor.  While there, I realized I had a big sewing needle stuck in my heel!  There was a lot of blood & no one even noticed.  After looking up the symbols I remembered, I realized the dream showed me that I need to be more spontaneous, & have more fun without relying on others to have fun with.  I believe God gave me this message in that odd dream.

If you haven’t paid much (or any) attention to your dreams, I really would like to encourage you to start doing so!  Dreams can be a very valuable tool in life.

Interpreting dreams doesn’t have to be terribly hard either.  I have no natural gift in that area, so I look up symbols online.  www.DreamMoods.com is my favorite website.  I usually write down the dream, then under that every symbol I can think of from the dream.  I look up each symbol’s meaning on that website.  Once I’m done, I look it over & ask God to help me understand what it all meant.  Works every time..

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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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Should You Discuss Narcissistic Abuse?

A Scripture popped into my mind today…

1 Peter 4:8 “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (NLT)

It made me wonder something.  Does this mean we shouldn’t talk about what the narcissists in our lives have done? Is it more loving to cover up their abusive actions?  I firmly believe no, it doesn’t.
I believe the above Scripture is for the simple little offenses we live with sometimes, such as your husband coming home from work in a bad mood & snapping at you for no obvious reason, or someone cutting you off in traffic.  I don’t believe this Scripture applies to the larger grievances in life, which includes narcissistic abuse.  Consider these Scriptures..

Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.

16 But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

17 If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector.” (AMP)

These verses tell me that it is acceptable to discuss when someone has wronged or even abused you.  In fact, I think it is necessary to discuss narcissism in particular, because although more people are becoming aware of the term Narcissistic Personality Disorder, very few people truly understand it.

If you discuss what you have experienced at the hands of a narcissist, whether it be a parent, spouse, relative or friend, you help to make other people aware of the signs of a narcissist, the dangers of being involved with one, or even how to set boundaries with one.  These are things everybody needs to know, especially since narcissism is so prevalent in society these days!

You can help to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse in many ways.  You can share your experiences & knowledge in a blog, post in social media, or join mental health forums.  Ask God if He would have you to do something, & how He would like you to go about it.  Your story can help to change someone’s life!

Don’t misunderstand me, though.  I’m not saying that is ALL that you need to discuss.  If your primary conversation consists of stories of the abuse you endured at the hands of a narcissistic abuser, people will be turned off.  They will tire of hearing the same complaints repeatedly, or your conversations being only about one topic.  Also, it’s unhealthy to focus on such heavy topics non stop.  Your brain needs to relax from hard work like your body does.  Give it a break sometimes, & focus on lighter matters.  Watch funny movies, read good books or participate in a hobby you enjoy.

 

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Share Your Story!

Recently I was talking with someone who made sure I know she believes my writing isn’t important, even knowing that I believe writing is one of my purposes in life.

*sigh*

This sort of thing happens a lot more often than I like.  My writing as well as what I write about are often trivialized.  I also know it happens to so many others who have been abused & share their story, which breaks my heart.  I’ve been dealing with invalidation for so long, that I’m used to it.  It makes me angry, but I know that what I said is valid, & people who invalidate others have issues.  Normal, healthy people respect other people enough not to trivialize their painful experiences, even if they don’t understand them or agree with them. Many others who experience this painful type of invalidation haven’t reached that place yet, & are discouraged or deeply hurt by such cruel words.  This makes me so angry, which is partly why I write about this topic so often.

I read something that explained beautifully why those of us who have been through abuse should continue to tell our story, & I wanted to share it with you today…

“There is nothing safe in sharing your story.  There is nothing safe about turning your own soul inside out with the details that come slowly or quickly, from shallow breaths or deep within, from the light or from the shadows.  There is nothing safe about sharing the images painted within your memories, the language that proves a life has been lived, the details scratched into paper from blood, from skin, from love, & fear.  Nothing protects what is spoken, read or heard.  There are no shields against bitter misunderstanding, jealousy or prejudice- yet we speak.  We sing.  We write in the hopes of changing the world.  We share the truth we have lived & the characters we have loved.  In moments of courage, we give it all away.”  – Mardra Sikora

Please remember this wonderful quote when someone tries to keep you quiet!  You have every right to share your story & to help others by doing so.  In fact, you should celebrate yourself by being brave enough to share your story & caring enough to do it in spite of your own fears!

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Taking Back Some Power

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

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

I feel like I took back some of my power!

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

Have you ever tried anything like this?

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

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A Grateful Attitude Can Help Reduce Symptoms Of C-PTSD

Yesterday was an eventful day.  One of my cats, Pretty Boy, needed his annual checkup, which was late.  A little background: Pretty Boy was diagnosed with diabetes since 2011, a condition called Somongyi where his body responds oddly to glucose in 2012, & then with a liver carcinoma in 2013.  That is when the vet said he may not be around much longer, & chances are his glucose wouldn’t be regulated ever again.  In spite of it all, he’s been doing GREAT!  Mostly his glucose has been regulated, & he’s obviously feeling good.  However, I was still nervous (as always) about his checkup.  Turned out the vet said he is doing extremely well, I’m happy to say.  Two vets saw him, one who specializes in diabetes, & she told me she thinks he’s starting to go into diabetic remission!!  It’s very unusual- cats often go into diabetic remission, but usually within about the first 3 months after their diagnosis.  The longer they have diabetes, the lower the chances of remission are.  Leave it to my little guy to be unique.. lol  It’s truly an answer to prayer!  I’m so excited!

This all got me to thinking last night how much I have to thank God for.

Lately, the C-PTSD has been especially bad, leaving me extremely depressed, tired, anxious, having a hard time concentrating & really unable & unwilling to be around people.  It’s been hard to think of anything to be thankful for, but this vet visit was the kick in the butt I needed to change my attitude.  OK, I’m still having some trouble feeling grateful, but I am doing better at it today.  I’m grateful my special little kitty is much healthier than anyone could’ve expected.  I’m grateful too that he’s such a sweet baby- he knows every emotion I have, & if I’m upset, he is right there, offering lots of love to try to make it all better.  I’m grateful for another one of my cats, Punkin, who also has PTSD & how we can help each other when symptoms flare up.  I’m grateful God has blessed me with the many wonderful cats I have & had in my life.   I’m grateful that even during the worst of times with C-PTSD, God still cares & helps me to get through it all.  I’m grateful I survived all of the traumas that caused the C-PTSD, & still have a pretty decent attitude about life most days.  I’m grateful I have people in my life who care about me.  I’m even grateful for the classic car I drive, because it was once my grandfather’s car (my favorite car he ever had) & God found a miraculous way to send it back into my life after not even seeing it in 26 years. (I wrote that story in ebook form- it’s a fascinating story even if you aren’t a classic car fan like me.  Here’s the link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/my-life-the-story-of-a-1969-plymouth/ebook/product-18462742.html )

As a result of thinking about these things & more that I am grateful to God for, for the first time in a couple of weeks, I feel the C-PTSD starting to improve some.  I’m not expecting grateful thoughts to make all of the symptoms magically disappear of course- that would be very naive- but, I have noticed a grateful attitude does help to reduce the severity of C-PTSD symptoms.  I think because it makes me feel closer to God as well as more appreciative of the good things He has blessed me with.  Thinking about such things also increases my faith in God.  Really focusing on the blessings He gives you can’t help but to increase your faith!

I know sometimes when symptoms are raging, it feels like there is absolutely nothing to be thankful for.  I’ve felt that way many times myself.  However, if you can try to think of the good in your life, or ask God to show you the ways He’s blessed you, it may help to reduce your symptoms.  Even if it only helps a little bit, isn’t it worth it?

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Anger Happens Sometimes With C-PTSD & It’s OK!

Something is happening that I assume is a natural part of C-PTSD, but I haven’t read or heard anything about it: anger, & lots of it.  I’ve read that often people with PTSD or C-PTSD can have a short fuse, getting angry at silly little things, but that is all I read.  So, I had to start praying..

For the first time, I’m getting very angry when people are deliberately hurtful, mean or even abusive towards me.  I realize for the first time that I don’t deserve such poor treatment.  In a way, this is pretty darned cool!!  God showed me it means my self-esteem is at a good place instead of in the toilet where it’s been most of my life.  In another way, it’s rather scary since it’s new territory… I’m not used to feeling anger, because I learned early in life I wasn’t allowed to feel it.  If I expressed any anger, my mother said I had that “awful Bailey temper.”  I carried that dysfunctional habit of not expressing anger into adulthood.

In addition to that, I’m getting very angry at the things that I feel C-PTSD has stolen from me.  This morning, this anger was triggered because of my hair.  Yes, sounds crazy, I know.. I was brushing my hair this morning & realizing so much is broken off & my hair is extremely dry. It looks awful, which upsets me as I’ve always had healthy, nice hair.  Researching this online, long story short, I learned that anxiety & depression are most likely the cause for me.  *sigh*  Great.  Then a little while later,  I decided I was going to work on the new carburetor that is going on my car.  As I skimmed over the directions, they didn’t seem too difficult- I thought I could do what I needed to do.  Nope.  Trying to follow the directions, I was easily confused.  Although I did eventually remember that I’ve done this before (admittedly, 20+ years ago..), trying to actually do what the directions said to do absolutely baffled me.  I also couldn’t remember details of how I’d done this.  it was just the icing on the cake for me.  Made me so angry that I have to rely on my husband do to this simple task for me!  I miss my independence so much!  I then thought about so many other things that C-PTSD has stolen from me, like my coping skills.  i was once very strong, but now any little  thing can frazzle me.  Writing has become very hard for me, because my focus absolutely stinks.  Reading, which was always my favorite pass time, is now a burden because my brain gets easily overwhelmed when I look at the pages in a book.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a restful night’s sleep that wasn’t interrupted by nightmares or waking up with anxiety attacks, & yes, this happens even with sleeping pills.  I’m sick of the constant anxiety, depression, forgetfulness & mood swings too.  We won’t even discuss how many perfectly fine days have been ruined by flashbacks out of the blue..

I realize I sound like I’m wallowing in self-pity, which is what so many ignorant people think C-PTSD is, but yanno something?  I think it’s OK to have these moments of self-compassion sometimes, & even be angry about it.  It’s NOT fair to be abused, let alone so badly & so frequently as to develop C-PTSD.  It’s WRONG!  And, it’s so maddening when you’re suffering through every single day while your abuser goes on with his or her life without a care about what they did to you.  I know, God says vengeance is His, & I respect that by not trying to get revenge on anyone.  That being said.. sometimes it’d be nice to see that person suffer a little, yanno?!?  Not nice, not a good Christian attitude either, but I think it’s just normal to feel that way once in a while (& then ask God to forgive me later..).  It’s also maddening when you are trying your absolute best just to survive, & someone comes along telling you to stop looking so depressed, shake it off, let it go, just think happy thoughts.. seriously, don’t you want to slap those people hard sometimes??  lol  I actually chewed out my husband recently for telling me to do my best.  He’d said it many times, & I felt like doing my best was never good enough for him.  One day, i got angry & told him “the fact I’m out of bed today & I haven’t put a gun to my head should tell you I *am* doing my best!”  He was shocked, but it finally clicked for him that even if it doesn’t look like it, I really am trying!

Does this describe you too?  Do you have times like I’m having today where you are just hot mad at having C-PTSD?  If so, doesn’t logic dictate this as normal behavior sometimes?  C-PTSD is such a frustrating, depressing disorder!  God reminded me of that, & understands my anger & frustration, just as He does yours.  Please, don’t berate yourself for how you feel!  Feelings can’t be helped- they just happen.  It’s what you do with those feelings that matter.

How can you cope when these days happen?  To start with, get those feelings out!  Once I’m done writing this entry, I’m going to write in my journal or pray.  Getting all the anger out I can in a safe manner.  Writing is an awesome way to get out your anger & hurt if you don’t feel like praying.  Or, you could beat up a pillow- that helps too.  Talk to something as if it’s the person you’re angry with, maybe an empty chair in front of you.

Music can help too.  Right now, I’m listening to 1980’s hair bands & heavy metal- some of my favorite music ever.  What is your favorite genre of music?  Well, crank it up!!  Doesn’t matter if it’s heavy metal or classical- whatever makes you feel good!  In fact, go for a drive with your music blaring if you can- it’s fun & therapeutic!

Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  If you’re feeling angry, there is a reason for it!  Don’t tell yourself to just get over it, stop feeling that way or even that you need to forgive the person who hurt you. Accept the fact it’s really OK to be angry sometimes!  The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26-27  “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry- but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge.  And don’t stay angry.  Don’t go to bed angry.  Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” (MSG)  See?  Even God says it’s OK to get angry sometimes!  Just don’t do anything bad with that anger, such as get revenge.

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