Tag Archives: emotional health

Who Am I After Trauma?

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been having some really rough C-PTSD times lately.  The last few days, it’s been a lot better, thankfully.  Going through the rough times lately have gotten me to thinking.  I realized I’ve changed a lot since May, 2012 when the C-PTSD became full blown, but I hadn’t really thought about it until a few days ago when I realized I’ve been berating myself rather than accepting myself or trying to discover who I am post-trauma.

There are plenty of books & online counselors on  the topic of discovering your post trauma identity.  Obviously there is a need for such knowledge- trauma certainly changes you, like it or not.  I haven’t ready any of those books yet or spoken to a counselor, so I’m just starting to learn about & pray about this topic.  I hope & pray these things I’ve learned so far will help you as they are starting to help me..

I’m seeing that I need to learn to accept the fact I have C-PTSD, & its ugly symptoms without judgment.  I keep beating myself up about being so “weak” as to have C-PTSD.  You see, I’ve always been very strong.  In fact, when I had my first nervous breakdown at age 19, I went to work the next day.  I was catatonic for 5 hours that night, had no sleep at all, yet went into work the next morning as if nothing happened. I survived awful abuse, then went on to school, & no one had any idea what had just happened to me.  It seemed like nothing could affect me for long, until C-PTSD came along.  Now?  Let my kitchen sink clog up or me have any small change in my routine, & I’m in a state of panic.  It’s beyond frustrating!  I’m trying to remember some things.  First, C-PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness- it’s a sign of having survived some pretty terrible traumas.  Second, C-PTSD is a terrible, life-changing, even potentially life threatening disorder.  It’s not something one can control, so its symptoms are going to rear their ugly heads, including the lack of ability to cope well with about anything, crying at the drop of a hat, anxiety attacks, etc.  Third, I wouldn’t judge anyone else with C-PTSD.  In fact, I have friends with it, & have not once thought they were weak, stupid, useless, etc., so I need to extend that same kindness to myself. Fourth, I need to take better care of myself when the symptoms flare up. It’s ok to take a day off to relax after a particularly nasty flashback, for example.  And, I also need to be more aware of what makes my symptoms worse, what triggers I have, & be more understanding of myself regarding them.  They’re a normal part of this disorder, & nothing to be ashamed of.

I need to accept the fact that trauma changes a person’s brain, especially repeated, ongoing trauma like I have experienced.  Like it or not, it’s a fact.  Basically, PTSD & C-PTSD are brain injuries.  Brain injuries can make drastic changes in a person!  I’ve become very forgetful, very emotional, moody & a lot of times I have trouble finding the right words I need.  All are symptoms of C-PTSD & nothing to be ashamed of.

I need to accept changes that have happened to me since C-PTSD.  I don’t laugh as easily as I once did. I still have a sense of humor, but I’m a lot more serious than I used to be.  I’ve always been an avid bookworm, but now, reading a book overwhelms my brain very easily, which made me lose interest in reading.  Reading on my tablet is easier, but I still can feel overwhelmed sometimes.  I’ve lost most interest in my favorite hobbies- knitting & crocheting.  Writing has become very difficult on most days for me.  I don’t know it these things will ever come back.  Hopefully they will, or maybe even be replaced by other interesting things that I can enjoy just as much.

I also need to accept the fact I need to ask God for help with the simple things much more often than I used to.  Thankfully, God doesn’t mind helping, & in fact, wants to help.  However, I still feel weird about asking Him to help me remember to do something or help in accomplishing something simple because I’ve forgotten how to do it.  Thank God He is patient & understanding!  He has not once made me feel as if I need to do something on my own or not bother Him with my silly requests.

I’m certain there is much more to add to this list, but so far this is what God’s been showing me about handling my post-trauma identity.  I hope it helps you as well!  xoxo

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

“You Just Need To Get Over It!” & Other Pearls Of So-Called Wisdom About Narcissistic Abuse

I read a very interesting quote, & it really hit home with me:

“There is a theme that runs through responses I receive from children of a narcissistic parent(s).  The child is subjected to unbearable levels of ongoing abuse- scalding criticisms, withering humiliations in front of other family members & alone, routine secret physical beatings & other horrendous acts of brutality including psychological & literal abandonment.  When the child lets family members know what is happening to  him, this person is not believed. When the victim of a narcissist tells the truth about his dreadful pathological parent, he is not treated with kindness or understanding.  The family is shocked; the victim is treated with disdain & often told he/she is the sick one or that this is all lies to get attention.”  Linda Martinez-Lewi, PHD

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been treated this way, not only by those close to me (well, not close to me anymore obviously!), but even by therapists.  When I told my high school guidance counselor about my mother spending so much time daily screaming at me, she said, “That doesn’t sound so bad..”  I’ve also been told to let it go, get over it, work things out with my mother- it’s my responsibility, I need therapy, I use C-PTSD to get attention & more.

If you too are the adult child of a narcissist, I’m sure you can relate.

Hearing such cruel, invalidating statements is extremely painful.  You feel abused all over again.  It can be devastating to you & to the relationship you share with that person.  One person I had loved dearly & was once close to said a few comments along the lines of I needed to just get over things.  Her last comment actually destroyed the love I felt for her.  I suddenly no longer cared for her.  Not that I wished her bad- I simply felt nothing at all for her.

So how do you deal with these painful situations?  Avoiding them would be best, but unfortunately, that isn’t always possible.  Sometimes you can, because if you know a person well, you know  that this person isn’t safe to discuss certain topics with.  As a result, you avoid discussing those topics with that person.  Then there are other times when you mention your narcissistic mother to someone who you expect to be supportive, yet they surprise you by invalidating your pain.  Those times are the most painful, because you didn’t expect that response- you expected support & empathy.

When you are told to “get over it”, “you’re only making these things up to get attention,” etc., the first thing to do is to end this conversation before it goes further (hurting you more) however you deem appropriate.  You can simply change the subject, walk away or hang up the phone.  However you set  this boundary, you’ll run the risk of angering the other person, so you need to be prepared for that unfair anger. (The person I mentioned whose comments destroyed my love for her?  When we’d discussed the topic via email the last time, I told her I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but I wasn’t asking for her opinion on my life.  After that, she didn’t speak to me for several months.)  Hopefully the other person you’re having the problem with will simply respect your boundary instead, as many people do.

Once the conversation is done, as soon as you can, get alone with God.  Tell  Him how it made you feel, & let Him comfort you.  Get your feelings out so they don’t end up pushed down inside of you, festering.  That only hurts you!  If you don’t feel comfortable telling God how you feel, journal about them.  Or, write the person a letter that you never send, telling her off if that helps you feel better.

If you’re suddenly doubting yourself (am I really making too much out of things?  That type of thought) because of what was said to you, ask God to tell you if you are.  He will reassure you that you aren’t, which helps tremendously to give you a healthy perspective on what was said.

You also need to evaluate your relationship with this person.  is she someone you’re close to?  Do you have a good relationship other than her lack of understanding about your abusive mother?  Then it is probably worth saving- just accept that your narcissistic mother isn’t a topic you two can discuss.  Or, does this person criticize or invalidate you in other ways?  (I don’t mean the healthy, constructive criticism we all need sometimes)  Then this relationship may need to end. You’ve been treated badly enough in your life thanks to your narcissistic mother- why continue to tolerate being treated badly?

As I mentioned in this post, I recently realized that when the C-PTSD flares up, it seems like every single nasty, invalidating comment I’ve ever heard comes to mind.  Those times are so painful!  I tried to wait on it to pass when it happens, but that doesn’t always work so well.  Sometimes it seems like the comments play over & over, like an old cassette tape stuck on repeat.  So, what I do during those times is think of a specific comment said to me, for example, “that doesn’t sound so bad.”  Then I think about the event that led the person to make the comment, & remember, it really WAS bad!  It was horrible!  Having someone tell you that you’re a horrible person hurts, but add in the fact that was my mother, & she was screaming it in my face?  Yea, it was pretty bad.. if someone thinks it wasn’t, that person obviously has the problem!

I believe that some people simple aren’t able to grasp the hell that is living with narcissistic abuse.  Maybe they come from loving families, & never had to face any type of abuse.  As a result, they just can’t  wrap their minds around the fact not all families are as good as theirs.  Or, maybe they too came from a narcissistic parent, yet haven’t had the strength to face that, & continue living in the dysfunction instead.  Or, in all honesty, narcissistic abuse sounds so far fetched!  Sometimes the things narcissists do sound completely made up, they just are that “out there.”  If I wouldn’t have seen the things my mother did to me, I’m not sure I would believe anyone was capable of such acts either!  Maybe some people can’t believe another human being is capable of doing such things, especially to her own child.  Whatever the reason, that does not give them the right to invalidate your pain!  Narcissistic abuse is a horrible thing to endure.  Its damage can be lifelong & extremely painful.  Don’t let anyone convince you that it was “no big deal” or that there’s something wrong with you for how you feel after surviving such torture!

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A Long Week In A Life With C-PTSD

It’s been almost three years since almost all of the symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manifested in my life, but I’m still learning about them & how to manage them.  It’s a daily battle.

This past week has been a rough one.  I’m not sure why, but the C-PTSD has been flaring up really badly.  Nothing happened to trigger it, although I did have a flashback a few days into this flare.  I haven’t discussed what’s happening much with anyone, not even my husband.  For one thing, when it flares up, I need to get a grasp on what is happening.  My thinking changes so much, & sometimes it takes a lot for me to recognize it’s the disorder, not me thinking that. For example, I’ve been ashamed of this flare up.  I’ve been feeling weak & angry at myself for being so weak.  Normally, I accept C-PTSD as the reaction to some very bad things that I’ve been through, but flare ups change that in me.

This morning, I was in an especially foul mood, & my husband & I talked about it.  I finally opened up to some of what has been going on with me this week  He suggested that since I’ve promised to keep my blog real, that I write about it, & hopefully someone who reads this will benefit from it.

Reading about the symptoms of C-PTSD on clinical sounding websites & living them are two very different things.  Reading about them, they sound bad enough, but living them?  Yikes.  And, you rarely see detailed descriptions of the more odd symptoms.  I thought I’d share some of the symptoms you don’t read much (if anything) about that I’ve experienced this week, so if you too experience them, you’ll know you aren’t crazy!

Lately, I’ve had more nightmares than usual.  Not even nightmares about traumatic events I’ve been through- nightmares about stupid things, such as an empty school bus parked beside my car catching fire.  I knew I couldn’t move my car for some reason, & was afraid it was going to burn with the bus.  Make any sense to you?  Yea, me neither.. lol  One night, I woke up every 15-30 minutes all night long, mostly from nightmares, most of which I didn’t even remember, but I woke up panicky.  The few I did remember though had absolutely nothing to do with the traumas I’ve experienced.  When I first read about C-PTSD, I assumed when it said nightmares happen, it was nightmares about the traumas.  Not necessarily.. I have them too sometimes, but usually not.  The nightmares are usually odd but disturbing.

My thinking has been extremely negative.  I try to be positive yet realistic, but this week, that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been beating myself up about anything & everything possible.  I’m weak, stupid, cowardly, useless, ugly, nothing but a burden to my husband.. you get the idea.  Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I used to do that all the time, but over the last probably 10-15 years or so, had gotten much better about not doing that.  When the C-PTSD flares up, though, that old habit comes back with a vengeance.

I feel like I’ve remembered every single time someone has told me something invalidating about having C-PTSD & it hurts.  I’ve thought of so many times when people have told me to “get over it,” “stop using C-PTSD to get pity/attention,” “stop living in the past”, “stop being so negative- you need to be more positive.”  or even simply showed they don’t care when the symptoms are bothering me.   Why these stupid comments pop into my mind, I have no idea..

My thinking has been very sluggish.  I haven’t caught on to hubby’s jokes, which is very abnormal for me since we share the same warped sense of humor.  Following a simple TV show or movie has been rather difficult too.  And, I encountered a narcissist, yet failed to recognize the signs I normally wouldn’t have missed.  Once they were pointed out to me is when I caught on.  UGH!

I’ve been getting very angry very easily.  It seems like anything & everything pushes my buttons.  While trying to put fresh sheets on my bed this morning, I got mad at one of my cats for getting in my way.  WHY?!  She does this every single time I change sheets.  It’s nothing new.  But for some reason this morning, this made me so angry.  I didn’t scold her, since this is a normal part of her routine, but I really wanted to for a minute there.

I’ve been extremely depressed.  I’ve always battled depression, & for years, I was fortunate enough to find ways to keep it under control.  I even wrote a book about that, called, “Baptism Of Joy.”  My first book!  Then when the C-PTSD kicked in in May, 2012, that changed.  While I’m not depressed all of the time, I once again spend quite a bit of time depressed, & this time, the usual things that once helped me to feel better don’t work nearly so often.

I’ve also been extremely anxious & unable to pinpoint why exactly.  Above & beyond the normal anxiety & hyper-vigilance that come with C-PTSD, I mean.  I’ve woken up having panic attacks several times lately.  Not a nice way to wake up!

I’ve wondered if I’m going crazy.  Definitely not a nice way to feel, especially since I spent so much time feeling this way when I was growing up  with my mother who often told me “you need help” (implying I was in need of psychological help, yet she wouldn’t take me to a therapist) & with an ex-husband who was very good at gaslighting.

I’m dissociating a lot more than normal.  I feel so spacey most of the time.  This also means I have very little focus.  Writing in this blog has been a very big challenge this week!  Honestly, when I’ve written my entries, I’ve been very unsure about how they sounded, then published them, just praying they made sense.

To try to manage these symptoms,I’ve been spending time listening to music I love, which means many songs I grew up with in the 70’s-80’s, some country & some classic & hard rock.  I’ve also been spending time with God, not even necessarily praying- just sitting in His presence.  It’s very restorative & grounding.

C-PTSD is an absolutely evil, devastating disorder.  If you live with it too, I understand what you’re going through!  You may or may not have the odd symptoms I’ve been experiencing this week (I pray you don’t!), but if you do, please know you’re not alone, nor are you crazy!  In spite of how it feels, you are a normal person who had a normal reaction to an abnormal amount of trauma!  That is what C-PTSD is- a normal response to an abnormal amount of trauma.  It isn’t a sign of weakness, low intelligence, flaws in one’s character, or poor thinking such as living in the past or being negative.

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Depression Isn’t A Sign Of Weakness!

Yesterday was a very hard day for me. I had an especially nasty flashback.  Not long after, my mother called.  I shouldn’t have answered the phone, but I did anyway.  Why is beyond me..this ended up with me feeling awful for the rest of the day, & waking up about every 15-30 minutes all night long.  Sometimes from nightmares, sometimes from anxiety attacks, other times from hot or cold flashes.

This morning I woke up very depressed & very exhausted.  Unfortunately, when I’m this tired, I think bad thoughts.  I ended up feeling so weak.  I was angry at myself for not being stronger, & for having C-PTSD.  Thankfully, my bad thoughts didn’t get too bad before I got online & read this article….

https://traumadissociation.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/ptsd-can-it-come-from-strength-rather-than-a-sign-of-weakness/

It gives a very interesting perspective.  A perspective I’d never heard of before, suggesting that depressive illness (& those of us with PTSD or C-PTSD know depression all too well) is a sign of strength rather than weakness.  Reading the article made perfect sense to me.  It says that people who are strong, responsible, diligent, etc. tend to deal with depression more than those who are weak, irresponsible or lazy.  The reason being, the responsible types get more stressed- they keep pushing & pushing themselves while their irresponsible counterparts give up.  The article explains it much like a blown fuse.  Responsible types push & push themselves, basically like pushing 18 amps through a 13 amp fuse.

Interesting perspective, no?

Please read the above article- I believe it will encourage you as it has me.

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The Civil Connection With Narcissistic Mothers

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

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

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

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

Mother: “How are you?”

Me: “Fine.”

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

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

See how that works?  It’s really easy.

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

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

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

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Do You Accept False Blame & Guilt?

Last night was a rough one.. I had a flashback while reading an article online.  The flashback was about something that happened with the ex boyfriend of mine who I mentioned in this post.  It was strange, because I wasn’t even thinking of him, nor had I thought of him in a few days.  I also never had a flashback about him before, nor had I remembered the incident until last night- I must have forgotten about it shortly after it happened (repressed memory).  The whole thing was just so odd!  I had some thoughts about it though, that I thought I should share.  I’m hoping this will make sense- I still feel weird this morning as I’m still recovering from the flashback, & can’t think very straight.  Please bear with me…

As I’d mentioned in the post I’d linked to above, I’d felt guilty since I broke up with that man in 1990.  Guilty for hurting him, guilty for letting myself get involved with someone I wasn’t interested in in the first place, guilty for dashing his hopes for marriage & a family.  That is all I ever thought of regarding him.  It wasn’t until his death last January that when I thought about our relationship, I realized how dysfunctional & abusive it was.

I’ve done similar things with friendships I’ve ended- felt guilty for hurting the other person, only to realize years later that the other person was using me & really a terrible friend,& I had to end that relationship.

I would bet that this is pretty common with daughters of narcissistic mothers.  I know that I grew up feeling so overly responsible for my mother that I carried that overdeveloped sense of responsibility into other relationships.  I still fight with that to this day sometimes.  As a result, people who use & abuse have sought me out, & if I ended the relationship, I ended up feeling guilty for not doing enough, or letting them down somehow.  I take on blame that isn’t necessarily mine.  The result is a lot of wasted time beating myself up & feeling guilty for things I shouldn’t feel guilty about.

Does any of this sound familiar to you??  I’m guessing it does.

If you’re in this position of berating yourself for failed relationships, I would like to encourage you today.  Think objectively about those relationships, & if you have a hard time with being objective, pretend a good friend is telling you about it rather than you having experienced it.  What would you tell her?  Would you blame her completely for the relationship failing?  Would you tell her that she was stupid for becoming involved with the person  in the first place or for allowing that person to use or abuse her?  Then what makes telling yourself these things OK?

I’m not saying you’re never at fault or never make mistakes in relationships.  We all do those things.  It’s part of being human.  However, I’m talking about not accepting 100% of the blame 100% of the time.  Accept blame when it’s yours & make amends where you can, but also keep the other person’s blame on them.  It isn’t yours to take.  if you are unsure about what blame is & is not yours, I encourage you to ask God.  Pray about it, & God will show you what you need to know in a loving, gentle way.

Don’t beat yourself up!  Feeling guilty & berating yourself for things that aren’t your fault only continue the abuse your narcissistic mother did to you.  You deserve so much better than that!!  xoxo

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How To Avoid Accepting Blame From A Narcissist

The topic of defending oneself to a narcissist & its futility came up in my facebook group this morning.  It was also mentioned how narcissists can turn anything back around onto you.  True, isn’t it?  They could beat you bloody, steal all your money, or call you horrible names for something so silly as reading a book, yet according to them, you are the problem.  And, if you aren’t careful, you can end up accepting that lie as truth. I’ve done this many times myself.

How can you avoid falling into that awful trap?  It’s easier than you may think..

First of all, I have found that a good relationship with God is vital.  When you are blamed, ask God if this is true, are you really at fault?  Ask Him to help you see things clearly so you don’t accept blame that isn’t yours.

Focus on improving your self-esteem.  The more secure you are, the harder it is for anyone to push false blame on you.

Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Knowledge truly is power, & knowledge of NPD will help you to remember that they are the ones with a problem, not you.  This is something you need to be very aware of in order to stop accepting the blame for problems a narcissist blames you for.

Another thing I’ve learned to be very helpful is to journal about the events.  Seeing them written out factually, without emotions, helps bring you clarity.  That is partly why I discuss my experiences with my narcissistic mother.  It helps me to keep a proper perspective while also helping others.  It also helps me tremendously when people say things like, “I read in your blog about what your mother did.  She was so wrong for doing that!”  It’s an additional validation.  I’m not saying you have to make what you write public as I have, of course, but if you opt to do so, it may help you as it helps me.  You can use false names if you want to remain anonymous.

Talk to those who understand.  Close friends or relatives who know the situation, & support you can be tremendously helpful.  Often those with narcissistic mothers don’t have many friends or relatives who do support them, as narcissistic mothers love turning people against her daughter, but there is still hope.  There are facebook groups & forums like mine that are full of safe people who understand your plight because they have been in your situation.

Lastly, never engage a narcissist.  Ever. If she wants to blame you for something, don’t defend yourself.  Respond to her with calmness & logic. If she continues raging, walk away.  Let her look like a fool while you protect yourself.  If she recruits others to her side, & those flying monkeys wish to talk to you on her behalf, refuse to discuss that topic with them.

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When Bad Times Happen With A Narcissistic Parent

Since I’ve said I’ll keep this blog real & not sugarcoat things, I thought I should share this.

As I’ve said, lately I’ve been feeling like I need to write for those who either can’t or won’t go no contact with their narcissistic mothers. I’ve been trying to be encouraging to those of you in that situation, & I firmly believe in what I’ve been saying.  But, this doesn’t mean bad times don’t happen sometimes.

Although things have been going quite well with my parents, Monday I was hurt by both of them.  It was my father’s birthday, so I wanted to call to wish him a happy birthday.  My mother answered the phone, & we talked for a while.  She seems to be trying to be nicer to me, I think because she realizes I’m pulling away as I always do when she gets nasty.  Even so, she still hurt me by talking with compassion & concern about a problem someone she knows has. Sadly, I’ve had the same problem for years now, & she doesn’t even care.  In fact, she obviously didn’t remember I have this problem.

Then, I spoke with my father.  He can be very pessimistic.  In fact, if you saw the movie, “Kindergarten Cop”, you may remember the little boy who, when his teacher said he had a headache, replied with, “It could be a tumor.”  That is who my father reminds me of sometimes- he can find a possible negative in most any situation.  He reminded me of my first car that is sitting in my backyard, waiting on restoration, & getting rustier by the day.  *sigh*  He told me I should sell her, which isn’t happening.  She’ll be restored somehow, & frankly, what business is this of his, anyway??

Unfortunately when you’re in a relationship with your narcissistic parents, times like this happen.  While the things I’ve written about definitely will help you, they won’t make everything perfect.  Bad times still will happen.  Please don’t be discouraged by these times.  They are going to happen.  They can’t be avoided 100%, unfortunately.

And, if you think about it, you’ll realize you are handling those bad times better.  I did.  I was hurt, of course, but I wasn’t devastated by Monday’s call.  The suggestions I’ve been making & putting into practice for myself- boundaries, looking for the positive, improving self-esteem & leaning on God most of all- have helped me a LOT.  I have no doubt they’ll help you as well.

I know being in a relationship with a narcissist isn’t easy, especially when everyone tells you to just walk away.  But, if this is where you feel you need to be at least for now, or you are unable to walk away, please be encouraged.  God will enable you to do what you need to do to protect your mental health!

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Maintaining Healthy Boundaries

It’s not easy for any adult child of a narcissistic parent to maintain good, healthy boundaries.  Some of us are too lax while others become too strict.  There needs to be balance, & below I want to offer some thoughts on maintaining healthy, balanced boundaries..

To have & enforce healthy boundaries, first off, I believe you must believe that you are entitled to have needs.  It is perfectly fine that you have needs. Your needs are just as important as anyone else’s!  If you don’t believe this, I encourage you to pray.  Ask God to tell you what He thinks of your needs, & if you are allowed to have them.  Then, just listen for His response.

Be firm & fair with your boundaries.  Realize what your narcissistic mother is & is not capable of, & keep your boundaries realistic. For example, if she cannot respect the fact that you need to leave her at a certain time, remind her of the fact you need to leave by a specific time.  When the time is approaching yet she wants you to stay, there is nothing wrong with saying, “I have to go in 10 minutes.”  Then, when 10 minutes comes, get up, say good bye, & leave.

Have realistic expectations.  Remember, your narcissistic mother won’t like your boundaries.  Prepare yourself for that by having effective, creative ways in mind to enforce them.

Remember, it’s ok to distance yourself.  Either temporarily or permanently, sometimes distance is the best solution for you when dealing with someone who has no respect for your boundaries.  Hanging up on or leaving the presence of someone who ignores your boundaries is acceptable!  It’s not unreasonable at all- you are taking care of yourself which means you need to do what is necessary to do so.  And, sometimes, severing ties is a viable solution.  However, you need to decide what type of distancing yourself is best for you- do NOT let anyone else tell you what you should do!  The decision is yours & yours alone to make, & nobody but God & you know what is best for you!

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Adult Child Of A Narcissistic Mother, Be Compassionate With Yourself!

Tomorrow, Christmas eve, would’ve been my 24th wedding anniversary, if I had stayed married to my ex husband.

The day always brings some conflicting feelings.  Mostly, I am grateful I was able to get away from him, as he was a narcissist who treated me much like my narcissistic mother used to treat me.  I can’t imagine how bad things would’ve been for me if I had stayed with him.  Chances are good that I would have killed myself if we had stayed together.  I was that depressed with him.

It also makes me sad though, when I think of how damaged I was back then.  I knew marrying him was a mistake, which is why I had broken up with him a few months prior.  Yet I still allowed him to talk me into marrying him anyway.  I married him instead of continuing to date someone who I really enjoyed being with, because I believed my ex when he made me feel guilty for leaving him, & like I owed it to him to marry him for hurting him so badly.

It’s amazing the things that a child of a narcissist will do, isn’t it?

I’m sharing this embarrassing bit of information about myself with you today for a reason.  I’m sure you too have things in your past that you regret.  Bad choices made out of dysfunction, pain or even desperation to be loved.  I want you to know that you’re not alone!  You have nothing to be ashamed of! Mistakes like mine are a normal part of being raised by a narcissistic mother.  You grow up so dysfunctional because all of your growing up years, you were told you were a horrible, stupid, ugly, selfish, etc. etc. person.  You were blamed for things that weren’t your fault, & made to be responsible for things no child should be responsible for, such as her mother’s emotions.  Things like this cause a tremendous amount of damage that permeates your innermost being well into adulthood.  It is completely normal!

Please don’t do like I did for many years.  I beat myself up for being so stupid & marrying someone I didn’t love, for falling for all of his manipulations, for being so starved for love that I believed him when he said he loved me, for ignoring my instincts that told me to stay far from him & for passing up a good man for a narcissistic one.  I asked myself so many times how I could be so stupid, basically continuing the beating up of my self-esteem that both my mother & ex-husband started.  It was wrong & cruel, & I showed myself no understanding or compassion.  Don’t make that same mistake!  You deserve so much better than that!

While yes, you have made mistakes & done dumb things, everyone has!  No one is immune from making mistakes in their life, especially someone raised by a narcissistic mother.  Show yourself some compassion & realize that you have been through some damaging things- it’s only natural you have made mistakes.

Also remember, God loves you & forgives you.  If He forgives you, how can you not forgive yourself?

Be gentle & understanding with yourself, Dear Reader.  You deserve it.  xoxo

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Rambling & More Thoughts On Narcissistic Mothers

Good morning, Dear Readers!

Again, thank you so much to every one of you who has prayed for me & shown me concern these past 10 days.  My father is now home to recover after a caifoplasty (I think it was called?) yesterday to repair a compression fracture on his spine. I took him home last night & he was moving much better already.  🙂

These past 10 days have been brutal.  My father went into the hospital with this terrible back pain at 3 a.m. on Tuesday the 9th, then quickly had a bad reaction to the morphine & was delirious for several days.  They weren’t sure at first if it was pain, meds or what making him delirious, but thankfully figured out it was the morphine.  No more morphine for him!  EVER!  I warned him never again- I’m not happy with him calling me Mom!  lol

Those of you with a narcissistic mother can imagine the  “fun” this has been.  As if the drama with my father’s health wasn’t enough, she managed to turn everything around on her.  Even yesterday, the day he had an operation on his spine, my mother still turned everything around on her.  Amazing!!  Absolutely amazing!!  & not in a good way!  By the time I got home, much later than expected mind you, I was in tears of anger & frustration.  Not to mention anxiety because I spent the entire day at the hospital- not good for the agoraphobia.  My husband, bless his heart, listened to me tell all of the day’s awful events.  He also said, “I have seen the light!  I really get it now about your mother!  I am so sorry!!”  Thank God!!  I can’t put into words how grateful I am for that.  My husband is accustomed to his own narcissistic parents, & due to his upbringing, always tried to make excuses for or defend my mother.  I think that is a thing of the past now.  God is truly good- I never expected that to happen!

After I took my father home, I had to leave fast.  One of my cats has diabetes & a couple of other health issues, & I’ve found testing his glucose & giving him an insulin injection when needed at about 5 p.m. works well for us, usually keeping his glucose levels pretty stable.  By the time I got my father home, it was already 7:30!  I told my parents I need to go- Pretty Boy is late for his insulin.  My mother kept dragging her feet, pretending she didn’t hear me or coming up with reasons I needed to stay.  I ended up pretty much walking out on her.  *sigh*  She didn’t care that my boy needed help, my husband wasn’t home yet from work & couldn’t take care of him- I had to go.  It was maddening!!

The icing on the cake was when I was walking out the door.  My mother gave me a hug & said “I love you.  You’re doing such a good job!”  Maybe with a normal, non-narcissistic parent, this would be a nice thing to say.  However… with a narcissistic parent, this made me very angry.  The only time my mother tells me she loves me, is proud of me or other such positive things is when I’m doing what she wants me to do, as she wants me to do it.  I could count on one hand how many times my mother has said those type of things to me in the last 25 years.  Maybe even 30 years.

It was just so maddening!!  The only time I’m worthy of any praise, even just a small amount, is when I’m doing her will?!  Really?!  Never mind I’ve run a non-profit organization designed to help people with depressive disorders.  Never mind my writing helps other people often (I know- I get the emails to prove it!).  Never mind I’ve rescued over 25 cats since 1990 & 3 dogs who were in horrible situations. (I’m not trying to brag on myself with this information, by the way!!)  None of that matters to my mother.  All that matters to her is what I do for her.  ARGH!!!!  It’s not that I’m after her approval- I’ve accepted that I’ll never have it.  Even so, the reminders of this fact still hurt.  Reminders like this show me, yet again, that I’m not even human to her.  That I am simply a tool to be used when needed, according to my mother.  I don’t matter to her, nor do my needs, wants, feelings or even my furkids as she showed me so clearly last night.  It hurts!!

I guess my point of sharing all of this (aside from venting) is to let you know, Dear Readers, I really do understand.  I understand your frustration with your narcissistic mother.  I understand your pain & hurt.  I understand how aggravating it is when others don’t get it.  Having a narcissistic mother is truly a lonely road!

I really hope my experiences can help you somehow to cope with your own narcissistic mother.  If nothing else, I hope you realize that you truly are not alone, in spite of how it feels.  I love you & am praying for you!  xoxo

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Aging & Narcissists

This morning, I read an interesting article about the final years of Jim Jones.  He was a notorious cult leader who led over 900 of his followers to commit suicide in 1978.  Like all cult leaders, Jones was a narcissist.  His final years were full of more bizarre & controlling behaviors, & the article I read discussed why he was this way.

For years, I’ve wondered why so many narcissists get meaner as they get older, while your average person becomes gentler & kinder.  It began to make some sense to me as I applied what I read in the article to my own narcissistic mother.

As we age, we lose some qualities of youth, such as good looks, health & physical strength.  While most people accept this, narcissists don’t.  At the root of narcissism is an extreme insecurity.  They count on such things to always be there for them, yet those things aren’t.  When they aren’t, this makes the narcissist more insecure & they will lash out at those around them out.  Anything that makes a narcissist feel more insecure or that threatens their illusion of their perfect, false self angers them, & the aging process is no different.

Also, losing such qualities can mean losing control over those the narcissist once controlled easily.  A narcissist who was big, strong & healthy could physically intimidate another person when young, but once that person is older, not so strong or healthy, that ability is gone.  The narcissist must change how she controls her victim.  I have seen the changes with my mother.  When I was a child, it didn’t take much effort for her to control me- the vicious looks & cruel words always scared me easily.  In my late teens, I wasn’t so easily controlled, however.  She began screaming at me, sometimes inches from my face, calling me terrible names & saying horribly cruel things.  Once I moved out of my parents’ home at 19, my mother often said cruel things, but without screaming at me.  She also did other nasty little things.  For example, after she threw me into a wall & hurt my back when I was 19, she would constantly hand me something heavy or slap me on the back where it was injured when I saw her.  Now that she is older & frailer than she once was, her method of attack has changed yet again.  She loves to say cruel things to me quietly while we’re in a public place, such as a restaurant.  That way, either I have to take it quietly, or if I speak up, I’ll draw attention to my “awful” behavior & look like the crazy one.

If they continue to feel they are losing control, narcissistic tactics will get more vicious, as I have shown with my mother’s behavior.  I personally don’t believe this means you have to cater to the narcissist or tolerate the abuse.  Instead, I believe there are 2 options- either sever ties with the narcissist, or if you can’t or are unwilling to do so, strengthen yourself to withstand the abuse.  There are several ways to do this…

First, pray.  A strong relationship with God is vital.  You need to be secure in knowing He loves you, supports you & will show you ways to cope.

Second, you also will need to have strong boundaries.  You need to know what you can & can’t tolerate.  You’ll need to have good, effective ways to enforce those boundaries.  If a topic comes up that you don’t want to discuss with your narcissistic mother, then change the subject, for example.  Change it over & over as necessary- eventually she will get tired of this.

Third, keep your conversations superficial.  Don’t divulge information about your personal life to your narcissistic mother.  That information only becomes ammunition for her to use to hurt you later.

Fourth, remember- you do NOT have to be available 24/7.  Don’t answer the phone every time she calls  Don’t spend a lot of time with her.  Keeping some distance will help you to preserve your mental health.

Lastly, don’t neglect yourself.  Spend time with God & with empathic, caring people who understand what you are going through & won’t judge or criticize you when you get angry.  Get good at being good to yourself.  Get yourself little gifts periodically, treat yourself to bubble baths or manicures regularly, or whatever nourishes your soul.  Taking good care of yourself will help to strengthen you when you have to deal with your narcissistic mother.

Below is a link to the article I read about Jim Jones that inspired this blog post.

http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=40230

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Loving Your Enemy- How It Relates To Narcissists

As I was falling asleep last night, hubby was watching TV.  He had some Christian program on, & I heard Matthew 5:44 as I was dozing.. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (KJV)  I quickly made a mental note & asked God to remind me to look up this verse & how it relates to narcissism.   Thankfully, He reminded me this morning so here I am, having looked it up.

 

I checked this verse in the Message translation of the Bible, & it was quite eye opening:

 

Matthew 5:43-47:  “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.”

 

That right there is one of the reasons I love the Message translation so much!  It spells things out super clearly!

 

I think many people think loving your enemies means allowing them to hurt & abuse you.  Clearly this isn’t what God means.  Not even close.

 

The best way to handle a relationship with a narcissist is to pray about it- ask God how you should handle yourself with this person & do as He says.  Learn from your experiences, too.  Being in a relationship with a narcissist can teach you plenty of things, such as learning what boundaries to set & enforce.  You also can love this person without tolerating their abuse by setting boundaries & giving them consequences for their actions.  Both are very loving behaviors, as they teach how to be a better person.  (Whether or not the narcissist learns from your boundaries & consequences is up to her, but you can rest assured you have done the right thing).

 

So many people say that you should cut ties with any narcissist, no matter who he or she is, or where this person is on the NPD spectrum.  While often that is necessary to protect yourself, sometimes it isn’t feasible to sever those ties for various reasons.  In cases like that, then you need to make the best of it for you.  Why not use the opportunity to learn & grow?

 

In 2001, I cut ties with my mother.  I didn’t speak to her until she called me in 2007 because she was having heart surgery.  I  almost didn’t allow her back into my life at that point as she showed no repentance for her past awful behaviors.  She isn’t one to accept responsibility, so this wasn’t exactly a surprise.  However, I allowed her back in anyway.  Since that time, it hasn’t been easy, as any of you who read my blog or books know.  But, I’m still glad I did it.  There have been a few good times, more than ever before, & I have learned a lot.  During our time apart, I was able to heal from much of the abuse she put me through, but it’s during  the time together that I’ve been able to grow & learn so much about myself as well as my mother.  I also have a peace now I didn’t back in 2001, because I have given the relationship with my mother my best.  If one of us opts to end it now, so be it- I have the satisfaction of knowing I’ve done all I can do.

 

Whether you are currently in a relationship or not with your narcissistic mother, you still can follow the command Jesus gave us, & “love your enemy.”  You can pray for her- pray for her healing, her Salvation & anything else you know she needs.  You also can pray for yourself- ask God what you were to learn from your experiences, & how to put this knowledge into practice.

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You Are Stronger Than You Think!

Have you ever thought about what you have been through in your life?  I mean, really thought about the things that you have made it through?

 

If not, I challenge you today to do this.  I did this recently.  A bad night full of awful nightmares, making me feel the same hurt, anger, anxiety & fear I have felt many times in my life triggered this.  I realized that I have been through some really horrible things & I survived them all remarkably well!

 

I have survived having a narcissistic mother who physically hurt me, who tried to destroy the person I am & make me into whatever she wants me to be, who has betrayed me repeatedly, who used me more times than I can count, still tries to gaslight me to this day, & who hates everything about me.  I also survived an ex husband who was much like my mother in how he treated me, constantly gaslighting me, trying to isolate me from my family & friends & morph me into somene he thought I should be instead of accepting who I was.  I’ve survived a narcissistic mother in-law & two sisters in-law who hate me & have not exactly made a secret out of that.  (Well, with me anyway- they all have put on a good show in front of others, especially my husband.)  They also have done their best to cause problems between us, so it’s amazing we are still married.  All of these awful things are in addition to the more common problems everyone has in life such as losing loved ones, financial problems & such.  When I thought about it, I realized that I am one tough chick!  I also realize that without God, I wouldn’t have survived the things I’ve been through as well as I have.  In fact, to be totally honest about it, I probably would’ve killed myself years ago.  I certainly thought about that enough.  Yes, I have problems such as the C-PTSD, but I’m still alive & doing pretty well under the circumstances.

 

Thinking about all of this has given me a peace & strength I hadn’t felt before.  It showed me how strong I am, with God’s help, & how well I can handle crises.  It feels good!

 

What about you?  What have you experienced in your life that should have destroyed you?  I want to encourage you today to celebrate those victories!  Be proud of the things that you have overcome!  OK, so you aren’t perfect- no one is!  But, you got through & are thriving!  You keep pressing on, & try to be a good person.  That is much more than so many others do.  Many abused people go on to abuse others.  They don’t have the “umph” inside to break the cycle, to face their pain.   But you do & that is something you should be very proud of!

 

 

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Self – Care Help

I don’t know about you, but frankly, I really stink at self – care.   This isn’t a good thing, especially since I’ve been having a rough time of late, & really could use some good self – care rituals.

 

Today I was thinking about this, wondering what I need to do to get better at taking care of myself.  An idea popped into my mind that I’m sure was from God, as I’m  not this creative.  A self – care box!  I have a cute little wooden box I had gotten at a craft store a few years back.  It’s maybe 3″ deep, 4″ wide & 2″ tall.  I got out some pretty pink & off white paint for it.  Pink & off white make me happy, which is why I chose those colors.  While I’m waiting on the paint to dry, I went online & found a bunch of simple but good ideas for self – care.  Simple ones, like “take a few minutes just to breathe deeply.”  “Take a nap.”  “Give yourself a manicure/pedicure.”  “Pray.”  “Read.”  I wrote these little suggestions on pieces of pretty blue construction paper (if only I’d had pink!  lol).  I will cut them out & once the paint on the box is dry, put them in the box.  When I need a little extra self – care, I’ll pull one piece of paper & do whatever suggestion is on that piece of paper.

 

Many adult children of narcissistic mothers also aren’t very good at taking care of themselves.  It’s hardly just me.  If this describes you, then why don’t you try creating  a self – care box?  Do an internet search on “self – care ideas” & you will be amazed with the amount of suggestions available!  Pick & choose the ones that appeal the most to you.  Then, the next time you’re feeling down, anxious, overworked or whatever, pull out one of those little slips of paper from the box & do what it says.

 

You deserve to be healthy, emotionally as well as physically!  It will give you more peace & joy, taking good care of yourself.  Besides, to be the best you that you can be for others, you have to take care of yourself.  Do it for the ones you love, as well as for yourself.  ❤

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Today’s Random Thoughts

For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot today…

One of those things that crossed my mind was how incredibly damaged my thinking has been. I learned early in life to do as I was told without question, to take care of other people before myself & not to trust my own feelings/perceptions/instincts. As a result, I have done many stupid things & tolerated way more from people than I should have.

One thing that shows how damaged my thinking was is my first marriage. While I was engaged to my ex, I broke up with him for a few months when I was 19, & started dating other men. During that time, he called me often, making me feel guilty for breaking up with him, & making him miserable. I had many good reasons to break up with him, but they seemed less & less important as I listened to him. Only a few months later, I married him, then divorced him after a short marriage.

In spite of the guilt messages he (& his friends) gave me during that time, I still assume full responsibility for my actions. My thinking was so damaged, I disregarded my reasons for breaking up with him & my feelings & marry him, because he told me to.

During the breakup, I also began dating another man, 9 years my senior, for two reasons- he was pushy, insisting I go out with him, & my friend told me I should date him. While granted, he seemed much more mature than my ex husband, & was financially stable, he had his own issues. I didn’t know how bad off he was until recently when found out that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself…

Looking back at these situations, it amazes me at myself, & not in a good way! I’ve asked myself so many times how I could’ve been so stupid. But, rather than dwell on that, I focus instead on thanking God for coming into my life & teaching me so very much! Of course I don’t know everything or have all of the answers, but I am much more emotionally healthy than I ever have been. I’ve also learned to listen to God & listen to my instincts, thanks to having a relationship with Him. It amazes me how much He cares about every aspect of my life.

I’d like to encourage you to do the same things- listen to God & your instincts as well. These things are often difficult to do at first to those who also survived narcissistic abuse- they were for me too!-but they get easier the more you do them. And, before you know it, you will be surprised at how much healthier your thinking is! ❤

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Guest Blog Post I Wrote On Forgiveness

http://hopeinhealingblog.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/forgivenessby-guest-blogger-cynthia/

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October 16, 2012

Good afternoon, Dear Readers! I realized since my last post that I have something else to add to my last post of advice for writers.. when working on an emotional project, it is best to take some time off as needed. I have burned out a bit. This current book is very difficult for me, & very freeing at the same time. I have been very tired the last few days, & feeling rather empty. My husband made a good point- he said that since I’ve been putting so much into this book, that I am empty. I’m purging the bad, but not replacing it with anything good. Make sense? So, I am trying to think of ways to do just that. I’ve taken a few days off, for the purpose of goofing off & focusing on other things. I will get back at it soon, though. Might even do a little writing today- we’ll see! Have a blessed day!

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