Tag Archives: emotional

Why Anxiety Is Worse After Leaving Narcissistic Abuse

Severing ties with a narcissist is a very difficult thing to do.  Not only telling the person you are done with the relationship, but the aftermath.  It can come with a plethora of challenges.  One of them for many people is extreme anxiety.

Many people who have left a narcissistic relationship have discovered that once they are safely away from the narcissist, their anxiety gets much worse for a while.

On the surface, this doesn’t make sense.  They’re safe, the narcissist hasn’t tried to contact them in ages.  They haven’t even seen the narcissist in passing at the grocery store or on the road.  Why would anxiety be bad when it should be so much lower?  I think this happens for a few reasons.

When in a relationship with a narcissist, you learn to function in survival mode out of necessity.  Your entire universe consists of thoughts like what can I do to please the narcissist, what can I do to make sure the narcissist doesn’t get angry with me, what needs does the narcissist have that I can anticipate in the hopes of gaining some favor from this person.  When you think this way, it’s as if there is simply no room in your mind for anxiety.  All the space in your brain is taken up with those thoughts, & there is no room for anything else.  I really believe narcissists do their best to keep their victims busy in this way so they don’t have the opportunity to see the abuse is wrong or plan their means of escape.

If you were romantically involved with a narcissist then begin to get involved with someone who isn’t a narcissist, that can create a lot of anxiety at first.  It feels so foreign to be with someone who is healthy when you are so accustomed to abuse & dysfunction.  You also naturally can feel like you did with the narcissist, waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  When it doesn’t, that can be unnerving simply because of what you were accustomed to in a relationship.

If the narcissist in your life was a parent, then you grew up in an extremely abnormal environment, which means you grew up to be a bit abnormal.  You couldn’t see life as a normal child does when growing up.  You have a skewed view of the world.  When you escape your narcissistic parent, you suddenly have to function in a very different environment.  Even though it’s healthier, it’s still different than what you are used to.  This can create anxiety, even though it’s a good thing.

You also grew up with this way of thinking like, “I’m supposed to do this thing, so I’ll do it.”  No further thought happened.  As an adult free of that abuse, now you see things as you should have seen them as a child but did not have that opportunity.  It can  create anxiety, & sometimes even shame for the things you did simply because you were told to do them.

The best way I know to deal with anxiety like this is with reassurance.  Ask God to reassure you & to help you with the anxiety for starters.  Also, talk to yourself.  Remind yourself that the danger has passed.  Those terrible things that once happened to you are no longer going to happen.  That abusive person is out of your life, & you’re safe now.  If you’re dating someone, remind yourself that this person isn’t the narcissist, but an entirely different person.  You can’t expect the same behavior from this person that you got from the narcissist, because healthy people do NOT act like narcissists.  And thank God for that!

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Sale On All My Ebooks!

My ebook publisher is offering a sale on all of my ebooks from July 1-31, 2020. They will be 25% off. They’re available on my website or use this link to go to the site directly: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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About Irritable Gratitude Syndrome

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I’m Doing Something New

I decided to try something new.. podcasts. The idea popped into my head recently, even though I know nothing of podcasts. It felt like God was leading me in a new direction, so I decided to give it a try.

To get started, I’ve decided to use the audio from my YouTubes. Yes, it’s a repeat of information having it on podcasts, YouTube & in this blog, but not everyone learns the same way. Some are visual learners & love YouTube. Some learn best from reading & others prefer learning audibly. I doubt many people will benefit from all three formats, so by doing them, it enables more people to (hopefully!!) learn from my work.

If you’d like to check them out, here is the link:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

I only have a few out there at the moment, but I’ll add more as time goes on. I was hoping to get all of them done asap, but yanno something? I can’t get them done quickly. Not with my mental health. So, I hope you’ll be understanding & patient with me taking my time in adding more podcasts.

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About Coping With Pain & Suffering

I get a daily email from the funeral home that took care of my mother when she died.  It sometimes has good & interesting emails.  Sadly though because our relationship was so abnormal, & it’s aimed for people with normal relationships who are grieving, it isn’t usually particularly helpful.

I just read the first email I truly disliked.  Even so, I think it can be a valuable teaching tool, even for those in relationships with narcissists.

The email quoted a book written by a young woman whose sister died.  She said her mother cried non stop.  She wore headphones constantly so she wouldn’t have to hear her mother cry, & her father worked very long hours for the same reason.  The commentary on this brief story said that as someone grieving, you should consider how your actions affect others.  You should keep your home life as normal as possible.  People who love you will be upset to see you suffering.  It ended with take time to share your feelings & not isolate yourself.

When I read this, it bothered me.

Not talking things out isn’t healthy.  Whether you’re grieving as the lady in this article or suffering at the hands of a narcissist. you have to talk about things.  You can’t ignore things & hope they’ll go away because they won’t.  The same goes for toning bad things down when you do talk about them.  It’s wise to share only with people you know are safe of course, so I’m not saying talk to just anyone.  Only aim to talk with safe people who won’t judge, criticize or invalidate you.  Can you imagine how much better the lady in this article would’ve felt if she had someone to talk to?!

Also, it seems to me the family in this article split up rather than pulling together with their shared loss.  That isn’t healthy!  The family in this email would have been so much better off if they would have spoken to each other about what each one was feeling & supported each other.  Whether you are grieving a death like the lady in this article or are suffering at the hands of an abuser, you should come together with people who are experiencing a situation similar to yours.  That way you can help each other to get through.  Finding that common ground with another person also can be incredibly validating!  If you don’t know anyone, there are countless online forums & groups on social media sites where you can meet such people.

The final sentence bothered me, too.   It seemed to me that taken in context with the rest of it basically said, “Let people know you’re upset, but not *too* upset.”  That is just wrong.  If people truly care about you, naturally they don’t want to see you upset of course, but they also won’t expect you to hide your feelings just to appease them.  They would rather see you bawl your eyes out or yell than plaster on a fake smile & pretend everything is ok.  They probably would see through the fake smile easily anyway.  I know my friends would.  If you’re suffering at the hands of a narcissist in particular, I know it can feel sometimes like no one cares, but that isn’t true!  That is only what the narcissist wants you to think, so you won’t discuss the abuse with anyone.  There will be people who genuinely care & want to help you.  Let them!

In the midst of suffering, it really can feel like there is no escape, like you’re all alone & no one cares.  Don’t believe that!  People do care & you can get through this.  And most importantly, there is a God who loves you so much & will be there for you no matter what.  Don’t forget to turn to Him & let Him help you to get through!

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Anxiety With C-PTSD

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About Ignorance vs Malice

“You can’t get mad. He just doesn’t know any better.” I think all of us who have been victimized by a narcissist have heard this statement at some point. It’s said by those who either have absolutely no understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those flying monkeys who enthusiastically enable narcissists to abuse.

This statement can be very unsettling. You can feel so angry by the abuse but then you stop in your tracks. Maybe the person who said this is right, & the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better.  You feel badly for being angry with someone for doing something they don’t know is wrong.

Long before I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I was in this situation.  I had problems with my now deceased mother in-law from about the moment we met.  Obviously I didn’t know what to do since I knew nothing of narcissism.  I decided to talk to my husband in the hopes he would have ideas on how to help me get along with his mother.  When I first told my husband about the problems I had with his mother, he said that she didn’t know any better.  He truly believed it, & I thought maybe he was right.  His mother gave the impression of being very naïve, after all.  I also knew her mother in-law never liked her.  Maybe the problem was that she had no other experience beyond the negativity between her & her mother in-law, & being naïve, she didn’t know how to act better towards me.  Logically, it made sense, & I felt terrible for being so upset with my mother in-law for quite some time & silently tolerated her abuse.  Yet, “she doesn’t know any better” didn’t sit right with me.

Eventually I realized why the ignorance plea felt wrong.  I realized she wasn’t ignorant, she was malicious.  I thought I’d share those realizations with you today so if someone tells you that the narcissist in your life doesn’t know any better, you won’t suffer needlessly as I did.

If someone is truly ignorant of their actions, they won’t hide their behavior.  Why would they?  If they aren’t aware that what they’re doing is wrong, there’s no need to hide it.  Someone who is knowingly doing something wrong is going to hide their actions.  My husband never once saw his mother say or do anything inappropriate to me.  Not once in the eight years she was in my life before I walked away.  We saw her often, too, but she never slipped up.  If she truly didn’t know that she was treating me badly, why would she have hidden her behavior towards me?  She would have treated me the same no matter who was around.

A malicious person doesn’t listen.  A person who is told that their actions are hurting someone yet repeats the actions over & over is malicious.  By continuing to hurt someone, they are proving by their actions that they either don’t care that their actions cause someone else pain or that they enjoy deliberately causing pain.  However, if you confront someone who is truly unaware of the pain their actions cause, they will change their behavior, apologize & even try to make it up to the person they hurt if at all possible.  They also won’t repeat the hurtful behavior again.

An ignorant person doesn’t change their actions just because another person enters the room, but a malicious person does.  A malicious person will change their behavior if someone whose opinion they value comes along so that person continues to think well of them.  Ignorant people won’t think that way because they don’t think their behavior is something that can be construed as bad or wrong.

When in a situation where you are told the person mistreating you simply doesn’t know any better, please consider these three scenarios.  They should help you to realize quickly if the person in question truly is ignorant of the pain their actions cause or if they are deliberately mistreating you.

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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“Super Powers” In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently saw the most interesting conversation on television!  In this particular scene, a younger lady was talking with an older lady.  The younger lady was deaf, & discussing how things went when she began to lose her hearing in her teens.  She said she was afraid & angry, naturally, but her older sister told her being deaf was her super power.  She learned how to adapt to this new life which obviously wasn’t easy.  She also mentioned how people in their community were learning sign language, & that it was all because of her.

Immediately I began to think of those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.  We have super powers too!

We survived some pretty horrific stuff!  Simply surviving narcissistic abuse definitely fits into the super power category!  Many people don’t.  They end up committing suicide, & quite honestly, who can blame them?  Like many others, I sure considered it plenty when I was going through it.

We also not only survived, but we did so with our sanity & humanity in tact.  Narcissists pull out all the stops when they abuse their victims in an attempt to utterly destroy them.  Surviving that without becoming angry or bitter or continuing their abuse is really impressive!  Many people who survive narcissistic parents simply don’t have the strength or courage to break the cycle of abuse, & they abuse their children.

Many of us go on to talk openly about our painful experiences, & by doing so, help other people.  We create awareness of narcissistic abuse, which is desperately needed.  And, we help other victims to learn what is happening with them when we discuss our experiences.  I’m sure you remember how it was prior to learning about narcissistic abuse.  You felt like you were going crazy, maybe the narcissist was right & you were causing all of the problems in the relationship & more.  Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is incredibly freeing because you learn the narcissist is the problem, not you like the narcissist said.  By discussing your experiences openly, you’re helping other people obtain that freedom!  Also, by discussing narcissistic abuse, we are able to show others what does & doesn’t work with not only dealing with narcissists but the healing process as well.

If you have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, you aren’t exempt from having the super powers.  I know many who have it consider themselves weak or seriously flawed, but that isn’t the case at all!  You simply have a scar that shows yourself & others you survived some pretty horrific stuff.  I know C-PTSD is horrible, I live with it too.  But living with something so painful & challenging is a super power!

And you know something else?  By being open & honest about your struggles with C-PTSD, you’re helping others.  You may help some people who may not yet realize they too have the disorder.  They may hear of your struggles & realize this is what’s been happening with them.  While naturally no one wants to be diagnosed with any illness, mental or physical, if you’re suffering with symptoms & have no clue why, learning what is happening is incredibly helpful!  Having answers means you know what you’re dealing with & can find the proper treatment.

Also, by discussing your symptoms openly & how you cope with those symptoms, you help others find ways to manage their symptoms.  It can be so hard to come up with ideas to help yourself, especially when symptoms are flaring up, which means learning what works & doesn’t work for others can be extremely helpful!

Please never forget, Dear Reader, that you have super powers.  You survived some of the cruelest abuse a human can survive & are going on to help others.  Those are some impressive super powers!  That is amazing & you should be very proud of yourself!

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When Dysfunctional Family Members Side With Your Abuser

Living through narcissistic abuse is a horrific experience that no one should have to endure.  As if that isn’t bad enough, many victims open up to their family about their experiences & are met with unbelief, blame, shaming comments, denial & more.  Their family members say that they should forgive & forget, get over it, & other invalidating comments.  It’s so shocking when you expect support & love & are met with these terrible reactions.  As if this wasn’t enough, many families offer unconditional love & support to the abuser while shunning the victim.

The vast majority of my family never cared that my parents were abusive to me.  They ignored signs when I was a child.  As an adult, they told me things like I needed to get over my childhood hurts, I only get one set of parents & I needed to fix the relationship with my parents.  No doubt many of you can relate.

Victims often wonder why their family acts this way.  I have some ideas why.  By explaining the behavior, I am certainly NOT excusing it.  There is no valid reason to treat a victim this way.  I am simply trying to show victims that the people who say such comments are incredibly dysfunctional & should be ignored not believed.

Denial is the main reason families reject victims & support abusers.  Who wants to accept the fact that someone they love in their own family is capable of horrible acts?!  No one.  Many people do it anyway.  Many other people lack the courage to face that ugly truth.  Also, by denying the abuse, they can have a clear conscience when it comes to failing to help or protect the victim.  If the abuse didn’t happen, even only in their mind, then they did nothing wrong.  Lastly, many of these people care a great deal about the abuser.  Narcissists can be quite charming & likeable.  These people believe this act is the real person & become so enchanted with that false persona, they will reject anything that threatens it which includes someone claiming that person isn’t the perfect person they present themselves as.

Many of these abuse defenders have abuse in their own past.  For every victim of abuse who confronts their pain & works on healing, there are other victims who don’t have the courage to do the same.  They pretend they weren’t abused, pushing all memories as far away from them as they can so as to avoid their pain.  When you face your pain, those people are reminded of theirs, especially if the abuse had similarities.  Facing your pain makes them feel badly for not facing theirs as well as reminds them of their own pain.  Since they don’t want to be reminded of their own pain, they will do their best to shut you down quickly. 

Some abuse defenders are also abusive narcissists.  Abusers don’t want to admit any behavior is abusive.  It means admitting to themselves that they too are abusers, & what they are doing is wrong.  While narcissists lack the empathy to care about the pain & suffering they cause their victims, they do care about what others think of them.  To be known as an abuser tarnishes their reputation, which is something they wish to avoid at all costs.

Many abuse defenders benefit from befriending the narcissist.  Immediately after my mother died, I learned she sent one of my aunts money monthly.  I was stunned!  They never got along & my mother often had complained of my aunt’s lack of money management skills as well as her expectations of others to bail her out every time she got herself into trouble.  I can only assume her benefiting from my mother is why she was such a staunch defender of my parents.  There are many others in similar situations who like my aunt, refuse to chance losing their benefits from the narcissist & prefer to throw their victims under the bus.

When you are in such a situation, I hope you keep this information in mind.  When your family dismisses your valid claims of abuse, the problem definitely isn’t you.  It’s them!

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Being Too Busy

So many people seem to admire others who are constantly busy.  If you don’t believe me, you can see this for yourself.  If someone asks what you’ve been up to lately, notice their reaction to your answer.  If you say, “Not much,” most people look a bit disgusted with that answer.  However, if you say, “I’ve been really busy,” most people look pleased with your answer.

Keeping busy isn’t always the good thing many people think it is though.  Constantly going takes a toll on your physical, emotional & even spiritual health.  Physical because you aren’t taking the proper time to rest like your body needs you to.  Emotional because you aren’t allowing your mind to relax or giving it time to process things you need to process.  Spiritual because you aren’t taking time to spend with God, so He can restore you,  heal you or simply love you like you need.

Keeping busy is also a trauma related response.  Many people who have experienced trauma throw themselves into activities or work rather than take the proper time to face & heal from their trauma.  Think about it.  How many people after the death of someone they love, for example, suddenly get more active in work, volunteering, working at their church or other activities?  A lot of people do this.  They also will frequently say something like keeping busy helps them not to think about their departed loved one so much.  Whether or not they realize it, they are trying to avoid the pain of missing their loved one by being so busy, they don’t have time to think about that pain.

As hard as it can be to stop this behavior, it really is important to do so.  If you are too busy, I’d like to encourage you to pray about it.  Ask God to help you let go of activities that aren’t beneficial to you, to help you streamline your life so you will have more free time, & to give you the courage & strength you need to face the issues you have been avoiding.

Also, seriously examine your activities.  Are there things you do that aren’t bringing you any joy or benefiting your life in any way?  Then it may be time to abandon them if possible.  Or, if you can’t fully abandon them, how about reducing the time, energy & finances spent on those activities?

Use technology to help you.  I lean heavily on Google Calendar.  It took some time to set it up, but once I did that, it’s become a life saver!  All important dates are on it, such as birthdays & anniversaries.  I also added dates our monthly bills are due (including notifications for a week or two before to remind me they are coming up soon so I can plan accordingly), & have them recur each month.  My husband & I both have Calendar on our cell phones, so we know when we have plans, when we have free time & when our bills are due.

Another useful tool is paying bills online.  Most companies save your payment information so if you pay the bill once, you can return each month, click a couple of buttons & pay your bill.  If you are financially able, another useful feature is automatic payments.  Most companies allow customers to schedule their payment so it automatically comes out of the bank on the same day each month.

Decluttering is another way to free up time.  Yes, it takes time to do, but once it’s done, it’s a wonderful thing.  My Grandmom had an aversion to clutter, & would say more stuff is only more stuff to clean & maintain.  She was right.  Less stuff to clean & maintain means more free time for you.

Use common sense, & you no doubt will see activities you can stop or do a different way to free up some time in your life.  You’ll enjoy your life a lot more when you have plenty of time to spend in prayer, reading, or whatever other ways you like to spend your time.  You’ll also be much less anxious & more able to face whatever issues you need to face.  xoxo

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Tips For Healing From Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a terrible thing.  It forms so much of who we become as adults, good & bad.  Unfortunately usually there is much more bad than good.

The way to help minimize the bad is to heal.  To do this, you have to face the trauma, & that involves facing the emotions connected to it.  I know, this isn’t exactly fun but it’s quite necessary for healing.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, so not doing so will result in them manifesting in such toxic ways.  They will negatively affect your mental & physical health.  They can draw you to unhealthy relationships & circumstances.  That’s why it’s so much healthier to face trauma than to avoid doing so.

An effective way to do this that I have found is loosely based on Craig Hill’s “The Ancient Paths” book & seminars.  Start by looking at your life.  What areas are you consistently struggling with?  From there, you can ask God to show you what the root of the problem is.  When I have done this, God has shown me a memory, & usually it’s from childhood.  I focus on that memory, remembering everything about it that I can – what happened, where it happened, who was there, even more insignificant things like scents, sounds, who wore what clothing.  Remembering as much as possible makes it more real, which triggers many emotions.  Once I feel the emotions I tell God that in that situation I felt a certain way, like helpless, ashamed, stupid, ugly.  Then I ask Him to tell me if what I felt was right.  Was I right to feel the things I did?  I then listen for His response.  There really is healing & life in God’s word!  When He has spoken to me, I end up feeling so much better!  So much of the pain just disappears.

There is still a bit of work to do after this, however.  You will need to feel your feelings.  I mean really feel them.  Cry, get angry, yell… do whatever helps you to feel those emotions so you can get them out of you.  I often tell God just what I’m feeling.  He really can handle that & offer comfort during these painful times.  You may need to do this a few times to purge yourself completely of the emotions.  That depends on the trauma & how you as an individual feel about the situation.

When I first learned about all of this, I naively thought doing it once or twice would heal me completely.  Unfortunately healing from trauma is an ongoing process.  You have to heal from one incident at a time instead of all at once.  I can’t tell you it’s ever easy, but I can say that the more you do it, the easier it gets.  You get stronger as you heal, which enables you to face things better.  You also grow closer to God, because facing trauma in this manner makes you depend on Him for help.  It naturally strengthens your relationship.  It also helps you see God as He is, your Heavenly Father, rather than how you view your earthly parents.  So many abused children grow up seeing God as unreliable & untrustworthy as their earthly parents.  It’s natural, unfortunately.  Working on your healing in this way naturally changes your perspective on Him, & draws you closer to Him.

Also remember that doing this can be very emotionally draining.  It’s only natural that dealing with such negative & strong emotions would leave you feeling drained & a bit raw emotionally after.  When this happens, take good care of yourself.  Rest, be sure to eat healthy & relax as much as you can.

I know this all sounds intimidating, but truly, you can do it & you’ll be very glad you did!

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Signs Of A Mental Health Crisis You Shouldn’t Ignore

A breakdown is often referred to in different ways such as a mental breakdown, emotional breakdown or the less commonly used nervous breakdown.  All terms are used to describe a state in which a person can’t function normally due to overwhelming stress.

When I was 19, & my mother raged at me after I came home late one night.  Her screams woke my father who came in to see what was happening & then they began screaming at each other.  I ran into the bathroom & locked myself in.  I sat on the floor, unable to move, function or think.  I was catatonic for about five hours.

Other times, like when my beloved grandmom passed, the breakdowns weren’t quite as severe.  The catatonia lasted much shorter durations, but they were still awful.

I really don’t think most people take breakdowns nearly as seriously as they should.  They don’t believe such a thing exists or they claim the person having the breakdown is weak or seeking attention.  The sad truth is that breakdowns are serious & can damage a person’s mental health.  It’s vital to recognize the signs before one happens.

One of the first signs is feeling very anxious.  I don’t mean the normal anxiety that you feel before a job interview.  I mean anxiety that threatens to overwhelm you when there is no obvious reason to feel anxiety to such an extreme.  I mean panic attacks, headaches, tense muscles, tremors, upset stomach or high blood pressure.

Depression is another warning sign a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Sometimes, depression overwhelms a person, & a breakdown can happen.  This is what I experienced one after my beloved grandmom died.

Being over sensitive is another warning sign.  It is a big hint that your emotions are at their limit.  They’re overworked which is why they’re so sensitive.

Behavioral changes can be another sign of a pending breakdown.  Because your mind is so overwhelmed, naturally your behavior is different.  You may isolate yourself, lack patience, be short with people or lose interest in things that you normally enjoy.

Trouble with concentration is another red flag that a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Stress makes concentration harder, but when that stress is ongoing, it’s even worse.  Ongoing stress can increase cortisol levels in the body which over time can deteriorate your memory, ability to make decisions & problem solving skills.

Sleep changes often happen if someone is coming close to experiencing a breakdown.  Some people sleep too much while others sleep too little.  The exhaustion of being overwrought emotionally can cause a person to sleep too much.  At the same time, a can person to think too much, making sleep impossible.

Weight loss or gain & appetite changes can be another sign of a possible breakdown in the future.  Some people when stressed don’t like to eat while others overeat.  When a breakdown is likely on the horizon, those changes can be even more prominent.  Over eating in particular because cortisol can trigger cravings for high fat or sugary foods.

If you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s time to take action now.  Breakdowns can be avoided with proper self care.  Pray.  Talk to God like the Father that He is to you.  Write in a journal.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Reduce as many activities that are unnecessary as possible so you can have more time to relax.  Watch your eating habits to be sure you eat properly.  You still can indulge in a slice of cake or whatever treat you enjoy sometimes though- the key is balance, not cutting treats out entirely.  Get extra sleep, even if you need to take a sleeping pill to help you.  Do things that make you feel nurtured & comfortable.  Taking steps like these can truly help you avoid having a breakdown & are good for your mental health.

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About Being True To Yourself

Anyone who knows me knows I am deeply into music.  Although I love all kinds of music, one of my favorite bands ever is the famous rock band, Queen.  Their unique sound & ability to mix all types of sounds to make music is absolutely incredible to me.  “Normal” music bores me so the uniqueness that always has been Queen is super appealing to me.

Anyone who knows me also knows my way of thinking is a bit skewed from what normal people think.  That ties into my Queen fandom, so please bear with me….

Recently I was listening to my favorite Queen song, “The Show Must Go On.”  The song was written by Brian May, the band’s incredibly talented guitarist & by the way also an astrophysicist, for the band’s singer, Freddie Mercury as he was dying from AIDS.  The band members were incredibly close friends, & this song was his gift to Freddie.  The story goes, at the time they were to record it, Freddie was quite ill & the other band members weren’t sure he would be able to sing long enough to create the single.  Upon hearing their concerns, he slammed down a shot of liquor & said he’d do it… then proceeded to create the vocals in only one take.  Pretty impressive especially for a dying man, don’t you think?

Yet, this isn’t something that was un-typical for the magnificent singer.

An extremely shy man, Freddie Mercury created an on stage persona that was very different from his true personality.  His fans loved the extrovert he was on stage, yet in spite of that, when he was off stage, he stayed true to his true shy nature.  His private life stayed private as much as possible.

In spite of being known for being shy, Freddie Mercury had a healthy self esteem.  Many people assume being shy means having low self esteem, but that isn’t always the case.  He recognized his talent as well as his shortcomings.  As a result, he also was very accepting of others & non-judgmental.

Freddie Mercury was comfortable with who he was.  Ok, he was not perfect, but who is?  Even so, this man was clearly comfortable in his own skin.

Also, he wasn’t afraid to step out of the box.  He did many unique things.  The opinions of others really weren’t important to him.  That isn’t a bad thing at all!  Everyone should have such confidence in stepping out of the box!

Thinking of these things, I was reminded yet again that Freddie Mercury is quite the role model.  Yes, I know, he had issues.  But honestly.. don’t we all have some issues??  He was true to himself & that is a wonderful thing!  We should strive to be true to ourselves as well.

I think most of us can learn a thing or two from this amazing man!

Naturally as Christians, we need to keep God first in our lives.  That being said though, it sure wouldn’t hurt any of us to learn a few lessons from Freddie Mercury.

Whatever you do, stay true to yourself, be comfortable in your own skin & don’t be afraid to step outside of the box.  What other people think isn’t important.  And yes, this is aimed at those who survived narcissists!  You take care of yourself, be true to yourself & don’t be afraid of trying anything different.  If you want to dye your hair pink or blue or purple, then by all means, DO IT!!!  Get that tattoo, change your wardrobe into something entirely different from your normal.  Don’t let the opinions of other people determine what you should & shouldn’t do.  I know this can be so hard when you were raised by narcissistic parents, but it’s so important to break away from their mindset.  They don’t know you as the person God created you to be.  They don’t understand His will for your life.  And that is fine.  You know these things & you know that you need to do God’s will for your life.  Do it & enjoy every single moment!

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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Handling A Smear Campaign

Most people have heard of the notorious narcissistic smear campaign.  This happens when a victim ends a relationship with a narcissist.  Narcissists can’t handle rejection, so to extract revenge on the one who rejected them, they tell anyone who will listen the most terrible lies they can conjure up about the victim.  Sadly, many people believe the lies, & victims often end up losing relationships with people they love.  In many cases even some of their close friends & family believe the narcissist’s lies.  This is why smear campaigns can be one of the most painful things a narcissist can do to a victim.

When a smear campaign happens, many victims try to explain their side of the situation.  It’s only normal to want to be believed, after all, & prove that they are nothing like the narcissist says they are.  Sadly though, people who wish to explain themselves are often met with disbelief.  Worse yet, when they become upset about not being believed, people take their righteous anger as proof that the narcissist was right, & the victim really is crazy, irrational, or even abusive.  

Rather than frustrate yourself, there are some much better ways to handle this awful situation.

First, pray.  Ask God for whatever you need in the situation & in particular, His guidance in exactly how you should handle it.  This is the absolute best place to start in any situation, in my opinion, & especially in such a tricky one as dealing with a smear campaign.

Second, you need to shift your perspective a bit.  Someone who genuinely cares about you not only wouldn’t believe the narcissist’s lies, but would defend you.  Anyone who doesn’t do this & believes the narcissist’s lies clearly doesn’t really care about you.  Knowing that, why would you care what people like that think of you?

Third, it bears repeating – never defend yourself to anyone who believes the narcissist’s lies.  There is no point.  Some people prefer to believe lies to the truth, so defending yourself to them will only serve to convince them that you are as bad as the narcissist says you are.  I know it’s tempting to defend yourself, but truly, you will be better off not doing so!  Let these deluded people believe whatever they want.

Fourth, rather than worry about the lies being told about you, try to focus instead on living your life in such a way that no one with any sense would believe the lies.  Just let your good character shine through.  1 Peter 2:15 says, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” (ESV)  Doing this will prove that you are nothing like what the narcissist has said you are, & in fact, contrary to what the narcissist claims, you are a very good person.  Some people are die hard, excessively loyal to the narcissist, & they will refuse to believe anything but the lies.  The more rational, reasonable & functional people though will see the truth.  These are the people whose opinions you should value rather than those who blindly accept the narcissist’s lies as truth.

I know smear campaigns can be very difficult & painful to experience, but truly, you can & will get through it.  You will come out stronger & wiser from the experience too.  Your relationships most likely will be better as well.  The unhealthy ones will be weeded out by the narcissist’s lies, leaving you with the good ones.  Although smear campaigns are awful to go through, usually these good things & more end up coming from them.  Oddly, they really can be a blessing in disguise.

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What I Learned From No Contact

So many websites & authors make no contact sound like an easy decision & once you go no contact, all will be right in your world.  Nothing could be further from the truth!!  While no contact is often the best & even the only solution, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.

If you’re considering no contact with a narcissist in your life, in particular one in your family, you need to be aware of some things.  I am not writing these to make you change your mind about no contact, only to help you prepare for the potential aftermath.

  • No one has the right to abuse you, not even your family.
  • You are under no obligation whatsoever to tolerate abuse from anyone & yes, that includes family.
  • Cutting toxic people out of your life doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you someone who cares enough about yourself not to tolerate abuse.
  • Just because you severed contact with someone doesn’t mean you hate them.  You can love someone but still not be able to be in a relationship with them because they’re abusive.
  • No one can fully prepare for what may happen after no contact because all people are different.  When I went no contact with my mother, she ignored me & kept her distance.  When I went no contact with my father, he continually tried to force me to talk to him, including getting his family to try to force me to talk to him.  It’s hard to predict how the person on the receiving end of no contact will handle it.
  • You will be depressed for some time after going no contact.  No matter how sure you are that you did the right thing or how much you know you had no choice but to do this, ending a relationship especially one with a family member is TOUGH!  It hurts!
  • You’ll also feel very guilty for a while, even though there isn’t a valid reason to feel that way.  This is simply because that is how this person trained you.  Their feelings are more important than yours & how dare you put your feelings ahead of theirs, at least that is what they want you to believe.  Remember, this person is the reason the relationship fell apart.  Yes, you walked away but only after you were pushed into doing so to protect your mental health.  There is no reason to feel guilty about this!
  • You’re going to have doubts.  It’s only normal.  Remind yourself of how much thought & prayer went into your decision when this happens.  Also remember what led you to make this incredibly difficult decision.  Doing so helps a great deal.
  • Not everyone is going to understand.  Some people are going to judge you very harshly.  Those people can be incredibly hurtful & cruel.  No matter how convicted they are in their beliefs, it doesn’t mean they are right.  Don’t let them make you doubt your decision or tolerate their abusive words.
  • Of those who judge you, you will be surprised by who is doing it.  Some folks you were convinced were on your side will turn on you, & it is going to hurt badly!  You also may be surprised by acquaintances & even strangers who attack you for going no contact.  It’s shocking when someone you barely know or don’t even know at all thinks they have the right to tell you what they think you should do with your life.
  • Those who don’t understand also will try to guilt or shame you into reconnecting.  Don’t let that happen!!  Again, remind yourself of what led you to making this decision.  Also remind yourself that these people don’t know the whole story, so their input is useless to you.
  • Often, these people who attack you are going to be your own family.  Family is often the most abusive in these situations.  Mine certainly has been.  Various members have attacked me like they were starving lions & I was vulnerable prey.  Sadly this is pretty normal in narcissistic families.  Family members often delude themselves into thinking they’re a happy, normal, functional family.  They will do anything to protect their delusions, including attack someone who tells the truth.  If they can quiet the truth teller, then their delusions can remain in tact.  To them, attacking their own kin is worth it if it protects their delusions.
  • You may think if you just did something they wanted you to do or loved them enough, the abuse would have stopped.  That is not true!  A person changes because they want to.  To make an abuser want to change is nearly impossible.  They get what they want from being abusive & they lack empathy.  This means they see no reason at all to change.
  • You also may have days where you miss this person.  You may be tempted on those days to rekindle the relationship.  You may even want to apologize for going no contact.  DON’T DO IT!!  Once someone has gone no contact then later returns to the relationship, it gets much worse than it originally was.  It may start out good, but it won’t take long before the mask comes off again.  When that happens, the person underneath is even uglier than they were before.
  • You won’t be functioning in survivor mode anymore, so you may feel much different.  You may feel very vulnerable & over sensitive.  Little things can make you cry or make you angry that never bothered you before.  You may have more nightmares than usual.  You may experience changes in anxiety levels by either becoming more anxious in general or less anxious but when you do get anxious those times are harder than they used to be.
  • You may feel oddly lost, too, like you don’t know what to do with your life.  When in a relationship with a narcissist, they seem to take up all the room in the relationship, even down to including all the room in your brain.  Without them, what is there to think about?!  It can take some time to feel less lost after survival mode is over.
  • At some point, you are going to feel so much better!  You’ll experience freedom & enjoy that feeling immensely.  If the narcissist in your life was a relative, guilt will come attached to enjoying your new freedom, but in time it will get less & less, until it disappears.
  • You’ll also experience peace, possibly for the first time in your life!  No more unnecessary drama.  No more narcissistic rages.  The peace is glorious!!
  • You won’t feel on edge all the time, worried about what to say or do to appease the narcissist so he or she won’t rage at you.  You finally can relax & not focus all of your energy on this person.  It’ll feel like a giant weight is lifted off your shoulders.
  • You also will start to enjoy little things more than you used to.  When you’re life is totally focused on a narcissist, it’s hard to enjoy subtle things like a bird singing, a beautiful full moon or even a great song on the radio.  It can feel almost like you’re reborn, I think is the best way to describe it.

In time, you’ll learn that no contact was absolutely worth it.  In spite of all the pain, the tears, the doubts & the attacks from horrible people, it truly was worth it.  You will survive it, & be better & stronger for it!

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Never, Ever Underestimate Narcissists Or Flying Monkeys!

I was thinking of something & thought I’d pass it along to those of you who read my work & follow my YouTube channel.

April 25, 2019 was the day I buried my mother.  I decided not to have a funeral because those she was closest to were elderly, ill &/or lived too far away to attend her funeral.  The day of her burial, I knew I didn’t have to be there, so I was unsure if I would attend or not.  That is at least until that morning.  The cemetery called.  Apparently they made a huge blunder.  My parents bought two double decker plots, one for them & another for my husband & I.  When my father died, he was to be buried at double depth, then my mother on top at regular depth.  The problem was the day of my mother’s burial, they learned my father was buried at normal depth!  They had to exhume him, rebury him in the neighboring plot, fill in the now empty grave & then they could bury my mother.  I had to rush to the cemetery to fill out paperwork giving my permission to do this.  I did this & returned home, deciding to go back to the cemetery for her burial to be certain no more mistakes were made.

This was horrific to put it mildly, especially on top of losing my mother, learning I was to handle her estate matters, try to help her traumatized cat & continue to live my own life.  Yet, it got worse…

At the grave side with my husband & best friend, I realized someone else showed up.  The cousin who was a devoted flying monkey to my parents & the cruelest to me when my father was dying!  She approached me to tell me she was just there for my mother.  I told her to leave & she wasn’t welcome.  She smugly refused.  I called her a nasty name, which then fueled her insanity to start screaming.  Thankfully her husband dragged her off as my husband told her to get lost.  Her husband & the cemetery staff kept her away from me until I left, once my mother was safely buried.

The reason I’m sharing this story with you is this… never underestimate narcissists & their flying monkeys.  Always expect the worst out of them.  I clearly made a mistake by not expecting anyone to show up to my mother’s burial.  That day I felt I was at the edge of sanity with my trashy cousin trying to push me over the edge.  If I hadn’t underestimated narcissistic behavior, I could’ve been more mentally prepared to handle the situation or asked the cemetery not to tell anyone when my mother’s burial would be.

I’m not trying to make anyone feel paranoid, like you constantly have to look over your shoulder.  However, when these people have been in your life in any capacity, even only briefly as a flying monkey, you need to know that they may come back at any time, in particular at your worst possible times.

Narcissists are glad to cause pain.  I believe that most flying monkeys are also narcissists, which is why they see nothing wrong with encouraging people to tolerate abuse or treating people any old way they like under the guise of trying to help.  If they truly think this way then there is no low too low for them.  Never forget that!  Protect yourself as much as humanly possible from such people.  Know they are capable of anything.  If at all possible, avoid them.  Block any & all contact they have with you & don’t speak to them.  If that is not possible, then remember to Gray Rock.  Be boring.  Never give into any control measures they try to use on you.  Never show them any emotions you have.  Never provide any personal information about yourself or your life.  Remember what they find interesting about you & deny them of that.  These people deserve nothing from you, so provide them with nothing & protect yourself!

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Sale On My Ebooks Extended

My ebooks are currently on sale until May 31, 2020.  Check them out at the following link:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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My Newest Book Is Now Available!

I have just published my newest book, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies: Expanded Version.”

I originally wrote this book after my father died in 2017.  When my mother died last year, I learned a lot more about what it’s like to lose a narcissistic parent.  Rather than write an entirely new book on the topic, I decided simply to expand on what I had already written.

The print version is available at this link.  The ebook is available at this link.

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When The Family Scapegoat Goes No Contact, part 1

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Very Wise Words About PTSD & C-PTSD.

Recently I was speaking with a fellow blogger, Linda Lee at https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com (it’s a great blog!  Check it out!).  We were talking about how we don’t believe God created people for things like surviving abuse & losing someone we love which is what makes coping with such things so incredibly hard.  During this conversation, she told me something very interesting.  Some time ago, she spent time under the care of the well known Meier Clinic.  In fact, she was blessed enough to be under the care of Dr. Meier directly!  After a lifetime of abuse & bad mental health diagnoses, this was an incredible blessing!  What he told her made so much sense in her situation, but I believe in other people’s situations as well.  It sure fit mine!  It probably will fit your situation too!

“You are NOT mentally ill.  What you have is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Although PTSD is classified as a mental illness for insurance purposes, the reality is that having PTSD after experiencing overwhelming trauma is perfectly normal — no less normal than it is to bleed, if somebody cuts you with a knife.  You see, God did not create us for abuse.  God is love, and He made us in His spiritual image, which means that we were created for kindness and love, not for abuse and hatred.  God created us to love and be loved. But when we get hate instead of love, when we receive abuse instead of kindness, we are damaged by that.  Being damaged by abuse does not mean that you are weak or crazy.  The strongest, sanest person in the world will develop PTSD, if they go through enough trauma and abuse.  Just as the strongest man in the world will bleed, if you take a knife and cut him.  Human skin was not created to withstand the sharp blade of a knife.  In the same way, the human soul was not created to be traumatized and abused.”

I have beat myself up a LOT since learning I have C-PTSD.  I’ve told myself I’m so weak & other people had it worse & all kinds of heartless, invalidating things.  It doesn’t help when other people’s words & actions re-enforce such things.   I have found that sometimes those who have suffered abuse yet don’t have C-PTSD can be as judgmental as those who lack empathy for those who have been abused.

Anyway I find Dr. Meier’s words to my friend so comforting!!  Having C-PTSD or PTSD is a very normal response to a very abnormal situation!  These disorders aren’t a sign of weakness.  They are a sign of being normal.

Also, notice that he said. “The strongest, sanest person in the world will develop PTSD, if they go through enough trauma and abuse.”  That tells me that no one is immune to traumatic responses.  Every single person has a breaking point, a point where enough is enough, & the trauma they experience will cause their brain to develop PTSD or C-PTSD.  Everyone’s breaking point is different, so there is no point in judging others who have one of these disorders.  No one is immune!

The next time you’re feeling weak or like a failure for living with PTSD or C-PTSD,  I hope you’ll remember what Dr. Meier said.  Print them out.  Save them somewhere on your computer or phone.  Share them on Facebook.  Whatever you do, please remind yourself of them!  I certainly plan to do so & do so often!  It can get too easy to go down the rabbit hole of thinking you’re a failure for having such a problem & that isn’t right!  No one is immune!  They are natural reactions to highly abnormal circumstances, nothing more!

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How Narcissists Manipulate Their Victims

One of the favorite tools of narcissists is saying something that may seem innocuous but in truth, it’s designed to cause hurt or anger.  Years ago, my late mother in-law  asked something me in front of my husband… “Is your car running ok?”  Sounds innocent.  Also, every time we went to her home, we were in my husband’s car so how was she to know if it was running or not?  The truth was she hated my car.  She told me many times I should get rid of it.  Her “innocent” comment was one more way to say she thought my car was a piece of junk.  Later, when I said something to my husband, he defended his mother.  He never heard her tell me how she hated my car, & as I said, when we visited her, we took his car.  He saw no evidence that what I said was true.

This is a very effective tactic!  What narcissists say may sound helpful or nice, & may even have a victim believing that for a second, but it’s manipulation.  It’s also said as it is to cause confusion, so when you confront the narcissist, they can deny any wrong doing. As an added bonus, narcissists like witnesses, so they can validate that the narcissist didn’t mean any harm & you’re wrong, as in the situation with my mother in-law.  This provides the narcissist with their precious narcissistic supply.  And, if you stay silent, this also provides the narcissist with supply, because they see they have control over you.

The coup de gras is when the narcissist can make you apologize for your valid feelings.  Unfortunately this happens often, because such devious techniques can be very difficult to spot.

There are different ways narcissist use this technique.  Some are listed below so you can learn to spot this manipulation as soon as it begins.

  • Mentioning an ex frequently.  Narcissists love to say “my ex is still in love with me”, that he or she called or they ran into each other somewhere.  They also may mention good qualities about this ex.  This is to make you jealous & insecure, by letting you know the narcissist has other, better options.  If you say anything, the narcissist says you’re insecure, & have no need to worry.  The reassurance doesn’t feel so reassuring, however.
  • Narcissists like to flirt, but not necessarily with their partner.  A narcissistic significant other has no trouble flirting with other people in front of their mate.  When confronted, they say things like they’re just being friendly, you need to stop being so insecure & the flirting doesn’t mean anything since you are the one he or she comes home to.  Again, the reassurance isn’t very reassuring!
  • Narcissistic parents “brag” about their children to others.  Narcissistic parents love to share stories about their children that make the parent look good.  If they were able to fix something for their child or rescue them after doing something not very wise, those stories will be shared.  When their child is upset, they tell their child they have nothing to be upset about because the parent was bragging about them.  How can that possibly be upsetting?
  • Being condescending.  Narcissists believe themselves to be of superior intellect, so when their victim is in need of advice, they offer their so called wisdom freely.  They mention they’re doing it to help or they have your best interest at heart, so your accusations offend them.  You should be grateful they care enough to help you!
  • Talking about things with other people in front of you that you know nothing about.  If you & the narcissist are with other people, they may discuss stories that you know nothing about or have inside jokes.  The narcissist wants you to feel left out.  If you mention it, the narcissist says he or she knew you wouldn’t want to go which is why you were left out, or you’d be bored by the silly inside jokes.  You then feel ashamed of yourself for your very valid feelings.

You can learn to recognize these subtle tactics with practice.  When you do, remind yourself of what is happening, & act accordingly.  Don’t show the narcissist that you’re hurt or angry.  Pretend not to notice their manipulation.  This will deprive them of narcissistic supply, & most likely they’ll stop using that tactic on you.

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One Way To Minimize Anxiety

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If You’re Struggling With Setting Boundaries Or Going No Contact With Your Narcissistic Parent

Many people have issues with setting boundaries or even severing ties with a narcissistic parent.  They say you are being mean, unreasonable, selfish.  In religious people, they may also throw in that you aren’t honoring your parent, & they quote Exodus 20:12 that tells us to honor our parents.  Or, in Asian cultures, they mention filial piety, which is respecting & caring for one’s parents being the highest of virtues.

People who say this sort of gibberish are either completely clueless or they’re narcissistic enablers.  Yet, in spite of that, sometimes victims are convinced that these imbeciles are right.  They stop using their boundaries, continue to tolerate the abuse, & are completely miserable.

If you are reading this & in this place of either wanting to set boundaries or go no contact with your narcissistic parent, but feel you are being selfish, mean, etc., you need to know that you are wrong!  I promise you that, & will show you why.

Although I don’t know much about religions other than Christianity, I do know that many of them seem to share one common belief, which basically boils down to, “you reap what you sow.”  Just look at what the Bible has to say about that…

 

  • Proverbs 11:25 “The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 19:19 “A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
    For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 22:8 “He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble,
    And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail.” (AMP)
  • Obadiah 15 “The day of the Lord is near for all nations.
    As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (NIV)
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].” (AMP)
  • Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.
    8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)

 

These Scriptures prove that whatever a person does, good or bad, there are consequences.  It’s a natural part of life.

I realize as the child of a narcissistic parent or two, this feels so foreign.  After all, the child never should upset the parent, burden them with “trivial” things like their needs or let the parent face consequences of their terrible behavior.  However, this is so wrong!  God has made sure this reaping & sowing wisdom is mentioned repeatedly in His Word.  This has to be important to be mentioned many times, wouldn’t you agree?

If you think about this, I’m sure it’ll help you to realize that your boundaries or no contact aren’t you being an awful person, but simply the natural course of events.  That is what happened with me.  I felt bad for setting boundaries with my parents & going low contact. God reminded me of Galatians 6:7-8.  I thought about it & realized it made sense.  Every time I so much as started to feel guilty, I remembered that Scripture.  It was very encouraging!  So much so that I was finally able to go no contact with my parents.  I felt mostly sadness because this wasn’t how things should be, which I think is totally normal, but very little guilt.  Without realizing the principle of sowing & reaping, I don’t know if I could have gone no contact.  If I had, no doubt the guilt would have been about crippling!

Please consider this post if you are struggling with setting boundaries or going no contact with your narcissistic parent, Dear Reader.  You aren’t wrong, selfish, unreasonable, mean or anything else.  You have every right to do these things!

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Some Lessons Learned From Relationships With Narcissists

Being in a relationship in any capacity with a narcissist is a learning experience.  In order to survive with your sanity in tact, naturally you need to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It helps you to understand what was really happening & that contrary to what the narcissist in your life told you, the problems in the relationship weren’t your fault.  It also helps you to spot the early signs of a narcissist, so you won’t end up in a similar relationship again.

That being said though, there are other valuable lessons you can learn from a narcissistic relationship.

Responding instead of reacting is a very valuable skill!  Not only in relating with narcissists, but even with healthy people, responding is a good relationship skill.  Reacting is done in the heat of the moment & without thought. while responding is done after some consideration.  Narcissists love reacting because people will do or things when they react that they wouldn’t normally do if they had taken the time to consider their predicament.  This can prove to the narcissist that their victim is crazy, abusive or anything else they want to claim.  Healthy people don’t act this way of course, but even so, reacting can cause problems in even the healthiest of relationships.  It’s a good idea to stop for a second to take a deep breath, then release it slowly when you’re tempted to react.  This action calms anxiety & anger, & gives you a second to consider your response.

Boundaries are a very good thing.  Narcissists respect no one’s boundaries.  They feel they have every right to say & do anything they please.  Once a victim is away from this sort of behavior, they learn that boundaries really are a wonderful thing.  They also learn to appreciate people who have no problems with boundaries.

“No” can be an excellent way to figure out if a person is functional or not.  Narcissists can take the simple word no as a victim being rebellious, difficult, disrespectful & even abusive.  A functional person takes no as a boundary & they respect it.  If you want to see if the new relationship in your life is a healthy one, say no & see how the other person reacts.

People believe what they want to believe.  Human beings like things to be as we think they should be, & we can get upset when that perception is threatened.  A healthy, functional person will consider the evidence & even if it’s uncomfortable, go along with the change.  Dysfunctional people aren’t this wise.  They may refuse to face change.  This is never more evident than when there is evidence showing them that a narcissist isn’t the great person they think he or she is.  This is when they become especially vicious to the narcissist’s victim.  Many of these people don’t want to believe that person isn’t the great person they thought they were, possibly out of fear of looking foolish.  It’s more comfortable for them to believe the narcissist’s smear campaign of the victim rather than the victim sharing the truth about the narcissist.  Or, they could be gaining something from the narcissist- money, favor, etc.  Sometimes, they are victims of abuse by someone else, & when the victim speaks out against the narcissist, it triggers their own pain.  These people will do anything to shut down the victim so they can continue denying their own pain.  For victims in this situation, it’s best to avoid such people at all costs.

Let people think what they want.  Closely related to the last paragraph, one valuable lesson I’ve learned from relationships with narcissists is to let people think what they want.  Narcissists create their own version of victims that they believe is accurate.  Their flying monkeys & those close to them will believe whatever the narcissists tell them to believe about their victims.  No amount of work on the part of a victim can make any of these people believe anything they don’t want to believe.  In fact, trying to convince them of the truth most likely will make them think the victim is crazy & treat the victim even worse.  Why go through that?  Let them think whatever they want, & live your life however works for you.

Of course, there are more things I’ve learned.  What about you?  What have you learned from your relationship with a narcissist?

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Help For When Places Or Items Trigger Painful Memories Or Flashbacks

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Living With High Functioning Mental Illness

Living as someone with mental illness yet is high functioning, I can tell you it’s utterly exhausting.  Doing things takes more energy than it would for someone without mental illness because I have to focus harder.  I also do my best to put the problems in a box when necessary so they don’t affect other people.  It takes energy to keep that box closed & on a shelf!!  Add in having a brain injury & I spend a lot of time exhausted.

If you too are high functioning with mental illness, I’m sure you can relate to what I said, even if you don’t also have the brain injury.  You truly are not alone!  This post is to help you to understand that.

It feels like you’re being fake a lot of the time, doesn’t it?  The truth is you aren’t being fake.  You’re just hiding a part of yourself from others you don’t want to know about that part of you.  There is nothing wrong with not being 1000% open with everyone.  Sometimes it’s best to keep some information private from some people.

It also feels like people don’t believe you have any illness at all.  People seem to think if you have mental illness, you need to be incoherent, hearing voices, attempting suicide, or even not taking care of your basic needs such as showering & changing clothes regularly.  If you’re clean, your home is in order, you’re working & maintain relationships, many people don’t think you’re struggling with your mental health.  They miss the small, subtle signs such as an increased or decreased appetite, sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty focusing, or feeling tired.

Your good & bad days look very similar to most people.  They truly have no idea that on bad days, it took every ounce of willpower to pry yourself out of bed, to bathe, to do whatever you need to do on that day.  Chances are, most wouldn’t believe you if you told them because they see no real differences between this bad day & your good days.

Sometimes people may say you’re gloomy or a “Debbie Downer” because sometimes your sadness or negative views show.  They don’t realize that is depression talking.  Or, maybe sometimes you jump at the slightest move from someone or sound & it irritates people.  It happens because you have an anxiety disorder, PTSD or C-PTSD.

Although you may not look like it, you feel you are struggling so much.  Mental illness consumes so much energy!  Focusing on a simple conversation can take a lot out of you.  People don’t often understand why you’re tired, but this is exactly why.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these situations?  If so, I hope it comforts you some to know that you’re not alone.  Many of us understand because we’re on the same boat.

And please remember, just because you can function & function well, don’t think that means you don’t have a real problem.  I know, sometimes it’s easy to think this way when you have a few good days in a row.  That being said though, mental illness is just as serious as physical illness & should be treated as such.  Sometimes it can be more serious in the sense that some mental disorders can be life threatening by making a person suicidal.  Don’t neglect to rest when you need to, take your medication as directed, talk to safe people & let them love & encourage you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of yourself or asking for help.  If you broke your leg, you would do those things, wouldn’t you?  Then why not do the same thing to take care of your mental health?

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Ways To Cope With Triggers

Anyone who has suffered trauma knows about triggers.  They are something that reminds you of past trauma & can leave you feeling very shaken up.

Triggers can be such a miserable thing to experience!  They feel like there is no reason for them when you’re going through them, but I believe they actually have a purpose.

When you are healed in a specific area, you can experience a trigger, & although it certainly isn’t pleasant, it isn’t devastating either.  It reminds me of what it feels like when you remember a nightmare.  Unpleasant but not terribly upsetting.

When you aren’t healed in some area however, that is when triggers can be helpful.  They show you the areas where you need some healing.   Paying attention to exactly what emotions you feel can be an excellent start to heal in this area.

When you’re triggered, I firmly believe it’s wise to consider exactly what you felt & why you felt it in order to heal.  For example, were you angered because you felt invalidated, powerless, ignored, or disrespected?  Did you feel shame because you felt judged, unimportant, or mocked?  Were you hurting because you felt excluded, unloved or as if no one cared at all about you?

Once you realize the root of your feelings, you can heal.  What helps me if I’m unsure why I feel what I do is to ask God to show me the root of this feeling.  Where did this start?  Usually then I remember some incident from a long time ago that shows me where the problem began.  Once I remember that, I try to remember everything possible about that incident, even seemingly unimportant details like what clothes I was wearing.  I also try to feel all the feelings associated with it, as difficult as that may be.  The more thoroughly an incident can be remembered, I believe the more healing takes place.  The more healing that happens, the less you will experience triggers like this in the future.

One important thing to remember is when you do this, take breaks.  Emotional healing is very difficult & painful work.  It also doesn’t happen quickly.  Because of these factors, it can get to be too much sometimes, especially when the trauma is extremely bad.  When those times happen, it’s best to take a break.  Stop focusing on your healing & focus on something else that has absolutely nothing to do with the trauma for a little while.  You need to put your emotions in a box on a shelf for a time, & take some time to do something fun.  Watch a movie, read, work on a craft, snuggle your furkids, spend time with a good friend sharing some laughs… whatever you do, make sure it is lighthearted & fun.  If it can make you laugh, all the better.  After you have relaxed & feel less overwhelmed, when you get back to working on your healing, you will be in a better frame of mind to do so.

Triggers can be difficult to deal with, I know.  Frankly, they just stink.  However, they can be a very helpful tool in your mental & emotional healing.  Why not use them that way & make the pain they cause count for something?

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When You Have Bad C-PTSD Days

I think most of us who suffer with C-PTSD hide when we’re having bad days.  It can be scary to be vulnerable enough to let another person see how things really are, because people can be cruel.  There is never a good time to hear insensitive & invalidating comments of course, but on a bad C-PTSD day?  That is the absolute worst time.

Having a bad C-PTSD day, it is TOUGH!  I’ll explain how it goes for me.  Feel free to show this to anyone in your life that may need to understand your experiences with C-PTSD.

Often I wake up from a night of fitful sleep, too little sleep or a night full of nightmares.  The nightmares can be of reliving trauma or more often, something strange or unrelated to the trauma, yet stirs up the same emotions that traumatic events in my life did.  This leaves me exhausted, anxious, depressed & on high alert.

Before getting out of bed, I lay still, often with my eyes closed, trying to relax after a bad night.  I focus on my breathing to help me calm down, yet in spite of the effort, anxiety comes in waves.  I have to remind myself that I am safe, this is merely the C-PTSD doing what this disorder does.

Sometimes a few minutes, sometimes an hour later, I am able to get out of bed & start my day.  The anxiety & hyper-vigilence are still there, but a little better at least.  Usually I can function at this point, but some days, it’s about impossible.  Sometimes, I have panic attacks.  If you’ve never experienced one, count your blessings.  My chest gets incredibly tight, making me feel like I could be having a heart attack.  My breathing gets rapid & feels so strange.  I feel like when I’m inhaling, I should be exhaling & vice versa.  I end up breathing very shallow & fast until it eventually subsides, making me lightheaded.

Other times, flashbacks start.  Imagine trying to discern whether you’re in reality or somehow transported back in time to a traumatic event.  Fighting to make sure to stay in reality while dealing with the emotions of a traumatic event is a LOT of work!  As if the bad night’s sleep wasn’t enough to make me feel exhausted, this makes the exhaustion even worse.

Between the mental & physical exhaustion, being able to think or focus on tasks like a normal person seems impossible.  Even something simple as getting a drink can be difficult.  It can be hard to remember where the glasses are, decide if I want ice or not, & decide what do I want to drink.  Little things like this that most people take for granted become very daunting & challenging.  Often my moods are erratic but get moreso when these days happen.

All of these things are a real blow to the self-esteem.  I often think, “I’m so stupid for having C-PTSD!”  “Other people have been through worse, yet I have C-PTSD.  What’s wrong with me?!”  “Why am I not better than I am?!  I’ve dealt with this disorder for years!”  These thoughts leave me filled with even lower self-esteem than normal, ashamed of myself & doubting why I write about what I do, even considering quitting.  If I’m such a mess, how can I help anyone else, after all?

Eventually though, I return to normal, which is still not even close to what normal for most people is.  I am able to remember that C-PTSD is a terrible disorder.  Just because I have it also doesn’t mean I’m weak.  It means I’ve been through some terrible things.

If you experience similar days to mine, know you aren’t alone.  There are plenty of others who understand your struggles!  Pray.  Remind yourself of the things I mentioned.  Be understanding of yourself & always take good care of you!

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