Tag Archives: emotional

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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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

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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About Flashbacks

Those who don’t have flashbacks usually have no idea what a flashback truly is.  They sometimes think those of us who have them are exaggerating or being dramatic about something we remembered, & have little patience for us because of our “drama queen” ways.

People who think like this need to understand something.  Flashbacks aren’t the result of someone being overly dramatic.  They also aren’t simple memories or even repressed memories.  They are much different.  They’re intense & complicated.

Flashbacks aren’t as simple remembering a traumatic event.  All of your senses kick in & you see, hear, smell, taste & feel the same things you felt when the event originally happened to you.  It literally feels as if you’re reliving the traumatic event, even though logically you know you aren’t.  It can be very hard to tell the difference between reality & the flashback.

If you’re very lucky, when a flashback happens, you still maintain enough composure to remember to ground yourself somehow.  Touching something with an extreme texture, such as burlap for example, can help.  Or, smelling something with a very strong scent like lavender also can help.  The trick is to override your confused senses with something real in order to get them to focus on something other than the flashback.  Grounding yourself like this can be quite effective in helping you to get through the flashback.  Even so, remembering what to do in the midst of a flashback is something else entirely.  It’s incredibly hard to have focus on anything when your mind & body are trying to convince you that this horrible memory isn’t just a memory, but it’s happening to you all over again.

As if all of this isn’t quite enough, once the flashback is over, you’re drained both mentally & physically to the point of exhaustion.  I have described it as feeling like I was hit by a huge truck.  The anxiety of it tenses your muscles greatly.  When it’s over, those muscles can ache badly for a while.  Your heart races during the flashback & it takes time for it to slow back down once the flashback dissipates.  Chances are very good your stomach will be upset & you’ll have a nasty headache for a while as well.

In addition to the physical side of flashbacks, there is also the mental ones.  Flashbacks are utterly depressing.  It’s so unpleasant remembering traumatic events under any circumstances, but it’s even worse when you feel as if you just relived it.  They also can make you feel ashamed for not being healed from the trauma by now, embarrassed if it happened in front of another person or other people, & they take away your hope of having a normal life without flashbacks.

They also make you incredibly anxious because you wonder when is the next one going to strike?  Will it be just like this one or will it involve another traumatic event?  What if it happens when I’m driving?  What if it’s worse?  Is it possible to get stuck in the flashback & never come out of it?

If you’re one of those folks who never has experienced a flashback, I’m telling you, count your blessings!  Thank God for this!

If you know someone who has flashbacks though, I hope you will remember this information & treat your loved one accordingly. Remember that this person isn’t seeking attention or being overly dramatic.  They are dealing with a very difficult & painful mental illness.  They have experienced something or some things so traumatic that their brain physically broke!  It isn’t your loved one’s fault they have flashbacks, & chances are excellent if this person could find a way never to have them again, they would.  So please, be patient & understanding with anyone you know who suffers with flashbacks.  A little gentleness can help us more than you know.

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Thoughtless But Abusive Comments

Not everybody thinks about their words before speaking.  They just blurt things out.  Those thoughtless comments can do a surprising amount of damage.

Some thoughtless comments are listed below…

  • “You’re just like *insert disliked person here*”  Often a person tells you how crazy, bad, stupid, etc. that person is prior to telling you that you’re just like him or her.  Even if you love that person, the person telling you that you’re just like someone they think is crazy, bad, stupid, etc. hurts!
  • On the opposite side of the same coin… “Why can’t you be more like *insert person’s name here*?”  This can make you feel not good enough.
  • “*insert someone’s name here* has it worse than you do.”  This can make you feel guilty, ashamed or just plain wrong for being upset in the first place.
  • “You’ve always had it so easy!”  “You’re spoiled!”  “You’ve never had to work hard for anything!”  Really?  I seriously don’t think there is one person who has ever lived that hasn’t struggled in some way, shape or form.  This can make you feel like you should be ashamed of yourself if you’re struggling with something or if you’re given something.
  • “You’re depressed?  What do you have to be depressed about?!”  (or anxious or have PTSD) or, “Think happy thoughts.”  So many people think mental disorders are only about a person not thinking positively enough, not appreciating what they have or some other simple solution.  While yes, you can think wrong thoughts & make yourself depressed or anxious, many people have actual physical problems with their brain causing depression, anxiety & even PTSD.  No amount of “thinking positive” can fix those problems!
  • “It’s all in your head!” regarding mental illness.  Well, technically it is!  It’s in the name- mental illness.  People that say this often mean you’re imagining the symptoms & need just to get over whatever is causing those symptoms.
  • “Don’t be so selfish!”  Narcissists in particular love this one.  Thinking of your needs & having boundaries isn’t selfish.  Neither is prioritizing yourself over demanding self centered people.  “Don’t be selfish” coming from a narcissist is nothing more than projection.  If someone you don’t think is a narcissist says it, it could be a red flag.  Pay attention to what this person says & does to determine if the person is a narcissist or if they’re actually right & you are being selfish somehow.
  • “You’re so shy/quiet!”  This shaming statement can make you feel wrong or broken for being an introvert.  People fail to realize the world needs talkers & listeners.  If everyone talked a lot, who would listen?!  Everyone would be too busy talking to listen to each other!
  • “But that’s your MOTHER!” (or father or whichever random relative you’ve gone no contact with)  People say this like we’ll respond by saying, “OH!  I hadn’t thought about that!  You’re right!  I’ll go fix everything right now!”  We *know* this is our mother or whoever.  In fact that reason is precisely why they have hurt us to the point they have.  Obviously we care more about those close to us than total strangers.  No contact was a very painful decision to come to, & this comment can make us feel ashamed & wrong for choosing that option.
  • “Are you sure you want to do that?  I mean, it’s a lot of work..”  This could be about anything- painting your home, going back to college, changing careers or starting a family.  In any case, it comes across as if the person saying it doesn’t think you’re capable of doing that task.  Hopefully it’s said without malicious intent & only with concern for you.  Sometimes though, it’s said with malice in order to instill doubts in you & make you feel incapable.
  • After someone has died.. “You should be glad she’s not in pain anymore.”  Really?  Ok, we’re all glad that someone’s suffering has ended when they died.  If we’re both Christians, we’re also glad we’ll see them again one day in Heaven.  However, how about letting us have some time of grieving because we miss that special person?  Grief is normal when you lose someone you love & no one should shame you for it!

Of course there are plenty more thoughtless statements but these are just some examples.

When people say such nonsense, I find it useful to remind yourself that not everyone is compassionate.  Some people are also simply thoughtless.  No, they aren’t deliberately mean spirited- they just don’t think that much about how their words affect other people.  Others may be having a bad day & were too preoccupied to consider what they were saying at that specific time.  And, some people are narcissists.  They simply enjoy hurting you as much as possible or they’re so self-absorbed, they don’t even think of how what they say will affect you.

In any case, what people say isn’t your fault or a reflection on you.  Also, you can’t count on people to be validating at all times.  You have to learn to validate yourself.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself!

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How Feeling Your Feelings Helps Your Mental Health

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What No Contact Is & Is Not

Many people I have dealt with seem to misunderstand what no contact really is.  Since others have experienced this too, I decided I would share some thoughts today on what no contact is & is not.

First of all, & yes, this is directed specifically at those who have said this nonsense to me.. no contact is NOT un-Christian.  Enabling bad & abusive behavior is un-Christian.  Tolerating abuse silently is un-Christian.  Never confronting someone about their abusive behavior is un-Christian.  If you don’t believe me, open a Bible.  As Christians, we are to love people.  Part of loving people is wanting what is best for them & helping them to be their best.  When someone doesn’t listen to another’s complaints, they need consequences to make them want to improve their behavior.  When normal consequences don’t work, no contact is a very viable option, even for those closest to a victim such as their own family & yes, even parents.

No contact isn’t about being unforgiving.  A person can no longer speak to someone & have forgiven them for their abusive ways at the same time.  Protecting one’s mental health has nothing to do with unforgiveness.

No contact isn’t taking the easy way out.  Far from it!  Anyone who has gone no contact with someone they love has suffered a great deal not only due to the abuse, but also making the decision to go no contact & living without that person.  If you disagree, consider my story.  I went no contact with my parents several months before my father died & almost three years to the day before my mother died.  Doing that & not being there for them when they needed me at the end of their lives was horrible.  If you think that was easy, you are very sadly mistaken!

No contact isn’t about trying to change someone.  Yes, you are giving that person consequences for their actions, but that doesn’t mean you are trying to manipulate them into behaving better.  You set that stage & it’s up to them to do with it as they want.

No contact also isn’t about not accepting someone.  It’s about accepting that person as they are, yet knowing you can’t have a healthy relationship with that person.

No contact has nothing to do with being disrespectful.  Rather it has everything to do with self respect, with respecting one’s self enough to detach from an abusive relationship.

No contact isn’t about hate.  Just because you have ended a relationship doesn’t mean you hate the other person.  You can love someone a great deal yet not be able to be in a relationship with that person.  Some people I’ve spoken with assumed I hated my parents because of being no contact with them.  Far from it!  I loved my parents a great deal.  It was how they treated me that I hated.

No contact isn’t about creating conflict or being dramatic.  Every single person I’ve spoken with who ended an abusive relationship, no matter who that relationship was with, wanted the exact same things I did: no further abuse, peace & a conflict & drama free existence.  When a narcissist’s flying monkeys go after someone who has gone no contact, fewer things can be more stressful & upsetting.  We try to avoid that at all costs!

I doubt there is anyone who truly wants to end a relationship with someone they love, even when that person is abusive.  That being said though, there are times when it’s necessary.  Some people are so toxic there is no other solution other than no contact.  Sadly, this even happens in families.  As I said, I ended the relationship with my parents.  They were simply that cruel & toxic.  It happens, unfortunately, so if it has happened to you as well, know you’re not alone.  Many of us understand!

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Sale On My Ebooks!

My publisher is offering a 25% off sale on my ebooks from March 1-7.  Find them at the link below:

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

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Busyness: An Unhealthy Trauma Based Way To Cope

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When Someone Opens Up To You About Abuse In Their Life

There are many people in the world who only want to talk about pleasant things.  If someone mentions a topic that is less than happy, these people are offended.  This includes the topic of abuse.  They tell the person that brought up the topic to stop being so negative, it could’ve been worse, look on the bright side  which is that the abuse made this person strong & other such nonsense.

Well, you know something?  Life isn’t all unicorns & rainbows.  Sometimes it has some very dark, evil aspects to it.  Not talking about such things won’t change that fact.  Being open about such things isn’t rude, unkind, bad, negative, wallowing in the past, being bitter or “un-Christian”.   It’s being human.  It’s also helping to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse so others hopefully recognize it before they are subjected to it.  And, if the abusive person knows both the victim & the person the victim tells of the abuse, the other person would be wise to take what the victim says seriously.  If they don’t, they may be the next victim!

Not allowing people to discuss their experiences only invalidates victims, & helps abusers to continue their trail of destruction. In my opinion, behaving this way is just as bad a behavior as the victim’s original abuser by enabling their abusive ways.

People need to be able to discuss all parts of their lives, even the less happy ones, without fear of criticism & judgment.  This includes their tales of abuse & suffering.  If someone comes to you & opens up about abuse in their past, let the person talk.  Don’t make jokes or try to change the subject.  Don’t compare their story to yours or that of someone else you know.  Just let the person talk.  A listening ear can go a long way to helping someone who is suffering.

If you can’t listen for whatever reason, then you can still be nice.  Just tell the person it’s not that you aren’t interested, but now isn’t a good time.  Find another time where you two can talk, & make that time in the near future.

Just remember, if someone trusts you enough to open up to you about something so personal as having suffered abuse in their life, don’t abuse that person further by trying to get them not to discuss the topic.  Be kind & show you care.

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When People Tell You Not To Discuss Narcissistic Abuse

So many people tell victims of abuse that they should forgive & forget, never mentioning the abuse again, in particular when the abusers in question were the victim’s parents.  They love to quote Matthew 5:38-39 to prove their point.  Those verses say, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (KJV) 

The problem is though that when you pull out a random Scripture from the Bible, you can prove almost any point.  Other Scriptures on the topic need to be considered as well.

Psalm 82:4 “Rescue the weak and needy;
Rescue them from the hand of the wicked.” (AMP)

John 18: 22-23 “But when He said this, one of the officers who was standing nearby [a]struck Jesus [in the face], saying, “Is that how You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus replied, “If I have said anything wrong, make a formal statement about the wrong; but if [I spoke] properly, why did you strike Me?” (AMP)

Acts 16:36-37 “36 And the jailer repeated the words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you; so come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now they are sending us out secretly? No! Let them come here themselves and bring us out!” (AMP) 

These verses clearly show that there is nothing wrong with speaking out about abusive behavior!  People need to learn & grow.  They can’t do that if the never are told their actions are wrong & people hide abusive behaviors.

Granted narcissists are not exactly the easiest people in the world to confront or even simply talk about.  They violently rage, create vicious smear campaigns to stop people from doing such things, & almost never learn when dealt consequences for their actions.  However, even so, it’s still your job to give them consequences & to be open about their abusive ways.  You give them chances to make healthy changes by doing such things, & that is the best thing you can do for them.  What they do with those things from there is on them, but you can rest easy knowing you have done the right thing.

You also need to be open about what they have done to you, because you may be helping someone in a similar situation.  Your story may open their eyes to just how bad narcissistic abuse is or inspire them to walk away.

Being open about the abuse inflicted on you also may cause some people to leave your life, but you know something?  It will show you exactly who truly loves you.  They will be the ones standing by your side & supporting you through your healing.  Realizing how special these people are makes losing the others hurt a whole lot less  🙂

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Narcissists Don’t Believe When Others Are Sick Or Injured

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Ghosting, aka The INFJ Door Slam

Removing someone from your life is a very challenging thing to do even under the best of circumstances.  What makes it even harder is when others criticize not only that you did it but even how you ended a relationship.  It is so frustrating when you took this big step & people with no vested interest in the relationship feel the need to tell you how wrong you were.  It can make you seriously doubt your decision.

One aspect of this I have experienced is being told how wrong I was for simply backing out of someone’s life rather than explaining how I feel or trying to work things out.  Those familiar with the Myers Briggs personality test recognize this as the infamous INFJ door slam, even though all personalities may use it.  Others call it ghosting.  Whatever you choose to call it, many people call it childish, petty & even cruel when it often is nothing of the sort.

While the door slam isn’t appropriate in every relationship that ends, in many cases is it a very good option to take no matter what others may think.

With narcissists, trying to work out relationship problem is a waste of time.  In fact, telling them that you are hurt when they do or say something usually just makes them do or say that thing more often.

They also have no desire to change their hurtful behavior.  If something they do hurts someone, that is either inconsequential to them or it brings them joy.  Trying to talk things out with someone like this is not only impossible, but it will cause a lot more pain & frustration.

Not to mention, narcissists will try to convince a victim to maintain the relationship’s status quo & can be very good at doing so sometimes.  This can cause a couple of unpleasant outcomes.  The victim may become confused & stay in the toxic relationship.  Or, the victim may leave but carry a great deal of shame for leaving the “poor abuser” or “ruining his or her life” by ending the relationship.  Another scenario can happen if the abuser & victim live together.  Talking to the abuser before ending the relationship & moving out can give the abuser time to come up with especially creative & effective tactics to keep the victim in the relationship

In cases like this, it is much better for someone to leave a relationship unannounced & silently for their own mental health’s sake.

Not all relationships are abusive, though, & sometimes a person wants to end it simply because of personality differences, moral differences or even religious beliefs.  In cases like that, sometimes leaving a relationship silently still may be a viable option.

If someone repeatedly hurts you, you tell them they’re hurting you & they continue to hurt you, they have to know why you’re ending the relationship.  They don’t need you to explain yourself yet again.  There is no point.

No one should have to explain to someone how to be a decent human being, especially repeatedly.  Some people seem to have no clue how to be civil, let alone polite, & are content with their behavior.  They say things like, “This is just how I am.”  Explaining why you want to end a relationship with someone like this is most likely going to be a waste of your time.

Obviously, people are very different so you need to consider your options seriously when ending a relationship someone.  If the person is reasonable, explaining why you’re ending it is a good option.  That person may learn that they need to behave in a healthier way.  And, who knows, they may teach you something about your own behavior as well.  If the person in question isn’t reasonable though, quietly walking away probably is your best option.

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What NOT To Say To Someone With C-PTSD

Many people tell those of us with C-PTSD some pretty stupid, insensitive & even invalidating comments about our disorder.  It’s utterly frustrating how people can say things like these & think it’s ok or even that they’re being supportive.  It’s also frustrating how sometimes when these things are said to us, thanks to our disorder, we can’t think of what to tell these people about why this is a bad thing to say.

Below are some frequently used comments & retorts to them.  Feel free to share this post with anyone who you think can benefit from reading this.

“I know how you feel!”  I don’t think so.  C-PTSD is a very weird & painful disorder.  You can feel like you’re going crazy when symptoms flare up.  You also can be suicidal.  Even two people with C-PTSD can experience their symptoms differently.

“I think a lot too.”  Really?  You think that’s what C-PTSD is?  No.  There is a big difference between the average person thinking a lot & C-PTSD.  When a person is “always thinking”, they can control it at least to some degree.  Good luck doing that with the thoughts that come with C-PTSD.  There are ruminating thoughts which are thoughts that play over & over again.  There are also intrusive thoughts, which come to mind at any time, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  We also can’t forget hyper-vigilance, which is being completely focused on one’s surroundings in an attempt to spot any hint of danger to our physical or mental health.  These things are awful & often impossible to control.

“Everyone has nightmares!”  True.  Everyone does have nightmares.  Not everyone has nightmares nightly or almost nightly, often even multiple times in a night.  Not everyone wakes up in a blind panic from a nightmare, either.  Not everyone has nightmares about utterly bizarre things that stir up similar emotions to the traumatic events they have survived.

“You need to stop thinking about the past.”  Well, thank you for that insight.  I never thought about that!  *sigh*  Those of us with C-PTSD want to stop thinking about the past, but our brains won’t let us!

“Everyone has flashes of bad memories.”  Flashbacks are so much more than that.  They’re bad memories that feel like they’re happening all over again.  They can make it very hard to discern between the memory & reality.

“Think happy thoughts!”  “Be more positive!”  C-PTSD isn’t about thinking too negatively.  It’s an actual mental disorder.  Our brains were broken due to the traumas we survived.  The damage means we can’t control our thoughts like someone without C-PTSD can.

“You need to see a counselor!”  It’s not that easy!  Not all counselors understand C-PTSD.  Also, not all counselors understand the best ways to treat people who have suffered through trauma, period, let alone multiple traumas.  There is also the fact that many of us have tried counseling, only to find some counselors are as toxic as the people who abused us in the first place, so we have a strong lack of trust in those in the mental health field.

“You just need to take a pill.”  Also not that easy.  Do you have any idea how many anti-anxiety & anti-depressants there are available?!  I don’t but I do know that it’s a lot!  There are also varying classes & strengths of these medications.  Most also take at least about two weeks to start working, so you may take something for a long time before seeing any changes, good or bad.  Finding the right dose of the right medication can be a very long, frustrating task.

“It’s all in your head!”  Well, C-PTSD is a mental disorder.  Where else would it be?

“You can’t have C-PTSD!  You weren’t in the military!”  Maybe not, but C-PTSD doesn’t discriminate.  It can happen to anyone exposed to any traumas for an extended period of time.  While it happens to many prisoners of war, it also happens to those who survived child abuse or domestic violence.

I hope this post helps you to have a good response the next time someone invalidates your experiences with C-PTSD.  xoxo

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About Disproportionate Anger In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

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Encouragement For Scapegoats

Growing up a scapegoat is a nightmare.  You can do absolutely nothing right.  Any & all family problems are blamed on you, whether or not you actually had any responsibility in them.  Doing this allows the abusive family members to maintain their illusion of normalcy because in their eyes, clearly you are the problem.  Your family lies to & about you constantly, causing you to have no decent relationships, especially within your own family.  You’re on the receiving end of all of your family’s scorn & abuse, yet if you say anything about this, it only gets worse for you.

You hope that once you turn 18 or move out, things will get better.  You aren’t living under the same roof as your dysfunctional family or at least you’re able to escape home which is helpful in minimizing exposure to these awful people.  That is all it does though, minimize exposure.  They still abuse you.

Being a scapegoat can feel like you are in the worst position in the world with no hope of ever experiencing freedom, but believe it or not, there is some good that comes with a scapegoat.

Scapegoats are known for being the black sheep of their family.  They’re different in that they want to learn & grow.  They don’t want to continue the pattern of dysfunction that runs in their family.  Standing out from this crowd is a good thing!

Scapegoats are also known as truth tellers.  They are usually the only ones in dysfunctional families who aren’t concerned with their family’s reputation.  They are more concerned with the truth.  They are incredibly brave, because telling the truth about your dysfunctional family is so hard.  Dysfunctional families can’t handle people knowing the truth about them, so if one of them divulges it, that one must be punished.  They will attack this person & smear their good name.  They will treat the person as if they’re crazy, & none of what they claim happened actually happened.  They will abandon the truth teller when they need love & support the most.  They do all of this because protecting their family’s reputation & their delusions of having a big, happy family are more important than the scapegoat’s mental health.

Interestingly, the rejection of the scapegoat by his or her family can make the scapegoat intensely appreciative of good relationships.  They highly value their friends & romantic partners who aren’t abusive, & don’t hesitate to let them know how loved & appreciated they are.  This makes them fantastic friends & spouses.

Due to their experiences, scapegoats also have great empathy.  Having known intense suffering, they truly understand what it’s like to suffer, & don’t want others to feel as they have.  They want to help others too because they know what it’s like not to have help when in need.  They are often some of the kindest people you can meet.

Also due to their experiences, scapegoats often think differently than most people.  Their different perspective can be very helpful for them as well as other people.  They give unique & often very helpful advice or simply offer a perspective that someone never considered.

As adults, scapegoats also often become advocates for victims of all kinds of abuse.  They help to raise awareness, to educate & even offer comfort to other victims.

In telling you these things, I’m not saying that if you were the scapegoat in your family, you should be grateful.  I really am not sure such a perspective is healthy.  That being said, I do hope that you recognize yourself in these good qualities.  You should be proud of the person you’ve become!  All of that abuse was meant to destroy you, yet it did nothing of the sort.  Instead, you became the wonderful person you are today.  Be proud of your strength, courage & wonderfulness!

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Often “Less Wrong” Is Your Best Solution With Narcissists

When dealing with narcissists, often there is no right answer.  They are masters at creating no win situations, & even when they aren’t actively creating one, they seem to come up anyway.  For example, think about no contact.  In a sense, it’s the right solution.  It’ll protect you from further abuse & give you the space you need in order to heal from all you have endured.  While those are certainly great things, no contact also means a close relationship ended & on a bad note.  Clearly this isn’t a really good thing, even though the good outweighs the bad.  The only other alternative is to continue in an abusive relationship, so a person is limited to two choices, neither of which is particularly great.

Many things with narcissists are like that.  Setting boundaries is another example.  Yes, setting boundaries is a good thing & it is necessary, but at the same time, it starts a lot of problems with narcissists.  Since they don’t respect anyone’s boundaries, when someone tries to set them, they get angry & even more abusive.  The only choices are begin to set boundaries & deal with more abuse at least temporarily, or do nothing & suffer anyway.  Neither answer is really a right one.

Often, the best you can do with a narcissist is choose the least wrong answer.

While I know this sounds depressing & hopeless, I don’t mean it to.  Once you accept this, you can feel less stress & anxiety in your dealings with the narcissist.

Accepting that there really isn’t any right answer helps you to understand that no matter what you do, there won’t be a good, healthy or functional solution.  There is nothing you can do to make that happen.  It’s beyond your control.  This can be very freeing!  It helps you not to beat yourself up because things haven’t worked out perfectly.  You accept that sometimes a person’s best just isn’t good enough, & that’s ok.

It also helps you because you learn to keep your expectations realistic with the narcissist.  You know that the narcissist is going to be angry or upset no matter what you do.  You will have a good idea what to expect rather than thinking that this time will be better.  You also can prepare yourself for whatever is going to happen.

Accepting this truth that there are only less wrong answers with narcissist also helps you not to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out exactly what you need to do & how to do it.  You feel much less pressure to make everything right when you know that no matter what you do, you’ll be wrong anyway.

When you know that the narcissist will say you’re wrong in whatever you do, it’s also much easier to think of yourself instead of only him or her.  You develop a mindset something like, “Well, if I’m going to be wrong anyway I might as well get something out of this too.”

In all honesty, sometimes the fact there often isn’t any right answer also will make you sad.  That is totally normal.  It isn’t exactly the most cheerful fact of life, after all.  But, if you can look at it in ways that benefit you, it really can help you.

I also found that a quote from Captain Picard from the old tv show “Star Trek The Next Generation” to be comforting.  “It is possible to commit no mistakes & still lose.  That is not a weakness.  That is life.”  I know, I’m a nerd quoting this show, but the words are very wise & very comforting.  Definitely worth remembering, in particular when dealing with a narcissist.

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Secrets Narcissists Have But Hope Victims Don’t Learn

Narcissists have secrets that they hope will remain secret indefinitely.  Learning these secrets can help you when you must deal with a narcissist or to sever ties with them.

One of their biggest fears is that they will be forced to be held accountable for their actions.  Document EVERYTHING the narcissist says & does to you.  Save voicemails, text messages, emails, screen shots, etc.  Save these items to cloud storage or email them to yourself & save on the server rather than on your phone & computer to be sure they aren’t accidentally lost.  Don’t forget to hide the access information from the narcissist too!  This documentation can work to your advantage if you need to go to the police, go to court or get a restraining order.  It also can make a narcissist afraid of being exposed, damaging their reputation.   Mention discussing their behavior with someone, for example.  No doubt the narcissist will immediately tell you what a horrible person that is you’ve been speaking with in an attempt to make you stop speaking to them.  This fear of discovery means they may discard you quickly, freeing you of their abuse, so don’t hesitate to drop hints about documenting their behavior. 

Acting indifferent to a narcissist is devastating to them.  Narcissists love attention, be it good or bad.  Showing a narcissist that nothing they do affects you is utterly devastating to them.  Narcissists feed off of emotional responses, so by denying them that, they will get bored & leave you alone.  If you must deal with a narcissist, show no reaction whatsoever to anything they do.  If you have ended the relationship & they’re trying to harass you, never respond.  Any response will be their fuel to try to hurt you further, so deprive them of that fuel!

Any attempt from a narcissist to lure you back into the relationship isn’t because they truly love & miss you.  Instead, it is so the narcissist can abuse you further, then end the relationship on his or her terms.  Narcissists must be in control & you ending the relationship removed their control.  This infuriates narcissists!  They usually do whatever they can to rekindle the relationship.  They try to lure their victims back with false promises of change or they even try scaring them into resuming the relationship.  Once the victim is back, the narcissist abuses the victim even worse than before, then discards the victim.

You are nothing more than narcissistic supply to a narcissist.  Narcissists don’t see people as human beings.  They only see them as tools to be used however the narcissist sees fit.  This is why they are able to abuse & throw away people so easily.  People mean nothing more to narcissists than a screwdriver or hammer.

When a narcissist tells you someone else is much better than you, what they mean is that person has fallen for their act.  This other person hasn’t caught on to what the narcissist really is yet, so they provide good narcissistic supply.  In the eyes of a narcissist, that makes this person better than you.

Narcissists will apologize, but it won’t be a sincere apology.  Narcissists prefer to control without resorting to apologies, but they will if they think it will get them what they want.  There are big problems with narcissistic apologies, however.  They never accompany the narcissist accepting responsibility for their behavior & making appropriate changes.  As if this doesn’t prove enough that the apology isn’t genuine, their words do that too.  They say things like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or, “I’m sorry you think I did something wrong.”  These fake apologies are meant to pacify a victim by saying, “I’m sorry” while not accepting any responsibility for the bad behavior.

Narcissists will use your empathy against you.  Covert narcissists in particular have no problem making you feel sorry for them if it will accomplish their goal.  They do this in various ways.  One way is apologizing for their actions but offering excuses such as “I was just trying to help!”  or, “I didn’t know that would upset you!”  Adding such comments onto an apology is meant to make you accept their abusive behavior because their excuse makes it ok.  You are supposed to feel ashamed for being upset about their abusive actions, & accept that behavior again.

Keeping these things in mind can help you cope when you must deal with a narcissist.

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Scars

Often a physical injury results in a scar.  Did you ever think about the fact that psychological injuries also result in scars?  They may not be so easy to see like physical scars, but they are there nonetheless.

PTSD & C-PTSD are scars that result from exposure to extreme trauma or multiple traumas.  The traumas were so bad they literally “broke” a person’s brain, causing physical changes, that create some very difficult problems to cope with.

Depression is a scar resulting from living through the horrors of emotional abuse.  The constant berating, gaslighting & more of emotional abuse created depression that can last even long after the relationship has ended.

Anxiety is a scar that comes from living with someone, either a parent or a spouse who is demanding, highly volatile & unpredictable.  The constant feeling of walking on eggshells in an attempt to avoid angry outbursts creates anxiety that can last a lifetime, whether or not the volatile person is still in a victim’s life or not.

These scars are incredibly difficult to live with, I know.  I live with C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse I’ve endured.  It is a horrible disorder to live with but for me, the anxiety & depression are probably the worst parts of it.  It could be very easy to get caught up in the heartbreaking, discouraging & unfair nature of it all.  Honestly, there are some times that happens.  However, there are also times it doesn’t happen because of the perspective I try to have on these scars.  My hope is this information will help you too.

Scars remind you of what you’ve been through so you retain what you learned.  Having survived narcissistic parents, an ex husband, in-laws & countless so called friends & family, naturally I’ve learned a lot.  That’s a good thing, because now I spot unsafe people easily.  I know quickly either to avoid them or to have firm boundaries in place if I must deal with them.  I also know when they are attempting to manipulate me, & avoid falling for their games.

Scars also remind you that you survived something that was meant to destroy you.  This can be really hard to remember when you’re facing suicidal thoughts, flashbacks or paralyzing anxiety or depression, but it’s true.  The goal of narcissists is to destroy their victim emotionally.  (If they can tear a person down enough, that person will be easy to bend to their will, so it just makes sense that is the goal of narcissists.)  You survived that!  Yes, you still have issues from it but who wouldn’t?!  You survived something really terrible, & that is the main thing!

What I think is the best part of all is that scars also are an excellent reminder of God being by your side, through this “valley of the shadow of death,” so to speak.  Remember Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;” (KJV)  Your scar is reminder that although you went through something utterly horrific, God was by your side the entire time helping you to survive.  He loves you so much, & your scars are a reminder of that wonderful fact.

When you have problems because of the scars you have as a result of surviving narcissistic abuse, please try not to get discouraged!  I know it’s hard, but you can do it.  Remember the points in this post.  Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  Acknowledge your feelings & accept them.  If you feel things like you’re damaged, a burden to your loved ones or other negative things like that, remind yourself that they are simply old beliefs stemming from narcissistic abuse.  And, most of all, lean on God.  Pray often. Ask Him for comfort, strength, wisdom, guidance & anything else you can think of.  Remember, He was there with you “through the valley of the shadow of death.”  He is still with you!

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Types Of Abuse That Are Rarely Recognized As Abuse

When most people think of an abusive person, they think of someone who is physically abusive, such as the man who beats his wife & children.  Some may also think of a verbally abusive person, too.  There is so much more to abuse than these two methods, however!  Narcissists often use the following tactics, so it’s wise to be aware of them.

Forcing a person to do something they don’t want to do is abuse.  This can include anything, such as following unreasonable rules, looking a certain way or even performing sexual acts.  The forcing can be accomplished in many ways, like withholding money, using intimidation, guilt or shaming or simply telling the victim there is no choice in this matter.

An extremely possessive & jealous romantic partner is being abusive.  Almost everyone has a little bit of possessiveness & jealousy in them, & that is normal.  Being upset someone flirted with your spouse is bound to bring out that jealous streak.  What is not normal in that situation is if someone becomes enraged at their spouse, accusing them of having an affair with the person who flirted with them or even resorting to physical violence.  When your partner’s jealousy makes you afraid to speak with anyone your partner doesn’t approve of, this is a sign that their behavior is abusive.

Giving no privacy is abusive.  Unless you have given someone a valid reason not to trust you, such as if you cheated on your spouse, there is no good reason for you not to have privacy in your relationships.  It’s healthy for each person in a relationship, any relationship, to have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Each person should be able to trust that the other person won’t snoop through their emails, phone, purse, etc.  Snooping makes a person feel guilty & paranoid about everything, even when they have no reason to feel that way.  It’s a miserable way to live!

Isolation is abuse.  If the other person you’re in a relationship with tries to keep you from seeing your friends & family, this is a huge red flag!  Abusers of all kinds like to isolate their victims as a means of being able to control them.  Isolation limits the information, help & support a victim can receive, which makes them easier to abuse.

Intimidation is also abuse.  My ex husband used to punch walls sometimes when he was angry with me.  He even told me that I was lucky he hit the wall instead of me, because that was what he wanted to do.  Intimidation also can come in the form of someone telling you that they’ll tell everyone you know private things about you & that no one will want anything to do with you after they know those things.

Keeping you from accessing any money is abusive.  Naturally parents don’t allow their children to access their bank accounts, but they also don’t restrict their children from working.  They also don’t expect their children to give them most of their paycheck for rent.  A spouse that refuses to add your name to bank accounts or credit cards, or prevents you from working is also being abusive.

Using religion to force you to behave as they want is abusive.  Spiritual abuse seems to be on the rise.  It can come from those in the church, spouses & even parents.  Spiritual abuse is when someone tries to manipulate your behavior by twisting Scripture around to justify their abusing you or manipulating you into doing what they want.  This is one more reason I believe it’s wise to have plenty of knowledge of the Bible.  People who spiritually abuse can be quite convincing with what they have to say.  The best way to combat this is to have knowledge of the Bible & a relationship with God.

Just remember, Dear Reader, anyone who shows these behaviors is being abusive.  Don’t tell yourself it’s no big deal, it doesn’t mean anything or any other excuses.  These behaviors are abusive & you have every right to protect yourself!

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Encouragement For Those Still In Relationships With Narcissists

I know it seems like it’s only you.  No one else is still sticking it out with a narcissist in their life.  You probably even feel ashamed & like a coward for not ending the relationship when so many other folks have.  Today I want you to know that it isn’t only you, you have no valid reason to feel ashamed, & you aren’t a coward!

So much information says, “Just go no contact” when it comes to narcissists.  They make it sound so easy, as do many survivors of narcissistic abuse.  The truth of the matter though is no contact isn’t easy!

It isn’t important whether the narcissist in your life is a friend, romantic partner or even a parent.  Ending any relationship is very sad & painful.  Although that usually is the best solution & often the only one when dealing with a narcissist, even that doesn’t make this an easy or less sad solution.

There is also the fact that narcissists don’t usually abuse strangers.  They abuse those closest to them.  Ending a relationship with someone you have known for a month isn’t so hard.  Ending it with someone you have a long history with however is really tough.

Don’t forget too, that narcissists can behave very well when they want to.  It can be so hard to leave someone who has the ability to be good to you!  Most people want that good version to come back & are willing to hang in there in the hopes it will happen.

If you believe no contact is the right solution for your situation yet are having trouble taking that step, please know you’re ok.  Really!  No contact is such a difficult move to make.  It often takes a great deal of time to work up the inner strength to end an abusive relationship.  Narcissists do their best to destroy their victims’ self esteem.  Once that happens, it takes a lot of time & work to rebuild that self esteem to the point of being able to leave the abuser.

If you’re living with the narcissist in your life, maybe you are in the unfortunate situation of being financially dependent on this person.  It happens more often than you may realize.  Narcissists abuse in every possible way, even financially.  They often spend all their victim’s money, run up the victim’s credit cards, create a great deal of debt in the victim’s name then refuse to pay is in order to ruin the victims’ credit & even force a victim to sign their paychecks over to them leaving the victim destitute.

None of these scenarios are your fault.  Sadly they are very common.

You will know when & if the time is right to end the relationship with the narcissist in your life.  Until that time comes, there are some things you can do to make your situation a bit more bearable.

Always remember to pray.  Ask God for help.  Ask Him to give you creative & effective ways to deal with the narcissist.  Ask Him to help you by giving you whatever you need to go no contact.

Never forget that the primary motivation of anything a narcissist does is narcissistic supply.  The less supply you provide, the more likely the narcissist will leave you alone.  Think about this person- what provides him or her with that supply?  Stop doing those things.  Your anger provides supply?  Never show the narcissist you’re angry.  You looking your best provides supply?  Then let yourself look sloppy sometimes.  No doubt you can come up with a list of things that provide this person with narcissistic supply & ways to stop providing it.

One tool I found to be quite useful with narcissists is asking logical questions without showing any emotions.  You can say things like, “I don’t understand what you mean.  Would you explain that?”  “Why do you think that is a good idea?”  Asking these kinds of questions in a calm manner flusters narcissists.  It shows that you’re onto their manipulation, but in a manner that they know if they get mad at you, they’ll look foolish.  Since narcissists hate the very thought of looking bad in any way, chances are good they will change the subject to avoid this conversation.

If you don’t know much about boundaries, then it is time for you to learn.  You have every right to have reasonable boundaries, such as being able to say no without inciting rage.  You also don’t have to explain your boundaries.  Doing so only encourages a narcissist to try to convince their victim why their boundaries are wrong & instill doubt.  It’s best to state your boundaries without explanation.

Also never forget that the way the narcissist is treating you isn’t about you.  It isn’t personal at all.  I know it feels that way but the truth is the narcissist behaves this way because they have issues.  It isn’t because you deserve to be treated as they are doing.  Remembering this can help to take some of the pain out of their abusive ways.

Lastly, if you are able, low contact is a very good stepping stone to no contact.  Only deal with the narcissist when you feel able to do so.  Give yourself permission not to take every single phone call or visit the narcissist every time he or she demands you do so.  Sometimes, narcissists in this position will initiate no contact with their victim since the victim is no longer a good source of narcissistic supply.

Remember, no contact is a very big decision.  There is nothing wrong with you for taking your time about making that big step.  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!  You will know in your heart when the time is right & have the ability to do so!

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Ways Narcissists Hurt Victims

Narcissists love to hurt their victims.  It gives them a feeling of power, control & superiority to be able to affect victims as profoundly as they do, so it’s no wonder they do it so often.

Narcissists have a vast collection of ways to cause their victims pain.  Following is a list of some of their favorite methods used to accomplish this.  Some of these methods are quite subtle, & may not even seem abusive at first, but they absolutely are.

If you want validation, count on the narcissist to withhold it from you.  Narcissists won’t tell you that you did a good job or that you’re right about something.  Withholding validation is a form of invalidation, & is done to let you know how unimportant everything about you is.

If something important is going on with you, whether it is good or bad, you can expect a narcissist to steal the spotlight somehow.  They may invent a crisis or pick a fight with you.  If something bad is happening to you, they may steal the spotlight by talking about how the event affects them.  My ex husband & father did this constantly.  I ended up comforting them rather than them comforting me.

If you need help with something, you can expect the narcissist to resist.  Either he or she will disappear completely or will help but do things in a lazy, sloppy way.  If this person does help you, the help most likely accompanied by a great deal of complaining or letting you know what a huge sacrifice he or she is making & how you should appreciate it.

If you’re sick or injured, you can count on a narcissist to disappear or act annoyed with your suffering.  Since they lack empathy, they won’t care about how awful you feel.  They most likely will trivialize your suffering on the off chance they acknowledge it.  And, if the narcissist in question is your romantic partner, don’t think your illness or injury will have any affect on your sex life.  You still will be expected to perform as normal, no matter the state of your health.

If you want sex from your narcissistic partner, you can count on the narcissistic partner to claim to be too tired.  They must be in control in every area, & that includes your sex life.  They also don’t care what their victims want in any area.

If you’re talking, chances of the narcissist interrupting you are excellent.  It keeps the focus on them because a person who is interrupted naturally stops talking to let the interrupting person talk.

If you’re lonely, you can expect the narcissist suddenly to be too busy to spend time with you.  The same goes if you need to talk to him or her about something.  If you decide to spend time with someone else, the narcissist will become angry that you didn’t just wait to spend time with him or her.  You will be called unreasonable, impossible to please or something similar.

If you want to drive somewhere when you & the narcissist go out together, count on your driving being criticized either actively or passively, no matter how safely you drive.  Actively criticizing it is easy to spot.  They tell you that you’re driving too fast, tailgating or other similar comments.  Passive criticizing isn’t so easy to spot.  It’s quieter & more covert, such as bracing themselves as you approach a red light or stop sign or cringing as you drive.  I believe the passive criticism is even worse, because if you say something, the narcissist has plausible deniability.  He or she can say things like, “I never complained about your driving!”  “I never said you were speeding!”  Before you know it, you easily can end up apologizing to the narcissist.

When you witness these behaviors from the narcissist in your life, remind yourself that they are abusive!  You aren’t unreasonable or wrong or impossible to please.  The narcissist is trying to hurt you.  Don’t let that happen!  Remind yourself what is happening so you aren’t hurt by their ridiculous & abusive behavior.

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Taking Back Your Power From The Narcissist

Narcissists love to manipulate & control their victims.  One way they control their victims is to make them feel powerless, as if they have absolutely no control over any aspect of their own lives.

Feeling completely out of control & powerless is a horrible way to feel!  It saps your joy & makes you feel utterly hopeless.  Being depressed & hopeless may make you miserable, but it also will make a narcissist feel wonderful.  This is because they have control over you & know you won’t do anything about it.

Don’t let the narcissist in your life get away with doing this to you!  Take your power back!  You can do this!!

As always, I recommend you start with prayer.  God will be glad to give you whatever you need, be it insight, strength, courage or anything else.  Let Him help you!!  You need every advantage you can get where narcissists are concerned, so why not let God help you?

If you haven’t done it already, start learning about boundaries.  You need to have very clear views on where you end & the narcissist begins, because one way narcissists remove a victim’s power is by blurring those boundaries.  Victims often feel responsible for the narcissist in ways that they shouldn’t.  As an example, narcissists make victims feel responsible for their feelings & actions.  How many times has the narcissist in your life said something like, “You made me do that!”  “I wouldn’t be so angry if you wouldn’t have said/done what you did!”?  I would guess you can think of many examples.  I certainly can.

As you learn about boundaries, you’ll need to learn some new & even creative ways to say no to the narcissist.  Always remember, normal ways to set boundaries don’t work with narcissists, so avoid saying things like, “Please don’t do that.. it hurts me when you do that.”  Admitting the narcissist’s behavior hurts you only provides narcissistic supply which means they’ll do that thing over & over again.  Instead, say things like:

  • I’m sorry.  I have other plans.
  • I can’t do that.
  • I can’t make it that day.
  • I’ll consider what you suggested.
  • That isn’t going to happen.
  • I’m not interested.
  • Thank you, but no.
  • No (without any explanation, simply saying the word).

There are also other things you can do to help yourself to regain some control.  Start small.  Organize your purse, a desk drawer, your car’s glove compartment.  Work up from there onto something larger, maybe get rid of some clothes you no longer like even though the narcissist likes them.  You also could paint a room or replace a piece of furniture.  Keep taking back your power, little by little.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes & the less you’re willing to settle for someone taking away your power.

Naturally as you do these things, the narcissist is NOT going to be happy about it.  Most likely, the narcissist will realize that a rage will make him or her look bad, so that won’t happen.  Instead, probably there will be passive/aggressive behaviors such as giving the silent treatment.  Invalidation is also common.  The narcissist may act as if there is something wrong with you for liking whatever it is you did that took back some of your power.  Criticism certainly is going to happen.  The narcissist will let you know that whatever you did was wrong, stupid, a waste of time & anything else negative they can think to say.

When the narcissist acts this way, always remember that it says more about the narcissist than you.  Normal, functional people encourage others to be independent & have good boundaries.  They also aren’t threatened by such things.  Only unsafe & even narcissistic people are threatened by such normal, healthy, behaviors.

Dear Reader, you can do this!  You can take back your power!

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Why Victims Should Tell Their Stories

Before I write one word on this topic, let me just say that I don’t believe every single person who has experienced abuse must write books or a blog about their experiences.  It’s a very good thing to do of course, but it also isn’t every person’s calling in life.  If you’re reading this & immediately felt badly because you have yet to write publicly about your experiences, then please stop.  You have no reason to feel badly!  That may not be what God has planned for you, & there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

That being said….

I firmly believe that everyone who has suffered narcissistic abuse needs to be open about their experiences.  No victim has a reason to feel shame for being abused, so why hide it?  Why pretend it didn’t happen?  Instead, be open about your story.  The Bible says in  Proverbs 31:8-9:

“Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!”  (MSG)

By being open about your story, you can help other people!  Sharing your story in any capacity can let people know that they aren’t alone.  There are so many victims who don’t understand their pain & your story can help them.  There also are those who don’t know anything but abuse, & when they hear your similar story to theirs, their eyes open.  Suddenly they see how wrong the things that were done to them were.  Your story can give them the courage to walk away.

If you speak openly & without shame about your awful experiences, you can do more good than you realize.  You can help people in so many ways by doing nothing more than talking.

And, if you think this is only about other people, you’re wrong.  By being willing to discuss your own experiences, you can help yourself as well.

Do you know anything about the legends of vampires?  I read quite a bit about them when I was a kid.  I learned that vampires were very powerful, supernaturally powerful in fact, unless they were exposed to the sunlight.  The sun would utterly destroy  these impossibly strong, immortal beings by turning them into dust.  That same principle applies to issues stemming from abuse.  So long as they remain in the dark, in other words, they aren’t discussed, are ignored or hidden, they have a great deal of power.  They control your life.  Once you discuss them however, they lose that power like a vampire in the sunlight.  Discussing your issues helps to release you from their hold over you somehow.  It’s incredibly healing to be open about abusive experiences.

In my younger days, even though I knew something was very wrong, I still didn’t want to discuss the abusive situations I experienced.  I felt like if I did so, I was betraying my abusive parents & ex husband.  It seemed wrong to do anything other than hide what they did to me.  Not that they told me I shouldn’t tell anyone what they were doing, but it was as if it was some unwritten rule that I shouldn’t tell anyone what they did.  Many victims of abuse feel much the same as I did, that they shouldn’t “tattle” on their abuser.

I want to tell you today that this thinking is wrong.  This is your story too, not only that of the abuser!  You have every right to share as much or as little as you want to.  Abusers aren’t the only ones who can talk about whatever they want!  You have that right as well!

I do want you to know that if you opt to discuss your experiences freely either verbally or in writing, you need to be aware of the laws against libel & slander in your state.  While you are free to discuss your situation, you also need to use wisdom when it comes to protecting yourself in any capacity from your abuser.  Even with these limitations in place, you can say an awful lot, & help many people!  I wish you the best in doing so!  xoxo

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

Judging Victims For Tolerating Abuse

I’ve noticed so many people are quick to judge victims of abuse for tolerating abuse. The nature of the relationship doesn’t seem to matter, the same things are said to victims.  These judgmental people say things like, “Well *I* certainly wouldn’t have put up with being treated like that!”, “Just go no contact!” or, “Why didn’t you leave sooner?”

This post is for those people who are quick to judge, & need a  lesson on the reality of what it’s like to be abused.

Unless a person has been subjected to the effects of daily, intense gaslighting, they truly don’t know what they would do in that situation, & have no right to judge a situation they can’t understand.

Abusers use gaslighting to convince their victims that they can’t make it in life without their abuser.  Abusers convince their victims that they are so stupid & incapable that they need the abuser to help them navigate through life.  Not even the most highly intelligent people are immune to this.

They also convince their victims that no one cares about them other than the abuser.  People only talk to them because they are trying to be nice, not because they really care, abusers say.  They also create doubts in victims’ minds about their loved ones by saying things like, “She isn’t really a good friend to you.”  “He doesn’t care about you yanno.”  When an abuser says such things with conviction, & a victim hears such things often enough, they believe them no matter how much evidence to the contrary they may see.

Abusers also are very good at convincing their victims that if they would try just a little harder, the abuser would threat the victim better.  Watch a young child with an abusive parent, & you will see this clearly.  The meaner the parent is, the harder the child works to please that parent.  Adults aren’t immune to this behavior though.  During my first marriage, I did this with my ex husband.  The problem with this behavior is whatever the victim does is never good enough.  Abusers are notorious for changing what they say they want, raising that bar a bit higher once the victim does what they originally said they wanted, or denying ever wanting that thing their victim just did.  A person unaware of this manipulative & abusive behavior will keep trying to please their abuser, which leads to utter frustration in the victim & satisfaction in the abuser for having such control over the victim.

There’s also the fact that most people don’t want to end relationships with those closest to them, & abusers are usually those closest to the victim.  Deciding to end a romantic relationship is a big deal, especially when abuse is involved because the victim is going to feel like a failure or stupid for falling for someone abusive.  If the abusive relationship is a parent/child relationship, that is incredibly hard to end too.  Who can feel completely comfortable telling their parents they never want to see them again?!

Lastly, many abusers prevent their victims from leaving.  They often take the victim’s money & ruin that person’s credit, making it impossible for the victim to leave.  They make the victim completely financially dependent on them.  They threaten to take the couple’s kids away so the victim never will see them again.  Some have been known to lock their victims in their home, making them a prisoner.  And, still others threaten to kill either the victim, their pets, their children, their friends or family if the victim leaves.

After considering all of this.. can you honestly still wonder why victims tolerated the abuse as long as they did?

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How Narcissists Handle Health Crises

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The Apologetic Narcissist

Narcissists almost never offer a real apology.  Sure, they may say the words, “I’m sorry” sometimes, but the words are often followed up by words &/or actions that prove this apology isn’t genuine.  Sometimes however, they can be quite convincing that this time, the apology is real.  This post is to help you spot the signs of a fake narcissistic apology.

The fake apologies are most likely to flow freely after ending a relationship with a narcissist.  They may even say the right things like, “I’ve changed”, “I know I did some bad things,” or even, “I’ll get therapy”.  The words can be very believable.  Naturally, you will want to believe them too.  No one wants to accept that there are people out there capable of the cruelty that narcissists commit on a daily basis.

The problem with such apologies is if you give the narcissist a bit of time after the first apology, some cracks will start to show.  Instead of, “I’ve changed,” they may say things like, “I’ve changed but I need you to do some changing too.”  They also may add a “but” to their apology.  “I’m sorry I did that to you, but you really made me angry!”  Suddenly their willingness to go to therapy either turns into a willingness to go to couples therapy rather than individual, or they claim they never said they would go to therapy in the first place.

At this point, many victims are sucked in by the first, more sincere sounding apology.  They make excuses for the narcissist’s sudden changes.  They blame themselves for making the narcissist do the terrible things they did or even their lack of patience & understanding with the narcissist.  They also think maybe the narcissist is right, & they never promised they would go to therapy.

If the victim continues with this train of thought, resuming the relationship with the narcissist is very likely.  In the beginning the victim will be glad they did this, because everything will be good.  The narcissist won’t be so cruel, but instead will be kind, understanding, even gentle.  This “honeymoon” period lulls victims into a false sense of security.  They believe the narcissist has really changed this time.  They  believe the narcissist meant what they said, & the relationship is going to be ok.

Little by little though, the narcissist begins to resume his or her old ways.  It probably will start out as subtle criticisms or attempts at control or manipulation.  These won’t happen as often as they once did, which makes it easy for a victim to brush them off.

As time passes, however, the narcissist gradually returns to his or her old ways, & most likely adds some new tricks to the repertoire.  The victim ends up shocked one day when reality sets in, & they see that the narcissist never changed at all.

This scenario almost always happens, no matter the nature of the relationship with a narcissist.  You mostly hear about it in the context of romantic relationships, but it also happens with friendships or parent/child relationships.

Don’t let this happen to you!!  If you have ended a relationship with a narcissist, refrain from having any contact with that person at all.  If you must, keep your contact minimal while showing no emotions.  If you can have someone act as a mediator between you both, all the better.

Any contact you do have with the narcissist gives him or her the chance to “apologize” & attempt to lure you back.  Don’t fall for it!  If he or she doesn’t accept responsibility for the behavior & ask how to make things right, or if he or she demands you believe or trust them, those are signs the apology isn’t sincere.  If you resume the relationship at this point, you’ll be as miserable if not more miserable than you were before.  Don’t let that happen.  Walk away & take care of yourself.

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