Tag Archives: faith
One year ago, I shared this post about the miraculous & wonderful events that surrounded my father’s death. If you haven’t read it, please do.
I still am absolutely blown away by the events of that time. Talking about the goodness of God doesn’t begin to explain just how loving, good, kind & merciful He truly is, & those events proved it to me.
It’s been quite the emotional roller coaster since my father’s passing last year, & my faith has grown tremendously too.
While I don’t believe the dead actually come to us in dreams, I do believe because God knows how much certain people mean to them & they mean to us, He allows us to have dreams to convey messages from them. That being said, I’ve had a couple of dreams about my father since his passing, although he rarely actually makes an appearance in them. At first, I knew the dreams were to tell me that he was sorry for everything & loves me a great deal. I also knew he didn’t want to appear in my dreams often because of the things that happened in our relationship- he was afraid it’d upset me. Recently though he showed up in a dream & it was lovely- we were talking & laughing, & he was telling jokes. It was fun since we shared the same skewed since of humor. I believe that dream was to let me know that he appreciates all the prayers that not only I said for him, but my friends said as well, & now he’s enjoying Heaven because God answered those prayers.
I wanted to share these events with you to (hopefully!) encourage your faith & comfort you are losing someone you love. God truly can save everyone who wants to be saved. Never give up hope or give up praying for them, Dear Reader, even when it looks hopeless. It may happen at the very last minute like it did with my father, but it can still happen. Keep praying!!
Also, if you’ve lost a loved one, draw close to God. Allow Him to help you to get through & to comfort you. He truly will! I’ve even asked Him if it’s ok, please tell my deceased loved ones I miss them, are thinking of them or even happy birthday. I know as Christians, we aren’t supposed to try to contact the dead, so obviously I won’t seek out a medium or grab a Ouija board. But, I see nothing wrong with asking that sort of thing of God. Besides, if He didn’t want it to happen, He wouldn’t do it ^ would tell me it’s wrong! He also has told me little things that they wanted me to know, & of course there have been many dreams. Sometimes during the hardest times, I’ve dreamed about my grandfather, & the dream helped comfort me. On February 26, 2016, the night before the one year anniversary that I survived carbon monoxide poisoning, I had a dream of going four-wheeling with my grandfather. It was so fun & helped me feel much less depressed about that anniversary. God can bless you in the same way. He is no respecter of persons, so what He does for one, He can do for another.
I guess my thoughts are a bit scattered on this post, but I do hope they help & encourage you anyway. xoxo
Psalm 101:5 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”
This verse has come to my attention quite a few times recently. It find it VERY interesting. Don’t you think that it describes some aspects of narcissistic behavior? Narcissists have NO trouble slandering others. They also have the haughty look & an arrogant heart. What is even more interesting to me than the description of these behaviors is that God has no tolerance for them.
Yet, narcissists’ evil minions, also known as flying monkeys, love to tell victims of narcissistic abuse that we are being cruel, unloving, & even ungodly if we set boundaries with the narcissist in our lives. They tell us invalidating & horrible things like, “You only get one set of parents!” “He won’t be around forever yanno!” “But that’s your MOTHER!!!” & more. If the flying monkey claims to be a Christian, they also like to throw in their version of Scripture to prove that your behavior is terrible, such as you aren’t honoring your parents or “God hates divorce” if your narcissist is your spouse.
Awful statements like these can make a victim feel ashamed for not tolerating the abuse or even feel enough guilt to resume the dysfunctional, abusive relationship as it was & abandon all attempts of self protection.
This should not be!!!
If you have been subjected to the inane ramblings of flying monkeys, you need to know some things.
First, the people saying these things are abusive. Invalidation is abusive. Encouraging someone to return to an abusive situation is also abusive. Attempting to force someone to do something is controlling & abusive. You have every right to protect yourself from these awful people.
Second, I’ve come to realize that many flying monkeys are simply covert narcissists. Narcissists only care about what is best for them, no one else. Why would you take the advice of someone like that?!
Third, you also have the right to protect yourself from any abusive person, which includes your narcissistic parent(s) or significant other. There is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse. Anyone who thinks there is has some seriously warped beliefs, & obviously they know nothing of God or His ways.
Fourth, the Bible says in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (NIV) One duty all Christians have is to become like God. While we can’t be just like God, of course, we can love as He loves, & treat people as He does. So, keeping this in mind, if God does not tolerate certain things, like narcissistic behavior, this means we shouldn’t tolerate it either.
And lastly, as I said, there is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse. Doing so encourages a person to behave poorly. It keeps them indulging in sinful behavior, hurting other people & even themselves. How can this be good for anyone?! It’s impossible!
On the opposite side of that coin, refusing to tolerate abuse is a good & loving thing to do. It sets boundaries that give consequences for a person’s bad behavior. If they wish to avoid those consequences, they will behave better. (While no one can force another person to change, boundaries at least create circumstances that can make a person want to change. ) Helping a person to be the best version of themselves that they can be is a loving thing to do.
Refusing to tolerate abusive treatment also removes the opportunity for the abusive person to sin, at least where you’re concerned, & that is a good thing. Tolerating abuse not only allows the abuser to sin but practically encourages it. After all, why should the abuser stop being abusive when they don’t have any reason to? And no, for narcissists, knowing they’re hurting someone else isn’t enough of a reason to stop abusing.
Dear Reader, the next time someone criticizes you for not tolerating abuse from the narcissists in your life, please remember what I’ve said. There is absolutely nothing good about tolerating abuse for you or the abuser. You have every right to protect yourself however you see fit, whether it’s by setting boundaries or even ending the relationship. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise! xoxo
As some of you may remember, my late mother in-law was a covert narcissist. She also was exceptionally good at what she did. My own husband didn’t believe me when I told him of many of the things she said & did to me. Like everyone else, he was fooled by her innocent act. I can’t blame him entirely for that. Like I said, she was VERY good.
During the time she was in my life, I knew something was wrong, even though I had no understanding about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at the time. It blew my mind how, like my mother, she could appear one way to other people, but the moment we were alone, the fangs came out. That just isn’t normal & you don’t have to have a degree in psychology to know that.
Then one day when my husband & I were at his parents’ home, visiting his parents. My mother in-law said something, & my father in-law said, “Shut your stupid mouth. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say!” I’d never seen that side of him before, only heard about it. He & my husband went outside shortly after. My mother in-law & I were left alone. I don’t remember exactly what she said, it was probably over 20 years ago by now, but I do remember that she was especially mean to me that evening. I figured she was just upset by how her husband spoke to her & taking it out on me.
The anger I usually felt at her because of her nastiness softened a lot. I felt bad for her for what just happened. And, for some time after that, I put up with her nastiness without complaint. I figured she obviously has no real coping skills, so maybe being mean to me is the only way she can deal with the hurt & anger she felt inside. I didn’t like it but I figured if it helped her somehow, fine. If I could live through the horrible things my mother said to me, I could handle the mother in-law.
This didn’t last long, a couple of months tops. I realized it wasn’t helping her, it was really hurting me & frankly, it wasn’t fair.
Situations like this are no doubt why so many people say you should never pity a narcissist. It means you will tolerate a LOT of abuse. Well, that is a very valid point. I tolerated so much more than I should have because I felt pity for my mother in-law.
However, that being said, I still don’t regret feeling that pity for her at that time or at any point. Probably that makes me sound crazy, but hear me out…
I realized some time later that the ability to feel pity for someone who was so cruel to me showed that in spite of all of the narcissistic abuse I’ve been through in my life, it didn’t destroy my ability to feel compassion for others. It can be so easy to turn bitter & angry when you’ve been through narcissistic abuse. I also didn’t turn into a narcissist like a few victims of narcissistic abuse do. I am grateful that neither happened to me.
Feeling pity for my mother in-law motivated me to pray for her, & all Christians know God wants us to pray for others, including our enemies:
“43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, [a]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? 48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (AMP)
I prayed for her quite a bit over the years, albeit not as much as I should have. All of my prayers for her were answered. My mother in-law did come to know Jesus, so she is in Heaven now instead of Hell. She also died in her home rather than a nursing home, as she wanted. She even died in her sleep, peacefully.
Praying for her also was good for me. It helped me to release the anger I’d felt at her for so long. I eventually got to the point of feeling nothing for her beyond wanting her to come to the Lord & not to suffer at the end of her life. Sorta sad, I admit, but it sure beats hating her like I once did!
My point in telling you this story is this.. some people find it easy to feel pity for people, even narcissists. When you know that the narcissistic person in your life has suffered, in spite of how awfully they treat you, there’s probably a little part of you that pities that person. It’s natural to want to shut that part of you down when the object of your pity is so abusive. Instead, why not acknowledge it? Accept that feeling as it is- just a feeling. Also, you can take the feeling as a sign that person needs prayer & you need to be the one to pray.
However, please, PLEASE do not get all crazy like I did & let the pity you feel be a reason to tolerate abuse from the narcissist. It’s very possible to feel pity for someone while still maintaining healthy boundaries & distance. I did with my mother in-law & still do with my mother. Please learn from my mistake in this area!
Lastly, if you don’t feel pity for the narcissist in your life, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad Christian. Many people don’t feel it & there is nothing wrong with that! Even good, loving, faithful people don’t always feel pity towards narcissists. It happens, & it’s ok. This post is simply directed at those who may feel differently than you. 🙂
So over the last couple of weeks, on top of dealing with my husband’s father’s sudden passing, one of our beautiful kitties, Zippy, got sick with a urinary tract issue plus a reaction to his medication. On our way to the vet’s offie, we hit an unusual amount of green lights & little traffic. We were only there a short time. And, as usual, there was no emergency fee (I think it’s $65) because our vet is more concerned with caring for animals than making huge profits. I truly have the most awesome, wonderful vet in the universe 🙂
On the good side, as I’m writing this, Zippy is doing well. It’ll take him a few days to get back to normal, but praise God, he’ll be normal again!
Also as I was writing this, my husband called after his dad’s funeral service was done. Naturally it was tough, but the good thing is our neighbor showed up to be there for him. How sweet is that?! As if him & his wife baking a couple of cakes for the wake wasn’t kind enough.
The past week has been incredibly rough but while I was thinking about it, I realized yet again how true Psalm 23:4 is….
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (KJV)
The reason I’m telling you about this is to encourage you. I know during hard times it can feel like God is nowhere around. It sure can feel like you’re walking alone in, “the valley of the shadow of death!” I’ve felt the same way myself the last few days. But, whether or not you feel His presence, God is there, listening to your prayers & working out your situation. Somehow, some way, God will help you get through even the hardest of times.
This was hardly the first time God has helped us & no doubt it won’t be the last, so I feel assured in telling you that if you’re going through hard times, even if you feel totally alone, you really aren’t. God is there with you, in your corner, working things out somehow for the best solution to the situation. You’re never alone in those dark valleys of the shadow of death! Keep praying, keep believing & He will show up in ways you never expected. xoxo
The past two weeks has been quite overwhelming.
Tuesday, June 12, my husband’s father fell in his home. Hubby took him to the hospital, & they decided to keep him. Upsetting of course, but not entirely unusual considering his age. Saturday, June 16, my husband was told his father only had a couple of days left to live. Friday, June 22, his father died.
Out of protecting my husband’s & his father’s privacy, I don’t want to reveal more details than that about the situation, so pardon me for being vague.
The situation got me thinking & I decided to share those thoughts.
First & foremost, this situation was just another reminder of how quickly life can change. When hubby took his father to the emergency room, he had no clue that only 11 days later, his father would die. Never take anyone you love for granted! Enjoy every moment you can with them. Never forget that things can change quickly, so tell them & show them often that you love them. I make it a point to tell people I love them as the last thing before hanging up the phone or leaving their company.
Don’t forget to enjoy your life as much as possible. Don’t settle for working a job you hate longer than absolutely necessary or continuing a relationship that is making you miserable. Do things that make you happy & avoid things that don’t as much as humanly possible. Travel, dance, write poetry, paint or participate in hobbies you love. Do whatever benefits your peace & joy. No one knows how long we have to live so why not enjoy every moment possible?
If you’re an animal lover, rely on your furbabies to help you in tough times. Animals do love us & want to help if they can. Just before my husband called to tell me about his dad, I saw two of my cats looking rather adorable & decided to take their pictures. He called just as I took the last picture. Later when I put the pictures on my computer, I noticed how sad my cats looked in those pictures, which is highly unusual for them. I really believe they knew what was going on. And, when my husband got home, they proved it. The cats haven’t left him alone since he got home that night. They’re doing their best to make him feel loved & comforted, & it’s a great help to him!
I also realized that once you’ve lost a narcissistic parent, death can be triggering. This is the first person we’ve lost since my father died last October. I feel like emotionally speaking, this situation has sent me back to last year. It’s an emotional flashback of sorts, I think. I assume this is happening because my father died not all that long ago & I haven’t been able to heal from that awful time yet. I’m not telling my husband about this because he doesn’t need any further burdens right now of course, but my word, this is a challenge & one I never expected.
If you too have experienced the death of a narcissistic parent, Dear Reader, I think you need to know this kind of thing can happen to you too. Even if the person who passes on is someone you aren’t particularly close to or not a person in a parental type role, I think it’s possible it can happen to you too, so just be prepared.
So, that’s what has been happening recently. I figured I’d let everyone know & I hope the thoughts I had help you. xoxo
Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things. One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving. These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent. It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely! After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!
I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian. I am well aware that I don’t. But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect. Far from it. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus. And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect. No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.
Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different from loving people’s way. God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest. Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior. Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim. However, it is not your place to force them to change. It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.
But it’s certainly NOT easy! Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior. As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it. Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love. They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one. People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.
I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love. Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things. However, love also must be tough sometimes. God proves that! He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior. He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions. As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone. Many people have been, including me. When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (AMP) As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you. He will reward you one day! Those who said such cruel things however?? Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…
2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].” (AMP)
Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)
I get a wonderful daily email from Bible Gateway- Psalms in a month. This was in today’s email, & I couldn’t help but think of narcissists.
Psalm 101:5 (AMP)
“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”
Soooooo… if God Himself has absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior, why do people think victims should tolerate it? How is it being a “good Christian” to tolerate this sort of abuse?
It seems to me that people who believe those of us who have gone no contact or at the very least refuse to tolerate a narcissist’s abuse by giving them boundaries & consequences are putting people & their wishes above God. What they think should happen is obviously more important to them than what the Bible says. If the narcissist in question is family, they’re also putting the institution of family above God.
If you think that I’m just overreacting, consider the following from the Gospel of Matthew…
Matthew 10:34-37 (MSG) (emphasis added)
“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.”
Reread the part I underlined. “Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.” That’s pretty clear, don’t you think? God should come first in your life, NOT other people, no matter who those people are!
For those of you who have been on the same boat as me with being condemned for being a bad person &/or bad Christian for not tolerating abuse from the narcissist in your life, please remember what the Bible has to say. God doesn’t think you’re a terrible person because you refuse to allow some horrible person to abuse you. He has called you to be like Him, not to please people, & if other people have a problem with that, well, that isn’t your problem- it’s theirs.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (AMP)
“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; 2 and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4 (AMP)
“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].”
Two years ago yesterday was a big argument with my parents. The biggest ever. That’s saying something because there have been some very ugly fights over the years.
I knew something ugly was brewing. My husband’s mom died 5 days prior, & he’d warned me there was an obituary in the local paper that my parents read religiously. I knew they would call about it, & I figured it’d be something like, “she was such a lovely woman” & other nonsense. My parents knew perfectly well that I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002. I’d told them that she was cruel to me (a covert narcissist), & they only met her twice. I didn’t think her death would be of any major concern to them. Comments praising her supposed sainthood were expected, & that was it. I did NOT expect the huge blow up it turned into. In fact, I’d prayed when I saw my parents’ number on my caller ID, asking God to help me behave & not blow up. That didn’t happen.. I blew. I blew big time. When both of my parents made it clear that they were mad at me for not telling them she died so they could go “pay their respects”, I blew. I felt betrayed by that, & by the fact they didn’t understand why I felt betrayed. I spelled out my feelings & they didn’t get it. (I don’t know why I even wasted my breath doing that when I know better.) I remember each of my parents defending themselves, & I kept saying things like “you know how she treated me”. They responded the same.. “But that’s Eric’s MOTHER!” I always responded with, “But I’m YOUR DAUGHTER!” Nothing. They said absolutely nothing in return to that, as if that fact was unimportant & the only thing that mattered was that this person was my husband’s mother.
What was odd is after I hung up & was praying, I knew God wanted my parents to see me that angry. I started out saying I was sorry for how I acted. I’d yelled at & cussed at my parents! That was awful & I was so sorry for not letting God lead my behavior. He said it’s ok- they needed to see their normally calm, reasonable daughter livid because of what they did (I’m still not sure why exactly). This argument also opened the door for no contact. I finally felt the time was right after wanting to do it for over a year & knowing in my heart the timing wasn’t right. My mother gave me the silent treatment anyway for standing up to her, so that was easy. My father was tougher since he always demanded I talk to him whenever he wanted, no matter what I had going on.
It’s strange the way things worked out for the best in spite of how much that incident hurt me. Good came from it! It taught me to trust God more, since He clearly helped me that night to accomplish what needed to be done. He truly knows best & it’s amazing how He guides you when you let Him. It also helped me to realize I can stand up for myself, which is something I never felt well equipped to do.
I guess my point in sharing this, Dear Reader, is you really can trust God to enable you to do whatever you need to do, & that includes standing up to narcissist. I know, that is incredibly difficult to do. But, it’s also very possible. Trust Him- He won’t lead you wrong! He’ll give you the words you need to say as you need them. He’ll give you strength & courage. He’ll help you to be quiet when the timing is wrong for standing up to them & help you when the timing is right. God is truly a loving, caring Father. He always has your back! xoxo
Some time ago, I wrote about the miraculous events that surrounded my father’s death last October. (If you missed that post, I’d really like to urge you to read it now. It’s quite a story!)
Recently I’ve been thinking about those events a lot. One aspect of it in particular that is on my mind is how God told my friend to tell me never stop praying for my mother.
Looking at the situation now, her salvation seems utterly impossible. She’s a narcissist. We all know how they are- they know best about everything. This makes them very closed off to listening to anyone tell them about salvation through Jesus, & my mother is no exception. In fact, my mother has told me she has a “direct line” to God & “when she prays, God listens!”
This can be very discouraging. On a positive note though, I also know what happened with my father which eliminates my discouragement. While I know God is the One who did all the work to save my father, I prayed & asked many other people to pray for him as well. Not trying to take any credit from God of course, but I do know that my prayers & those of others made a big difference for my father. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV, emphasis added)
As my prayers & those of my friends made a big difference with my father, so can yours with the narcissist in your life.
I know, praying for someone who has hurt you is a very, very hard thing to do. Like it or not though, as Christians, we are commanded to do so….
Matthew 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
I would guess these verses aren’t anyone’s favorites… lol They certainly weren’t mine for a long time. Then a few years ago, I felt that God wanted me to start to pray for some people who have been abusive to me. Much as I didn’t want to, I did it anyway, even when I didn’t mean it because I was still angry with them. As time passed though, it got easier. Then I felt He wanted me to pray for more people who had abused me, then more. At the current time, I am praying daily for a lot of people who have treated me terribly every single morning. And you know something? It’s not hard to do anymore. In fact, I have an alarm set on my cell phone to ring each morning to remind me to pray, but even with my terrible short term memory, I usually remember to pray long before the alarm goes off. Often even before I get out of bed in the morning.
Praying for these people is something I look forward to now. Since I began to do so, I have felt closer to God than ever. Even if I am angry at them at the time I pray for whatever reason, I know God appreciates the fact I’m trying to do as He wants in spite of how I feel.
It also has helped to release the anger I felt towards these people. I can’t explain how it works, but somehow it does work! Of course, if something new happens, I may get angry- that’s just normal- but at least I’m not walking around full of unforgiveness & bitterness anymore. (For the record, this also doesn’t mean some people will be allowed back in my life- forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation. It means I released the anger I felt at them, period. Trusting them again would be foolish unless their actions changed dramatically.)
I’ve also realized that maybe no one else prays for them. Have you ever considered that about the narcissist in your life? I thought about this after my ex husband’s mother passed away in 2010. She was a devoted Christian, but I am unsure if any other of his relatives are. Since he said he didn’t believe in God, it’s safe to assume he didn’t seek out Christian friends. There is an excellent chance he has no one praying for him aside from me! That to me is heartbreaking! And, if it could happen with him, it could happen with others as well. So many narcissists claim to be atheists & have no patience for Christians so they don’t exactly surround themselves with them. You may be the only person who prays for that narcissist in your life! I tell you this not to make you feel obligated or guilty somehow- it’s just a simple fact & it may be possible in your situation.
I know it’s hard to pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply as only a narcissist can, but please, Dear Reader, try it. Hopefully you’ll see the results of your prayers in that person’s life. If you don’t, however, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing, you can enjoy the new closeness to God & feel better with less anger inside of you!
I recently read about a term called spiritual bypassing. It was coined by a psychologist named John Welwood in the 1980’s. The term is used to describe when a person uses their religious beliefs to avoid dealing with uncomfortable things, healing old wounds & meeting important psychological needs.
While the term applies to all religions, I thought of it as to how it relates to Christianity since I’m not overly familiar with most other religions & most of my readers are also Christians.
Also, please know that I’m not trying to judge anyone. I’ve been guilty of doing some of these things myself.
Becoming very active in church activities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being active in your church, but when you spend more time at church than with your family, something is wrong. It needs to be done in balance. Otherwise, resentments can build & trouble starts in your relationships. You may even develop a superior attitude because you participate so much in your church.
Judging people for being angry or hurt. The Bible says we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger. Jesus said we are to forgive those who trespass against us in the Lord’s prayer. Seems obvious to me that we’re going to feel angry or hurt sometimes, otherwise the need to forgive wouldn’t be mentioned in the Bible. Remember, there is nothing wrong with anger or hurt. They are God-given emotions that tell us when something isn’t right. It’s what we do with the emotions that can be wrong.
Ignoring your own anger or hurt in favor of saying you forgive that person. Maybe you think it makes you holy to claim forgiveness rather than facing your negative emotions, but it only sets you up for problems. Emotions demand to be heard, especially the strong ones like anger. If you ignore them, they will find another way to be heard, & most likely, not such a good way.
Being too positive. So many people in the world emphasize the importance of thinking positively. Positive confessions are stressed as very important. People are criticized for “being too negative” if they admit they are struggling or hurting. In fact, people can be downright shamed for discussing abuse since it’s so “negative”. I’ve been told I need to “get over my childhood hurts” for example, which at the time, was extremely painful to hear. I felt ashamed. I felt like I was making too big of a deal out of being abused. I felt like a bad Christian for not just forgiving & forgetting. The truth is though, that when I tried to be positive, not talk or think about what I’ve gone through, & to “forgive & forget,” I was miserable. Now that I’m open with my experiences, & facing things head on, I’m not so miserable. I started using good boundaries. I’ve gotten a more balanced view of my situation- bad things happened to me. Horrible things, really, but God brought me through them & is helping me to heal. He’s also helping me to write about my experiences to help others which I love doing. I can’t honestly say I’m grateful for my bad experiences, but I’m grateful good has come from them.
Claiming to be happy 100% of the time. Yes, in God’s presence is fullness of joy, according to the Psalms. Yes, Jesus told us to “be of good cheer.” However, no one is above feeling bad sometimes. It’s not a sin to feel sad, scared, hurt or angry. They are natural reactions to abnormal circumstances. Jesus wasn’t exactly happy in the Garden of Gethsemane now was He? Or, when He flipped over the vendors’ tables in the church. He also got frustrated with the apostles & their lack of faith. Even Jesus wasn’t above feeling emotions other than joy.
Trying to be perfect all of the time. People are NOT perfect! If we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus now would we? ’nuff said!
Seeing the best in people. I have given up looking for the best in people, & instead, look for the real in people. If you only see the best, you can set yourself up to be taken advantage of or victimized in some way, because you’d feel guilty for being negative or judgmental. It just makes sense to be realistic about people. There is nothing wrong with that! Jesus basically told His apostles the same thing. Matthew 10:16 says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (KJV)
I feel a degree of pity for narcissists, even the ones who have tried to destroy me. It’s so sad to me that they felt they had to resort to behaving so horribly to cope with the pain in their lives or their insecurities. It’s sad how afraid so many are & everything they do is out of that fear. It’s sad that they waste their entire lives being angry, bitter, hateful & pushing away those closest to them. Many are even full of anger, bitterness & hate on their death beds. These people live pathetic lives not knowing what it is like to love, really love. What lonely, empty, superficial lives they live.
This being said, it certainly doesn’t mean I think narcissists deserve a free pass to abuse. Being abused is NOT an excuse to abuse others! Being abusive is a choice, not a consequence of experiencing abuse! If you don’t believe me, consider this example: your narcissistic mother ignores your requests to change her behavior so she doesn’t hurt you. She clearly is opting to continue abusing you, isn’t she?
The pain in their pasts also doesn’t negate your pain. Please never tell yourself that it’s OK- the narcissist had a hard life too or they had it harder than you did. It’s not OK! Never invalidate your own pain! You don’t deserve that! You were no doubt invalidated enough by your narcissistic parent- don’t do it to yourself too! Invalidation is abuse, no matter who does it, even when you do it to yourself. It has the potential for causing a victim all kinds of problems- bad coping skills, low self-esteem, guilt, shame, placing the needs of others before yourself even when you are in crisis, & even Borderline Personality Disorder. Don’t do this to yourself! It is very possible to feel sorry for your narcissistic parent while not trivializing or invalidating your pain.
Why pity narcissists? They are horrible people, right? Honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary to pity narcissists to heal. Some people think it’s foolishness, in fact. And this works fine for them. There is nothing wrong with that thinking.
For me, however, feeling that degree of pity that I do for narcissists enables me to pray for them.
The Bible tells us to pray for our enemies…
Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, [a]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? 48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (AMP)
Praying for those who hurt you isn’t an option if you wish to live a holy, Christian life. It also isn’t easy. In fact, praying for someone who hurt you is hard enough, but praying for someone who tried to destroy you is a thousand times harder.
God dealt with me a couple of years ago about praying for my parents & in-laws. I didn’t feel able to do it. My parents & mother in-law were incredibly cruel to me, & frankly I didn’t much care about any of them. Once I started thinking about them, I felt some pity for them. My mother was abused by her mother, which is why she turned narcissistic I believe. My father wasn’t abused, but had a terrible traumatic brain injury at only 15 that I believe may be at the root of his narcissism. His behavior changed after it. That TBI has given him many health problems. My mother in-law had a very sad upbringing & many difficult years married to my father in-law. Thinking about such things plus the other things I have mentioned above their behavior has caused stirred up pity in me for them. I now pray for my parents & in-laws daily, & even set up reminders on my cell phone so I don’t forget. Not knowing what they need specifically, I simply ask God to save them, meet all of their needs & bless them. Praying this way I hope has been a blessing to them, but at the very least, it feels good to me. It shows me that try as they might, they haven’t destroyed my good heart.
Feeling pity for narcissists isn’t always necessary & certainly isn’t easy. However, it can benefit you by enabling you to pray for them.
Psalm 26:6-7 “I wash my hands to prove my innocence and come before your altar, 7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling about your miracles.” (TLB)
Before I became a Christian, my parents said good people go to Heaven, bad people to Hell. This left me confused wondering what exactly defines good & bad people. Later, I remember people telling me I was going to hell if I didn’t accept Jesus right then & there. Not that they told me how or why to accept Him- they just said I had to do it, period, with no explanation.
Eventually, in spite of all of the nonsense, I did become a Christian. Then I heard more confusing, vague statements such as “God tells us to forgive so I just do it. I don’t know why you’re having any problem forgiving those who abused you.”
Comments like these have done one good thing for me- they have shown me how NOT to treat people.
Whether you are trying to witness about your faith to an unbeliever or trying to comfort a brother or sister in the faith, you need to exercise wisdom in what you say to them. One thing that is often good no matter what the circumstances is bragging about the great things God has done for you, & reminding them that He can do the same & even more for them.
If you’re attempting to help someone see their need for Jesus in their life, they need to see the great things He can do for them. They need to be wooed gently to Him, not told they’re going to rot in hell for eternity! Scaring someone into the faith just doesn’t work. Showing them that God is kind & loving, however, will work much better. If someone sees that God helped you in your times of dire need & that He is willing to do it for them, too, that will get their attention!
Or, if a brother or sister is discouraged, a reminder of how good God is can help to encourage them. Remind them of the things God has done for them in the past or that He has done for you & will do for them also.
By bragging about the good things God does, you are helping people, & blessing yourself as well. Remembering God’s blessings often helps you to stay strong in your faith.
Dear Reader, there is no way you can go wrong talking about the great things God has done for you. Why don’t you try it? Share stories with your friends & family. Write them in your journal, or begin a gratitude journal specifically for recalling all of God’s blessings.
Some time back, I created an android app for my website. In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app. Now, I have. It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think. The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app. If you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.
While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.
I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them. They are totally free. Links are below…
For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :
Romans 15:2 “We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.” (GW)
One thing that is important for all Christians to do is share stories of the wonderful things God has done for them, big or small. Doing so encourages others. It’s a good reminder that God still does miracles, big & small, for everyone. That reminder can be a blessing when times are tough & you feel like God doesn’t care.
I think sharing stories of God’s blessings is also good to do with non believers. For one thing, it encourages them that good things do happen even in the worst of times. For another, maybe telling them the story of your blessings will sow a seed in them. They may decide they want to know more about this God of yours. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? In my experience before I was a Christian, I was more responsive to stories of God’s love than the Bible thumping, fire & brimstone types who told me I was going to hell. Stories of His love gently wooed me to God, while the “you’re going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus right now!” conversation pushed me far away. I believe most people are that way as well. Personally, I don’t witness in the traditional sense of that word. I tell people stories of miraculous & beautiful things God has done for me instead, & I find even die-hard atheists will at least listen to me without objection.
Also, sharing your stories encourages you too. It keeps the blessing close to your heart & reminds you that God loves you, even if for some reason you don’t feel His love. You can’t always count on others to encourage you, so you have to encourage yourself. What better way to do so than remembering the wonderful things God has done for you?
Telling such stories also increases your joy & your faith. While you’re blessing others, you’re also blessing yourself. How can you go wrong by sharing stories of your blessings?
Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (KJV)
There are people watching you every single day. Other Christians may be comparing your faith to theirs while unbelievers are judging you to see if you’re the real thing or not. I also personally believe our loved ones who have passed on & are in Heaven now are aware of what is happening in our lives.
Do you think about the kind of image you present?
I’ve learned a couple of very valuable things on this topic since I became a Christian in 1996, & I’d like to share them with you today.
People don’t respond well to the “holier than thou” types- they prefer people who are real. As a new Christian, I quickly learned this one. Those who looked down on me because I didn’t grow up in the church, because I was divorced, because I had once dabbled in the occult or because I was a new Christian really got under my skin. Their “I’m better than you” attitude made me feel insecure & even doubt God’s love for me. But, people who told me things like, “I was a drug addicted prostitute before I met Jesus” or admitted their current struggles encouraged me. They showed me that you don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to love you. And, you can be a Christian & still make mistakes or deal with struggles. Being saved doesn’t mean life is perfect & if it isn’t, something is wrong with you. It means you’re human! Admitting your faults & struggles helps people see you’re like them- flawed, but trying to improve yourself. And, if Jesus can love imperfect you, then just maybe He can love imperfect them as well!
Closely related to being real is letting your behavior witness to others more than your words. People can say anything- it’s their actions that speak volumes about what is inside of them. Let your actions show that you are trying to live a Godly life. If you quote Scripture yet steal, lie, cheat, judge, criticize or hurt people, you’ll be viewed as a hypocrite. This can turn other people away from not only you, but God as well. Unbelievers see you proclaiming your faith yet acting worse than atheists, & will want to run as far from God as they can.
Bragging about the blessings God has given you is a good thing! Whether God healed you from a fatal illness, restored a broken relationship or provided you with something you needed, people are encouraged by these stories. They build the faith of Christians & entice non-believers to learn more about this God of yours. As many of you know, I have my late Granddad’s car thanks to God providing quite a miracle. (The story is here if you care to read it: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/gods-love-for-you/ ) I absolutely love telling the story of how I got it. It’s interesting because you can tell by people’s reactions who is a Christian & who isn’t. Christians praise God & unbelievers look puzzled. Either way, the listener is usually uplifted by such a cool story.
Never be ashamed of your faith. Some Christians are very hesitant to mention their faith. They act embarrassed about it. Why? There’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of! I’m not saying you have to talk about nothing but Jesus, but there is nothing wrong with saying you’re praying for something or bragging about something God has done for you. Your faith is the central focus of your life- why not mention it when you feel it’s appropriate? Just use common sense & speak in balance about it. Unbelievers can be very put off by Christians who speak of nothing but God, their faith, their church, etc. I remember that feeling- I thought those people were crazy. I understood that God was important to them, but I never understood why they didn’t seem to have room for anything else in their lives.
If you’d like more information on this topic, I wrote a free ebook on it. It’s available at this link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/documents/AWitnessOfFaith.pdf
Recently, I was talking with a dear friend. She’s been having trouble with her sister, & handling the problem very well. She’s showing God’s love & grace in this difficult situation.
I felt bad as we spoke, because I knew if that was me in her shoes, I’d be very angry. I felt like I wasn’t being a good Christian because of that. Immediately, God spoke to my heart.
This friend has told me that growing up, she spoke up to her narcissistic mother. She never stifled her anger.
I however, was her polar opposite- I learned early on never to show any anger.
Growing up, my mother would holler at me for my “Bailey temper” even if I was simply frustrated. I learned very young it was better to stifle my anger rather than show it & be shamed. It’s only been the last couple of years I’ve been letting myself show anger. In fact, I can’t stifle it any longer. I get over it & forgive the other person quickly, but it still feels somewhat foreign to get angry.
I can’t really compare myself to this lady because we’re so different. God wants me to show my anger, I believe, so I’m not wrong when I feel it or show it. For her, she chooses not to get angry with her sister & that is what’s right for her. Neither of us are wrong or bad. We’re simply doing what is right for us. And, both of our solutions are Biblical. Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies & forgive them, which is what my friend is doing in her situation. Various Scriptures tell of times when Jesus Himself got angry (Mark 10:13-16, Mark 11:15-17, etc). Being angry is not a sin! It’s what you do with your anger that can be sinful. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (NKJV)
Realizing all of this was so freeing! It helped me to feel I’m on the right path for me, just as she is for her. It also helped me to stop feeling shame for when I get angry like I did at first (old habits truly die hard).
This situation also goes to prove that we all have very individual walks with God. Sure, there are some basic things He wants from all of us, like following the 10 commandments. But beyond that? We all have very unique & individual paths to take. Don’t compare yourself to another person. Instead, enjoy your own path, & enjoy the freedom there is in that.
Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)
I realize many Christians will disagree with me, stating that humans are much more valuable than animals. I respectfully disagree though. God loves the animals He created. Reread the Scripture I opened this post with: Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV) The Scripture states. “that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,” so obviously God believes humans & animals to be equal.
Other Scriptures speak of the value of animals:
- Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (KJV)
- Job 12:7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)
- Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” (KJV)
- Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (KJV)
- Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (KJV)
- Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (KJV)
Animals are a wonderful blessing to people! They offer us companionship, unconditional love, help us with chores (such as on a farm), & if we pay attention, teach us a great deal. I’ve had pets since shortly after moving out of my parents’ home at age 19, & pray there never will come a time I don’t have any! Mine have blessed me in more ways than I can count! They have made me laugh or comforted me when I was upset, defended me to people who were nasty to me, & taught me many things, including how to be a good mom.
I hope you, Dear Reader, aren’t one who thinks animals are “just dumb animals” like many people do. If so, though, I pray you’ll consider what I’ve written, & reconsider your position!
And, if you’re an animal lover like me, but never thought about such Scriptures, then please, also consider this post. Maybe pay a bit more attention to your furkids- they are wonderful teachers, & you can learn so much from them. Don’t forget to let them know how much you love & appreciate them, too! They appreciate hearing such things just as much as you do! 🙂
After the death of a gorilla in a Cincinnati zoo, I saw many posts on Facebook that bothered me. My least favorite comment was, “3000 babies die in America’s abortion clinics every day & no one says a word- one gorilla dies & everyone loses their minds.”
For a fleeting moment after reading this, I felt guilty because in all honesty, I care when animals are put down more than I care about abortion. Yes, I know that makes me sound like a terrible person, but please hear me out before you judge…
Animals, mine in particular, are very special to me, as you know if you’ve read any of my work. Helping people overcome the pain of narcissistic abuse & understanding narcissism also are very important to me as is eliminating the stigma of mental illness & supporting those who live with it. These are my causes, the things that are most important to me, after God & my little family of course. While I realize there are many, many worthy causes out there that need support, I simply don’t have it in me to rally to them.
Aside from my mental & physical health problems limiting my energy, I believe it’s important to give as much as you can to something rather than a little bit to many things. I’d rather do two things right than ten things halfway. Quality over quantity if you will. It isn’t that I think there aren’t other important causes out there. There are many! I just chose to focus on a select few that are the most important to me.
Everyone has different gifts & callings. Romans 12:4-8 states, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.” (KJV) This tells me that everyone is different, with different purposes in life. And if you think about it, this makes perfect sense. If everyone did the same thing, not much would get done. Only one area would be taken care of, but so many other things would be neglected. Doesn’t it just make sense that people think differently & support different things?
Just because I support animal welfare doesn’t mean I’m pro-abortion, as the comment I mentioned above suggests. The cause of animal welfare is simply closer to my heart, as I’m sure pro-life is closer to the heart of the person who made the comment than animal welfare. Neither of us are wrong! Instead, we support what is right to us. Yet sadly, many people don’t think this way. Instead they judge & criticize others who don’t support their causes. Unfortunately, it seems to me so many people think “if you’re not for me, you’re against me” as I mentioned in this recent post.
Dear Reader, please keep an open mind & heart. Not everyone you meet will share your passions. Nor will you share the passions of everyone you encounter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, so please- don’t make someone feel bad for not sharing your passions! And, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not sharing theirs! You are both individuals, fashioned by God’s hand for a unique purpose.
Many people are suffering these days in some way. They want answers or help, or at the very least a shoulder to cry on. Unfortunately, if you’re a good listener & try to bless people, these people often come to you to meet their needs.
There is certainly nothing wrong with listening or helping people as you can. In fact, that’s a good thing. However, sometimes people take it further than that. They are so used to you helping them, that they come to expect it. In fact, they expect you to fix whatever is wrong in their lives, & get mad if you don’t.
Many years ago, my ex husband & I shut the ringer off on our phone one evening. We just wanted a quiet evening. We heard our answering machine clicking, which meant someone was leaving a message. This happened repeatedly. Eventually when we listened, the messages were from a couple we were friends with. The wife was pregnant & was having problems. They expected me to take them to the hospital & were furious that they had to find someone else to take them. In spite of the idea for shutting off the phone’s ringer being my ex’s idea, they were mad at me. I shouldn’t have done that to them.
I’ve been in many other situations where so-called friends were mad at me for not fixing whatever their problems were. Having narcissistic parents, I always felt that I was responsible for fixing people’s problems, so when I let them down somehow, I felt really guilty. God showed me that this was wrong. People need to look to Him, not other people, for their solutions. While sometimes He may use people to help others, still, the person with the problem needs to keep their focus on God to solve it. Not doing that means a person is making another person God in his or her life.
I never thought of it this way, but it made sense to me. Being the solution to someone’s problems isn’t a good thing when it happens over & over. It means they hold you responsible for things that aren’t your responsibility. This puts a tremendous burden on you that you weren’t meant to carry. It keeps the relationship unbalanced. You are meeting their needs, as they expect you to, while there is an unspoken rule that you aren’t to ask them for anything in return. It also takes their eyes off God when they should be on Him. And, they praise you instead of God for fixing their problems when He should’ve been the one to fix things & get the praise for it.
Whether you are in the position of being the one expecting another to fix your problems or you are the fixer (like so many adult children of narcissistic parents), it’s time for you to make a change.
To start with, go to God first. Ask Him if you should help this person or not. If not, maybe you can guide this person to someone who can help him or her better than you can. Or, if you’re the one wanting someone to fix your problems, stop running to that person & ask God what you should do in this situation.
You need to remind yourself that your job is NOT to fix everyone! Growing up with narcissistic parents, I know it feels that way, but it’s just one more lie they told you. (If you don’t believe me, ask God. He will tell you the truth!) They probably wanted you to believe this lie to justify them expecting so much from you. If your job is to fix everyone’s life, then it’s OK for them to use you.
If you are the one expecting someone to fix your life, then before you pick up your phone, remember, it is no one’s job but yours to fix your problems! If someone helps you, it’s a blessing, not something another person owes you.
Breaking old habits can be difficult but that doesn’t mean impossible. You can make the changes you need to make, & be much happier for doing so!
I’ve been seeing so much lately about thinking positive, how a positive outlook can fix any problem in life. It sounds great, but I disagree.
Thinking positive is certainly a good thing. It can help you not to be discouraged or depressed. In fact, I even have what I call “Positive Monday” every week in my facebook group, where I share something good in my life & encourage others to do the same. That being said though, sometimes you have to be real. There is nothing wrong with being upset when something bad happens. It’s ok to grieve & be negative for a while after losing a loved one, being unfairly fired, finding out your spouse cheated on you or being mistreated.
Also, being realistic rather than optimistic helps you to avoid being constantly disappointed. Optimists are constantly disappointed, because they naively expect everything to turn out well. Unfortunately for them, that isn’t realistic! Sometimes life is great & things turn out well, but not always. I am a firm believer in hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. For example, last February when I got carbon monoxide poisoning & a concussion when I passed out from it, I did a lot of research on both. I learned that recovery is very long & slow, & in many cases, a person never fully recovers from carbon monoxide poisoning or a brain injury, even a so called mild one like a concussion. While I hoped to be one of the few to fully or nearly fully recover, I accepted the fact it may never happen. My symptoms have not improved in a long time, & I accept that. I’m disappointed, sure, but not devastated because I knew it was possible, which I believe is about as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
Positive thinking also won’t heal you from the effects of abuse. What will help you is to face what happened head on, talking about it, praying about it, getting angry about it then forgiving the person who hurt you. Ignoring it or making excuses for the abuser (“he was abused as a child”, for example) does not benefit anyone, least of all you.
I just wanted to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to have some balance in your thinking. There is no shame in being realistic rather than optimistic. There is no shame when positive thinking doesn’t fix everything for you.
There is an easy way to secure God’s blessings over your life, & sadly not many people will do it. It’s called tithing.
I know, the word tithing doesn’t exactly encourage joy. So many greedy preachers have demanded their congregation give them money that the word has become tainted to some people. I get it. I’ve felt the same way. But, I encourage you to forget what you knew of tithing & keep reading.
Malachi 3:10-12: “10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My
house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open
for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That
there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the
devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your
ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the
Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a
delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.” (KJV)
These wonderful verses contain promises that I have seen in action in my own life. Since I began tithing seriously in 2015, God truly has blessed me. When we thought we wouldn’t have enough money to pay some bills, money suddenly showed up. When our taxes for 2015 were done, I was sure that we would owe state & federal, as we have for the last few years, yet instead, we learned we were getting money back. And, when doing those taxes, I had to find out the date our health insurance stopped coverage in 2015. That day was the day after I went to the emergency room! My trip to the ER was covered- if it’d been only a few hours later, it wouldn’t have been covered & we would’ve owed thousands of dollars we didn’t have.
Giving God the 10% He asks for seems to not only protect what you have, but also to make that 90% go much further. It’s absolutely amazing!
When I started to tithe, honestly I wasn’t sure if it’d work for me because I don’t go to church. Because of that, I figured the next best thing was to send money to the preachers on television I watch regularly- Jesse Duplantis, TD Jakes & Josh McDowell. So far so good! In fact, Jesse Duplantis is the one I’ve learned the most about giving & tithing from. He has great revelation in this area, plus he’s not one of those televangelists who constantly tries to get people to send him money. I thought these things made him the perfect person to learn from.
Jesse Duplantis wrote a fantastic little book entitled, “Why Isn’t My Giving Working?” A while back, I read it & took notes on it. I really recommend buying the book for yourself (it’s available on his website, http://www.JDM.org) but to give you some insight into the book, below are some notes I took on it a while back. I hope this information blesses you as much as it has me. xoxo
Why Isn’t My Giving Working? by Jesse Duplantis
I.What God has said:
A. God said, be fruitful- which mans always producing.
B. God said, multiply- which means always increasing.
C. God said, replenish- which means fill & refill.
D. God said, subdue- which means control your environment or it will control
E. God cares about giving & honor, because they reveal the condition of the
II.The four types of giving:
A. The Tithe
A. The tithe is God’s portion; it is our connection to the blessing, which is our
B. Tithing holds God to His promise to open the windows of Heaven & to
rebuke the devourer. The devourer is anything that comes up that makes you
spend money you don’t want to spend.
C. God is trying to get us the blessings He talks about in Malachi 3:10-12:
“10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My
house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open
for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That
there will not be room enough to receive it. 11 “And I will rebuke the
devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your
ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the
Lord of hosts; 12 “And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a
delightful land,” Says the Lord of hosts.”
D. Use this verse to remind God of His promises when you pray about your
tithe. Have faith He will keep His promises.
A. First fruits are the first part of an increase. Example: you get a raise at
work that means you’ll get $50 more per week. Give God the first $50 raise.
B. Proverbs 3:9-10 “9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with
the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with
plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”
C. First fruits are only given once- the first of any increase, not income.
D. The first fruits offering is heart-driven, & given as a direct form of
gratitude to God.
A. Alms are given to the poor & those in need.
B. God’s rate of return is “repayment” on alms, not abundance. Proverbs
19:17 “ He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay
back what he has given.”
C. If I give alms but don’t tithe, even the repayment God promises could be
devoured on its way back to me.
D. Give quietly- don’t advertise your giving or make the recipient feel bad or
that they owe you for your generosity. Protect the dignity of the recipient!
Remember, God sees what you’re doing- let that be enough. Alms should be
given with love, not for attention from man or God.
A. The motivation is faith & reward. It is the only way the 30, 60 or 100-fold
harvest can be received, provided you sow into good ground. Mark 4:3-9
(Jesus speaking) “3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it
happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds
of the air[a] came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it
did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no
depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it
had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the
thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell
on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and
produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” 9 And He
said to them,[b] “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
B. Good soil is a place that is growing & doing what it has set out to do.
C. Seed sowing is the best route to debt cancellation. Not only in cash
received, but debts being cancelled miraculously.
A. Sow with purpose- to be obedient & to love God.
B. Haphazard giving leads to haphazard results.
C. Never dismiss the blessings God gives you. Praise & thank Him for them!
D. Be joyous in giving, wondering what God is going to do for you & others
E. While waiting on God to make good on His promises, stand strong knowing
He will do what He says He will. Ephesians 6:13-14 “13 Therefore take up
the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your
waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
F. Don’t mix up your giving. For example, don’t take your tithe, & give it as a
G. Don’t be moved emotionally into giving something you purposed for another
area. Tithes stay tithes, alms stay alms, etc. 2 Corinthians 9:7 “7 So let
each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity;
for God loves a cheerful giver.”
H. If you do not give God’s way, He is under no obligation to bless you in the
way you want to be blessed.
I. To start giving, start tithing. Give more as you can afford to do so, no
matter how small your giving may be. Amount isn’t important. God will bless
J. Don’t worry if your seed is small- it does not have to be big to work so long
as your purpose & motivation are accurate.
1. The tithe: motive is obedience.
2. First fruits: motive is generosity.
3. Alms: motive is compassion.
4. Seed: motive is faith & reward.
Anger is an emotion that strikes fear into many people. In Christian circles, many think anger isn’t of God. It’s from the devil & to be avoided at all costs. If you’re angry, you’re a sinner/wrong/a bad person. People who were abused fear anger, assuming the angry person is going to hurt them like their abuser did.
The truth is though that anger is simply one of the many emotions God gave us, & if God gave it, it can’t be bad. What you do with the anger can be good or bad though.
I have learned that sometimes, it is good to hold onto some anger. If I think back on the terrible, abusive things my narcissistic mother has done to me, although I have forgiven her for doing them, the unfairness of them still makes me angry. This is not a bad thing at all! If I can remember to focus on that anger, it helps me to stay strong with my mother when she does something else hurtful. The anger empowers me- it helps me to have the inner strength to call her out on her actions when I need to, rather than letting her get away with abusing me.
There is also a big difference in being angry at the injustice of a situation & angry at a person. God commands us to forgive one another repeatedly in the Bible, I believe because it benefits us so much to forgive others. (A few examples are: Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-32, Matthew 18: 21-22 & Matthew 6:14-15.) Not forgiving others can lead very easily to bitterness or tainting your judgment of other people. (example: if your husband cheated on you, you think all men are cheaters) Being angry with a righteous anger at the unfairness of a situation though, does not have the same results. Yes, an unjust situation makes you angry but it doesn’t make you bitter, & it gives you strength to stand up for what is right.
If you feel anger, I urge you to really delve into why you are angry. If you are angry at the person who hurt or abused you, then by all means, please try to let it go. I wrote about the topic of forgiveness on my website. You can click this link if you’d like to read it.
If you’re angry about the unfairness of a situation though, I would urge you to hold onto that righteous anger. It will help you if you ever are faced with a similar situation.
If there is one thing most adult children of narcissists do, often even years into their healing, is berate themselves. Any weakness or flaw is cause to tell themselves how dumb or clumsy they are. God forbid they get sick or injured, because then they become useless in their minds.
I do it myself, in spite of telling people to give themselves a break, it’s not right, etc. I’d always done this but it went into overdrive in 1990 when my mother threw me into a wall & hurt my back, causing me to need to quit working outside the home a few months later. I felt useless, no longer being able to earn a paycheck. In 1996 when agoraphobia developed, I felt even more useless since I couldn’t go out alone without panicking. 2002, I got arthritis in my knees & was limited a bit more as to what I could physically do. 2012, C-PTSD fully developed, making me feel even more useless. Then in February, 2015, I suffered carbon monoxide poisoning which made me pass out & hit my head causing a concussion, & I felt more useless yet once again when I learned most likely many of my symptoms would be life long & were untreatable.
Recently I was telling myself how useless I was because of all of these things. I said something to God about being useless. I asked too why these things have happened? I never wanted to be a housewife or work at home- I liked a couple of jobs I had a great deal & would’ve been quite happy making either of them into a career. Instead I’m at home, not making a lot of money which means I’m also putting pressure on my husband financially. This just sucks!! God listened patiently & reminded me of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 which says:
“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (MSG)
What a message!!! It’s a great reminder that everyone has limitations & God will work through them, not just your strengths! You are capable of great things because you are imperfect! Even this blog post is evidence of God’s ability to work through weaknesses. Normally, I jot notes down for posts I want to write, because my memory is so bad. But this one, I didn’t. I just asked Him to remind me to write it. Not only did He remind me, He showed me what all to include in it.
Don’t get me wrong- there is certainly nothing wrong with asking God to heal you. He wants what is best for you, & often that does mean healing your physical or mental health. Sometimes though, there is a very good reason that you aren’t healed, & you certainly can ask God why. Maybe like the apostle Paul, you could lose your humility if you were healed, failing to rely on God. Or maybe there is another reason.
God told me in my case, I’ve worked VERY hard all my life. Not as much working hard at a job, but working hard to appease the narcissists in my life (including anticipating their needs or how to deal with them the most effectively), keeping my emotions in control so as not to upset or “feed” them & trying to do everything perfectly so as not to be criticized or ridiculed. Now, I have no choice but to rest. My body & mind demand it often, & frankly… it feels good. Until the carbon monoxide poisoning happened, I pushed through any illness or injury so as not to be lazy. Growing up, my mother often said I was lazy & as an adult, I’ve always worked to prove I wasn’t. Now? I kinda am, & it’s OK! My mind & body demand it, so I have to respect that in order to stay healthy. Maybe your case is like mine, & you too need that rest after a lifetime of working hard. Rather than feel badly about it, why not enjoy your rest? Accept it as a well deserved rest rather than hating it.
Dear Reader, you are a valuable person. God loves you a great deal & made you as you are for a reason. It’s time to let Him work through you, weaknesses & all!
On this day ten years ago, I was blessed with one of God’s best gifts. My car. Maybe that sounds odd, so just read on- it will make sense.
My granddad had a beautiful 1969 Plymouth Fury when I was born in 1971. Four years later, my father’s car was stolen, & Granddad gave my father this car. In 1979, my father sold the car to a junkyard because he didn’t want to replace the failing transmission & rear end.
In 2005, my father was in the hospital. One Saturday morning, I woke up early, & couldn’t go back to sleep. It was too early for visiting hours, so I suggested to my husband we go to the local flea market, then the hospital.
Once we arrived, I saw a beautiful car at the other end of the parking lot. A green 1969 Fury that looked identical to my granddad’s. My husband suggested I leave a note on the car, saying I’d like to buy it if the seller was interested in selling. I’d never done anything like that before, but decided why not.
The seller did want to sell! He called me two days later. My husband & I met up with him to look at the car better, & decided to buy it. Unfortunately we were refinancing our mortgage so our money was tied up. Thankfully the seller was understanding & patient.
November 23, 2005, I was able to get the car. It was a wonderful day, but things got even better…
My father came by one day to see the car. He said it was his car. I thought he had to be mistaken but he was adamant. Shortly after, he showed back up at my home with an old log book where he had written down maintenance records on some of his cars. He had torn out the pages on the Fury after getting rid of the car, but he had missed the page with the VIN on it. We compared it to the VIN on my Fury, & they were identical! I couldn’t believe it- my car was also Granddad’s car! It was (& still is) a miracle to me that this car is back in my family after 26 years. And, not just any car- my favorite car that either my granddad or my father had. I’ve always loved cars, & there was always something special to me about this one.
I’m telling you this story today, Dear Reader, not only because I love sharing it, but hopefully to inspire you. God is capable of great miracles. All things are possible with God.
God is also very well aware of your deepest desires, even if you aren’t aware of them. I had no idea how much I would love having this car, but God knew & sent her to me. Driving this car is one of the greatest pleasures in my life, & I had no idea until God arranged for me to have her.
God can do the same for you. He can grant you a special blessing too amazing for you to comprehend! Ask Him to bless you! You aren’t being greedy or selfish- you are simply asking Him to do something He wants to do. You will be amazed at what happens!
It seems to me that people who aren’t Christians think those of us who are should be perfect, never making mistakes or having bad things in our past. I assume this mindset is perpetuated by the holier than thou Christians who act as if they never made a mistake before.
The truth though is Christians make mistakes. Before & after we became Christians, we’ve made mistakes. It’s part of being human. Accepting Jesus as our Lord & Savior doesn’t change the fact we have made mistakes & will continue to do so until the day we die.
I’m no exception. I have a divorce in my past that I’m not exactly proud of. I cheated on my ex husband too. I’ve also hurt people & I’m not a particularly good daughter. Do these things mean that I’m a hypocrite or a bad Christian? I don’t think so. They show I’m human.
One of the most inspiring pastors I’ve heard preach is a lovely woman whose first book I edited. When I saw her preach, I was moved to tears. She is a powerful woman of God, yet in her earlier years, she was a drug addict. Now? She is an inspiring pastor who helps & inspires countless people on a daily basis. God is obviously at work in her life.
Don’t let it bother you when people pick apart your walk with God because you have made mistakes in your life. Everyone makes mistakes, especially before accepting Jesus into their life. Even after, you’re still going to make mistakes because you’re human & therefore not perfect. What is most important is that you are trying to be like Jesus. Your effort counts with God. He knows you are imperfect, & only expects that you try your best.
Also, don’t forget to apply this to others as well. Other Christians are just as imperfect as you, so they too will make mistakes. They may even have sordid pasts. Don’t let that affect how you treat them, however! I’ve found the people with the worst pasts are often the most grateful for God’s love & try the hardest to please Him & treat people well.
Of course, if someone is deliberately hateful to you, there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries. In fact, I believe that to be loving, Christian behavior. God wants what is best for His children, & sometimes “no” is what is best.
As most of you know, I’m an avid animal lover. I also have a weird knack for remembering dates. So, I naturally remember this day in 1990 when I adopted my first cat, Magic…
Magic was very special, my soul mate. He was extremely intelligent, loving, devoted, protective, a great surrogate daddy to kittens, stubborn, devious & so much more. He was in my life for over 16 years when he passed away quietly in my arms one afternoon. Although he’s been gone since January 17, 2007, I still miss him daily.
I was thinking about Magic when something occurred to me. So many people act like when you lose a pet, it’s no big deal. “It’s just an animal” they say. They fail to realize that animal is like a child to you. You love him, take care of him, provide for him, comfort him when he’s sad or upset & nurse him when he’s sick. How can you not be shaken to your core when you lose your furry child?!
If you’ve lost a precious pet, I would encourage you to honor his memory in some special way. It will bring you comfort when grief threatens to overwhelm you, & remind you of fun memories as well. I have a locket that has a small tuft of Magic’s fur on one side & his picture on the other. You could do something similar. Or, you could get more creative. A photo album or photo display in your home would be nice. A special garden with a memorial plaque in your yard also would be nice. Paint or draw your beloved pet’s picture. When our neighbor’s Akita dog died, our dog, Bear, was devastated.. he loved Mathilda a great deal. I decided to knit him an afghan since he liked to nap on them & a couple of my friends sent me squares to add into it. All squares had two hearts on them in some unique way. It brought him comfort when he was hurting. You could do the same for yourself if you are into the yarn arts. Or, you could sew a quilt. The possibilities are endless.
Losing a pet is a horrible experience, but it has one good part. Grieving hard means you loved hard. As painful as it can be to believe when you first lose your furbaby, one day you will realize that it was worth it, because you had that special little angel in your life. Remember that when you are in pain- it really will comfort you one day.
And, ignore those who try to invalidate your grief. They are foolish or cold hearted. Grieve that precious furbaby however you see fit. You probably never will stop grieving completely, & that is ok! It just means you loved that little one a great deal.
Tell God how you feel- He understands. . In fact, God may bless you in a unique way at this time. After losing Magic, I was listening to a CD one day, the soundtrack from the show “Touched By An Angel.” Wynonna’s song “You Were Loved” came on & God spoke to my heart saying, “This is from Magic.” I can’t hear the song with it’s moving lyrics without thinking of Magic now. It always brings me joy & reminds me we’ll see each other again one day. This has happened with other cats I’ve lost, too. Bubba’s song is “Freebird” (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Sugar’s is “Not A Day Goes By” (Lonestar), Vincent’s is “Someday We’ll Be Together” (The Supremes), Jasmine’s is “Angel” (Aerosmith), Georgie’s is “Angel Eyes” (Steelheart) & Sneezer’s is “Carrying Your Love With Me” (George Straight). If God has blessed me like this, He may do the same for you. Why not ask Him to do so?
Also, if you have other furbabies, then please never take them for granted! As I’m writing, my Pretty Boy is napping on the sofa, snoring loudly, while Zippy is laying across my wrist as I type, purring loudly. Their contentment brings me joy. I love my boys so much, & tell them so all the time, just like I do with the other cats & dog. Animals, like humans, need to know they are loved. And, you need to enjoy the time you have with your little furry angels to the fullest!
I know many people don’t believe that miracles still happen. They were just for Biblical days. I respectfully disagree! There is no time limit on miracles!
Yesterday I was looking at facebook. One of my old posts popped up from October 15, 2013. It was the day I took our cat, Pretty Boy, in for his annual check up. Since he has diabetes we have to keep on top of his health. I expected the normal results- he’s doing fine, just check his glucose levels & email us a report.
That isn’t what happened though.
The vet said he lost almost 2 pounds. She also said something felt odd & she wanted to do an ultrasound. Blood was drawn, then an ultrasound was done. A while later, she came back into the exam room with the results of both. She said Pretty Boy had liver carcinoma, & probably wouldn’t be around much longer. His liver was enlarged & his red blood cell count was only 25 (it should be 35-45, she said). I took him home, & prayed for him often.
Then this past February 9, we took Pretty Boy in for his check up. Another vet, the owner of this hospital who I’ve known for many years, saw him since the first one had changed jobs. He kept saying Pretty Boy looked “great” & my little guy had gained 2 pounds. Another vet talked to us about the diabetes he’s lived with since 2011, & said she thought Pretty Boy was going into remission. The first vet then told me to call him the next day for the results of his blood work. I did, & was in for a surprise! He said three times that Pretty Boy’s blood work was “perfect!” I asked about the liver carcinoma. He asked what I was talking about, so I explained the previous exam’s results. He said, “She must have made a mistake- Pretty Boy is doing great. His blood work is absolutely perfect.” Prayers were answered, & God healed our sweet kitty!
Pretty Boy’s healing was a miracle, as far as I’m concerned. As I’m typing this, he’s lying on the sofa, a couple of feet away, grooming himself & looking content. I’m so grateful to see that!
Healing cancer, whether for a cat or a human, is a miraculous event! It’s also proof that God still does miracles, answers prayers & loves His children enough to care about what we care about.
Dear Reader, please be encouraged today. What God did for my furbaby, He can do for you. Or if you need a financial miracle instead of a healing , He can do that too. Praying for the salvation of a loved one? He can save them as well. Whatever your need, God has the answer. All you have to do is ask & know that He is your answer.
God keeps encouraging me to be open, which is a real challenge for me. I’m so introverted it’s tough to talk about private things. But, I’m trying..
One very private thing I felt like I should share has nothing to do with the usual topic of narcissism, but we all need a break from that negative topic anyway. I wanted to share a story with you that shows how gentle & loving God is during our times of greatest need.
When I was growing up, my narcissistic mother did her best to keep me distant from my father’s family. I wasn’t allowed to play much with my cousins or spend the summer with my grandparents. When my parents & I visited family, I had to stay at my mother’s side most of the time. As a result, I was never very close to my paternal grandparents, although I loved them dearly. Then at age 17, when the abuse was at its peak, my mother told me how they were deeply ashamed of me for how terribly I was acting. I knew better, or so I thought, but even so, when my ex husband later agreed with my mother, I thought I was wrong. After all, he hated my mother as much as she hated him- if he is agreeing with her, she must be right. As a result, in my early 20’s, I drifted out of their lives.
Several years later in 2000, I wrote a letter to my granddad. (Grandmom had passed in 1996). Shortly after, I went to visit him at his home. I was nervous, but that faded immediately. As soon as he opened the door & gave me one of his bear hugs, I knew all was fine. We ended up being very close by the time he died on May 31, 2003. He was not just my grandfather- he was my friend, confidant & cheerleader.
His death hit me very hard. I could barely function for the first month after. I asked hubby to drive me to Bristow, VA to his grave about one month after his death. I hoped maybe it’d help. Besides, the drive was beautiful- Bristow is a peaceful, country town. The cemetery there is among the prettiest places I’ve ever seen.
Off to Bristow we went. For the first time, I saw his headstone, & it tore me up. It made his death final.
Hubby left me alone for a while, & sat in the car. I prayed, telling God how painful this was & how much I missed Granddad. Suddenly the most bizarre thing happened. I heard my granddad’s voice speaking to me as if he was standing beside me. He said, “I’m always with you- in your heart. I love you. Whenever you see a butterfly, I want you to remember that.” at this point, I looked up & there were 2 pale yellow butterflies fluttering together about 5′ from me. “You tell Eric to take good care of you. I love you.”
This incident shook me up at first. I wondered was I crazy? But no, I wasn’t crazy. Hearing his voice one last time helped me to start healing.
Some people have told me I only heard what I wanted to hear, or God doesn’t do things like that, but I disagree. God knew what I needed when I didn’t, & provided that. Plus, since then, a few times when I’ve seen butterflies, God has spoken to my heart & said things like “Your granddad is thinking of you & wants you to know he loves you.”
Since that day at the cemetery, I’ve seen butterflies. Lots of them! I even saw one during the winter once, in my car. I was particularly stressed at the time since hubby was sick, & on my way home from the hospital, a little moth appeared in my car! There was no earthly reason for that, as butterflies & moths only survive in the warm weather. When I work on my car (which was once Granddad’s car), butterflies often appear. If I’m upset, I can guarantee I’ll see butterflies in the oddest places. Once in a store, I saw butterflies on t-shirts, dishes, stuffed animals, dishes & books. That was the day that God told me Granddad had been thinking of me.
If you’re in a painful place, please know God still loves you. He will comfort you if you allow Him to. It may be in a completely unexpected way like what happened to me, but it will be just what you need. And, if you’ve lost someone you love, don’t doubt their love for you has vanished or even changed just because they’ve passed away. They still love you & think of you often. Nothing, not even death, will change that. Take comfort in that. It truly helps.
As for me, I’ll continue to smile every time I see butterflies, because I know it means my favorite person is sending me his love.. 🙂
I was talking with a good friend of mine recently. She, too, has problems with anxiety, although hers isn’t associated with C-PTSD. It still sounds pretty bad, unfortunately. While we were discussing our experiences, I told her that since I got since in February, my anxiety levels have been a lot better. She asked what I have done to change things. Honestly I couldn’t think of what to say at that time. I had to get alone, pray & really look at things later on.
I got a new revelation on how quickly life can change or even end when I got sick. When I got sick that February day with carbon monoxide poisoning, I didn’t realize just how serious it was, nor did anyone at the hospital tell me. I read about it on the Mayo Clinic’s site & Wikipedia after I got home & was shocked at just how close I came to death or the possibility of permanent brain damage. I made myself face how I felt about this situation instead of ignoring my feelings (as I learned early in life to do), & although it’s been painful to go through, it’s been good. Coming that close to death really gave me a new revelation on just how fast life can change, or even end. That revelation has helped me tremendously to have a better perspective. I don’t sweat the small stuff so easily now. I don’t want to waste whatever time I have upset if I can help it. We only have a relatively short time on this earth, & I have wasted enough years upset, angry, hurt & anxious- I want to enjoy the rest of the time I have as much as possible!
Wanting to enjoy my life as much as I can also made me enforce my boundaries better. I’m learning to respect how I feel & say no sometimes. I began asking myself some tough questions: What is good or right about making myself miserable just to make someone else happy? If someone wants that, they certainly are selfish & don’t have my best interests at heart. And, what makes that person so much more important than me anyway? Why is their happiness so much more important than mine?
Before I got sick, I was too stressed & anxious. So much so, my hair is damaged & broken. This was another sign that things had to change. If my hair was showing such awful signs of stress, what could be happening on the inside to my heart or other organs? I made the decision that I deserved better than this- it’s time to fight the anxiety & stress. Making that decision was important. The decision enabled me to slow down or even stop when anxiety kicks in & talk to myself. I ask myself is this going to hurt me, is there something I can do to make this situation better, what am I so worried about? Questions like that make me think about the situation logically, which cuts back on or even eliminates anxiety.
I have begun to focus more on relaxing. When I take my daily shower, I enjoy the feel of the warm water instead of just rushing through it. I exfoliate my skin often & use a good quality lotion I like after my shower so my skin feels great. I shampoo & condition gently with good products to take care of my fragile, recovering hair. Often too, I turn on some good music, & light a scented candle while in the shower. This turns a boring daily ritual into something I enjoy & that relaxes me. I also turn on music when I do household chores, as the music makes me feel good. When I get into bed, I take a moment to relish how comfortable & cozy it is. I have a collection of pictures on my tablet that make me feel good- pictures of serene scenery, Victorian era images or even inspiring quotes that validate me. Little things like this add to squelching anxiety.
Often, people talk to me about their problems. (I think many adult children of narcissists are often the friend everyone talks to about their problems). I’ve recently begun to remind myself that I’m not God- it’s not my place to fix other people’s lives. Just because my parents raised me to fix their problems doesn’t mean that fixing people is my responsibility! My job is to offer compassion, advice if asked, help them in some way if I feel God is leading me to & direct them to God. This has enabled me to feel less anxiety because I can detach emotionally some now in these situations.
Most importantly, I also remind myself constantly that God is in control & is my provider. No matter what we do, God still is in charge. He wants what is best for me & wants to bless me. He has brought me this far for a reason, & has not once forsaken me. Reminding myself of such things has brought me closer to God & our relationship has drastically improved. Not that I have complaints about how it was before, but even so, I feel so much closer to Him now & my faith has grown.
Granted, this doesn’t conquer all anxiety every time it happens. I still battle agoraphobia every time I leave my home or wake up with panic attacks sometimes. However, things have improved greatly. And a bonus has happened- by slowing myself down to deal with anxiety, it’s become such a habit, I’ve also started doing it automatically when dealing with my narcissistic parents. Instead of immediately getting angry or hurt over what they do, I am now able to remind myself that whatever they’re doing isn’t about me- it’s about their dysfunctional behavior. For example, if they try to make me feel guilty for not calling more often, I remember that they don’t want me to call more because they care about me, but because they want that narcissistic supply. The result is I don’t feel guilty- I realize they are trying to get supply from me & I have the right to protect myself from it. Talk about a bonus! I can cope better with anxiety & my parents too?! It feels good not to feel guilty, hurt or angry every time I hang up the phone from talking to my parents!
I believe what I have learned can help you as well. I urge you to pray about what I’ve written & put it into practice if God leads you to do so!