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Guilt Or God Working Through You?

Some of you long time readers will remember this story..

In May, 2016, I had a huge argument with my parents.  My mother in-law had just died, & since they read the obituaries in the weekly paper, I knew they would see hers.  I also knew that they wouldn’t acknowledge what I had told them about her that caused me to go no contact with her 14 years prior, but instead would talk about what a great lady she was.  I was mentally prepared for that, so when I saw their number on my caller ID the day after her funeral when the paper came out, I wasn’t surprised.  I asked God to help me get through the call & guide my words.  I thought it was going to be a mostly typical conversation, & I was wrong. 

I was NOT prepared for my parents being angry with me for not telling them about her death so they could attend the funeral.  I also was ill prepared for the intense feeling of betrayal or the rage that I felt.  I ended up yelling at, crying & cussing out my parents.  Not my normal behavior by any means!  When I hung up the phone my first step was to pray.  I told God I was so sorry!  I never should’ve behaved that way.  Somehow I must have missed His guidance & messed up everything.  God spoke to me extremely clearly at that time, & said, “I wanted this to happen.  Your parents needed to see their normally calm & reasonable daughter extremely upset thanks to their behavior.” 

That argument was the last time I spoke to my mother before she died just under three years later.  It was also one of the last times I spoke to my father who died about eighteen months after.  Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I think that argument was a catalyst for no contact for me, which in turn motivated my parents to turn to God at the end of their lives.  It really did have a purpose!

At that time & for quite a while after, however, in spite of knowing my parents needed to see my reaction, I still felt terrible.  The guilt was intense!   

I think this is normal for most children of narcissistic parents.  Our parents train us early in life to please them at all costs, & to feel intense guilt or even shame when we fail.  Even when we are adults, when we do something that we perceive as wrong, we automatically feel that guilt because it’s a reflex built into us by our parents.

The thing is though that sometimes doing something other people think is wrong is a good thing.  Naturally narcissists would disagree with that, but it’s true.  What one person sees as wrong can be right for someone else. 

While the guilt may make you feel as if you’re doing something bad, it may be inappropriate to the situation.  God may be working through you, & sometimes He works through people in rather unusual ways.  Just look at the argument I had with my parents.  It felt awful at the time, but it turned out to be very beneficial for all three of us.

The next time you automatically feel guilt about something, then please, take a moment to ask God if that guilt is justified or if He is working through you somehow.  You may be very pleasantly surprised to find out He is working through you, & there is no valid reason for you to feel any guilt!

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

When Saying No Makes You Feel Guilty

Saying no without guilt is a huge problem for many adult children of narcissistic parents.  After all, we were raised to think of others & ignore our own needs, feelings, wants, etc.  That made us believe we must blindly do for others & completely ignore ourselves.  When you say no & have that belief, saying no makes you feel incredibly guilty.  In fact, you usually just don’t say no so you can avoid the awful guilt.

Unfortunately, this is basically only putting a bandage on the problem, it isn’t fixing it.

To avoid that “I can’t say no” guilt, you have to get to the root of the problem.  That means getting rid of the faulty believe that you’re not allowed to say no, or if you do, that makes you wrong, bad, selfish, or whatever other awful things your narcissistic parent said you were.

To do this, as usual, I recommend praying.  Ask God to show you where the problem first started with you.  Pay attention to what He shows you.  It probably will be a memory coming back of something you didn’t pay much attention to at the time.  Think about it.  Tell God how that made you feel & ask Him if that’s the truth- are you selfish, bad, stupid or whatever you felt you were in that memory.  He’ll tell you the real truth & chances are, it’s absolutely nothing like what you felt.  (To learn more about this, see Craig Hill’s book “The Ancient Paths.”  That’s where I first learned about this technique.)

You also need to pay attention to your thoughts.  If the opportunity comes up for you to say no & you feel guilty, ask yourself why?  Do you have a very valid reason for that guilt?  (probably you won’t!)  Remind yourself it’s simply old programming done to you by your narcissistic parent- it’s not true, & it’s wrong.  Remind yourself of what God told you when you prayed about that guilt.

You also need to improve your self-esteem.  As  you heal from narcissistic abuse, your self-esteem naturally improves.  Even so, maybe you need a little extra work in that specific area to help you alleviate that false guilt.  If you feel that’s the case, ask God to show you what to do & enable you to do it.  Study what the Bible has to say about you.  I have a list of positive affirmations from the Bible on my website if you’d like to check them out.  (That’s available at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com)  Also, pay attention to what people say to you.  People don’t complement other people for no reason!  If someone pays you a complement, that person means what they say.  Enjoy it.

Remember, Dear Reader- you have the right to say no without feeling guilty.  There is nothing wrong with saying no sometimes!

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

The Real You & The False You

Some years ago, I began to realize I didn’t know who I really was.  I was the result of people telling me who I was, how to dress, what to like & not like.  It’s taken a long time but I can say honestly that now, I’ve finally shed that false person & become the person God made me to be.

 

This is very common with children of narcissistic parents.

 

As a child, you learn early on that your job is to please your narcissistic parent at all times no matter the cost.  If there’s something about you that doesn’t please that parent, it’s best to change that into something that does please that parent rather than face the traumatic consequences.  This behavior becomes such a habit, you aren’t even aware that you do it.

 

Eventually you grow up.  Not into the person God created you to be- an adult version of that false self your narcissistic parent forced you to become.

 

While creating the false self worked for surviving childhood with a horribly abusive narcissistic parent, it no longer serves you well as an adult.  Chances are, you’re unhappy & don’t even know why.  Maybe you work at a job you hate.  Even though it’s a good job that pays well, it just doesn’t fulfill you or bring you any joy.  Maybe you wear a style of clothing you hate just because it’s what you feel you’re supposed to wear, thanks to your narcissistic parent.

 

It’s time for this behavior to stop.  Whether or not your narcissistic parent is still a part of your life, it’s time to stop worrying about pleasing your parent & start worry about pleasing yourself.

 

As always, prayer is the best place you can start.  Ask God to help you become the person He made you to be, & be glorified through you.  Ask Him to show you what you need to do to accomplish this.

 

Also, start paying attention to yourself.  This is hard to do, I know.  Narcissistic parents raise their children to ignore themselves & focus on the parent, & that is a tough habit to break.  It needs to be done though!  Pay attention to how you feel about things.  Do you really like that car you drive or is it just because your narcissistic parent said you should drive it?  If your job isn’t fulfilling, ask yourself why?  What about it doesn’t work well for you?  Do you really like vanilla ice cream even though you were always told you didn’t?  Even little things like the ice cream thing are important- your likes & dislikes make you, you.  So pay attention!  The more you pay attention to how you really feel about things, the easier it gets.  And, the more you learn, the more you’ll want to learn.  You’re going to find out that you’re actually a very interesting, special, unique person!

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

Some Thoughts On False Teachers

I’ve seen quite a few articles over the last few months about false teachers.  One article even claimed a famous television evangelist I like very much, Jesse Duplantis, was a false teacher.  While wondering if the articles were correct about false teachers being so prominent, I decided to ask God for help & discernment on this subject.  He showed me some things..

 

Some claim false teachers preach about God’s blessings & prosperity.  The fact is, in the Bible, God says He loves His children so naturally He wants to bless them.  See Jeremiah 17:7-8 & 29:11, Numbers 6:24-6, Exodus 23:25, Psalm 34:8, & Matthew 5:6 & 9 as a few examples.  If the Bible clearly spells out how God wants to bless His children, how does it make sense that someone who teaches about this topic periodically is a false teacher?  Prosperity & blessings shouldn’t be the only topic one preaches about, but discussing them sometimes?  What could be wrong with that?

 

Some claim false teachers focus on the “lighter” topics such as God’s love rather than the “heavier” topics such as the need for Salvation.  There certainly are a great deal of preachers who discuss God’s love, how He supports His children & the like.  I don’t believe these preachers are necessarily bad, though.  I remember before I became a Christian.  Hearing people tell me I was going to Hell if I didn’t accept Jesus as my Savior right at that moment certainly did nothing to make me want to accept Him.  In fact, it pushed me away.  What eventually did make me want to accept Him was hearing about His deep, unconditional love for me.  As a new Christian, the “fluffy” teachings about God’s love & desire to bless me helped to draw me to Him.  Going through narcissistic abuse, I think that was especially important to help me not to think God was just another unloving parent figure, only concerned with what I could do for Him.  Getting to know God better, I moved away from wanting to hear that & wanting to hear about more heavy topics.  I really believe that “fluffy” teaching doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a false teacher.  In fact, I believe preachers who focus on such issues have their place in the church.  Their place is to draw people to God, to help new Christians understand God’s love is the basis for Christianity & help encourage those in dark places that may be wondering if God really loves them.  I believe those who don’t focus primarily on these “fluffy” topics might want to consider doing so periodically to encourage their followers.

 

Good teachers also can back up what they say with Scripture.  That is one thing I love about Jesse Duplantis- he can back up anything he says with Scripture & does so often.

 

Good teachers don’t just tell you what God can do for you.  They also focus on things like how to live a holy life, & being a good witness for your faith to the unbelievers.

 

Good teachers tell it like it is.  They don’t sugarcoat things.  For example, they call sin, sin, rather than “making a mistake” or “slipping up.”

 

A very good indicator that you are listening to or reading the teachings of a good teacher is you feel comfortable with what the person says, it feels right in your heart, even when it’s on a difficult topic such as sin.  What they are saying feels right to you. Even the best of teachers may make mistakes sometimes, & no one will agree with any other person 100% of the time, but you will feel this person’s teaching makes sense most of the time.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism