Tag Archives: family

Scapegoats In The Narcissistic Family

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Grief Anniversaries

Tomorrow marks the thirteenth anniversary of my paternal Granddad’s passing.  Like every single year on May 31, I know I’ll be depressed & missing him more than usual.

 

Grief anniversaries are rough days, but I think they can be a good thing in a way as well.  They remind you of someone you dearly loved yet lost.  They gently push you to remember some good times, & the things you loved about that person.  As sad as May 31 always is for me, I also look forward to the day in a way because it gives me an excuse to remember the good times, like sitting around what is now my dining room table with Granddad, listening to him telling me stories of our family.  Or, going to our favorite little Italian place for lunch & chatting over a yummy meal.  I also remember how after his death, butterflies started appearing in my life, comforting me.  I also laugh how my talking teddy bear that he liked has started talking without me pushing the button since he passed, & I’m pretty sure he has something to do with my talking bear.  His way of saying hi.

 

Sometimes, too, the day reminds me of the viewing the day before & the funeral.  Those memories are extremely hard & all these years later, still make me cry.  But, sometimes tears can be a good thing.  They can be cleansing & healing.  They also are proof of having loved the departed one a great deal.  Loving someone is truly one of God’s most precious gifts.

 

I’ve also noticed grief anniversaries can be spontaneous.  The scent of your loved one’s cologne or perfume, the sound of his or her favorite music or even a sport he or she loved can be enough to bring you to tears for missing that person sometimes.  Even now, there are times I think, “I should call or email Granddad about this” or “I wish I could talk to him about this” & experience a renewed grief with the reminder I can’t talk to him anymore until I see him in Heaven one day.

 

I really believe these days are important to acknowledge.  They keep your loved one in your heart & mind, close to you, so he or she is never really gone.  That is why every May 31 & August 15 (his birthday) I remember my granddad.  I also remember days I’ve lost others I’ve loved- my grandmother, great-grandmother, & my furbabies.  They’re always close to me, always in my heart.

 

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Narcissists Care More About Strangers Than Their Families

Narcissists simply do NOT care about anyone but themselves.

 

  • When I got into therapy at age 17, my mother cared more about what I was telling the therapist than the fact I felt so badly I sought therapy.
  • When I told my parents I was divorcing my ex husband, my father’s first words were, “Can he & I still be friends?”
  • My cousin once confronted our narcissistic grandmother (my maternal grandmother) about many lies she had told & other hurtful things she had done.  As my cousin was sitting there, crying openly, our grandmother ignored her tears.  She instead demanded that my cousin tell her who would say such things about her (aka, the truth).

 

Do scenarios like this sound somewhat familiar to you?

 

If so, please know that you are not alone.  This is typical narcissistic behavior, caring more about themselves than you, even if you are hurt or going through something devastating.  It truly is no reflection on you or anything you have done.

 

If you can accept that this awful behavior is typical & it’s really not about you, it can help you a great deal.  It takes much of the pain out of the awful things the narcissist in your life has said & done to you.  Instead of taking their abuse personally, you understand that they have problems, & are attempting to put those problems on you.  You have done nothing wrong & you are OK!  The narcissist, however, is dysfunctional, & unfortunately, you were chosen to be a casualty of that dysfunction.

 

This probably sounds strange, but it really has worked for me.  It’s been a very helpful coping technique when dealing with my mother in particular.  It has helped me release a lot of the hurt I’ve felt when she has put herself ahead of me.  Yes, this behavior proves she doesn’t care about me which hurts, but it also proves how incredibly dysfunctional she is.  It also reaffirms that she is narcissistic, which means she is incapable of caring for anyone- it isn’t something wrong with me, but instead with her.

 

Not that accepting this behavior is typical makes it OK.  Nothing makes it OK.  It’s hurtful & dysfunctional, never doubt that!  You also do not need to tolerate it, & are well within your rights to tell the narcissist they are hurting you if you think that will help your situation.  My only point in discussing this topic with you today is to help you: to help you to release the hurt over times this has happened & to not be so hurt when it happens again if you are still in a relationship with the narcissist.

 

 

 

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The Holiday Season Is Upon Us

After years of talking to my readers, I’ve learned that many of us who have either been raised by or married to narcissists, hate the holidays.  Me too!  My narcissistic mother griped constantly about how much work she had to do (yet never hosted a family dinner or party, barely decorated..) & criticized the fact I enjoyed the holidays as if I was abnormal.  As an adult, my narcissistic ex husband spent holidays with his family, whether or not I went with him.  My current husband also spends holidays with his family.  Some people have tried to guilt trip me into attending holiday parties even though I was unable to because my husband was working or I was unavailable.  Others have shamed me for my lack of enthusiasm & tried to force me to “get into the holiday spirit.”   So yes, like many other people, I am no longer a fan of holidays.

In spite of feeling much like I do, many people often feel forced to participate in Thanksgiving & Christmas get togethers.  It is for you I am writing this post.

First, please know that as an adult, you are not obligated to do as you are told regarding gatherings.  You do not have to attend these events if you don’t want to!  You are allowed to do as you see fit.  Attending or not are within your rights!  No one has the right to attempt to manipulate you into going if you don’t want to!  And if they try, you are perfectlly within your rights to ignore their manipulation.

If you opt to go, you have the right to set boundaries.  You need to, in fact, especially if you’re going to have to deal with narcissists.

Decide ahead of time how long you are going to stay, & leave at the time you have settled upon.  You don’t owe anyone explanations of why you have to leave when you do.

Many relatives want to discuss topics you aren’t comfortable with, such as “why don’t you have a boyfriend”. “When are you two getting married”  or “When are you going to have a baby.”   You don’t have to discuss such topics if you don’t want to.  Change the subject, repeatedly if necessary.  You can say you don’t want to discuss this topic.  You can remind the other person that this topic is none of their business.

If you need to leave, you can do that too.  Spending time with narcissists is hard enough, but it potentially can be worse during a holiday get together.  Maybe after a couple of glasses of wine or just because there is an audience, but it can happen.  It may get bad enough for you to want to leave.  You have that right!  If you don’t feel able to just walk out, make an arrangement with a friend ahead of time.  If you call her & let the phone ring a couple of times, she can call you back or text you saying she needs you to come over immediately.

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy your holiday season the best you can!

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Don’t Take The Elderly For Granted! They Can Be A Treasure!

Enjoy the company of your elders.  If you still have grandparents, visit them, & visit them often.  Listen to their stories.  Write them down or record them.  You will learn so much wisdom from them while enjoying yourself at the same time.  You will treasure their stories one day when they are gone.  Some of my best memories involve my great grandmother when I was little or my granddad as an adult.  As a very little girl, my great grandmother & I had fun drawing, playing her favorite card game (Gin Rummy) or even snuggling up while watching the fire works on July 4th.  My granddad taught me a great deal about our family, including many fascinating stories of his & my grandmom’s early days of marriage & raising their family.

Grandparents & others in the elder generation can be such a blessing.  They have seen a lot in their lifetime, & have learned a lot.  They can teach you so much about life &, if they are relatives, about your family history as well.  Not to mention, they can be a lot of fun.  I always got some laughs when I spent time with Granddad.  He had a wonderful sense of humor.

Before Grandmom died in 1996, she & my aunt wrote a small book together that wasn’t published.  It included family history & some fun stories.  She wanted our family to expand on it, but no one did.  So a few years ago, I nagged my relatives for stories they wanted to include in the book.  I added some pictures as well, & ended up with a wonderful finished product with the help of my publisher.  If you feel creative, then I would suggest doing something similar.  It’s a fun project, & with the help of self-publishers, even an amateur can create a lovely finished product that can be passed down & treasured  through the generations.

If, like many of my readers, your elders are narcissists, this can be more complicated.  Don’t feel guilty if your parents are old & you don’t want to spend time with them.  How can you want to spend time with people who abuse you?!  It’s normal to feel that way.  People reap what they sow, & if they sow bad seeds into your life, you normally won’t want to spend time with them.  It took me a long time to realize this & stop feeling so guilty for not wanting to spend more time with my parents.  What you do regarding these people is between you & God only.  Don’t be guilt tripped into spending more time with abusive narcissists just because they’re old.  Being old doesn’t give a person the right to be abusive, & many narcissists only get more abusive as they get older.  You follow your heart & the promptings of God regarding the relationship, not what people have to say.

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Meet The Newest Member Of The Bailey/Rug Family!

This beautiful little lady is Minnie Rose…

Minnie Rose

Is she not the prettiest little diva kitty?

I thought that I’d share her cuteness with those of you who follow my blog since so many of you are also die-hard animal lovers like myself.

Minnie Rose is about 1 year old (I think a little under a year) & a dilute tortoiseshell.  True to the tortie nature, she’s very quirky & talkative, & has the sweetest, softest little meow!  She’s a real purr machine too- a little rub on the head & she’s purring happily.  She’s never been around other cats aside from her birth family, so she’s had a little trouble getting used to having a big family.  I’m proud of her though, as it only took her about a week to come out of her shell.  She’s a little skittish around the other cats still, but it’s improving drastically by the day.

She is so funny- she chose her name!  She hid for her first few days, so I didn’t really get to know her well enough to name her yet.  I could see the inner diva, & was thinking of possibly calling her Aretha, after Aretha Franklin.  As I got to know her better though, I thought she seemed more like a Minnie.  She wasn’t impressed.  On a whim, I called her Minnie Rose- my great grandmother’s name.  Immediately her entire demeanor changed!  She became relaxed & more confident.  Since then, Miss Minnie Rose has been coming out of her shell more with each passing moment.  It’s a beautiful thing to see!

The other cats & dog love her already.  Luke, one of my Norwegian forest cat mix boys, is quite protective of her.  Punkin, my young orange tabby, has quite a crush on her- he howls that tom cat howl when he’s around her.  Chester, my 8 year old tuxedo, flirted with her when she hissed at him until she relaxed completely.  Sabrina, my 3 year old black medium hair girl, & Valentine, a 5 year old tortie, are on very friendly terms with Minnie Rose.  The other cats are giving her space until  she is more comfortable, I think.  Dixie, my 11 year old American eskimo dog was playing with her a couple of days ago.  It’s been so awesome to see everyone welcoming Minnie Rose into the family so lovingly.  *shameless furmom brag moment*

Minnie’s former owners said she hid a lot under the bed.  I think she was hit too, because if I move too quickly or she hears an angry tone of voice, she flinches.  She is flinching less though, & I think it’s because she is realizing she’s in a safe, happy, loving home now.  That’s making her more confident

I’m looking forward to many happy, fun years with little Minnie Rose.  She is already a blessing to our little family.  🙂

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God Gives Families To The Lonely

When you start talking about the painful effects of surviving narcissistic abuse, often, people will abandon you. Friends & even family may suddenly not call so often, or they may sever all ties with you. For whatever reason, many people have a very low tolerance for abuse victims, especially victims of narcissistic abuse.

While this certainly is painful to experience, I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader. God understands your pain & loneliness. Psalm 68:6 says, “He gives families to the lonely, and releases prisoners from jail, singing with joy! But for rebels there is famine and distress.” (TLB) That is certainly true! I have experienced this firsthand.

Upon separating from my narcissistic ex husband, every friend we shared abandoned me with the exception of one friend & his wife.

Years later, once I began talking about the narcissistic abuse I experienced growing up, many people, including those in my own family, didn’t believe me. Others trivialized what I went through & refused to let me talk about it.

When C-PTSD manifested itself in my life in 2012, not did very few people close to me believe that I was very sick, I was accused of using it as an attempt to make people feel sorry for me. Another person told me I needed to “get over my childhood hurts.” She said she had them too & she got over them, so I should too.  (Obviously, she was never abused by her parents.)

The way people acted hurt me terribly. I felt utterly alone many, many times. Being an introvert, I don’t usually mind being alone, but being invalidated, mocked & then abandoned by those I thought I could trust still hurt me deeply. Thankfully, God knew this, & sent some wonderful people into my life. I now have a new family of sorts- friends who genuinely care about me, support me & understand me. The members of my facebook group are among the kindest, most genuine & caring people you could ask to meet. I started out the group thinking of them simply as fans, but I realize they are also friends. They pray for each other & me. They have supported me during painful, hard times, without expecting anything in return. They are more like a family rather than just a facebook group.

If you are in the painful position of being rejected because of narcissistic abuse, you’re not alone. Really! God loves you so much, & is always with you. And, He will give you a new family. They may not be related by blood, but that is OK! Family is more about who loves you than who shares your genes.

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Aging Narcissistic In-laws

Aging narcissistic parents are a very disturbing group of people. While most people mellow out as they age, narcissists often get more vicious.  Not easy to deal with for their adult children!

As I write this, I’m waiting for my husband to come home.  He’s at the hospital visiting his mother who was admitted today.

Out of respect for his privacy, I won’t go into much detail, so please bear with me a bit.  Both my mother in-law & father in-law are narcissistic, her covert & him overt.  As they are getting older & their health is failing them, they are making more demands on my husband.  Also, he is facing the truth about them & how he’s been abused by them for the first time.  It’s not an easy time for him.  I’m very concerned how this situation is going to play out for him, & how he is going to deal with his own feelings.

I’m also a bit nervous about how I’m going to deal with my own feelings as well.  You see, there were countless times I considered divorcing him earlier in our marriage because of the abuse his mother put me through & his failure to acknowledge it at the time.  Honestly, sometimes I still get angry when I remember those dark days.

I’m sure there are others in similar situations, as many of us with narcissistic parents marry someone who also has at least one narcissistic parent.  I’m writing about this to share what God has been showing me about how to cope.

Pray.  About what?  Whatever comes to mind regarding the situation.  Personally, I’ve been praying for my mother in-law’s salvation (I’m unsure if she’s a Christian- I don’t believe she is), asking God to give my husband strength, wisdom & anything else he needs right now, & asking God to help me release my old anger at him.  Prayers like this can truly help you as well as the recipients of your prayers!  I admit, it isn’t easy to pray for my mother in-law, so sometimes I ask close friends to pray for her.  It helps me know she’s getting prayer, plus I don’t have to do it at that time- I can do it later when I feel able to do so.

Distractions.  I’m hoping to distract hubby when he gets home with a funny video that we love.  We’re big fans of the old TV show, “Mystery Science Theater 3000” with its fun, warped humor, & since it always makes us laugh, I think watching an old episode could do us both some good.  After all, it’s unhealthy to focus on the more serious issues in life 24/7.  The brain needs a break sometimes!

Nice gestures.  A little sweet, thoughtful gesture can go a long way when someone is going through hard times.  Hubby will be greeted with raspberry herbal tea (we both love it) when he gets home.  I’ll come up with other gestures once I gauge the kind of mood he’s in.  Sometimes, he isn’t in the mood for interaction- he just wants to be left alone.

Listening.  Before I start the movie, I’ll see if he wants to talk.  Often when his mother is in the hospital, he comes home very frazzled.  The hospital staff at this particular hospital isn’t the best (as I learned when my father was there last December), his parents are demanding & his sisters want constant updates until they come into town.  It can be a lot for him to deal with.

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Handling Holiday Drama

The holiday season has begun.  This is a lovely time of year & my favorite season – the leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, hoodies & hot chocolate or tea come out.  I absolutely adore fall!

And then there is the stress dealing with demanding relatives.

I used to love the holiday season as a kid.  My parents & I went to my grandparents’ home in northern Virginia on the Sunday between Christmas & New Year’s for a big family get together.  It was always fun.  But then I grew up & got married, & was no longer able to visit my grandparents’ home for the holidays.  My ex husband wanted to spend every Thanksgiving & Christmas with his family that lived about 2 hours away, & it had to be on the exact day- never a visit before or after the holiday.  It also didn’t matter if I was sick or didn’t want to go.  He told me he was going to be with his family.  I could go with him or not- he didn’t care.  Our anniversary was Christmas eve, & to me, it always felt like he endured our anniversary while watching the clock, anxious to get to his family’s gathering the next day.  Not a lot of fun.  Then after our divorce & I later married my current husband, his mother demanded we attend their family get togethers, sometimes at his parents’ home, other times at one of his sister’s homes about 3 hours away. Often, I also had my mother demanding we spend time with my parents on at least one holiday.  Needless to say, after years of this, I no longer love the holidays.  I no longer celebrate them.  In fact, I dreaded them for years.  I’ve been told that is wrong & I need to let go of the bitterness & celebrate the holidays again, but I no longer feel the desire.  I’m fine not celebrating, thank you very much.

Sadly, I know I’m not alone.  Many of my friends feel the same as I do & for very similar reasons, so I am sure there are many of you reading this that also feel the same way.  To those of you who dread the holidays, you’re in good company!  Don’t let others dictate how you feel- you’re allowed to celebrate them or not celebrate them.  If you opt not to celebrate them, why not do as I do?  I take the day as a quiet day to myself.  I often get Chinese take out & relax with good movies all day, or maybe work on my latest book.  It has turned into something to look forward to instead of a day to dread.

If you feel obligated to spend family time with your relatives or in-laws, just remember- you are an adult, & you can determine when you spend time with them & how much time you spend with them.  I know many in-laws are like mine- expecting their daughters in-law to act as if she doesn’t have a family anymore, & spend the holidays with her in-laws, ignoring her parents.  If you feel you must do this yet you resent it, then set a time limit!  Tell your husband you don’t want to spend all day with them, maybe two hours instead, & that you want to spend time at home with him too.  Or, suggest you visit his family the day or weekend before or after a holiday, & spend the actual holiday home with him.

Unfortunately I know some men are more concerned about spending a holiday with their family of origin than their wife.  As I said though, I’ve turned holidays into a day to look forward to & you can do the same thing. It is either do that or be angry, so why not try to turn this negative into something more positive?  Do something you enjoy that your husband doesn’t.  Take a long bubble bath.  Give yourself a manicure.  Participate in your favorite hobby.  Read a good book.  It just makes more sense to me to try to be positive about this than be angry about something that won’t change until & unless your husband wants it to change.

A funny story- about 10 years ago, I was in counseling.  My counselor was great- he was very nice, understanding & supportive.  One time I saw him just after Thanksgiving.  He asked what my husband & I did. I told him- hubby went to his parents’ house, & I stayed home knitting & watching movies.  He was flustered!  He understood why I didn’t speak to my in-laws, so he was shocked my husband went without me.  I told him it’s happened many, many times.  “But aren’t you angry?”  I said no.  “But!  But!  You have a right to be angry!”  I told him I know that. I also know it doesn’t do any good since I can’t change my husband’s behavior.  I prefer to change my perspective & just enjoy my quiet day at home.  Poor man.. he didn’t know what to say!  LOL  He did understand my point, & agreed with me.

Anyway, just remember- don’t give in to holiday pressure from demanding & often dysfunctional relatives!  Do what you feel comfortable doing!  You have every right to celebrate or not celebrate the holidays however works for you!

In case you’re wondering what I’m doing on Thanksgiving?  I’m going to spend my day relaxing, probably with netflix on the TV, furkids by my side & maybe getting in some writing.  My husband will most likely spend the day with his parents.  My mother invited me twice to go to dinner with my parents, but I refused.  She isn’t happy about it, but she will survive. She will survive & I will enjoy a peaceful, relaxing day!

I wish you, Dear Readers, a very happy, peaceful Thanksgiving as well!  xoxo

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If You Think You’re Alone, You’re Wrong!

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I wanted to thank every single one of you who has contacted me over the last few days with encouragement, compassion & concern.  Your kindness truly has meant the world to me, & I can’t thank you enough.  I never expected such a response from my posts- it was a wonderful surprise.  When I felt God wanted me to post what I did, I assumed it was for someone else’s benefit, not my own.

This truly goes to show that when you are rejected by your own family, God gives you a new one.  Psalm 68:6 says, “He gives families to the lonely, and releases prisoners from jail, singing with joy! But for rebels there is famine and distress.”  (TLB)  This Scripture is so true, & you lovely people have proven it.  Thank you!

Being raised by a narcissistic mother makes you feel completely alone like nothing else can, I think.  That lonely feeling is there even when you are surrounded by others.  It even goes with you into adulthood.  The good thing is if you allow God to, He will send others into your life who understand & offer you unconditional love & support.

If you are on facebook, I have a group on there full of lovely, wise, caring people, many of whom have narcissistic mothers.  I would love to see you join us!  Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/

If you aren’t on facebook, I also have a forum that I am trying to get started.  Feel free to join in the conversation!

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net

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Easter, 2014.

Today has been a very sad day for the Bailey family.  My awesome aunt Judy passed away this morning after battling cancer. 

Please pray for comfort for her husband, children, & the many people saddened by this loss.  Thank you so much, & may God bless you.

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December 3, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I thought I’d add a bit to yesterday’s post….  

I didn’t mention it yesterday, but one thing that has made me dislike the holidays is in-laws.  I am on my second marriage, & both sets of in-laws I have had share one thing in common- expecting their adult children & their spouses to spend the holiday with them.  Period.  No excuses.  Why that is, I have no clue, but I don’t believe it’s right.  For one thing I believe the day should be spent with husband & wife together (& small kids at home too, if they have them).  Extended family can be visited within a few days of the holidays.  My grandparents always had their Christmas celebration on the Sunday between Christmas & New Year’s.  That way, everyone could relax on Christmas day & enjoy it.  This always has made so much sense to me.  

For another thing, what about my family?  What if I wanted to spend a holiday with my family rather than his?  I’ve learned that is not something to admit- saying that warranted the evil eye from both mothers in-law.  I quickly learned not to say that, & give up hopes of spending the holiday with anyone in my family.

And lastly, if you have a dysfunctional relationship with your in-laws like me, why would anyone want to spend an entire day together?  How is that a joyous family celebration?  It saps all of the joy out of your day spending it with people who you know dislike you, & who you dislike.  It certainly has for me.  I dreaded the holidays for years, & got depressed each holiday season knowing I would spend a holiday with people who were less than thrilled I was a part of their family.  

I guess I just wanted to say please think before arranging your holiday get together.  It’s not fair to demand your adult children run to your home for a holiday.  There are 364 other days in the year- why not pick one of them to get together?  If you force them or use guilt to manipulate them into coming over, they &/or their spouses will end up resentful.  It can damage your relationship greatly!  I loved my first mother in-law, but when she knew my ex & I were having car trouble, yet still demanded we drive that car (our only one) well over an hour away, in the cold, to the Christmas get together, it greatly damaged my fondness for her.  This was in the days before cell phones, so if the car had left us stranded, I have no idea how we would have gotten home.

And remember, your adult child’s spouse has a family too.  Demanding they spend the day with you tells that person they & their family aren’t as important as you & your family.  That hurts!  It also stirs up strife between the couple.  They feel stuck in the middle since both have families who want to spend a day with them.  It is NOT a pleasant place to be!

Lastly, I understand not everyone is pleased with their son or daughter’s choice of a mate.  Some personalities just clash.  If that describes your relationship with your son or daughter in-law, then please, for your adult child’s sake, try to be civil.  You don’t have to be phoney.  You don’t have to try to become best friends.  Just practice basic politeness & civility.  Showing your dislike of that person not only hurts him or her, but shows an incredible disrespect for your adult child.  It also stirs up problems in their marriage, & makes the adult child feel stuck in the middle.  Do you really want to do that to your son or daughter?

As for daughters & sons in-law, this also applies to you!!  Practice civility with your husband’s or wife’s parents.  I know first hand how hard it can be when an in-law is mean you, but do it anyway!  

Also, don’t run to your spouse complaining about his “psycho mom” or whatever other things you’d like to say.  I know you want him or her to understand your position, but that is still his/her parent.  It’s difficult for someone to accept his/her parent is capable of doing such nasty things, especially to someone they love.  Instead, talk to a friend or relative, or write in a journal.  At a less stressful, busy time, it is more appropriate to discuss in-law problems with your spouse.  Gently & with sensitivity, of course!

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November 28, 2012

Good morning, Dear Readers!  I hope you are doing well today!

So sorry it’s been a while since posting.  I’ve been busy working on a book just for my family.  Before my Grandmom died, she wrote a little book full of family history & stories about our family.  She wanted us all to add to it.  I got some stories from relatives, & added a bunch of pictures to it. I’ve been working on making it an actual book to be printed by my publisher so our family has a nice heirloom for the future generations.  

I think it’s a great idea, & wish more families did this sort of thing.  Heritage is so important, I believe.  If you have nothing like this in your family, why not work on making something?  Even if you don’t have children, your nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. need to know where they come from, & what their relatives who they haven’t met are like.  

Here is the front cover for mine-

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And here is the back cover.. (our family coats of arms)

 

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