Tag Archives: family

When Abused Children Trust People Too Easily

When a child is abused by their parents, that child naturally grows up with plenty of issues.  They lack a healthy foundation as well as good teaching, so this is understandable.

One area in which abused children tend to struggle greatly is when it comes to trusting people.

Many abused children grow up distrustful of others, in particular adults.  Considering the only adults in their lives have caused them pain & suffering, it’s totally understandable.  It’s also a very common occurrence. 

What is less common is when abused children go the exact opposite but equally dysfunctional direction, & they trust people very easily.  The constant gaslighting, being told everything you believe, think & feel is wrong will do this to a person.  The burdens narcissistic parents put on their children of feeling like your purpose in life is to do for others & be responsible for their happiness adds to this problem.  I know, because this is how I grew up.

This abuse convinced me that any instincts I had were wrong.  If I felt someone wasn’t a good person or simply disliked a person, my mother would tell me I was wrong.  On the opposite side of the same coin, if I liked someone she didn’t, I was also wrong because she clearly knew better than me.  If I had a falling out with a friend, she told me, “to have a friend, you have to be one.”  Basically that translated to, “You’re always wrong!  You need to let people treat you however they like without complaint or protest.”  This taught me that my instincts were always wrong, that other people were always right, it was my job to blindly obey them, & tolerate any treatment, even abuse, without complaint.  So as a result, for years, I blindly trusted people. 

One former friend of mine said, upon first meeting, “We’re going to be best friends!”  I accepted that, & we were close for quite some time.  I did like her, but our personalities were very different.  She also was a rather needy friend.  Too needy for my introverted self, but I hung in there for years because I felt obligated to do so.

A few months before marrying my ex husband, I broke up with him.  People told me how miserable he was without me & that I should get back together with him.  He would call me at work & tell me the same thing.  I relented, & married him in spite of not being in love with him, & wanting to marry someone else.

Do my scenarios sound at all similar to situations in your life?  If they do, then I want you to rest assured, there is hope!

Prayer truly is the best place to start. Talk to God about whatever you feel, & ask Him to guide you.  Ask Him for healthy relationships & to spot red flags quickly so you don’t waste time with toxic people.

Start listening to your gut feelings.  If something feels off about someone, pay attention to that!  Observe this person & in time, you will understand what triggered this feeling. 

And, if something feels especially good about someone, the same thing goes.  Observe.  Their actions will tell you why that feeling was there. 

The more you learn to observe others & listen to your instincts, the healthier your relationships will be & the more wise you will be when it comes to trusting people.

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Getting Back Your Zest For Life After Narcissistic Abuse

Like so many other victims of narcissistic abuse, I spent most of my life trying to be less me to please other people.  I think of it like I was trying to shrink myself to please other people.  I became less opinionated.  I turned away from things that I liked that they didn’t approve of in favor of things they thought I should.  I tried changing my appearance too, dressing differently, coloring my hair & losing weight. 

Eventually I realized just how ridiculous this was.  Changing to please people who demand you change never works.  The one demanding the changes is never pleased, & the one doing the changing is miserable because they aren’t being true to themselves.  I could see no good reason to continue this behavior, so I stopped it.  I figured let people be mad at me for it.  They would be anyway!  This was a good decision of course, but it also was only half the battle for me.  I knew who I wasn’t, but I didn’t know who I was.

Over the years I did get to know myself, but still something was lacking.  I wasn’t sure what that something was.  It finally hit me.  I lost my passion, my zest for life.  I certainly can’t be the only person in this position, so I thought sharing what I have learned would be a good idea.

After enduring narcissistic abuse, it can be overwhelming to realize just how much damage has been done to you.  Healing is absolutely possible, but it takes a lot of work & time.  Often, I think it’s a life long process.  It can be easy to get caught up in healing work & not even notice you haven’t got that zest for life you once had.  Or maybe you never had it.  Either way, this should change.  You deserve to enjoy life!

As vital as healing is, it’s also a lot of work!  You need to take time frequent breaks.  They are good for your mental health.  Thinking too much about such intense topics can wear you down, & that is never good.  Take times where you flatly refuse to think about the abuse or focus on your healing.  Instead, do things you enjoy. 

Remember times in your life when you had that zest for life.  Think about them in as much detail as you can.  What were you doing?  What was so enjoyable about the situation?  How exactly did you feel?  Meditate on those times.  Remind yourself that this was you!  You were capable of being that person before, so you can be like that again. 

Consider things that ignite your zest for life & indulge in them often.  If it’s reading a certain genre of books, read all you can find.  If it’s a certain type of music, listen to it often & dance around your home.  If it’s supporting a certain cause, give your best to supporting it in every way you can.

Get creative.  I believe creative outlets to be absolutely vital to enjoying life.  Whatever you enjoy doing, make time to do it often.  I have learned if I don’t set aside time in the evenings to knit, crochet or cross stitch, it doesn’t take long before I become anxious & irritable.  Participating in these creative hobbies I love helps me to enjoy life more while helping my mental health.

The most helpful thing I have found though is the value of maintaining a close relationship to God.  Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence is fullness of joy, & this is so true!  Pray often & remember, God isn’t just God but your father as well.  You can talk to Him familiarly.  I know when your earthly father isn’t good it can be hard to relate to God in this way but it is possible.  Ask Him to help you & remember, He is nothing like your earthly father at all.  He is so much better!

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Being The Family Scapegoat

Being the scapegoat in a narcissistic family is an incredibly difficult & painful role. 

Naturally it starts with the abuse from a narcissistic parent, usually an overt one.  This parent is quick with a cruel word, invalidation, mocking or even fury.  This parent may even say they treat their child as they do out of love or they blame their child for making them treat the child as they do.

The other parent is often a covert narcissist.  Compared to the raging, screaming & berating of the overt narcissistic parent, the covert narcissistic parent seems safe & possibly even loving.  Eventually though, that mask slips.  It usually happens as the child is growing up & starting to want some independence.  Covert narcissistic parents also often confide in their children about very inappropriate topics, such as their marital problems.  Overts do this too, but coverts seem to do it more often.  That parent may tell that child that they need protection from the overt narcissistic parent rather than protecting their child, as a functional parent would do. 

Eventually, this child realizes something is wrong with their parents’ behavior.  Maybe they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder or maybe not yet.  Either way, the child starts to set boundaries with their parents for the first time in their life.  This is where the real trouble often begins.

Aside from the obvious horrors of the abuse from their narcissistic parents, they suddenly are faced with even more horrors.  Many reach out to other family members for help, & rather than get the help they need, are shunned, mocked, called awful names like liars, spoiled brats, drama queens or kings, ungrateful & more.  Those who the child expects to help & support them often end up betraying that child & adding more pain.

When narcissistic parents find out their child has revealed the kind of parent they are, they usually release some sort of smear campaign.  Some insult their child, others accuse their child of being mentally ill or addicted to drugs.  Some opt to do the same but from a position of looking concerned.  They may say things like, “I’m worried about her.  She hasn’t been the same since she started hanging around with that guy.  I think he’s making her say these things about me, or maybe she’s on drugs!”  This is even worse, because it makes the child look bad while making the parent appear loving & concerned.  Either way, this child loses loved ones & feels completely alone.

The life of a scapegoat is incredibly hard!  Yet even so, there is hope!

After surviving such horrors, a person develops the ability to handle stress well.  Compared to narcissistic abuse, most crises seem pretty tame. 

After losing friends & family who believe a narcissistic parent’s lies, a person becomes very independent & self-reliant.  In this situation when you are left alone, you can learn you have skills & abilities that you never realized you had.

Losing people in one’s life often makes people turn to God, & that is never a bad thing!  That is the one relationship that will never disappoint or hurt you.  He also can help you to heal from all the damage done by the abusive people in your life.  And, as an added bonus, He can guide the right people into your life.    

If you’re the scapegoat in your narcissistic family, if you recently have been abandoned by foolish people who chose to side with your parents rather than help or support you, then please know it will get better!  You will find new, good, loving people who would never treat you as badly as your family has & who will love you unconditionally.  You will survive this pain & heal.  One day you will look back at all that has happened in your role as your family’s scapegoat & be shocked at how much happier & healthier you are without these people in your life.

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Doing Something New

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to abandon making YouTube videos in favor of podcasts since they are much easier for me to make. And thankfully, they have been well received!

Because they have been doing well, I decided to expand where they can be accessed. My podcasts now be found on many platforms. Those links are below. I hope you will check them out!

So far, I’m still figuring this all out as I go. Not entirely sure what I’m doing at the moment, so please just bear with me! Plus, writing is my top priority & has been since God told me many years ago it was my purpose. This means podcasts aren’t going to get as much of my attention. I don’t have any particular schedule with them, so I won’t release new ones faithfully every day, week or even month. I release them a few at a time periodically. I have been pretty lazy about doing this over the last year or so, & I apologize for that. It’s changing, I promise! I just had so much happening in my life in the recent past, my work has fallen too far behind.

So anyway, here is the list of where my podcasts can be found. I hope you find a platform that you like, & will listen to them. Thank you as always for reading & supporting my work! I hope it blesses you as much as you bless me!

Amazon Music:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/636257ca-b20e-4c80-b0c4-76c6da81d4b6/cynthia-bailey-rug

Anchor By Spotify:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cynthia-bailey-rug/id1632080095

Castbox:

https://castbox.fm/channel/id3103069?utm_source=podcaster&utm_medium=dlink&utm_campaign=c_3103069&utm_content=Cynthia%20Bailey-Rug-CastBox_FM

Google Podcasts:

https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yNWViYmY5OC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

Overcast:

https://overcast.fm/itunes1519449931/cynthia-bailey-rug

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

RadioPublic:

https://radiopublic.com/cynthia-baileyrug-6BonBp

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/show/5aY76eAGa3xOfVMimiQMai

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/cynthia-baileyrug

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

The Value Of Detoxing From Emotionally Incestuous (Enmeshed) Family

When someone grows up in an enmeshed, emotionally incestuous family, they naturally have many issues stemming from this.  One of those many issues is that they need time away from their toxic family to detox.

One example of this that comes to mind is a good friend of mine.  Around me, he’s usually kind, caring, fun loving & laid back.  I always can tell when he has dealt with his toxic immediate family in the recent past however, because that great guy disappears.  The person who replaces him is impatient, irritable, & quick to judge & criticize.  In other words, nothing like who he usually is.  It takes some time away from them for the hard to deal with person to go away & the good guy he usually is to come back.  I’ve started referring to this as his detox.

Sadly, this need to detox after being around an emotionally incestuous family is normal for the adult who grew up in this situation.  Also sadly, it makes sense if you think about it.

Someone who doesn’t understand the extreme toxicity that is emotional incest wants to fit in with their family, even if they hate the dynamic.  They will behave however they need to in order to fit in.  On some level however, they know this isn’t normal so they are dealing with cognitive dissonance.  In other words, they grew up thinking this is normal & anything that threatens that belief makes them extremely uncomfortable & confused.  Time away from their toxic family is their detox, & it relieves them of that uncomfortable feeling, at least until the next time they deal with their family.

Even if someone is aware of what is happening & just how dysfunctional their family is, being around such people can bring old habits back to the surface disturbingly easily.  It’s a lot like drug addicts.  They can stay clean much easier when they avoid people who are still addicts & are around people who don’t do drugs.  Getting around those who are still actively addicted makes it very hard for them to stay on their healthier path.  When they backslide, they may get clean again but they are NOT going to be happy with themselves for backsliding.  The same goes for those with emotionally incestuous families.  If a person has worked hard to get healthier, then slides back into old habits, they are going to be pretty upset with themselves when they recognize their bad behavior.  They need time away from their family so they can detox to get back on the right path.

Another problem is the emotionally incestuous family encourages the dysfunctional behavior.  They reward bad behavior, throwing some breadcrumbs of affection or praise to their family members who follow the rules of the family & don’t try to make any healthy changes.  No matter how much someone may want to break free of this to live in a healthier way, the pressure to “behave” & get those crumbs of affection can be very great, which also can account for the need to detox after leaving.  Distance from these highly dysfunctional people helps them to recognize what is happening, & to get back on the right path.

Emotionally incestuous family members also despise anyone who doesn’t enable & encourage their toxic behavior.  They will talk badly about anyone who encourages someone in the emotionally incestuous family to distance themselves from the toxicity.  If someone in such a family has a friend or spouse that speaks against this behavior, the family is not going to tolerate this quietly.  They will tell everyone just how awful that person is, how they’re trying to tear apart the family or even steal their family member away from the family.  If someone hears this enough from their family, they may believe it in time, & return to the dysfunctional fold.  Time away from them, time to detox from the dysfunction, can clear their head.

If your family is emotionally incestuous, then please, do yourself a huge favor & take the time to detox from them as frequently as you can!  It will be good for your mental health!  Or, if someone you know is in such a situation, encourage them to do the same.  Be willing to listen to them without judgment & speak the truth to them about what their family is really like (gently of course!). 

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25% Off Sale On All Of My Ebooks & 15% Off Sale On All Of My Print Books!!

My ebooks are going on sale for the entire month of July! From July 1-31, 2022, all of my ebooks will be 25% off! The discount is applied automatically at checkout, so there are no coupon codes necessary. If you have wanted any of my books, this is a great time to grab them cheap!

My ebooks can be found at the link below…

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

If you prefer print books, you can get 15% off of them by adding code HUSTLE15 at checkout. This sale ends July 1, 2022. My print books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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A Common Sign Of Narcissistic Abuse: Isolation

One very common sign of narcissism in adults is isolating their victims. 

Narcissistic parents can come across as over protective.  The truth though is that many forbid their children to spend time with or even speak to other people, even people within their own family.  If the children disobey, they are severely punished.  My mother raged terribly when I spent time with my now ex husband when we were in high school.  She also kept me close to her side when we visited family, not allowing me much time alone with my cousins or grandparents.

When children of narcissistic parents grow up, their parents often do their best to start trouble in their child’s friendships & even their marriage.  They often treat friends as if they are unworthy to speak to.  Some narcissistic parents tell their adult children outright that their spouse isn’t good enough while others demonstrate this is how they feel without saying the words by behaviors such as refusing to acknowledge the spouse’s birthday.  Other narcissistic parents will outright lie to their adult child about the spouse, such as claiming that spouse has been unfaithful or abuses their children.  From my observations, the majority of narcissistic parents do as my in-laws have done, & treat the spouse poorly behind the adult child’s back yet are nice to the spouse only when the adult child is around.  By doing this, when the spouse complains, the adult child doesn’t believe them because they only saw their parent being nice to them.  This causes a great deal of friction in a marriage & many marriages fail because of this behavior.  That of course is the goal.

While some use obviously controlling behaviors such as threats, most narcissistic spouses are more subtle in how they isolate their victims.  They plant seeds of doubt in their spouse’s minds about people they want out of their spouse’s life.  My ex husband told me my best friend wasn’t a good friend to me & didn’t really care about me.  He said the same about my wonderful grandparents.  He obviously disapproved of me having people in my life who could see through his toxic behavior.  My best friend & I went our separate ways for years & I stepped out of my grandparents’ life for years too because of him.  On a side note, I’m happy to say he is out of my life, & my best friend is back in it.  My grandmother died not long after I left my grandparents’ life, unfortunately.  I did reconnect with my grandfather though & had 3 good years with him before he passed away.

The reason narcissists isolate their victims is because an isolated victim is easy to control.  Isolated people don’t have good people in their lives who will tell them that the way they are being treated is wrong, they deserve better or that they don’t have to tolerate such behavior which means they’ll tolerate the abuse.  They don’t have good people who will help them to escape the abuse or to help them heal which often leaves them in the position of feeling that they have no way to escape.  Without such good people in a person’s life, it can be very easy to accept abuse.  A person often even loses the desire to leave the abusive relationship, because they are so beaten down by their abuser either physically or emotionally or both. 

If this describes your situation, know that you are NOT alone!  I would dare say almost every victim of narcissistic abuse has been in this situation.  Don’t let that be a reason to stay in the situation though.  Reach out however you can.  Online forums are a great way to meet others who understand.  I have a Facebook group full of caring, understanding & supportive people.  There are many others as well, & not just on Facebook. 

If the narcissist monitors your online activities, then talk to someone else, such as your doctor or pastor.  Call a crisis hotline, preferably a domestic violence one.  They should be able to help or at the very least point you in the direction of help available to you in your area either to help you escape the narcissist or at least find safe people to talk to.  Isolation is a form of abuse, & you deserve better than to be abused!

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Another Good Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 10% off my print books when you use code INFLUENCE10 at checkout until May 27, 2022.

Print versions of my books can be found at the link below..

Cynthia Bailey-Rug’s spotlight on Lulu

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How People Handle You Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

When people have known you a long time, it can be difficult for some of them to handle your healing. Functional people will respect your healing though, & even encourage you.  They will be so happy to see you growing stronger & healthier, & learning how to live a good life, especially if they knew you during the abuse you endured. 

Dysfunctional people however, won’t be so happy or encouraging.

While not all dysfunctional people are abusive, of course, they still may not be happy about your healing.  Sometimes that is because it makes them feel badly about themselves.  They see you learning, growing & becoming happy, & they resent not doing the same.  The seriously dysfunctional won’t be motivated by feeling this way to work on their healing.

Others are on the side of your abuser, & can’t handle your healing because it is proof that the abusive person wasn’t the wonderful person this flying monkey thought they were.  Rather than face that truth, some especially cowardly people prefer to stay in denial & try to force the victim to maintain the status quo so they can continue to think of the abuser as a wonderful person rather than face the truth.

Whatever the motivation, these dysfunctional people have a goal of putting the victim in their place, so to speak, so they can continue living in their dysfunction.

A common way people accomplish this by refusing to acknowledge the new, healthier you.  They will mentally keep you in their box of what they expect you to be, & treat you accordingly. 

When I was growing up, I was completely submissive to my parents & did only as I was told.  I was a very good doormat.  As an adult who had focused on my healing for quite some time, my family still treated me as the doormat I once was.  Most spoke to me however they wanted, which was usually disrespectful & cruel.  This was especially evident during the time my father was dying. Their level of cruelty & vile words was astounding.  My family daily harassed & tried to bully me into ending no contact to say good bye to him.  Not one person cared about my thoughts or feelings on the matter, only theirs, & clearly they were furious they couldn’t force me to bend to their will.  The way they treated me is very common among narcissistic families. 

As you make small steps in your healing, even if those steps aren’t celebrated, they shouldn’t be diminished or totally disregarded.  Every single person changes over the course of their life, & that is to be expected.  Anyone who refuses to acknowledge changes you make or acts like something is wrong with you for growing clearly has problems. 

When you come across these people, please do NOT give in to whatever it is they want from you.  Be the best you that you can be.  Focus on your healing & never give up on it.  People like that don’t have your best interest at heart.  They only have their best interests at heart, & maybe even those of your abuser.  They aren’t worth trying to please.  Instead, be more concerned with pleasing God, pleasing yourself & pleasing those people you are the closest to, such as your spouse.  The rest really aren’t all that important, especially those who refuse to see you as anything but who you were at your worst. 

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People Who Say Those Who End Relationships Hate Or Are Unforgiving

Something I have come to learn about people is many times, when you end a relationship with someone, other people assume it’s because you hate that person.  I was reminded of this not long ago when someone made a comment on one of my old YouTube videos.  The video was made when I first learned my father was dying, & I mentioned how I wasn’t going to see him at the hospital.  The commenter said that I shouldn’t hate him, I should forgive him.  This frustrated me because I have heard similar comments before so many times, mostly from my intensely dysfunctional family.  In talking with people who read my work, I’ve learned this happens all the time.

Anyone who jumps to the conclusion that those of us who have ended relationships do so out of hatred & unforgiveness needs to know some things.

There are people who end relationships out of hatred & unforgiveness of course, but the vast majority of people have other valid reasons for ending relationships, even with their own family members. 

People change, & sometimes those changes mean people grow apart.  It’s natural.  Not every single relationship was meant to be a lifelong commitment. 

Sometimes people think someone is a certain way when the relationship begins, but as time passes, they realize that person is not like they thought.  Most people are on their best behavior at the beginning of any relationship, & as time passes, they stop trying so hard.  That can mean there are some ways people are incompatible that weren’t evident at the beginning, or it can mean that someone is dysfunctional or even abusive.  There is nothing wrong with ending such relationships.

While family should be a lifelong relationship, it isn’t always possible.  Sometimes family members seem to be good people until something happens that changes them.  Maybe the patriarch or matriarch of the family dies, & suddenly people change.  That happened in my family.  Once my grandparents died, people changed a great deal, & not necessarily for the better.  The patriarch & matriarch of a family often can keep the bad behavior to a minimum.  Once they pass away, the bad behavior is no longer restrained, & people feel free to behave however they like, including very badly.  When the bad behavior is toxic or even abusive, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ending those relationships.

People who are so quick to judge & criticize others who end relationships should consider such things before passing judgment.  There are other things they also should consider.

People who have been abused almost never exaggerate their experience.  If anything, they leave out plenty of details & even minimize it.  If someone claims another person abused them, chances are excellent it was much worse than what they said.

Abusers are excellent actors who portray themselves as good people to anyone who is not their victim.  Just because someone is nice to you doesn’t mean they are incapable of being abusive. 

Along those same lines, just because someone is active in their church, volunteers, is a teacher, doctor or in another helping type profession doesn’t mean they can’t be abusive.  Abusers can be found in all walks of life.  They exist in all religions, races, genders & careers.

Enduring toxic & abusive relationships doesn’t make you a good, Godly person.  It isn’t the “good Christian” thing to do.  There are plenty of Scriptures throughout the Bible where people are told to have nothing more to do with other people.  In Genesis 12:1, God told Abraham to leave his family.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 talks about people God wants His children to have nothing to do with.  Titus 3:10 warns to have nothing to do with divisive people.  Ephesians 5:6-7 says we are to have nothing to do with those who are deceptive.  Clearly this is a topic on which God has plenty to say, & people would be wise to take that seriously rather than judge those who end certain relationships.

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

Encouragement For Those Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

I don’t know how many nasty comments I have heard people say when it comes to severing ties with narcissistic parents.  I’ve heard no contact with a narcissistic parent is taking the easy way out.  Relationships take work, & walking away is cowardly & lazy.  Blood is thicker than water, so just put up with whatever they do.  Every time I hear this sort of nonsense, I just want to scream.

If someone has told you something similar, I want to encourage you today to ignore their idiocy!  Rather than feel badly for severing ties with your abusive parents, consider some points…

Most of us who have gone no contact agonized over the decision for a long time.  It wasn’t done thoughtlessly.  Quite the opposite!  It took me at least a couple of years before going no contact.

A lot of pain & suffering led up to the decision to go no contact.  Years upon years of abuse led to it.  This decision wasn’t reached because of one small disagreement!  It was reached only after suffering years of constant emotional & mental abuse.  Often other forms of abuse were present as well such as spiritual, physical, sexual & financial.  There is absolutely NO reason to tolerate that from anyone!  It’s only right to protect yourself!

No contact isn’t easy.  Not only the decision to sever ties with a parent.  The aftermath can be incredibly difficult. 

Many narcissists engage in horrific smear campaigns that turn a person’s entire family & many friends against them.  So many people who go no contact with their narcissistic parents lose any family they have as well, because the family blindly sides with the narcissist.  The ones who go no contact are labeled as selfish, spoiled, ungrateful, evil, un-Godly & more.  This happened to me, & I can tell you that it is incredibly painful when people you think care about you turn on you & side with the people who have caused you such intense pain. 

Other narcissists refuse to take no contact as an answer.  They harass & stalk their victims mercilessly.  They show up places where the victim frequents often.  They inundate their victim with constant phone calls, voicemail messages, text messages, emails & social media messages.  The sheer volume can be utterly staggering!  And, they will have others harass you too.  I have been in this situation & I really can’t describe how terrifying it is.  To think that someone has the ability to manipulate others into harassing you & can devote so much time to harassing you makes you wonder what else exactly are they capable of doing?  It’s also terrifying when you block one means of accessing you they have then suddenly they show up via another means.  One of my abusers was so vicious that I blocked her access to my website, because she began contacting me through it after I’d blocked her ip address by usingother computers.  One of her messages simply said “boo!”  To me, that clearly was her way of saying, “You can’t stop me!”  So disturbing!

Even if you are fortunate enough not to experience those scenarios, that doesn’t mean no contact is easy.  Once you’re away from the constant abuse, you’d think you could relax & begin to enjoy life, but that doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes, once your brain realizes it can stop functioning in survival mode, it seems to want to force you to face all of the problems that were on the back burner because you had to focus on survival.  That can be very overwhelming at first, & it takes time to make your mind behave in a more manageable way.

There is also a grief process that happens after no contact with narcissistic parents.  You grieve the parents you never had but wanted.  You grieve your stolen childhood.  You grieve the family & friends you lost only because you were trying to protect yourself.  You realize your parents & family never loved you, & grieve that loss. 

No contact isn’t easy by any means.  To follow through with it takes an incredible amount of courage & strength.  Never, ever let anyone make you feel as if something is wrong with you for severing ties with your narcissistic parents.  Instead be proud of yourself  because you had the fortitude to do one of the most difficult things a person can do!

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Why Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Often Hate Themselves

Relatively speaking, very few victims of narcissistic abuse escape the abuse without feeling intense self-hatred.  There are plenty of reasons for this.

The main reason for this of course is narcissists.  They do their best to annihilate their victims’ self-esteem in order to control them.  A person who doubts their intelligence will listen to what others tell them to do.  A person who thinks no one else would put up with them will stay in a relationship, no matter how toxic.  A person who feels worthless will tolerate any treatment because they don’t believe they deserve better.  But, there are other reasons too.

Someone who was involved in either a romantic relationship or a friendship with a narcissist will feel terrible for not seeing the red flags of narcissism or taking too long to leave or for putting up with the abuse for however long they did.  Even understanding that narcissists are phenomenal actors that can fool anyone doesn’t really help a person in this situation feel much better. 

Also, other people who weren’t directly involved with the abuse even can make victims hate themselves.

People who imply or even outright say that the victim is to blame for the abuse can make victims hate themselves.  When you are in the fragile place of recently having escaped an abusive relationship, someone blaming you for picking the wrong partner or friend or for making the abuser abuse you can be devastating.  It makes a person wonder what they possibly could have done any better or differently.  In these relationships, victims give their all & it’s not good enough, yet they still feel like failures for not doing enough. 

It’s also common to feel guilty for constantly upsetting the narcissist to the point of abusing because that is how narcissists make their victims feel.  They never take responsibility for anything but instead, dump all responsibility on their victims.  Having survived this then being reminded of your supposed failures with the relationship by outsiders can be utterly devastating to one’s emotions as well as self esteem.

When other people suggest something is wrong with the victim for not being “over it” by now or taking too long to heal, that too can cause self-hatred.  It makes a person feel like a burden for not being ok rather than safe knowing they are with someone who won’t judge or criticize them.  And feeling like a burden is horrible for the self-esteem!

The minimization & even denial of the abuse also can cause serious blows to one’s self-esteem.  Until a person truly understands just how bad their experience was with an abusive narcissist, they are very susceptible to shaming.  When someone says the abuse wasn’t that bad or flatly denies it happened, that will create unnecessary shame in a victim which naturally devastates their self-esteem.

If you are experiencing self-hatred due to situations like I’ve mentioned, please, PLEASE know this isn’t right!  You don’t deserve to feel that way!  You weren’t abused because there is something wrong with you.  There was something wrong with the narcissist!  If other people are too foolish to see it or unwilling to see it, that is also not a reflection of you.  That is their dysfunction showing.  Don’t ever forget that!  Xoxo

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For Those Who Refuse To Acknowledge The Seriousness Of Narcissistic Abuse

I first learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder in 2011.  The following year, realized I had C-PTSD, or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  My life since these two major events occurred has been interesting to say the least.  It hasn’t been easy but it’s been absolutely worth it.  The support, compassion & concern of those close to me & even from those who read my work have been amazing. 

At the same time, there have been plenty of people who have tried to shame me, stop me from writing about what I write about & even claim I’m bitter, spoiled, exaggerating or outright lying about my experiences as a way to humiliate my abusers.  Mostly these are family members of course, but also some have been people I don’t know.  Usually I simply block & ignore such people since acknowledging them only seems to validate their delusions.  Today though, I felt like it was time to address people who think this way.

What people fail to understand about victims like me is this…

I don’t hate abusers.  I’m not trying to put them in the public eye to humiliate them, nor am I trying to ruin their reputation.  Their behavior does that, not me. Libel & slander are far from any motivation I have.  I tell the truth while protecting the anonymity of my abusers so as NOT to draw attention directly to them.  I’m not vengeful or stupid.  I use my abusers as bad examples because they have given me experiences that caused me to learn things that can help other people.

I’m not trying to force people to choose sides.  People are allowed to think whatever they like.  It’s not my job or my desire to try to force them to think a certain way.  If they choose to side with victims, that’s great.  If they choose to side with abusers, that is certainly their right as well.  If they choose to side with abusers however, I  also have the right to maintain a distance from such people & have no trouble exercising that right.  This shouldn’t be any surprise.

I’m not trying to divide any family, my own or otherwise, by discussing narcissistic abuse.  My goal is to help people like me, suffering due to toxic relationships but unsure what the problem is.  My goal is to teach them about narcissists so they can figure out how best to handle their situation.

Most people seem to think Narcissistic Personality Disorder is some pop psychology term made up by whiny people who only want to trash the reputation of other people due to some petty motives.  They think I label any person who doesn’t treat me as I want to be treated a narcissist, & how dare I put that label on anyone since I’m not a mental health professional.  They fail to realize that mental health professionals have precious little teaching on narcissism & other Cluster B personality disorders.  Many don’t know enough to recognize these toxic people even when meeting them face to face.  Those of us who have experienced abuse at their hands often know more than the professionals, because we have researched & read a lot as we tried to understand what was wrong with these toxic relationships.

People often see people like me as cold, uncaring & unfeeling because we don’t try harder to make relationships with narcissists work.  They fail to see that we have tried very hard, often for many years.  The simple truth is one person can’t fix any relationship.  It takes both parties to make a relationship be healthy.  When it comes to narcissists, the only way to make a relationship work is to be willing to surrender everything about yourself – your identity, your wants, needs, feelings, preferences, etc. – & only do, look like, act like, think & feel what the narcissist wants you to.  Even if you do this, you still are going to fall short of what they want, because they constantly change their desires.  Perfect is STILL not good enough for narcissists. 

If anyone reading this still doesn’t understand what the so called problem is with people like me, people who have been victimized by some of the cruelest, most heartless people ever to exist, then I feel sorry for you.  Clearly, you lack empathy & couldn’t care less about your fellow human beings.

In the meantime, I for one plan to continue writing & speaking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & recovering from narcissistic abuse.  Anyone who is offended by that, I am more than happy for you to distance yourself from me & my work.

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When Families Are Too Close

Most people consider close knit families to be a good thing.  And they really can be a blessing!  They obviously love & support each other through everything life throws their way, yet everyone still has their own life & a healthy amount of individuality & privacy.  Sometimes however, families become too close.  These families are known as enmeshed, & they are truly toxic.  Families like this have very lax or non existent boundaries, dysfunctional patterns in relationships & they discourage any independence.  Children who grow up with such families end up as dysfunctional adults until they break the chains of enmeshment.

Enmeshed parents are overly dependent on their children.  They rely on their children for emotional support while offering nothing in return.  They also expect their children to share their beliefs, values, to meet their expectations even into adulthood all while ignoring their own & they also expect their children to keep their parents as their top priority during their entire lifetime above anyone else including a spouse, children & even God.  These parents believe their children need nothing from the world beyond their family, & looking to that world is discouraged.  Parents like this also expect their children to maintain the status quo of dysfunction, & are chastised severely if they don’t.  Privacy doesn’t happen between parents & children, meaning any topic is suitable for discussion, any item is considered appropriate for the parents to snoop through (purses, dressers, closets, laundry, etc).  Families like this remind me of the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The children are supposed to be concerned of nothing beyond the Collective, in other words the enmeshing parent.  And, if those children opt to marry, their spouse is supposed to be assimilated, also focusing on the Collective.  Any hint of not behaving in this manner is seriously frowned upon & results in shunning, shaming & treating the spouse terribly.

Children who grow up in these dysfunctional enmeshed families have plenty of issues.  They have virtually no knowledge of their own needs, often minimizing or completely ignoring them.  Their goals aren’t their own, but their parents’.  These children never learn how to say no in a healthy way.  They have serious trust issues with other people, & a fear of abandonment in relationships.  They also feel overly responsible, in particular for taking care of their parents.  Possibly the saddest part is children who grow up like this never have the opportunity to make their own choices & mistakes, which are needed to form their own identity.  Without this, these children grow up with low or even non existent self esteem. 

If you recognize yourself in this information, rest assured you can heal from the damage done.  I can’t tell you it will be quick & easy, but I can tell you it is very possible.

I always recommend a close relationship with God because it is of the utmost importance in every area of life.  It is also incredibly helpful with healing from abuse.  (And, make no mistake about it – enmeshment IS abuse!)  Allowing God to help you heal & show you what to do is going to be vital to healing.  He knows best what you need to do & how you need to do it, so let Him show you & give you whatever you need to do these things.

There are some basic things that everyone needs to do to break this enmeshment with family.  You will need to start by setting boundaries.  There is information about this on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com, so you can start there.  Learning what is & is not your responsibility will be extremely helpful for you.  And, start small, such as not answering a text immediately.  Starting small will help you to gain the confidence to set more & more challenging boundaries in time.

Get to know yourself.  Learn who God made you to be, what you truly like & dislike,  & how to identify your feelings over what your enmeshed parent told you to feel.  To do this, start paying attention to how you really feel about things & don’t judge your feelings. 

Accept that there is no shame in not having your parents as your top priority as an adult.  People need to have God as their top priority, period.  If you are married, your spouse should be your second priority, followed by your children, then your parents. 

Your enmeshed parent isn’t going to like these behaviors, & that is your parent’s right.  You also have rights, including doing what you need to do to be a healthy, functional person!  Don’t let your parent’s disapproval take you off that path!

Do what you need to do to break free of this enmeshment.  It won’t be easy but it absolutely will be worth it!

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Why Some People Treat Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse So Badly

I use an online diary.  It sends me periodic emails saying things like, “Last year on this date, you wrote…” then includes a link to that entry.  Recently it showed me an entry I made in February, 2020.

That day, I wrote about how I had joined Instagram to follow someone who shares information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I hadn’t even set anything up on my account when I got an email saying someone was following me.  It turned out it was one of my cousins who was so awful to me when my father was dying.  I blocked her at first, then immediately decided that wasn’t good enough.  I deleted my Instagram account, & haven’t gone to the site since.

I prayed about this, asking God why would this person follow me?  She hates me & has made the very clear for a long time.  He told me something that I thought may help other victims of narcissistic abuse, so I want to share that with you today.

“She’s insanely, obsessively, morbidly envious.  She thinks you’ve had this easy, charmed life.  When she sees you “whining” about your childhood, it justifies her hatred of you in her mind.  She felt her parents didn’t really care about her.  She saw yours shelter you.  That’s where the envy began.”

“She had to lie to herself about her parents’ loving her & being close to your aunt.  She thinks you’re lying about yours & being a spoiled brat.  She thinks you’re petty & weren’t really abused.  She also can’t accept that her uncle would be abusive or marry someone who was.”

“She thinks abuse is only physical or sexual.  Verbal abuse doesn’t count to her.  She thinks NPD is a made up thing you use to justify talking about your parents as you do.”

“The devil feeds her delusions.  He makes her think the things she does, & feeds her rage & disgust of you.”

Pretty disturbing isn’t it?  Sadly though, many people abuse victims of narcissistic abuse & I would guess many have very similar motivations behind their behavior.

My mother was definitely the engulfing type of narcissistic mother, so to the outside world, she looked attentive, caring, & somewhat over protective.  My father went along with her behavior.  Also, I never complained because this is what abused kids learn to do to survive.  To anyone not intimately involved with my parents & I, we looked like a tight knit family.

Consider my cousin I mentioned earlier.  She came from a very dysfunctional & abusive childhood.  It’s no wonder she thought my childhood was so happy & care free.  She only saw what she was allowed to see, & never knew what went on behind closed doors.  Her observations combined with the devil validating her feelings turned her into someone who is very envious for no good reason.  Her way to cope with it was to treat me badly. 

What about those in your life who have treated you similarly?  Could this fit them as well?  If so, there is only a small amount of advice I have on dealing with such people, but I believe it will help you as it has me.

Remember that their behavior stems from their dysfunction & lack of relationship with God.  It isn’t really about you, although they will make it sound that way.  Don’t accept whatever they say about you because it is wrong! 

If at all possible, end the relationship.  People like this are very convicted in their wrong beliefs.  You won’t be able to change their mind, so don’t waste your time trying.  Sever ties & block all ways they can reach you.

Lastly, pray for them.  The Bible says we are to pray for our enemies, so pray for this person to see the truth & for evil spirits to leave them alone.  Doing this helps them as well as you because over time, it helps you to release the anger you naturally feel towards them. 

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20% Off ALL Print Books!

My publisher turns 20 this year, & as a way to celebrate, they’re offering 20% off print book purchases until February 11, 2022. All you have to do to take advantage is use code 20FOR20 at checkout.

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When Broken People Are Toxic

Every single person is broken in some way.  That simple fact by itself doesn’t make a person toxic at all.  What does make a person toxic is when a person is broken & refuses to change.

This type of person is dangerous to the mental health of other people.  Whether consciously or unconsciously, he or she often will try to bring other people down to their level.  Doing so makes this person feel better about themselves.  If they see other people behaving in ways that they behave, it normalizes their behavior which gives them a false sense of assurance that they are just fine.  Seeing others behave even worse than them also gives them a false sense of assurance.  This time, it’s that they aren’t so bad by comparison. 

These people also try to force other people into their box as a way to prove that a situation isn’t the dysfunctional one it truly is.  This often happens in dysfunctional families.  One person stands up & says, “This isn’t right!” & the toxic broken people will react.  They try to convince the one who stood up that it is right, they should continue the status quo & stop making waves.  The person who said this is wrong clearly is the real problem, not the dysfunction, according to these people.  This is a very common scenario in narcissistic families in particular.  It happened in mine when my father was dying.  I had relatives treat me terribly because I refused to say good bye to him at the hospital.  When I prayed about this, God clearly told me not to go, & also why they treated me this way.  It wasn’t that they loved my father & wanted to do something that would please him.  It was to protect their delusions that he was a great guy & I was the one with the problem.  If they could continue their delusions, there would be no need to face the fact there were any problems in our family.  They preferred to remain in their denial & treat me terribly than face the truth & realize how broken not only they but other relatives were. 

Sadly, there are a LOT of people like this!  They prefer their broken state over facing truth & healing.  In a way, it’s understandable.  The truth hurts sometimes.  It’s incredibly painful to admit that someone you loved didn’t love you & in fact enjoyed causing you great pain.  That being said though, remaining broken & not trying to heal clearly can make someone incredibly toxic.

When you come across someone like this, remember, you can’t force them to face their brokenness.  They may do so but only in their time & when they realize they want better for themselves.  There is nothing you can do to change their mind about that.  The best thing you can do for them is to pray.  One of my most frequently prayed prayers is asking Got to help someone to see the truth & to enable them to handle that truth.

It’s also important to remember to have no expectations of someone like this suddenly wanting to face the truth.  Hopefully they will one day, & sooner rather than later.  But, putting that expectation on them won’t help.  In fact, it may make them more determined to remain as they are. You also will be disappointed over & over when they don’t change.

Lastly, never forget that allowing someone like this to mistreat or even abuse you isn’t going to help them or you.  It isn’t a good, helpful or even Godly thing to do for either you or them.  Nothing good comes of that.  Your best bet is to walk away if at all possible.  If that is impossible for whatever reason, you will need to have firm boundaries in place to protect yourself.

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15% Off ALL My Print Books!

My publisher is having a 15% off sale until January 28, 2022. Simply enter code IMAGINE15 at checkout.

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After The Relationship With A Narcissist

Ending a relationship with a narcissist is very difficult.  Whether they end it with you or you end it with them, it is an incredibly challenging time.

If they end the relationship with you, chances are you will feel like an utter failure for disappointing them.  You will wonder what you could have done better, how did you fail this person so badly & other painful thoughts.  If the narcissist in question is your parent, you may feel excessive guilt for disappointing your parent so badly they felt they had to cut you out of their life. 

If you end the relationship with them, chances are you will be racked with guilt & even shame for hurting this person so badly.  I remember when I ended my engagement to my now ex husband, I felt so free… until he & his friends started telling me how miserable he was without me, how I should resume the relationship & more.  The guilt was more than I could take, which is why I went against my better judgment & married him.

If you’re feeling anything like I have described or more that I haven’t after a relationship with the narcissist in your life has ended, I want to talk to you today.

You have zero reason to feel badly, & this is why…

If you ended it, you did so to protect your mental & physical health.  That is NOT a bad thing!  Everyone has to take care of themselves!  God has entrusted us with this one mind & body, so why shouldn’t we take good care of them?!

If you think you should have been more patient or understanding, stop that right now.  Patience & understanding are great, but they can enable bad behavior.  Healthy boundaries don’t mean you lack these qualities, but that you won’t tolerate being abused even if you understand why the person is abusive.

If you feel that you didn’t do enough, again, stop!  People who have been in any relationship with a narcissist, whether that person is a friend, relative, spouse or whatever, tend to go above & beyond.  The real problem isn’t that you didn’t do enough.  It’s that narcissists want too much.  Nothing is ever enough as far as they’re concerned.  You could work at pleasing them until you are almost dead & they still would say you didn’t do enough.  No human being could please a narcissist for more than the occasional rare moment.

If the narcissist ended it with you, this doesn’t mean you have failed in any way.  Narcissists have exceedingly high & unrealistic expectations.  They expect more than any human can give.  As I just mentioned, no human being can please any narcissist for more than a fleeting moment.

Narcissists don’t understand what it is like to love in a real, healthy, Godly way.  They claim to love some people, but sadly their version of love is nothing like what love is supposed to be.  They “love” people that they can manipulate & use to provide them with narcissistic supply. 

If you doubt what I am saying, consider how the narcissist has acted since your relationship with you ended.  Chances are, they have acted much like a child who either has lost their favorite toy or lost interest in that toy.  They either act heartbroken & like that “toy” has done them wrong, or they act like they don’t care about the toy because it was defective anyway & they’re better off without it.

Whether you ended the relationship with the narcissist or they ended it with you, you are going to be fine.  It may not feel like it now, but it is true!  In time, you will realize how much better off you are without that person in your life.

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Boundaries Are Always Necessary, Even With Other Christians

Many people assume that being a Christian means you have no real boundaries.  You’re nice & helpful to everyone, & if you aren’t, you must not be a “real” Christian, whatever that means.  That isn’t even close to what being a Christian means however.

The Bible contains verses stating that as Christians, we should separate ourselves from others who claim to be Christians yet who act in toxic ways.  Matthew 18:15-17 says, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens and pays attention to you, you have won back your brother. But if he does not listen, take along with you one or two others, so that every word may be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he pays no attention to them [refusing to listen and obey], tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile (unbeliever) and a tax collector.”  And, 1 Corinthians 5:11 says, “But actually, I have written to you not to associate with any so-called [Christian] brother if he is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater [devoted to anything that takes the place of God], or is a reviler [who insults or slanders or otherwise verbally abuses others], or is a drunkard or a swindler—you must not so much as eat with such a person.”

Clearly, boundaries are a necessary part of life.  Even in healthy relationships, they are necessary because without them, people can become enmeshed & unhealthy.  If boundaries are vital in healthy relationships, doesn’t it stand to reason that they are even more vital with unhealthy people?

Not setting boundaries isn’t being unloving, unkind, selfish or even a “bad Christian.”  Boundaries protect love, Godly love, because it means we are standing up to things that can damage or even destroy love.

We can & should set limits with those who behave badly in particular those who claim to be Christians, because they can be especially dangerous.  They are the ones who claim their toxic behavior is Godly which can lead people away from God. It is completely reasonable & even Godly to limit your time spent around someone who doesn’t behave in a healthy way.  It also is Godly to sever ties with someone who refuses to acknowledge the pain their behavior causes & change their ways.  Someone who doesn’t care that their behavior hurts other people or who even enjoys causing pain is toxic, & eliminating toxic relationships from your life is far from a bad thing to do!  Matthew 10:14 says, “Whoever does not welcome you, nor listen to your message, as you leave that house or city, shake the dust [of it] off your feet [in contempt, breaking all ties].”

Boundaries aren’t controlling, so please don’t think setting & enforcing them makes you a controlling or manipulative person.  Healthy boundaries are set & enforced to protect yourself, not change other people.  They are left with the choice to respect those boundaries or not respect them & deal with the consequences of their lack of respect.  Basically, that is what God does.  He doesn’t force people to do anything.  He has ways that He wants people to follow to have their best life, but rather than force people into obedience, He gives people the freedom to obey or disobey.  If they obey, they enjoy a close relationship with God.  If they disobey, they suffer consequences.  If they see the error of their ways & want to change, He certainly will forgive them & allow them into relationship with Him.  God displays the perfect model of how people should behave with each other.

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My publisher is offering another sale. 15% off all my print books until December 31, 2021. Use code NEWYEAR15 at checkout.

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When Someone Refers To Someone Else As An Outsider Or Outcast

When you meet someone new & get to know that person, at some point your families will come up in conversation.  A red flag you need to be aware of may suddenly show up when you begin to discuss your families.  The particular red flag I’m referring to is when someone refers to another person in their family as if they are a big problem in the family, & they have no problem labeling the person based on that assumption.  They may call them an outsider, the black sheep or even the problem child.

The reason this is a red flag is because it shows the person discussing their relative this way is a part of an “us against them” mentality.  Clearly, that “problem child” is a huge problem within his or her own family.  This is a sign of a person being scapegoated.  And, scapegoating is a sign of an abusive family.

I saw this in action when I first got involved with my husband.  His family very much has an “us versus them” mentality.  Those of us who joined the family were clearly outsiders.  The only ones welcomed into the inner sanctum were ones who came from a very wealthy family or who did the bidding of the in-law family.  Think the Borg from Star Trek The Next Generation.  “You will be assimilated.  Resistance is futile.”  Those of us who weren’t willing to assimilate into the family & focus all of our attention on the in-laws, aka the Collective, were clearly outsiders & treated as such.

The family in these situations acts as if they are the good people, burdened by this person’s terrible behavior, trouble causing & lack of worthiness to be a part of their precious family.  The outsider, in short, is to blame for any & all problems within the family, & a source of great embarrassment, which is the definition of a scapegoat in a narcissistic family.

Treating people this way is very common not just among in-laws, but within biological families as well.  It’s happened to me as well as many of my readers who I’ve spoken with.  By scapegoating one person, this allows a group of people to avoid any responsibility for problems within their group.  Clearly they did nothing wrong!  It was that awful scapegoat who is to blame for all the ills in the family.

By shifting all blame to the scapegoat, this also allows the group to maintain the image they wish to portray –  the big happy family, the perfect family, better than others, etc.

Possibly the biggest advantage for those who scapegoat someone is by doing this, they are able to maintain their denial.  Denial they have done anything wrong, denial their family isn’t perfect, denial that the toxic person in the family isn’t really the toxic one.

These are such incredibly unhealthy behaviors!  Functional people don’t blame innocent people.  They accept responsibility for their behavior & expect others to do the same.  Functional people also respect that everyone is an individual & don’t get angry when someone believes, thinks or acts differently than them.

There is one final thing you need to be aware of on this topic.  Not every person who mentions someone in their family as an outsider is dysfunctional.  You can tell the difference between a functional & dysfunctional person discussing the outsider in their family.  A functional person doesn’t speak of their family’s outsider in a bad light.  They think of the person in question as very different than the rest of the family, but they don’t paint that person in a negative light.  They may even admire the differences in that person.  In any case, they have no problem with this “outsider’s” differences.

If someone you just met discusses an outsider in their family, pay attention to how they discuss this person.  It can show you whether or not this is an emotionally healthy, functional person.

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For Those Who Lack Joy During The Holidays & Are Judged For It

Many people struggle through the holiday season for a range of very valid reasons.  Dysfunctional families causing unnecessary drama & misery, suffering loss through failed relationships or deaths of loved ones & financial struggles are some of the most common reasons, but there are many more.  Yet in spite of the validity of these reasons, many people are quick to shame these poor people, making their pain even worse.

My heart goes out to such people.  As I’ve written about plenty of times, I struggle through the holidays as well.  And, as many others have experienced, I’ve been shamed for that as well.  I’ve heard the usual comments like, “Focus on the positive!”  “It’s the most wonderful time of year!”  “Everyone is so happy.  Why can’t you be happy too?”  “Don’t be so negative.  It’s Christmas!!”  It’s no surprise, but comments don’t help. 

What people who make comments like this fail to realize is saying such things doesn’t make a person automatically feel better.  In fact, they only make a person feel worse.  It’s much like how saying, “cheer up” doesn’t cure depression or, “stop worrying!” doesn’t cure anxiety.

When you are faced with these overly judgmental people, it will be upsetting.  There is no avoiding that.  It does help to remember that some people simply aren’t very understanding others.  They either can’t or won’t try to understand the position of another person & unfortunately, they are everywhere.  This is how they are & they have no desire to change that about themselves. It has nothing about you that makes them act this way. 

There is also the fact that so many people have their own issues that they refuse to face.  Some people have come from their own dysfunctional, abusive pasts & rather than admit that fact & face their demons, they prefer to think only of happy things.  Traditionally, holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, so they are a great time to justifiably be focused on only happy things.  Or maybe holidays were the only time of joy they had in their childhood, so as adults, they cling to them to bring them joy as they once did.  Holidays also allow dysfunctional families to gather together & pretend that they are functional & happy.  Those from these families may enjoy this charade because even if only briefly, they can believe that they have a happy family.

One final thing to consider.  Colossians 2:16 in the New Living Translation of the Bible says, “So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.”  Notice that even the Bible even states that people aren’t to judge others for how they celebrate special days.  Celebrating certain ways & certain days is traditional, but it isn’t necessary for anyone, even professing Christians.  God gives people free will to do as they please, & that includes how they celebrate special days.  If He won’t judge you for what you do or don’t do during the holiday season, then there is no reason to accept the judgment of human beings.  Do what makes you comfortable, & ignore the petty criticisms of people who don’t know your situation. 

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Year End Sale On ALL Of My Ebooks!

From December 17, 2021 until January 1, 2022, my publisher is offering 25% off all of my ebooks. If you’ve been wanting to read any of them, it’s a great time to buy. Simply go to my author page on my publisher’s site at the link below. The coupon will be applied automatically at checkout.

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

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Narcissistic In-Laws

For simplicity sake, I’m going to refer to the victim in this article as he & the spouse as she, but the roles easily could be reversed.

When you are married to someone with narcissistic family members, your life is full of challenges.  Narcissistic families expect their chosen victim to do as they want, which includes marrying only someone of whom they approve.  When that doesn’t happen, that victim & spouse’s life becomes incredibly challenging.

One common problem in these situations is when the victim doesn’t recognize the level of dysfunction in the family.  He may recognize that his family can be difficult or bossy, but doesn’t see them as the cruel or manipulative people they truly are.  She however, recognizes the depths of the situation.  When she tries to say anything about his family, he becomes defensive.  She gets frustrated, he gets frustrated, an argument happens & nothing gets resolved. 

This scenario is very common, & easily can result in divorce if handled the wrong way.

As tempting as it can be for you if you see the situation clearly, asking your spouse to choice you or his family is never a good idea!  The one who gives the ultimatum usually ends up on the losing end.  The person receiving the ultimatum feels unfairly pressured & manipulated.  On the rare chance the one receiving it goes along with it, he will end up feeling resentful in time.

When you feel you must mention the situation, do so calmly & as non-accusatory as humanly possible.  Anger will make your spouse defensive because he’ll feel as if you’re attacking him & his family.  Try to remain calm & leave emotion out of the situation as much as possible.  Men respond better to logic than emotions, & in this case may feel as if the emotions are less about emotions & more of an attempt at manipulation.  Women in these situations may respond to calmly expressed emotions, however, such as, “I feel like your mom tries to interfere too much in our marriage.  It makes me really uncomfortable.”

Have your own boundaries firmly in place as much as possible with your in-laws.  Don’t let them manipulate you or push you around.  Remain calm when setting those boundaries, so if your spouse sees this happen, he can’t say you were mean or unreasonable.  Your narcissistic in-law will be angry however, & your spouse will see their irrational behavior as you remain calm.

There may be a time when you have to go no contact with your narcissistic in-laws.  This can cause problems in your marriage.  A person still under the spell of their narcissistic family may not understand your reasoning.  If you firmly believe no contact is the best solution in your situation, calmly explain to your spouse that this isn’t you trying to manipulate him or come between him & his family.  Instead, this is what you feel is best for you to do.

Always remember not to have expectations of your spouse where his family is concerned.  Expectations put pressure on him & make his situation even more difficult.  Also, he may resent them, no matter how reasonable they are, which means he will resent you.  This will push him closer to his family & make him pull away from you.

Try to be patient & understanding of the situation.  This is hard, I know, but if you too had a narcissistic family, you understand how hard it is to be under their influence before recognizing what they really are.    

At some point, he is going to get frustrated or angry with his family & need to talk about it.  When this happens, do NOT say anything like, “I told you so!” or, “I always knew she was like that.”  Listen quietly while offering your support.  You can gently state the truth in a matter of fact way. If he asks for advice, give it without being critical. 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself in this situation, too.  Pray.  Write in your journal.  Talk to supportive friends or family who understand your situation for what it really is. 

Last but certainly not least, never ever forget to pray about your situation!  Let God show you how best to handle things with your spouse & toxic in-laws as well as how to take care of your own mental health.  His help is truly invaluable & He will show you the right way to handle the situation!

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Narcissists & Gifts

Giving gifts can be a wonderful thing.  It makes the receiver feel loved because someone would listen closely enough to know what gift would make the receiver happy, then spend the time to pick out or even make this gift, spend the time to wrap  it up pretty & all this shows that they cared enough to want to do these things.  The giver is also blessed because there is a great joy in seeing someone’s face light up when they get a special gift that you are responsible for giving them.

With narcissists, this isn’t how this scenario happens.

For one thing, narcissists are notoriously terrible at giving gifts.  To give a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to listen to what the receiver says about their needs & wants.  You have to know things about them, such as their favorite color, the size clothing they wear, styles they like, their favorite author or singer.  Narcissists can’t be bothered with those things, so they give gifts that are what they like or think you need.

Narcissists also give you gifts in order to try to make you more like what they think you should be.  Probably in 1999 or so, during a conversation with my mother in-law that took place not long before Christmas, I mentioned that I don’t like to cook, unlike her & her daughters. I didn’t criticize them, just said I didn’t share that with them. For Christmas that year, she & both of my sisters in-law gave me cooking stuff.  Spoons, spatulas, cook books, food & the largest, ugliest pasta dish I have ever seen.  At least I did find a good use for that.  When the roof leaked, in the short time before it was fixed, I used that ugly dish to catch the rain water that leaked into the attic ..lol  Everything else was donated, given to my friends or thrown in the trash.

And of course, in true narcissistic fashion, when they give gifts, the purpose is self-serving.  Giving makes them feel like they are good people.  See how caring they are?  They gave someone a gift!

There also may be another motive when receiving gifts from a narcissist.  They may want something from you.  They may want you to do something for them, so when they ask for you to do that favor, they can say, “How can you say no after I gave you that great gift?”  Gifts come with strings attached.  They may give birthday & Christmas cards with money inside, & in return, you need to help them with whatever needs they have, no matter how ridiculous or the personal cost to you.  It is an unspoken rule many narcissistic families have.

Some narcissists also give to others in the hopes of making themselves appear to be the martyr, taken advantage of by ungrateful people.  This often makes the recipient of the gifts feel as if they are taking advantage of the giver somehow, & they offer to repay the “generous” narcissist.

When it comes to giving gifts to a narcissist, it isn’t really a better scenario. 

Narcissists are impossible to please.  They set these high goals for their victims, then when the victim comes close to it or even reaches it, they say that isn’t what they want, they want something else that is even harder to do.  Nothing their victim does is good enough.  This scenario plays out similarly with gifts.  They may say they want something, but when they receive it, it somehow falls short of their expectations & the giver feels badly.

They also compare gifts.  For example, let’s say you gave your parents a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant for their anniversary.  A thoughtful gift, but not to them.  Instead, they may tell you that their neighbor’s son bought them a 65” television & set it up for them while they were at the grocery store. 

This holiday season, if you are in the unfortunate position of exchanging gifts with a narcissist, I hope you remember what I have said.  They do these awful things because this is just how dysfunctional, abusive & toxic they are.  It truly has nothing to do with you.  When they criticize what you give them, remember the nicer your gift, the more they will criticize it.  When they give you awful gifts or things that they like knowing you don’t like those things, just say thank you… then later, quietly find a new home for that gift.  Maybe a friend of yours could use the item or you could donate to a worthwhile charity.  Or, throw it in the trash!  You’re under no obligation to keep gifts that were given to make you feel badly or that come with strings attached.

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30% Off All My Print Books Until November 30, 2021

My publisher is having a really good sale on print books right now! 30% off! Shipping time may be a bit slow due to supply chain issues, but if you don’t mind the wait, this is a great time to get the books you want. Simply use code SAVE30 at checkout.

The print versions books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Special Days & Narcissists

Narcissists are well known for being intensely selfish.  One of the ways that selfishness manifests is by them ruining special days for their victims.  Those special days simply must revolve around the narcissist.  If those special days revolve around you or are special to you, that is totally unacceptable to a narcissist!  That must be obliterated so all attention can be turned back to the narcissist in question!  How does a narcissist do this?  They have so many tactics, & I will address a few here.

It’s your wedding anniversary falls in early April?  What a coincidence!  Tax day is just around the corner!  A narcissist might demand you or your spouse (whoever is best with financial matters) complete their taxes on this day so they can file their taxes without being late. 

Your birthday is in the near future?  Another coincidence!  It’s also time for the narcissist to have that medical procedure.  After all, that elective procedure is way more important than the birthday you have every year, so forget enjoying your birthday. 

It’s December.  Merry Christmas!  Oh wait.. you really thought you could celebrate Christmas without focusing on your narcissistic parent or sibling?!  Not likely!  Instead, know that you MUST celebrate the day however the narcissist dictates & on the exact day the narcissist dictates.  It’s not really Christmas unless it’s celebrated when & however the narcissist demands it be celebrated.

A common tactic narcissists use to turn the attention of special days back to themselves is to invent a crisis on or close to a special day.  One Christmas, my husband & his siblings decided to spend Christmas day with their immediate families rather than with their parents.  Rather than accept this or reschedule the annual Christmas celebration for a different day, their diabetic mother stopped taking insulin.  She ended up in the hospital right around Christmas day.  Her adult children rallied to her side.  When asked why she stopped taking insulin, she said she was simply too busy making everyone Christmas cookies to bother taking her insulin.  It was quite the martyr act!

Guilt is another common tactic.  If you can’t or won’t spend a special day with a narcissist, they often will say things that make you feel obligated to them like, “That’s ok.. I’m used to being alone anyway…” or, “You promised you’d be there!  You have to come!!”

Those of us who recognize the manipulation regarding special days & refuse to accept the manipulation are often shamed for being cold or selfish because we don’t go along with whateverthe narcissist wants.  Narcissists act like there is something wrong with us for not enjoying special days as they think we should, & sharing them with the narcissist in our lives.  Those on the outside are often quick to criticize us for being “too negative” & act like something is very wrong with us for not thoroughly enjoying special days.  As if they would feel differently after being subjected to the mind games of a narcissist.  How ridiculous!

If you feel this way, I want to tell you today that there is nothing wrong with you. 

If you have become angry about a narcissist ruining your joy over special days, that is totally understandable.

If you decided not to celebrate any special days because a narcissist ruined them for you, that is totally understandable.

If you have decided to create your own traditions & avoid all narcissists on special days, that is also totally understandable.

If you opt to take each special day as it comes & follow what your heart dictates on each special day, that also truly is understandable.

You have been through some pretty awful treatment & certainly you have earned the right to celebrate or not celebrate these days however works best for you!

Don’t let anyone dictate how you spend special days.  You enjoy holidays in whatever way works for you.  Ignore them, treat them as any other day, or go over the top with celebrating them your own way.  You do you & don’t let anyone convince you that you are wrong!

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How Close Is Too Close In Families?

Most people want to be a part of a close knit family.  That can be a wonderful thing, but there is also such a thing as being too close.

Some examples of being too close are as follows:

  • When boundaries aren’t respected or are non existent in a family.
  • Parents not allowing their children privacy, no matter the age.  Parents that look through their children’s diary, bedroom, wallets, purses, cars, etc.
  • Parents relying on their children for emotional support, which is parentification.
  • When parents discourage their children from growing up & becoming independent.
  • When adult children’s lives center around their parents.
  • When married adult children prioritize their parents over their spouse.
  • When adult children will tolerate anything because they are afraid to deal with the fallout of saying no.
  • When someone marries into the family, & is treated like an outsider while frequently being reminded they aren’t good enough & never will be.

Families that display this type of behavior are known as enmeshed families.

Enmeshment is an extremely dysfunctional family dynamic.  It may be passed down through generations, it can be brought about by a family experiencing trauma, abuse, illness or it can be due to engulfing narcissistic parents.

Children who grow up in this type of environment suffer for it.  They are often burdened with trying to care for their parents when they aren’t prepared to do so, which leaves them feeling overly responsible for the feelings of them as well as others.  These children also lack a connection to their wants, needs & feelings due to prioritizing their parents’ over theirs.  They grow up not nearly as independent as they should be, often expecting their parents to tell them what to do with their lives in every area including things only they should decide like when to move out or who to marry.

This treatment also leaves children in a confused state.  In one way, they are child like, yet in another they are supposed to be wise & mature enough to handle their parent treating them like a friend or substitute spouse.  They also lack the ability to self sooth in tough times, are very disconnected from their emotions & often suffer with anxiety.  Relationships are a challenge & healthy one are impossible because the parents are always their top priority.

Once the child of an enmeshed family realizes what is happening, he or she is rarely supported.  Outsiders see the family’s facade of being close & happy, & believe that is true.  When this usually adult child begins to speak about the problem, people often minimize or invalidate his or her concerns because they have seen only the close, happy family facade.  They believe this person’s concerns to be unsubstantiated, & he or she should just be glad to have a close family.  Whether intentions are good or bad when saying this, it still is very upsetting & invalidating when you are in this situation!

If you are in this situation, there is hope!  To heal, you need to lean on God first.  He will help you to see what you need to do & how to do it.

You also need to start learning about & setting boundaries.  This is tough, but it can be done.  Start very small, such as not answering the phone every time your parent calls or if they want you to come visit a certain day, try to do it another day.  Tiny steps like this give you some power.  That power enables you to set more boundaries & more yet.  Before you know it, you’ll have this boundaries thing down pat!

Get to know yourself.  The real you, not the you your parents say you are.  Learn about your likes, dislikes, goals, morals, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses & everything you can possibly think of.  Accept your feelings on everything without judgment or criticism, & question if these feelings are truly yours or your parents’.

Recognize you have no valid reasons to feel guilty for doing this.  You aren’t harming anyone & you are helping yourself.  Your parents are going to hurt at first, but that isn’t a bad thing.  You need your independence & are entitled to it, & they need to learn a healthier way to live.

Remember, you can do this & be so much stronger, healthier & happier than ever before!

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20% Off Print Books Until November 5!!

My publisher is offering a discount of 20% off all of my print books until Friday November 5, 2021. Use code EARLYBIRD20 at checkout.

My books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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