My publisher is offering 15% off all of my print books until July 16, 2021. Simply use code SUMMER15 at checkout.
Click the link below to see all of my print books..
My publisher is offering 15% off all of my print books until July 16, 2021. Simply use code SUMMER15 at checkout.
Click the link below to see all of my print books..
From July 1-31, 2021, my publisher is offering 25% off all of my ebooks. It’s a great time to buy any of them you have been thinking about getting for a low price!
You can find all of my ebooks at the link below:
If you prefer print, there is a sale going on now until July 2, 2021 for 15% off! Use code SHELFCARE15 at checkout. They can be found at the link below:
Recently, I thought of a conversation my husband & I had a long time back. I told him how my dear friend & one of my aunts had similar bouts with cancer. They both suffered with it I think a total of 5 times each, & each time, when it went to their brain is when they died a fairly short time after.
Both my friend & aunt handled their similar situations very differently.
My friend was always a very loving & compassionate lady with a deep faith in God, but she those traits became even more pronounced as her health became frailer. A few months before she died, she mentioned via an email how Jesus carried her through it all & how grateful she was for everything in her life. She truly was an inspiration! She was also always happy to talk to me & encourage me no matter what was happening in her own life.
My aunt, however, was a different story.
While she said she was a Christian, I have doubts. During one conversation,, she mentioned how no one should be so “arrogant” as to assume God only allows certain people into Heaven & not every single person, no matter their personal beliefs. She also was extremely judgmental. If someone didn’t have cancer, according to her, they had no real problems & she didn’t want to hear them whine. Several times, she was very critical & invalidating to me of my problems, whether they were serious or trivial.
For the record, these changes happened in both of them well before any diagnosis of the cancer in their brains.
Although both ladies have been gone for several years, I still remember very well how each woman made me feel. My friend made me feel very loved & like time spent with me was valuable to her. My aunt? Not even close to the same. She made me feel as if all I did was whine about petty problems & was too stupid to recognize the only problem of the world was cancer.
This got me thinking about how people should make others they talk with feel. No functional person wants to cause other people to feel unloved, unheard, invalidated or other awful things. Yet, this happens every day. With or without intention, people say & do things that make others feel unloved, unheard & more. Following are some things I learned from my dear friend that I think are extremely important.
When spending time with someone, it is so important that they know you are present. What I mean is don’t listen to them talk while scrolling through your phone, looking at the television or the clock. Make eye contact. Respond to things they say. Show genuine empathy & care if they are telling you about a problem.
If someone is talking, don’t try to make the conversation all about you. Even if you understand what they feel or have been in an identical situation, it’s not always necessary to say that.
If someone is telling you about a problem in their life, even if you don’t understand why they’re upset, don’t be an unfeeling jerk by shaming them for their feelings. Ask if you can help somehow. Say things like, “I’m sorry to hear that!” or, “That is so unfair!”
Don’t give unasked for advice either. Many times when people confide in others, they simply want to vent. They will ask for advice if they need it. If they don’t, it’s safe to assume they have a solution in mind, so why try to give them one? Wait for the person to ask before giving advice.
When a person leaves a conversation, they should feel as my friend always made me feel – loved & valued. Small actions like I mentioned can make that happen, so please remember to do them.
I just wanted to share a little something for those of you with narcissistic mothers who struggle on & around Mother’s Day…
If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.
My print books can be found at the link below…
Several years ago, I posted something on my personal Facebook page that turned into a disaster.
The date was May 31, which is the day that my Granddad passed away in 2003. Each year in May, I get depressed because it’s been so difficult losing such a wonderful man. Some years I discuss it, some I don’t. One year, I mentioned it on Facebook & shared a few pictures of him. This simple act caused one of my relatives to be very angry with me. She left a nasty comment on my post for sharing this because she felt I was disrespecting my grandmother by not mentioning her, & only mentioning Granddad.
Think about this for a moment. It was the anniversary of my granddad’s passing. Doesn’t logic dictate that he was the center of my focus on that particular post rather than my grandmother? I adore her, but May 31 was more about Granddad in my mind & that seemed only logical under the circumstances to me. Besides, I mentioned her on her birthday, the date of her passing & my grandparents’ anniversary, so it’s not like she was ignored!
As if this relative’s reaction to my post wasn’t inane enough, it got worse.
The following May 31, I said nothing since I didn’t want to be attacked again. I didn’t think much about this until another one of my relatives (who happens to be a very malicious covert narcissist) mentioned it being the anniversary of my Granddad’s passing. This relative even shared the exact same pictures I had!! She also said similar things in her post as I had in mine the prior year! Her wording was almost word for word the same as mine. And yes, I compared our posts because I was reasonably sure she had copied mine! It was very shocking to me how she so obviously copied me, but what was even more shocking is the relative who the year prior chewed me out for being so “disrespectful” praised this person for doing the exact same thing as I had! She told this person how incredibly kind & thoughtful it was of her to remember Granddad & how much she loved her.
Frankly, the whole scene made me nauseous.
This type of scenario is very common in narcissistic families. The one who is honest about narcissistic abuse is shunned in so many ways by their own family for not conforming, for not being like the rest of the family & for being open about the family’s secrets. However, the narcissists in the family are treated so much differently! They are showered with love, support & encouragement.
If this is happening in your family, you aren’t imagining it. You aren’t over reacting. You aren’t being over sensitive for being angry about the insanity & unfairness of it. You are a person with a normal reaction to this dysfunctional situation. Unfortunately, for dysfunctional families with a narcissist (or more), their behavior is also pretty normal. Many people don’t have the courage to face the fact that someone in their family is an abusive monster or stand up for what is right. Instead, they side with the abuser. Standing up for what is right means actively doing things, like offering support to the victim & calling an abuser out on their actions. It is easier for cowardly people to side with the abuser. Besides, chances are good they will gain something from their allegiance to the narcissist. It could be favor with the narcissist or gifts or anything really.
All of this means that there is nothing wrong with you! It also is nothing personal, even though it feels that way. The problem lies with not only the abusive narcissist, but his or her flying monkeys as well. You are fine, they are not! Please try to remember that, & keep on telling your story!
When someone goes no contact with their parent, it usually comes about after a lot of thought, sometimes even over a period of years. It also comes after preparation for full no contact. What I mean is often the adult child has tried setting boundaries & limiting contact with their parent. Often, they start small & work up to more boundaries & less contact before full no contact is initiated. I did this myself. I contemplated no contact for a long time before deciding it was what I needed to do. I knew I wasn’t ready & also that timing wasn’t right, however. I leaned on God for guidance & also for strength. He showed me small boundaries I could set. That strengthened me to set larger boundaries & limit my contact with my parents. In time, I knew the time was right for no contact, & I also had the ability to do it.
This isn’t the case when narcissistic parents cut ties with their children.
Narcissistic parents don’t go no contact as a way to protect themselves from abusive people. They inatead use the silent treatment as a way to punish & manipulate, although they may claim they are setting a healthy boundary with an abusive person.
This behavior can be incredibly hurtful to the adult child of a narcissist! It also leaves them questioning what they did wrong & what they could’ve done better. Sometimes they even question what they did because they have no idea. My mother stopped speaking to me for 18 months once, & I never learned why.
If you’re in this situation & struggling with these feelings, you’re normal! It can feel otherwise, but I promise, you’re normal!
Please keep in mind your parent is manipulating you. That’s just what narcissistic parents do. It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. In fact, you probably did something right. If you set a healthy boundary, no doubt your parent is angry & punishing you for it. Maybe you had some personal success. That could have stirred up envy in your parent & he or she wants to hurt you for looking better than them. Whatever the case, your parent is clearly the one with the problem, not you. If you remember that, it will help you not to be as upset about your parent’s behavior. In fact, it may help you to enjoy the repreive from the abusive, awful behavior.
One of the many ways narcissists are incredibly dangerous is how they want to win over the friends & families of their victims. While this may not sound particularly dangerous, it truly can be. It also can be destructive to a person’s life.
When a narcissist befriends those close to their victim, the narcissist learns a lot about that victim. Naturally the narcissist & the victim’s loved one will discuss the victim at some point, & the victim’s loved one will mention something about them that will benefit the narcissist. Maybe the victim started a new job or moved. This person telling the narcissist information has provided the narcissist important information. If the narcissist is the stalking type, now he or she knows new locations to find the victim. If the narcissist doesn’t stalk, he or she still can cause problems. The narcissist can make anonymous phone calls to get the victim in trouble with their boss or landlord.
Or, the victim’s loved one may mention something just in passing that infuriates the narcissist, such as the victim has started dating someone new. If the narcissist hasn’t moved on, this will be a huge narcissistic injury. Some especially malignant narcissists may be so evil, this news makes them decide to kill the victim. If the narcissist isn’t that malignant, he or she still can cause problems for the victim & their new love interest in countless ways. The narcissist might show the new love interest pictures of the victim & narcissist together claiming they never broke up. The narcissist may even show provocative pictures taken of the victim during their time together. The possibilities are endless.
There is also the likelihood that the victim’s relationships will be damaged, often beyond repair, by this new “friendship” with the narcissist. When someone you’re close to suddenly becomes friends with your ex, it can be hurtful. It’s also very suspicious if they never were friends while you were together. When they know that your ex was abusive & are unapologetically on good terms with that person, that is a thousand times more hurtful. It’s an obvious betrayal & proof that this person isn’t loyal to you. That alone can end a relationship with a friend or relative, but if that person becomes the narcissist’s flying monkey, it’s pretty much a guarantee the victim will end that relationship.
The narcissist doesn’t have to be an ex significant other for this to happen either. It happens often in families when one relative is abused by their narcissistic parent. People take sides, & usually they side with the narcissist. It seems that every culture has this unspoken belief that parents can do no wrong & children should love them no matter what. Plus, narcissists are very convincing actors, which helps them win people over to their side.
In either scenario, once the narcissist befriends their victim’s friends or family, that victim will end up losing relationships.
Narcissists are aware of such things happening which is why they try to befriend their victim’s friends & family. They stand to gain a great deal by doing this. They also know they are stealing their victim’s support system, which hurts the victim. They enjoy being able to hurt that person without so much saying a word to them. If you are in this situation where the narcissist in your life has befriended those close to you, my heart goes out to you. Not only were you hurt by the narcissist, but by people you never thought would hurt you. If you are still in a relationship with those people, chances are excellent that it’s in your best interest to end those relationships immediately. Anyone who can befriend someone who abused you is NOT your friend. They are too cowardly to stand up for what is right by telling the narcissist to get lost.
In families with narcissistic parents, the person who marries into this family is in for quite the adventure. I learned this from my own experience, but apparently a lot of stories are very similar to mine. Parents decide immediately whether or not they like the person their son brings home. That decision is often based on simply ridiculous, trivial things such as what kind of work does she do or where she grew up. It can be even more ridiculous such as something about her appearance being a problem. If she is too pretty, if she is over or under weight or maybe she is tall when their family is short. It also could be simply a matter of differences in personality. Rather than be polite for the sake of their son, they hate this new woman in his life. They also demand she respect them while not returning respect to her. And, their definition of respect is that she be seen & not heard, only doing what benefits the family. Her needs & wants mean nothing to this family.
In these situations, the family functions as one unit in an “it’s us against her!” manner. As I have said before, they remind me of the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”. They all function as one, focused only on what the Collective dictates. In this case, the Collective is usually a narcissistic mother pulling everyone’s strings to make them act according to her whim. One whim the “Collective” usually has is to tell the son & have others in the family tell him as well what a terrible person this new woman is. She isn’t good enough, she stole him from their family, she keeps him from them & similar lies are the most common, but some also will say more drastic things she is unfaithful, steals, uses drugs & more.
It never seems to cross their collective mind that this man could get fed up & walk away. And really, why would it? No doubt he has tolerated all manners of maltreatment & even abuse at the hands of his family. They place demands on him like giving them money or otherwise bailing them out of their problems with no thought to how this could affect him, & he does as he is told. Why wouldn’t he? This is what he has done his entire life. Often siblings in these situations call this one mean spirited nicknames his entire life, even as an adult, as an attempt to let him know that he is still a child in their eyes.
Families like this are entitled beyond belief. They honestly think they are entitled to treat this poor man any way they like. By default, they believe they are also entitled to treat his significant other just as badly. They have groomed this man to take any abuse they dish out without complaint, & expect the same behavior from his wife. If she complains, all hell can break loose.
At this point, families like this don’t consider anything that led up to the complaints. They only see the problem at hand, which is someone is setting boundaries on their abuse. The horrors!!
Sadly, the son in this situation doesn’t often realize how disrespectful & insulting his family is to him.
His family has no respect or love for him if they won’t at least try to be civil to the woman he loves. If they did, they would manage basic civility, unless of course that woman was abusive to him.
Clearly his family also thinks he’s stupid. After all, they expect him not to think for himself, but instead to blindly listen to them regarding his life. As if he doesn’t know what is best for him or isn’t smart enough to choose a good woman to marry! How insulting is that?!
It’s a truly sad situation! If you are in this situation, my heart goes out to you! I pray you & your spouse can work together to set healthy boundaries with this Borg-like family. Being clearly a team is the best thing you can do as a couple in this situation.
Many people realize the truth will set you free. They know that even the ugly, painful truth is always better than a pretty lie, & no matter how much it may hurt, always aim for truth in their lives.
Then there are other people who are nothing like that. They prefer pretty lies any day. They excuse the bad behavior of others readily & deny those people have done anything wrong. These people are practicing something called willful ignorance.
Willful ignorance is a legal term which basically means a person has made a poor decision to circumvent information as a way for people to avoid making uncomfortable decisions. On a more personal note, it is the avoidance of information or evidence that would force a person to face something unpleasant.
One of the best examples of this came from my personal life. As I’ve written about before, at the time my father was dying, I had been no contact with him for several months. My family attacked me via any means possible daily, trying to force me to go say goodbye to him. Every time I would block one means, they’d find another. I finally asked God why. One of the things He said was that me staying away meant I was proving that not everything was ok. If I would have gone, that would have shown them that my father was the great guy they wanted to believe he was. I was threatening their willful ignorance.
This also happens in cases where a person is abused by their parent, spouse, in-laws, etc. & other people refuse to believe it rather than get involved & try to protect the victim.
While it is certainly understandable to avoid painful things, willful ignorance is incredibly dysfunctional. It sets people up for disappointment & unnecessary suffering because they refuse to acknowledge the warning signs most people see. It hurts those closest to those who engage in this behavior because they are helpless to help the person they love. These people are so devoted to their dysfunction that they will ignore what the person who loves them says, & will fight with them to protect their denial.
It is so hard being in this situation, whether you are the one practicing willful ignorance or the one who loves someone who practices it.
If you are the one practicing it, please stop! I know the truth can be scary & painful, but by avoiding facing that, you’re hurting yourself, not helping yourself. You need to know that God loves you & will help you to face whatever needs facing. If you have trouble with that due to having an abusive parent figure in your life, He understand that too! Be honest & tell Him just how you feel. It’s ok! I can promise you, He won’t cast you into hell or strike you down with a lightening bolt. He will gently help you to see you can trust Him which will help you to start facing the painful things you must face.
And, if you are someone who loves a person who is willfully ignorant, I want you to know that God understands your pain & frustration. Ask Him to show you how to support our loved one in a healthy way. He will! Don’t get sucked into the dysfunction either. Stick to the truth & don’t let this person convince you of their false beliefs. Keep your boundaries in place & protect yourself from the dysfunction of this situation. This person has the right to engage in their dysfunction to their heart’s content, but you also have the right to engage in healthier ways. Part of that means protecting yourself & not getting involved in their dysfunction.
My publisher is offering a sale on all of my print books. Use code ORDER15 at checkout.
My books can be found at the link below:
Low contact is exactly as it sounds, when a person has low contact with another. It isn’t discussed a lot in the circles that discuss narcissistic abuse, which is really a shame.
If you are in the position of not being able to go full no contact, such as in the situation of having joint custody of children together, low contact is an excellent alternative. Or, if you want to go no contact but don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet, low contact can help you get to that point. Low contact is different than no contact in that it doesn’t need to be done all at once. It can be done little by little, & each little step you take increases your confidence in your ability to set boundaries with the narcissist. Or, if the narcissist in your life is low on the spectrum, you may find that low contact makes the relationship much more tolerable & decide not to go full no contact. In any case, low contact really can be a very helpful tool!
Whatever your situation with the narcissist, if you are considering low contact, I’m sure it’s for a very valid reason. At their absolute best, narcissists are VERY difficult to deal with & at their worst, impossible to deal with, even dangerous to one’s physical & mental health. Be proud of yourself for taking care of yourself!
If you think low contact is a good option for you, you are probably wondering where to start. I’ll tell you how I did low contact with my parents, & you can decide if this would work for you or not. I started by not answering the phone every time my parents narcissist called. That boundary was clearly a shock to them, but although they were angry, they realized they couldn’t rage without appearing foolish. Rather than rage, they made some snide comments like, “You didn’t answer the phone yesterday.. I thought you were mad at me.” Naturally those comments hurt at first but I realized that was the intent behind them. My parents were simply upset that I was setting a perfectly reasonable boundary.
I also started setting limits on how long we were on the phone together for the first time. My parents always determined how long our calls lasted, so this was a little trickier. Saying, “I have to go” didn’t work so I needed to get creative. I also don’t like to lie, so that also made this really tricky. I sometimes rang my doorbell so my dogs would bark & say, “Doorbell rang. Dixie’s barking, you hear that? I need to go.” Other times I used another phone to trigger the call waiting on the phone I was using so they’d hear the beep & they’d let me go so I could respond to the beep.
My parents lived not far from me, & my father in particular wanted to visit often. He often invited himself to visit my home. Thankfully he would call a few days prior at least rather than just showing up. When he called saying he wanted to visit soon, I would say things like, “Tuesday isn’t good.. how about Thursday instead?” It didn’t take long for him to want to come by less often. Clearly, he didn’t like me taking some control back.
The more boundaries I set, the more confident I became in my ability to set boundaries & eventually go no contact. This is normal! Each small step you take creates not only more space between you & the narcissist, but also builds your confidence. You see you can do one thing, then gain the confidence to do something a little bolder, then a little bolder yet & so forth. Before you know it, you’re ready to implement no contact, if that is your goal.
And something else happened – the more boundaries I set & the more comfortable I was setting them, the less my parents wanted to do with me! They began avoiding me. Their phone calls & visits became much less frequent. Also, their calls & visits became much shorter in duration, too. This also is normal! Narcissists naturally have an aversion to boundaries & to healthy people. Low contact truly is a wonderful thing! It helps victims reclaim some of their power & confidence while repelling narcissists. I want to encourage you to give it a try! I believe you will be very pleased by the results!
It’s a simple fact of life that some family members abuse other family members. Every single person I have spoken with who reads my work has been abused by at least one relative. I have been too. And one thing the majority of us have in common is that we have severed ties with these monsters to protect ourselves.
So many people have experienced the same thing I have, people coming out of the woodwork to tell us we have done something terrible by severing ties. They seem to think since you’re related, that relationship is somehow sacred, & there is never any reason to end it. Many people even bring God into their warped views, saying you have to “forgive & forget” or “honor your parent” by tolerating whatever they do to you.
I want you to know today that is completely wrong!
Titus 3:10 says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,” (ESV) And, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says,“3 But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) (Emphasis added)
Did you notice something in there about how this applies to anyone but family? Me neither. Probably because it’s not there!
So many of you reading this post today have ended relationships with your abusive family members, & are struggling with guilt & doubt. I totally understand. I’ve been in this same position. After I stopped speaking to my parents, I had a LOT of both guilt & doubt. Shortly after, I learned my father had leukemia, which added even more guilt & doubt. I also had relatives constantly telling me how awful I was & doing their best to shame & even bully me into resuming the relationship with my parents. The only reason I survived all of that with my sanity in tact is God.
When times got tough & people were being so cruel to me about being no contact, I depended on God to help me get through. Help me He did too! God would remind me that I did what was right, at the time it was right, & I did nothing wrong. They didn’t see that because of their own issues, not because I had done something bad. He even stopped me from making things worse by enabling me not to respond to their vicious attacks. He kept reminding me that if I responded, things would get worse, so ignore them. Save their emails, messages, etc. in case I need them one day, but don’t read them or respond to them.
Everything God did for me during the flying monkey attacks was exactly what I needed in my situation. He will do the same for you!
If you have come to the point of having no contact with some of your family, please rest assured God understands! Contrary to what some people think, He is ok with you removing toxic, abusive people from your life, even if they are family. When you’re struggling with your decision, talk to Him & ask His help. He won’t let you down! Let Him help! He can get you through anything, even this!
January 12, 2018, I had an odd experience. It was my father’s birthday, the first birthday after his death. I was thinking about that when I felt strongly that he wanted God to send me a message.. “Encourage the weak, like me.” I immediately knew in my heart what that meant.
At that point, it was just over 2 months since my father died, & in that short time, God showed me a great deal about him, including why he didn’t protect me from my mother. One of those things was that he felt trapped in their marriage, unable to escape. I believe that was what he meant by “the weak”, other people who also feel trapped in their situation.
Every January around his birthday, I try to encourage those who are still in relationships with narcissists as a result of that message.
If you’re still in a relationship with the narcissist in your life, I don’t think you’re weak at all. I think my father used that word because he felt weak for not protecting me & wanted me to know others in similar situations also felt weak. I get that, but I still don’t think you’re weak. If you were, I doubt highly that you would have any interest in reading this post or anything else about narcissism.
Maybe you’re forced to stay because of financial reasons. Narcissists abuse in every way, including financially. Many narcissistic parents & partners steal money from their victim, ruin their credit, get them fired from their jobs or even forbid them to work.
Many victims feel a sense of obligation to the narcissist. My ex husband made me feel as if I owed it to him to be with him, even when I was miserable with him. He hardly the only one who has done that to a victim.
Many stay because they mistakenly feel as Christians, it’s dishonoring their parents to go no contact or it’s a sin to divorce an abusive partner. Sadly, many victims are encouraged to think this way either by narcissists & their flying monkeys or by those who don’t understand the Bible very well.
Another possibility is that you can leave, but feel so beaten down, you don’t think you can leave. You don’t trust in yourself to make it on your own without the narcissist telling you what to do, how to think, how to feel, what to wear, & on & on. You don’t think you have any marketable skills to earn a living that could support you & maybe also children.
Staying in a relationship with a narcissist takes a great deal of inner strength. Fighting to keep your sanity in a completely insane situation day after day isn’t easy! It takes a TON of courage & strength.
In spite of what many people say, no contact isn’t an easy solution that fixes all of your problems. If that is your goal, know being prepared for it won’t happen overnight. It takes time to build up the courage to do it, & courage to face the aftermath. The narcissist most likely will create a smear campaign against you & send the flying monkeys. Mentally preparing for all of that takes time, learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & boundaries, a great deal of prayer & leaning on God to show you what do to, when to do it & how to do it.
No, Dear Reader.. you aren’t weak. You are strong. The fact that you are looking for solutions to your situation shows you have strength. Know that you will survive this with your sanity & dignity in tact. Until you know what you need to do, always practice the Gray Rock method, keep & enforce healthy boundaries & focus on your healing. You can get through this!!
During the holiday season, many families get together. They share a good meal & enjoy each other’s company. There is no pressure about these gatherings & everyone genuinely looks forward to them.
Then there are the dysfunctional family gatherings. They are something very different.
On first glance, dysfunctional family gatherings may look the same as their functional counterparts. Family members get together & share a big meal. But, that is often where the similarities end.
With dysfunctional families, the stress is terrible. There is usually intense pressure to show up at the get together no matter what. Sick? Who cares? You aren’t so sick you can’t attend! Car trouble? So what? Figure out how to get there! You would prefer to spend the day at home or with some friends? Clearly something is very wrong with you! No one is as worthy of your time as the dysfunctional family, & the holiday dictator will be highly offended if you even consider spending time with anyone else. You need to attend this gathering & act like you are happy when you’re there, even if you are miserable. Your misery means nothing, after all. This gathering is all about appearances, not about having a good time.
There’s also the dysfunctional clique action. Some people are going to shun other people or at the very least talk badly about them. Maybe the other people didn’t bring a large enough casserole. Maybe their gifts didn’t cost as much as the shunning people think they should have cost. Maybe the other people weren’t wearing the appropriate holiday attire. In any case, something will be found to criticize even when there isn’t anything to criticize.
The truth is that very few people genuinely enjoy this get together. They may dread it but feel no other option is available but to attend & pretend to have a wonderful time.
So why participate in this gathering at all? Wouldn’t it just make more sense to do whatever you enjoy on the holidays & forego the dysfunctional family nightmare hoopla? It would, but few will do that. There are several reasons why.
One reason is no one wants to anger the holiday dictator. Doing so can result in guilt trips, anger, &/or shaming. No one wants this. Many people think it is simply easier to sacrifice a holiday than to deal with the guilt, anger or shaming.
Another reason is that by participating in these get togethers, it gives the delusion that this family actually is a big, happy, functional family. They can pretend that everyone gets along & is a “normal” family because after all, they got together for this holiday gathering. That is a perfectly normal thing to do, so it must prove they are all normal.
When you are aren’t someone who is capable of blindly going along with people’s delusions & denial, these gatherings can be described as nothing less than excruciating. The fakeness of it all is exhausting & repulsive to those who believe in facing the truth.
When you are faced with these dysfunctional family gatherings, you can cope. You have choices.
You can choose not to attend. This decision is a tough one, because those who are in favor of this get together will judge & criticize you harshly for not attending. Even so, it may be worth it.
You can attend, but with strict boundaries in place. You can avoid the critics as much as possible. You also can set a specific time to give to this gathering then leave at the allotted time.
If you attend & the critics start their nastiness, you also can simply say, “Well, isn’t that nice” & walk away. In the southern part of the United States, that comment is known to be a polite way of saying, “I really don’t care.” I have said it many times then walked away. It feels good! It also tells the critics their opinion means nothing to you. Believe it or not, you do have options during the holiday season. Exercise them! It is your right!
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As a black sheep, I have plenty of experience in the role. I hope my thoughts here help my fellow black sheep!
To be a black sheep in your family, you have to be very different from that family. We’re labeled that way because we talk truth rather than denial & we aren’t willing to live in the same dysfunctional patterns as our relatives. Rather than that being a good thing, we’re ruthlessly judged & criticized for not following in our family’s dysfunctional footsteps. Rather than applaud our courage for breaking the cycle, we’re called things like crazy & ungrateful, & treated as if we’re the scourge of the earth for going against “family”.
You also can marry into a family where you’re the black sheep. I’ve done this as have many other women I know. My mother in-law hated me from when we first met, which meant her two daughters did as well. I am very different from all of them. My interests, beliefs & more are different than theirs. These differences were obviously a big problem, among other things. Not submitting to their control was a problem, too. If I just would’ve let them mold me into whatever they wanted me to be, they might have been able to tolerate me.
It’s not easy being a black sheep because of such treatment. Your own flesh & blood being so cruel hurts. Not only their words, but their betrayal too. Or, in the case of in-laws like mine, it’s frustrating because you never had a chance. Nothing you could’ve done or done differently would’ve made any difference.
In these situations, I believe that feeling your emotions is important. It’s ok to be sad or angry that things are as they are with your family &/or in-laws, or that people you thought loved you would turn their back on you. It’s ok to be sad or angry that the family of the person you love has so little love & respect for that person, they can’t manage even basic civility to you, that person’s mate. Any person with even a bit of love in their heart would be emotional about these things!
Accept people. This doesn’t mean you should tolerate abuse, of course. It just means that you accept that these people are in a place of dysfunction & that means you two aren’t going to get along because you want to be healthy. It’s comparable to a former drug addict. That person isn’t going to spend time with his former dealer if he wants to maintain his sobriety! If you want to maintain your functional ways, you’re going to have to avoid dysfunctional people.
Recognize that their mistreatment of you isn’t personal. It’s merely their dysfunction coming out. When my father was dying & my family attacked me for not going to say goodbye, God showed me that it had nothing to do with me or my father. It was about them maintaining their delusions. My not going was proof our family wasn’t perfect, which is a truth they were unable to accept. This seems to be common among family members who shun the black sheep.
If you think about it, do you really want to fit in with people like this? I thought about my family in this context. Almost every person is fake, judgmental, critical, hypocritical, greedy, wicked & more. Not long after my mother died I learned a couple of relatives conned a great deal of money out of her after my father died. How despicable! I have NO desire for anyone like that in my life, family or not. If you think about it, you may feel the same way.
If you’re struggling with your black sheep role, always remember you can talk to your Heavenly Father about it. God will help you to cope & give you comfort. Let Him! He’s more than happy to do that for you.
If you are in a long term relationship or are married to someone & at least one of you has narcissistic parents or family members, there is something you should know. Standing up for your partner to your narcissistic parents is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.
When a couple makes a commitment to each other, a big part of that commitment is taking care of each other. Part of that involves not tolerating anyone hurting your partner. If you stand up to someone on behalf of your partner, you show your partner that this person’s well being & safety are extremely important to you. You prove that you love that person & will do your best to keep them safe. This is incredibly good for your relationship!
Not tolerating someone hurting your partner also shows the abusive person that you are well aware of their actions, & there are consequences for their behavior. Not doing so only proves to an abuser that they can do anything they want without consequences. This means that they will continue what they have been doing & in time, their behavior will get even worse. And, your partner will be left feeling abandoned & alone, which is potentially relationship ending. No one in a committed relationship should feel that way!
If you struggle with defending your partner to your abusive family members, then please consider a couple of things.
If it is your family that mistreats your partner, this means they are your problem! It is NOT your partner’s job to deal with your family. If your partner confronts your family rather than you, your family will be highly upset. That happens in many families, but especially in narcissistic ones. Chances are they will tell you what a terrible person your partner is, how he or she isn’t good enough to be in your life or other nonsense as a way to deflect your attention from their terrible behavior. If you are the one to confront them, they still may try to deflect & criticize your partner, but there is a better chance of them listening to you than your partner!
Also if anyone in your family mistreats your partner, they have absolutely no love or respect for you. If they had any respect or love for you, they would manage to be civil to your partner no matter how much they disliked this person. If your partner is abusive to you, any children you share or your family, that is a different scenario. They should civilly address their concerns with you, be loyal to you & care more about your safety than civility. However, if the reason they dislike your partner is because of simple differences in personality, your family should manage basic civility at the very least to this person out of love for you. When you love someone, it’s not that hard to be polite to someone they care about even if you can’t stand that person. I have done it & while it can be hard to be polite to someone you really dislike, reminding yourself of the person you care about can make this much easier.
Dear Reader, if you are in this position of having someone in your family mistreat or even abuse someone you love, then please consider what I have said. Protect your loved one! It will protect their mental & physical safety but also help your relationship! In fact, protecting your loved one will increase the bond you both share.
The holiday season is a very popular time of year for narcissists. Overt narcissists love ruining everyone’s joy by causing discord around holidays. Covert narcissists love throwing parties, cooking, baking, buying tons of gifts & making sure everyone knows how hard they worked & sacrificed. This sort of thing can lead to a lot of dread of holidays in many of us who have been subjected to holidays with narcissists.
As if that isn’t bad enough, there are also those who judge those of us who are less than thrilled with holidays or even choose not to celebrate them. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been criticized for not liking holidays or celebrating them anymore. I wish these judgmental jerks would experience just a part of what I have, then see if they can maintain their “holiday cheer.”
Since that’s impossible, I figured I would discuss this topic for those of you who share my lack of enthusiasm & give some points you can bring up to the judgmental folks if you need to.
Not everyone is going to think the same about holidays, & there is nothing wrong with that! Everyone is unique, right down to their fingerprints & DNA. Just because someone celebrates in a way that is different than you doesn’t mean they’re automatically wrong. It just means they want to do something different. What gives anyone the right to say their way of celebrating is the only way to celebrate?
Some people are what I refer to as holiday Nazis. They want what they want, when they want it for holidays, & there is zero tolerance for disobedience. My mother in-law was like this as was my first mother in-law. What makes the wishes of these people so important anyway? What if someone wants to spend the day at home with their immediate family instead of attending some big party? Why is that wrong? I don’t see how it is. Again, it’s different, not wrong. Besides, these people & their demands can ruin holidays for even the most die hard holiday fanatic. How is that so difficult to understand? It’s only normal that after repeated ruined holidays a person comes to dislike them.
Some people are also dysfunctional & not willing to work on it. For them, holidays are a time to prove that their family isn’t dysfunctional, but a big, happy family. These people can’t stand those of us who don’t go along with the charade, because we threaten their delusions. Rather than face the truth, they attack those of us who live in it for not going along with their big happy family act. How does this make any sense? It only makes sense in the minds of the dysfunctional fools who behave this way.
And, what if someone has found a way to enjoy holidays that works for them? Why is that worthy of criticism? Holidays are supposed to be about joy, peace & love. Where is any of that in judging how someone spends holidays?
Those of us who have had more bad than good holidays don’t need judgment & criticism about what we want to do. We don’t need to hear that we are wrong for how we choose to celebrate or if we choose to ignore the day. We don’t need to be criticized because we prefer Italian food or some other food over traditional holiday fare. We don’t need to have our faith brought into question because we don’t celebrate Christmas the way other people do. Not celebrating Christmas the traditional way has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s faith in God any more than not celebrating Thanksgiving makes a person ungrateful. No one should be made to feel flawed or “less than” simply because they choose to live their life in a way that brings them peace & joy. If someone tries to make you feel badly for how you celebrate or don’t celebrate this holiday season, remember that clearly they have the problem, not you. Functional people don’t try to ruin other people’s joy.
Often, two people who were raised by narcissistic parents marry each other when they grow up. Ideally, they understand each other’s past, offer support & help each other cope if their parents are still a part of their lives. Sadly though, this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes when two adult children of narcissistic parents marry, they learn each person is on a very different page. One is trying to be healthy while the other remains in denial of just how toxic his or her parents are. This is hardly an easy position to be in for either person.
If you are in this painful situation, I hope this post can help you today!
To start with, you need to pray. Ask God for any help you need to cope with the situation, whether it be patience, understanding, wisdom or anything. Prayer is always the best place to start in any difficult situation, & situations don’t get much more difficult than this one!
Next, you need to accept that you & your partner are in a different place. Your spouse may never see the truth about their parents. They also may never see the truth about yours, for that matter. You can’t change this, so you need to accept that painful truth.
You also need to accept that you can’t change your partner. As much as you’d like to, you can’t make him or her see the truth. We all have to face the truth as we are able. Forcing someone to see the truth before they’re ready isn’t good for their mental health.
You may need to stop discussing anything about your parents with each other to avoid conflict. I know this is incredibly frustrating because you should be able to discuss any topic with your spouse. In an ideal world, that is how things are. Unfortunately though, when dealing with two fallible human beings, that isn’t always feasible. If discussing anything about parents causes strife, it may be best to find someone else with which to discuss the problems. A close friend or relative, your pastor or even a counselor may be a much better option for you.
If you have issues with your spouse’s narcissistic parent, unfortunately, you can’t expect support from your spouse if he or she doesn’t see that parent is narcissistic. Don’t expect it from him or her. I realize this goes against what is natural & is very painful & hard to accept, but you need to do it anyway. Accepting this painful truth is hard, but it is easier than to be disappointed in your spouse repeatedly.
You also will need to find ways to deal with your narcissistic in-laws on your own, & chances are slim your spouse will approve of how you deal with them. This is tricky. There is no way to avoid your spouse’s anger in this situation. The best you can do is to remain calm when dealing with your awful in-laws & your spouse. Also be logical when your spouse gets angry. If he or she says you’re hurting the narcissistic parent, for example, you can say that parent has hurt you too. Why was that acceptable behavior but you setting a reasonable boundary to protect yourself wasn’t?
Never forget to take care of yourself & your mental health. A spouse in denial can be very good at making the healthier spouse feel as if they are wrong, over sensitive or even crazy. Don’t buy into this gaslighting! You are doing what is right by facing the truth about your narcissistic parents & in-laws. Don’t let anyone, including your spouse, convince you otherwise!
When you’re the family scapegoat, not only do your narcissistic parents abuse you, but other relatives as well. It seems that people think if your own parents abuse you, doing so much be acceptable behavior. It’s a miserable life! It doesn’t have to stay that way though! You can break out of the scapegoat role!
To start, you’re going to need to get to know yourself so you know what you will & won’t tolerate. Pay attention to how you really feel about everything. Question yourself. Do you like or dislike things because that is genuinely your taste or because your parent told you to? Writing things down may be a big help to you.
Look at yourself objectively, & recognize the truth about yourself. The more you do this, the more you’ll learn to reject the terrible things your abusers have told you about yourself & the healthier your self esteem will become. If it helps, write things down. Maybe write down what they have said about you, & what you observed about yourself.
Learn to stop explaining yourself. Your abusers don’t deserve to know why you do or don’t do things. It isn’t their business. If you feel you must offer an explanation, keep the explanation to a minimum, such as comments like, “I already have plans.” The less information narcissists have, the less they can use to hurt or control you.
Learn about boundaries. When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you have absolutely no concept of boundaries. Narcissistic parents & their children often blur together. Their children are merely extensions of their parents. That is terribly unhealthy! Make healthy changes & learn about boundaries. Learn where you end & other’s begin, & what is & is not your responsibility. Narcissists hate boundaries because they make a person much harder to control, so at first the narcissist in your life may fight your new boundaries. Keep learning & growing though! Your mental health will appreciate it!
Learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. You can’t possibly fully understand it, I don’t think anyone can. You can get a decent grasp as to what motivates narcissists & what they do, however, which will help you to cope with them. You will learn what to expect from them which will help you to figure out ways to deal with the behavior when it happens. And, when you get a revelation on the fact that they have some serious problems, you won’t take their abusive behavior as personally. You will recognize that they act as they do because they have issues. This makes their behavior hurt less, & makes you less easily manipulated.
As a bonus, learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder also helps you when it comes to the narcissist’s flying monkeys. I firmly believe many flying monkeys are narcissists since they display so many narcissistic behaviors. Plus, whether or not they are, when you realize that people are blindly supporting someone as wicked as a narcissist, that also gives you a new perspective on them. You realize their opinions on your life are worthless because anyone who would want you to maintain such a horrible, destructive & dysfunctional relationship clearly doesn’t care about you.
Breaking free of the family scapegoat role can be intimidating at first, but I promise you, it is well worth the effort you put into it! You can’t help abusive people live their lives in a healthy way, but at least you can prevent them from putting their dysfunction & abuse on you!
When someone mentions the black sheep of their family, the common mental image people get is someone who is very different from the rest of the family. Maybe the black sheep is the one person in the family who is in trouble with the law or is a surly type.
More often than you would think, this isn’t the case though. Instead, the black sheep is nothing like their bad reputation. The only thing they are guilty of is not being like the rest of their family, aka the White Sheep. In these cases, this is usually a very good thing!
As I’ve mentioned before, I think of dysfunctional families much like the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The Borg were all alike & only focused on what was best for the Collective. Individuality was not tolerated. This is exactly like a dysfunctional family. Individuality is discouraged & all that matters is the Collective, aka the family.
Dysfunctional families are the same way, so when a member is different, they aren’t pleased. They are even less pleased if there is abuse in the family & someone discusses the abuse openly. It is a guarantee that person will be labeled the Black Sheep, referred to as mentally unstable, oversensitive & more. Their traumatic experiences will be invalidated or even denied.
This has been my experience as a black sheep in my family & my in-law family. The good part though is although it hurt at first, it taught me a lot.
People who treat someone who has been abused this way are cowardly. They have no integrity either, because they would rather do nothing than stand up for what is right. I’m glad not to be like them! I’d rather be a person of integrity who is willing to help others than be a coward! If being labeled the black sheep means I’m someone with integrity, I’m absolutely fine with the label!
When you consider your situation, chances are good you’ll realize that the opinions of the White Sheep really aren’t important as I did. Why should you care what they think of you? Just because they’re family? That isn’t a good reason! The only people whose opinions should matter to you are those who genuinely love you & want what is best for you, whether or not those people are related to you. People who want you to fit inside their little box of what they think you should be, like the Borg, don’t love you God’s way, nor do they want what is best for you. Why should their opinion of you matter? Being weighed down by the opinions of other people is exhausting, especially when their opinions of you are so restrictive! It’s truly a blessing & freeing not to have to worry about such things.
White Sheep family members often think the Black Sheep of their family has nothing in common with them. They often are right about that! That being said though, it doesn’t mean they’re right & you’re wrong. You’re simply different from them. Different does NOT equal bad! That is a very important thing to realize! Different can be a wonderful thing. People who think differently invented all kinds of great things, heal others mentally & physically & more. Besides, the world would be incredibly dull if we all thought the same!
The things that make you unique also could be something that makes the White Sheep envy you. Did you ever think of that? They could be labeling you out of simple envy. Many people do this rather than try to improve themselves.
Or, they could be too afraid to face their own issues & are trying to shut you down because you facing yours makes them feel badly. This is something God told me that my own family has done to me. It’s better in their mind to shut me down than to face their demons.
Whatever the case, I want to encourage you to embrace your Black Sheep label. Being a Black Sheep requires courage & strength. Be proud of yourself for possessing such wonderful qualities, & don’t try to please the White Sheep. You get this one life to live.. you should live it in a way that pleases you, not others.
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Living through narcissistic abuse is a horrific experience that no one should have to endure. As if that isn’t bad enough, many victims open up to their family about their experiences & are met with unbelief, blame, shaming comments, denial & more. Their family members say that they should forgive & forget, get over it, & other invalidating comments. It’s so shocking when you expect support & love & are met with these terrible reactions. As if this wasn’t enough, many families offer unconditional love & support to the abuser while shunning the victim.
The vast majority of my family never cared that my parents were abusive to me. They ignored signs when I was a child. As an adult, they told me things like I needed to get over my childhood hurts, I only get one set of parents & I needed to fix the relationship with my parents. No doubt many of you can relate.
Victims often wonder why their family acts this way. I have some ideas why. By explaining the behavior, I am certainly NOT excusing it. There is no valid reason to treat a victim this way. I am simply trying to show victims that the people who say such comments are incredibly dysfunctional & should be ignored not believed.
Denial is the main reason families reject victims & support abusers. Who wants to accept the fact that someone they love in their own family is capable of horrible acts?! No one. Many people do it anyway. Many other people lack the courage to face that ugly truth. Also, by denying the abuse, they can have a clear conscience when it comes to failing to help or protect the victim. If the abuse didn’t happen, even only in their mind, then they did nothing wrong. Lastly, many of these people care a great deal about the abuser. Narcissists can be quite charming & likeable. These people believe this act is the real person & become so enchanted with that false persona, they will reject anything that threatens it which includes someone claiming that person isn’t the perfect person they present themselves as.
Many of these abuse defenders have abuse in their own past. For every victim of abuse who confronts their pain & works on healing, there are other victims who don’t have the courage to do the same. They pretend they weren’t abused, pushing all memories as far away from them as they can so as to avoid their pain. When you face your pain, those people are reminded of theirs, especially if the abuse had similarities. Facing your pain makes them feel badly for not facing theirs as well as reminds them of their own pain. Since they don’t want to be reminded of their own pain, they will do their best to shut you down quickly.
Some abuse defenders are also abusive narcissists. Abusers don’t want to admit any behavior is abusive. It means admitting to themselves that they too are abusers, & what they are doing is wrong. While narcissists lack the empathy to care about the pain & suffering they cause their victims, they do care about what others think of them. To be known as an abuser tarnishes their reputation, which is something they wish to avoid at all costs.
Many abuse defenders benefit from befriending the narcissist. Immediately after my mother died, I learned she sent one of my aunts money monthly. I was stunned! They never got along & my mother often had complained of my aunt’s lack of money management skills as well as her expectations of others to bail her out every time she got herself into trouble. I can only assume her benefiting from my mother is why she was such a staunch defender of my parents. There are many others in similar situations who like my aunt, refuse to chance losing their benefits from the narcissist & prefer to throw their victims under the bus.
When you are in such a situation, I hope you keep this information in mind. When your family dismisses your valid claims of abuse, the problem definitely isn’t you. It’s them!