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Is Confronting Abusers Biblical?

Many people tell victims of narcissistic abuse things like “You need to be the bigger person & let it go.”  “You just don’t understand- she had a bad childhood!”  “You just need to forgive & forget.”  “The Bible says to honor your parents.  If you call your mother/father out on their behavior, God doesn’t approve of that!”  Such statements are often said for the following reasons…

 

  1. The person has come from an abusive past, & refuses to face the pain.  You talking about it reminds that person of his or her pain.  That person wants to shut you down so you stop making that person uncomfortable.
  2. The person knows the narcissist, & like all flying monkeys, is protective of that narcissist.  If the narcissist is related to this person, this is a very likely scenario.  Families are extremely protective of narcissists.  You can see a post I wrote on the topic here:  How Families Protect Their Narcissist

 

Whatever the reasons these ludicrous statements are said, they not only hurt, they confuse & frustrate victims.  As if it’s not bad enough we’ve been abused by the narcissist, now other people are being abusive as well by invalidating our pain as well as judging & criticizing us for speaking up to the abuser.

There is a verse in Isaiah that can shut down the argument that a victim shouldn’t speak up:

Isaiah 1:16-17  “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, REBUKE THE OPPRESSOR; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”  (NKJV) (emphasis added)

Notice the part in all caps.  “Rebuke the oppressor.”  God said that!  I just capitalized it for emphasis.  Pretty cool, huh?  According to God, we are not only allowed to confront someone about abusive behavior- we are supposed to do it.  Do you really think God would’ve included that in the Bible if He didn’t want people to do it?  Also notice- it doesn’t say, “Rebuke the oppressor, unless the oppressor is a parent.”  There are no exceptions in this verse!

Now I realize with narcissists, many times it’s easier to let them do something than confront them.  They love turning things around where the victim is the blame or telling others how mean & unreasonable a victim is for not tolerating their abuse.  It’s frustrating but such behaviors mean that sometimes we shouldn’t confront them.  But, even so, there are times that we know in our hearts we need to speak up to them no matter what they do.  During those times, you can rest assured you are doing the right thing.  It’s even in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah!

If anyone judges or criticizes you for speaking up to the narcissist in your life, although it can be painful, try to ignore it.   If God Himself has said we are to rebuke an oppressor, who is any mere human to tell you it’s the wrong thing to do?  You do what you know that God would have you to do, even if that includes confronting a narcissist, & you do it secure in the knowledge God approves of what you’re doing.

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Narcissistic In-Laws & Exes

Since I’m working on a book about narcissistic in-laws, it’s certainly gotten me to thinking about them.  Not exactly a fun topic since I’ve been through a LOT at the hands of narcissistic in-laws, but it’s also a topic that needs to be addressed.  I’ll share a blog post when it’s published as well as add the link to my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

 

One thing that recently has come to mind about these dreadful people is how they are with exes.  I’ve heard of & read so many stories of narcissistic in-laws who keep in touch with their son’s or brother’s ex, even after he has moved on to another woman & there were no children created in the relationship.  They may even have the ex’s picture hanging up in their home or a picture of him with her when they were together.  They may invite her to family functions, whether or not the new lady is present.

 

I’ve been down this road.  A woman my husband broke up with in 1991 is still a bigger part of my in-law’s family than I ever have been.  In 1997 at an in-law family party, my two sisters in-law spoke a LOT about her (when it was just the three of us together, no witnesses, of course), talking about what a great person she was & how they should hang out with her soon.  They never wanted to hang out with me, mind you.  Not long after we were married in 1998, my mother in-law told me how disappointed she & my father in-law were that my husband married me instead of this person.  Over the years, I learned that at least one of the sisters in-law not only kept in close contact with this ex, but kept my husband abreast of what was going on in her life.  Then, when we ran into her in a store two months to the day after my husband’s father died, I saw how comfortable & friendly she was with my husband.  It was painfully obvious she’d seen him recently, so I later asked what was going on with her.  Turns out not only had she been to my father in-law’s funeral, but also my mother in-law’s & took one of her sons to visit my mother in-law in the hospital.  She also lives only a few miles from my late in-laws’ home & attends the church they attended.

 

As if all of this isn’t awful enough, I also realized when we saw this woman that she obviously is still very attracted to my husband.

 

This whole situation got me to thinking about these types of situations.  If you’re in it, you’re going to need a lot of wisdom on how to cope with it.

 

I’m not saying all friendships between people & their exes or even their family & their exes are bad.  Sometimes they work out just fine or are necessary because of children or other ties to each other such as owning a business together.  When narcissistic in-laws are involved though, it’s a whole different situation.  This relationship isn’t because these people were genuinely fond of each other.  Like everything else, there is a self-serving purpose in it.  Never ever doubt that!  Your spouse may think his family’s behavior is normal but it isn’t!

 

If you wonder, watch how this relationship is handled.  Your feelings should be considered.  Your in-laws should not flaunt this person to you.  This person shouldn’t be frequently discussed fondly in front of you or her picture shouldn’t be in a predominant space in the in-law home (especially if it also includes your spouse).

 

How do they handle this relationship regarding your spouse?  Do they keep your spouse up to date on his ex’s life?  If your spouse wants no parts of the details of that ex, do they force him to listen anyway?  Do they forward her emails to him so he not only knows but has her email address as well?

 

These behaviors are all red flags, & you are going to need a lot of wisdom on how to handle this situation.

 

As always, I recommend prayer as the best place to start.  Luke 12:12 says, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (KJV) & James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)  Seems to me prayer is the best place you can start!

 

Also never give your spouse an ultimatum.  People who do this almost always end up losing because no one wants to feel controlled or manipulated.

 

Stay calm when you must discuss the situation.  If you act angry or hurt, chances are your spouse will discuss the conversation with someone in his family.  From there, it would be very easy for your in-laws to convince your spouse that you’re unreasonable, paranoid, even crazy.  And, no doubt if he sees his ex, she is on good behavior.  She will look even better to him & you even worse.  So stay calm during the discussion for the sake of your marriage!

 

Do NOT tell him what you think his family is up to.  Coming from a narcissistic family does quite the number on a person’s psyche as most people know.  One thing I’ve noticed is men in these situations have a lot more trouble facing the truth about their family than women.  (No guys, I don’t hate you or think you’re stupid.  It’s just an observation.)  If you’re in this position with your spouse, I know it can be frustrating.  You see the truth so clearly but your spouse doesn’t.  Don’t work hard trying to convince him of the truth.  You telling the truth will come across to him as you criticizing his family, which in turn will make him very protective of them & angry at you.  It will drive a huge wedge between you two.

 

You can, however, gently, let your spouse know that you are very uncomfortable with this situation.  Tell him how you feel, & don’t be afraid of being vulnerable.  Better for your spouse to see that side of you than the angry side, because it won’t make him defensive.  He will be more willing to listen to you & relate to your perspective if you aren’t angry.

 

Also, what about the ex?  Is she obviously still attracted to your husband?  This is tough, I know.  I really feel your pain.  The best I know to do with this is to focus on your spouse.  Make sure you don’t stop doing things that he loves or finds attractive about you.  Do nice little gestures for him to show him you love him, like slipping love notes into his lunch box, sock drawer, coat pocket or even taping them to his steering wheel while he’s in the shower.   If you tell him what a terrible person his ex is instead, you’re only making him defensive of her & angry at you.  Yes, I know this one is HARD.  After seeing my husband’s ex, every fiber in me wanted to say exactly what I think of her & his family.  But, I knew that he wouldn’t believe what I said & would end up passionately defending them while simultaneously being very angry with me.

 

Lastly remember, all of this isn’t about you.  It’s about some pretty dysfunctional people doing what dysfunctional people do.  If the ex is still interested, well, she should have tried harder to keep him & is being foolish for not giving up.  He moved on & she should too.  As for your in-laws, they are getting something out of this relationship.  They probably want to split you & your spouse up or at the very least cause trouble between you two.  Maybe they think because she’s wealthy or in some sort of position in society, she makes them look good.  Who knows?  But you can be sure of one thing… whatever sick mess is happening in this relationship, it has nothing to do with you.

 

I wish you the absolute best in this situation!  xoxo

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Narcissists & The Gifts They Give

Like everything in the life of a narcissist, the gifts they give are all about them.  They give what will benefit them in some way or what they think will make you change according to what they think you should be.  This is why so often, people dread receiving gifts from narcissists.

 

If they’re trying to win you over somehow such as in the early stages of dating or after an argument, narcissists may give a good gift.  That gift is supposed to help buy your love or forgiveness.  That gift may be extravagant or something you mentioned wanting.  My ex husband gave me only 2 nice gifts in our entire relationship.  The first one was about 2 months after we met, for my birthday.

 

Narcissists also may give a gift to make you indebted to them.  Maybe you are supposed to give them a gift in return.  Maybe the gift they gave you is very expensive so you feel obligated to tolerate their abuse because they spent so much on that gift.   Maybe you showed signs of wanting to end the relationship & this gift was supposed to make you want to rethink that move.

 

Often, narcissists give terrible gifts.  They lack the desire to be a blessing, & that shows in the gifts they give in particular on days like birthdays or Christmas.  They’re only giving gifts on these days because they have to in order to look good, not because they want to.  As a result, no thought or consideration goes into the gift.

 

Other times narcissists give awful gifts is when they try to change their victim.  For example, my mother gave me clothes for my birthday or Christmas for years.  While clothes in general aren’t a bad gift, they are when the clothes aren’t in the receiver’s taste, but are the giver’s.  Our tastes are extremely different & that was a problem for her.  My mother wanted me to like what she likes, & this was one way to try to force me to dress like she thought I should dress.  My late mother in-law did the same.  A few months before Christmas one year, I mentioned in passing that I hate to cook.  Yes, I do it because I don’t want us to starve, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.  For Christmas that year, she & her daughters all gave me a LOT of cooking paraphernalia.  Cook books, utensils, food, & a big ugly pasta dish I later used in the attic when the roof was leaking.. lol

 

Sometimes bad gifts are also a way for a narcissist to let you know they hate you without saying the words.  A narcissistic mother in-law who dislikes her daughter in-law will give her terrible gifts, as one example.  My late mother in-law gave me a Christmas sweater (I’m NOT into Christmas or Christmas sweaters), polyester slacks (not a fan) & other gifts that were clearly NOT my taste.

 

Sometimes they may “forget” to give you a gift at all.  This is just one way to let you know you aren’t important to them or the gift giving day (your anniversary, Valentine’s day, your birthday, etc) isn’t important to them.

 

Or, narcissists may give away a gift you gave to them either to hurt you or out of thoughtlessness.  My sister in-law gave me this cute little knick knack many years ago.  I thanked her & said it was cute.  She said she thought so, & was sure her mom would like it.  She gave it to her.  A few months later, her mother gave it to her & said something like, “I don’t know where this ugly thing came from.  You can have it.”  She said seeing it hurt her badly so she wanted rid of it.  Since I thought it was cute, I could have it.  My heart broke for her when she told me that story.

 

When you get an awful gift, it’s best not to let the narcissist know how awful you think it is.  If you do, the narcissist can play the victim & tell other people how ungrateful you are, making you look like a jerk.  Rather than ask for the receipt so you can return or exchange the gift, simply thank her for the gift, then when you can, quietly give it to someone who you know would like it or give it to a charity.

 

Likewise when you get a great gift, it’s best not to let the narcissist know you really like it.  If you do, the narcissist is going to get a ton of narcissistic supply from that, & feel that you owe her for giving you this awesome gift.  Simply thank her for the gift.

 

It’s always best to implement the Gray Rock method as much as possible when dealing with narcissists, including when they give gifts.

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Feeling Guilt Regarding Your Narcissistic Parent?

Recently I was thinking of something.  Maybe some of you remember last December, just before Christmas, my mother had her attorney/flying monkey send me a letter asking if I wanted my father’s car.  (here is the post if you missed it:   Coping When Narcissists Hit A New Low)

I thought about the letter the other day, & the wording of it all.  At that time, I felt a lot of guilt even though I knew with every fiber of my being I needed to maintain strict no contact with her.  It was such a difficult time!  I also thought about the fact my mother wanted my help with what she was dealing with after my father’s death.  She expected me to help her, after everything she’s done to me, & there has been a LOT!  Just throwing out a couple of examples…

 

  • My mother threw me into a wall when I was 19 hard enough to give me back pain for 10 years.  Why?  Because she started a fight with me & got mad when I eventually snapped & cussed at her.  She never apologized or even admitted to any of her part in that incident.  She also told people I faked the back pain so I could quit working because I was lazy.
  • My mother stole the savings bonds her mother left me when she died in 2001.  I had to go after her with proof of what the inheritance was worth & copies of the cashed bonds to get it back.  When she sent me a check, I saw she wrote in the memo line, “What you claim Grandma owes you.”
  • Most recently, in 2016.. my mother in-law died.  I hadn’t spoken to her since 2002 because she was so cruel to me.  My parents knew this.  When my parents learned of her passing, they called me & were mad I didn’t tell them in time to attend the funeral & “pay their respects.”  I was stunned that was an option.  I expected them to tell me what a great woman she was, even though they only spoke to her twice in their lives.  I ended up so hurt & angry that I cried & cussed at my parents, which is not my normal behavior.  The more upset I got, the more bored my mother acted.  She then tried getting me to feel sorry for her because she has vertigo.  It didn’t work.  We haven’t spoken since.

 

These are only a few examples.  I have a LOT more.

So anyway, I was thinking of these things & others, & it hit me.  My mother has a LOT of nerve thinking she is entitled to my help after not only doing all of these things, but also not once accepting any responsibility or apologizing for any of the abuse she’s inflicted on me.  She is still the same abusive monster she was when I was a kid.  Her tactics may be different now, but she is still out to hurt & control me  as much as possible if given the chance.  This quickly got rid of any guilt I felt regarding her.

My point (finally, I know.. sorry!) is this….

If you are struggling with feeling guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, for being no contact or feel like now that your parent is elderly & frail, you should take care of her even if you haven’t spoken in years, I really suggest doing what I did.

Consider your relationship with your narcissistic parent.  Think about the things your parent did to you.  Has your parent shown any signs of improving their behavior?  Has she admitted any wrongdoing at all?  If your parent is like most narcissists, you honestly can say no to those questions.  And, if you can say no to those questions, then you need to maintain distance to protect yourself & your mental health.

If you’re still feeling any guilt at this point, also remember- people reap what they sow.  Galatians 6:7 says:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ” (KJV)

A person who sows bad seeds will reap a bad harvest, period.  This means that an abusive parent will not be treated with love & kindness indefinitely as a good parent would be treated.  A person can only take so much before they pull away from their abuser, even if that abuser is their parent.  It’s the natural way of things.  You aren’t being petty, childish or any other awful thing people may say you are by putting distance between you & your narcissistic parent.  You’re simply a part of the normal system of reaping & sowing.

 

Lastly, you are NOT dishonoring your abusive parent with either low or no contact.  By maintaining low or no contact, you are removing the opportunity for your parent to sin.  Your parent can’t abuse you if you aren’t there.  You’re also encouraging her to improve her behavior by giving her consequences for her actions.  That is very honorable & loving!  Anyone who tells you that you’re not honoring your narcissistic parent or thinks it’s honorable to tolerate anything your parent dishes out truly does NOT know God or understand His word at all.

 

So remember, Dear Reader… you have no valid reasons to feel guilty regarding your narcissistic parent, but if you do feel guilty, remind yourself of what your parent has done to you like I did.

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Why Do Narcissists Have Children?

Have you ever wondered why people so incredibly self centered as narcissists have children?  I have.  God showed me a couple of reasons why my parents had me, but I’ve also wondered about narcissists in general, not only my parents, have kids.  I think I have figured out some of their “logic”, if you can call it that.

 

The narcissist who was abused or neglected as a child often has a root of shame, I believe, which is why they work so hard to convince people they are so wonderful, amazing, etc.  They’re also trying to convince themselves that they are so wonderful, amazing, etc.  By becoming a parent, this proves to themselves & everyone else that someone found them desirable.  Someone  took this big step with them, so they must be pretty fantastic, right?!

 

If the narcissist grew up feeling or being told she was abnormal somehow,  having a child can be a way to prove to the world that she is normal.  Having children is a perfectly normal step for many people, so if she can have a child, it proves to her & other people that she must be normal.

 

Children are also made to make their narcissistic parent look good, & we know all narcissists are obsessed with appearances.  If the narcissistic parent can mold their child into whatever she wants the child to be, that parent can then take credit for the child’s talents, successes, good looks or anything.  And, if this child is perfect, he or she will prove to the narcissistic parent that her abusive parents were wrong about her, that she really isn’t bad or unlovable as her parents told her she was.

 

This “perfect” child also can gain the narcissistic parent attention for being such a wonderful parent as to raise this perfect little human being.  People notice exceptional children, so as long as this child is perfect, the narcissistic parent will lap up all of the praise & admiration she receives for her amazing parenting skills.  What the narcissistic parent fails to realize is that no child is perfect, & expecting the child to be is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the child.  Trying to meet impossibly high standards creates a great amount of anxiety in anyone, but especially a child who just wants his or her parent’s love.

 

Often, if two narcissists have children together, one will take the main role in raising the child.  That parent gets to enjoy being in control in this capacity as well as looking self-sacrificing & martyr like by doing everything all by herself with virtually no help from the other parent.

 

Because children need their parents, this also feeds the narcissistic parent’s narcissism.  They rely on their child’s dependency because it makes them feel valuable & good to be needed.  They don’t take into consideration that at some point, that child is going to grow up & move on.  It’s as if that thought isn’t even a possibility to the narcissistic parent, so when that happens, they feel betrayed by their child.  How dare that child do something normal by growing up!  Doesn’t the child know that their role is to stay a child as long as the parent wants?!

 

Some parents also have children because they foolishly believe that will repair their relationship or force the partner to stay with them so they can raise the child together.  They mistakenly believe that if they have a child together, their partner will start treating them right or love them more, when nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Along those lines, the narcissist who was abused as a child may think that having a baby will fix her relationship with her abusive parents.  She may think no grandparent couldn’t love their grandchild, so if she gives her parents a grandchild, she finally may have her parents’ love.

 

There are countless reasons people want to start a family, but when it comes to narcissists, you can be sure all of their reasons will be unhealthy.  They will be entirely self-serving to the narcissist, & the child will suffer because of it.

 

 

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Dysfunctional Behaviors Of People Raised By Narcissistic Parents

 

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About Passive/Aggressive Behavior

No doubt you have heard about passive/aggressive behavior, but do you know what it is?  You need to know, because many narcissists behave in this way.

 

Passive/aggressive behavior is very sneaky.  It makes you wonder if the person acting that way is  mad at you or not.  The worst part may be that when you confront the passive/aggressive person, they have a plausible sounding explanation for their behavior.  This makes you doubt your perception of the situation.  Plausible deniability is always a part of passive/aggression, as is the desire to punish another person.

 

Passive/aggressive behavior is deliberately inefficient, quiet in that the person refuses to discuss their needs & avoids responsibility.  Some examples of it are….

 

Not doing things well.   A passive/aggressive spouse may put the laundry in the washer but fail to put them in the dryer for hours claiming he thought you would do that.  Or, she may leave your car with virtually no gas in it after using it after you argue.  Usually whatever is done poorly is something that has happened countless times before, & rather than argue about it, you just fix the problem quietly.

 

Running late.  Some people are always running behind due to poor time management skills, being forgetful or another reasonable excuse.  Passive/aggressive people, however, are not that way.  If they have a punctual partner, you can guarantee that they will run late periodically solely for the purpose of irritating that partner.  They may say they forgot that special event was in an hour, so they will take their time getting ready & you end up leaving two minutes before the event is due to start.

 

The silent treatment.  Passive/aggressive people love the silent treatment.  Rather than saying,, “I was upset when you did something.. can we work it out?” they simply stop talking to you.  If you try to ask what is wrong, they refuse to admit anything is wrong or get angry at you for not knowing what is wrong.  The silent treatment is designed to make you come crawling to the person & work hard to gain their forgiveness.  Don’t fall for it!

 

Backhanded complements.  We’ve all heard these at some point.  Passive/aggressive people use them often.  Comments like, “Nice hair cut.  It really helps hide all that gray hair.”  or, “I used to have an outfit just like that!  I stopped wearing it after high school though.” are just two examples of backhanded complements.  If a passive/aggressive person says such a comment to you, chances are he or she feels threatened by you in some way.  Maybe that person thinks you look more attractive than they do, you’re smarter or more talented.  Sometimes backhanded complements can be hard to spot, so just notice how you feel when someone gives you a complement.  Genuine complements leave you wanting to thank the person & feeling good.  Backhanded complements leave you feeling offended & even confused wondering what the person who said it meant by their words.

 

Fake concern.  Closely related to the backhanded complements are the fake concern comments.  When a passive/aggressive persons says, “I don’t mean to sound judgmental/insensitive, but…” you can guarantee the next words out of that person’s mouth will be judgmental &/or insensitive.  This is their way of saying nasty things to you while appearing to be helpful.  If you say anything about how judgmental or insensitive the person is at this point, you are going to look like a jerk to anyone who doesn’t realize what is happening.  That is a bonus for a passive/aggressive person- making you look bad on top of insulting you.

 

Destruction & sabotage.  Sometimes passive/aggressive people will “accidentally” destroy something important to you when they’re upset with you.  That could be something like “accidentally” spilling red wine on your favorite white shirt or a coworker “forgetting” to tell you that the project you’ve been working hard on is no longer due next week, but in two days.

 

So, how can a person deal with the obnoxious passive/aggressive behavior?  First, be aware of it.  Learn what you can about recognizing the signs.

 

Second, set & enforce good boundaries.  If your friend is always late, stop waiting on her.  Meet her at the restaurant & order without her.  Or, stop hanging out with her at all.

 

Third, never forget to stay calm at all times.  Pretend not to be flustered by their actions.  If you show that you are upset, they will do it again & again.

 

Forth, never forget to pray.  God will help you to identify & deal with this awful behavior in the most effective ways possible.  All you have to do is ask Him to.

 

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Why Children Of Narcissists Have Trouble Setting Goals

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Thoughts About Honoring Parents

I recently read an article about Father’s Day. In it, the author gave valid reasons why we should honor our fathers. It was a very good article, but one thing about it bothered me- the author didn’t mention how exactly to honor our fathers. I thought I would discuss it here. Actually, I’ll refer to honoring parents, not only fathers.

When you have good & loving parents, you don’t have to have strict boundaries. Your parents respect them naturally, so boundaries aren’t a concern. However, with narcissistic parents, you have to have & enforce very strict boundaries. This is very honorable, because these boundaries encourage your parent to behave in a healthier manner.

When Mother’s Day or Father’s Day comes around, if you have good parents, you can be a blessing to them, enjoy yourself & have zero fear of repercussions. You can spend time with them, give them nice cards & gifts. Narcissistic parents? No. Doing those things for your narcissistic parents basically tells them their abuse is OK. You’ll show them love no matter how awfully they treat you. This is why it’s important to give more minimal gifts & rather neutral cards- you are recognizing them as your parents but at the same time, you’re not praising them for their great parenting skills. You never want to reward bad behavior!

Even going no contact can be very honorable when it comes to abusive parents. While many people think that no contact is dishonorable, it really isn’t. By severing ties, you are removing the opportunity for an abusive person to abuse you & commit sinful acts. You are also encouraging that person to change their behavior for the better, because you won’t have them in your life if they are abusive. You’re also removing the temptation from yourself of going off on the abuser.

Dear Reader, there is never, EVER anything honorable about tolerating abuse, & that includes tolerating it from parents. If you still have doubts, read this…

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

This verse tells me that God has no patience for narcissism. Since as His children we are called to be like Him (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4), then we should have no patience for narcissism either, no matter who that narcissist is! If people disapprove of your refusal to tolerate your narcissistic parent’s abuse, well, that is their problem. Your job is to live a life that pleases God, not man…

Jeremiah 17:5

“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (KJV)

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Narcissists & Food

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Lies Narcissistic Parents Tell Their Children

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Is No Contact “Un-Christian”?

Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things.  One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving.  These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent.  It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely!  After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!

Hahaha.  No.

I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian.  I am well aware that I don’t.  But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect.  Far from it.  If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect.  No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.

Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different  from loving people’s way.  God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest.   Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior.  Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim.  However, it is not your place to force them to change.  It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.

 

But it’s certainly NOT easy!  Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior.  As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it.  Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love.  They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one.  People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.

I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love.  Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things.  However, love also must be tough sometimes.  God proves that!  He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior.  He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions.  As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV) 

Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone.  Many people have been, including me.  When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (AMP)  As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you.  He will reward you one day!  Those who said such cruel things however??  Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…

2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].”  (AMP)

 

Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)

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What The Bible Says About Tolerating Narcissistic Abuse

I get a wonderful daily email from Bible Gateway- Psalms in a month.  This was in today’s email, & I couldn’t help but think of  narcissists.

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

Soooooo… if God Himself has absolutely no tolerance for this type of behavior, why do people think victims should tolerate it? How is it being a “good Christian” to tolerate this sort of abuse?

 

It seems to me that people who believe those of us who have gone no contact or at the very least refuse to tolerate a narcissist’s abuse by giving them boundaries & consequences are putting people & their wishes above God.  What they think should happen is obviously more important to them than what the Bible says.  If the narcissist in question is family, they’re also putting the institution of family above God.

 

If you think that I’m just overreacting,  consider the following from the Gospel of Matthew…

 

Matthew 10:34-37  (MSG) (emphasis added)

“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.” 

 

Reread the part I underlined.  “Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me.”  That’s pretty clear, don’t you think?  God should come first in your life, NOT other people, no matter who those people are!

 

For those of you who have been on the same boat as me with being condemned for being a bad person &/or bad Christian for not tolerating abuse from the narcissist in your life, please remember what the Bible has to say.  God doesn’t think you’re a terrible person because you refuse to allow some horrible person to abuse you.  He has called you to be like Him, not to please people, & if other people have a problem with that, well, that isn’t your problem- it’s theirs.

 

Ephesians 5:1-2 (AMP)

“Therefore become imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]; and walk continually in love [that is, value one another—practice empathy and compassion, unselfishly seeking the best for others], just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and sacrifice to God [slain for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4  (AMP)

“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel [that tells the good news of salvation through faith in Christ], so we speak, not as [if we were trying] to please people [to gain power and popularity], but to please God who examines our hearts [expecting our best].”

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse

I saw a meme on Facebook earlier today.  It said, “Write as though your mother will never read it.”  Considering what I write about, I liked it.  I also realize many of you who read my blog either currently write about the narcissistic abuse you’ve been through or are considering doing it.  This meme made me think of sharing a bit of encouragement for you today.

 

I know writing about the worst, most painful experiences in your life isn’t easy.  It’s hard writing out your experiences.  Seeing them in black & white makes them more real & can make the pain of them even worse.  There is something good about this pain though.  It’s also validating, seeing your traumatic experiences in writing.  You get the validation you never got.  You can’t minimize your suffering or deny that the experiences were horrific when you see them in writing.  Writing also can help you to process the trauma in a way speaking about it doesn’t.  While you’re writing to help others, you’re also helping yourself.

 

Writing about the abuse inflicted on you also can be intimidating.  What if your abuser reads it?  That thought can be utterly terrifying.  It was for me at first.  I worried what would happen if my parents learned I was writing about the abuse inflicted on me as a child?!  How would they respond?  Could I cope with it?  How?  Would they try to sue me for libel?  Would the flying monkeys attack me?  A million awful questions ran through my mind.  After time & prayer, I finally was able to ignore those questions.  I began to trust that God would not only allow me to write about whatever He wanted me to, but He also would enable me to deal with any fallout from my parents or flying monkeys.

 

You can trust Him to help you too.  You also can use some common sense ways to protect yourself.

 

  • You can use a pen name.  Many authors have written books under a pseudonym to protect their identity.  If you’re writing a blog rather than books, you can avoid using your name entirely.  You can name your blog something like, “Daughter Of A Narcissistic Mother” or, “My Ex Is A Narcissist”.  Many bloggers use this method of protecting their identity, & it seems to be quite effective.
  • You can change the names of people in your writing.  As an example, don’t refer to your narcissistic brother Steve by his real name.  Call him Paul instead.  You also could change the relationship.  You could say he’s your cousin rather than your brother.
  • Never give specifics in your writing.  Don’t mention your abuser’s address  obviously, but also don’t mention the name of the town they live in.
  • Always remember what libel is & write accordingly.  According to the Cornell Law School, libel is defined as follows: “Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.”
  • Stick to the facts only.  Tell your stories in a matter of fact way, leaving emotion out of it wherever possible.  When your emotions are vital to the story, you can say comments like, “When my abuser did _____, it made me feel _____.” If you come across angry in your writing or calling your abuser names, your writing could come across as libelous.  Sticking to a matter of fact way of telling your story avoids that.
  • If you’re considering writing your autobiography, you also can write it as a fictional story rather than non fiction.  Change some details around to make your fictional story a bit different than your real story.

 

Regarding your abuser & possibly flying monkeys reading your work, with any luck, they won’t.  I was fortunate in that my parents didn’t care to read my writing.  In fact, my mother told me it was nothing but a waste of time.  Not everyone is that fortunate, however.  If this happens, remember what I’ve said before about protecting yourself from these attacks.  Block the narcissist’s & flying monkeys’ access to you in every possible way.  Document their abuse in case you need it in the future.  Save screen shots, emails & texts to some type of cloud storage or email it to yourself rather than simply on your phone or computer so it’s protected against failing electronics.  If they create a smear campaign against you, don’t react to it.  Your reaction won’t change the minds of anyone who wants to believe it & the narcissist & flying monkeys will claim your reaction is proof that you are what they say you are.

 

If you feel led to write about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, it may not be easy but I can promise you that it will be very rewarding!  I wish you only the best!  xoxo

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Things To Be Aware Of After Going No Contact

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Are You Thinking Of Reconnecting With Someone?

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You Have The Right To Go No Contact!

Although the title of this post may sound like common sense, it may not be to everyone.  Or, you may logically understand that yet still don’t feel you have the right to go no contact with the narcissist in your life.  Narcissists are very good at destroying how you think, even making you feel you have to have that abuser in your life.  (God forbid you think in a healthy way!  You’re so much easier to manipulate if you are dysfunctional!)

 

I just want to remind you today, Dear Reader, that you absolutely have the right to protect yourself.  You have the right to set healthy boundaries & expect them to be respected.  You have the right to enforce consequences when they aren’t respected.  You have the right to expect to be treated with civility & basic respect.  And yes, you have the right to end an abusive relationship.  It doesn’t matter if that abuser is a friend, significant other, sibling or even a parent.  No one has the right to abuse you!  NO ONE!

 

I understand that many people who read my blog are in situations where they are unable to end their abusive relationship for various reasons.  I certainly am not trying to make you feel bad for your position!!  Everyone’s situation is different.  But, of all the reasons to stay in such a relationship, the false belief that one doesn’t have the right to end it should not be one of those reasons!

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For Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse & Their Spouses

After years of being in all kinds of relationships with narcissists (family, friendship & romantic), I realize I’m different than your average woman.  This happens to victims of narcissists.  Even once we realize what has happened to us, we’re different because of the experience.  Trauma has a way of changing a person.

Those changes can be for the better, such as when we are able to recognize abusive people quickly & set boundaries with them.  The changes also can be for the worse.  Sometimes dealing with those closest to us, especially our spouses, can be difficult even when it shouldn’t be simply because of our past experiences.  I am hoping this post will help victims & their partners to understand what is happening so they can work through the problems together.

Victims are taught not to have needs & feelings & if they express any, narcissists shame them for having them.  This can make it incredibly difficult to open up to anyone, even someone we love who isn’t a narcissist.  First, a victim feels wrong & ashamed for feeling or needing whatever they do.  Then that person is terrified of being shamed or invalidated for having them.  Even if someone has been nothing but kind to a victim, the victim still can fear that person’s disapproval or rejection.  If your partner is that way, please don’t take it personally.  It isn’t your fault!  It’s a side effect of narcissistic abuse.  Please just be patient.  Listen without offering advice unless you are asked for it.  If you don’t understand something, ask questions without sounding judgmental.

Being overly negative happens sometimes too.  Partner, it’s not your fault!  Healing from narcissistic abuse is a long, arduous, painful journey.  Sometimes it gets to be too much.  It feels like everything is bad, even when it truly isn’t.  It can be very easy for a victim to get mired down in negativity.  Please do NOT tell this person to cheer up, others have it worse or get mad.  That will only add to the negative mindset.  Maybe suggest going out to dinner or to the park- some small gesture to distract the victim could be helpful.  Make your loved one feel loved & safe.  Let her know she can talk to you if she wants to, but doesn’t need to if she doesn’t want to.

Along the lines of being very negative is making small things a big deal.  When you feel overwhelmed in trying to heal, or if you have C-PTSD or PTSD like so many victims of narcissistic abuse, sometimes you feel you can’t handle one more thing.  Then when that one more thing comes along, it’s too much & you blow up.  Even something as simple as misplacing a pen can push you over the edge & you snap at your spouse who had nothing to do with the missing pen.  If this is happening, try suggesting some down time to your spouse.  Suggest lunch out with a good friend, or you both go somewhere you enjoy like the movies.  Even a brief reprieve can be helpful in regaining a better perspective.

Many victims project the image of not needing their partner.  People who grew up with narcissistic parents had to be very self reliant.  It became a way of life.  Even if a victim has shed that behavior, if there is any issue in the victim’s marriage, self preservation kicks in & this behavior comes to the surface.  As the person who sees this behavior, let it be a sign to you that something is wrong in your marriage.  Try to figure it out.  Ask your spouse if everything is OK & be reassuring of your love.

Emotional withdraw is common too.  Suddenly, those little nice things your mate did for you stop or seem to be a burden to do.  Maybe your mate is too tired for sex when that was never an issue before.  This is a sign something is wrong.  Try doing nice gestures like bringing home your partner’s favorite coffee or a new book, CD or DVD.  Little gestures like that can be reassuring & may make your spouse feel more willing to open up to you.

Being married to someone who has survived narcissistic abuse can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.  A little love, compassion & understanding can go a long way.

 

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Aging & Narcissists

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Are You Considering Reconnecting With Someone With Whom You Went No Contact ?

Anyone who has made the decision to go no contact has no doubt thought about resuming that relationship at some point.  This is especially common when a person ends a familial relationship.

 

I really think this is because God made people to need relationships, in particular those with our families.  Ending a familial relationship is abnormal, no matter how valid the reasons.  It goes against nature so it’s very painful to do & also to live with.  As a result, it’s only natural to reconsider the decision to go no contact with family.  When parents are involved, that decision is doubted even more often.

 

If you’re reconsidering your decision to go no contact, first of all, please know you aren’t abnormal, a glutton for punishment or anything else bad you may be feeling right now.  You’re normal.  In spite of the tremendous amount of prayer & consideration that goes into going no contact, I seriously don’t think there is one person who doesn’t have doubts about it at some point.  I certainly haven’t talked with anyone who hasn’t doubted their choice.  I can honestly say every single person has, including myself.

 

If you end a relationship with a family member, chances are slim that person will be out of your life entirely.  You may see each other at family parties, reunions, weddings & even funerals.  Even if you haven’t spoken to each other in a long time, you still share relatives & they will mention that person at some point.  They may mention what is new in that person’s life or that they saw that person recently.  If that person develops health problems, you are guaranteed to hear all about it, whether you want to or not.

 

When you see that person after a long time or when a mutual friend or relative mentions that person is having health problems, those are likely times for you to consider reconnecting.  Before you do that, please pray & think long & hard before you do anything.

 

When you pray about it, listen to what God has to say.  He probably won’t give direct orders by saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord….”  Instead, you may feel a “knowing” about what you need to do.  Listen to that!  I firmly believe those “knowings” are from God.

 

Think long & hard about what this person you’re considering reconnecting with is doing.  When your mutual friend or relative talks about that person, do you see old familiar patterns in that person’s behavior?  Is that person still controlling?  Critical?  Abusive?  If so, reconnecting is a terrible idea!

 

Another thing to watch for- if that person has told someone to tell you that they are sorry, do that person’s actions back up the words?  Has the person accepted responsibility for their abusive actions?  Did she mention specific acts that she was apologizing for or did she say non apologies like “I’m sorry you feel I was mean to you” or “I’m sorry for whatever it is you think I did wrong”?  Non apologies are NOT real apologies!  They are said to lure you back into the relationship thinking all is OK now.

 

Also watch the person’s behavior.  Does that person respect the fact you wish to stay no contact or try to contact you even years later?  Safe people don’t like when someone ends a relationship with them, but they at least respect that person’s decision.  They don’t inundate them with phone calls, texts, emails, posts on social media, etc.  They stay out of the life of the person who ended contact with them.  Unsafe people are much different.  If they don’t want to end a relationship, they will fight hard not to let it end.  They often harass, stalk, & bully.  My mother & I stopped speaking to each other in 2016, & all was fine.. until my father was dying in October, 2017.  Suddenly she called & sent me notes in the mail often & the flying monkeys attacked me constantly.  Two months to the day after he died, & also two days before Christmas, I received a letter from her lawyer in the mail trying to force me to talk to her.  This behavior shows me that nothing has changed with her.  She still believes what she wants is what matters.

 

So Dear Reader, if you are considering ending no contact with someone, then please consider what I said.  Pay attention to what you hear & observe about the person before allowing that person back into your life.  And most of all pray!  God will NOT lead you wrong!

 

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My Newest Book Is Available!

I have just published my newest book, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies.”  As the title suggests, the book is about when a narcissistic parent dies- what the adult child can expect to experience & feel, ways to cope, flying monkey attacks, & things to think about such as should you be involved in caregiving, should you say good bye or attend the funeral.

 

It’s available in print & ebook form at the following link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php

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Ways Narcissists Shift The Blame From You To Them & How To Cope

As anyone with experience with a narcissist knows, they accept no blame for anything they have done.  Ever.  You can confront them about something terrible they have done, then later walk away wondering why you just apologized to them instead of them apologizing to you.  This post will help you identify some of the common blame shifting behaviors so you won’t fall for them in the future.

Probably the most common thing that narcissists do to shift the blame is to play the victim.  This is especially common with covert narcissists, but overt ones will do it as well.  The narcissist will turn your legitimate concern around in such a way that you feel as if you’re being too hard on that person, overreacting or being too sensitive.  After all, they never had any idea that what they said or did would hurt you, they say.  Or, they may bring up some (probably imaginary) thing you did in the past, claiming that is abusive, & turning the topic of the conversation to that incident rather than your topic.

Closely related to playing the victim is the guilt trip done to shift blame.  They may tell you about something painful that they experienced in their childhood or say things like, “Why are you yelling at me?  I didn’t mean to hurt you!”  Before you know it, you’re comforting them even though they hurt you!

They often accuse their victims of bad or even abusive behavior, but especially during the times when they are confronted.  This is an effective way to shift the blame from the narcissist to the victim.  My mother did this to me when I was growing up.  She said I made her do something bad to me because of how terrible I was acting.  On my seventeenth birthday, she destroyed my gifts that my now ex husband gave me, then made me clean up the mess she made.  She said because I was “acting so snotty”, which is what made her destroy those gifts.  The truth was when I took the gifts from school to her car at the end of my day, I was terrified what she was going to do to me because she hated my ex, & was quiet.  I wasn’t “acting snotty”- I was acting terrified!

Narcissists also minimize the feelings of their victims to shift blame to the victim.  Basically, this shifts the blame to the victim for how they responded to the abuse rather than the abuse itself.  They may say things like “You’re too sensitive,”  “You’re crazy,” or “I was just joking!”

When you’re talking with a narcissist & these things happen, then you can be certain they are attempting to shift the blame off of themselves.   The best thing you can do is to redirect the conversation back to the original topic, as calmly as you can.  Wait on the narcissist to finish whatever she is saying, then calmly say something, “Ok, but that isn’t what we were talking about.  We will address that later.  We’re discussing ____ at the moment.”  You may have to do that a few times, but keep doing it.  If that doesn’t work, try saying, “We’ll talk about this another time when you are ready to talk,” then leave or hang up the phone, & approach her another time in the very near future.

Unfortunately with narcissists, there is never an easy answer.  Doing what I suggested may not work at all for you in the sense of being able to hash out the problem at hand.  However, the good thing is it will let that narcissist know that you aren’t going to be fooled by the blame shifting nor will you be pushed around.

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Things Adult Children Of Narcissists Do Because Of Their Parents

Being raised by a narcissistic parent or two causes a person to act differently than people raised by healthy, functional parents.  Aside from the most obvious common problem, C-PTSD, being raised by narcissists creates certain unique behaviors that almost every victim exhibits.  This post addresses those behaviors.

 

Being afraid to say no.  Narcissists don’t allow their children to have boundaries.  “No” can be met with abuse- name calling, scathing criticisms, guilt trips & even physical violence.  Children use “yes” as a survival skill as a result.  They learn early in life that it’s easier to do whatever their narcissistic parent wants than to say “no” & face the consequences.  This behavior becomes such a habit that it is often carried into adulthood.   While it served a good purpose as a child, it no longer does as an adult.  Being a healthy adult means having healthy boundaries.  You need to start asking yourself why are you saying yes?  Are you saying yes because you want to or because you’re afraid of disappointing someone if you say no?  Start saying no when you’re saying yes when you don’t want to.  Some people won’t like it, but one thing to keep in mind- healthy, good, caring people respect boundaries.  Users & abusers don’t.  If someone gets upset with you for having a healthy boundary, that isn’t the kind of person you need in your life.

 

Apologizing too much.  Narcissistic parents blame their children for every single thing, so their children learn to apologize for everything, whether or not it’s their fault.  This dysfunctional survival skill also carries into adulthood, & needs to stop.  When you feel the urge to apologize, pray.  Ask God is this truly your fault?  Should you apologize or are you only doing so out of habit?

 

Being unable to express emotions in a healthy way.  Narcissists can’t handle the emotions of other people, including their children.  They force their children to stifle their emotions, often by shaming them for having them.  This tells children their emotions are bad.  To cope, may continue to repress their emotions while others express them in inappropriate ways such as getting angrier than is appropriate for the situation.  It can be hard, I know, but you need to learn to get in touch with your emotions & give them a healthy outlet.  Ask God to help you to do this, because it will get scary, especially showing anger after a lifetime of stifling it.  Journaling can be helpful, too- seeing things in writing brings clarity.

 

Not trusting your intuition & perception.  Constant gaslighting is possibly the most cruel form of abuse there is, & also a favorite of narcissists.  Gaslighting makes a person second guess everything about themselves- their instincts, perception, feelings, thoughts- because it makes a victim feel that they are wrong about everything or even crazy.  The fact is though that you aren’t wrong or crazy- you are FINE!  The gaslighting made you doubt these things but it doesn’t mean that they are actually wrong or flawed somehow.  Your instincts, perceptions, feelings & thoughts are just fine.  They are trustworthy!  Ask God to help you to learn to trust yourself.  Pay attention, too.  You’ll see that the more you you’re right about little things, the more you learn to trust yourself.

 

Over explaining yourself.  Narcissistic parents demand their children behave in certain ways that are acceptable to them, no matter how their child feels about it.  When the child fails to meet the impossibly high expectations, the parent demands an explanation for the failure.  One more dysfunctional survival skill children of narcissists learn is to explain anything & everything, & again, this often continues into adulthood.  It feels strange at first to stop over explaining yourself, but if you stick with it, it gets more comfortable as time goes on.  Always remember, not everyone needs an explanation for what you do.

 

These behaviors, although dysfunctional, don’t have to be permanent.  With prayer & work, you can make healthy changes.

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Caring For Elderly Narcissistic Parents

1 Timothy 5:3-8  “3 Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7 Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  (NIV) 

 

Elderly narcissistic parents are often even more entitled than their younger counterparts.  For their children, this can be an incredibly painful position to be in.

 

Many adult children of narcissistic parents feel they have no other option than to be their parents’ caregiver, even at the cost of their health & their own family.  After all, we can’t forget Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NIV).  Then there is 1 Timothy 5:8 which says, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (KJV)  Doesn’t this all mean you have to be hands on with your elderly parents, no matter what?  NO!!

 

I do NOT believe that God wishes His children to take care of their narcissistic parents no matter the personal cost.  That doesn’t sound like the God I know!

 

First, to honor your parent simply means to give them the respect they deserve as the people who created you.  You acknowledge them as your parents.  You speak to them civilly, not rudely or disrespectfully.  Honoring them does NOT mean tolerating their abuse.  It also doesn’t mean that you neglect your family to take care of your parents.  If you opt to take care of your parents in a hands-on way, you can honor them by helping them as much as you feel able without wearing yourself out or neglecting your family.

 

Also, remember 1 Timothy 5:8 says that you must provide for them.  You can provide for your parents in various ways, not necessarily being “hands on”.  Arranging for help to come to your parents’ home is a great way to help them & provide for them.  Researching local resources for whatever help they need is providing for them.  Paying for things your parents need yet can’t afford but you can is providing for them.

 

As your parents become elderly & need more assistance than they once did, you need to prepare ahead of time as much as you can.  Even if your parents are still relatively young, start to look towards the future now.  You never know what can happen.  Things can change in an instant, so you need to be prepared.

 

Start praying & asking God for wisdom & insight on what boundaries you will need to set when the time comes as well as strength to enforce those boundaries.

 

Read up on the topic to see what others do with their elderly narcissistic parents, & honestly ask yourself what you can & can’t do.  There are plenty of informative caregiver websites out there.

 

Most libraries are a wealth of information.  The library near me has a ton of pamphlets & booklets near the entrance on various services in the area, including information from the local Department of Aging.  I found a booklet there for seniors’ resources.  It includes information on cleaning services, in home health care, assisted living facilities, contact information from the Department of Aging, & much more.   Your library may have a similar booklet- it’s worth checking into.

 

If you’re going to be involved in caring for your narcissistic parents, it’s best to learn as much as you can about what’s happening with their health.  Narcissists love to exaggerate their illnesses, & you need to be aware of what the truth is & what they are making up.  Read up about their conditions online or talk to their doctors without them around.

 

If something needs to be done to help you to help them, stress how this will help them.  Leave out how it will benefit you entirely, & make it sound like it will help them only.  In my own caregiving experiences, I’ve noticed that saying that something will help me falls on deaf ears.  Saying that same thing will benefit the narcissistic parent however, gets the narcissist’s attention.

 

In fact, don’t discuss anything about you as much as possible.  If an elderly narcissist knows you’re not feeling well or are tired, they will push you to do more & more as they can get away with it.  Wearing you down gives them some sick pleasure.

 

When you set boundaries, do so as cheerfully as possible & with no explanations.  As always, any information these people get can be turned into ammunition they will use to hurt you with.

 

It is possible to keep your sanity in tact while caring for a narcissist.  Keep in mind everything you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, set & enforce boundaries, don’t neglect yourself or your own family for your parents & most of all, keep God first in your life.  Depend on Him completely to help you do such things & show you what to do, when to do it & how to do it.

 

If you opt to keep your distance, then try not to feel guilty.  If you know in your heart that you can’t be a more hands-on caregiver, there is no shame in that.  God only asks people to do their best, nothing more.  Sadly, some people are so incredibly toxic, there is just no way to interact with them on a daily basis.  It happens, unfortunately.  If your parent is that way, you have done nothing to feel guilty about by protecting yourself.

 

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Narcissistic Parents & Food

Many of us who grew up with narcissistic parents ended up with food issues or even full blown eating disorders.  This usually isn’t because we were using some poor coping skills to deal with the abuse.  It’s because many narcissists are obsessed with food, & they put their own issues onto their children

Some narcissists hoard food, not even wanting to share it with their own child.  Some complain incessantly about what their child eats or doesn’t eat.  Some expect & even demand their child like & dislike the same foods the parent likes & dislikes.  When the child has a different opinion, the parent invalidates & criticizes the child.  Some force their child to eat when they’re not hungry, & then complain because they did eat.  Many also criticize their child’s weight extremely harshly, ridiculing the child for being too fat or too skinny, even when the child is a healthy weight.  Some narcissistic parents even withhold food from their child as a punishment.  Growing up in such madness definitely creates food issues for a child.  How could it not?

I grew up hearing how fat I was ever since I can remember.  Looking at childhood pictures though, I don’t see a fat child- I see a normal child.  Well, now I do.  When I was a child, I saw someone incredibly fat & disgusting.  So much so, I went through anorexia at about age 10, then later bulimia in my teens.  My mother also criticized what I ate & how my entire life.  According to her, I either ate way too much or way too little & was wasting her money on food.  She even made me eat when I didn’t want to & called me a hog if I ate the last of something, such as the last cookie in the package.  And, she encouraged emotional eating.  Sad?  Have a snack.  Happy?  Celebrate by having a snack.  Angry?  Eat.. it’ll make you feel better.  I also wasn’t even allowed in my mother’s kitchen growing up.  I wasn’t even allowed to get myself something to eat or drink.  Neither was my father.  The kitchen was my mother’s private domain, & no one was allowed to enter unless they wanted to face her wrath.

I bet many of you can relate to some if not all of my story, can’t you?

I think the reason so many narcissists behave so crazily about food mostly boils down to narcissistic supply.  Food is necessary for life.  Eating is a way to take care of yourself.  Narcissists never want their victims to do anything good for themselves since it might contribute to healthy self esteem- something they refuse to allow victims to have.  Supply is gained if they can tear apart someone’s self esteem or prevent someone from gaining any boost to it.  Plus, parents can control what their children eat, & control is a great way to provide a narcissist with supply.

Projection also can be why narcissistic parents behave this way with food.  If your narcissistic mother has her own food issues, she won’t deal with them as a normal person would.  Instead, she’ll try to put them on you so she can get upset about them while refusing to take any responsibility for them.  This certainly happened with my mother.  She was raised by her own narcissistic mother, & one of her coping skills her mother taught her as a child was to turn to food.  She maintained that skill as an adult & judging by how she’s always been with me, is deeply bothered by it.

Personally, I’m still trying to sort out my own food issues since most of the time, I don’t want to eat, but at least it’s much better than it once was.  It’s a long journey towards healing in this area.  God has truly helped me a great deal with it though.  He has helped me to understand that my mother did wrong in this area (among others) with me, & the things she said to me & accused me of were wrong.  He’s also helped me to understand food better & reject the awful teaching I received about it growing up.  He can do the same for you, Dear Reader.  Turn to God.  Ask Him to help you heal in this area & to teach you whatever it is you need to know.  He loves you so much & will be more than happy to do so!

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Being Judged For Not Having Children

I admit it.. I have another big pet peeve: people who label those of us without children as selfish.  After seeing a post on Facebook a little while ago that labeled someone else without children as selfish, I thought I would write a blog post about it.

 

Many people quickly judge people without children.  I’ve been called selfish, immature, told “the reason you don’t want kids is because of your mother” & also told I’d regret not having children one day.  None of that is even close to the truth, as is so often the case with those without children.

 

Some things to consider before judging are…

 

  • Maybe a person doesn’t have children because either she or her mate are infertile.  Infertility is an extremely painful thing for couples to experience.  It’s especially cruel to judge & criticize these people for not having children!  You’re plunging a knife into their hearts when you do that!
  • Some people don’t have children because they grew up in a dysfunctional environment & realize they don’t know how to be good parents.  If you grew up in an abusive or at least dysfunctional home, it’s hard to know how to be a good parent!  How is it selfish for someone who doesn’t know what it takes to be a good parent not to have children?
  • Some people always have felt more comfortable in the company of adults.  That is also me.  I preferred the company of adults, even as a child.  There are  a surprising number of people like me.
  • Not everyone can relate to children.  Some people who may not have spent a lot of time around children when they were growing up or were the youngest in their families may not be able to relate well to children due to not a great deal of experience around them.
  • Not wanting children doesn’t mean a person hates them.  A common belief for those of us without children is that we hate kids.  Sadly, some folks do feel that way.  That isn’t always the case though.  Personally, I don’t hate kids.  I just can’t understand them well.  Big difference between that & hating kids.
  • And, people who don’t want kids aren’t selfish!  We have given this serious consideration before coming to the decision not to have kids.  Another common misconception of childless folks is we’re just selfish jerks.  Nope.  We have given the topic of children a LOT of thought!  I even tried talking myself into wanting kids several times in my life, but it never felt right even as I said I wanted kids or dated men who wanted them.

 

If you speak with someone who doesn’t have children, please consider the things I’ve said & don’t judge or criticize them.  Everyone has different callings on their life.  Not every person feels called to be a parent.

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What It Really Means To Do Something For Someone’s Own Good

Romans 15:2  “Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”  (NIV)

One of the most common yet stupid things said to Christians in the situation of having a narcissistic parent is how you’re not a good Christian let alone son or daughter if you don’t do everything your parents want, right down to tolerating their abusing you.

Truly, some people have no concept of what it truly means to honor your parent.  They also must have missed Romans 15:2.  Take a moment to read that Scripture again…

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

See that?  “..for their good…”  That doesn’t mean to do blindly for someone, it means to do things that benefit them.  Doing whatever your narcissistic parent wants doesn’t necessarily mean doing what is best for them.  Narcissists care more about what feels good at the moment than what is genuinely good for them.

So what is “for their good”?

  • Taking your elderly narcissistic parent to the doctor when sick.
  • Helping your parent by cutting their grass when their lawn mower is broken or washing their clothes when their washer is broken.
  • Buying them something you think your parent would like just to be a blessing.
  • Setting & enforcing boundaries.
  • Saying no.
  • Going no contact.

 

The last three items were pretty hard to consider good, weren’t they?  They really are good though, & I’ll tell you why.

 

All three of those behaviors are about boundaries, & boundaries are a VERY good thing.  Boundaries show others how you wish to be treated & gives people the option to treat you accordingly or not without forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.  Boundaries encourage good behavior while helping you not to be responsible for someone else’s behavior, feelings, etc.  In short, boundaries are a very loving behavior.  Granted, narcissist don’t see them that way, but it’s still true. (If you’re interested, I have a free “Boundaries” book study course & article about boundaries on my website.)

 

Saying no is also a good boundary behavior because nobody needs to go through life without being told no at some point.  Getting one’s way creates spoiled, entitled people with no regard for others (sound familiar??).  Narcissists don’t like to be told no, & will do whatever they can to avoid it, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t hear no.  The more they hear it, the less they will demand of you.  This works well for you & at the same time, teaches the narcissist that you won’t tolerate being pushed around.  A very good thing for the narcissist to learn.

 

No contact also can be for someone’s good sometimes.  No contact should be the final step after trying to work out the relationship, & often, sadly, it’s very necessary with narcissists.  It can be good for narcissists though, because it shows them they simply can’t go around abusing people & expecting them to tolerate it indefinitely.  Also, you never know- maybe with you not in that person’s life, God will be able to reach her & help her to see the error of her ways.  Sometimes it takes having people out of a person’s life for them to turn to God.  (Granted, that is extremely rare, but with God, all things are possible.)   No contact also removes the opportunity for that person to sin by removing you to abuse from her life.  These things are all for the narcissist’s own good.

 

Doing something for someone’s own good never means giving someone whatever they want or tolerating abuse.  These never benefit anyone!  If someone suggests otherwise, they clearly have no idea what it means to love someone God’s way.

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Bad Decisions & Narcissists

Psychology fascinates me.  I like to understand what makes people tick & why they do the things they do, which explains my interest in true crime.  I’m this way even with narcissists.  While I never can agree with their abuse of course, I am still curious what makes them do the things they do.  Besides, I’ve learned understanding them to a degree helps me to keep a healthy perspective about who is really the abuser, & who is the victim.    A lifetime of gaslighting still can make it hard sometimes to remember who the real victim & abuser are.  (For the record, I don’t think anyone can fully understand a narcissist except for another narcissist, so I know I’ll never entirely “get” them.)

 

I would guess I’m not the only person who is interested in understanding how people think, so I’m sharing this in case anyone else may find this as interesting as I did.

 

God showed me something quite interesting just before my father died last October.

 

As I mentioned before, he was in the hospital for 20 days on life support.  In that time, I had people (some I didn’t even know) contacting me to tell me that I needed to see him before he died, “so he could die in peace.”  “After all, you only get one set of parents!”  “You need to put your feelings aside.” & the classic, “I understand why you won’t see him, but you need to go see him.” (How does that even make sense?!)   Yep, I heard a LOT of crap.  My phone also rang, sometimes for 20+ rings at a time or there were frequent repeated calls back from people I didn’t even know, but who knew my parents.  Thank God for caller ID!  I didn’t know the number but at least I knew the names, so I knew not to take those calls.  It was a very painful time.. not only because of losing my father but also because of the constant bullying & harassment from so many people, even total strangers.

 

A few days before my father died, I was thinking about the entire situation.  It made me cry, as it did a lot at that time.  In my sadness I asked God, “Why do things have to be this way?!  This whole thing is so stupid & so wrong!”  Very clearly, I heard His voice… “Some people have made very bad decisions.”

 

It struck me.. that makes so much sense.  I knew exactly what He meant by that simple sentence!

 

Narcissists decide to act as they do.  They decided early in their lives that they were more important than other people & entitled to whatever they want.  They decided to shut down the natural empathy that people are born with & focus only on their wants, needs, etc. instead of caring about others.  They also decided they are allowed to use & abuse people to get what they want.

 

Flying monkeys also made a decision to be blindly loyal to their narcissist no matter what.  They decided they didn’t want to know anything beyond what the narcissist says about a situation.  They also decide to harass, stalk, shame & basically torture a victim if that’s what a narcissist wants of them (& often it is).  All flying monkeys have decided that a narcissist’s victim does NOT matter, only the narcissist & flying monkey matter.

 

Bad decisions like these are why people are abusive.  They have chosen to put themselves first & to disregard & even abuse other people.  This means the responsibility of their actions is completely on them.  No one  forced anyone to make the decisions they made.  No one forces them to continue making bad decisions or to continue the dysfunctional course they’re on.

 

These bad decisions also open the door for Satan to enter their lives, & close it for God to enter.  Every bad decision opens the door wider for the devil while closes it tighter to God.  I firmly believe that narcissism isn’t necessarily something biologically wrong with a person, but is demonic in nature.   2 Timothy 2:25-26 says, “He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”  (AMP)  The day my father died, a dear friend of mine received a vision from God about his salvation.  God reminded her of this verse at that time.  He said that is why my father behaved as he did- he had been taken captive by the devil to do his will.  Not long after he died, I thought about that Scripture & how it related to the bad decisions God told me about.  It makes a great deal of sense!

 

One thing many people fail to realize though is everything a person decides to do sows a seed, good or bad.  Galatians 6:7 says,  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  (KJV)  A person who abuses other people will NOT reap a harvest of love & kindness.  It’s only natural!  You can’t plant corn & expect to get an apple tree!

 

And, everyone has a point where they’ve had enough.  When they walk away, that is because the abuser is reaping their harvest.  I know, abusers & flying monkeys see this very differently, but it’s true.  No one who walks away is trying to punish or hurt the narcissist (we all realize that’s impossible anyway- narcissists don’t feel the way normal people feel).  We decide to walk away to protect ourselves & to stop the constant abuse.  It is a perfectly normal thing to do.  It is the natural harvest a person reaps after deciding to sow seeds of abuse in another person’s life.

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Infantilizatation & Narcissistic Parents

Narcissistic parents are not like normal parents in so many ways.  One of those ways is they never want their children to grow up.  Why?  Because a child is much easier to control than a self sufficient adult.

So how is something like this possible?  Narcissistic parents make their children feel like they are forever the child, & the parent is forever the adult.  This is done primarily through emotional warfare, such as making the child feel shame, fear, manipulating the child & reminding that child who the “adult” is in this situation.  To show you what I mean, I’ll share some examples from my life.

I was a teenager in the 80’s.  My friends were wearing make up by the eighth grade,  & dating by the same time.   I however, was unable to wear even lipstick before ninth grade.  It took a great deal of begging on my part to be able to wear more makeup in ninth grade.  Also, although my mother had told me for years that I could date at 16, when I met my now ex husband just prior to turning 17, my mother went completely ballistic at the prospect of me dating.  In fact, she accused me of outrageous behaviors at that time, such as having sex with the entire high school football team & doing drugs.  Her abuse hit its peak at that time, all because I admitted to wanting to date & called her out on saying I could date at 16.  She refused to let me date until 1 week before my eighteenth birthday.

Another way my mother & many other narcissistic mothers keep their children childish is to control their appearance.  My mother has dressed much the same way my entire life, & she always has attempted to make me dress a lot like her.  I remember in late elementary school, sitting in a fitting room, fuming because my mother wanted me to like the hideous dark blue polyester pantsuit she insisted on buying for me.  It was absolutely her taste, not mine, & no matter how much I stated my hatred of it, she was determined to make me wear it.  As a teen in the 80’s, you would think I would have had mall bangs, pegged jeans & some of the other embarrassing fashion trends of the time, but nope.. instead, I dressed like a frumpy, middle aged housewife.  Even as an adult, my mother would buy me clothes in her taste, not mine.  One Christmas she got us matching shirts.

Age appropriate activities were also discouraged.  School dances were not approved of, although I was able to attend a couple as long as I didn’t have a date.  If my mother asked if I danced & I said yes, I was shamed for that.  I was also not allowed to get a driver’s license until I was 18, & my mother could no longer legally stop me.  She did, however, hide my birth certificate & showed it to the employee at the DMV while not allowing me to see it.

 

I moved out of my parents’ home just after I turned 19.  My mother was livid.  She told me I’d never make it on my own, I’d be back in six months & other nasty things.  I felt then like she took me moving out as a betrayal, not as a natural course of events.

 

Once out on my own, my mother immediately broke her key in the front door, claiming it wasn’t her fault.  My father ended up replacing all the door locks on the house.  I don’t think it was an accident- I firmly believe it was my mother’s way of making sure I didn’t come back into her house since I had forgotten to give her my key back after moving out.

 

Being on my own didn’t stop her infantilizing behavior either.  My mother constantly did little things to show me she disapproved of where I was living or how I maintained my home.  She would inspect a glass before drinking out of it, obviously making sure it was clean enough to drink from, tell me I didn’t vacuum frequently enough or insult the town where I live claiming only “snobs” live here.

 

Behaviors like this are not only painful for the child (no matter her age) to live with, they also create a deep seeded insecurity & anxiety in the child.  Prior to learning about infantilization, a child may grow up overly dependent on the parent doing the infantilization.  The child thinks that parent knows so much more & she can do nothing without that parent’s wisdom.  The child doesn’t trust herself.  When a parent treats a child as if “Mother/Father knows best” no matter the child’s age, it ruins the child’s ability to trust in her own intelligence or instincts.

 

Once an infantilized person realizes what has happened, reversing the damage takes a LONG time & a lot of work.  I was 16 when I began to see that the things my mother thought I should do/wear/like/drive/etc. & her opinions weren’t good for me- they were good for her.  I am now 47 & I still have doubts about myself more often than I care to admit.  Even so, the amount of time & energy I’ve put into shutting out her behavior has been worth it to learn to trust myself.

 

I wasn’t a Christian when I first began this journey, so honestly prayer wasn’t involved at first.  However, now when I have doubts, I run to God immediately.  I ask Him “Is this OK?”  “Should I do/not do that?” or any question I have.

 

I also have found it valuable to question everything.  When my mother would give me an article of clothing & say I should like it, I questioned myself- do I really like this?  Why?  If she told me I should or shouldn’t do something, I also questioned myself- What will happen if I do/don’t do this?  Will it benefit me?  Even now that my mother has been out of my life for two years, I still do this behavior if I have any doubts.

 

Getting to know yourself, your real self & not the self your parent(s) tried to make you into is also invaluable.  The better you know your true likes & dislikes, the less doubt you will have & the more you will trust your own decisions.  One way to get to know yourself is to learn your Myers Briggs personality.  I found it to be an indispensable tool in getting to know myself!  If you are interested in taking the test, you can find it at this link: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp  There is also a list that describes all of the types at this link.

 

You also have to learn to trust your instincts.  I believe they are the voice of the Holy Spirit guiding us, which is why they are so wise.  Infantilization ruins one’s ability to trust one’s own instincts, unfortunately.  Try listening to those gut feelings on small stuff, then work up to bigger issues.  It really gets easier the more you do it.

 

As hard as it can be, you really can conquer the damage done by infantilization!

 

 

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Grief After Narcissistic Abuse

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