Tag Archives: father

Guilt After A Narcissistic Parent Dies

Losing someone you love is incredibly painful & difficult, but when that person is your narcissistic parent, it’s also incredibly complex.  Part of the complexity involves a lot of guilt.  If you have lost a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you experienced it too.  If you haven’t yet, you need to be prepared & know that it may happen with you, too.

The last time I spoke to my mother was May 5, 2016 when we had a huge argument.  We hadn’t spoken in almost exactly 3 years when she passed away.  Since she died, I’ve learned that her final years weren’t good.  Apparently my mother’s health declined quickly.  I noticed her handwriting became very shaky after our argument.  I realized through her car’s maintenance records that she must have stopped driving in 2017 not long before my father died & found a fairly big dent in her car.  Probably that was why she stopped driving – she realized she wasn’t as capable behind the wheel any longer.  Clearly she also was very depressed.  One friend of hers told me that my mother said that her cat was the only reason she wanted to live.  Also when she died & I first started to care for the estate matters, her house was in a bad state because she was unable to clean it like she once had.

All of these things have led to me feeling a tremendous amount of guilt.  Since I’m positive my situation isn’t terribly unique, I thought I would share ways I have learned to help ease that guilt.

I am truly blessed with having the most amazing best friend ever.  She reminds me constantly that there is a natural order of things & people reap what they sow.  My parents were abusive, which is why I went no contact.  I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, contrary to what my family believes, I was only trying to protect myself.  That is why every functional goes no contact, & that isn’t a bad thing.  If you too went no contact with your abusive parent prior to their death, you did nothing wrong just like me.  It was simply the natural order of things!  If they wouldn’t have been abusive, you wouldn’t have been forced into going no contact.

What happens after no contact isn’t your responsibility, & you need to remind yourself of that constantly as do I.  It’s so hard not to feel guilty in these situations when you learn your narcissistic parent suffered after you were no longer in his or her life.  I feel like I should’ve been there for them & taken care of them.  If only I could’ve stuck it out for another couple of years, I’ve said to myself.  Guessing you feel much the same way.  If so, remember, you severed those ties for very valid reasons.  Probably many very valid reasons in fact.  You did nothing wrong!  Whatever happened after you went no contact is NOT your fault or responsibility.  Besides, maybe there was a reason God wanted things to happen as they did.  Me not being in my father’s life is why he turned to God at the very end of his life!  How incredible is that?!  Maybe that is what happened with my mother too, I’m not sure.  All I know is she is in Heaven & that is a huge comfort!  Anyway, ask God what the purpose was in you being no contact with your parent at the time of his or her death.  He will answer that question.

Sometimes people may say cruel things about you not being there for your parent, making you feel worse.  Remember that those people don’t know everything about the situation, which means they aren’t fit to judge it.

I know guilt after a narcissistic parent is very hard to handle.  If & when you experience it, I hope you’ll remember this post.  You have nothing to feel guilty about.  You did the best you could in an impossible situation.

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When Scapegoats Escape Their Narcissistic Parent

Being the scapegoat child raised by a narcissistic parent is a terrible thing.  Not only do you have an abusive parent, but other members of the family feel it is their right to abuse you as well.  Maybe they believe the lies of the narcissistic parent about what a terrible person the victim is.  Maybe they assume because a parent is abusive to the child, it’s ok to abuse this person.  Or, maybe they are so blinded by the narcissist’s false persona that they will protect their delusions of this person at all costs, including abusing the victim in an attempt to keep this person from divulging the truth about the narcissist.

In any case, chances are good that the scapegoated child will become fed up & walk away.  Setting  healthy boundaries didn’t work.  Confrontation didn’t work.  In fact, most likely such actions only made things worse.  Deciding to walk away is the only thing left to do.

What is truly the saddest part of this scenario is the scapegoat is abandoned by their family when they need love & support the most.  Rather than receive kindness, most scapegoats only receive tormenting, a vicious smear campaign & abandonment.   Some will reach out to the victim only to tell them that they shouldn’t abandon their narcissistic parent because “your parents are getting older..” or “you only get one mother/father”.  Some folks also claim the victim needs to fix this or isn’t a good Christian because they aren’t “honoring” their parent.  Meanwhile, their narcissistic parent receives kindness, understanding & compassion.

As the scapegoat, you can survive this terrible situation!  I know it seems impossible, but it is possible to survive & even with your dignity in tact.

One fantastic way to start is by staying close to God.  Psalm 68:5 says, “A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.”  (AMP)  He will be there for you, to comfort & protect you, & you will need that at this time.

Also, as painful as it is when your family turns against you, try to think of it this way.  You aren’t losing good, loving people.  If they truly were good or loving, they wouldn’t blindly believe the lies of the narcissist, nor would they try to encourage you to stay in an abusive relationship.  Talking about your experiences with a narcissistic parent is a very effective way to find out who your true friends are!

Don’t defend yourself against the smear campaign.  I know this is hard!  I’ve been there, & I so wanted to tell people off for the cruel things they said.  However, doing so only throws gas on that fire.  They will think what you say only proves the narcissist is right & you are crazy, angry, abusive, & they will behave even worse towards you.  Don’t defend yourself.  Let them think whatever they want.  Their opinion isn’t important anyway.

Some flying monkeys harass & stalk the scapegoat after going no contact to punish him or her or to try to bully the scapegoat into returning to the relationship.  Block every means of contact these people have with you.  Block phone numbers, emails, social media accounts.  If you are in a situation where you can’t do this, refuse to discuss the narcissist with them.  Tell them you have nothing to say on the matter, then change the subject.  Do it repeatedly.  Be rude about it if you must.  But do NOT discuss the narcissist with this person!  It only will hurt you to do so!

If someone is stalking or harassing you, they may change their email or call from a number you don’t recognize as ways to try to force you to talk to them.  If this happens, block that access too.  You do NOT have to talk to anyone who wants to force you back into an abusive relationship.

And, document everything!  This information may be useful at some point, especially if you need to get the law involved, so save every single thing you can.  Voicemail messages, texts, emails, etc.  Save everything either on cloud storage or email it to yourself so even if your phone or computer crashes, you won’t lose your documentation.

There are some things you can expect to happen after going no contact that you need to be prepared to face.

While no contact is incredibly helpful, it doesn’t fix everything.  After functioning in survival mode for so long, you will have to adjust to life not in survival mode.  It can be difficult.  As you feel safer, your mind seems to think now is the time to start dealing with things you couldn’t deal with while trying to survive the abuse.  You may find yourself having more nightmares &/or flashbacks.  You might be very sensitive & moody, crying or getting angry easier than usual.  This is a normal part of the healing process.  You aren’t going crazy, even though you probably feel that way at this point.  Try to use these things in your favor.  Figure out the root of the behavior, nightmare or flashback, & deal with that however works best for you.

You’ll start to question things.  Years of gaslighting take a toll on a person!  No one can undo that damage & the warped beliefs over night.  It takes time & lots of questioning yourself.  Get in the habit of asking yourself “Why do I think that way?  What evidence is there that this is right?” when you realize dysfunctional beliefs & thoughts are coming to mind.

Along those lines.. most people have a last straw moment that makes them decide no contact is their best option.  For many of us, that last straw moment isn’t even the worst thing that the narcissistic parent ever has done.  It’s just their average abusive, hateful behavior.  For some reason though, something in us snaps & we are done.  That can make a person wonder why was this the last straw when so many other things were worse?  Well, maybe it wasn’t the worst thing ever done, but after a lifetime of so many bad things, enough was enough.  This just happened to be the thing that told you now is the time for no contact.

You’re going to grieve, so accept that.  It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.  It means you’re a normal human being!  Just because your parent was abusive doesn’t mean you don’t care about your parent.   You’ll probably discover though that you aren’t missing your parent per se, but the parent you wish you could have had.

Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel without judgement.  Losing a parent in any capacity isn’t easy, but in particular when that parent in question is a narcissist.  You’ll feel all kinds of emotions.  It’s ok & even normal.  Allow yourself to feel all of those emotions without judging or criticizing the feelings or yourself.

If your narcissistic parent is elderly or frail, you are going to feel a tremendous amount of guilt for going no contact.  It’s normal.  I did the same thing.  There is one thing that you need to consider though.  People reap what they sow.  A person who is kind & good to others won’t be abandoned in their time of need, because they sowed good seeds.  The abusive person won’t experience that same harvest because they sowed bad seeds.  Everyone has a limit on abuse, so it’s only natural that a victim will walk away at some point.

One beautiful thing you can expect is in time, the fog of abuse will lift, & you will see everything with so much more clarity!  You’ll see why your narcissistic parent & other relatives were so cruel to you, & you’ll clearly see that they were wrong.  You didn’t make them act that way.  That was all on them, in spite of what they told you.  You’ll see them as the pathetic & wicked people that they are.  You’ll also see that you’re not whatever they said you were, but instead you’re a wonderfully made child of God, made in His image & to do great things in your life!

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Songs About Narcissistic Abuse

I’m really into music, mostly classic & hard rock/metal.  I find music to be very good for one’s mental health.  A song can transport you back to a special memory such as your first slow dance or maybe the day you met your spouse.  It also has a way of putting your feelings & experiences into words when you lack that ability.

Recently I realized something as I was listening to some hard rock & heavy metal music.  I think some artists have experience with narcissists & have made songs about it.  I found their songs oddly validating, & hope you will too.

Below are the songs that made me come to this realization.  The titles are links to the song’s video on YouTube if you want to check it out.  If not though, I understand.  Not everyone is a fan of this kind of music.  I included links to pages that contain just the lyrics for my readers who don’t share my musical tastes.

Thorn In My Side, from the 1992 album “Force Of Habit” by Exodus. Here is the link to the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/exodus/thorninmyside.html  In particular, notice the chorus.  If this doesn’t describe what it’s like growing up with a narcissistic parent, I don’t know what does.  The video also tells the story well.  It nearly brought me to tears the first time I saw it.

You are a thorn in my side,
all my life you never left me alone
Thorn in my side, in your mind you wish I never were born
Thorn in my side, through it all I think you pushed me to fail
Thorn in my side, it’s about time you’re recognized
for your lies and your worthless alibis

Soul Sucker from the 2010 album “Scream” by Ozzy Osbourne.  Here are the lyrics:  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ozzyosbourne/soulsucker.html  The chorus on this song in particular struck me as being very interesting.  It describes very well what it’s like being in a relationship with a narcissist, don’t you think?  Whether the narcissist is a parent or romantic partner, this describes very well how it feels.

Stop talking to me
Just like I don’t even bleed
This cross is heavy when
You’re my soul sucker

Get out of my face
The past is running in place
The slivers cut me as you
Suck the soul right out of me

Soul sucker

Holier Than Thou from the 1991 album “Metallica” (or The Black Album) by Metallica.  Here are the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/metallica/holierthanthou.html  To me, the lyrics sound like they’re describing a narcissist.  So many use God & religion to abuse their victims, & definitely display that “holier than thou” behavior.  My mother did it.  When I was in my teens, she told me she was going to Heaven because she was such a good person, but being such a bad person, I was bound for Hell.  Anyway, I found this part of the song in particular especially interesting:

Before you judge me take a look at you
Can’t you find something better to do
Point the finger, slow to understand
Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand

These songs have made me wonder what other songs out there of any genre also came to be due to narcissistic abuse.  Do you know of any?  Do you find listening to them validating?

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My Latest Book Is Now Available!

My latest book, “Regrettably Related: A Guide to Toxic In-laws” is now available in both print & ebook versions.

The print version is available here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/regrettably-related-a-guide-to-toxic-in-laws/paperback/product-24225183.html

The ebook version is available here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/955631

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About Accepting A Covertly Narcissistic Parent Is Abusive

Overt narcissists & covert narcissists often marry because this creates a perfect, dysfunctional union.  The real problem begins when they have children.  Overt narcissists are not only able to be the center of attention in this family but also abuse the child without interference from the covert partner who refuses to defend the child.  The covert narcissist is able to look like the martyr, the long suffering spouse.  People wonder how this wonderful person can put up with being married to that  awful spouse.  The covert narcissist is also able to convince everyone, including the abused child, that there is no way for him or her to protect the child.  In fact, often, the child becomes protective of the covertly narcissistic parent & comforts that parent when the overtly narcissistic parent abuses them rather than the parent comforting the child as it should be.  The covertly narcissistic parent appears to be the true victim in this scenario, not the child.

Once that child grows up though, she usually learns first that the overtly narcissistic parent was abusive.  She accepts that truth, as painful as it is.  She may even change her behavior to be healthier such as setting boundaries.

The problem adult children in this situation often have is the covertly narcissistic parent.  Accepting that parent was equally if not more abusive is a very hard pill to swallow.

I wondered why this is for a long time, & came up with some ideas.

When you compare an overt & a covert narcissist, the covert doesn’t look so bad.  That person isn’t the one who beat you, cussed you out, tore your self esteem to shreds or destroyed your identity like your overtly narcissistic parent did.  It was much harder to deny that your overtly narcissistic parent was abusive when that parent did such awful, hurtful things to you.  Your covertly narcissistic parent probably seemed normal or even loving by comparison because of not doing those terrible things.

Chances are, your covertly narcissistic parent also was nice to you sometimes, maybe doing nice little things for you that your other parent didn’t know about.  Nice behavior mixed in with abusive creates a great deal of confusion, especially in a child.  No one wants to believe that a person who can do such nice things can be abusive.

And, that parent made you feel as if you needed to care for him or her instead of he or she caring for you.  That created a strong bond to that parent that wasn’t created with your overtly narcissistic parent.  Caring for another person naturally creates a bond.  Look at mothers who care for their children or adult children who care for their elderly, frail parents for example.

When discussing this topic with a friend of mine some time ago, she also added that she thinks part of the reason it’s harder to accept that the covertly narcissistic parent is abusive is because that means that neither of your parents truly loved you, which is incredibly hard to face.  That is an excellent point.

Accepting one parent was abusive & didn’t love you is hard enough, but BOTH parents?!  That is incredibly painful.  No one wants to feel they aren’t loved by one parent, let alone both.  Even if you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realizing both your parents didn’t love you can be devastating to your self esteem.  It can make you feel unworthy, because you think if your own parents don’t love you, you must be unworthy of love.

Dear Reader, if you’re in the position of having one overt & one covert narcissistic parent, please know you aren’t alone.  This sort of situation happens more often than you might think.  And if you’re struggling coming to terms with it, you’re definitely not alone.  Many, many people have been there, including me.  As painful as it is though, you need to find a way to come to terms with the fact your covertly narcissistic parent is also abusive & not the good parent you thought he or she was.  It’s hard, but you can do it!  It will help you to accept the truth.  After all, the truth sets us free!  xoxo

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Closure &Narcissists

People often think it’s necessary to have some sort of closure at the end of a relationship, & it’s impossible to move on without it.  Sometimes, however, closure isn’t a possibility.  When it comes to narcissists, that is absolutely the case.

When an average relationship ends, it comes after two people have tried to work out their differences yet were unable to do so.  They agree that the best solution is separation.  Maybe some harsh words are said & the people decide to move on, each in their own direction.  Each person also grieves, but in time, they do move on.

When a relationship with a narcissist ends, none of this happens.  Narcissists see this as a rejection & narcissists’ simply can’t handle rejection in any form, ever.  It’s a narcissistic injury.  In other words, it is a direct blow to their self esteem.  Rather than risk feeling not good enough or people finding out someone thinks the narcissist isn’t good enough, narcissists rage.  The rage may be  either a physical or verbal attack on the person ending the relationship, creating a smear campaign to discredit anything their victim says, recruiting flying monkeys to attack the victim, harassment & stalking or they simply pretend the victim never existed & meant nothing to them.

However the narcissist handles the relationship ending, it leaves no opportunity for real closure for the victim.  The reason being the victim is too busy trying to process the trauma from the narcissist, survive the pain of people the victim thought cared turning on them, dodge the flying monkeys’ attacks, finding ways to protect him or herself from the narcissist’s harassment or stalking or processing the pain of the narcissist moving on as if the victim never existed.  Such situations prohibit victims from being able to get closure in the traditional way.

None of this means that a victim can’t have closure after ending a relationship with a narcissist, however.  It just has to come in different ways.

One way to help get closure is to accept the fact you won’t get it in the normal ways, & there is nothing you can do about that.  Narcissists are far from normal people, so why would getting closure after ending the relationship with one be normal?

Another helpful thing you can do is accept the fact that the relationship meant nothing to the narcissist beyond what you could do for him or her.  There was absolutely nothing you could have done to make that relationship healthy or loving, & that is NOT your fault!  The blame for that lies on the narcissist.

It’s also common for people to beat themselves up after ending a relationship with a narcissist.  Whether the narcissist was a spouse or parent, people often get angry with themselves for tolerating the abuse for too long or making excuses for it.  That is nothing to be ashamed of!  Any normal person wants to believe the person they love is a good person, which makes it hard to believe otherwise.  Plus, narcissists are excellent manipulators.  By being good sometimes, it thoroughly confuses victims.  It makes them want to think the bad times aren’t the norm, that the good times are.  This is known as Stockholm Syndrome or trauma bonding.

Since narcissists are so good at manipulation, that is why even some people close to you go to the side of the narcissist.  If someone has their own issues, they may blindly fall for the narcissist’s manipulations.  Someone abused as a child yet not facing their pain may side with your narcissistic parent because siding with you reminds them of their own pain & issues they fail to face.  Or, they may be cowardly & see siding with the narcissist as the easiest path.  The narcissist may benefit them somehow & not being on his or her side would mean losing that benefit.  People like these are easy for narcissists to manipulate.

Lastly, as always I recommend praying.  Ask God to help you.  He will show you what you need to do as well as help you to heal.  He will do so gladly, so why not let Him?

Closure with narcissists is difficult, but it is possible.  It just isn’t what most people think of when they hear the word “closure.”

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About Feelings & The Adult Child Of Narcissistic Parents

People who grew up with narcissistic parents learned early in their life that their feelings didn’t matter & in fact, they weren’t even allowed to have feelings.  The only feelings that are important to any narcissist are the feelings of that narcissist, after all.  Growing up in such an environment, it’s very common for children to learn to ignore their feelings or on the off chance they feel something, to stuff that emotion deep down inside & ignore it.

This is  very unhealthy behavior!!  Feelings don’t just disappear or die.  They remain, even when ignored & neglected.  Sure, you can ignore or even numb them successfully for a time, but they will demand attention at some point.

Feelings are actually a wonderful thing, in spite of what our narcissistic parents taught us.  They let us know when things are good or bad.  They warn us when something harmful is happening & give us a release when too many bad things are happening at once.  Sharing your feelings also can create intimacy with someone by making you vulnerable with that person.  That really is a good thing, provided you share with a safe, loving person.

After a lifetime of ignoring your feelings though, where do you begin?

First, start paying attention to yourself.  Notice how you really feel about things.  Do some things make you happy?  Sad?  Angry?  Pay attention to what those things are & how they make you feel.  This will help you to get to know yourself better as well as how you honestly feel about things.  You can journal about your discoveries, too, as having a written record to look back on can be very helpful.

Also, never judge yourself for what you feel.  Feelings just are, they just happen, even the strange ones.  You aren’t wrong if vanilla ice cream makes you angry.  Chances are that if you get angry when you see vanilla ice cream that there is some trauma in your past connected to vanilla ice cream, & that is why you feel that way.  Figure out what that trauma is & face it head on.  Sure, that sounds odd, but things like that can happen.  I believe God lets us face only what we can at a time which is why some repressed memories start as unusual things like the ice cream example.  That first strange little thing is a stepping stone to a larger thing that needs your attention.

Don’t forget to talk to safe, good people about your feelings.  It helps to have caring people validate your feelings.  There is nothing wrong with you for what you feel, but it can feel that way at first.  Having someone you can trust tell you that you’re OK, & there is nothing wrong with you for what you feel can be incredibly helpful!

Most of all, don’t forget to pray & pray often.  God will help you however you need the help, so let Him!  Tell him whatever you think & feel, ask for whatever you need & listen to His voice as He speaks to you.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Why Do People Not Want You To Speak Up To Abusive Relatives

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Strong People Are Abused Too

Most people who hear of someone being abused think of someone weak.  A small child, an adult with low or no self esteem who isn’t very intelligent or even mentally or emotionally stunted.  Maybe someone who has a very gentle nature, lacking the  strength & courage to stand up to an abusive person or thinks that tolerating abuse is the Godly thing to do.

While it’s certainly true that people like this are sought out by abusers, they aren’t the only ones.  Highly intelligent, strong & confident people are also sought out by abusers.

Have you ever heard a story about a wealthy person being charmed by someone who stole most if not all of that person’s money?  Or, maybe a strong person ended up abused, & turned into an empty shell of their former self not long after marrying their abuser.  That person isn’t someone you would consider weak, but even so, they clearly were abused.

The natural response most people have is to wonder how this sort of thing happened?  They think that person was too smart or too strong to be in this situation, & it doesn’t make sense.  Their opinion of that person often drops because they feel that person must have been weak or stupid, in spite of how they appeared to be.

Such thinking couldn’t be further from the truth!

Abusers are often like prey hunting animals.  Sure, they’ll hunt the wounded, young & easy prey sometimes.  It’s there & they need a meal/victim so why pass that up?!  But, that doesn’t mean they have an aversion to the more challenging prey.  If a lion is hungry enough, he’ll hunt that healthy & strong antelope even though getting that antelope is a lot of work.

The same thing goes for narcissists.  They don’t have an aversion to abusing a victim that is more of a challenge.  In fact, they enjoy it.  Easy victims are good, but conquering someone who is strong, confident & successful is big time narcissistic supply.  That challenge makes them feel very powerful.  It makes sense in its own dysfunctional way.  It shows the abuser they are able to destroy the un-destroyable.  They must be powerful to accomplish that, right?!

 

If you are someone who has suffered abuse, that doesn’t mean you are weak.  It means the person is an abuser, & often abusers seek out a challenging victim.  If you were sought out, that means there is something about you that appealed to the abuser.  Your strength, success, intelligence, kindness, faith… whatever it was, it was a good thing to make such a horrible person want to destroy you.

And, if you know someone who has been abused, this also applies to them.  That person must possess some very good qualities if that awful person worked so hard to destroy them.  That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the victim.  Quite the opposite – there is something very right with that person!

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For Anyone Who Has Gone No Contact With An Abusive Parent

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To Those Who Have Gone No Contact With Abusive Parents

Those of us who have gone no contact with abusive parents most likely have heard the same invalidating, nonsensical comments.

  • “But that’s your MOTHER!”
  • “Your father can’t help it… that’s just how he is!”
  • “You need to let what they say roll off your back.”
  • “You need to forgive & forget/honor your parents!”
  • “You only get one set of parents!”

Statements like this make me cringe.  People who say such utterly moronic comments truly have zero clue what it’s like to be in the position of feeling no contact is the only option left to protect our sanity.

If you have gone no contact, Dear Reader, then this post today is to remind you of some things.

First, no one has the right to tell you how to feel about anything, let alone your abusive parent’s actions.  You know how it feels to you, & that is all that matters.  Just because it may not bother someone else so much doesn’t mean you’re automatically wrong.  It means you two are different.

Second, no one has the right to dictate how you should handle the relationship with your abusive parent.  They aren’t in the relationship so they don’t need to have an opinion on it, let alone share that opinion with you as if it was the Gospel.

Third, just because you are no longer speaking to your abusive parent doesn’t mean you aren’t honoring that parent.  There is absolutely NO honor in tolerating abuse.  See this article for more information: What It Really Means To Honor Your Parents

Forth, you have every right to protect yourself from abuse from anyone, including your own parent.  There is nothing Godly or holy about tolerating abuse.  Nothing.

Fifth, remember that the person saying these things has absolutely zero clue of all the heartache you have endured, all the tears shed, all the prayers & begging God to change things & to show you what to do.  This person is talking out of sheer ignorance, & is NOT someone whose advice you should listen to.

Sixth, many people who say such invalidating nonsense come from their own dysfunctional backgrounds.  You facing your pain reminds them of their own pain that they are trying to ignore.  Seeing you face your pain makes them feel cowardly for not facing theirs.  Or, it threatens their denial.  If they had a decent relationship with your narcissistic parent, you clearly showing the truth about your parent threatens their delusion that your parent is a good person.  Either way, they want to shut you down because of their own issues & lack of courage.

Lastly, if you have doubts about whether or not you’ve made the right decision to go no contact with your parent (which we all do at some point), ask God to tell you.  He will tell you nothing but the truth & it will help you greatly.  Some time back, I was starting to have doubts about being no contact with my mother.  Elderly, widowed & on her own for the first time at almost 80 years old, it’s natural I felt badly for her.  I asked God one morning if I should resume contact.  Immediately, I knew what would happen if I did.  I could see it kinda like a movie playing in my mind.  At first, she was nice & not very demanding.  As time wore on though, she expected me to come by a couple of times a week, then three times a week, then daily.  I would be forced to be at her beck & call, unable to take care of my own family & home, & even my writing would be neglected.  I knew in my heart God was right, & this is exactly what would happen, because it happened before.  My mother’s mother was this same exact way.  Physically & mentally, there is no way I could handle this, plus I can’t allow my calling & family to suffer just to provide someone with narcissistic supply.  God helped me to stay on the right track, just like when He told me it was time to go no contact with my parents in the first place.  He can do the same for you.  All you have to do is ask.

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Wise Thoughts On Honoring Parents

A lovely lady in my Facebook group by the name of Ella Jane Gamberi shared some extremely wise & insightful thoughts on the topic of honoring one’s parents recently.  Since so many of us with narcissistic parents have been subjected to judgmental people criticizing us for not honoring our parents, I believe her words may help others as they helped me.  I’m very happy to say that Ella allowed me to share her insight.

Check this out…

Hi. This is my first post here. I wanted to let you all know that I have studied some on this honouring abusive parents thing. Proverbs says “honour is not fitting for a fool”. If your parent is also an atheist which mine were they qualify for fools as a fool says in his heart there is no God. Look up some other characteristics of fools and you might be surprised who qualifies. God is not mocked. Nobody who treats the weak and lowly like trash gets away with it. In my opinion children, new mothers and many others qualify as vulnerable. God both loves and keeps those who cry out to Him against injustice. Remember the widow and the judge! God bless.

How much sense does this make?!

I’m embarrassed to admit I never connected the passage about honor not being fitting for a fool in relation to honoring one’s parents.  Thank God this lovely lady did though!  Isn’t this helpful?!

Dear Reader, if your parents are like the majority of narcissists & don’t believe in God, He considers them fools & unworthy of honor.  Personally, I don’t think He means we can treat our parents any old way.  As children of God, we are to glorify Him & part of that is being good to people.  That being said though, we can rest easy knowing that having boundaries with our parents, not blindly bending to their will & yes, even going no contact aren’t signs we are being dishonorable to our parents, hypocrites or “bad Christians”.  There is nothing wrong with any of the above!

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What Is Happening Since My Mother’s Death, part 2

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How Abuse In Childhood Manifests In Adults & Ways To Cope

Children who are abused by their parents without fail show signs of that abuse in their adult years.  This post addresses some of those signs.

Abused children grow up believing they have no control over what happens in their lives.  This is because abused children are not taught that they have the right to have boundaries or even to say “no.”  That faulty thinking often carries into adulthood when the abused child finally realizes that he or she has as much right to have boundaries as any other person.

Abused children also grow up into a false person of who they really are.  Children want their parents’ love & approval.  It’s only natural to feel this ingrained need so strongly.  With healthy & functional parents, it’s a good thing.  With abusive parents however, it’s not so good.  In fact, a child can be so starved for their parents’ love & approval, they learn to live in whatever way they believe is pleasing to their parent(s).  A child whose parents tell her she needs to be a nurse when she grows up may become one, all the while hating her line of work because she really wanted to be a teacher, or vice versa.  Sadly, this can continue until that child gets to know the person that God created him or her to be & discards that false self.

Abused children grow up not in touch with their emotions.  Abused children are often told that their emotions are unacceptable.  Usually the only acceptable emotions in a home with abusive parents are the emotions of the abusive parents.  They criticize their children for having a bad temper when they are righteously upset at being abused.  They call their children oversensitive & mock them for their emotions.  These children learn quickly the best way to deal with their emotions is not to deal with them, so they push them deep inside so they don’t have to feel anything.  While this is a useful survival skill with abusive parents, it doesn’t serve anyone well long term.  This child needs to learn to trust his or her emotions, to recognize them & find ways to cope with them in healthy ways.

Abused children often become people pleasers.  Children whose parents abuse them learn quickly the best ways to avoid abuse is to please their parents.  If they can just be good enough, smart enough, talented enough or pretty enough, their parents won’t hurt them anymore & will love them, they believe.  Sadly this mentality carries into adulthood, & that abused child is an adult who worries about pleasing other people at any personal cost.  This adult is angry, bitter & miserable, yet feels unable to make any changes.  Realizing what is happening is the first step.  Once that has happened, learning about boundaries & developing healthy self esteem will help tremendously.

Abused children learn not to trust their instincts.  Narcissistic parents love to gaslight their children.  Gaslighting in its simplest definition is when someone distorts another person’s reality in such a way that the victim learns quickly not to trust their own instincts or perceptions, often even their own sanity.  Children whose parents gaslight them grow up with instincts like every other person, but they lack the ability to trust those instincts.  As a result, they frequently end up in situations that are bad for them or abusive relationships.  Even if they felt somehow that something was bad for them, they ignored it since they don’t feel they can trust themselves to know what is best.  Learning to trust your instincts after a lifetime of gaslighting is NOT a fast process, but it is possible.  Listen to your instincts, & observe what happens.  Chances are, you’ll see those instincts were right time after time.  The more it happens, the more you learn you can trust your instincts.

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What Is Happening Since My Mother’s Death, part 1

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What’s Been Happening Since My Mother’s Death

I thought I’d share some things that have been happening since my mother’s death in April in the hopes someone reading this can glean some useful information from it.  I’m going to make this post into a YouTube video (well, probably a 2 part one) in the near future since not everyone who follows me on YouTube reads my blog (& vice versa).

It’s been such a strange, strange time to say the least.  God has been blessing me big time by enabling me to take care of everything I need to do.  I was able to bring my parents’ cat home without having to trap her & add to her trauma.  She’s still learning that this new home is a safe & loving one.  He’s given me the ability to figure out just what my parents would want done with their belongings, too.  He even got me through the horrific day of my mother’s burial.  As if burying her wasn’t enough to deal with that day, the cemetery made a huge mistake.  Long story short, they had to exhume my father & rebury him in the plot beside where he was before they could bury my mother.  On top of that, one of my cousins showed up at the burial solely for the purpose of attacking me, & refused to leave.  She was the one who was the cruelest to me when my father was dying.  Not a pleasant day, but I got through it & everything else surprisingly well, thanks to God carrying me.

In spite of the blessings, it’s still been hard.

The death of a narcissistic parent is bizarre.  Normally when someone you love dies, you miss them terribly & it’s incredibly painful.   Very hard of course, but it’s not complex.  Not so with a narcissistic parent.  There is the sadness of course, but not always because you miss them.  It can be because you miss not having a healthy relationship with your parent, because your parent stole your childhood or because your parent went to their death never admitting any wrong doing.

There’s also the relief & freedom you suddenly feel knowing that you are finally free from your parent’s abuse.  It’s such a wonderful feeling!  At least it is until the guilt for feeling that way kicks in.  Even when you know that your feelings are totally normal, most people still feel some degree of guilt.

In some cases, like mine, your narcissistic parent dies alone because you are no contact.  I hadn’t spoken with my mother for almost 3 years to the day when she died.  The theory is my mother died on her birthday & 3 days later is when the police performed the wellness check & found her.  I can’t describe the guilt I feel for this.  Yet, I know beyond a doubt I couldn’t have maintained the relationship any longer with her or my father for that matter.  I also know it was for the best for my parents that I wasn’t in their lives.  That is what finally got my father to turn to God for the first time.  It may have worked for my mother that way, too, but I’m not sure yet.  Even knowing such things, there is still guilt.  My mother died alone in a filthy house with very little food because she had only limited help.  How can I not feel some guilt for this?  Anyone with any compassion would.

Even knowing such things, the guilt is powerful.  If you end up in a similar situation, Dear Reader, please be forewarned of this.  Understand that feeling guilt is very normal & understandable, but that doesn’t mean it is right.

There is also the matter of going through my parents’ home.  I had to find financial information such as bills, bank accounts & investments.  I also have been trying to sort out things to send to various relatives.  While it’s just stuff, it’s stuff that can bring back a lot of memories, good & bad.  Being inundated with memories is so hard!

It’s also strange going through my folks’ home.  My parents were no different than other narcissistic parents in that they kept secrets.  I’m discovering some of those secrets, which makes an already challenging task even more challenging.  I’m learning more about my parents than I felt prepared to.

I think what I’m learning from this entire experience is this…

Like I said when my father died, you simply can’t be fully prepared for the death of a narcissistic parent.  You can learn all you can & pray, but still, you won’t be fully prepared.  What you learn & your prayers can help you a lot, but don’t expect to be 100% prepared.  Your emotions are going to be all over the place.  You’ll experience hurt, anger, disappointment, relief, grief & more.  Or, you may be numb.  Or, you may bounce back & forth between overly emotional & numb. In any case, you’re going to be very surprised by all that you experience, & there isn’t any amount of preparation that can stop that from happening.

If you’re the one chosen to be the personal representative or at least to clean out your parents’ home, it’s going to be brutally hard on you.  Seeing their possessions will trigger lots of memories, probably good as well as bad.  When you have PTSD or C-PTSD, this is especially difficult to deal with since it also can trigger flashbacks or intrusive thoughts.

Going through anyone’s personal belongings also shows you a great deal about who that person is.  Much more than you can learn by being in a relationship with them or even living with them.  I learned that my parents wrote down a lot, including things like how miserable they were with each other.  That was not new to me but seeing their most intimate thoughts in writing about such a topic is pretty difficult to say the least.  Since it’s too much for me to handle, when I find anything in my parents’ handwriting, I glance at it to see what it’s about.  If it’s one of those “I’m miserable with you” papers, I put it aside without reading further. You are going to learn things you wish you’d never learned about your parents like I have.  While you can’t be prepared for what you learn, you can be prepared in the sense you know you will learn painful things.   You also have the right to protect your mental health like I’m doing.  Put things aside until you feel equipped to deal with them.  Or, have someone safe that you can trust to go through such things for you.

If you are the one responsible for writing the obituary, you can always ask the funeral director to do that if you aren’t up to it.  The one who took care of my mother did her obituary & it turned out wonderfully.  Not overly gushy, just simple & nice.  Some folks in such situations write honest obituaries, detailing some of the abuse their parent inflicted on them.  It seems to be quite therapeutic for them.  That may be another option for you.

Whether or not your parent had a will, chances are excellent that it’ll take quite a bit of time to get their estate settled.  While that can be a challenge, having this situation hanging over your head for what feels like forever, it’s also a good thing in a way.  This means there is no rush to sort through their things.  Take your time.  Take frequent breaks too.  You’ll need those breaks for the sake of your mental health.

You’ll also find out most people have no idea what to say or how to deal with you after the death of your narcissistic parent.  If you had a good relationship with your parents, they would send sympathy cards & say the usual, “sorry for your loss” type comments.  Since you didn’t, many people won’t know what to say or do.  This may make some folks avoid you.  If they don’t avoid you, they may avoid talking about your parent in any context or they say things that hurt you even though they don’t mean to.  It will hurt & disappoint you, even when you know that wasn’t their intention.  After someone close to you dies, no matter the relationship, many people are rather emotionally raw for a while.  This means you’ll be oversensitive, & hurt much easier than you normally would be, which is why their comments hurt you.

Most importantly, lean on God as much as humanly possible!  You are going to need His love, strength & support more than you ever expected to.  He will carry you through this!

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Ending An Abusive Relationship

Leaving a relationship with a narcissist is so hard!  Whether the narcissist is a love interest or family member, it’s always hard.  They can make you feel  obligated to them as if you owe them something, like no one else would “put up with you”, & you’ll lose everyone you love if you end this relationship.  It takes a lot of strength & courage to end a relationship under those circumstances.

It’s hard to end any relationship.  It’s sad eliminating a person from your life that you once cared a great deal about.  If that person is a family member, it’s even harder simply because that person is family.  Family is supposed to be full of people who love & support each other.  It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact someone in that role in your life isn’t that way at all, but is an abusive monster.

There is also the fact that narcissists make their victims feel like they’ll never find anyone to love them.  My ex husband told me once, that I’d never find anyone who loved me like he did.  At the time, it was terrifying!  I was sure I’d be alone forever.  The more years we have been separated though, the more I realized he was right.  No one else has so called “loved” me like him & I thank God for that!

There also is the problem of flying monkeys.  Whether the narcissist in your life is a relative or romantic partner, chances are excellent that this person has some devoted flying monkeys who think she can do no wrong, & you know they will attack you if you are “mean” enough to abandon their precious narcissist.  That can be pretty intimidating, especially when you’re already beaten down by the narcissist.

While these can be upsetting scenarios, it’s still best to abandon the relationship with the narcissist in your life.  You will NOT regret it!  I have not once heard anyone in this type of situation say they wish they had stayed in the abusive relationship.  Not once!  In my experience, I have absolutely no regrets either.

When you do end the relationship, you are going to love your new freedom & realize it was worth it.

Suddenly, you will feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders.  No longer do you have to seriously consider every word you say for fear of upsetting this person.  You no longer have to worry about how you style your hair or how you dress being a reason for this person to put you down.  You can do whatever you want, have your own opinions, listen to whatever music you like & even eat whatever food you want without the fear of being mocked.  It’s so freeing!

When stuck in a relationship with a narcissist, it is hard to see just how bad things are.  You’re so busy trying to survive, that takes up all your thoughts.  It doesn’t cross your mind that things are really bad.  Once you leave it though, your thinking will be much clearer without the narcissist taking up so much of your thoughts.  You’re also going to see exactly how bad the situation was, & be incredibly grateful you left it.

If you’re considering ending your relationship with a narcissist, but are afraid, I want to encourage you today.  You can do this & you won’t regret it!  Ask God to give you strength.  Talk to your supportive friends or a counselor & let them encourage you.  Look at your past successes, all the times you dealt with the narcissist in your life or her flying monkeys & they didn’t get their way.  You can do this, Dear Reader!  You really can!  And when you do, you are going to be incredibly grateful you did it!

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Setting Simple Boundaries With Narcissistic Parents

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More About The Death Of My Mother

I’m really exhausted as I write this post, so I’ll just apologize in advance if it’s a bit hard to follow.

The time since my mother was found dead on April 19th has been pretty bizarre to say the least.  I still feel like I’m functioning in a state of shock, but it’s dissipating some anyway.  God’s enabling me to get through it all & do what I need to do, which is a miracle in itself.

Today (I’m writing this on Saturday), has been a tough day.  I found a note from one of my mother’s relatives from about a year ago.  Apparently my mother wanted advice & this person wrote back about how she felt about the situation & what she thought should happen.  Ugh..the narcissism!  This shouldn’t be surprising since she also called me when my father was dying & let my phone ring for 10 minutes straight one evening, which is why I blocked her number as soon as my phone stopped ringing.  Anyway apparently my mother had asked this person for advice & that was her purpose of writing the letter to my mother.  In it, she mentioned something about how she needed to get a lawyer because “you know Cyndi won’t help you.”  As I read it, I  somehow could feel the hate for me coming off the page.  Not a nice feeling to say the least.  Truly what this person thinks of me means nothing to me but it did get me thinking about something that made me mad.

My father stopped speaking to his father a year or two before he died.  It was over some changes Granddad made to his will.  My father didn’t even attend his funeral.  Not one single person said a peep about this.  Not.  One.  Yet, I stopped speaking to my parents & relatives lost their minds, like the one who showed up at my mother’s burial to give me grief.  Why?!  How does any of this make any sense?!  My father & his had a difference of opinion & no contact was fine.  My parents were detrimental to my physical & mental health yet I’m supposedly wrong for protecting myself from that.  UGH!

I’ve also been going through paperwork trying to find the information I need to take to my mother’s attorney soon.  I have found a LOT of stuff, & not just what I need.

My mother wrote out pretty much everything.  To do lists, notes about broken things that she had repaired & more.   I found some letters she wrote to my father, telling him how miserable she was.  (I have yet to read them other than enough to let me know what the paper was.  It feels too personal & not my business.)  She wrote out her feelings when she was 40 years old about how awful her life was & how she had no idea what to do about it.  Heartbreaking!  After finding that, I found a list of things she wrote that she had to do after her mother died.  In it, she mentioned how she “had to give me money from her inheritance.”  She didn’t sound amused.  Well, the reason she had to do this was because I’d found evidence that she stole my inheritance.  I threatened to go to the police unless I got my money.  I also found out she made a rather significant investment without my father’s knowledge several years ago.  Today, I found a text on one of her old cell phones from someone I don’t know who told my mother to stop calling her as they had nothing to talk about.

Things like this have been such an emotional roller coaster!  I feel sorry for my mother, then get mad at her, feel confused because I apparently knew little about her.  Often I feel these things within the span of only a few minutes.

Aside from venting, I do have a point in sharing this.

Dealing with the death of a narcissistic parent is incredibly difficult.  It’s challenging, confusing & complicated.  But, if you are in the position that I am of having to settle that parents’ estate, it gets even more challenging, & I don’t just mean the legal & financial aspects of it.

Whatever your relationship with your narcissistic parent, when that parent dies, I would guess you’ll find out you didn’t really know your parent at all, as I have.  That can set off confusing & conflicting emotions.  I keep feeling angry.  It seems my mother had good qualities, but I wasn’t fortunate enough to see them.  Why??  That makes me angry because it’s utterly unfair.

I also realized apparently my parents were proud of me to some degree.  I truly had no idea.  If this happens to you, I’d bet you’ll feel the way I have about it.  I wonder why they didn’t tell me & it hurt me that they didn’t.

The death of a narcissistic parent also shows you who your friends really are & aren’t.  I am blessed with wonderful friends who understand how awkward & painful the situation is.  But, there are also others who think I’m the scourge of the earth for not having a relationship with my parents, such as the awful relative who showed up unexpectedly at my mother’s burial solely to harass me.  The bad ones aren’t entirely unavoidable, unfortunately, so you most likely will have to deal with at least one or two at some point.  Remember to avoid these people.  Walk away, hang up the phone, block their phone number & email.  Heartless people like this thoroughly enjoy kicking a person while they’re down, & you do NOT need their abuse on top of everything else.

And lastly, Dear Reader, remember that no matter what, you can’t be fully prepared to deal with the death of your narcissistic parent.  You can try your best to be & learn all you can, but even so, there are going to be surprises along the way.  When things get hard, remember to turn to God.  Let Him strengthen you & comfort you.  He will get you through this as He is doing for me!  xoxo

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My Mother Has Died

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How Childhood Trauma Affects Adults

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Dealing With Guilt Trips

One very popular weapon in the narcissistic arsenal is guilt.  Covert narcissists in particular are very fond of using guilt as a means of control.  It’s understandable it’s such a common weapon considering how very effective guilt can be.  It also is unfair & even cruel.

So how can you cope when your narcissistic parent uses guilt trips?

First, pray.  Ask God for wisdom & discernment so you understand when guilt is being used on you & ways to cope with it.

You also need to recognize what is a guilt trip & what isn’t.  You need to know when someone is saying something to manipulate you or to help you to change & improve yourself.  Statements like, “It hurt my feelings when you said/did….” can help you.  Statements that simply make you feel guilty like, “After all I’ve done for you, this is how you repay me?” however aren’t to help you, but to control you.

You also need to be aware of the fact narcissistic supply is at the root of every single thing a narcissist does.  Guilt trips are a part of that.  Being able to control someone via guilt provides supply as does seeing that person upset about the guilt.  The more you allow the guilt trips to work on you, the more the narcissist will use them on you.  The best thing you can do is to pretend not to notice the guilt at all when you’re in the narcissist’s presence.  Later, when away from her, vent to your heart’s content of course, but when in her presence or even on the phone with her, pretend you didn’t notice a thing.  If she realizes guilt trips don’t work on you, she’ll stop using them since she sees they aren’t effective.

Don’t justify yourself or your actions.  If you do, you’re only making yourself look guilty, which could mean the narcissist will get meaner.  Probably my most successful interaction with my late covert narcissist mother in-law involved guilt from her.  She wanted me to do something for her one day but I had plans.  Granted, I could’ve changed them, but I didn’t want to.  Not for someone who hated me & treated me so poorly.  She kept trying to find out what my plans were.  She said things like, “You sure must have something important to do if you won’t do this for me.”  “I guess you’re doing something for your parents since you won’t help me…”  Rather than explain my plans (which weren’t her business!), I ignored her.  Since I didn’t tell her, she got mad, but couldn’t be mad at me without looking foolish in front of her husband & mine.  By not justifying my actions, I protected my privacy, avoided more nastiness from her & she never tried to guilt trip me again.  In fact, I found the entire thing funny because her behavior was so ridiculous.  Much better to laugh than to be angry or hurt!

Remember, if you have done something wrong, you should feel some guilt since it will help you to improve your behavior.  However, if you haven’t done anything wrong, then do NOT allow the guilt trip to work on you.

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Narcissistic In-Laws & The Ex, part 2

 

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The Narcissist’s Feelings Are NOT Your Responsibility!

A major pet peeve of mine when it comes to narcissism is how so many people think the victim is responsible for the feelings of the narcissist.  Here are a couple of examples from my life…

  • When my mother’s abuse hit its peak when I was in my late teens, she spent a great deal of time daily screaming at me, telling me how terrible I was.  One afternoon, her friend called.  I answered the phone since my mother was busy.  This person told me how I needed to start ‘behaving myself’, obeying my mother & how lucky I was to have a mother who loved me so much.  I didn’t feel lucky!
  • When I broke my engagement with my ex husband in 1990, everyone who knew us told me I was making him miserable & should get back together with him.  No one cared that I was miserable with him or asked why I even broke up with him.
  • When my father was dying in October, 2017, I can’t even tell you how many people told me I needed to say good bye to him so he could die in peace, I wasn’t honoring my parents, I was a “bad Christian,” I needed to “put my feelings aside” & more nonsense.  Not one person cared why I was no contact with my parents.

Pretty disgusting, isn’t it?  And I know I am far from the only person who has experienced situations like this.  It seems to me every victim of a narcissist has been made to feel responsible for their narcissist’s feelings not only because of the narcissist making them feel this way, but other people too.

Dear Reader, although you may know this already, this is WRONG!  You are absolutely NOT responsible for the narcissist’s feelings any more than you are responsible for any other human being’s feelings.  Each person is responsible for their own, & that includes narcissists.  Even though narcissists often act like spoiled, bratty little kids in adult bodies, they’re still adults & that means that their feelings are their responsibility, not yours.

When faced with people who do their best to make you feel responsible for the feelings of the narcissist in your life, chances are slim you will make them see the error of their thinking.  Probably it will be best for you simply to ignore what they say.  Change the subject, tell them you won’t discuss this topic with them, or ignore their text or email.  Why frustrate yourself trying to change the mind of someone who is determined that their thinking is right while you are absolutely wrong?

If you feel you must say something to the person, treat them as you treat any flying monkey.  Remain calm & don’t let them see that you’re frustrated with them.  You can ask them logical questions too.  “What makes this person’s feelings so much more important than mine?”  “Why are this person’s feelings my responsibility?”  “Other people take responsibility for their own feelings- what makes her exempt from doing that?”  Questions like that may shut the person down because really, there is no reasonable answer to those questions.  Of course, they may try to come up with excuses, such as the infamous, “But that’s your MOTHER/FATHER/etc.!”  If they do, let logic prevail again.  “So you’re saying that because this is my mother/father/etc we’re talking about, that I should be responsible for his/her feelings?”  “You mean that you honestly think I should do ___ to make him/her happy, even knowing how miserable that would make me?  That really makes sense to you?!”

Whenever these situations come up (& they will if you have any relationship at all with a narcissist), be sure to pray about the best way to handle them.  God won’t let you down & He will give you some very creative & effective ways to shut these people down.

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Narcissistic In-Laws & The Ex, part 1

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What Can Happen When Ending A Relationship With A Narcissist

When a relationship ends, the average person is sad for some time.  They may fondly remember special times with the other person or great conversations.  They miss such things, but in time, they’re ok.  They move on & get involved in other relationships.  This is a healthy way to cope, because it allows a person to heal.

Nothing like this happens with narcissists.

Narcissists are incapable of truly loving.  Because of this, a relationship that has ended doesn’t affect them in the same way as it affects your average person..  They don’t miss the person they love, but instead, they miss their favorite source of narcissistic supply.  This is why they act differently than functional people when a relationship ends.  Narcissistic supply is like a drug to them.  When a relationship ends, they’re losing their “fix”, if you will.  That isn’t an easy thing for any addict to handle.

To start with, narcissists don’t usually understand why someone ends a relationship with them.  To understand, they would need at least some empathy, which most people know is something that all narcissists lack.  They don’t understand why their ex would object to them cheating, why that former friend complained that they took advantage of their good nature, or why their adult child was hurt when they cut their child out of the will for simply telling the parent, “no.”  Narcissists are incapable of grasping such concepts.  In their minds, they’re entitled to whatever they want.  Besides, the behavior didn’t hurt them, so it isn’t important to them.  If it had hurt them, they’d change their behavior at the speed of sound.  Since it didn’t though, they are left baffled why their partner, friend or child ended the relationship. What the other person wanted or felt wasn’t so much as a blip on their radar.  All that matters to a narcissist is what they want, which usually boils down to their precious narcissistic supply.  Since the wants of the narcissist & victim are vastly different & the victim’s are not even considered by the narcissist, usually the end of a relationship catches them by surprise.  Their victims often warn them for months or even years in advance that they won’t tolerate the abuse forever, yet still, narcissists are shocked when someone ends a relationship with them.

Narcissists also don’t like rejection.  No one does, of course, but narcissists are infuriated by it.  Rejection is a narcissistic injury.  It makes them feel badly about themselves, so the person who rejected them must pay for making them feel that way.  Rather than walk away from the failed relationship with some semblance of dignity, most narcissists opt for revenge.  Overt narcissists often harass & stalk their victim, & get their flying monkeys in on the process as well.  They also will unleash a very impressive smear campaign, lying about the victim being the cause for the failure of the relationship because of being selfish, crazy, controlling & even abusive.  This often isolates the victim from friends & even family who believe the lies.  Covert narcissists are much less likely to harass & stalk their victim, since they prefer to look like a good person, but some will or have their flying monkeys do their dirty work for them.  They also don’t have any trouble creating a smear campaign, but it is much different than their overt counterparts.  Rather than say outright their victim is crazy & abusive, they phrase their smear campaign in a way so as not to sound critical, but concerned instead.  They may say something along the lines of, “I’m not surprised my ex left me.  She got so mean when she took drugs.  She just wasn’t herself.  I hope she’ll be ok…”  See how this smear is?  It makes the person saying these things sound concerned & as if he isn’t trying to destroy the reputation of his ex girlfriend.  People will believe this type of smear campaign very easily, even if they know the ex in question & know she never took drugs.

There is also the likelihood of the narcissist trying to “hoover” the victim back into the relationship.  When this happens, the narcissist may do their best to make the victim believe they have changed.  They may make promises that they have no intention of keeping such as they won’t do whatever the victim complained about anymore.  Some other empty promises are if the victim would only take the narcissist back, he or she will be faithful, they’ll be less selfish, they’ll think more of their victim’s needs.  The narcissist also may shower the victim with expensive gifts or love letters.  They may send their flying monkeys to tell the victim how miserable they are without the victim, & how desperately they want to resume the relationship.  This is a tough one, I know.  When I first broke up with my now ex husband, it seemed like everyone we knew was telling me how sad he was, how miserable he was, how much he missed me & how I really should get back together with him.  I felt so incredibly guilty at that time that I agreed not only to return to him but to marry him after only a short time apart.

Sometimes, narcissists fall into depression after a relationship ends, too.  They have no coping skills & aren’t fully aware of their emotions, plus they just lost their narcissistic supply.  It’s normal they wouldn’t handle any break up well when you consider these facts.  This can be so hard for the person who ended the relationship.  When people tell you how sad this person is or he says he doesn’t want to live without you, it can be incredibly hard to take.  It can make you feel incredibly guilty & responsible, which is truly unfair.

If you experience these things after ending a relationship with a narcissist, I urge you to remember that the narcissist is acting this way not out of a genuine & healthy love for you, but because he or she is a narcissist.  They are incredibly dysfunctional people.  You stick to no contact, & remind yourself often exactly why you came to that decision.  Write things down if it helps, since writing can be an incredibly useful tool.  Also remember that person’s emotions aren’t your responsibility.   Don’t forget to document everything in case you need to involve the law at some point.  Even if you don’t, the documentation will help you a great deal to remember why you’re no contact.  It’ll also help you to see the way this person tries to manipulate you.  And, if the narcissist creates a smear campaign against you, never, ever react to it.  Any reaction would give this person narcissistic supply, so you deprive this person of that supply.  In time, he or she will get bored with your lack of reaction & give up the smearing.  Lastly, if the narcissist sends the flying monkeys after you, remember that few are truly innocent people who are fooled by the narcissist.  Most are also narcissists, I believe.  Treat them accordingly.  Remember to tell them nothing that you would object to the original narcissist knowing, in particular anything about the original narcissist.  Chances are the flying monkey will share everything you say with that person, so give them no material to work with.  Most importantly, pray & lean on God to help you get through this.  He truly will help you!

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Narcissistic Grandparents

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Accepting Your Parent Is A Covert Narcissist

I remember when I first realized that my mother was a narcissist.  Although it was painful, I was glad finally to understand why she treated me as she did.  The raging, the silent treatments, the manipulation & control.. suddenly it all made sense.  She blamed me for all of it, but the truth was it wasn’t me.  It was her!

It was another few years before I realized my father was a narcissist as well.  It took me so long because he was a covert narcissist.

My mother being an overt narcissist made it obvious something wasn’t right.  Normal mothers didn’t keep their daughters from getting to know their extended family.  They also didn’t scream at their teenage daughters daily, often multiple times in a day.  They didn’t accuse their daughters of completely uncharacteristic behaviors, such as having sex with their entire high school football team, especially when there was no evidence to support this wild claim.

My father was nothing like this at all.  For most of my life, I was convinced he was my one nice, normal parent.  I was wrong.

While my father didn’t scream at me or accuse me of outrageous behaviors, he abused me nonetheless.  He didn’t protect me from my mother.  In fact, when I told him of some of her abusive behaviors, he would tell me how hard this was on him, & how there was nothing he could do to protect me.  In spite of my pain, I often ended up comforting him after my mother abused me.

Compared to my mother’s constant criticisms & rages, I didn’t think this was a problem.  He told me he loved me, unlike my mother who stopped saying it when I was in my teens.  My father also complemented me, & bragged about me to other people.  My mother didn’t do either.

As an adult, married with my own home, I finally noticed some subtle changes in my father’s behavior.  He became critical.  Nothing obvious like my mother at first, but still critical.  He became more critical over the years.  He also became more controlling in subtle ways.  If I didn’t answer his call immediately, the next time we spoke, he would tell me how he thought I must be mad at him since I didn’t answer the phone.  If I said I wasn’t home at the time, he didn’t believe me.  Or, he would call folks we both knew, asking them to contact me & have me call him immediately because he was worried about me.

Eventually, I realized my father was a covert narcissist, & that fact truly hurt.

My situation is quite similar to that of many adult children of narcissistic parents.  Accepting the overtly narcissistic parent is abusive is difficult, but it can be done.  Accepting their covertly narcissistic parent is abusive is a much more difficult task, & can be impossible for some people.

The nature of a covert narcissist’s abuse is what makes the abuse so hard to comprehend.  There is no obvious abuse.  They don’t hit or scream.  Their abuse is so much more subtle.  They use guilt, disapproval, silence & portraying themselves as innocent, naive, in need of saving or protection.  They also can turn a situation around to where they look like the innocent victim instead of the abuser, rather than the other way around as it should be.

This creates a cognitive dissonance in victims.  In other words, the victim often may see the truth, but doesn’t want to accept it because it’s so painful.

There is also the fact that it’s hurtful enough to accept that one parent didn’t love you.  Accepting both parents didn’t is even more so.  Even when you understand it’s because they’re narcissists, knowing both of your parents didn’t love you can make you feel unlovable.

If this describes your situation, I’m so sorry, Dear Reader.  You are in an extremely painful situation.  Pray, journal, talk to safe people… do whatever you have to do to help you face this ugly truth & to heal.  It will help you in the long run to face this awful situation.  You can do this!

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Toxic In-Laws

I’ve been working on a book for a while now about toxic/narcissistic in-laws.  I’m struggling to write it for a few reasons.  I’ve been really distracted by things going on in my life since I started this book 2 years ago.  I also felt that I needed to put it on the back burner to write other books.  The topic is such a hard one for me to write about too, because I honestly have been through hell because of some of my husband’s family, & I’m still healing.  And, in spite of taking frequent breaks, I’m pretty burned out on all things narcissism.  These issues make this one tough book to write.  That being said, I believe the topic is an important one so I will finish it.  It just may take some time.

Since my book is delayed, here is a post to help identify whether or not your in-laws are toxic.  I will write from the perspective of a daughter in-law with a toxic mother in-law, since that is the bulk of my experience as well as the bulk of the experiences of people I’ve spoken with.  The information is good for toxic sisters in-law, fathers in-law, etc. though.

Does your mother in-law ignore you?  The purpose of this behavior is to show you that you mean nothing to her.

Does she refuse to accept responsibility for treating you badly?  Rather than say something like, “I shouldn’t have said that.. I’m sorry,” does she make excuses for her words or actions or deny them completely?  This is a big red flag.  Functional people accept responsibility for what they say & do.

Does your mother in-law have a different personality depending on whether or not you are alone with her or others are around?  Another big red flag!  Any abuser will behave differently to their victim depending on whether or not there are witnesses.  They want to hide their abuse from other people.

Does she expect you to be blindly devoted to her family, even to the point of rejecting your own family & friends?  Many toxic mothers in-law remind me of the Borg from the tv show “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”   They expect their son’s or daughter’s new spouse to become completely enmeshed in their new in-law family.

Like the Borg, toxic mothers in-law expect their new sons or daughters in-law to adapt to their opinions, religion, way of life, etc.  Individuality is highly discouraged by toxic mothers in-law.  I once told my late mother in-law I hate to cook.  I do it, but hate it.  For Christmas a few months later, she & her 2 daughters gave me nothing but cookbooks, utensils, food & other cooking paraphernalia.

Toxic in-laws show no respect.  Toxic in-laws show no respect for personal space, choices, likes/dislikes, parenting, & even boundaries.

And speaking of a lack of respect, your mother in-law makes it clear to you that she doesn’t like you.  Unless you abuse your mother in-law’s adult child or your children, if your mother in-law had any respect whatsoever for her child, she would be civil to you no matter how much she disliked you.  The inability to be civil even only for the sake of her adult child proves she is toxic.

Is she manipulative & controlling?  Toxic people, in particular narcissists, must be in charge.  Chances are, your mother in-law controls her spouse & children.  Since you married one of her children, she expects you to be as control-able & easily manipulated as everyone else.  When you say no, she is NOT happy.

If your toxic mother in-law is nice to you, it’s short lived & in front of others only.  Very few people are cruel 100% of the time.  Toxic people bring out their nice side when it can be advantageous to them.  Being nice sometimes will make their victim want to see it more, so they work harder to please the toxic person.  Also, being nice to a victim in front of others helps the toxic person prove to others that if you complain about the relationship, you are obviously the problem.

Mothers in-law like this care nothing of their adult child beyond what he can do for her.  They clearly have no respect for him either, since they treat the person he chose to spend his life with so badly.  His marriage is nothing more to this kind of mother than an embarrassment, & she would like it simply to go away.  Since she can’t file for divorce on his behalf, she becomes extremely destructive to the adult child’s marriage with her abusive ways.

Your spouse no doubt suffers greatly from his mother’s abusive behavior, yet tolerates it anyway.  This is because he is accustomed to how his mother behaves.  This is his norm & many adults in this situation have accepted this as their permanent reality.  By complaining about his mother’s behavior or even confronting her, this threatens his norm.  Facing the truth can be incredibly painful for many in this position, which is why many refuse to face the truth.  This feeling is known as cognitive dissonance.  Rather than face this miserable feeling, many people in this situation will do their best to shut down their spouse.  They don’t want to hear about the bad things their mother is doing, so they will tell their wife they don’t believe her, she is over sensitive, she just doesn’t understand Mom, that’s her problem so she needs to leave him out of it & more.  They refuse to confront their mother on behalf of their wife.

Naturally, the wife in this position feels rejected, unloved & hurt.  She wants to fight for her marriage, but it seems whatever she does is wrong, & whatever his mother does is right.  Her trying to save her marriage only causes more problems.  The reason for this is she doesn’t know that when you’re dealing with a narcissist, normal ways to cope don’t work.

For anyone in this position, you need to think of this situation more like a game of strategy than a relationship.

As always pray.  Ask God to help you to know what to do & to give you whatever you need to enable you to do it.  Pray for your husband to see the truth & for God to enable him to be able to cope with it, too.

Cope with your emotions as best you can by journaling, talking to a safe friend, pray.. whatever works for you.  Whatever you do, don’t hold in your emotions!

Don’t focus on your mother in-law’s bad behavior when it can be avoided.  Instead, focus on being the loving wife that you are.  Don’t neglect to remind your husband how much you love him.  If he complains about his mother to you for any reason, don’t join in.  Listen quietly to him & give him objective advice if he asks for it.  The reason being, the mindset of many people in this situation is they can complain about Mom, but if anyone else does, they jump to her defense.  This would only cause more problems in your marriage.

Along those lines, if you discuss his mother’s behavior with him, stay calm.  State your issues in a matter of fact way, lacking emotion.  If you rant & rave, that too will make him feel he must defend his mother, which only will hurt you & possibly your marriage.

Limit your exposure to your mother in-law as much as possible, but especially alone.  No narcissist wants to abuse their victim in front of the person they want to think well of them, so stay glued to your husband’s side as much as possible.

Keep your emotions in check around your mother in-law.  Narcissists love to twist a victim’s normal reaction around to prove how mentally unstable or even abusive the victim is to other people.  In her presence, stay calm.  Vent later when you’re away from her as needed though, so you don’t hold in all the bad emotions.

Having to deal with toxic, narcissistic in-laws is tough.  I know, I’ve been there.  But, with prayer, love, patience & wisdom, you can survive it with your marriage in tact.

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Anger In Survivors Of Childhood Narcissistic Abuse

Many survivors of childhood narcissistic abuse grow up showing virtually no anger.  Even when they have valid reasons for being angry, they don’t show anger, in particular anger at their abusers.

 

Rather than get in touch with their anger, they often stuff it deep down inside & make excuses for their abusers.  “If only I hadn’t done…”  “It’s not his fault, he had a bad childhood.”  “She was right, & I’m oversensitive.  I always have been.”

 

Sometimes, abused children grow up depressed.  They aren’t necessarily depressed though.  They may be incredibly angry about the traumas they endured.  Repressed anger can manifest as depression.

 

Anger really is a scary thing when you’ve never been allowed to express it, & even more when you were shamed for feeling anger by your parent.  The only anger that was allowed in the home where I grew up was my mother’s.  If I showed even a bit of frustration let alone anger, she shamed me for having “that Bailey temper.”  It took me until well into my 30’s before I could express any anger at all, & into my 40’s before I got comfortable with it.

 

 

Anger really isn’t a bad thing at all, Dear Reader.  I know so many people say it is, Christians in particular, but it truly isn’t.  Anger is simply an emotion & emotions are from God.  Would He give a bad gift?!  Matthew 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (NIV)

 

What is bad about anger is when you do bad things with it.  You shouldn’t let your anger motivate you to get revenge, for example.  Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”  (NIV)

 

What is good about anger is it can let you know when you’re being mistreated.  If someone treats you well, you won’t feel anger, but let that person steal from you for example, & you WILL feel anger!

 

Anger also can motivate you to make positive changes.  No one ever started a diet who was happy with the state of their body.  They started it because they were fed up with not wearing a smaller size, getting winded walking up the steps or because they were having health problems.

 

So how can you learn to feel & express your anger in a healthy way?

 

You need to accept that you have the right to be angry sometimes.  Every single living being has the right to feel anger about some things, & that includes you.  Hiding it as a child was no doubt a very useful survival skill, but you’re not that child anymore.  You are an adult who has every right to feel it & express it in healthy ways. Remind yourself of that & do so often.

 

 

 

You also need to gain a good understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It helps in so many ways, but one way that helps you is because you understand projection.  A narcissist who shames you for being angry or having a bad temper is simply projecting their bad temper or anger issues onto you.  Their cruel comments are absolutely no reflection on you.

 

You need to recognize that you have the right to be angry at your abuser(s).  During the abuse, you obviously couldn’t show your anger.  Now that the abuse is done, get angry!  Let out all that old anger you stuffed inside you for so long!  It’s hurting you physically & emotionally to hold it in so let it out.  It’s long overdue!  It’ll help to free you of shame, guilt & feeling worthless to do so.

 

**I’m not saying that by getting angry at your abusive parents you need to confront them.  That is entirely your decision.  All I am saying is you need to feel & express that anger.**

 

Everyone has ways to deal with anger that work for them, & you need to do the same.  You can journal, get a punching bag, punch pillows, yell when home alone… there are all kinds of different ways you can cope.

 

 

Don’t think that if you decide to forgive your abusive parents, the anger will vanish.  I made that mistake early in my healing, & thought there was something really wrong with me for still feeling angry with my parents after deciding to forgive them.  I didn’t realize that deciding to forgive them wouldn’t make all the anger I felt magically disappear.  I believe forgiving & getting rid of anger are two separate things.  At least they have been for me.  I make the decision to forgive those who have done me wrong immediately, but even so, it takes time to work through & release the anger.

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