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If You’re Still In A Relationship With A Narcissist

January 12, 2018, I had a very strange experience.  That was my father’s birthday, his first since he died the previous October.  I was thinking about that when God told me that my father wanted Him to tell me something.  He said, “Encourage the weak, like me.”  I knew what that message meant immediately. 

After my father died, God showed me a lot about him.  He showed me how my father felt trapped in their marriage & unable to protect me.  At the time of his death, upon meeting God, he also finally saw how wrong he had been to me.  God showed me how weak my father felt he was.  When God said to encourage the weak, I knew immediately He meant that I should encourage those who are in similar situations & also feel weak for it.

Every January on my father’s birthday, I write a blog post to do just this, to encourage those who also feel weak & in a relationship with a narcissist.

If you have been unable to end a relationship with a narcissist, I don’t think this makes you weak at all, although I certainly understand why you could feel that way.  Fighting a narcissist is incredibly draining & makes you feel weak both mentally & physically. 

Maybe the narcissist in your life has destroyed you financially & you are dependent on them.  Sadly this is incredibly common.  Narcissists excel at financial abuse.  That doesn’t make you weak!

Maybe the narcissist has made you feel forced to maintain the relationship with them.  Many make terrible threats if the victim says they want to leave.  They threaten to keep them from their children or even kill their children.  They threaten to kill their loved ones or pets.  When this happens, how can you not stay out of fear the narcissist will follow through on such threats?!  That doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you someone who loves others & wants to protect them.

Narcissists also often make their victims feel obligated to them somehow.  They may twist Scripture around to make you seem evil for considering ending the relationship with your parent or spouse.  Or they may manipulate your good nature & make you pity them.  My ex husband made me feel so guilty for breaking our engagement that I later married him, even though I was incredibly unhappy with him.  Manipulation is what made me return to him & stay as long as I did.  If that is your situation too, it’s manipulation, not weakness on your part!

Maybe the narcissist has destroyed your self-esteem so badly, you feel completely unable to make it without that person.  Sadly, this happens!  Feeling this way isn’t a sign of weakness at all.  It’s a sign of a cruel person abusing you to put you in such a terrible state.

Maintaining a relationship with a narcissist is hard!  It takes a great deal of strength to maintain your sanity & courage to continue on in this way.

If ending the relationship is your goal, that is brave!  It also isn’t the easy fix many people seem to think it is.  If you live with the narcissist, it takes time to prepare financially, to arrange for a new place to live, & more.  Whether or not you live with the narcissist, it also takes time to figure out the best way to end that relationship to minimize their rage as well as for you to summon the courage to follow through with your plans.

No, you aren’t weak for staying in the relationship with a narcissist.  If you’re looking for solutions, that shows you are strong.  Obviously you want to survive this situation & that courage of yours will pay off.  You will get through this with your dignity & your sanity in tact!

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When Covert Narcissists Act Immature, Incompetent, & Dumb

A very common tactic of covert narcissists is to portray themselves as immature, incompetent & even dumb. Considering all narcissists want to be seen as special & even superior people, this sounds wrong, but I can assure you, it happens.  I’ve seen it first hand.

Whether a narcissist is overt or covert, two of their main goals are to abuse & control their victims.  Appearing not overly capable allows narcissists to do just this while receiving no consequences whatsoever, because people often believe that the narcissist who behaves this way simply doesn’t know any better.  Consider these scenarios

A child who grows up with a covertly narcissistic parent like this often is assigned the role of protector of that parent.  Since narcissists often marry, mostly an overt & a covert narcissist, the child protects the covert narcissist parent from the overt one.  The covert narcissist can get away with just as much if not more abuse than the overt one, because the overt is in the spotlight.  There is no denying the abusive ways of the overt narcissist.  Covert narcissistic parents however, can fly under the radar, abusing their children quietly through manipulation while getting their children to protect them from the overt narcissistic parent.  They end up looking like the good parent, & the child honestly believes they are until they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This is how I grew up with a covert narcissist father & overt narcissist mother, & my story is very common.

Consider the common scenario of the covertly narcissistic mother in-law who is verbally abusive to her daughter in-law when they are alone, & never in front of her son.  When the daughter in-law tells her husband, this can go several ways.  One is the husband defends his mother.  He hasn’t seen her do anything his wife says she has, so he doesn’t believe his wife is telling the truth about his mother.  Or, he defends his mother saying yes, she can be hurtful sometimes, but she just doesn’t know any better so the wife can’t get mad at her.  Or, maybe he does believe his wife, & then confronts his mother.  His mother claims she had no idea what she said would upset his wife.  She cries & says she meant no harm, she was just trying to help.  He believes this victim act & stops defending his wife to his mother rather than face her crocodile tears.  By acting immature & unintelligent, this person is able to get away with abusing her daughter in-law, having her son protect her instead of his wife & she has caused a giant rift in their marriage.

Using a covertly narcissistic mother in-law as an example again (since I have plenty of experience in this area), consider this scenario.  This mother in-law hates that her recently married son isn’t spending as much time with her as he once did.  Naturally all parents aren’t thrilled by that, but most take it in stride as a natural course of events.  Narcissistic parents however take it as a personal slight against them, as if their adult child’s new spouse married them for the sole purpose of stealing them from their parents.  Rather than simply call her son & say, “I miss you.  Would you & your wife like to come to dinner next weekend?  I’ll make your favorite dish”, covert narcissistic mothers plan.  The mother in this situation can come up with all sorts of things she needs her son to help her with because she claims she doesn’t know how to do these things.  Since he does, she needs his help.  She often creates more & more tasks for him, taking him away from his new wife.  She may even invent a need for him on his anniversary or his wife’s birthday, claiming she forgot the date.  If his wife protests, he feels torn because although he may want to spend more time with his wife, he feels badly for his poor helpless mom who needs him.  He may even see his wife as unreasonable & selfish.  Another giant rift in the adult son’s marriage can be caused by this situation.

If you recognize someone you know in these behaviors, then chances are excellent you’re dealing with a covert narcissist.  If that is the case, there are some ways to help you handle this situation. 

Never provide this person personal details or information, since that will be used against you at some point. 

Never show them any emotions, because showing emotions helps narcissists figure out what works in hurting or abusing victims. 

Do NOT allow this person to manipulate you.  Recognize the signs & change the subject, hang up the phone or leave when the manipulation starts. 

Try never to be alone with them.  Covert narcissists behave better when there are witnesses. 

Don’t ever think they just don’t know any better.  They DO know better, but they don’t see a reason to behave better. 

Never forget that no one can be devious & stupid at the same time. 

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15% Off All My Print Books!

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

My print books can be found at this link…

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Year End Sale On ALL Of My Ebooks!

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

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Narcissistic In-Laws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Narcissists & Gifts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When Children Of Narcissistic Parents Exhibit Narcissistic Behaviors

When you are a child, your parents are more or less like a god to you.  They are responsible for meeting your needs.  They seem to know everything, only because you are too young to have much experience in life.  They are always there.

Having good parents is a wonderful thing.  It’s also easy to learn good ways from good people.  Obviously life isn’t perfect, but the positive you learned from your good parents helps you handle the less than perfect times.  You are a good, functional, caring person who can handle what life throws at you with grace & dignity.

For those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents, this sadly isn’t the case.

One aspect of having narcissistic parents means you were deprived of learning good & healthy habits.  In fact, you may learn plenty of bad habits.  You may become judgmental & critical.  You may become selfish & not overly concerned with the needs of other people.  You also may learn other bad habits from your narcissistic parents such as lying, refusing to accept responsibility for hurting others or projection.

I still remember when I was only 20 years old.  My now ex husband chewed me out for behaving like my mother.  He was excessively critical of me since he was a narcissist, but in this instance, he was right.  We were talking about some new music that had come out recently.  I didn’t like the music, & he did.  I said that band was terrible.  He said I sounded just like my mother.  He also said, “Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they don’t have talent.  It just means you don’t like them!”  He was right.  They clearly did have talent & they became quite popular, but played music that simply wasn’t my taste. 

That conversation was a wake up call for me.  I was terrified of becoming like my narcissistic mother who said everything & everyone she disliked was bad.  It helped me to become more aware of my behavior & make good changes.

It also scared me.  I was afraid that I would turn out like my mother.  I knew first hand how critical & cruel she could be, yet I imitated her behavior by what I said about that band. 

Chances are good that if you too were raised by narcissistic parents, you have experienced similar moments of behaving like your parents.  If so, don’t worry about it!  You can & will change!  The more you heal from the abuse, the healthier you will behave.  It happens naturally.  But, if you recognize that you’re behaving in some unhealthy ways, you can change those individually.  Figure out why you are behaving as you are.  Ask God to show you the root of the behavior & how to heal from that.  Consider how you would feel if someone said or did the same thing to you that you did to others.  Recognizing how badly it’d hurt to be treated as you treat others can be a huge motivator for changing into healthier behaviors. 

If you do mirror some behaviors of your narcissistic parent & wonder why, it’s probably because children naturally imitate their parents.  It doesn’t mean you’re a narcissist!  You’re doing a natural thing, imitating your parent.  Or, it could be some sort of defense mechanism.  Many times, two narcissists marry.  You saw one parent being mistreated & retaliating by behaving as they did, so you do the same to protect yourself.  Sadly, these things happen sometimes.  Thankfully though, you are aware of your behavior & want to change!  You should be very proud of yourself for that!

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

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

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

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Some Reasons Why Victims Side With Abusers

If you have survived an abusive relationship & are working on healing from that, the possibility of someone who has been a victim siding with their abuser can seem utterly impossible to comprehend.  Yet sadly it happens more often than you might think.

Many people who have been abused refuse to find some way to come to terms with it.  They won’t accept that someone who was supposed to love them not only didn’t love them but actively tried to hurt them.  This is particularly the case with children abused by their parents.

Being abused by a parent also can make you feel like if your own parent doesn’t love you, then clearly you must be unlovable.  Children naturally seem to have a propensity for accepting blame that isn’t theirs, so when their parent doesn’t love them, they assume it’s because of something they have done wrong or there is something wrong with them.  Instead, they accept this faulty belief as fact, thinking they deserve the abuse.  They often grow up to say things like, “Yea, Dad was hard on me but he made a man out of me!”

Another reason victims of abuse may side with abusers is cognitive dissonance.  That is the feeling that comes with learning the truth that directly clashes with some deeply held belief.  Believing your parents are good people then learning they were anything but creates that painful cognitive dissonance.  It makes a person question everything they thought they believed.  Cognitive dissonance is truly painful, & many people would rather avoid it completely.  If that means siding with their abusive parent, so be it.  They prefer that to facing their pain.

Sometimes adults who survived abusive childhoods see other victims dealing with their pain.  They see the suffering they go through with flashbacks, nightmares, crippling anxiety & depression, maybe even suicidal tendencies & they are afraid that if they face their pain, they will end up going through the exact same pain.  Also, they may be reminded of their own pain that they refuse to face.  Instead of trying to show victims they care, they rush to shut them down.  One way they do this is to side with abusers & try to normalize their behavior.  Not only the abusers of their fellow victims, but theirs as well.

Another reason victims may side with their abusers is to create the illusion of normalcy.  If they can justify their abusive parent’s behavior, then it becomes normal, which in turn means they were treated normally & are normal people.  Thinking this way makes the victims feel normal, & not like a victim or something is wrong with them. It also has another purpose.  Many times, victims of child abuse marry other victims as adults.  In these situations, often one person faces their pain while the other tries their best to avoid it.  If the one facing their pain points out to the one who refuses to that his or her parent is abusive, that causes pain that this person has tried hard to avoid for a long time.  If he or she can make the other person believe they are overreacting, over sensitive or even crazy, the abuse was totally normal, & their parent did nothing wrong, this can stop the healthier person from discussing this topic.  The healthier person will get discouraged in trying to help their partner, & may give up the unhealthy person to their dysfunctional ways.

Rather than deal with painful things, it seems like many victims of abuse think that the easier alternative is to side with the abusive parent.  Pretending all is fine & their abusive parent wasn’t a monster at all but instead a good parent doing their best is truly a dysfunctional coping skill!  It’s a shame it’s also such a common one.

If you have someone in your life who is doing this, I know how incredibly difficult & frustrating it is.  You want the best for him or her, but this person doesn’t see that.  They see you as unreasonable, over sensitive, unkind, or whatever.  If you are to continue this relationship, then please pray.  Ask God to give you wisdom about how to handle things & pay attention to what He says.  He knows this person better than you possibly could.  If you feel God wants you to speak on this subject, then do so gently & humbly.  Remain logical & not emotional because heated emotions only shut this type of person down.  Ask logical questions too, like, “Why do you think it’s OK your father beat you with a belt?  If I told you my father did it, would you still think it’s OK?”

God may also say that you shouldn’t discuss this with your loved one.  Some people are extremely determined to continue in this dysfunction & nothing anyone says can get through to them.  If this is your situation, then do NOT discuss it!!  Have a safe place to vent your frustrations though, because you are going to need it.  Pray, journal, talk to a close friend.. just don’t keep your frustrations inside.  Remember, you don’t have the right to try to force something on another person, even if your intentions are good & it’s a good thing.  Let God deal with this person & show them the truth.  When He does it, there won’t be any doubt it’ll be done the best way possible!

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Special Days & Narcissists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Close Is Too Close In Families?

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

Some examples of being too close are as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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20% Off Print Books Until November 5!!

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

My books can be found at the link below…

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

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Encouragement For Those Who Pray For The Narcissists In Their Lives

Praying for people you love is easy & comes naturally as a Christian.  Praying for people who have done bad things to you is much harder.  Praying for a narcissistic parent who tried to destroy you is about a hundred times harder.  If you have taken it upon yourself to pray for your narcissistic parent, I want you to know that I truly get how hard it is.  I want to offer you some encouragement today to keep doing it, even when you don’t want to.

For many years after I became a Christian, I prayed for the salvation of my narcissistic parents.  Matthew 5:44 says we are to pray for our enemies, so I started praying for them out of obedience to God.  Honestly, my heart wasn’t really in it though.  Even before learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I realized their behavior was that of people who didn’t think they needed God in their lives in spite of saying they prayed & loved God.  Praying for them seemed pointless.  Not because God was unable to reach them, but because they clearly turned their backs on Him.  No matter what He did, if they didn’t want to hear or acknowledge His voice, they wouldn’t.  I got more lax in my prayers for them for a while.

As they got older & their health began failing, I stepped up my prayers more.  It was obvious they weren’t going to be around for a long time, so in spite of my lack of hope, I prayed for them daily.

The day my father died, a former friend of mine got a vision from God about my father.  The story is readily available on a link on the menu at the top of my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you would like to read it.  Rather than repeat it here, suffice it to say that my father turned to God at the very end of his life.

Almost exactly eighteen months later, my mother died.  During the conversation with the funeral director, he asked my husband & I about our religious views.  Turned out he too was a Christian.  As we were discussing the final arrangements, he suddenly stopped.  He said God told him to tell me that my mother was with Him in Heaven!  A short time later, I found a tiny Bible in my mother’s house.  Apparently it was a gift to her when she was only 9 years old.  Printed towards the end was the Sinner’s prayer.  My mother signed it!  I believe that was proof that the funeral director was correct with the message he told me!

The reason I’m sharing these stories with you today is to encourage anyone who struggles with praying for the narcissist in their life.  I know it’s hard.  I also know that if you can do it, often you feel like a hypocrite because your heart isn’t in it.  There were plenty of times when I prayed for my parents I told God, “I don’t want to do this.  I don’t even care anymore what happens to them.  I’m only doing this because You want me to.”  Terrible, isn’t it?  Yet, not once did He make me ashamed of how I felt.  In fact, He understood that & was glad that I was praying for them in spite of not wanting to.  Clearly, He honored even those awful sounding prayers!

I also realize that it can be so disheartening to pray & see no improvement or hope that things will change.  Even so, please keep praying anyway!  All things truly are possible with God.  Just look at what happened with my parents.  And, just because you haven’t seen any change yet doesn’t mean that change won’t happen.

Please remember too, that you may never see the results of your prayers.  I didn’t.  When my father died, I hadn’t spoken to him in months.  When my mother died, it was just under 3 years since we spoke.  Just because I didn’t get to see the results of the prayers in this lifetime didn’t mean they didn’t happen!  Clearly, they did!

Lastly, if it seems as if God is taking too long answering your prayers, I know that can be frustrating!  Please don’t give up though!  Some people are very stubborn & close their hearts to God.  It can take a long time or something drastic to happen to break through that.  An answer delayed doesn’t necessarily mean an answer is denied.  2 Peter 3:9 in the Amplified Bible says,  “The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

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How Narcissists Instill Toxic Shame In Their Children

Instilling a root of toxic shame in children is something narcissistic parents do amazingly well.  And they really have to if they wish their child to be compliant & easily manipulated.  A person who is ashamed of everything about themselves is very easy to control, because they assume someone else always knows better than they do.  When that someone else is a person in a position of authority like a parent & the victim is a young child who naturally looks to that parent for everything, it can be very easy for that parent to plant the seeds of toxic shame in that child.

On first glance, it may be somewhat hard to recognize exactly how a parent accomplishes this goal.  That is why we’re talking about it today, to help you recognize how your narcissistic parent created this root of toxic shame in you.

Narcissistic parents primarily instill toxic shame in their children by destroying their child’s self confidence.  This is done by telling the child they can’t do anything right, by doing things for the child & claiming it’s because that child can’t do tasks right, telling embarrassing stories about them that may or may not be true, exaggerating any faults the child has or once had, or reminding the child of the many times that parent rescued the child from his or her bad decisions even though those times may not have even happened.  Such actions can destroy a child’s self confidence & leave them to think they are so incapable that they need their parent to take care of them, even as adults.

When a narcissistic parent says, “I was just joking,” you can count on that being a way to instill shame in their child.  No, they weren’t just joking.  They were deliberately saying something cruel to their child as a way to build that toxic shame.  When the child showed hurt feelings, the parent said they were “just joking” as a way to make that child feel ashamed of being upset at the parent.  If the parent can convince the child that he or she was just joking & the child was wrong to be upset, the child will tolerate the cruel words said in this instance & in the future.  Sometimes the child in this situation will defend themselves to their parent.  Their parent uses their normal reaction to prove to the child how unstable the child is.  Narcissistic parents can use either reaction to create toxic shame in their child.

Blame shifting is another effective way to instill toxic shame in children.  I remember when my mother would say the most unimaginably cruel things to me, usually screaming them at me when we were alone, & blame me for making her say those things.  I felt terrible for making her behave so awfully.  That is typical.  Blame shifting enables narcissists to abuse their child without accountability.  The child learns to tolerate abuse because they are to blame.  If they would just act right, the parent wouldn’t be abusive.  What the child fails to realize is nothing they could do would make that happen, so when their parent is abusive repeatedly, they accept that it is their fault, which results in feeling toxic shame.

Narcissistic parents who play the victim instill toxic shame in their children.  Covert narcissistic parents in particular love the victim act, but overts aren’t above using it either.  Narcissistic parents will infuriate their children then use their children’s reaction to prove to the child just how mean & horrible that child is to their parent.  This naturally makes the child in this situation feel ashamed of themselves for being so terrible to their parent for no good reason.

Talking above or below the child’s level instills toxic shame.  Talking above a child makes the child feel stupid for not understanding what their parent is talking about.  Never mind that parent may not be as intelligent as the child & is talking in circles with confidence in their words to confuse the child.  Talking down to a child by treating a child or adult child as if they are still very young makes the child feel as if their parent is superior to them. 

If you have experienced these things from your narcissistic parent, hope is not lost.  You can heal!  It will take time & effort, but you can do it.  You need to identify your parent’s shaming voice & what it tells you, then counteract that voice with the truth.  Write things down if it helps you.  If you struggle with this, asking God to help you can do wonders to shut down the shaming voice & help you to see the truth! 

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Dysfunctional Thinking – Expecting A Romantic Partner To Make Your Life Perfect

Many of us raised by narcissistic parents didn’t realize something was terribly wrong with our upbringing.  We did, however, realize that we were lonely because we felt so different or even weird. 

To cope, whether or not we realized what we were doing, we created these fantasies of one day finding the perfect romantic partner.  We were certain we would find that one person that would love us unconditionally & take away all of the loneliness & pain we felt.  Certainly there was someone out there who could make everything better, with whom we could live happily ever after.  We would never argue or even disagree.  We would be perfectly compatible, like something out of a cheap romance novel.

Then one day, we meet someone who is interested in us & we put all of our unrealistic expectations on that person.  Often, that person is another narcissist, yet we fail to recognize those similarities between this person & our narcissistic parent.  Instead, we see their flaws but excuse them away, waiting on them to turn into that perfect romantic partner who will make our lives happy.  Or, we may not become involved with another person who is a narcissist, yet we still put our unrealistic expectations on that person, expecting them somehow to make our lives complete.  Yet sadly, these people don’t make us happy.  Instead, we suffer with the cognitive dissonance of our situation, wondering what is wrong, why can’t this person make me happy?!

It takes time to realize what is really happening.  It takes learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to understand that we have been through some very serious & life altering cruelty that has skewed our views of ourselves as well as of our fellow humans.  We must learn that many times, children of narcissistic parents fall in love with narcissists.  It’s normal, but dysfunctional. 

The good news though is that we can change.  We can become healthier & recognize the utter dysfunction of this situation.  We also can see our romantic partner for who they are.  If they are also narcissists, we can abandon the relationship.  If they aren’t, we can accept their normal human limitations & stop expecting them to make everything better for us.  To do this, we must be open to learning, changing & growing.

If you’re just starting to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & recognize yourself in this post, please know that there is hope for your situation!  Things will get better!  Be patient with yourself.  Keep reading, keep watching YouTube videos & listening to podcasts.  Keep talking with safe people who won’t judge your situation.  Join online support forums.  The more you do these things, the healthier you will become & the better your life will be.  You also naturally will develop healthier boundaries & relationships, which includes having healthier expectations of any relationships in your life, romantic & otherwise.  Please just keep doing these things because although it’s hard work, the rewards are amazing & you deserve nothing less!

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When Narcissistic Parents Try To Keep Their Children, Children Forever

One subtle way narcissistic parents abuse their children as adults is called infantilization.  This means that the parents continue treating them like they’re much younger than they are.  While this may not sound so bad, it truly is because of the damage it causes.  It often creates severe anxiety, insecurity & lack of faith in one’s abilities to the point they can be debilitating.  It sets a child up for failure as an adult by making sure that child can’t do what they need to.  Even if that adult child has the ability to do something, they honestly believe they can’t.  This means that adult child settles for relationships that are at best mediocre or at worst abusive because they don’t believe they can attract good people.  Even worse, they don’t believe they deserve to be in relationships with good people.  They settle for dead end jobs or careers they hate because they don’t believe they’re smart or talented enough for anything better.  They settle for much less than they deserve in all areas.

Possibly the saddest part of this is that this particular type of abuse is rarely acknowledged.  Parents who behave this way are seen as overprotective or maybe even a bit eccentric, but not as the vicious predators that they are.  The adult child often suffers alone & their feelings are invalidated.

Narcissistic parents accomplish this subtle & sinister form of abuse in many ways. 

Starting in childhood, these narcissistic parents don’t let their child do much.  They may start to do something but their parent takes over because they say the child is doing it wrong.  Rather than let the child learn from their mistake or simply do the activity a different way to get the same result, the parent clearly sends the child the message, “I have to do things for you because you aren’t capable.”

Normal age appropriate activities are discouraged.  Attending school activities, attending sleepovers or even simply spending time with friends are frowned upon or simply not allowed.  As children get older, narcissistic parents often discourage them from working, getting a driver’s license, going to college or even moving out. 

Narcissistic parents trying to infantilize their adult children will tell their children how they feel about things.  A prime example I witnessed was when my mother did this to my father.  At a restaurant one evening, he wanted to try something different for a change of pace.  My mother told him he didn’t want that, & to order what he usually ordered.  They were both over 60 years old at that time.

Another thing they do is discuss things with the adult child that they liked when they were children & act as if they still are into those things.  They don’t acknowledge that their child is now an adult with adult interests.

Telling embarrassing stories about their adult children is another tactic designed to keep the adult child childish.  It is designed to humiliate that adult child.  When the adult child speaks up about their feelings, their narcissistic parent will shame them for not having a sense of humor or being too sensitive.

Remember how in Genesis chapter 3 how the serpent spoke to Eve to manipulate her into disobeying God?  He instilled doubt in her by saying, “Did God really say that?”  That is much like how narcissistic parents make their children feel incapable of doing things even as adults.  They often say things like, “Do you really think you can handle doing that?”  “Aren’t you a little young to do that?”  The underlying message is “You’re too stupid to do that.”  The questions are asked to make you doubt yourself & look to your parent for answers.  The more someone relies on another for answers, the more that someone can control the one looking for answers.

If you are in this situation, you need to remember what is happening.  Your parent is trying to control you.  Whatever your parent says isn’t true- it’s said for manipulation only.  You are capable!  You are smart!  You are talented! 

I also found it helpful to ask God for creative & effective ways to handle the situation.  He definitely will provide them! 

Lastly remember, never let your narcissistic parent see how they hurt you.  If they do, they’ll only do that thing again & again.  Don’t let them have that opportunity!  Act as if their words don’t affect you in the slightest bit while you are in their presence.  Later when you’re alone, you can deal with the emotions however works for you.

I wish you the best in your situation! 

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When Narcissists Claim They Don’t Know Why Their Adult Children Went No Contact

I would like to make one small disclaimer on this post.  I am writing it from the perspective of those in a position like mine, the adult child who severed ties with their parent for valid reasons.  This doesn’t mean I always side with the adult children in these situations & assume all parents to be guilty until proven innocent.  I absolutely do NOT believe in blindly siding with any specific person or even group. 

Many times when an adult child severs ties with their parent, that parent claims to have no idea why their child did this.  They say this happened without warning, totally out of the blue.  My parents did this.  I severed ties with them after a huge argument in May, 2016.  During the fight, I felt all knowledge I have of narcissism went out the window because I was so hurt.  I cried, I used bad language & I told my parents exactly why I was so upset with them rather than remain calm & set boundaries as I usually did.  Oddly, they acted like I did this every day, & weren’t affected in the slightest by my behavior.  It was the last time I spoke with my mother before her death, & one of the last times I spoke to my father before his.  He tried to apologize a few months after the argument, but it was obvious from what he said, he had no idea why I was so upset.  When cleaning out their home after my mother’s passing, I read some things she wrote & she was clearly just as oblivious. 

This is very typical of abusive parents.  My story is only one of many similar ones.  This makes it so hard for the adult child in this situation, because you feel like your parent didn’t even care enough to listen to anything you said, let alone try to make things better.  It’s so painful thinking they’re so unaware & uncaring.  If you’re in this position, you know that hurt all too well.

I’ve come to realize something though.  Whether or not they know, it truly has nothing to do with you & everything to do with them.

Normal human beings recognize when they have said or done something bad.  They apologize & try to make amends.  As anyone who has even a fleeting knowledge of people with narcissistic personality disorder knows, that isn’t how narcissists work.  Apologizing & making amends are beneath them, so that won’t happen.

Also to apologize, they need to recognize they did something wrong. Narcissists lack the basic human empathy to see anything from another’s perspective, even when that problem is glaringly obvious to about anyone else in the world. 

In many cases like this, however, the narcissists do know that they were wrong.  They won’t admit it, but they know.  You’re probably thinking I am wrong on this, but I really don’t think I am.  If you pay attention to what a narcissistic parent in this situation says, there are hints that show they know they messed up. 

They may talk only about their child going no contact with them or how angry that child has been with them.  They talk about how this affects them.  But they leave out things that led up to their child being so angry or making this decision.  They may say things like their child says they are a terrible person or says cruel things to them, but where are the details?  Those are left out.  Sure, this could be a narcissist’s way to keep all focus on them & off their adult child, but I believe in many cases, it’s a way to make them look like the innocent victim & hide their awful behavior.  The listener is supposed to be so distracted by what was done to the narcissist that it never occurs to them to ask what else happened.

If your narcissistic parent has told people they have no idea why you severed ties with them, I know you’ll feel hurt, maybe even unimportant because your own parent doesn’t care about why you opted for no contact.  That is a natural way to feel but that doesn’t mean it is right!  Whether or not your parent truly knows, their behavior is all about them, & is no reflection on you.  Please remember that! 

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Long Term Anger About Abuse Is Normal!

When you’re healing from abuse, many people act like you should get to the point that nothing about what your abuser did bothers you in the slightest.  They say that’s a sign of healing.  I say that is completely wrong.

To start with, how can any human being not be bothered in the slighted by any life altering event, whether the event is good or bad?  Anything that drastically affects a person is going to affect them forever to some degree.  In my experience I have found the best I can hope for regarding such life altering & traumatic things is to get to the point where remembering them feels much like remembering a bad dream.  It feels somewhat upsetting but not devastating.  One example is this: Some of you who have read my work for a while may remember when I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2015.  That was a terrifying event that has left me with life altering physical & mental struggles.  Yet, it also brought me some really good changes in my personality as a result of the brain damage & even drew me closer to God.  As grateful as I am for those positive changes, that doesn’t negate the fact that thinking about how close to death I came that day still shakes me up to some degree even all these years later.  I believe most people are similar to me in this feeling like they’re remembering a bad dream is as good as it gets for healing from the most extreme traumas & situations.

To be totally unaffected by abuse also makes abuse not so bad.  It minimizes it & even normalizes it.  After all, when someone does something normal, you don’t think twice about it or feel any sort of emotions connected to that normal thing.  Do you feel any emotion when your friend says they bought a loaf of bread while at the grocery store?  No, because that is normal.  If a person feels that way same way about abuse, then abuse becomes just as acceptable as buying a loaf of bread. 

There should always be anger about abuse!  It’s called righteous indignation & is mentioned in the Bible.

Righteous indignation means to be angry about injustice, malice & even abuse.  It is anger felt about something that offends your morals.  Consider the story of Jesus overturning the tables of the moneychangers in the temple in Matthew 21:12-13.  He was angry that the temple was no longer a house of prayer but a den of robbers thanks to the behavior of these people.  That anger was hardly sinful!  It was correct!  It motivated Jesus to get their attention & make changes.  And, he did so without hurting anyone!

When feeling angry, consider your anger.  Most likely, you aren’t only angry at your abuser for hurting you, but at the wrongness & unfairness of the abuse.  There is nothing wrong with that anger at all!  You can use that anger to motivate you to make positive changes in your life, such as end the relationship with the abuser.  You can use it to raise awareness of what you have endured.  This righteous indignation is a very good thing provided you use it constructively rather than destructively.

If you have been in this situation & feel badly for still feeling some degree of anger about the abuse you have endured, please consider what I have said.  It is good to release the anger at the perpetrator as you are able to do so.  Carrying around anger & unforgiveness is unhealthy in the long term.  However, maintaining that righteous indignation about the painful & abusive acts committed on you is perfectly normal & yes, even Godly.  Don’t let other people convince you otherwise!

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Love Isn’t Always Warm & Fuzzy

When most people hear the word love, they think of how they feel around someone they love dearly.  Whether that person is a love interest, parent, child, other relative or friend, the person thinking of them will feel warm, affectionate, caring feelings.  But, love isn’t always about those nice feelings.

Sometimes, love feels nothing like the nice feelings I described earlier.  Sometimes love is not enabling behavior the other person enjoys but is unhealthy.  Sometimes love is not allowing the other person to use you.  Sometimes love involves arguments.  Sometimes, love even involves ending relationships.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize these things, & think love is only about the good feelings, giving in, & even tolerating abuse.

The last few months of my father’s life, I learned that is exactly what my family thought.   They clearly thought I hated him & my mother because I hadn’t spoken to them for several months at that time.  They obviously believed that I was living my life with no thought of them whatsoever.

What my family didn’t know & never would believe anyway is no contact with my parents was incredibly hard on me.  Reaching the decision to end those relationships was gut wrenching.  I took a lot of time to consider it, & said a lot of prayers.  I prayed daily for wisdom for probably a couple of years before going no contact with them, & after, I prayed daily for God to take care of them & to save them.

In John 15:17 in the Amplified translation, the Bible states, “This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.”  There is no mention in there about the warm, fuzzy feelings, because sometimes, there simply aren’t any.  Consider what I just told you about my situation with my parents.  There wasn’t a single warm fuzzy feeling for them for many years, & many less at the end of their lives.  But, that didn’t mean I didn’t love them.  The difference is I loved them God’s way, by doing what it says in John 15:17, seeking the best for them.  It was incredibly hard severing ties with them, but I knew in my heart it was necessary for my mental health & for them.  And, as it turns out, my father finally turned to God at the very end of his life because I wouldn’t go see him.  I’m not sure if my mother’s motivations were the same or not, but she also turned to God at the very end of her life.  When you love people as God wants, it’s not always easy but it is for the best.

If you have been told that you aren’t loving abusive people right because you have started to set boundaries or even gone no contact, or even if not but you feel like you’re being unloving for such things, this post is for you today.   You need to know that there is nothing good or Godly about letting people use & abuse you.  In fact, it goes against God’s wishes!

Remember, if you truly love someone, you may not feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings for them.  Sometimes love is best done from a distance, & praying quietly behind the scenes.  And sometimes those prayers include saying things like, “Father God, I’m sorry my heart isn’t in this.  I’m only praying for her because I know You want me to!”  If that is all you can manage to do, there is nothing wrong with that!  God truly honors those prayers, the ones you’re only praying because you know He wants you to pray.  He applauds your effort & obedience while also dealing with that other person in ways you may not know about.

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About Body Dysmorphia & Narcissistic Abuse During Childhood

Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder in which a person obsesses over flaws in their appearance.  The flaws may be real or not.  A person with body dysmorphia also often avoids other people because of feeling such embarrassment & even shame over their flaws.  They also may seek surgery or other ways of fixing these supposed flaws in their appearance.  The solutions may only provide temporary relief, but often the anxiety over the flaws returns.

Body dysmorphia can result from abnormalities or injuries to the brain.  A family history of the disorder also can lead to a person being prone to developing it.  I believe it also can be the result of narcissistic abuse.

Negative comments about something can be hurtful.  If they are negative enough, they can make a person feel very self conscience.  Narcissists don’t simply say a few random negative comments periodically, however.  They frequently say the most scathing, cruel, vicious criticisms they can come up with in order to annihilate their victim’s self esteem, because a person with no self esteem is easy to control.  One area narcissists often focus on is someone’s appearance.

Naturally when a parent says such things to their child, the likelihood of that child accepting the criticisms as truth is greater than if those same words were spoken to an adult by a stranger.  Parents have a tremendous influence over their children, & children naturally accept what their parents say as true, even when it isn’t.  Children’s brains are still forming too, which also makes it easier for them to accept their parents’ words as truth rather than question them.

When a child of a narcissistic parent grows up, it’s very likely that they will marry a narcissist.  It’s also likely that the narcissist they marry will repeat certain patterns that their parents employed.  Insulting the adult child of narcissistic parents in the area of their appearance is a common phenomenon.

When I was growing up, my mother was extremely critical of how I looked.  While she never said the word “fat”, she implied I was extremely fat more times than I can count.  Looking back at pictures of me as a child now though I realize I wasn’t fat at all, I was a normal weight.

Later when I married my ex husband, he continued her abuse in this area.  He also never told me I was fat, but constantly implied that I needed to lose weight.  I eventually lost weight & was too thin, yet I still wasn’t thin enough for his liking.

My situation is far from abnormal among adult children of narcissistic parents.

If you have experienced this as well, know that you are far from alone!  Many people who have suffered with Body Dysmorphia after experiencing narcissistic abuse.

I never went to therapy about this because I didn’t realize it was something treatable through therapy, plus after bad experiences in therapy, I lacked trust in the mental health system.  This caused me to look for my own ways to conquer Body Dysmorphia.  While therapy is most likely the most effective way, I thought I would share my ideas anyway in case anyone reading this prefers to handle the situation on their own as I did.

During the time I was going through the worst of the Body Dysmorphia, I didn’t believe in God.  Prayer wasn’t going to happen.  I wish I had because no doubt God would have helped me so much more than anything I did without Him!  Please learn from my mistake & pray. 

Also, listen to what other people tell you.  I spent my entire life dismissing complements rather than accepting them with a simple “thank you.”  People don’t give complements easily.  Listen to what they say because they mean them!

Look at yourself objectively.  Ask yourself if what the narcissist said makes any sense.  Most likely, it won’t. 

When you hear the narcissist telling you about all of your flaws, question those things. 

Doing these things won’t make Body Dysmorphia disappear overnight.  Sometimes I wonder if it’ll ever vanish entirely since even years later, I still am quite insecure about my looks.  But, at the very least they will help you to feel much less insecure, & that isn’t a bad worst case scenario!

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15% Off My Print Books Until May 7, 2021

If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.

My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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Good Can Happen After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

April 19, 2019 was a strange night for me.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was the night the police came to my home to tell me that not only had my mother passed away, but being her only child, dealing with the situation was my responsibility.  As soon as they told me she was gone, I immediately knew that my life as I knew it was over.  At that moment, it felt incredibly daunting & terrible, but as time passed, I realized it wasn’t a bad thing. 

I want to share some my story for those of you who are in the position of having recently lost a narcissistic parent or are losing a dying narcissistic parent.

In the time since my mother died, I have run through the entire gamut of emotions.  Her death made me angry, sad, hurt, happy, relieved, guilty & more.  I also had to deal with things far out of my comfort zone, such as making her burial arrangements, dealing with a huge error the cemetery made when burying my father 18 months prior, & dealing with my mother’s estate.  My parents had told me that not only would I never get any inheritance, but they had chosen a neighbor to be the personal representative of their estate.  You can imagine my surprise finding out those were all lies.

Anyway, there was good that came from all of this, & that is the point of this post. 

Without my parents, so much healing has happened!  The crippling agoraphobia I lived with since 1996 has all but vanished.  I still get anxious in stores sometimes & try to avoid crowded times, but compared to what it once was, this is fantastic! I can go out alone now!

My self esteem has improved greatly too.  I can’t say 100% healthy but I can say a lot closer to that than it once was.  As a result, I am setting healthier boundaries now & have even less tolerance of abusive behavior.

There is also a sense of freedom I have never felt in my life.  For the first time, I know I can leave home & not run the risk of running into my parents around town.  I know when my phone rings, it won’t be either of them dumping all of their complaints about their marriage on me with no respect to how uncomfortable & painful that was for me. 

Best of all, yet also the most mysterious of all, is how the level of shame I once felt has decreased drastically.  I truly don’t understand the connection but when my mother died, it was as if the toxic shame I once felt vanished.  Naturally I’m still not proud of things I have done in my life, but I no longer feel intense shame about them or the person I am.  It’s wonderful!

I am telling you this to encourage you.  If your narcissistic parent is dying or has died, it is going to be a very hard time for you.  You may feel relieved they are gone & then guilt for feeling that relief.  You may grieve the parent you never had.  You may feel all the years of anger rear their ugly head at once.  You may feel numb.  You may feel something entirely different.  It’s impossible to say what you will feel.  There seems to be no way to predict what you will feel other than guilty since that seems to be a constant among others who have lost a narcissistic parent.  If you are losing your second narcissistic parent, it may be entirely different for you than when your first one passed. When my father died, I was shocked I felt so numb. I barely shed any tears after his death, probably because I had grieved him so long while he was alive.  When my mother died almost exactly 18 months later, I felt devastated.  Losing a narcissistic parent is a strange thing to put it mildly.  That being said though, it also can open doors to some very good things.  When you feel able, look for the good.  The good things really can carry you through all of the bad.  You will be shocked at just how much good came from it! 

Also, I’m not saying only look at the good & ignore the bad.  That is unhealthy.  Feel the bad feelings.  Sit with them.  Acknowledge them.  Accept that they are there & do so without judgment.  Pray about them.  Write about them in your journal.  Talk about them with a safe friend, therapist or pastor.  Have balance & be gentle with yourself during this very trying time.

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When Narcissistic Parents Sever Ties With Their Adult Children

When someone goes no contact with their parent, it usually comes about after a lot of thought, sometimes even over a period of years.  It also comes after preparation for full no contact.  What I mean is often the adult child has tried setting boundaries & limiting contact with their parent.  Often, they start small & work up to more boundaries & less contact before full no contact is initiated.  I did this myself.  I contemplated no contact for a long time before deciding it was what I needed to do.  I knew I wasn’t ready & also that timing wasn’t right, however.  I leaned on God for guidance & also for strength.  He showed me small boundaries I could set.  That strengthened me to set larger boundaries & limit my contact with my parents.  In time, I knew the time was right for no contact, & I also had the ability to do it.

This isn’t the case when narcissistic parents cut ties with their children.

Narcissistic parents don’t go no contact as a way to protect themselves from abusive people. They inatead use the silent treatment as a way to punish & manipulate, although they may claim they are setting a healthy boundary with an abusive person.

This behavior can be incredibly hurtful to the adult child of a narcissist! It also leaves them questioning what they did wrong & what they could’ve done better. Sometimes they even question what they did because they have no idea. My mother stopped speaking to me for 18 months once, & I never learned why.

If you’re in this situation & struggling with these feelings, you’re normal! It can feel otherwise, but I promise, you’re normal!

Please keep in mind your parent is manipulating you. That’s just what narcissistic parents do. It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. In fact, you probably did something right. If you set a healthy boundary, no doubt your parent is angry & punishing you for it. Maybe you had some personal success. That could have stirred up envy in your parent & he or she wants to hurt you for looking better than them. Whatever the case, your parent is clearly the one with the problem, not you. If you remember that, it will help you not to be as upset about your parent’s behavior. In fact, it may help you to enjoy the repreive from the abusive, awful behavior.

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For Adult Children Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

This post is for those of you who have made the bold, painful step of going no contact with your narcissistic parents.

All of us who have gone no contact with our narcissistic parents know that in such situations, the relationship had become utterly intolerable & that pushed us to the desperation of no contact.  The constant control, vindictive criticisms & abuse became too much from the overtly narcissistic parent.  The constant shaming, manipulation, childish behavior & abuses so subtle most people didn’t see them from the covertly narcissistic parent also were too much.  Who can live with this indefinitely?!  No one with any normal human emotions could!

Upon ending the relationship, the shock of the flying monkeys & their despicable abuse was next.  The constant comments of, “But that’s your mother or father!”  “You only get one set of parents!”  “They’re getting up in years.  How do you think you’ll feel when they die?” & other venom comes from their mouths.  When guilt & shame don’t work, they attack your character.  They call you ungrateful, spoiled, a brat, evil & more.  If you’re a Christian, your faith will be attacked, too.  As they like to claim, by severing ties with your abusive parents, you obviously have no idea what it means to honor your parents.  You must be a hypocrite!   

Trauma doesn’t end with no contact.  Thanks to flying monkeys, it often continues for quite some time until they find a new target.

The time immediately after no contact is a very difficult time.  The guilt, the doubts & the abuse from flying monkeys are all incredibly hard to deal with!  Also many times, C-PTSD goes into overdrive after no contact.  No longer needing to function in survival mode seems to make the brain think that since you’re safe now, it’s time to deal with all those old issues you put on the back burner for so long.  All of these things can make you wonder if you did the right thing by going no contact.  Sometimes it seems easier to remain in the relationship just to keep the peace, but it truly isn’t easier.

Once you are no contact, you’re finally free.  Free from the barrage of abuse from your narcissistic parent.  Free from your parent trying to make you into whatever they want you to be.  Free to do what you want without your parent trying to tell you how wrong you are & shaming you for your so called bad decisions.  Free to be the wonderful person God made you to be.  You’re finally free!!

From day one, narcissistic parents try to make their children into whatever sick fantasy they have.  They don’t care one iota about the child’s talents, interests or anything like that.  They are narcissists, after all, so all that matters to them is what they want.  Growing up like this, finally experiencing freedom can be scary.  The assaults of the flying monkeys & often the harassment from the narcissistic parents can add to the fear.  You know something though?  Going through the fear is totally worth it.  On the other side of that fear are peace, joy & bravery like you have never known! 

And, you don’t have to walk through that fear alone.  God will be right by your side!  Remember, Psalm 23 says that He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.  I have experienced that first hand, & I can tell you that as painful as those times were, especially after going no contact with my parents, it was all worth it.  I ended up closer to God than ever, & He enabled me to do the unimaginable.  He will do the same for you if you allow Him to.  Dear Reader, as hard as no contact with narcissistic parents can be, don’t give up.  Don’t go back.  Don’t listen to the absurd ramblings of those who don’t know your situation like you do.  Lean on God.  Let Him support & guide you through this process.  xoxo

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Marrying Into A Narcissistic Family

In families with narcissistic parents, the person who marries into this family is in for quite the adventure.  I learned this from my own experience, but apparently a lot of stories are very similar to mine.  Parents decide immediately whether or not they like the person their son brings home.  That decision is often based on simply ridiculous, trivial things such as what kind of work does she do or where she grew up.  It can be even more ridiculous such as something about her appearance being a problem.  If she is too pretty, if she is over or under weight or maybe she is tall when their family is short.  It also could be simply a matter of differences in personality.  Rather than be polite for the sake of their son, they hate this new woman in his life.  They also demand she respect them while not returning respect to her.  And, their definition of respect is that she be seen & not heard, only doing what benefits the family.  Her needs & wants mean nothing to this family. 

In these situations, the family functions as one unit in an “it’s us against her!” manner.  As I have said before, they remind me of the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.  They all function as one, focused only on what the Collective dictates.  In this case, the Collective is usually a narcissistic mother pulling everyone’s strings to make them act according to her whim.  One whim the “Collective” usually has is to tell the son & have others in the family tell him as well what a terrible person this new woman is.  She isn’t good enough, she stole him from their family, she keeps him from them & similar lies are the most common, but some also will say more drastic things she is unfaithful, steals, uses drugs & more.

It never seems to cross their collective mind that this man could get fed up & walk away.  And really, why would it?  No doubt he has tolerated all manners of maltreatment & even abuse at the hands of his family.  They place demands on him like giving them money or otherwise bailing them out of their problems with no thought to how this could affect him, & he does as he is told.  Why wouldn’t he?  This is what he has done his entire life.  Often siblings in these situations call this one mean spirited nicknames his entire life, even as an adult, as an attempt to let him know that he is still a child in their eyes.

Families like this are entitled beyond belief.  They honestly think they are entitled to treat this poor man any way they like.  By default, they believe they are also entitled to treat his significant other just as badly.  They have groomed this man to take any abuse they dish out without complaint, & expect the same behavior from his wife.  If she complains, all hell can break loose. 

At this point, families like this don’t consider anything that led up to the complaints.  They only see the problem at hand, which is someone is setting boundaries on their abuse.  The horrors!!

Sadly, the son in this situation doesn’t often realize how disrespectful & insulting his family is to him. 

His family has no respect or love for him if they won’t at least try to be civil to the woman he loves.  If they did, they would manage basic civility, unless of course that woman was abusive to him.

Clearly his family also thinks he’s stupid.  After all, they expect him not to think for himself, but instead to blindly listen to them regarding his life.  As if he doesn’t know what is best for him or isn’t smart enough to choose a good woman to marry!  How insulting is that?!

It’s a truly sad situation!  If you are in this situation, my heart goes out to you!  I pray you & your spouse can work together to set healthy boundaries with this Borg-like family.  Being clearly a team is the best thing you can do as a couple in this situation.

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Your Feelings After No Contact With Your Narcissistic Parent Are Valid

It seems that many people have some very black & white opinions when it comes to those of us raised by abusive parents.  No doubt you have experienced some of that thinking first hand.  Hasn’t at least one person told you that parents always love their children, you’re not honoring your parent by setting boundaries, your parent didn’t abuse you because they never hit you or other similar comments? 

There is another example of black & white thinking & it comes with going no contact with your abusive parent.  Many people assume that eliminating your parent from your life means you hate that parent.  Not long after my mother died, I ran into an acquaintance.  He said, “I’d say I’m sorry to hear about your mom, but I know you’re glad she’s gone.”  I thought later that no doubt many people think exactly the same thing.

What people who think this don’t realize is the children of abusive parents don’t always hate their parents.  Some do, yes, but not all.  In fact, I would guess that most love their parents.  It’s their behavior they hate. 

These folks also fail to realize that because we don’t hate our abusive parents, we end up with a lot of confusing & mixed feelings about our parents.  Those feelings are seldom validated, even by some who have survived similar situations to ours.  Some I’ve spoken with actually got angry at me for not hating my parents like they did.  Some also said I needed to accept that they’re just evil & forget about them.  People can be very cruel sometimes!

For those who are in the position of having gone no contact with their abusive parent(s), I just want you to know that whatever you feel, your feelings are valid!

If you hate your parent(s), that is valid.  It’s understandable to feel that way after someone inflicts horrific abuse on you!

If you love your parent(s), that too is valid.  We all only get two parents & that gives them a very unique position in our lives.  It’s understandable to love them even if they have hurt you terribly.

If deciding to go no contact was an easy decision for you, that is valid as well.  You knew what you needed to do & followed through with it.  That is great you were able to do that!

If deciding to go no contact was a tough decision for you, that is valid too.  It’s a big decision, & not always an easy one to make.  Some people naturally struggle with that decision more than others. 

I also want you to know that protecting yourself is ok!  It’s a good thing to do, even if you are forced to protect yourself from your parents.  Not all parents are capable of loving their children or being good parents.  It isn’t your job or duty to tolerate their abuse just because they’re your parents. 

Protecting yourself from them also doesn’t make you a bad person, heartless, spoiled or a fake Christian.  It doesn’t mean you’re dishonoring your abusive parents, either.  It means you are putting your mental & emotional health above your parents’ sick need to abuse you, & there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Having chosen no contact with my parents, my heart truly goes out to others in that situation, because I remember the struggles, the guilt, the doubt, the intense anxiety & the useless & even cruel input of others at that time.  Many people have been in this situation other than you & I.  You’re not alone!  If you need support, there are plenty of online options.  There are counselors & pastors that can help as well.  Mostly, there is a loving God who wants to help you.  Let Him.  You won’t be sorry!

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Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering a sale on all of my print books. Use code ORDER15 at checkout.

My books can be found at the link below:

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25% Off Sale On My Ebooks Starts Tomorrow!

Don’t forget…

My publish is having their “Read An Ebook Week” sale from March 7 until March 13. This means that all of my ebooks will be 25% off!

Ebooks are the most affordable way to buy my books. Why not take advantage of the extra 25% off?

Come check them out!

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About Low Contact

Low contact is exactly as it sounds, when a person has low contact with another.  It isn’t discussed a lot in the circles that discuss narcissistic abuse, which is really a shame. 

If you are in the position of not being able to go full no contact, such as in the situation of having joint custody of children together, low contact is an excellent alternative.  Or, if you want to go no contact but don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet, low contact can help you get to that point.  Low contact is different than no contact in that it doesn’t need to be done all at once.  It can be done little by little, & each little step you take increases your confidence in your ability to set boundaries with the narcissist.  Or, if the narcissist in your life is low on the spectrum, you may find that low contact makes the relationship much more tolerable & decide not to go full no contact.  In any case, low contact really can be a very helpful tool!

Whatever your situation with the narcissist, if you are considering low contact, I’m sure it’s for a very valid reason.  At their absolute best, narcissists are VERY difficult to deal with & at their worst, impossible to deal with, even dangerous to one’s physical & mental health.  Be proud of yourself for taking care of yourself!

If you think low contact is a good option for you, you are probably wondering where to start.  I’ll tell you how I did low contact with my parents, & you can decide if this would work for you or not.  I started by not answering the phone every time my parents narcissist called.  That boundary was clearly a shock to them, but although they were angry, they realized they couldn’t rage without appearing foolish.  Rather than rage, they made some snide comments like, “You didn’t answer the phone yesterday.. I thought you were mad at me.”  Naturally those comments hurt at first but I realized that was the intent behind them.  My parents were simply upset that I was setting a perfectly reasonable boundary.

I also started setting limits on how long we were on the phone together for the first time.  My parents always determined how long our calls lasted, so this was a little trickier.  Saying, “I have to go” didn’t work so I needed to get creative.  I also don’t like to lie, so that also made this really tricky.  I sometimes rang my doorbell so my dogs would bark & say, “Doorbell rang.  Dixie’s barking, you hear that?  I need to go.”  Other times I used another phone to trigger the call waiting on the phone I was using so they’d hear the beep & they’d let me go so I could respond to the beep. 

My parents lived not far from me, & my father in particular wanted to visit often.  He often invited himself to visit my home.  Thankfully he would call a few days prior at least rather than just showing up.  When he called saying he wanted to visit soon, I would say things like, “Tuesday isn’t good.. how about Thursday instead?”  It didn’t take long for him to want to come by less often.  Clearly, he didn’t like me taking some control back.

The more boundaries I set, the more confident I became in my ability to set boundaries & eventually go no contact.  This is normal!  Each small step you take creates not only more space between you & the narcissist, but also builds your confidence.  You see you can do one thing, then gain the confidence to do something a little bolder, then a little bolder yet & so forth.  Before you know it, you’re ready to implement no contact, if that is your goal. 

And something else happened – the more boundaries I set & the more comfortable I was setting them, the less my parents wanted to do with me!  They began avoiding me.  Their phone calls & visits became much less frequent.  Also, their calls & visits became much shorter in duration, too.  This also is normal!  Narcissists naturally have an aversion to boundaries & to healthy people.  Low contact truly is a wonderful thing!  It helps victims reclaim some of their power & confidence while repelling narcissists.  I want to encourage you to give it a try!  I believe you will be very pleased by the results!

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When People Don’t Agree With Removing Family From Your Life

It’s a simple fact of life that some family members abuse other family members.  Every single person I have spoken with who reads my work has been abused by at least one relative.  I have been too.  And one thing the majority of us have in common is that we have severed ties with these monsters to protect ourselves.

So many people have experienced the same thing I have, people coming out of the woodwork to tell us we have done something terrible by severing ties.  They seem to think since you’re related, that relationship is somehow sacred, & there is never any reason to end it.  Many people even bring God into their warped views, saying you have to “forgive & forget” or “honor your parent” by tolerating whatever they do to you.

I want you to know today that is completely wrong!

Titus 3:10 says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,” (ESV)  And, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says,“3 But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) (Emphasis added)

Did you notice something in there about how this applies to anyone but family?  Me neither.  Probably because it’s not there!

So many of you reading this post today have ended relationships with your abusive family members, & are struggling with guilt & doubt.  I totally understand.  I’ve been in this same position.  After I stopped speaking to my parents, I had a LOT of both guilt & doubt.  Shortly after, I learned my father had leukemia, which added even more guilt & doubt.  I also had relatives constantly telling me how awful I was & doing their best to shame & even bully me into resuming the relationship with my parents.  The only reason I survived all of that with my sanity in tact is God.

When times got tough & people were being so cruel to me about being no contact, I depended on God to help me get through.  Help me He did too!  God would remind me that I did what was right, at the time it was right, & I did nothing wrong.  They didn’t see that because of their own issues, not because I had done something bad.  He even stopped me from making things worse by enabling me not to respond to their vicious attacks.  He kept reminding me that if I responded, things would get worse, so ignore them.  Save their emails, messages, etc. in case I need them one day, but don’t read them or respond to them. 

Everything God did for me during the flying monkey attacks was exactly what I needed in my situation.  He will do the same for you!  

If you have come to the point of having no contact with some of your family, please rest assured God understands!  Contrary to what some people think, He is ok with you removing toxic, abusive people from your life, even if they are family.  When you’re struggling with your decision, talk to Him & ask His help.  He won’t let you down!  Let Him help!  He can get you through anything, even this!

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