Tag Archives: feelings

About Not Hurting Other People’s Feelings, Even Your Abuser’s

When raised by narcissistic parents, we often feel obligated to prioritize not hurting the feelings of other people, primarily our parents.  It is so important, in fact, that we will hurt ourselves rather than hurt them or anyone else.

 

While it’s certainly a good thing to be concerned with the feelings of others, being so concerned over others that you’re willing to hurt yourself too out of balance.

 

Dear Reader, if you want to move forward with healing after being abused, you have to think about your feelings more than other people’s, in particular, more than your abusers.

 

I’m not saying turn into a selfish jerk who cares nothing for anyone but themselves, of course.  I am saying though, that you need to consider your own feelings.  If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parents, you don’t have to go to that big holiday dinner if you don’t feel up to it.  Just because your parents want you there doesn’t mean you must do what they want!  Or, if you talk publicly about what your narcissistic ex did, there is nothing wrong with that.  Sure, it may upset that person, but the story is yours as well- you have nothing to be ashamed of for sharing it, & it may help someone else.  As the Anne Lamott quote goes, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

 

There is another reason to avoid putting the feelings of others above your own.  Doing so with abusive people means you are part of the problem.  It allows them to continue abusing with no fear of consequences.  Doing whatever it takes to avoid upsetting them does nothing to stop them from being abusers.  While no one can stop another person from abusing, one can create circumstances by having good boundaries that (hopefully!) will make them uncomfortable enough to want to change.  Just because narcissists rarely change doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set those boundaries.
Dear Reader, remember, your feelings are just as important, just as valid, as anyone’s.  There is no good reason to think otherwise.  The only reason you do think otherwise is because an incredibly dysfunctional, abusive person made you think that way.  Today, make a decision to get rid of that awful, flawed belief.  Remind yourself that you have value!  Ask God to tell you  what He thinks of you, then listen for the response.  He knows you have great value!  After all Jesus died for you- He wouldn’t have done that if you weren’t worth it.

 

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Should You Listen To Your Emotions?

Ever since I became a Christian in 1996, I’ve heard preaching about not allowing your emotions to rule you.  Keep them in check & don’t let them run your life!

 

Basically, this made me feel bad when I would feel hurt or angry & couldn’t control how I felt.  I thought something must be wrong with me for not having a better grip on my feelings.

 

The truth though is everyone needs to have a healthy, balanced perspective on emotions.

 

Emotions are given to us by God to let us know when things are good or bad.  When something is good, you feel happy, content or pleased.  If something makes you sad or angry, you know this thing isn’t good.  Emotions are a good monitor in that respect.

 

Emotions can teach you a lot about yourself.  Where your boundaries lie, what you enjoy or don’t enjoy & who you are the closest to.  Not allowing yourself to feel such things can turn you into a shell of a human being, & that is not what God wants for you.

 

Sometimes emotions can be irrational too.  There may be times that you’d rather lay on the sofa watching TV than go to work, even when you enjoy your job, & you have no idea why you feel this way.  In times like this you know it’s best to ignore those emotions & go to work.

 

When you are healing from trauma or abuse, however, you need to be sure not to ignore your feelings.  If you suddenly feel anxious, angry or depressed, you need to know why you feel that way.  Then you will be able to feel the emotion fully, process it & release it.  Ignoring your feelings if you’re healing only serves to drag out the healing process & make you more miserable.  I know, facing past trauma is hard, but it is easier than constantly trying to stuff it down inside of you.

 

I firmly believe that while you can’t listen to your emotions blindly, you do need to listen to them often & use wisdom on how to deal with them.  Know sometimes you can ignore them, but mostly, you should pay attention to them & respect them.  Don’t judge your feelings either.  They aren’t good or evil- feelings simply are.

 

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To Heal It, You Have To Feel It

So many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse are simply tired.  Tired after years of walking on eggshells & trying to please the unpleasable.  Tired because the experience gave us C-PTSD or PTSD, which are both exhausting disorders for many reasons.  Tired of working so hard, trying to heal & feel normal for once.  It’d be so nice if we could just forget what has happened.  Put it away like an unloved Christmas present from the mother in-law somewhere in the back of a closet where it wouldn’t see the light of day again.

 

Unfortunately though, that is completely unrealistic.

 

If you want to heal from any traumatic situation, you have to deal with it completely.  This means to heal, you have to feel.  Feel what, you ask?  Feel the anger or the hurt.  Get angry.  Cry.  Scream.  Cuss.

 

Sounds wrong, doesn’t it?  That is partly because narcissistic mothers shame their children for having any emotions, society shames victims for not “getting over it” immediately & the church often shames people for not “forgiving & forgetting.”

 

Dear Reader, I’ve been working on healing from narcissistic abuse since 2000.  I bought into those lies for too long.  I ignored the gentle promptings in my heart from God saying it’s OK to feel my emotions.  I tried forgiving & forgetting.  I tried getting angry & just couldn’t do it- I was afraid of getting angry & losing control.  I also could hear my mother’s voice in my head scolding me for having “that Bailey temper.”   I couldn’t even cry or grieve because I thought I was feeling sorry for myself & needed to pick myself up by my bootstraps & get over it.  And, I was miserable.

 

I ignored God’s promptings for years until early last year.  After nearly dying from carbon monoxide poisoning & suffering a concussion when I passed out from the CMP, I changed.  Both of these things can change one’s personality, so it’s not a surprise that happened to me.  I was surprised how I changed though.  I suddenly was less able to control my emotions.  I had no choice but to feel angry or sad or happy or whatever.  And you know what?  It’s been a blessing!!

 

I have been able to heal more since that happened than in the many years prior.  Feeling things has enabled me to release those emotions.  It’s enabled me to purge myself of the yukky emotions buried inside of me & heal.  It’s much like healing an infected wound.  You can slap a bandage on it, but that won’t heal it.  The wound has to bleed to get the germs & infection out first, then it can heal.

 

Another bonus of feeling my emotions has been I’ve learned how to make anger work in my favor.  My mother couldn’t stand me to be angry, even simple frustration was a problem for her, so she would shame me if I displayed even mild irritation.  As a result, I learned early to stuff anger deep down inside, & carried this dysfunctional behavior into my adulthood.  Now, I no longer do that.  I feel the anger, & when it is a righteous anger (such as when she is hateful to me), I let it give me the strength to set boundaries, walk away or even call her out on her bad behavior.  Righteous anger truly is a good thing for giving you strength & motivation to make changes!

 

Dear Reader, don’t wait until something life altering happens- decide today that you are going to feel your feelings so you can heal.  Give yourself permission to do so.  Talk to someone safe & trusted about how you feel.  Also, you can try the chair technique, where you place an empty chair in front of you, pretend your abuser is in it, & yell, scream, cry or whatever you want to do to vent your feelings.  If you don’t feel comfortable verbalizing them, then write them down somewhere safe from prying eyes.  You can pray silently too- God certainly will listen!

 

And, when you’re feeling your feelings, get it all out!  Don’t worry if your language is bad.  Do you think God’s never heard those words before?!  He gets that you are that hurt, angry or frustrated!  It’s much better to get that ugliness out of you than let it fester inside of you.

 

Please remember, to heal it, you have to feel it.  You can do this!  I know it’s scary at first, but do it anyway.  Ask God to give you the strength & courage to face those ugly, scary, traumatic things head on so you can heal from them.  Once you do this, those awful memories will feel more like a bad dream than something you’ve actually lived through.  That is how you know that event has lost its hold over you.

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You Make Me Feel…

So many people say that no one can make you feel a certain way, & imply that you are weak if you “allow” someone to hurt you.  While saying no one can make you feel anything sounds empowering, I find it to be ridiculous, & often a form of victim blaming.

While it is certainly true in some cases, in many cases, people definitely can make you feel certain emotions.  If someone you love tells you that you look beautiful, they will make you feel good.  If that same someone tells you that you look horrible, they will make you feel bad.  If a total stranger said the exact same things, it wouldn’t mean so much to you because you won’t care nearly as much what a stranger thinks of you as you care about what someone you love thinks of you.  In fact, if a stranger said either thing, you may not even care at all.

So often when you have a narcissistic parent, other people don’t understand how, as an adult with your own life, their cruel words can hurt you.  They may say you should just ignore her, stop letting her get to you, you’re letting her make you feel that way, or similar invalidating things.  If it was only so easy!  It’s much easier to ignore a nasty stranger than it is your own mother, the woman you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is saying these things for the sole purpose of hurting you.  How can someone, especially your own mother, wanting to hurt you not affect you?  You would have to have a heart of stone not to be at least a little hurt by such a thing!

I want to encourage you today to have some balance.  Don’t let the ignorance, rudeness or even nastiness of some people bother you when you are able, & deal with the upset feelings when you aren’t able to disregard bad behavior directed at you. If you care even a little about another person, they absolutely can make you feel things, & that is totally normal!  There is nothing wrong with you or abnormal about you for being hurt by your narcissistic mother.  She is your mother- that role gives her a unique position no one else ever had or ever will have in your life, so don’t you think it’s only natural that she has the ability to hurt you or anger you when she is hateful to you??

Telling the victim of narcissistic abuse that no one, including her narcissistic mother, can make her feel a certain way to me is a type of victim blaming, which is sadly very common in today’s society.

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Give Yourself Permission To Feel Your Feelings

Being raised by narcissistic parents, you learn early in life that your feelings have no value.  No one cares if you are angry or sad, so you need to ignore those feelings.  Keep that to yourself & don’t go bothering Mom or Dad with them!

Unfortunately this dysfunctional, unhealthy habit often continues into adulthood.  I admit it, I’m guilty of the same thing.  I will be 44 years old in April, & still automatically stifle my feelings.  Not good!

Stifling your feelings is unhealthy both mentally & physically.  Mentally, stifling our feelings can make us very angry &/or depressed.  Physically, health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure & ulcers can happen.  Feeling them, the good, bad & indifferent, however, leads to less physical problems & more peace & joy.  My husband & I were friends with the realtor who helped us to find our home.  He was very open about the fact he had bipolar disorder.  He explained he lived with it since his teens, but went undiagnosed for a long time. Eventually, he was diagnosed & found the right combination of medications that helped him stay stable.  He was also very in touch with his emotions, probably as a result of living with the awful disorder, which I thought was so cool!  (Honestly, I was a bit jealous since I’ve always had problems in that area)

God gave us feelings to let us know when something is good or bad.  They are the reason we can enjoy a lovely day with our spouses or we know when someone is mistreating us.  Feelings are a wonderful thing, so long as we don’t live life guided only by them.  If we did, then we would do only the things we want to do.  Not good since we wouldn’t do the less fun things in life such as- going to the grocery store, doing laundry, visiting a sick friend or relative in the hospital or other necessary things.

I just wanted to encourage you today to give yourself permission to feel your feelings.  In spite of what you probably heard as a child, you *are* allowed to feel things.  You are allowed to be angry, sad, or happy.  If God gave you these feelings, then you certainly are allowed to feel them in spite of what anyone else tells you!  Choose today to listen to Him, & silence the voice of others who want to control you!  They only want what is best for them, not what is best for you.  God wants what is best for you!

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Take A Break, And Do It Often!

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time writing.  Even these brief blog entries are an issue most days.  It kinda stinks, because I love writing so much.  Having C-PTSD contributes to my difficulties with focus sometimes, but it isn’t always why I have trouble focusing.

I’ve been feeling very burned out lately, & I realized why.  Focusing on one’s healing & mental & emotional health is a very good thing.  It enables you to work through issues, to forgive, to heal.  However, it really is possible to focus too much on such things.  The mind needs breaks from hard work, just as the body does, & focusing on healing is certainly hard work!  The mind also needs a break from negative things as well.  (Please know that I’m not saying be positive about the truly negative things in life, as that isn’t healthy either.)  If you too have C-PTSD I believe these breaks become even more important to your mental health.

When you grew up with a narcissistic mother, it can be hard to be a balanced adult.  Early on, once you first realize that your mother is abusive, you’re angry.  Very angry.  All this time you thought what she did to you was your fault, & you finally learned she lied- it wasn’t you, it was her.  That is a tough pill to swallow!  Then you learn more & more about narcissism, & so many things finally make sense, things about you & about your mother.  It’s very easy to become consumed & focus constantly on your mother’s abuse, on NPD, on the problems you have as an adult that stem from that abuse & more.  However, this is not healthy to do at all!  Like I said, the mind needs breaks sometimes, & it needs balance.

How do you achieve balance?  You make a conscience effort to do these things.  I know it can be hard, especially with the obsessive thoughts that often happen with C-PTSD, but it can be done!  Force yourself to focus on something fun.  Watch a movie.  Play with your kids, furry or human.  Go for a walk in the woods.  Visit a local park. Go for a drive. Buy a coloring book & crayons.  There are many things you can do to bring a little joy into your life & those things needn’t be expensive or require a lot of planning. Be creative, & I’m sure you’ll come up with some fun things to do.

Spend time in God’s presence. Spending time in nature, admiring the beautiful creations He has made is not only good for drawing you closer to the Father, but it’s also very restorative to the soul.  Many people are affected by the weather such as in cases of those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  If that describes you, I would suggest holding off on the nature time until the weather has a more positive effect on your mood. Fall is my favorite time to do this, so if you catch me wandering around during the summertime instead when the heat & bright sunlight depress me, something is very wrong with me!  lol

Another thing I have found  that helps me is to collect some things that you enjoyed as a child.  I’m a child of the 70’s-80’s, & I think we had some pretty cool toys!  I have Spirograph, Magic 8 Ball & Lite Brite apps on my tablet. I have an atari with quite a few games.  I have a few stuffed animals, my old Merlin handheld game, Rubix cube, Snake & Bowlatronic.  I just saw a hot pink Tonka jeep that I had (& loved!) as a child on ebay, & am considering ordering it.  I also ordered a set of the Crystalite animals- I collected them in first grade. I’ve also purchased a few board games over the years that my husband & I both remember from our childhoods & we enjoy playing. Although my childhood was less than stellar, some of my fun old toys do make me smile to this day.  Having them helps me to remember some positive memories for a change, & it feels good.

Also a nostalgic thing I enjoy is collecting old pictures.  There are a couple of facebook groups I belong to- one is for the area where I grew up & the other is for the area where my family is from in Virginia.  Both are history groups, & share many old pictures of both areas.  I save the more interesting pictures of places I enjoyed growing up. It’s so much fun looking back over the pictures of how those towns were when I was a kid.  It does make me a bit sad how much they’ve changed, but even so, it’s fun remembering how things used to be.

Music is another wonderful way to break away & feel good.  I still love the music I grew up with, & listen to it often.  Some songs take me back to a happy place.  Journey always reminds me of going to dinner with my wonderful paternal grandparents at a tiny local Italian place when I was a kid.  My grandmom gave me change for the jukebox- something my mother always refused to do.  “Who’s Cryin’ Now” was one of the Journey songs  played, so yes, their music takes me back to a fun evening.  Listening to good music that transports you back to a happy time can be very good for your mood & very relaxing.

Pamper yourself.  Also hard to do when you grew up with a narcissistic mother who undoubtedly told you how selfish you were for showing yourself any kindness, but remember- narcissists project their flaws onto other people so they can then get angry about those flaws.  Your mother was wrong- you aren’t selfish!  Doing nice, pampering gestures for yourself aren’t selfish either- they are healthy, & they show you that you care about yourself.  Nothing wrong with that!

I think distractions like these are also very helpful because they empower you.  If you think about what you’ve gone through constantly, it’s as if your mother still has power over you.  She’s still controlling you, by being in your thoughts so much.  If you purposely kick her out of your mind sometimes, you are taking back control of your life, & your thoughts.

Also, distracting yourself sometimes is good for your anxiety & depression levels. The more you focus on the abuse you endured, the more anxious & depressed it can make you.  Focus on healing- get angry, cry, do what you have to do- but take at least the same amount of time to relax & have some fun!  It’s good for you!

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December 12, 2012

Good morning, Dear Readers!

While not divulging the details, something called my attention today to invalidation.  Again.  It’s something I have dealt with way too often in my life.  A good article on the topic of invalidation can be found here:

http://outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Invalidation.html

 

In my experiences, I have heard so many comments like, “It could be worse,” “You think that’s bad?  At least you haven’t been through *fill in the blank* like I have!” or “But that’s your MOTHER!”   Today it just hit me just how many times I’ve also been told to “be strong,” “Be the bigger person,” or, “You just need to understand her better.”  Those kind of statements are just as damaging & invalidating!  They basically all say the same thing- that I need to suck it up, Buttercup- take the abuse & stop whining about it!  

No one needs to tolerate abuse.  No one.  

If someone is brave enough to tell you that they are being mistreated or abused, then for the love of all that is good & holy in this world, think about what you say to them!!!  Don’t act like it’s no big deal.  Even if it’s not to you, it obviously is to that person!  That person needs understanding & support, & telling them to “suck it up” or other similar statements is NOT understanding or supportive!  In fact, you will do more harm to that person if you say something so unfeeling, & damage your relationship.

I’m already thinking my book, “Emerging From The Chrysalis” that I finished in October, is going to be elaborated on soon.. a second edition, going into more details. 

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