One thing that every adult victim of narcissistic parents I have spoken with has struggled with is forgiving their parents.
So many people, particularly Christians, think that these victims need to forgive & forget. They often quote Ephesians 4:26 which says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” When victims struggle with forgiving & forgetting, they are shamed & even shunned by the very people who should support them, creating even more pain, guilt & shame in the victim.
I want to give you a new perspective on forgiveness that I think can help you today.
If you look at the definition of forgive, nowhere does it say you don’t feel anger. According to Merriam-Webster.com, to forgive means:
1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON; forgive one’s enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of; forgive a debt
It’s possible to forgive someone while still feeling anger for them. What I mean is when you forgive someone, you decide that they don’t owe you an apology or repentance. You won’t try to collect that “debt” from them. You have released that person from paying you the debt that they owe you. This is what I try to do any time someone mistreats me- give up expectations of an apology immediately. That way, I have forgiven that person, as God wants me to do. Yet, even forgiving quickly doesn’t mean I may not still feel some anger for that person for a while. See what I mean? You can forgive while still feeling anger.
I also firmly believe that releasing the anger you feel can be a process. If the waitress makes a mistake on your order or a clerk is rude, those minor incidents are easy to forgive. Big issues though, it takes time to work through the anger. Processing anger from years of abuse takes a lot of time & work, especially if you learned early in life to ignore your anger which is the case with most children of narcissistic parents.
There is also the fact many people think to forgive your abusive parents is a one time thing. You just forgive everything in one fell swoop & *poof* you’re not angry & you never will be angry again with them. As anyone who has tried to forgive their narcissistic parents knows, that isn’t how it works. You have to work through many different traumas individually, not lump them all together as one big trauma.
I honestly can say I have forgiven my narcissistic parents. However, there are still some times I feel anger at them.
When a repressed memory comes back to mind, I feel anger at my parents about the incident. When I have flashbacks, nightmares, the anxiety & depression get bad, I also feel anger. It’s their fault I have C-PTSD, after all. Plus, when I told my father about having it, he ignored me then changed the subject. Sometimes I also feel anger when others talk about what a great relationship they have with their parents. I wanted that with mine, but wasn’t able to have it, because their narcissism was more important to them than me.
Do you think this means I haven’t forgiven my parents? If so, I’d have to respectfully disagree. I have released my parents from any responsibility to apologize or make amends with me, which is the definition of forgiving.
Yes, there are times I still feel anger at them, as I admitted, & I think it’s very normal. I also work through the anger & release it quickly. That is the best I can do, & I know God honors that I am trying. That’s all He asks of us, to try our best.
If someone tells you you’re wrong for not forgiving your narcissistic parents, Dear Reader, please remember what I said in this post. If you don’t expect your parents to apologize or repay you for the trauma they inflicted on you, you already have forgiven them. The more you heal, the less anger you’ll feel towards them. It just takes some time.
People say, “Just let it go!” all the time to those who have been through bad experiences or abuse, but what do they really mean? I think many people who say that don’t say it to try to help you. Instead, I think they really mean, “Stop talking about it. It makes me uncomfortable!”
Unfortunately, this statement can make a person feel ashamed of themselves for being unable to “just let it go.” They feel like something is wrong with them, or maybe they’re a bad Christian when the truth is, they’re simply human.
The fact is, most people just can’t “let go” of pain. It’s not that we want to hold onto it at all- we have no choice in the matter. It’s kind of like a splinter. You can’t wish it away or let it go- you actually need to deal with it to get rid of it.
If you really want to let something go, once & for all, it takes work. You need to feel the anger, feel the hurt & get it out of you. It can be intimidating at first, especially if you weren’t allowed to show your emotions as a child, but it does get easier in time.
When it happens with me, I make time to write in my journal. Writing is often easier than saying things out loud for me, so although often prayer is my first place to start, journaling is in this particular situation. I let it all out- name calling, bad language & all. Sometimes I’ll write as though I’m speaking to the person, sometimes I just vent about them & what they did. I just follow whatever feels right, & let it all out. I pray after, & ask God to help me. For many things, this helps to purge me of the anger & hurt completely. For other things, I have to repeat it a few times. I’ve learned not to judge it- abuse does bad things, & everyone heals differently.
Maybe what I do will help you as well. It’s worth a try anyway, right? If you’re sure it won’t, then do whatever does work for you. Or, ask God to show you what you need to do. Healing is a very individual thing, & there’s nothing wrong with you if something other than what I do helps.
Remember, Dear Reader, if you can’t “just let it go”, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s OK! It’s perfectly normal to have to feel things to heal.
True forgiveness has been very warped by people. So many thing it means “forgive & forget” & if you can’t do that, you’re no Christian & a terrible person. I really don’t believe that however.
Yes, the Bible states that we are to forgive those who have trespassed against us (Matthew 6:12, 15; 18:21; Luke 7:47, 11:4, 17:3; John 20:23; 2 Corinthians 2:10). But, nowhere in the Bible does it state, “Forgive & forget. Let abusive people continue to abuse you with zero consequences!” Quite honestly, I believe that is just stupid to do when a person shows no remorse for their actions! If you don’t remember what they did to you, you open the door for them to abuse you over & over.
A good friend recently showed me what forgiveness really means, & this “forgive & forget” thing people preach isn’t it.
If you forgive someone, it means they no longer owe you a debt. For example, if you lend someone $100, but they can’t repay it, you can opt to forgive their debt to you by telling them they no longer need to repay you that $100. You act as if they never borrowed that money from you, you don’t bring it up again. However, you may decide never to lend them money again since they didn’t repay you the first time.
If someone hurts or abuses you, they should “repay” you by apologizing & making things right if at all possible. Chances are slim that will happen if you’re dealing with a narcissist or even if that person is simply selfish &, well, a jerk.
This situation leaves you with 2 choices- wait for that apology or forgive them the debt of owing you that apology. Personally, I opt to forgive, & quickly.
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath,” (KJV). Nowhere in this Scripture does it say doing this will make you feel warm & fuzzy! God basically says you just need to release the need for that person to make it up to you for what they did. Once you realize this, you also realize that in time your emotions will catch up, that you won’t feel angry any longer.
I think there is also a common misconception that when your emotions catch up, even thinking about what happened will no longer upset you. However, I don’t believe that is quite the case.
It isn’t a sign of unforgiveness if what they did to you stirs up some emotion.
I don’t think or talk about my late mother in-law very often. She passed away last year & prior to that, I hadn’t spoken to her in 14 years. She was a very skilled covert narcissist, & after tolerating her abuse for the first 8 years of my relationship with my husband, I simply couldn’t take anymore.
Yesterday, I was working on a book I’ve been writing. I mentioned how once in 1999 (I think anyway.. around that time), my mother in-law wanted me to do something for her. I had an appointment that day, so I told her I couldn’t do it. Granted, I probably could have moved some things around & been there for her, but I didn’t want to. She was horrible to me- why would I want to help her? As soon as I said I wasn’t available, my mother in-law tried to find out why. She used guilt, shame, & even demands to find out what was so important that I couldn’t help her. I refused to tell her. Not only was it none of her business but she would have told her daughters what was happening with me (not their business either) & she probably would’ve found some way to use the information I gave her to hurt me at some future date.
Remembering this incident still angers me to a degree. I thought it must be a sign that I haven’t forgiven her. But, once I thought that, God quickly revealed to me that is not the case.
Forgiving someone completely doesn’t necessarily mean you never feel emotions over the awful things they did to you. You can forgive someone completely, yet still feel some anger about the fact that they hurt or used you. If you didn’t feel that way, chances are you would ignore signs that show you are about to be used & hurt that same way again.
So, the next time someone tells you that you need to work on forgiving someone, remember what I said, Dear Reader. Chances are, you have forgiven that person as God wants you to. xoxo
Many people have very definite opinions on the topic of forgiving narcissists. Usually it’s one of two extremes- either you forgive & forget, or you refuse to forgive because narcissists don’t deserve forgiveness & aren’t sorry for the damage they cause anyway.
I am a firm believer in forgiveness, but not in the “forgive & forget” sense.
In a relationship with a narcissist, if someone confronts a narcissist, they can count on any of a variety of possible, ugly scenarios happening: The narcissist denies everything, the narcissist blames the victim for “making” her act that way, the narcissist turns the tables so she is the victim & the real victim is mean/unreasonable, or the narcissist recruits her flying monkeys to talk some “sense” into the victim while taking attention off the narcissist’s actions & making her look like an innocent victim.
When this happens, many people end all contact or greatly limit their contact with the narcissist. Often, especially in Christian circles, this is mistaken as the victim hating the narcissist or holding a grudge. That can be true of course, but in my experience, it’s seldom the case.
Using myself as an example, I’ve had to end friendships. The hardest was with an old friend I’d had for over 20 years. I’d prayed a great deal before doing so, & knew in my heart it was the right choice. Not because I hated my friend, but because I knew I deserved to be treated better than I was being treated. I forgave him for his actions, but since I’d seen him changing, realized I would be hurt again if I continued the friendship. I didn’t trust him anymore.
I’ve seen many scenarios with adult daughters of narcissistic mothers that are very similar. The daughters go no contact because of how awfully their mothers treated them, & they learn their mothers are trash talking them to other people which shows they don’t want to fix things. It also shows they have no desire to apologize or accept responsibility for what they have done. These daughters are seldom angry about what their mothers have done, & almost never say they hate their mothers. I would guess that 99% of the daughters I’ve spoken with in these situations don’t harbor anger. They have forgiven their mothers, but they also know they have to have her out of their lives for the sake of their own mental health &/or to protect their husbands & children.
Unfortunately with narcissists, a normal, functional, healthy pattern of working problems out doesn’t happen. Normally, someone is approached about the hurtful action they did, that person apologizes & if necessary, changes their actions to regain your trust. Since that won’t happen with a narcissist, many times very limited or no contact is the only option left. If you are in that situation, please don’t allow others to make you feel badly for making that choice or accuse you of being unforgiving or un-Christian. Do what you believe you need to do!
And, remember- forgiveness isn’t about the narcissist. It’s something you do for yourself because you deserve better than carrying around anger or bitterness. That is all. It can be done whether or not you’re in a relationship with your abuser. Reconciling the relationship & learning to trust the abuser require that person’s participation, but forgiving her does not.
Recently, I saw this Scripture…
Proverbs 6:16-19 “16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (KJV)
Immediately, I thought of my mother. She has done all of these things. Immediately after I thought of that, I felt a burden to pray for her. I decided that since my memory is pretty bad, I’d set an alarm on my cell phone to remind me to pray for her every morning. Shortly after, I decided to add my father to that morning prayer.
I don’t know what’s going to happen, if they will change or not. It is up to them if they respond to or ignore God’s promptings to change. However, whether or not they do, I know praying for them is changing me. It’s only been a few days, but so far, so good. I feel a new peace knowing I have done something good for them.
When someone hurts or abuses you, it’s so hard to pray for them at first. It may even take years before you feel able to do so, especially when the hurt goes deep. I have been a Christian since February, 1996, & in that time, I admit, I haven’t prayed much for my parents or even my in-laws. They all hurt me too deeply. I tried, but sometimes prayed through gritted teeth. Starting to pray for my parents regularly this time hasn’t been easy, but I pushed through. I am glad I did, because the more I do it, the easier it gets. The more sincere I am in my prayers. And, I’ll probably add the in-laws to my daily prayers.
I know this may seem a very daunting task, but why don’t you give it a try too? Even when you pray through gritted teeth like me, God will honor your willingness to do so & make it easier for you to pray for them. You truly will be blessed when you pray for others as I have been.
Forgiveness is an odd thing. When I first became a Christian in 1996, I heard a great deal about forgiveness. God wants us to forgive so we must do it. It’s easy. Just ask Him to take it away & all will be right in your world. Upon asking someone once to pray for me to help forgive, she said “I don’t know what your problem is. God says to forgive & I just do it.” That made me feel like God was disappointed in me & I was an awful person because I couldn’t “just do it.”
Nineteen years later, I realize what rubbish all of that was.
While I most certainly agree God wants us to forgive since it says so in the Bible (Matthew 6:14, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-2, etc), no one ever explained any other motivations to forgive. Pleasing God certainly is a good one, naturally, but is that the only reason He wants us to forgive? Some holy whim?
It took me years of being in relationship with Him & learning from Him to realize that forgiveness not only pleases God, but is good for the person doing the forgiving. Carrying around anger & bitterness creates a plethora of health problems such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease & more. It also can lead to a negative attitude (example- a wife’s husband cheats so she assumes all men are untrustworthy jerks) & depression. The sooner you’re truly able to forgive, the better it is for your physical & mental health.
I had to learn too that forgiveness has nothing to do with the offender & everything to do with the one doing the forgiving. It is very possible to completely forgive someone who is unrepentant. To forgive someone requires you to want to do so. It requires no actions on the other person’s part. Certainly a repentant heart would make it much easier, but it’s not a necessity.
I also thought forgiveness meant to forget as well. Forgive & forget as they say. I disagree completely. Sure, on small things such as your husband snapping at you after a bad day at work when normally he doesn’t do that, forgiving & forgetting is fine. However, doing so with someone who is abusive? Not smart. That only sets you up for further abuse because you aren’t protecting yourself & also because you gave that person a free pass to abuse you by coming back for more.
No one ever told me that forgiveness takes time. Ephesians 4:26 was quoted to me over & over in those early days of my walk with God.. “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath,” (KJV) I believed that I had to forgive my abusive mother & ex husband NOW or else I was not pleasing God. It took many more years for me to learn that some things can be forgiven quickly & easily while others, such as suffering years of abuse, takes more time. I believe that so long as you at least decide quickly that you will forgive, that is the most important thing. It’s the first step towards forgiveness.
I didn’t know that to fully forgive, I needed to get angry, to feel that anger & get it out of me. No one ever mentioned that tidbit! I had to learn it from God. Thankfully God helps me to do this. He’s taught me different ways to get the anger out. Journaling, writing it all out, works very well for me as does telling Him exactly how I feel & why.
Lastly, I learned that forgiveness doesn’t always mean you forgive everything someone has done to you- sometimes it means you may have to forgive them for some things individually. For example, I thought I’d forgiven my ex husband for everything & was done with him. Not necessarily so.. when someone wrecked her motorcycle in front of my house last June, it triggered a memory, something about my ex I’d totally forgotten. I had my motorcycle learner’s permit when we were married. After I had a small accident in 1994, which wasn’t my fault, he didn’t want me to go through with getting my license. I was angry how manipulative he was about it, but had forgotten that until this lady wrecked her bike. So although I was sure I’d forgiven him for everything, here I was, having to forgive him for yet one more thing…twenty one years later!
If you’re struggling with forgiveness & anger, Dear Reader, I pray this post helps you. There isn’t a lot of really good, balanced teaching on the topic available, but if you ask God, He will teach you whatever you need to help you. That is how I learned what I wrote here- God showed me all of these things. 🙂
This scenario may sound somewhat familiar to you..
Growing up, my mother often accused me of having “that Bailey temper”. I could be slightly frustrated or very angry for a valid reason, & it didn’t matter. She would criticize my terrible “Bailey temper” in a very shaming tone of voice. (interestingly, she now uses this phrase with my father). The result was I began to stuff my anger inside. I refused to show anger on the outside, no matter how valid a reason I had for feeling that way. It was easier, or so I thought, to stuff my angry feelings deep down inside than to hear her berating, critical, shaming words.
As a result, I almost never showed it to anyone, no matter how valid my reasons for the anger were. It’s only in recent years I’ve stopped squelching my anger & been learning to vent it in healthy ways. By doing this, I’ve also learned that I really don’t have a bad temper at all. It takes a lot to make me angry & when I am angry, I never scream, rage or destroy things.
So why did my mother accuse me of having such a terrible temper as a child?
I believe she did the exact same thing that many narcissistic parents do- she projected her own shortcomings onto me. Narcissists are angry people. They get angry when they aren’t treated as reverently as they feel they should be treated, praised as highly as they believe they deserve, or acknowledged to be the most special, amazing, talented, attractive people in the universe. They also are angry when they aren’t blindly obeyed, when people don’t believe their lies or people do healthy things such as set boundaries with them or even end their relationship with the narcissist.
Narcissists can’t handle any bad quality (real or perceived) in themselves, so they project that bad quality onto other people. Accusing someone else of that bad quality allows them to get mad about the flaw while not accepting any responsibility for having it. It’s a very common tactic of narcissists, especially with their own children or spouse.
In addition to projection, victims of narcissists can be angry people, too. How can you not be angry at the unfairness of the relationship with a narcissist? They are selfish to the max, they couldn’t care less about you other than what you can do for them & they criticize every single little thing about you. These things are hard to handle in any relationship, but when it is your own mother doing it, that seems to make it even worse. Mothers are supposed to be loving, caring, gentle, protective & all around wonderful, yet here is your mother abusing you at every turn. If that doesn’t make a person angry, I don’t know what would!
To add insult to injury, you aren’t allowed to express your anger to the narcissist, because she can’t handle any criticism, nor will she accept responsibility for what she has done. Instead, she will turn it around, blaming you for having a vivid imagination since that even never happened, or if you wouldn’t have done *fill in the blank,* then she wouldn’t have had to “discipline” you so harshly. So, now you have someone who not only is abused, but told they are the cause for the abuse. Again, if that doesn’t make a person angry, what will?!
Anger is a nasty side effect of narcissistic abuse. It can be scary, because after so many years of stifling anger, once it starts to come out, we can be afraid of losing control. It can feel like now that it’s out, it’s going to be out permanently- you’ll be angry forever. Thank God though that is not the case!
Anger is a natural emotion just like all of the others people experience. I know it can be hard at first, but try not to fear it. Anger can be dealt with in a healthy way, & you need to learn how to do that.
Keeping a journal or talking to safe people about your feelings are very good ways to help manage your anger. Telling God all about it is an even better way to deal with it. And, say, “I feel angry because..” as it helps to validate your feelings to yourself. Your feelings have been invalidated long enough- they deserve validation & recognition, especially by you!
I have written letters that I never sent when I was really angry. I let it all out in those letters too- bad language, name calling, whatever I felt. Sometimes I saved them, but usually I just burned them. I found something healing in watching them go up in smoke.
Always remember that your feelings are valid. There is a reason you are feeling angry! People don’t just get angry for no obvious reason.
Forgive when you feel able to do so. Don’t let other people criticize your faith in God or your Christian walk by accusing you of being cruel & unforgiving. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing- it releases the power the other person has over you. But, rushing it never works out well. You have to forgive when you are ready, with help from God, to completely forgive.
If you are considering discussing your feelings with your narcissistic mother, before you do it, pray. Lots! Narcissists don’t hear the other person’s valid points when confronted- instead they get defensive & shift blame. That being said, for some people, telling their narcissistic mother how they feel can be a good thing. They feel better just getting their feelings out to her. I’m different- it makes me feel worse to have my mother invalidate me & fail to take any responsibility for her actions yet again, so I almost never confront her. You need to be absolutely certain of how you are, & do what feels right to you.
And lastly, stop stifling your anger! I know, old habits die hard, so this isn’t an easy thing to do. However, it’s not healthy! Not physically or mentally healthy. Besides, emotions demand to be dealt with- stifling them only postpones that, it doesn’t stop it. It is much better to face things as they come up rather than once they’ve been sitting deep inside, growing & morphing into something bigger & harder to deal with.
I have a knack for remembering special dates, & sometimes it can be quite annoying.
This date isn’t a nice one for me. On November 28, 1990, when I was 19 years old, my mother threw me into her living room wall during an argument we were having. I wish I didn’t remember that evening so clearly, or the date that it happened, but I do.
Although I’ve forgiven my mother & God healed my back injury she caused that night, it’s still an unpleasant event to remember.
While I was thinking about this a little while ago, I thought of something else. Just because I have forgiven my mother for doing this to me doesn’t mean I have forgotten the event. It also doesn’t mean it doesn’t pop into my mind once in a while when something reminds me of it (such as today’s date) or that I’m completely OK with this memory.
So many people think once you’ve forgiven someone, you should never remember the event again. Forgive & forget. I disagree.
While dwelling on a traumatic event indefinitely isn’t healthy, there is a time to focus on what happened so you can completely process your emotions about it & forgive the person who hurt you. And, once you have done that, it still may pop into your mind periodically. Less often as time passes. When it does, chances are you will feel a little uncomfortable with the memory. To me, it reminds me of remembering a bad dream- you know it can’t hurt you, but the memory is so unpleasant, it makes you cringe a bit just thinking of it. Also, you may forgive your abuser, but how can you be completely OK that it happened to you? Being abused was not fair! I don’t see any way that one can be completely OK with being abused even if forgiveness has happened.
This is normal! And that is what I wanted to tell you today, Dear Reader. If you still remember traumatic events, even ones from many years ago, & you believe they weren’t fair or right, you are normal! You aren’t a “bad Christian” or holding onto bitterness or unforgiveness. Instead you are perfectly normal.
Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
Every morning, I receive an email with a Scripture in it from a Christian website. It’s a nice way to start my day. Today’s Scripture was 1 Peter 5:8-9:
“8 Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith. Do so in the knowledge that your fellow believers are enduring the same suffering throughout the world.” (CEB)
The last sentence is exactly why i write about some of the topics I write about- to let people know thy aren’t alone.
Growing up with a narcissistic mother, although I knew nothing of narcissism until a few years ago, I knew something was different. My experiences were vastly different than my friends’. I didn’t know anyone else who acted like her or treated their children like my mother treated me. Once I started talking to a school counselor then a couple of therapists when my mother’s abuse peaked when I was 17, I was invalidated. The school counselor said “That doesn’t sound so bad to me” when I told her my mother would scream at me, lecturing me about what a terrible person I was. One therapist, after meeting my mother said she could no longer see me because I was such a “terrible daughter.” My friends couldn’t understand my suffering, obviously, as narcissistic abuse is nearly impossible to understand even when you have experienced it firsthand.
Then in 2012, I developed all of the symptoms of C-PTSD. Suddenly, I became a different person. I was no longer able to hide depression & anxiety as I had previously. I started with flashbacks & more frequent nightmares. My sleep became worse than ever- trouble falling asleep & staying asleep. In discussing some of my symptoms, i learned a lot of people simply don’t care about them. People close to me, not strangers. One person even said I used C-PTSD as a “poor me” card. I told my father that I have this awful disorder twice, & twice he changed the subject.
All of these things have meant I have felt completely alone my entire life. it’s a terrible feeling.
Once I started writing about my experiences though, I learned that I’m not alone. There are many, many other victims of a narcissistic mother out there! The funny part is we all grew up thinking it was just us, that no one understood or experienced the same things.
Many of these people also have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, & many of them feel alone as well due to people close to them not caring.
it is truly tragic how many people feel as if they are completely alone! While I know I can’t change the world, I want to use my writing as a way to reach people, to let them know they aren’t alone. I pray this blog, my website & books do just that, because the truth is, you are not alone! So many other people understand your pain & have been through similar experiences!
I also have 2 forums available. Both are safe places where you can talk about anything you like, gain support, be prayed for or pray for others, learn valuable information & make new friends.
Below is a link to the first forum. It requires registration to read or post. If you’re worried about privacy, create a fake user name rather than using your real name. I only recently started this one, so it is a bit slow as it is just starting. Feel free to start talking though- I will respond, & I believe if a few people start talking, others will join & there will be a snowball effect.
This link is a link to my fan group on facebook. I gave up my fan page for two reasons: one person used it as a means to harass me & privacy for my fans. This group is a closed group, which means that only other members can see what you posted in the group. No one else.
I want to stress, both groups are private & safe. I hope to see you there soon!
I read something very disturbing on facebook this morning. It was triggering for me, so read on with caution…
One of my friends on there is the daughter of a very precious friend of mine who passed away a few years ago. This morning, she posted that her brother just committed suicide. He hung himself with his belt. She later wrote that their father would beat them as children with his belt, & he was always depressed. This poor young man must have had a very difficult life.
As if this fact wasn’t tragic enough, some of the responses she got infuriated me. People told stories of someone they knew who took their own life, or said how sad this made them. One responder even called her brother selfish for doing this.
Selfish? Really? Obviously this person has absolutely no idea what it’s like to be suicidal.
To be suicidal is to be in the most lonely, depressing place imaginable with no signs of escape or that anyone cares you are there. You believe suicide will end your suffering, & end the burden you place on your loved ones. Logically, it seems like suicide is the only means of making things better. After all, you rationalize, it’s not like anyone would care if you were gone anyway, & they might just be relieved not to have to deal with you anymore. You honestly believe you are doing the world, especially those you love, a favor by killing yourself. There is nothing selfish or cowardly about suicide.
Living with C-PTSD, I think about it often. In fact, I have for most of my life. Thankfully, I’m aware that suicidal ideation is a normal part of this awful disorder, so I won’t follow through with my thoughts.
Being suicidal is the worst feeling in the world, I believe. Then to have this young man’s suicide brushed off as if it was a stupid, selfish action like gambling away rent money, or something to be compared to others’ situations infuriated me. I realize in difficult situations, most people don’t know what to say. Rather than admit that simple fact, they often end up saying something ignorant, stupid or extremely hurtful. The truth is, however, most people would rather hear something like, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. I don’t know what to say about it, but if you need me, I’m here for you.” than to hear some anecdote, how much worse someone else has it, or even “You should be glad his suffering is over now & he’s in a better place.” Comments like this are extremely painful! How would you like to hear that you should be glad your loved one who died yesterday is gone? Wouldn’t that hurt you? Then it will hurt someone else too!
Please just think about what you say to someone in time of suffering before you speak! Don’t just blurt out cliches,because they come across as hurtful & insensitive. The last thing someone in a dark place needs to hear is something that will hurt them. Offer to listen, to pray with & for that person, to handle some chores they need done, to run errands for them or even cook for them. Encourage them to grieve- there is no other way to come to grips with a loss other than to go through the grief process, no matter how long it takes. Use common sense when dealing with people who are suffering- if it would hurt you if someone said or did something to you, then it will hurt them too, so just don’t do it!
And, when it comes to someone who has killed himself, please don’t judge! You have no idea what went on in that person’s mind to push him over the edge. You don’t know what happened in his life, or how things affected him. You have absolutely no right to judge or criticize that person!
I really hope this post doesn’t sound like my friend’s tragedy was simple fodder for my blog. That certainly isn’t the intent. I just want people to think before they comment on situation involving someone they care about. Suicide is a topic near to my heart as well, & having been called selfish as well, hearing another person called selfish who not only considered suicide but followed through breaks my heart.
Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
It’s come to my attention recently that not a lot of people really understand true, Godly forgiveness, so I thought I’d write about my thoughts on the topic.
Unforgiveness prevents you from spending your life happy. Unforgiveness is not only detrimental to your emotional/mental health but your physical health too. Things like high blood pressure, diabetes, ulcers, kidney & heart problems can stem from carrying around that negativity. Forgiveness, however, gives you no health problems & gives you peace & joy. It’s no wonder God wants us to forgive! (see Ephesians 4:32)
Unfortunately, I think people often believe forgiving others means you should pretend what hurt you didn’t even happen. Forgive & forget, as the old saying goes. While a lot of times, you should forgive & forget, there are other times that simply isn’t wise! Forget the small infractions, like that person in line behind you bumping your heel with the grocery cart. But if someone repeatedly hurts you, don’t forget that! If you do, basically you’re setting yourself up to be hurt again. For example, if someone is verbally abusive, & you forgive & forget every time, you’re going to be hurt many times. Instead, you need to be aware of what this person is capable of, & protect yourself from her verbal attacks however you feel is right.
Forgiveness also has nothing to do with the person who abused or hurt you- it is about you & you alone. You deserve better than being angry & bitter! Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It doesn’t discredit what was done to you, or a sign of weakness. It means you want to obey God, & be good to yourself at the same time.
Some people think that cutting people out of your life is a sign you hate them, still harbor anger or aren’t a good Christian. This is simply NOT the case! I have ended quite a few relationships in my life, & not once was that done in anger. I did it after careful consideration & prayer, never during a fit of anger. To this day, I harbor no ill-will or unforgiveness towards those people I have eliminated from my life, either. I simply don’t want to tolerate their mistreatment of me- I know I deserve better.
I know there are times it’s hard to forgive. When someone hurts you deeply or repeatedly, forgiveness seems impossible. The good news is that it isn’t. It may take some time for you to forgive someone, but that is fine! God understands that, & He can help you to forgive, too. All you’ll need is a desire to forgive.
-Your first step in forgiving others is a decision that you want to forgive. It sounds simple, but sometimes this is a hard step when you’re very angry or hurt. If you lack that desire, then by all means, ask God to help you!
-Also, try to see things from the offender’s perspective. That person could be in a bad mood because of going through something stressful, & unfairly took out her frustrations on you.
-And, some people are naturally selfish, insensitive, oblivious to the feelings of others. There are still other people simply never learned to treat others with respect & consideration.
-Ask God to help you release your anger. Sometimes it helps to imagine you are holding a bag containing your anger, then you place it at the foot of Jesus. I’ve done that a few times, & it can be helpful. Get your feelings out. Write a letter to the person that you never show her. Get it all out- why what she did hurt you. You can keep the letter if it helps you somehow, but I’ve found burning it to be oddly therapeutic.
-Lastly, this is the hardest part- pray for that person. (see Matthew 5:44). I have prayed through clenched teeth a few times-literally! But, I’ve learned that once you pray for that person, it releases some anger. The more you pray for her, the more anger is released.
Remember, forgiveness is good for truly good for you, & it doesn’t discount any pain you have experienced! Also, it can take time sometimes, & there is nothing wrong with that. Just because you can’t forgive someone immediately doesn’t make you a bad person! And, remember too that although there is a time to forgive & forget, there is also a time to forgive but remember! ❤
Good morning, Dear Readers. I hope this post finds you well today.
It’s been such a rough week here, first losing my sweet Georgie last Wednesday, then my dear aunt Sunday. And, icing on the cake is that my mother is mad at me. Yippie.. the only reason I can think of is either because I snapped at her recently during a conversation or because I didn’t call her on her birthday- I only sent a card. (It was the day I lost Georgie- I was hurting too much to talk to anyone).
I realized she was mad on Sunday. My husband, father & I were almost to my aunt’s home when my mother called my cell phone. She said my cousin called & said my aunt passed away, so we shouldn’t bother coming. When I spoke to my cousin later, he never mentioned saying that to her. She also didn’t call me or send a birthday card yesterday. She is using her favorite weapon- the silent treatment. A common weapon of narcissists. Funny thing though- I don’t know anyone who gets upset or feels bad when a narcissist stops speaking to them. Personally, I enjoy it! The timing works well for me, too. I need some time to take care of myself & grieve my losses without any stupid, unnecessary drama.
Besides, I am angry with my mother right now. When I was hanging out with my family Sunday, I was thinking how blessed I am. They are wonderful people. But, I didn’t even know they were until I was an adult. As a child, my mother kept me close to her side at family gatherings. I was barely allowed to speak to my paternal grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins. My mother despises her in-laws, & always has, so she didn’t let me interact with them. Then, at age 17, my mother told me that my grandparents were ashamed of me. It wasn’t long after, my now ex-husband said my mother was right, & that they didn’t care about me at all. As a result, I stopped seeing my family completely for about 8 years.
I did end up contacting my granddad 3 years before he died. We quickly grew very close. I also was blessed with growing close to other relatives for the first time. I am extremely grateful for these relationships. However, I still have trouble releasing the anger I feel about my mother keeping me from my family in the first place. I don’t want to be mad anymore, but I just can’t seem to let it go, even though I’ve forgiven her for everything else. Please pray for me.
Oh, a side note- Granddad told me nothing could be further from the truth. He & Grandmom loved me a great deal…
I’m sorry this post isn’t inspirational or informative today. I hope it at least let’s other children of narcissistic parents know you aren’t alone. ❤
Tomorrow will be 6 years since I decided to divorce my husband. Yes, we’re still married, but that day, I had enough. I was fed up with so many problems that no matter what I did, I couldn’t fix, & he wasn’t willing to work on. I felt like I was married to a stranger- I didn’t understand why he acted the way he did at this time, & frankly, I didn’t care what his motives were. I was angry & hurt.
Every year around April 7th, I get depressed & angry. Like it or not, I can’t stop remembering that awful day in 2008.
I also get angry at some people who I tried to talk to about things at that time. I heard advice from people who weren’t even married. It was absolutely frustrating at best. The advice I got that hurt me the most was, “You need to forgive him. You can’t hold onto this anger forever!” (I heard this within days of reaching my decision, by the way)
I am definitely pro-forgiveness. It doesn’t do anyone any good to hang onto anger while the person who made you angry is living their life, not caring that you are suffering. However, I also believe to fully forgive, you need to process that anger. Feel it, get it out, & then you can let it go. Time helps some, sure, but so does prayer. I cried to God many times in my frustration & anger, & yanno something? He can take it! He understood how I felt & comforted me. And, He helped me get rid of most of the anger I felt in time. It didn’t happen overnight. It took me many months. Plus, here we are, 6 year later, & I still have some moments of anger & hurt every April, some being better than others. Forgiveness is truly a process, & can’t always happen quickly, especially when something traumatic shakes you to the core of your being. Forgiveness often takes time.
Second runner up for the things I heard at the time that bothered me was, “No one can make you feel anything. You have complete control over how you feel about what other people do.”
To a degree, I absolutely believe this. If some mean-spirited person is trying to upset you, it’s your place to respond in an appropriate manner to this person’s games & not let them get their desired result of upsetting you. If someone cuts you off in traffic, it’s your place to be the bigger person & not get into a fight in the middle of the highway with this person. However, some people, especially those closest to you, know what buttons to push with you. They know how to make you angry or hurt you like no one else can, & when they use that knowledge to hurt you, you are going to be angry &/or hurt- that is only human. Ephesians 4:26 says “Be angry but do not sin.” God understands that sometimes no matter how good we are at self-control, we are going to be upset by another person’s actions! It is part of being human & having human emotions! However, at the time these things were happening, I was beating myself up for “letting myself” be angry & hurt. Hearing people tell me that no one, even my husband, could make me feel certain things, only added to the emotional roller coaster I was on at this time in my life.
My reason for telling you these things??
If you are going through a hard time, please know you are normal for being upset. It’s ok!! You need to feel & process your emotions to get over them & forgive your offender or abuser. And yes, sometimes people *can* make you angry or hurt you! Especially those closest to you. These things don’t make you a failure. They make you a normal human being. ❤
Today, I added information on forgiveness:
And, information on unavailable fathers:
Go check it out. 🙂
I just read an interesting article about forgiveness. It claims that sometimes unforgiveness is a good thing. The article gave an example of a woman who was abused all of her life by her brother, then as an adult, she stopped speaking to him, attending family gatherings that he was also to attend, etc. It confused me because to me, refusing to speak to her brother doesn’t necessarily mean she hasn’t forgiven him. Not everyone in a situation like this is hanging onto anger- they are setting boundaries.
I am a firm believer in forgiveness, & also a firm believer in setting healthy boundaries. As an example, I have ended friendships with people who used me, lied to me, or even had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I refuse to spend time with them ever again. However, I’m not angry with them, nor do I wish them any harm. I simply care enough about myself not to put myself in the path of being mistreated by people who have proved themselves fully capable of it.
To me, forgiveness means refusing to allow anger to fester inside of me. I hate feeling angry!! As soon as it happens, I work through the anger as quickly as I can, then let it go. It has nothing to do with the person who has made me angry- it is about me, & how I don’t want to go through life angry or bitter.
Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean forgiving & forgetting. Many times it does, of course, when the offense is small. However, if you are dealing with an abusive person, forgetting what they have done means you easily can set yourself up for further abuse. Look at the example of a wife whose husband beats her. If she forgives him & forgets, he will beat her again. He will beg for forgiveness, she will forgive & forget, then he will beat her again. The cycle will continue until she leaves him. Leaving isn’t a matter of forgiveness or unforgiveness- it’s a matter of survival.
Coming from a narcissistic mother, I have had to learn a lot about forgivness & boundaries. What I have written about here is the result of reading, listening to pastors preach on forgiveness, & praying. I pray it blesses you!