Tag Archives: friendship

People Who Don’t Have Any Friends & Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I have a habit that I believe is shared by others who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  I gravitate to those who don’t have any friends.  Not that this is always a bad thing, but it can be.  Sometimes these people are detrimental to your mental health.

People who don’t have friends may be in this position for valid reasons.  They may be extremely introverted, preferring very little socialization since it drains them quickly.  Maybe they just recently moved to the area & haven’t had time to meet new people.  Or maybe they recently escaped an abusive relationship, & while in it, their abuser isolated them from friends & family.  Once away from that person, they may not feel ready to trust new people in any capacity just yet.  There are plenty of valid reasons like this a person has for not having friends.  These people are not the ones I am referring to in this post.

The people I’m referring to are the ones who have no friends for years on end.  They may discuss former friends, & always in a negative light.  Those friends weren’t there for them when they went through hard times, they wouldn’t help them financially or in other ways or they say their friends just stopped speaking to them without any reason or warning.  Everyone has friendships that weren’t good or ended badly, but when someone says such things about the majority of friendships they have had, it’s a big red flag.  The average person’s friendships usually aren’t intensely negative experiences.  Their friends may not be there for them every single time, but they will be there at least most of the time.  Also, if people continue walking away from someone, there is a good reason for that.

Years ago, I felt so badly for these people.  I naively thought it was so sad that life had treated them so badly, leaving them without good friends!  I treasure my closest friends & can’t imagine not having them!  Knowing these people weren’t able to share this kind of friendship made me feel sorry for them, so I would befriend them.  It usually didn’t take long before I realized this was a mistake. 

People like this are friendless for legitimate reasons!  Some are covert narcissists, portraying themselves as innocent victims to unfair life circumstances & needing someone to take care of them.  Even ones I knew that weren’t, were still highly dysfunctional at the very least.  These friendships started out full of flattery & kind gestures, which made me want to be there for them.  Much like love bombing behavior narcissists are known for doing in romantic relationships.  Before long, they would monopolize my time whenever possible.  They would call me often, keeping me on the phone for hours listening to them drone on & on about their problems & not listening when I said I had to go.  At that time, sometimes they would ask what was happening in my life, then after a couple of minutes, turn the conversation back to them.  They never wanted my advice, even when they asked for it.  They just wanted me to pity them.  They also wanted to get together on a constant basis, even when knowing I had other things going on in my life that needed my attention.  Once in a while, they would feign interest in something in my life, but it never lasted long.  They would become minimizing or invalidating quickly, letting me know whatever I said wasn’t a big deal, & certainly not as big a deal as what was going on in their life.  Simply put, these people were emotional vampires, draining my energy to feed their dysfunction. 

There are so many people out there like this, who love gaining the friendship of victims of narcissistic abuse.  They know that victims are often very giving, understanding & patient, glad to help others.  Don’t fall for it as I have!  If someone you meet says they don’t have any friends, learn why.  If there isn’t a valid reason such as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, stay away from this person.  They may come across as naïve & a bit needy, but they are nothing so innocent.  Given time, they will use you for everything they can, & if you set boundaries with them, they’ll cry victim to anyone who will listen. 

Like so many things in life, the more you heal from the abuse, the less frequently you will interact with such people.  People like this are repelled by functional, healthy people with good boundaries who don’t tolerate their manipulation.

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One Way To Add A Little Joy To Your Daily Life

I recently heard of something I was unaware existed before.  It’s called the errand hang.  Basically it involves spending time with someone while you take care of errands.  Silly as it may sound, I really think this is a great idea in several ways.

Obviously, you being able to get done the errands you need to is a benefit.  It can be easier to accomplish such mundane tasks as going to the grocery store when you know you’ll be spending time with someone you care about however.  My best friend & I have done all kinds of things when together, not just go out to lunch & shopping.  I enjoy those times spent with her just as much as the lunch & shopping dates.

If you don’t have much time for social activities like going to the movies or parties, errand hanging is a way to fit in social time while not losing time you need to accomplish certain tasks. Spending time with a good friend also makes those mundane tasks seem more enjoyable, so that’s another bonus.

Or, if you’re someone who dislikes some traditional social activities like parties, the errand hang is a good way to get some one on one time with your friends rather than trying to talk to them over the noise of loud music & other people at a party.

There is also something about sharing errands with someone that draws you closer together.  Maybe because doing so gives them a look at your day to day life, not only what you want another person to see.  Maybe too because it gives an opportunity to talk with this person without the constant, intrusive distractions of televisions or phones. 

There is also a potential for spontaneity, which is beneficial for those of us who aren’t good with being spontaneous.  I have a friend who is way less rigid than me & quite spontaneous.  When she lived near me, she called pretty often to ask what I was doing that day.  Then she often would talk me into doing my household duties later or maybe sooner than expected so as soon as I was done, we could hang out, often while running errands.  It was good for me to push myself out of my little box sometimes, & I wish she still lived close!  Those times were a lot of fun for me.

I had another friend who used to call & ask what I was doing.  If I needed to go out, he’d ask if he could come along.  Or, if money was tight for me he’d ask if I wanted him to drive so I could save gas.   I would do the same if times were tight for him.  It worked out well – one of us could save a little money when needed & we’d have a ball laughing & listening to the music we grew up with as we drove around.

There is another bonus for the errand hang too.  If you are struggling somehow, say with grief over losing a loved one or depression, the errand hang can help motivate you to get out, do what you need to do & have some fun while doing it.  Or, maybe you have an unpleasant chore you need to do but really don’t want to.  Having someone with you can be good moral support which will help you to accomplish that task.

If you think this errand hang stuff sounds weird, it really doesn’t have to be weird at all.  Just ask!  The next time you need to do some errands, text a friend in advance.  You can tell them this might sound weird, but you need to do these things & would like some company, then ask if he or she is busy when you need to do the errands.  In my experience anyway, most people are fine with asking them to do errands together. 

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How To Identify Safe People

When you have been in a relationship with a narcissist, whether the narcissist is your parent, friend or lover, it can skew how you see other people.  Although you want to find safe, genuine people to be in relationship with, it’s easy to become somewhat paranoid, seeing narcissistic traits everywhere.  It can become hard to figure out who is safe & who isn’t, but it doesn’t need to be.

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus tells His disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (KJV)  You need to follow this wisdom, too- it isn’t only for the disciples.  To do that, you need to remember what you have learned about spotting narcissists, but also you need to learn ways to identify safe people.

Safe people:

  • have empathy.  They understand how others feel, they don’t just say they do but you can tell they have no idea.
  • are thoughtful.
  • they have good boundaries.
  • they accept people as they are, without trying to change them.
  • they learn from their mistakes.
  • they accept responsibility when appropriate, rather than pass the blame onto someone else.
  • have a good sense of humor, & don’t make inappropriate jokes at the expense of other people.
  • don’t look to others for approval.
  • aren’t judgmental.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Narcissism

Saying “I Love You”

Recently I learned that an old friend of mine passed away suddenly & unexpectedly.  We met not long after I got my first computer in 2000, on an aol message board.  We emailed frequently.  Although we only met once in person & spoke on the phone only a handful of times, I cherished her friendship.  She was the definition of a southern belle – gentle, gracious, thoughtful, loving & most of all she had a strong faith in God.

Naturally, losing this lovely lady has caused me to think a lot about relationships & life in general.  One of the things that crossed my mind was our final conversation.  She wasn’t feeling well, so it was fairly brief, unfortunately.  I remember our last words before hanging up though.. “I love you.”

When I was growing up, my paternal grandparents always did this too.  We never parted company either in person or over the phone without saying, “I love you.”  It’s something that I believe is important to do with those close to me.  Honestly, no one knows when the time comes that they may leave this earth or even when a relationship may end unexpectedly, so why not be certain that your last words to those good, special people in your life are “I love you”?

Doing this means that there will be no regrets over last words said if the relationship stops.  That can make a big difference in a person’s peace!

The last words my grandfather & I said to each other before he died in 2003 were, “I love you.”  Although I don’t remember much of the conversation, I do remember that.  It brings me comfort during those times I miss him to remember how much we love each other.

The last time I saw my father before going no contact several months before he died, our parting words were “I love you.”  As much as I hated his narcissistic behavior, I did love him, & am glad I told him so. 

I know this isn’t exactly the most cheery topic in the world, & for that I apologize.  I feel it’s something that needs to be addressed anyway.  People seem to think saying I love you should be reserved for romantic relationships only, but really, it should be said in all kinds of healthy relationships.  Children need to know their parents love them & vice versa.  Grandparents & grandchildren should hear a heartfelt “I love you” said freely & often.  Even friends need to hear it.  I love my friends dearly, & tell them often. 

It’s common knowledge that falling in love with someone releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain, but I can’t help thinking that knowing you are loved by someone you love, whatever the nature of the relationship, has the same effect.  Hearing the words, “I love you” said with sincerity certainly draws people closer together & feels good, whether the person saying it is a romantic interest, friend or relative.

I believe that it’s time to normalizing telling those you love, that you love them.  Why not start today?

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Best Friends

God gives His children many gifts.  One of the finest ones I’ve ever received is my best friend. Although since we met in 1988, truth be told, she’s more of a sister than a friend.  She is one of those rare people who is absolutely beautiful, inside & out.  She has taught me about what a best friend really should be just by being herself, & I thought I would share that with you.

Best friends should always help to strengthen your faith.  People are often quick to say, “I’ll pray for you” but honestly, how many people who say that also help to remind them that God is so much bigger than their problems?  As good as it is to have others pray for you, it’s also incredibly helpful to have someone encourage you to pray, to remind you what the Bible says regarding your situation & remind you of times in your past when God has came through for you.

Best friends should be encouraging.  They shouldn’t just encourage your faith but your soul too.  If you have doubts about your abilities & your best friend knows you have no valid reason to doubt, they should be your cheerleader.

Your relationship should be balanced.  During trying times, it’s normal for a close relationship to be out of balance as one friend helps the other, but this shouldn’t be the norm for any relationship.  Relationships should involve two people supporting each other, not one person constantly doing all of the work, constantly helping the other or one person not caring about what is happening in the other person’s life.

Best friends should know each other VERY well.  My best friend knows me better than anyone else in the world with the exception of my husband.  This means she not only knows my likes, dislikes, interests, morals & beliefs, but she knows how to relate to me well.  I know her probably just as well.  If we disagree about something, we can work it out easily because we know each other so well.

Best friends are real with each other.  My best friend has seen me at my worst.  I don’t mean just seeing me without makeup.  I mean seeing me as I recovered from the carbon monoxide poisoning, after arguments with my parents & husband, after flashbacks, & going through very hard times like abuse at the hands of my parents.  Not once did I ever feel I had to tell her I was fine.  I always can tell her today was awful & this is why, knowing she wouldn’t judge me for being too negative.  I also can count on her to tell me if I’m wrong about something.  Thankfully, she is kind about it, but she will offer constructive criticism or correction if necessary.

Best friends should love each other God’s way.  What I mean is that love isn’t superficial.  It is deep, it only wants what is best for each other, it is courteous & full of respect. 

Best friends shouldn’t shy away during the hard times.  The night I got the death notification about my mother was an extremely terrible night.  My first thought once I was at my mother’s home & starting to deal with the police was to call my best friend.  Immediately she said she’d pray the moment we hung up & asked what else she could do.  A few days later when my mother was buried, guess who was at my side?  Even when one of my cousins screamed at me, she didn’t budge.  It couldn’t have been easy for her to be there during these scenarios, especially at the cemetery, but she was there offering her unwavering support.

If your best friend isn’t like this, then it may be time to find one who is.  God made people to be in relationships of all kinds, so why settle for less than the best He has to offer?

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Simple Ways To Improve Relationships

Recently, I thought of a conversation my husband & I had a long time back. I told him how my dear friend & one of my aunts had similar bouts with cancer. They both suffered with it I think a total of 5 times each, & each time, when it went to their brain is when they died a fairly short time after.

Both my friend & aunt handled their similar situations very differently.

My friend was always a very loving & compassionate lady with a deep faith in God, but she those traits became even more pronounced as her health became frailer. A few months before she died, she mentioned via an email how Jesus carried her through it all & how grateful she was for everything in her life. She truly was an inspiration! She was also always happy to talk to me & encourage me no matter what was happening in her own life.

My aunt, however, was a different story.

While she said she was a Christian, I have doubts. During one conversation,, she mentioned how no one should be so “arrogant” as to assume God only allows certain people into Heaven & not every single person, no matter their personal beliefs. She also was extremely judgmental. If someone didn’t have cancer, according to her, they had no real problems & she didn’t want to hear them whine. Several times, she was very critical & invalidating to me of my problems, whether they were serious or trivial.

For the record, these changes happened in both of them well before any diagnosis of the cancer in their brains.

Although both ladies have been gone for several years, I still remember very well how each woman made me feel. My friend made me feel very loved & like time spent with me was valuable to her. My aunt? Not even close to the same. She made me feel as if all I did was whine about petty problems & was too stupid to recognize the only problem of the world was cancer.

This got me thinking about how people should make others they talk with feel. No functional person wants to cause other people to feel unloved, unheard, invalidated or other awful things. Yet, this happens every day. With or without intention, people say & do things that make others feel unloved, unheard & more. Following are some things I learned from my dear friend that I think are extremely important.

When spending time with someone, it is so important that they know you are present. What I mean is don’t listen to them talk while scrolling through your phone, looking at the television or the clock. Make eye contact. Respond to things they say. Show genuine empathy & care if they are telling you about a problem.

If someone is talking, don’t try to make the conversation all about you. Even if you understand what they feel or have been in an identical situation, it’s not always necessary to say that.

If someone is telling you about a problem in their life, even if you don’t understand why they’re upset, don’t be an unfeeling jerk by shaming them for their feelings. Ask if you can help somehow. Say things like, “I’m sorry to hear that!” or, “That is so unfair!”

Don’t give unasked for advice either. Many times when people confide in others, they simply want to vent. They will ask for advice if they need it. If they don’t, it’s safe to assume they have a solution in mind, so why try to give them one? Wait for the person to ask before giving advice.

When a person leaves a conversation, they should feel as my friend always made me feel – loved & valued. Small actions like I mentioned can make that happen, so please remember to do them.

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About Narcissistic Friends

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Narcissistic Friends

Many of us who have been raised by narcissistic parents seem to end up with many other narcissists in our lives.  We often end up romantically involved with them or friends with them.  Like many others, I have experienced both, mostly narcissistic friends.  I’ve also found precious little information available about narcissistic friendships, so I decided to tackle the topic myself.

People who come on too strong when first meeting you can be narcissists.  That new friend who you just met yet who wants to spend lots of time with you or claims you’re their best friend may be a narcissist.  Some folks who act in this way are simply insecure, but even so, you should be aware that there is a possible a sign of narcissism.

Friends who talk down to you are often narcissists.  Narcissists seem to think they are superior to their victims, & don’t mind showing it.  They act smug & talk to victims as if they are much less intelligent than the narcissist.

Your friend who can’t be bothered with your problems is probably a narcissist.  Remember, narcissists all lack empathy.  If you tell your friend you have a problem & they act bored, act as if they can’t be bothered, trivialize your problem or change the subject, these are all red flags of a lack of empathy.

If your friendship is one sided, that’s a big red flag of narcissism.  A good friendship is balanced.  Sure, sometimes your friend will need more from you than usual, but there are also times you will need more from your friend than usual.  It balances out.  When the bulk of your friendship is your friend taking from you while giving nothing in return, chances are your friend is a narcissist.

Narcissists expect their friends to be available to them 24/7, & believe there are no excuses for not being available.  Narcissistic friends have no problems calling at 11:00 at night even knowing you need to be up for work at 5 a.m.  If you don’t take their call, they say you’re a terrible friend, accuse you of not caring  & more. If they need a ride somewhere, that is what you are for, to provide it.  In fact, if they need anything, you are supposed to meet that need.

If your friend talks non stop about himself or herself, while never or almost never asking about you, that is another sign of narcissism.  Narcissists almost never stop talking about themselves.  Overt narcissists may brag about their fantastic accomplishments or covert ones may be subtle in discussing the things they do for others.  They may discuss their problems or interests non stop.

Once you realize your friend is a narcissist, it’s usually best to end the friendship if at all possible, as is often the solution with any narcissistic relationship.  Most often I believe the Gray Rock method is the best way to end a relationship with a narcissistic friend.  In other words, become boring to your friend.  Take their calls, spend time with them & do things for them less & less.  When they get mad at you, pretend it doesn’t bother you in the slightest.  Show them no reaction or emotion.  If they demand to know why you weren’t available, give no excuses.  Just say you were busy, & change the subject.  When they talk about themselves, act disinterested.  The more boring a narcissist finds a person, the less time they want to spend with that person.  Often, they get bored enough to discard their victim.

Having a narcissistic friend isn’t easy, but you can protect yourself & handle the situation!  Remember the kind of person you are dealing with, keep your emotions under control around them & conduct yourself accordingly.

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Communicating With Animals

Job 35:11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?  (KJV)

 

One of God’s greatest blessings is animals.  I’ve always loved & appreciated animals, but the older I get, the more I love & appreciate them.  Animals love deeply & unconditionally, they are fun, they are very intuitive & intelligent.  What’s not to love?!

 

In 2001, my husband & I lost Bubba, a very gentle, sweet, special orange tabby cat I’d had since he was only 4 weeks old.  I was absolutely convinced losing Bubba was going to kill me, my grief was so strong.  In spite of the pain though, God showed me something interesting at that time- I could communicate with animals.

 

The day after Bubba died, I let the cats out into the backyard for some supervised fun.  I went to Bubba’s freshly dug grave for a moment of grief.  I told him how much I loved him & missed him, & always would.  A small voice spoke to my heart saying, “It’s OK, Mommy.  I feel much better now!” (Bubba suffered with feline AIDS & emphysema for about 4 months before he died)  I wasn’t sure I heard this right at all, & quickly came back to the part of the yard where the cats were.  Spitfire, the queen of the castle, looked at me with great concern as I came near her & I heard, “Something is wrong with Mommy.”  I told my husband what happened, & he said he could believe I could hear them.  After all, I was extremely close to all of our cats.

 

The following day, I turned on some music while I was doing housework.  When Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song, “Freebird” came on, I heard what I’d thought was Bubba’s voice again, as I heard it the previous day.  “Mommy, this song fits me.  Listen to the lyrics.”  By this time, I doubted my sanity.  Once I was done my chores,  I prayed, asking God what was going on.  I felt no answer coming, so I opened up my Bible.  It came open to the book of Job, & my eyes fell on this Scripture:  Job 12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:  (KJV)  Immediately, I knew I heard Bubba & Spitfire.  I wasn’t crazy!

 

Since that time, I’ve gotten better at communicating with animals.  I don’t often hear them as clearly as I did Bubba & Spitfire, but I still communicate with them constantly.  What’s so interesting is the more I wanted to communicate with them, the more they wanted to communicate with me.  Our late chow chow mix, Bear, taught me that when he barked once it meant yes, twice meant no & three times meant I love you.  Vincent, my granddad’s cat that we ended up adopting in 2008, told me one day his great great great great grandfather was a purebred Abyssinian cat.   He was very proud of his heritage apparently.  Minnie Rose, our dilute tortoise shell cat, actually tries to form words with her meows, so there is never much trouble figuring out what message she is trying to get across, especially when she says, “Yea” or, “NOOOO!!”.  Punkin is our orange tabby with feline PTSD.  He is very vocal & very clear at communicating whatever he wants me to know with certain facial expressions as well as meows.

 

I’m always impressed by how if you just pay attention to them, animals will make sure you know what they want you to know.  You just need to be observant.

 

Also, not all animals are overly interested in communication with people, so if you try to communicate with some animals, they may have absolutely no interest, no matter how hard you try.  Some seem to put up a mental wall.

 

Be careful reading about communicating with animals.  Some who discuss animal communication claim it is some sort of psychic ability instead of a gift from God.  They make it sound almost occult in nature.   I have asked God to help me to communicate with animals His way, & with whatever animals He wants me to communicate with.  I believe keeping God involved keeps anything bad out of what really should be God’s gift to His children.

 

Several years ago, I wrote my first book on the topic of animals.  I even included some about things my animals & I have discussed.   If you would like to check out this book, it is called, “Pawprints On Our Hearts”, & is available at this page on my website, simply scroll down  : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php

 

 

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Celebrating Special Days

Tomorrow is the 22nd anniversary of hubby’s & my first date.  Hard to believe!  Time sure flies!

 

Ever since the first anniversary of this special day, we have done a little something to commemorate the day.  It can be as simple as sharing some wine, cheese & crackers when he gets home from work, talking by a fire, playing a board game or it can be a bit bigger such as going out to dinner, taking a day trip or recreating that special day.  Whatever we do though, we enjoy ourselves & reminisce.

 

We used to do something similar after we first got married.  We got married on September 24, 1998, so on the 24th of every month, we would celebrate a little.  (not sure why we stopped that, come to think of it..).  Interestingly when I mentioned it to my granddad, he said he & my grandmom used to do that too, for many years.

 

I’ve found these little celebrations are really nice!  They give you something to look forward to.  They also encourage intimacy.  They foster closeness.  They also help you to slow down & enjoy each other in a world that tends to be just too busy.

 

I’ve expanded this celebrating thing a bit, too.  I include my best friend in celebrations too.  We met in August, 1988 (although the day has escaped me) & each August I remind her of that & tell her how grateful I am for her friendship for so many years.

 

Remembering & celebrating things like this helps those in your life to feel loved & special.  It also is fun for you when you can make those you love feel that way.  It helps to add more joy into both your life & that of your loved one.  Why not give it a try?  Celebrate special events with those you love!

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Are You Someone’s Trash Can?

Ever since I can remember, most of my relationships have been unbalanced.  I’ve been the one to do the bulk of the work.  It started with my parents.  Both came to me with complaints about their marriage or involved me in their fights or for me to help them feel better if they were upset.  As I made friends, they often came to me with problems or needs, & expected me to listen or meet those needs often without so much as a thank you or even asking how I am.  Yet, if I had a need or problem, I was on my own, unable to count on them for any help.

 

This was simply a way of life.  Until recently.

 

I’d realized this was a problem several years ago, but had no idea what to do about it or even if I should do anything about it.  After all, people need someone to talk to & there isn’t a great deal of empathy in the world.  I thought maybe I needed to just suck it up & continue on this path.  After all, so many said, “I can’t talk to anyone else about this problem!”, “I feel so much better after talking to you,”  “You’re the only person who  understands- I don’t know what I’d do without you” or someone close to the person would say, “You need to stay strong for her/him!”  Those phrases made me feel obligated.

 

Then last year I got sick.  Coming close to dying changed me.  No longer could I listen without having a significant physical reaction.  For a short time, certainly, but not for a long time or even frequently.  Suddenly I no longer felt a bit tired & drained after listening to someone talk about their problems.  Instead, I now feel absolutely exhausted, sometimes for days.  I also realized I felt a new resentment when I was expected to listen to someone who couldn’t even ask how I was doing or changes the subject or interrupts if I start to talk.  I also became very angry when someone would expect me to listen to them, offer comfort or advice without so much as asking if I was busy before taking up my time.  I felt disrespected, taken for granted & much like their personal trash can.

 

Have you ever felt that way?  Like someone’s personal trash can?  It’s a very unpleasant way to feel isn’t it?

 

Those who survive narcissistic abuse are often very compassionate, caring people. We know what it’s like to hurt, & want to help other people not to hurt.  We also are people pleasers, because we were raised to please a narcissistic parent.  People pleasing becomes a habit.  As a result, others tend to take advantage of us.  They expect us to help them or listen to them without offering anything in return.  We can become their personal therapist.

 

While it’s great to help people & listen to them if they need to talk, it’s unfair when it’s one sided.  Relationships should be balanced.  Maybe sometimes you do most of the giving but there also should be times when the other person in the relationship should do most of the giving.

 

Being the trash can also leads to unnecessary stress in the listener.  The talker is the one who gets to dump all of his anxiety, anger or hurt onto the listener, basically freeing the talker from much of those negative emotions & turning the listener into his personal trash can, catching those negative emotions.

 

This also leads to resentment from the listener.  Eventually, the unfairness & stress of the situation will kick in, & the listener will be tired of being the trash can.  She’ll be angry & tired, & she has every right to be.

 

To handle this, I think the best place to start is with God.  Talk to Him about how you feel & ask Him what to do.  Then, do as He guides you to.

 

Remember, there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries.  You have every right to tell the person who wants you to listen to them that now isn’t a good time, you have a lot on your mind & need some time to yourself, or even simply no.  You need to do this for your own mental & physical health.  Plus, doing so can be good for the talker as well.  He needs to look to God & other people for help.  You can’t be his savior!  By you being there all of the time, basically you’re in the position that God should be in in his life.

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Controversy & Friendships

There have been a great deal of controversial things happening in the world lately, such as same sex marriage becoming a nationwide right. People often have extreme feelings on controversial issues.  So extreme in fact, many friendships have ended due to people disagreeing with each other.

This makes me sad.  I don’t understand why people won’t respect each other’s opinions.  Agree to disagree, if you will.  You don’t have to agree on every single thing to have a good relationship. No two people will anyway, because God made everyone an individual, with unique tastes, thoughts & feelings.

Disagreeing with someone’s views on a topic doesn’t give you the right to force your views on them.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, whether it’s right, wrong or indifferent.  If God Himself doesn’t force people to do anything, what makes you think you have that right?

I’m hoping, Dear Reader, that this doesn’t describe you. But, if it does, I pray God will help you to become more gentle & understanding in your behavior.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of harsh words due to a differing opinion, I’m very sorry.  It’s hurtful, I know.  If you haven’t lost your friend because of your views, but you two disagree, it may be a good idea simply to avoid discussing the topic.  If you have a good friend, yet you both feel strongly on different sides of a topic, why let that one thing hurt your friendship?  Agree to disagree.  Simply accept that you both feel differently on the issue at hand, & don’t discuss it anymore.  This really works if both people value the friendship & are willing to do this.  I’ve done this myself in my friendships, usually with good results.

Sometimes though, it doesn’t turn out as well.  Some people are so determined to make sure you hear their opinions & change yours to theirs, it will ruin a friendship.  They always remind me of this one dream I had last year.  I wrote about it here if you’d like to read it.  I’ve been in that situation too, & it really hurts.  A few years ago, I ended a friendship of 20 years because that person only cared about what he cared about, nothing else mattered, even hurting me.  It still hurts to this day.  Unfortunately in these situations, you’re going to hurt.  It’s just a fact.  All you can do is nurse your wounds, & appreciate the good, caring friends you have who are willing to accept you even if you differ on opinions.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Are You A Narcissist Magnet?

Does it seem like not only are narcissists everywhere, but they all find you & want to be your friend or romantic interest?

I’ve felt that way myself.  I’ve had so many failed friendships with people I later realized were narcissists.  I probably would’ve had more failed romantic relationships with narcissists as well if I wasn’t so particular about who I dated before I got married.  So many times in my life, I’ve felt like a narcissist magnet- if there’s one within ten miles of me, they will find me quicker than a bloodhound on the trail of a rabbit..

And, it’s not just me.   Many other people I’ve talked to share this experience.  This made me wonder why do some of us keep ending up with such dysfunctional, abusive people in our lives?  I came up with a theory…

Like me, the other folks I’ve talked to who have had many narcissistic relationships also were raised by at least one narcissistic parent.  This means they learned very early in life to behave in a certain way- to work hard to please others, not to ask much (anything, really) from others in a relationship, to tolerate abuse, to offer much praise & no criticism.  These behaviors are extremely pleasing to narcissists, so upon meeting people who behave that way, narcissists are instantly attracted.  They then begin their own version of “love bombing.”   Love bombing is when a narcissist inundates their prospective “love interest” (more like victim..) with loving gestures- romance, gifts, words of love & praise, wanting to take care of the love interest financially or rescue from a bad situation.  Narcissistic friends do this minus the romantic aspect.  They  listen to you, pretend to share things in common with you, & more to draw you into a relationship with them.  Once you’re in though, the mask comes off & the true person is revealed.

So how do you avoid attracting narcissistic friends & romantic interests?  Get mentally healthy!

The more mentally healthy you are, the less able narcissists are to use & abuse you, which is an incredible turn off for them.  While many narcissists enjoy the challenge of destroying someone who is strong, empathetic, & intelligent, they do like someone who can be molded into whatever they want.  An mentally healthy person won’t let that happen.  She knows her boundaries, & enforces them strictly.  She also recognizes dysfunctional & abusive behavior quickly, & won’t tolerate it.  Being mentally healthy is more valuable than having a high IQ when it comes to deterring abusive people from wanting to be in a relationship with you.

I’ve seen this come to pass in my own life.  The more mentally healthy I’ve become, the less interested in me narcissists are.  I seldom find any interested in talking to me for more than a short time, let alone pursuing a friendship.  Plus, I usually can spot them a mile away now, so when I realize the person I just met is a narcissist, I’ll have fun with them.  I’ll change the subject off of them, their interests, etc. onto  something else.  Preferably me, since narcissists have no interest in talking about anyone other than themselves.. heehee!

Something else has come from being healthier too- not only do I attract less narcissists, but I attract more mentally healthy people!  I honestly can say right now that I do not have ONE abusive &/or narcissistic friend in my life.  My friends are caring, compassionate, intelligent & generous.  If we have a disagreement, we can work things out, even if we never come to agree.  We know it’s OK to agree to disagree.  We don’t always share many similar interests, but we do respect each other’s right to be interested in what the other is interested in without judgment.  We often think very much alike & share similar religious beliefs.

I’m not saying attracting narcissists in your life is your fault, or that you have to be completely mentally healthy & over the narcissistic abuse to have good friendships.  Not by any means!   Please don’t think that is what I mean at all!  It’s still completely on the narcissist that they seek out victims.  And, once you start recognizing & failing to tolerate abuse, things will change naturally.  Abusers will start seeing you as an unavailable target & seek another victim.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

How To Identify A Narcissist Online

Most of us know how to identify narcissists in real life- the haughty attitude is a clear sign of an overt narcissist, while the sweet, innocent act as the person is trying to manipulate you is a giveaway that you’re dealing with a covert narcissist.  Unfortunately, when you participate in social media or in online forums, detecting narcissists isn’t so easy.  Online verses in person gives significant disadvantages.  In person, you can read body language or voice tones, but online, such helpful clues are unavailable.  This means the clues are much more subtle.

So how can you identify a narcissist simply via online contact?

First, if a person doesn’t ask how you’re doing, what’s going on in your life, or similar questions, that is a red flag.  Even people who aren’t close will usually ask questions about the other person’s life.  Maybe not every single time, sometimes people have an off day, but if not asking anything about you is the norm?  Red flag!

Second, a narcissist isn’t open to hearing the views of others on any topic.  Politics, religion, relationships.. the narcissist knows it all, & if you don’t believe that, just ask the narcissist..

Third, narcissists don’t “agree to disagree.”  If you disagree with a narcissist, she will take offense.  If she disagrees with you, then you need to hear about how wrong you are.

Closely related to the previous point, narcissists will beat you to death with their opinion if they feel you aren’t hearing them.  I had a dream once I wrote about here that made this point clear to me.  I recommend you read about it- the dream clearly demonstrated this point to me.

Narcissists also have absolutely no interest in what you have to say.  You can tell a narcissist anything, no matter how important, & they won’t care. If it doesn’t directly affect a narcissist, it doesn’t matter to a narcissist.

And, narcissists aren’t humble.  If you give one a complement, you won’t hear “Thank you!”  They instead come across with this attitude of “It’s about time you noticed”  You’ll be lucky if they give you a little smiley face in response…

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Filed under Mental Health, Narcissism

Who To Talk To?

Mark 6:4 ” But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor (deference, reverence) except in his [own] country and among [his] relatives and in his [own] house.” (AMP)

This Scripture came to mind recently as it reminded me of something..

It seems like so many people have a serious physical or mental health problem, yet their families don’t believe they are as sick as they say, are faking their illness for attention or only to get those ‘good drugs.’ Personally I have been told to get over my past, learn to fix things with my parents, think more positive & just get a pill- that will fix it. I’ve also heard that I am wrong-that my parents aren’t so bad, I need to cut them some slack since they aren’t getting any younger yanno…

I have tried in vain to make other people close to me see the truth of my situation to no avail, & I have seen other people do the same with people close to them. Witnessing this made me realize exactly how fruitless it really can, & that some people, often those closest to you, just do not care. Unfortunately, people are so hungry for validation, that we sometimes keep beating that dead horse.

While it is certainly understandable to want that validation, especially from those closest to us, sometimes it is time to realize it won’t happen. When discussing your symptoms or your condition, sometimes you can tell when the other person is not interested in the subject at hand. They may look bored or try to change the subject repeatedly. They also may say invalidating things such as, “it can’t be that bad,” “It must be nice for you, not having to get up & go to work in the morning,” or defend the person who abused you “Well, I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way,” or “she did the best she could by you.”

If your conversation takes a turn like this, it’s time to make a decision- is it worth continuing to try to convince this person that you have an actual problem or should you just stop?

I have decided to stop wasting my time. It just isn’t worth the frustration on my part or making the other person angry. It hurts, but I have accepted that some people just aren’t capable of the empathy or compassion it takes to be supportive of me.

People who genuinely know & care won’t be invalidating. They will be supportive & not judgmental. They know you well enough to know you aren’t making anything up or exaggerating. People like that are a wonderful blessing!

I am also very blessed with wonderful, wonderful fans who email me often not only to say thank you for something I wrote that helped them, but also sometimes to offer me encouragement. 🙂 It seems strange to me that people I’ve never met care more than some who are closer to me, but apparently it happens. Obviously Jesus understood it well & experienced it firsthand.

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New Feature On My Website

Good afternoon , Dear Readers.  🙂

I had an idea…

I added something to my website this morning.  A chat room.  I thought it might be a cool idea- a safe place where people can get together & talk or meet new friends, whether I’m there or not.  I was even thinking about having a monthly (or more frequent) chat.  We could discuss whatever is on your mind pertaining to topics I write about- abuse & recovery, Christian living, animals, & more.

What do you think?

There is one thing  you should know- I’m not familiar with chat rooms & how they work.  So please bear with me as I learn!  I’ll try to learn quickly!

The chat room link is on my website:  http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com   Go check it out!  I hope to see you there!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Links, Mental Health, Narcissism, Writing

September 24, 2012

Good morning, Dear Readers!!!

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary. I am blessed to be married to Eric. My favorite thing about him is that he is my friend, not just my husband. We have fun together. Last night, we turned out all the lights, I lit some candles, made some popcorn, & we watched a scary old Boris Karloff movie together. (“Black Sabbath”- if you like scary old movies, this one is great!!! Check it out) Today, we unfortunately have some things to do, then later, we’re going to have a picnic in our back yard with wine, cheese, & crackers. Nothing fancy, but romantic. I’m looking forward to it.

Is your husband/wife your friend too? Celebrate that friendship & have some fun together!!

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