Tag Archives: functional

Best Friends

“Best friends” is a term that is used pretty freely & often without much thought.  I don’t do that, however.  I have a best friend that is incredibly special to me.  We met just before our senior year of high school in August, 1988, & in the years since, she has taught me so much about the real meaning of best friend.  I believe that others can benefit from what I have learned, so I want to share it today.

True best friends have healthy boundaries & they respect yours.  They know what you are ok with & what you aren’t, & they respect such things.  They don’t use you or are NOT ok with anyone else using you either.  They will remind you that no one has the right to mistreat or abuse you, especially when you doubt it.

True best friends are honest.  They won’t lie to you just because it’s easier for them.  They will be honest & if that means it hurts your feelings a bit to get you to a better place, they will be honest.  They will be as gentle as they can in their honesty so as to minimize the hurt because they love you, but they still will tell you the truth.  They know honesty is best & they want what is best for you.

True best friends stand the test of time.  Close friendships are somewhat like a marriage.  You love & support each other.  You have fun with each other & also are there during the hard times.  You work through disagreements & can agree to disagree.  You don’t just run at the first sign of problems.  You do your best by your friend & they do their best by you.  A wonderful friendship like this lasts for more than a few months.  It can last a lifetime.

True best friends are there for you, period, even when it isn’t easy for them to be.  I called my best friend as soon as I had a moment after receiving my mother’s death notification, & she was there for me from that moment on.  She even attended the burial & was at my side even when one of my cousins raged at me during the burial.  She listened when I was dealing with estate matters & overwhelmed.  None of that was pleasant or easy for her, but she was there for me anyway.  That is what a best friend does.  They are there for you even when it’s incredibly difficult for them.

True best friendships aren’t one sided.  There is a mutual give & take in the relationship.  There will be trying times you are needier & your best friend is there for you, but there are also times when the reverse is true, & you are there for your needy best friend.  As a whole though, your friendship is very balanced.  You both love & support each other as needed rather than one person being the only one to offer love & support.

True best friends know you very well & accept you without judgment, yet still encourage your personal growth.  Your best friend should accept you as you are because they understand why you are as you are, but they also encourage you to improve yourself.  They share things they have learned that can help you.

True best friends are a gift straight from God, & if you have a wonderful one in your life as I do, you truly are blessed!  Never forget to tell your best friend how much you appreciate them being a part of your life & that you love them.  Never let them feel you take them for granted!

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Filed under Enjoying Life, Mental Health

“Healthy” Narcissism

Have you heard the term “healthy narcissism”?  If not, it is a term coined to describe having a positive, healthy view of self, being assertive & also being good with self care.  It first was coined in the 1930’s & is still used today.

I truly mean no offence to the mental health professionals who created the term & those who use it, but that term doesn’t sit well with me.

Those of us who have been abused by narcissists naturally have an aversion to anything with the label “narcissism” attached to it.  We have stared evil in the face & survived what was meant to destroy us.  We learned that evil was known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  We know that the word “narcissism” has no good or healthy aspect to it.  Healthy narcissism often feels like an oxymoron to us, no matter what anyone says. 

It is also offensive to us, because the term healthy narcissism comes across as a very subtle downplaying of true narcissism.  In a way, the term puts healthy people on the same level as narcissists.  It makes narcissism sound not all that bad, like maybe narcissists are just a bit over the top with these normal, healthy behaviors that “healthy narcissists” use.

At the same time, the term can reinforce what narcissists tell their victims, that if they have any boundaries, self esteem or practice self care in any way, they’re selfish.  Having experienced the extreme selfishness of narcissists first hand, not one of their victims wants to be like them in any way.  This means victims will turn from anything that could be perceived as selfish, including healthy things like boundaries & self care.

For anyone reading this who feels this way about this term “healthy narcissism”, I hope you realize that although you may feel this way, please know that there is nothing wrong or bad about having good self esteem, boundaries & practicing self care.  Just because a narcissist told you these things were bad & prevented you from exercising such things doesn’t mean that person was right. 

Many narcissists also claim to be Christian & won’t hesitate to twist God’s word to justify their completely erroneous thinking.  These despicable people often destroy their victims’ faith or they make them believe God isn’t a loving father but instead a heartless dictator who wants victims to do nothing to take care of themselves.  For those of you who have been in this position, I want to let you know something.  1 Corinthians 6:19 in the Amplified Bible says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]?”  Consider how you would treat a beautiful temple.  You certainly wouldn’t allow it treated any old way.  You would protect it & treat it well.  That is exactly how you should treat yourself.  Never forget, your body is a temple.  Treat it accordingly & not like an afterthought. 

Self care is NOT selfish or bad!  It is a good thing, & yes, even a Godly thing.  True self care isn’t narcissistic, so never let anyone convince you otherwise!

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

When Children Aren’t Allowed To Say No

Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries.  They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves.  Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors.  Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons.  When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish.  This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children.  It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what.  They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!

Children need to feel safe knowing that there won’t be any repercussions if they say things like, “No”, “Stop doing that,” “Don’t touch me”, “That hurts”, “I don’t agree with you” & “I won’t do that.” 

When a child doesn’t experience this ability to set reasonable boundaries, they can turn very submissive.  Their boundaries become very blurred.  They change their likes, dislikes, views, etc. depending on the company they keep.  They lose their individuality.  They do above & beyond what is reasonable for other people, even to the point of enabling terrible behavior.  They tolerate way too much, including abusive behavior, because they don’t believe they have the right to do otherwise.

When a person grows up not allowed to say no, the fear of what could happen can become paralyzing, & they literally can’t say the word no.  This fear happens because of many possible reasons.  Some of those reasons might be the fear of hurting other people’s feelings, fear of someone’s anger, fear of being punished, fear of abandonment or the fear of being seen as selfish, bad or even ungodly.  This fear also can happen because a person is too hard on themselves, & if they say no, they judge themselves very harshly.  They condemn themselves as horrible people, so they don’t say no in order to avoid feeling that way.

If you recognize this as your behavior, you’re not alone.  This is so common among children of narcissistic parents.  The good news though is that you can make healthy changes.

I always recommend starting with prayer in any situation, & this one is no different.  Asking God for help is never a mistake.  Also ask Him to show you the truth about where you end & others begin, what you should & shouldn’t tolerate, how to start setting healthy boundaries & anything else you need help with.

Also start paying attention to how you feel.  Does it bother you when someone expects something from you?  Why does it bother you?  If it feels unfair since they don’t ask others to do as much as you or they want you to do something they could do themselves, that is very reasonable!

Start small!  Start by not answering your phone if you don’t want to talk to the person calling or something like that.  The more you gain confidence in smaller boundaries, the more it will help you to go on to bigger ones.

Know people are going to be upset with you for your new boundaries.  Rather than being hurt by this, think of it this way.  Safe, good people will be happy for you & encourage you.  Only toxic people are offended by reasonable boundaries.  Seeing toxic people for who they are may be painful, but it’s also a good thing.  It shows you who you need to remove from your life.  And, removing them allows more time & energy for those who truly deserve that from you.

Having good boundaries won’t happen over night, but it will happen.  Just stay with it!  You can do this!

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

About Perspective Of Good & Bad Experiences

I love watching the old public tv show, “The Joy Of Painting” with Bob Ross.  He was an incredibly talented painter, & there is something so calming about watching him create his beautiful works of art.  I also especially enjoy the bits of wisdom he shared through each episode.  Not only bits of wisdom about painting, but about life in general. 

I was watching his show recently & he was painting a beautiful mountain scene in the fall.  During the course of painting, Mr. Ross said some interesting things.

The first thing he mentioned was as he was painting a lake.  To create dimension, he used dark & light colors together.  He said something like, “Don’t conceal all your dark areas or the painting will become flat.”  Immediately it made me think of the overly positive people of the world.  I don’t mean the average person who tries to be positive, but the ones who refuse to say anything negative or see anything but the good in people.  When people don’t admit that sometimes things are less than perfect & happy, they often are much the same way- flat.  They express only one mood- happy.  Honestly, I find this incredibly annoying to be around.  Not that I want to be around people who are always miserable either.  Somewhere in the middle is so much more comfortable & I think also healthy.  People who are real & honest are the most interesting people, in my opinion anyway, probably because they have many different aspects to their personalities & different moods.  They’re also more comfortable to be around, because you know they won’t judge you if you are anything less than completely positive & happy.  Many overly positive people also can come across very invalidating & shaming.  For example, if you’re laid up with a broken leg, it’s ok to be upset about that.  The unhealthy, overly positive type of person will say something like you should be glad it happened because now you have the time off to catch up on whatever hobbies you enjoy.  That comment can make you feel badly for being upset that you are in a miserable situation, even though you have every right to be upset.

Another interesting thing he mentioned was that you need darkness to show the light.  How true is that!  If you think of it in the natural realm, if you light up an average light bulb, it will look very different in the dark than it will on a sunny day.  In the dark, even a very dim bulb can look extremely bright.  Yet, in the sunlight, even the brightest bulb will appear pretty dim.  The contrast of dark & light always makes light appear brighter.

The same things happen with good & bad things in life.  The bad, or darker, things that happen make you appreciate the good, or lighter, things.  If you have only good things happen, you can count on not appreciating anything good that happens to you simply because that is the norm for you.  There is nothing to compare your experiences to that will make them appear worth appreciating.  If there is a balance of both good & bad things, however, the bad things truly will make you appreciate the good things.  The good things will look so much better in contrast to the bad, just like that dim light bulb will look especially bright in a very dark room.

It was kinda strange, realizing these things from watching a man paint a pretty landscape, but I hope you found them interesting like I did.  And, his show can be found on YouTube & I think it was Pluto TV where I found it.  Very worth checking out if you have the chance!

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

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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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

Misconceptions About Introverts

Being an introvert means being someone who recharges through solitude & who prefers it to the company of large groups of people.  It’s really that simple, yet in spite of that, introverts are often a very misunderstood bunch.

Being an introvert myself, I have plenty of experience in this area.  One example that comes to mind is how extroverts who haven’t bothered to get to know me have mistakenly thought I believe that I’m a snob who thinks I’m much better than them simply because I’m quiet & reserved when around most people.  Another misconception is people assume all introverts are weird.  The majority of people who assume this do so simply because we don’t divulge a lot of information about ourselves to those who aren’t very close to us, so they fill in the blanks with what they think.

Those misconceptions can be annoying, but after being subjected to them my whole life, I’ve come to accept people think that way.  It no longer upsets me like it once did.  There is one misconception that still bothers me to no avail & I can’t seem to change my feelings on it however.  That is that introverts need to do the majority of the work in relationships, & when they fail to meet the other person’s expectations, they are criticized harshly for it.  I don’t see this as a common misconception for all introverts, but I have noticed it happens mostly with those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.

Those of us who have suffered at the hands of a narcissist were made to feel responsible for that relationship.  We were to please that person at all times, be there for them & basically be & do anything that person wanted.  Even after the relationship has ended, sometimes long after, we tend to be people pleasers.  People pleasers are naturally the ones who are given the task of maintaining relationships in their lives. 

While this often happens naturally, that doesn’t mean the behavior is right.  It isn’t. 

Relationships should be full of love, care for & compassion for each other.  It’s not fair to expect a person to treat you that way if you aren’t willing to treat them the same way. Being the one responsible for calling the other person, planning activities together & everything else in the relationship is exhausting.  Those things should be shared among both people in a relationship, not only one person’s responsibility! 

If you know an introvert who hasn’t contacted you in a while, it might be time to consider your behavior with that person.  Are you expecting them to do most or all of the work in the relationship?  If so, it’s time to apologize to this person & make some changes!  If not, then rather than get angry with the introvert for pulling away, think about that person.  There are a plethora of reasons an introvert may pull away in relationships, & the reasons aren’t always personal.

Sometimes, introverts get overwhelmed with life & need space from everyone.  It doesn’t mean they’re angry or hurt.  They just need some space to recharge.

Sometimes, introverts just don’t think about reaching out.  Again, it’s not personal.  It may mean they have a lot on their minds, are working extra hours, have someone else in their life in need of their attention more than you, they might simply be tired or sick or for some reason reaching out simply hasn’t crossed their mind.  I am this way & got worse after a brain injury.  I don’t think about calling friends all that often.  It doesn’t mean I don’t care.  Far from it!  I do care, & think of them often.  My brain just doesn’t seem to make the connection between good thoughts of them & picking up the phone for some reason. 

If you’re an introvert & in the position of being treated as if you are responsible for the relationships in your life, know that you are NOT solely responsible for those relationships.  You have every right to set boundaries & to expect people to treat you with respect, love & compassion.  If they can’t, then you also have the right to remove such people from your life.  It won’t make you a bad person.  It’ll make you a person with healthy self respect!

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Filed under Mental Health, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

Living With High Functioning Mental Illness

Living as someone with mental illness yet is high functioning, I can tell you it’s utterly exhausting.  Doing things takes more energy than it would for someone without mental illness because I have to focus harder.  I also do my best to put the problems in a box when necessary so they don’t affect other people.  It takes energy to keep that box closed & on a shelf!!  Add in having a brain injury & I spend a lot of time exhausted.

If you too are high functioning with mental illness, I’m sure you can relate to what I said, even if you don’t also have the brain injury.  You truly are not alone!  This post is to help you to understand that.

It feels like you’re being fake a lot of the time, doesn’t it?  The truth is you aren’t being fake.  You’re just hiding a part of yourself from others you don’t want to know about that part of you.  There is nothing wrong with not being 1000% open with everyone.  Sometimes it’s best to keep some information private from some people.

It also feels like people don’t believe you have any illness at all.  People seem to think if you have mental illness, you need to be incoherent, hearing voices, attempting suicide, or even not taking care of your basic needs such as showering & changing clothes regularly.  If you’re clean, your home is in order, you’re working & maintain relationships, many people don’t think you’re struggling with your mental health.  They miss the small, subtle signs such as an increased or decreased appetite, sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty focusing, or feeling tired.

Your good & bad days look very similar to most people.  They truly have no idea that on bad days, it took every ounce of willpower to pry yourself out of bed, to bathe, to do whatever you need to do on that day.  Chances are, most wouldn’t believe you if you told them because they see no real differences between this bad day & your good days.

Sometimes people may say you’re gloomy or a “Debbie Downer” because sometimes your sadness or negative views show.  They don’t realize that is depression talking.  Or, maybe sometimes you jump at the slightest move from someone or sound & it irritates people.  It happens because you have an anxiety disorder, PTSD or C-PTSD.

Although you may not look like it, you feel you are struggling so much.  Mental illness consumes so much energy!  Focusing on a simple conversation can take a lot out of you.  People don’t often understand why you’re tired, but this is exactly why.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these situations?  If so, I hope it comforts you some to know that you’re not alone.  Many of us understand because we’re on the same boat.

And please remember, just because you can function & function well, don’t think that means you don’t have a real problem.  I know, sometimes it’s easy to think this way when you have a few good days in a row.  That being said though, mental illness is just as serious as physical illness & should be treated as such.  Sometimes it can be more serious in the sense that some mental disorders can be life threatening by making a person suicidal.  Don’t neglect to rest when you need to, take your medication as directed, talk to safe people & let them love & encourage you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of yourself or asking for help.  If you broke your leg, you would do those things, wouldn’t you?  Then why not do the same thing to take care of your mental health?

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health