Tag Archives: gratitude
I recently read an article about Traumatic Brain Injuries that mentioned the term Irritable Gratitude Syndrome. This phenomenon happens to many who have survived a TBI. People often tell these survivors how lucky they are to still be alive, it could have ended so much worse or be happy you don’t have it as bad as someone else does. Many caregivers or survivors at this point want to scream, & rightfully so!! Such comments can stir up some pretty angry thoughts & feelings that are quite justified.
Yes, it’s great the person is still here, but it’s not so great that he or she has lost their personality, has constant headaches, struggles to comprehend even the simplest things & forgets so much. Many unaffected by TBIs have zero idea just how awful these things are to live with either in yourself or someone you love.
Ok, true, the situation could’ve ended worse than it did, but even so, that doesn’t mean it ended well! It can be very hard to be grateful to be alive when you’re struggling with the awful day to day symptoms of a TBI or watching someone you love struggle with said symptoms.
And yes, others have it worse. That doesn’t negate the fact that all TBIs are unique, they all host at least some pretty challenging symptoms & they all are very disruptive to a person’s life. As someone with a brain injury, I can tell you that knowing someone else has it worse than me doesn’t make mine any less obnoxious to live with.
As I was reading the article & considering such things I realized something… I really don’t think Irritable Gratitude Syndrome is only for those with brain injuries. I also think it can be common to those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.
Think about it… how many times have you been told that you should be glad your situation wasn’t worse, at least he didn’t hit you or everyone has problems with their parents? That’s kind of similar to the comments TBI survivors often hear, & they also stir up similar emotions & thoughts to what I described above.
How can you be glad your situation wasn’t worse when you struggle with C-PTSD from the narcissistic abuse? Living with the symptoms of C-PTSD is miserable & incredibly difficult.
Maybe that abusive ex didn’t hit you but he didn’t need to hit to hurt you. Narcissists destroy their victims on the inside, not the outside, but doing their best to ruin their sense of self.
While it’s true, everyone has problems with their parents at some point, that doesn’t mean all parents are the abusive monsters narcissists are. There is a big difference between normal disagreements & narcissistic parents determined to destroy their own children. Saying they are the same only trivializes narcissistic abuse & invalidates victims.
I think there are some things to do that can help you when experiencing such thoughts & feelings.
- Pray. Tell God what you think & feel. Let it all out! He can handle your anger & sadness.
- Write it out in a journal.
- Talk to someone who is non judgmental, safe & understanding of your situation.
- If you don’t feel like talking or writing, then get alone & cry, scream, beat up some pillows or whatever helps you feel better.
- I know this one is very hard but try to be patient with yourself. You’ve been through a lot! It’s ok to feel badly about that!
- Rest when you need to. Emotional things take a big physical toll. Give your body extra rest.
I know that when Irritable Gratitude shows up, it’s not pleasant. Quite the opposite in fact. But you can & will get through it!
In case you are wondering, this is the article I was referring to: https://www.brainline.org/blog/learning-accident/irritable-gratitude-syndrome
The last couple of days have been difficult for me. Lots of flashbacks & anxiety have been happening. When I said something to my husband about it the day before Mother’s day, he said “Mother’s Day is coming.. that has to be it!” Honestly I don’t know if that’s my problem or not, it sure could be, but anyway….
Part of one of my recent flashbacks was about when I was learning to drive. I told hubby that my ex mother in-law taught me more about driving (including driving a stick shift) than my parents did, yet both of my parents always took credit for teaching me how to drive even though they barely taught me anything. He said, “I think you should give your ex mother in-law a shout out! She did a lot of good things for you.”
Although my ex mother in-law died in 2010 & this post is going to publish a day after Mother’s Day, I agree. I also thought about another mom figure in my life who was so special to me, so I’m giving her a shout out too. I pray God allows them to know about this because they both deserve to know the big positive impacts they had on my life.
A very big thank you to my awesome ex mother in-law!! I appreciate the many things you taught me like how to drive & especially how to knit. I appreciate the encouragement you gave me when I was learning things & your faith that I could do these things. I also appreciate the fun times together, like going to craft & thrift stores, & your help picking out my first sewing machine. (Even though I still can’t sew, I appreciate a nice machine like that little beauty!) I appreciate all the laughs & your fun sense of humor, especially since it was pretty twisted like my own. I appreciate your love, support & lack of judgement. I also appreciate you trying to protect me from my mother when we lived together. I wasn’t used to anyone doing that & it was a very nice surprise.
Most of all, a big thank you for being a wonderful example of your faith & praying for me.
I’m sorry our relationship ended on a bad note & for the things I did wrong. I still remember the good things often & am so grateful for them. Thank you for everything, W. You’re very loved & missed. xoxo
My other mother figure was a dear friend I called my adopted mom. We met on a crochet message board & clicked. She was a wise, beautiful, gentle, loving, compassionate person with a powerful & inspiring faith. When I had an argument with my folks or just a rough day, she was the one I wanted to talk to. She always knew what to say to make me feel better. She also didn’t sugarcoat things- if she believed I was wrong, she’d tell me. She was free with her praise & kind words, but still told the truth even if it wasn’t pretty. She was also the one who got me started reading about Antisocial Personality Disorder which led to me learning about narcissism. We had many laughs together, mostly talking about our furkids who we both adored. She was an inspiration & one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Her death in 2009 still hurts, but I know I’ll see her again one day. Thank you for the years of friendship, love & laughs, K! xoxo
Those of us with narcissistic mothers know that a good mother is a beautiful gift. If you have a wonderful mother figure in your life, please don’t wait til it’s too late like I did- let her know how much you appreciate her now. She’ll love to hear what you say & it’ll make you feel good to tell her just how special she is to you.
One way I have learned to add more gratitude, peace & joy to my life is by focusing on beauty. It’s quite easy to do, too, since beauty is all around us! I have folders of beautiful images on my tablet. Flowers, beautiful homes, art, or anything that strikes my fancy. Looking at these lovely images helps me to feel more peaceful & happy. My anxiety levels go down, too. I even become more appreciative.
Why beauty has such a profound effect, I’m not sure, but I thoroughly enjoy it! Why don’t you give it a try as well? Start noticing the beauty around you. Look at the flowers in your garden. Really study them. Focus on the lovely colors & graceful curve of the leaves & petals. Animals are beautiful too- watch the graceful way a lion moves as he walks or listen to the haunting but beautiful sound of a wolf howl.
Museums are a wonderful place to take in some beauty. I’ve noticed that after seeing some stunning paintings by Claude Monet (my favorite painter) at the museum, I started appreciating other beautiful things more. I’ve never been a fan of modern art, but even so, after enjoying Monet’s paintings, I could see a beauty in it that I never saw before. It seems to me that once you start really appreciating beauty, you start to see it everywhere. At least I did.
One interesting place to find beauty is also old cemeteries. I absolutely love them! They are so full of history if you read the headstones, but there is also much beauty there as well. Old headstones are often much more elaborate than modern day ones. Westminster cemetery in Baltimore where Edgar Allan Poe is buried is an amazing place!
Yesterday was an eventful day. One of my cats, Pretty Boy, needed his annual checkup, which was late. A little background: Pretty Boy was diagnosed with diabetes since 2011, a condition called Somongyi where his body responds oddly to glucose in 2012, & then with a liver carcinoma in 2013. That is when the vet said he may not be around much longer, & chances are his glucose wouldn’t be regulated ever again. In spite of it all, he’s been doing GREAT! Mostly his glucose has been regulated, & he’s obviously feeling good. However, I was still nervous (as always) about his checkup. Turned out the vet said he is doing extremely well, I’m happy to say. Two vets saw him, one who specializes in diabetes, & she told me she thinks he’s starting to go into diabetic remission!! It’s very unusual- cats often go into diabetic remission, but usually within about the first 3 months after their diagnosis. The longer they have diabetes, the lower the chances of remission are. Leave it to my little guy to be unique.. lol It’s truly an answer to prayer! I’m so excited!
This all got me to thinking last night how much I have to thank God for.
Lately, the C-PTSD has been especially bad, leaving me extremely depressed, tired, anxious, having a hard time concentrating & really unable & unwilling to be around people. It’s been hard to think of anything to be thankful for, but this vet visit was the kick in the butt I needed to change my attitude. OK, I’m still having some trouble feeling grateful, but I am doing better at it today. I’m grateful my special little kitty is much healthier than anyone could’ve expected. I’m grateful too that he’s such a sweet baby- he knows every emotion I have, & if I’m upset, he is right there, offering lots of love to try to make it all better. I’m grateful for another one of my cats, Punkin, who also has PTSD & how we can help each other when symptoms flare up. I’m grateful God has blessed me with the many wonderful cats I have & had in my life. I’m grateful that even during the worst of times with C-PTSD, God still cares & helps me to get through it all. I’m grateful I survived all of the traumas that caused the C-PTSD, & still have a pretty decent attitude about life most days. I’m grateful I have people in my life who care about me. I’m even grateful for the classic car I drive, because it was once my grandfather’s car (my favorite car he ever had) & God found a miraculous way to send it back into my life after not even seeing it in 26 years. (I wrote that story in ebook form- it’s a fascinating story even if you aren’t a classic car fan like me. Here’s the link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/my-life-the-story-of-a-1969-plymouth/ebook/product-18462742.html )
As a result of thinking about these things & more that I am grateful to God for, for the first time in a couple of weeks, I feel the C-PTSD starting to improve some. I’m not expecting grateful thoughts to make all of the symptoms magically disappear of course- that would be very naive- but, I have noticed a grateful attitude does help to reduce the severity of C-PTSD symptoms. I think because it makes me feel closer to God as well as more appreciative of the good things He has blessed me with. Thinking about such things also increases my faith in God. Really focusing on the blessings He gives you can’t help but to increase your faith!
I know sometimes when symptoms are raging, it feels like there is absolutely nothing to be thankful for. I’ve felt that way many times myself. However, if you can try to think of the good in your life, or ask God to show you the ways He’s blessed you, it may help to reduce your symptoms. Even if it only helps a little bit, isn’t it worth it?
Good morning, everyone!
I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone who reads this a very blessed, happy & prosperous 2014. I pray your year will be a wonderful one!
I also wanted to thank everyone who is following this blog, & who has said that something I’ve written has helped them in some way. Thank you so much for the encouragement! it truly means the world to me. xoxo