Tag Archives: head games

Passive/Aggressive Behavior

Do you know someone who is passive/aggressive?  Passive/aggressive behavior is when someone is upset with you, but rather than try to work it out, they deny being upset.  Instead, they do things to hurt or anger you.

 

Over a year ago when my parents came to my home, my mother wanted me to do something for her.  As usual, she ordered me to do it, rather than asked.  For the first time in my life, it ticked me off.  I’m her daughter, not the hired help & I don’t like being treated as such.  So, I responded with “since you asked me so nicely, of course I’ll do it.”  She didn’t say anything, but apparently it sank in.
A few days later, my mother called me, wanting me to look something up on my computer for her.  Rather than her usual demand, she asked me nicely, so I looked it up.  Small victory for me!  I quickly realized though that she wasn’t happy about asking rather than demanding, because she became passive/aggressive.  Her hearing isn’t the best, but she also uses that when it benefits her to do so.  While I was on the phone with her yesterday, about every other sentence at first was “What did you say?  I can’t hear you Honey!”  (Interestingly she only calls me Honey when she is playing deaf, which is how I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what she is up to.)  I was practically screaming into the phone before she suddenly heard me.  However, as the conversation went on, her hearing suddenly became better.  I could speak fairly quietly & she heard me.  Why?  I think partly because I let her ramble on- she gained her narcissistic supply, which pleased her- & partly because she felt that she had satisfactorily let me know she wasn’t pleased with being forced to ask me to do something rather than demand it.

 

During the conversation, my mother also slipped in snide comments about how much she hates scary movies/books.  She doesn’t understand how anyone can like such awful things!  Why was this mentioned out of the blue?  No doubt because she knows I love scary movies & stories.  This is a way to scold me for my “poor choices” without directly doing so.  A way to say I’m wrong without using those exact words.

 

There are other ways a person can exhibit passive/aggressive behavior, such as:

 

  • being sarcastic.
  • withholding praise, affection or intimacy.
  • giving the silent treatment.
  • running late.
  • either not getting around to doing something asked of him/her, or doing it very poorly so you are forced to do it yourself if you want it done right.

 

Does any of this behavior sound familiar to you?

 

A lot of people are passive/aggressive.  It’s a very common phenomenon with narcissists, but I think with non-narcissistic people as well.  It’s a very immature type of behavior, & since there are a great deal of immature people in the world, it’s no wonder it’s quite common.

 

So how do you deal with a person who behaves this way?

 

First, you need to be able to recognize it.  If you don’t recognize passive/aggressive behavior, you’ll end up enabling it.  You’ll ask the person what is wrong, try to make them happy, do what they seem unable or unwilling to do.

 

Next, refuse to play along.  If the person wants to behave badly, that is his/her choice.  If someone is constantly late when you are supposed to get together, tell the person that the next time they are late, you will do whatever you are supposed to do together without that person.  Then follow through on it.  Or, if the person is obviously upset, ask what is wrong.  If she says nothing is wrong, let it go.  Don’t try to pry it out of her- she is an adult & can behave as such if she wants to resolve the issue.

 

Be happy.  Pretend not to notice the other person sulking.  Go on with your day in peace.  It will annoy the other person that her behavior isn’t working as she wanted it to, so she may give up on it.

 

Passive/aggressive behavior is very common on social media.  Vague posts about how “some people” behave or think just after you had a disagreement on that topic, or posting things showing a person is for something you aren’t or vice versa are all too common.  Social media is great, but it can be a useful tool for narcissists & passive/aggressives.  When these things happen, ignore them.  Obviously the person posting what they have wants to make a point without discussing it with you in an adult manner.  Opting to try to discuss it with them would most likely only frustrate you.  Just ignore them.  Unfollow or unfriend them.

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Subtle Manipulation Tactics

Narcissists are very manipulative.  They project their faults onto their victims when confronted about their bad behavior.  They criticize anything & everything about the victim, destroying their self esteem, until only an empty shell of a person exists.  They gaslight.  They go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde on a moment’s notice to prevent those they want to impress from seeing their dark side.

 

There are some other, very subtle behaviors narcissists do to abuse as well.  This article will discuss some of those behaviors that may have slipped by you unnoticed.

 

Taking on too much control in a relationship.  Whether it’s a romantic partner or a parent, having no say or control can destroy one’s self esteem.  For example, if you grew up with an engulfing narcissistic mother, she probably didn’t allow you to do much because she claimed you couldn’t do anything right.  This easily can lead to feeling extremely insecure as an adult, because somewhere inside, you don’t believe you can do anything right.  Or, for example, if the new person you’re dating insists on driving every time you two go out, over time, this can lead to you feeling anxious about your driving skills.  Especially if you grew up with a narcissistic parent or two & have fragile self esteem to start with.  My ex husband did this to me along with severely criticizing my driving, & as a result, I’m a very anxious driver.

 

Questioning everything.  Naturally, there are going to be times you give wrong information & need correction.  No one is perfect.  But, if your narcissistic parent or partner questions & corrects everything about you, then this is designed to keep you off balance & feeling insecure.  Basically, it’s like telling you that you’re stupid, & the other person knows better.  It worked for Satan in the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (NIV)

 

Blaming you.  For what?  Everything.  In 2014, I had a bit of a rough patch.  While splitting firewood, my husband accidentally dropped a large log on my big toe, which I’m pretty sure broke it.  About a week after, I picked up a plastic bag.  As I picked it up, it gave & a new can of Lysol landed on the same foot, near the broke toe.  Shortly after, something else heavy landed on the same foot, although I forget what it was now.  When I told my mother about this, she told me it was all my fault- I should be more careful.  Blame for things that aren’t your fault can create a feeling of shame inside.  You begin to think you should’ve known better, or done something differently.  How could you be so stupid as to do whatever you did?!  Blaming creates a nasty internal dialog.

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Narcissism

Narcissists Want Everyone, Including You, To Believe That You Are The Problem

A very common tactic of narcissistic parents is to make the child & everyone else believe that the child is the problem behind the family’s dysfunction.  This tactic of discrediting & blaming the child serves a twofold purpose.

Purpose #1 is to be sure that all attention is focused on the child so the narcissistic parent can abuse her child unnoticed.  People are so busy looking at the child’s bad behavior, they don’t notice what the parent does to the child to make the child act out.  They also won’t believe the child if she says anything about what the parent does to her.  After all, the narcissistic mother has everyone convinced the child is a liar, disobedient, rebellious, etc. so why would anyone believe what that child has to say?

Purpose #2 is to create so much doubt in the child, that she doesn’t have time to focus on what is being done to her.  She spends so much time thinking about what her narcissistic mother says she is doing wrong, how she can change, what she can do to please her narcissistic mother & more, that she doesn’t question the abuse that is being done to her.

I went through this with my mother as a teenager.  Her friends who once liked me suddenly wouldn’t even make eye contact with me anymore.  One so-called friend of my mother’s even gave me a lecture one day on how lucky I was to have a mother who loved me so much.  I needed to start behaving myself for a change & stop making her life so hard.  (Interestingly, just before that call, my mother had been screaming at me, accusing me of terrible things that I didn’t do.  I sure didn’t feel so lucky!)  I knew I couldn’t say anything to any of them about what my mother was doing to me, because they believed her.

At the time, it hurt me badly.  I liked some of my mother’s friends, & was hurt when they no longer liked me.  In time though, I realized that although it hurt, it wasn’t a bad thing to lose such people.  Normal, intelligent people wouldn’t blindly have believed my mother.  I’d always been a well-behaved, quiet child, so why didn’t anyone question my mother when she said I was doing such outrageous things as taking drugs or having sex with the entire high school football team?  Such things were completely out of character for me- you would think someone would have said so to her, or maybe questioned me.  Neither happened however.  Losing people who so readily believed the worst of me really wasn’t a big loss.

If this has happened to you, please think about what I said in the previous paragraph.  I know it can hurt when people assume you are the problem, but truly, losing people like that isn’t always a bad thing.  You need & deserve people in your life who love you, not people who blindly believe something bad about you then judge & criticize you.  In a way, your narcissistic mother did you a favor.  She helped you to weed out the unsafe people in your life.  Looking at the situation that way can help to take a great deal of the hurt out of the situation.

14 Comments

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

The Narcissistic Apology

Narcissists rarely apologize for anything, but when they do, you can be certain it isn’t a genuine apology.

A genuine apology doesn’t include excuses. Someone who is genuinely sorry for their actions won’t say you made them act that way. That person also will try to change their ways as they don’t want to hurt you like that again.

All of these are foreign concepts to the narcissist.

Narcissists hate to admit they are wrong, & will go to great lengths to avoid it. They will offer excuses as to why what they did was not their fault, or even blame you for making them do what they did. They love to offer the passive/aggressive type of apology- “I’m sorry you feel that way.” “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong/unfair/hurtful.” All of these actions show that the narcissist is not genuinely sorry for what she did. Most likely, she doesn’t care that she hurt you & only cares that she accomplished whatever it was she wanted to accomplish.

I also realized recently another trick of the narcissistic apology. My father has done this one many times & it wasn’t until recently I caught onto it. He recently apologized to me for not being there enough for me in my life. I was touched- there was no blame or excuses so I assumed it was a genuine apology.  He apologized for missing my fifth birthday because he had to travel for work. I told him it’s fine- not a big deal, it was just a birthday. He went on to say how terrible it was of him, he shouldn’t have gone on that trip. Again I said it was no big deal. I pointed out how many other birthdays he was there for. It was only one birthday. Plus he did other things for me. By the end of the conversation, he was happy.

While there are times I am more than willing to reassure someone who hurt me, this was not one of those times that was a good option. If someone accidentally hurt me once, fine. Bad things happen sometimes. But this was different. My reassurance would have been providing narcissistic supply.  Unfortunately, I realized this after the conversation, & then I felt conned into telling him he was a good father.

Whenever you hear a narcissist apologize to you, remember- it is NOT a genuine apology! Don’t get your hopes up thinking they might finally see the error of their ways & change. The narcissist’s apology is like every other thing they do- it’s only about narcissistic supply.

5 Comments

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

Do People Tell You That You’re Crazy, Stupid Or Other Bad Things?

Narcissists love to accuse their victims of awful things.  Crazy, stupid, selfish & more- there is no end to the hateful things a narcissist will call you.  And, like everything else they do, there is a motive behind doing this.

Calling you these awful names doesn’t mean they actually believe you are crazy, stupid or selfish- instead, it gives them power & control.

How, you ask?  Because if you are told you are selfish, for example, you are going to work hard to prove that you are not selfish.  This gives the narcissist power over you because by saying what she did, she made you work harder for her.  She feels better about herself at this point because you working hard to please her shows she has power.  Plus, when she sees that she is able to make you do things, that makes her feel better about herself.

When someone tells you awful things about yourself, you need to think about it.  Constructive criticism is said gently & to help you.  Narcissists however, don’t say things nicely or to help.   They say things cruelly or they imply things rather than say them outright, so if you confront them, they can say something like “I never said you were *fill in the blank*”  “You read too much into things!”  “You have such a vivid imagination!”

The person saying these things.. do they often criticize you?  Do they often try to control you?

If you are having trouble determining what is really happening, ask God for discernment on the matter.

You do not deserve to be mistreated!  If someone is telling you terrible things about yourself that you know are untrue, always remember that it says more about her than you.  Normal people don’t tear down other people, but encourage & empower them instead.

Leave a comment

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

“My” Truth vs. The Truth

Have you ever heard the phrase “my truth”?  I heard it again recently.  That phrase is said to describe what you believe.  Whether it is really true or not, however, is inconsequential.

This phrase is perfect for describing what narcissists believe.  Their truth rarely resembles the real truth.

I think it is used when someone is trying to convince themselves of something that they know is not true, which narcissists love to do frequently.  If they say something is their truth, it implies the thing is true, so it’s OK to believe.  As an example, my mother believes she was a good, loving, caring mother to me.  That is her truth.  She has convinced herself of it.  It’s how she copes with her guilty conscious.  She knows what she did to me was wrong & rather than accept responsibility for it, she reinvents the past & creates her own truth.  She has convinced others of her truth as well.

I know just how frustrating this is when you know the real truth & others insist that lies are the truth.  Never forget- their truth is just that, theirs.  It isn’t yours.  So long as you know what the real truth is, that is what matters.  Don’t let anyone sway you from what you know to be true.  If you have any doubts, ask God to help you to see what the truth really is.  He will do so!

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism, Welcome To My Blog!

About Control Tactics Of Narcissists

I realized something interesting during a recent visit with my parents that I thought I should share with you, Dear Readers.

My mother has become increasingly controlling lately.  My father wanted to visit me alone recently, & she told him & I both that “his days of doing that are over.”  She comes along, period.  My father has some serious health problems & was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so you might think this is a caring gesture on her part, not to let him drive or be out alone.  However- he goes to his doctor appointments alone, because she claims he won’t let her go with him.  So obviously, this is about control, not concern for his well being.

As she has seen her tactics working with him, she is attempting to be more controlling of me as well.  They day my parents came by my home, she started showing this before they left their house.  She called on their way out to tell me I needed to be waiting outside for her so we could go to lunch.  I needed to watch for her car to drive past then go outside (from their place, you have to drive past my house, go to the next traffic light & make a U turn then drive about 1/4 of a mile to get to me).  I listened to her give me my orders & promptly ignored them.  I’m 44 years old- too old to be bossed around by my mother!  While they were at my house later, she tried little things to let me know she was in charge.  For example, I always sit on my love seat, usually alone or with a couple of cats around me.  She insisted on sitting beside me, crowding me a bit.  She is very fond of stealing my seat- I think it gives her a feeling of power, like if she sits there, it means she’s now in charge in my home.

By the time they left, I was livid.  Livid how she treats my father then complains to me how she doesn’t understand why he thinks she’s “bossy” (Seriously?!).  Livid she thought it was acceptable to treat me more like the hired help than her daughter.  And to be honest, still angry that I can’t tell her about my own health problems I’ve had for six months & expect any empathy or understanding.

Later when speaking with my husband about the visit, I had a thought.  Since my father is now even more under her control, I think it has given her a tremendous amount of confidence, & she thinks she can control me as well.  She fails to realize just because he is weaker now doesn’t mean I am as well.  Looking back over my life, it seems like when she increased her control over one of us, the other one had to suffer with more control as well.  I wish I’d realized this sooner!  I would have been more prepared for her control games on her last visit if I had.  Instead, I was taken by surprise.

I don’t know for sure if other overt narcissists are this way or not, but I would guess some are since so many narcissists use very similar means of abuse.

Pay attention to your narcissistic mother, Dear Reader!  If she is able to control your father (or a sibling or a friend or anyone) more lately, you may be next in line.  Remember to keep & strictly enforce your boundaries!  Don’t give her an inch no matter what, or she’ll take a mile (or ten…).  Protect yourself & never let her control anything about you.  You do not need to be controlled by anyone!

3 Comments

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

Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Anger is a very normal part of life, yet also a difficult thing for many adult children of narcissistic parents.  Growing up, we were not allowed to express emotions, good or bad, but it often seems as if anger is the one that receives the most ridicule if we express it.  As I’ve said before, my mother always accused me of having that “Bailey temper” as she calls it.  She said that her family doesn’t get mad like my father’s family does.  Which seems to be true- from what I’ve seen, they just stuff that anger inside & pretend it’s not there.  Yea, that’s healthy…. lol

If you too were raised by a narcissistic mother, I’m sure you heard some similar shaming comments if you showed any anger as well.

The fact is though that anger is going to happen.  As you heal from narcissistic abuse, it is definitely going to come up.  As your self-esteem improves, you finally realize you didn’t deserve the terrible things that were done to you, & it makes you angry.  You realize too that it wasn’t your fault you were abused, which also makes you angry.

Holding anger inside at this point becomes very difficult & even impossible.  That is actually a good thing because it is detrimental to your physical & emotional health.  It can cause anxiety & depression.  It can cause high blood pressure, kidney, heart & digestive problems.  Even knowing such things, it can be hard for the adult child of a narcissistic parent to find healthy ways to release anger.  At first, it can be downright terrifying.  She may feel that if she lets a little anger out, she’ll end up losing control of it all & hurting herself & others.  She also may feel that if she lets it out, she’ll never stop being angry.

Dear Reader, these are simply not the case at all!  Anger is a powerful emotion that needs to be heard.  It demands to be heard in fact.  Even so, there are healthy ways to deal with it.

Some people recommend the chair method.  This involves standing in front of a chair, pretending the person who hurt or abused you is in that chair, & telling them everything you feel inside about them & their actions.

Some people beat up pillows.  It’s a good physical release, & you can’t hurt a pillow no matter how hard you beat it.

Others swear by writing letters they never send.  I have done this with a great deal of success.  I let it all out in the letters, then usually I burn them.  I found something very therapeutic about watching the letters burn.  It’s like my anger went up in the smoke.  I also kept a couple of them, which helps to keep me remember why things are the way they are.  Reading over my letter helps me if I feel weak & wanting to fix things with my mother.  It helps remind me that I can’t do all the work- fixing a relationship takes 2 people.

Journaling is akin to writing the letters.  No one is going to read what you write, so what better way to let it all out?  Although I love the feel & look of a pretty paper journal, for privacy sake, I use an online, password protected one.  I am certain no one would be able to read it, so when I need to get anger out, I let it all go in the journal.

Perhaps the most effective way I’ve found to deal with anger though is by talking to God about it.  He is such a wonderful Father.  He listens without judgment or criticism & offers you comfort.  He also helps you to purge all of that anger from you, so you no longer stuff it deep inside.

The next time you feel anger, I encourage you to try one or more of the suggestions above.  They really will help you tremendously.  You’ll feel so much better once the anger is out from inside you.

2 Comments

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

Narcissists Are Murderers

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that narcissists are murderers. Maybe not in the typical sense of the word as in they don’t try to shoot you, stab you or run you over with their cars but they are murderers nonetheless. They try to kill the person you are & recreate you into the person they want you to be- blindly obedient, enabling, having no needs, wants or feelings of your own. Basically, a robot here only to do their twisted will.

Once you escape the abuse, a part of your healing should be discovering the person God has created you to be. After all, He made you the way He did for a specific reason which is infinitely more valuable & important than the narcissist’s reasons for trying to turn you into a robot.

God made you to have a special place in this world, blessing others & enjoying being who you are. The narcissist’s only reason for trying to destroy that & remold you into what she wants is selfish- to enable her dysfunctional & abusive behavior. Isn’t it worth shedding the narcissist’s image of you & embracing the person God made you to be?

Rediscovering yourself, or discovering yourself for the first time, is not easy when you are accustomed to being the narcissist’s robot, but it is worth the effort. It also is fun, learning about yourself. Just start paying more attention to your feelings on things- do you like that or not? Are you drawn to things you never were allowed to pay attention to before? Then why not explore those things now? What do you have to lose?

Last February when I got very sick, it really caused me to re-evaluate my life. In my thirties, I tried to discover myself. I made some progress, but I abandoned the effort many times though, slipping back into old, dysfunctional habits. While recovering though, I realized I didn’t want to die knowing I had wasted my life being the person the narcissists in my life had tried to make me into. I didn’t like that person at all. So, I started exploring things that sounded appealing to me. I bought some clay & tried making various items. I tried felting. I also got back into drawing- something I loved to do as a child, but got away from. I feel much more peaceful & more confident doing things just for myself for the first time. I have become more self-confident, even when dealing with my narcissistic parents- I speak up to them more often now when I didn’t used to do so at all. (Using wisdom of course, as many times speaking back to narcissists only causes more problems since they can’t handle criticism or confrontation). I have also begun to take better care of myself & be more understanding & forgiving with myself.

Unfortunately, I also have been slipping back into the old, dysfunctional habits! It’s so frustrating! Like all emotional healing, it’s not a straight uphill path, but a windy one with a few big potholes. One thing helped me a lot, & that was a video I saw on facebook. It’s of Trace Adkins in the movie “Moms Night Out” talking to a lady about her feelings of not being good enough. Watching this brief video was eye opening to me, & I will be watching it over & over again to help keep me on track. I hope it blesses & helps you as it did me, Dear Reader. xoxo

http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/18335687-trace-adkins-in-moms-night-out-scene-god-s-love-for-moms-watch?a=vl&var=GodsLoveForMoms-DUCKYEAH

Leave a comment

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

“They Did The Best They Could!”

The phrase, “They did the best they could” used to make me feel so guilty.  I felt shame for being hurt or angry about the abuse I went through at the hands of my parents & ex husband.  After all, my mother had a terrible childhood, abused by her narcissistic, evil mother & no contact with her father- how could she know how to be a good mother?  My father was in a near fatal car wreck at 15, & has had problems stemming from the brain damage since, so that must be why he never felt able to intervene with my mother abusing me.  As for the ex?  Not like his parents modeled a healthy marriage- no wonder he didn’t know how to be a husband.

I’m sure if you’ve been the victim of abuse, you have heard the same tired phrase, & had the same kind of thoughts that I had.  I think it’s only natural to think things like that under the circumstances.  Today though I want to challenge that phrase regarding how it relates to your situation.

If someone is really doing the best they can, naturally they are going to make mistakes just like anyone does.  They will apologize & try to make the wrongs right somehow if possible.  They won’t repeat that mistake over & over again, make excuses or blame you for making them do what they did.

Someone who is truly doing their best won’t hide their actions or demand someone not to tell anyone what they are doing.

They also won’t be one way behind closed doors & totally different when in public situations.

They won’t criticize your every word, thought or deed.

People who truly are doing their best don’t try to gaslight others, making people doubt their own sanity.

They will try to build you up, encouraging you to be your own person who exercises whatever talents you have, rather than deliberately tear you down, discouraging you to be the person God made you to be.

They will care about others, not only themselves, & especially their children & spouse.

Now, think about the narcissist in your life.  Does this sound like her?  If not, then you need to keep in mind that she really didn’t do the best she could!  Even if she had been abused or through hard times, that does NOT give an excuse to abuse!  If being abused made the victim become an abuser, you would be abusive.  If you think she does not know what she’s doing, then think about this- does she hide the abuse from other people, only raging at you in private?  That is a sign she knows what she is doing is wrong.

Rather than feel guilty because your narcissistic mother “did the best she could”, instead, I encourage you to have a more realistic view of her situation.  In mine for example, with my mother- yes she was abused terribly as a child.  Her mother continued abusing her as an adult.  She’s been miserable married to my father for 46 years.  I do feel sorry for her for those reasons.  However, those reasons were NOT my fault or a reason to take her frustrations, anger & hurt out on me, to expect to be able to live the life she actually wanted through me.  As her daughter, it was never my job to make her happy, although she expected that.  She also knew then & still knows how she treats me is wrong.  I know this because she always worked hard to hide her actions from everyone, including my father.

Looking at my situation logically like this has helped me to no longer feel guilty when someone says that she did the best she could.  It will help you as well.  There is no good reason for you to feel bad when some insensitive, naive person says that obnoxious phrase to you!  Don’t accept their delusion as your reality!

18 Comments

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

Narcissists Lie, Especially To Themselves

One of the most intriguing things I’ve noticed about narcissists is watching one lie in order to convince herself as well as others that something is the truth.

There was a show on TV a few years ago called, “Lie To Me” that I just loved.  It was about a deception expert- basically a human lie detector.  He would work with the police or military or whoever to help solve mysteries, because he was more able to detect lies than an actual lie detector.  The show was fascinating not only because the stories were interesting, but also because it was really educational.  It taught me about micro expressions- the fleeting expressions people make without being aware of them.  It also would show examples of various faces of people expressing various emotions.  Cool stuff if you’re interested in psychology like I am.  This show taught me a lot about how to detect the truth about people.  Body language & facial expressions are much more reliable than the words they speak.

A few years ago, after watching a marathon of “Lie To Me” on netflix, my husband & I went to dinner with my parents.  While my father was away from the table, my mother was telling my husband & I that my father had just recently gotten rid of his cell phone- gave it to a neighbor lady.  She said she had no idea why he did that, what was wrong with him?   She even paused for a moment after she said that, as if allowing it to sink in.  I quickly realized what was going on…

I’d given my father a cheap cell phone a few months prior, because he complained that my mother spent so much time on the phone, he couldn’t use it often.  She has a cell, but keeps it in her purse.  I thought a simple, cheap cell phone might work for him- it’d eliminate the conflict & it was only about $15/month to maintain.  From day one, my mother was mad he had this phone.  She griped at him & I both about how he didn’t need a cell phone, how it’s a waste of money, he’s ALWAYS buying minutes for it (yea, once a month..),  he spends too much time on the phone & other nonsense.  He finally was so tired of her complaints, he gave it away to get her off his back.  My mother was glad he got rid of the cell phone, but did not want to be to blame for him doing so.  Her solution was to lie & try to convince herself, my father, my husband & I she had no idea why he got rid of it.  To admit she nagged him into doing so would make her look bad, & no narcissist can handle looking bad in any way.  Lying this way was the best way to handle it, in her mind.  Eventually it worked- she is currently convinced she has no idea why he got rid of his cell phone.

My mother isn’t the only person I’ve seen do this. (Her display was only the most obvious one.)  In fact, I think it’s a pretty common thing among narcissists. After all, they’ll do anything to prevent them from looking bad.  My mother also will talk about what a great, loving mother she was to me.  She also has bragged about how upon meeting her, my one parakeet loved her very much (that didn’t happen) & how much my furkids love her (they don’t even like her).  She has even said that she can’t keep rescuing me because if she does, I’ll never learn (my mother has not one time “rescued” me in my entire life).  She is again trying to convince herself that her lies are the truth.

Unfortunately, I think this phenomenon is a coping skill that narcissists use when the truth is too ugly for them to bear.  They simply cannot bear to look anything less than perfect.  They especially can’t handle admitting the truth that they were horrible & abusive to their own child.  I wonder if the reality of how much damage they have caused would cause them to emotionally & mentally collapse.  I find narcissists to be rather weak people, & believe that is a very distinct possibility.

When these situations happen, I know they can be frustrating & hurtful.  It especially hurts when your narcissistic mother brags about how much she’s done for you.  When this happens though, please do your best to remember, this is how she chooses to cope.  Yes, it’s hurtful to you & yes it’s dysfunctional, but it’s her choice.  Unfortunately, she has the right to exercise this ridiculous behavior.  However, that doesn’t mean that you have to condone it.

When my mother brags about how good she’s been to me, I refuse to give her the validation she is seeking.  I won’t say a lie is the truth just to support her dysfunctional coping skills.  However, I also don’t tell her she is wrong.  She can have her delusions if she wants to, just don’t expect me to agree with them.  I get around validating her by saying things like:

  • “I don’t remember that.”
  • “Uh huh” (shows I’m listening but it’s non-committal)
  • changing the subject

Unfortunately this coping mechanism of hers still hurts sometimes, but I have noticed that it hurts much less than it once did.  Once I realized that my mother’s bragging about her fantastic mothering skills is all about how she copes with abusing me, it took much of the sting out of what she said.  I think this is because I realized although she is refusing to invalidating me & refusing to accept responsibility for it, she knows what she has done.  What she did bothers her enough that she feels the need to deal with it, & this just happens to be her way to cope, dysfunctional as it is.

7 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism

Logic vs. Narcissistic Games

Recently I realized an effective way to put an end to narcissistic games: ask logical questions. I realize that sounds silly, but I’m telling you, it works!

When the narcissist in your life starts their games, whether it is gaslighting or simply being hateful, immediately start asking logical questions, & watch the narcissist become confused & stop what they are doing.

Some good questions you can ask are:

  • “How is that supposed to help?”
  • “What exactly do you mean?”
  • “I don’t understand..explain that?”
  • “What are you trying to say?”

Once you ask your question, wait for an answer.  The narcissist won’t know what to do!  They may ignore your question totally, but you can be sure of two things: 1- she heard what you said, & 2- she will stop what she was doing.

I have done this recently, & have found it to be not only effective, but funny as well.  It’s funny watching someone who is usually so confident in their talents in manipulation & cruelty suddenly become flustered.  They are so shocked when someone doesn’t just blindly let them get away with what usually works, especially when it’s the person who usually does let them get away with things.

Doing this also helps you to take back some power, while taking away some from the narcissist.  When she realizes her games or cruelty aren’t working, that takes power from her. The bonus is at the same time, it gives you power & confidence.

The next time you’re dealing with a narcissist, I would encourage you to try asking questions.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

2 Comments

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

Projection & Narcissists

Have you ever heard the term projection regarding to how it relates to narcissists? Projection means that whatever they are doing, they project onto another person, accusing them of doing. For example, narcissists are know liars. Often they accuse others of lying to them while defending how honest & trustworthy they are.

Narcissistic mothers are no exception. They love to project, especially onto their children. The child of a narcissist isn’t viewed as the child of a normal, healthy person is. Most people view their children as separate human beings, with their own wants, emotions, personality & more. Narcissists, however, view their children as tools to be used in any way they see fit, not allowed to have their own wants, emotions or personality. Their children are not allowed to have boundaries. A narcissistic mother has no problem reading her child’s diary or snooping through her personal belongings. Nothing is off limits to the narcissistic mother, so why would projecting her flaws be?

I think another part of projection is also when a narcissist criticizes something about you that she wishes she had or could do. My mother is quick to criticize long hair on women, no matter how beautiful it is, yet has always complained that she can wear her thin, fine hair in only one, short style. She also has ruthlessly criticized my furkids, I think because they don’t like her & are very devoted to me.

Projection doesn’t stop just because a child of a narcissistic mother reaches adulthood. I haven’t heard of one narcissistic mother yet who has given up projection just because she is older or her child has grown up. My mother still gets on me about my weight, as she has my entire life, even though she is a lot heavier than I’ve ever been.

So how do you deal with this frustrating thing called projection?

The best way I’ve found is to remember what projection really is- a dysfunctional coping tool for a narcissist to use to deal with her own shortcomings. Remembering this helps to take some of the sting out of her cruel words, because you know it isn’t a personal attack- it is simply her own dysfunction. It still will hurt or anger you though, as it should, because it is unfair of her to use you in such a way.

Once I learned about projection & realized it was about her dysfunction rather than me, I’ve felt pity several times for my mother when I have caught her doing her projecting. She does it so often, she must truly feel awful about herself. It’s sad when you think of it. However, feeling pity doesn’t mean that I should try to make her feel better about herself. With a narcissist, attempting that puts you in the position of being responsible for her self-esteem, iffy as it may be, & she will use you up in order to gain the coveted narcissistic supply that improves her self-esteem. Please remember that if you too feel any pity.

15 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism

Grooming & The Narcissistic Mother

One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.

Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.

Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.

This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.

When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.

When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!

You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.

Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!

If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.

9 Comments

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

Dealing With The Flying Monkeys

Usually when I write, I focus on healing from narcissistic abuse or narcissism. Today I would like to take a side trip & discuss the narcissist’s flying monkeys.

I’m not entirely sure who invented that phrase, but I think it was Dr. Karyl McBride, author of the wonderful book for daughters of narcissistic mothers, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” Anyway, the line was taken from the movie, “The Wizard Of Oz.” Remember the wicked witch who sent her flying monkeys out to do her dirty work? I think it is the perfect way to describe these people!

Flying monkeys are those who side with the narcissist. They think she is a great person, & you obviously have the problem if you can’t appreciate her. If you have a disagreement with your narcissistic mother, this person will come out of the woodwork, & tell you things like how great she is, how hard she tries so hard with you, & how you need to do (fill in the blank) for her because it’s the least you can do for your own mother. My mother has a flying monkey who isn’t quite so bold, but occasionally during one of my mother’s silent treatments, will email me with some lame excuse attempting to make me call or see my mother.

Simply put, flying monkeys are the evil minions of narcissists, &, much like their “wicked witch,” their behavior is also abusive.

Invalidation is abuse, & this is what flying monkeys do best- invalidate your pain, invalidate your boundaries, & invalidate anything you have to say. They also think they know best, & you should blindly listen to them, ignoring your own thoughts & feelings. (Sounds like a narcissist, doesn’t it?) In fact, they remind me of a dream I had a few months ago. I wrote about it in this post. Flying monkeys often will do anything, no matter how ridiculous they look or how much damage they do to the relationship with you to make their feelings & views known to you. They are just like that little sedan in my dream.

While I honestly believe many flying monkeys do what they do out of ignorance, probably even with good intentions, that doesn’t make their behavior any less abusive. They are narcissistic enablers, paving the way for the narcissist to wreak havoc.

If you are able & willing, cutting them out of your life may be your best option.

If you are unable or unwilling to cut the flying monkey out of your life, you need to have some very strong boundaries in place. They need to know that discussing your narcissistic mother is not an option. There are plenty of other things you can discuss- shared interests, current events, the weather, sports.. find other things to talk about- it’s pretty easy to do. If the flying monkey can’t handle this, then leave their presence or hang up the phone.

If the flying monkey is a part of your life on social media, don’t discuss your narcissistic mother on social media. Or, if you do, block the flying monkey from seeing those posts along with people that also know the flying monkey. I have a list of “acquaintances” on facebook. Generally when I post, or this blog posts to my facebook page, it posts to “Friends except acquaintances”. The acquaintances have no idea what they are not seeing or that they are blocked from seeing certain things.

Most importantly, don’t let yourself be swayed by the flying monkey! They can be very convincing sometimes, I know, but only do what you know to be right for you. My mother’s flying monkey told me once that my mother said how proud of me she is. Something I never once heard from my mother, & frankly would love to hear. No doubt my mother knows this which is why she told the flying monkey that. Or, the flying monkey knew it & lied to me about my mother saying it. In any case it was hard not to be swayed & want to work on our relationship after hearing that. I knew in my heart though that things wouldn’t improve with my mother no matter what I do since she’s a narcissist, & besides- I’ve always been the one to work on this relationship. It’s not fair & I’m very tired of being the one who does all the work! If she isn’t willing to put forth some effort, our relationship never will change. (I’ve been blamed for it being so bad by flying monkeys who fail to realize these points, by the way). Anyway if I had allowed myself to believe the flying monkey, can you imagine the huge amount of, well, crap that would have followed? My mother would’ve known the flying monkey was an effective weapon, so she would’ve been used more often. She also would’ve enjoyed the control she had over me, knowing she made me start working on our relationship. And, me working on things would have proven to her that she is right, & can treat me any way she sees fit. When your flying monkeys sweet talk you, then please keep my story in mind. Think about the scenarios that could follow if you went along with their wishes. Is anything worth going through what would happen if you obeyed the flying monkeys?

15 Comments

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

Confronting Narcissists

Have you ever tried to confront  your narcissistic parent on their abuse?  If so, you know the frustration.  Nothing changes & you walk away feeling completely confused.  You even may have ended up apologizing too, when the fact is you didn’t do anything that warranted an apology!

Confronting narcissists is never an easy thing.  They employ so many tactics to avoid the attention being on their bad behaviors.  It often gets so frustrating, you prefer just to let the offense go rather than deal with the games & gaslighting.

Some narcissists will accuse their chilld/adult child of various things to deflect the attention off of them.  They may say their child is ungrateful, a smart mouth, mean, cold, spoiled, a brat, or other awful things.  They also may claim to be doing things for the child’s benefit.  My mother used to claim since I was such an awful child, she had to use tough love on me.

My mother in-law likes to pretend to be the victim when she is confronted.  My father too.  This is a very common tool of the covert narcissist, since they so love the “poor me” or martyr role.  When my father was due to come by my home a few weeks ago, alone, my mother came with him.  He made it to the door first.  Without even saying “hi,” he immediately went into explaining how he had no control over her coming along- it wasn’t his fault.  Really?  She was driving- he voluntarily got into her car!

Overt narcissists may not play the victim so quietly, but they will play the victim.  They will accuse you of being SOOO mean to them!  “After all I do for you, this is the thanks I get?”  “You don’t appreciate all I do for you!”

Some more overt narcissists will meet your confrontation with rage.  When I was a kid, my mother would meet my confrontations with screams &/or accusations &/or trying to hurt me.  When I was probably about 12, she & I were coming home from  her mother’s home.  She was mad at her mother & yelling as she was talking about other things in the car so loud, there was a slight echo.  It made my ears ring.  I asked her if she could talk a little quieter, & she screamed even louder & mocked me for complaining about my ringing ears until I was in tears.

Many narcissists refuse to apologize at all, but the ones who do often employ the passive/aggressive type of apology.  “I’m sorry you got upset.”  “I’m sorry if your feelings got hurt.”  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  While the words “I’m sorry” are said, the fact they believe you’re at fault is clearly implied.  If you mention that, you will be on the receiving end of either tears or rage, because they did say they were sorry after all!  Nothing they do is good enough for you!

Still other narcissists will talk non stop, making excuses for their outlandish behavior or talking in circles until you are completely confused.  They also may use gaslighting at this point- “That isn’t how that happened!”  “That never happened!”  “I never said that!”

Until you are very accustomed to these tactics, chances are you’ll be confused, angry & unsure exactly why or even apologetic to  the narcissist for their bad behavior.  Being aware of such tactics will help you when you have to confront your narcissist.  You will be aware of what they are doing, & can deal with it accordingly.

The best way I know to deal with these things is to avoid them as much as possible.  Not always a good solution because narcissists are already allowed to get away with too much.  Most people instinctively placate them rather than deal with these kinds of situations.

Unfortunately though, there will be times when avoiding a confrontation isn’t wise.  Before confronting her, pray.  Pray a lot, asking God for wisdom & the right words to say.  During those times, remember these tactics.  When the narcissist begins to talk in circles, bring the focus back to the original topic.  Same for if she plays the victim or gets angry.  You can say things like “I understand, but the fact is, I won’t put up with that behavior.  If you do it again….”  Keep firm boundaries in place, primarily staying on topic.  Stay calm- any sign of you being upset will only serve to fuel the narcissist.  She’ll see she can upset you & push to do it more.

Most importantly though, besides prayer of course, is to work on your own emotional healing.  The healthier you are, the stronger you are & the more self-confident you are.  When you are self-confident, narcissists know they don’t have much of a chance at winning with you & either give up easily or fight so hard, they look ridiculous, realize it & then give up.

1 Comment

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

It’s All About Narcissistic Supply. Always.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about one helpful way to deal with a narcissist is to remind yourself constantly that this person is a narcissist.  While that is helpful, I realized that I forgot to mention one other thing along those lines.

Never forget that narcissists are all about narcissistic supply.  That is all they care about, & will do anything to get it.  Does your narcissistic mother say she wants to spend time with you?  She doesn’t want to spend time with you, enjoying time with her daughter- she wants to spend time getting narcissistic supply from you.  Does she ask how you’re doing?  That isn’t because she cares- it’s because she is looking for something to use against you.  Hurting you or making you angry will provide her this supply.

I live in central Maryland.  When there were riots in Baltimore, I had a feeling my covertly narcissistic father was going to call about it.  I assumed it was going to be to talk politics, since he loves to do that with me.  (Odd since I have zero interest in politics)  I was sort of right- he called a few days after the rioting started.  He said he was concerned about us, & wanted to be sure we were OK.  We live about 30 minutes south of Baltimore, my parents are about 20 minutes away.  I thought it was an odd question at first, but learned quickly why he was “concerned.”  It was all about getting his supply.

To start with, he called at 8:59 at night.  I’ve told my father I don’t answer the phone after 9 p.m.  He was pushing my boundary because I think that provides him some supply.  He can be in control.  He got as close to 9 as he could with calling me.  If I wouldn’t have answered, he would’ve had the right to be mad at me for not taking his call, as far as he is concerned (he thinks I must answer his calls whenever he calls & makes no allowances for me being unavailable).  I answered though, so I let him push that boundary (big mistake on my part), which makes him feel in control.

He immediately said he was concerned about us what with the terrible riots happening in Baltimore.  As soon as I said we’re fine, he immediately went into a rant about the politics of the situation.  He went on for about 10-15 minutes about how he felt about the riots & how he thought things should be fixed & his opinions… He wasn’t concerned about us at all- he wanted an excuse to talk about politics.

I learned from that call how anything & everything with a narcissist is about narcissistic supply.  It showed me how they can twist anything into a supply opportunity.   And, frankly, it hurt.  I briefly thought he actually was concerned about my husband & I.  Finding out no, this was just an opportunity for supply hurt.  At least the hurt was a good reminder about the fact narcissists are only focused on their supply.  You can bet I won’t forget about that need of theirs again any time soon!

And, Dear Reader, you shouldn’t either!  Remembering that with a narcissist, everything is about them gaining narcissistic supply will help you!  Remembering this fact will help you not to be as  hurt when they mistreat you, because you’ll remember this is how narcissists are.  It’s not about you.  Nothing is about you when dealing with a narcissist.  It’s always about them & furthering their agenda.

Nothing they do will surprise you or catch you off guard, because you know they are capable of intensely selfish, evil acts.

Also, you will be prepared for those selfish, evil acts ahead of time because you know they are coming.  Even if you don’t know exactly what they have planned, you know they have something planned.  You know to be ready for anything, you know that you will need to enforce your boundaries.  This enables you to be prepared to deal as effectively as possible with your narcissist.

While dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic parent, is never easy, remembering their desperation for narcissistic supply will help you tremendously.

3 Comments

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

Valuable Lessons About Dealing With A Narcissistic Mother

Recently I had a very strange dream.  When God showed me what it meant,  I knew I had to share  it’s meaning with you.

God showed me the dream meant a few things.

For one  thing, my mother uses the things I love & am passionate about to hurt me.  She wants to destroy my identity.  If she destroys who I am, she can make me into what she wants me to be.  Chances are, your narcissistic mother does exactly the same thing. Does she viciously criticize or trivialize those people or things you love the most?  If she can make you turn against those things, she has destroyed a part of you.  Don’t let her do that!  God gave everyone passions for a reason. They are your purpose in life.  Your narcissistic mother has no right to steal them from you!

Another aspect of the dream showed me the answer to a question I’ve had for many years.  During her worst narcissistic rages, my mother’s eyes would turn black.  It used to terrify me, because I never know what was coming next, but I knew it wasn’t going to be good.  (The night my mother threw me into a wall, her eyes turned black just before she did it.)  Several other adult children of narcissistic parents have told me they experienced the same thing.  Anyway, the dream showed me that the reason this happens is because she has reached the point where she can no longer conceal her hatred for me. That is why the following narcissistic rages are so vicious. Thankfully I haven’t seen her eyes turn black in years, but I now know if they change color, it’s time to leave, & leave quickly!

Lastly, the dream gave me a valuable reminder.  When dealing with your narcissistic mother, always remain calm, & share no  signs of your emotions with her.  Sharing any signs of emotions will trigger a reaction from her.  Anger or hurt feeds a narcissist- she will continue to do whatever it is that is angering or hurting you until she destroys you completely if she can. Joy isn’t good either, because she will destroy that happiness you feel. (She may say things like, “What do you have to be so happy about anyway?”)  She wants you to be as miserable, hurting, angry & empty inside as she feels, & will stop at nothing to make that happen.

I hope what this dream taught me helps you as much as it helped me.

2 Comments

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

You Aren’t The Problem

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, you believe that you are the problem in the toxic relationship.  She blames you for everything & takes no responsibility for anything she has done to you.  On the off chance she admits to doing something bad to you, she blames you for making her do it.

As an adult, you are told, by her or others, that you are the one who needs to make amends with her, find a way to get along with her, or even that you have “a victim mentality,” which only further embeds the belief in you that the problems with your mother are all your fault.  (Isn’t it interesting how no one tells your narcissistic mother she needs to behave herself, work things out with you or that she is abusive?)

I would like to challenge you today to look at this situation differently.  As a child, your mother was the adult.  This means she was supposedly the more mature & wiser of the two of you.  She should have known better than to treat you so poorly.  Also, she knew then & still knows that her actions are wrong, otherwise she would behave the same way in public as she does in private.

Keeping those things in mind, please answer this for me- how is it your responsibility to improve the relationship with your mother?  In fact, how is it even possible to improve a relationship with a narcissist?  And, how is it your fault that your mother has abused you?

I know it is painful when people so thoughtlessly tell you to fix things with your mother instead of offering support & understanding.  I’ve been in that position more times than I can count.  So when they say something like this, I want you to remember that you aren’t the problem in the relationship, your mother is.  Any person who can abuse her own child for that child’s entire life is the problem. Any person who constantly puts her own needs & wants, no matter how trivial, above the welfare of others but especially her own child is the problem.  Any person who chooses to treat others as if they aren’t allowed to have their own feelings, needs, opinions, wants is the problem.  Any person who refuses to accept responsibility for her hurtful actions & blames others for them is the problem.

Dear Reader, just try to remember these things when someone insensitively tells you that you are the problem or that you need to work things out with your mother.  You are not the problem- she is!

Leave a comment

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

It’s Not Your Job To Tolerate Abuse Or Do All The Work In Your Relationships!

A pretty common phenomenon I’ve noticed about adult children of narcissistic parents is this belief of others that we are always supposed to allow other people to mistreat or even abuse us without complaint.  Also, if something is wrong in a relationship, it’s supposed to be our job to fix everything while the other person does nothing.

My mother in-law treated me like dirt for the first eight years of my husband’s & my relationship, until I finally severed ties with her.  My husband told me constantly that I “needed to understand her better,” I should “be the bigger person & let things go.”  He didn’t believe me when I told him what she had done, or (worst of all) blamed me for her abuse.

My ex husband & I lived with his parents for about a year.  During that time, he & I had a big fight on our third wedding anniversary.  I left the house to cool off for a while.  When I came back, his mother jumped me, blaming me for the fight (which he started, not that she knew this), for making him angry & for him punching a wall in his anger.  She told me I needed to talk to him & smooth things over.

During a very bad time in my marriage, I talked to a good friend of mine about something extremely painful my husband had done.  He tried to make excuses for my husband’s behavior & suggested things I can do to help fix our marriage rather than comfort me or help me.

Do scenarios like this sound familiar to you as well?

If they do, I want to tell you today that it’s not your job, nor your purpose in life, to be used or to do all of the work in your relationships!  Relationships are NOT one sided, at least healthy ones are not.  A healthy relationship has two people working together.  Relationships where only one person does all of the work are extremely dysfunctional & miserable.

It also is not your place to tolerate abuse or make excuses for the abuser!  No one deserves abuse- NO ONE!  There is no excuse to abuse, there is nothing you can do to make someone abuse you & abusive people are sick.  None of this has anything to do with you.

I believe this warped behavior happens because of being raised by narcissistic parents.  You’re raised to be nothing more than a tool to be used as needed, much like say, a screwdriver.  You’re kept in a drawer until needed, pulled out, used, then put away until the next time you can serve some purpose. While you’re “in that drawer,” you need to be completely invisible- you have to stay out of the narcissist’s way! Don’t “bother” her with your trivial needs.  Hers are so very much more important than yours, after all.  As a result, you grow up continuing to act as if other people’s needs are more important, yours mean nothing, & being a people pleaser. People naturally read other people, & abusers in particular are extremely good at it.  Abusers look for people like this to abuse, since they’re easy targets who won’t complain about how they’re treated.  Then there are other people don’t deliberately seek out people they can abuse.  Instead, they see you believe you are: invisible, you deserve to be treated poorly, etc. & they treat you that way.

To help fix this problem in your life, work on your healing.  You will learn to spot the abusers quickly, & avoid them.  You’ll develop & enforce stronger boundaries.  Your self-esteem will improve, making you less willing to tolerate nonsense, including being the only one to work on your relationships.  You also need to really grasp the fact that you are NOT what your narcissistic mother says you are.  You are someone with great worth & value.  God loves you, no matter if your parents don’t.  If you have trouble believing that, ask Him to show you how much He loves you.  Read the Bible- there are countless times in it where God states His love for you!

2 Comments

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

A Different Facet Of Triangulation

Triangulation is a commonly known tactic of narcissists.  It involves the narcissist having a third party try to talk to you about what is bothering her.  For example, if you have set limits on the time you are willing to spend with your narcissistic mother, she may have your father talk to you about how you should spend more time with your parents.

I realized recently that there is another kind of triangulation that is often used with covert narcissists.  It is where the covert narcissist tells you about the terrible things someone else has said about you, & tells them terrible things you have said about them. The things they share aren’t necessarily true.

If you have two narcissistic parents- one overt, one covert- then chances are you are aware of this, even if you haven’t thought about it before. I have experienced this firsthand.  My father, a covert narcissist, tells me anything bad that my overtly narcissistic mother says about me (I’m not sure how much is true of what he has said).  He also has told my mother I’ve said bad things about her when I hadn’t.  For example, he has told me many times my mother has said someone should report me for having too many pets (I have a legal amount of pets & I own my home rather than rent, so no one would do anything if I was reported, by the way).  He also has told my mother that I said she isn’t allowed in my home when I said no such thing.  The truth is I told him I was sick of her insulting my furkids & if she couldn’t be civil to them, she doesn’t need to come into my home ever again.

I’ve heard of other covertly narcissistic parents doing similar things, & I’ve wondered why.  After praying about it, I think I understand.

Telling their child such things, be they true or false, means the child will pull away from the overtly narcissistic parent & be closer to the covertly narcissistic parent.  This means more narcissistic supply for the covert narcissist.

This dysfunctional behavior also causes the child to think poorly of the overt narcissist, & it makes the covert narcissist look good by comparison.  After all, the covert narcissist comes across as concerned for the child (“I thought you should know what your mother said about you..”), unlike the overt narcissist who has said such hurtful things. And, the covert narcissist isn’t the one who said the hurtful things- he only relayed what he has heard, supposedly because you need to know these things.

This form of triangulation is also a type of deflection, because it takes attention off of the covert narcissist & his bad behaviors.  You become angry with the overt narcissist for saying such terrible things, & automatically don’t pay as much attention to the covert narcissist’s bad behaviors since your focus is elsewhere.

Covert narcissists love looking like a martyr, & this type of triangulation helps them to do that as well.  See what terrible things he has to put up with?  He has to listen to his mean wife talk trash about his child!  How horrible for him!  He is often so focused on making whatever was said (or he wants you to believe was said) that it stirs you up so much, you fail to realize at first that he didn’t defend you.  In fact, if you aren’t aware of this tactic, you may even feel sorry for him that he had to be exposed to this.

So how do you deal with this type of hurtful, dysfunctional behavior?

Obviously, setting boundaries in a normal way with any narcissist is futile.  Do not admit that it hurts you to hear these things, or the covert narcissist will realize the effectiveness of this weapon to hurt you, using it constantly.

Instead, show no reaction.  Pretend whatever is said doesn’t affect you in the least.   He may keep pushing the issue trying to get a reaction.  If he does & gets flustered at your calmness, & says something like “Aren’t you upset?” use logic in your response.  I’ve said things like, “Why would I be?  I know she hates everything about me.  This is hardly a surprise.  Besides, I just don’t care what she thinks about me anymore.”  Then I changed the subject as that information sank in.

Change the subject.  Repeatedly.  As often as needed.  Without saying anything along the lines of “On another matter..” or “Let’s talk about something different”, just bluntly change the subject.  Narcissists, overt or covert, don’t like subject changes- they want to be in charge of the conversation.  It will annoy him, but at least he’ll be off the topic.

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism

Sometimes “Less Wrong” Is Your Best Option When Dealing With A Narcissist

When dealing with a narcissistic parent, often there are no right answers, only “less wrong” ones.  This is because narcissists are masters of creating a situation where you can’t win no matter what you do, but they will win.   One example in my life that comes to mind is if I don’t answer the phone when my parents call, they will either call back repeatedly until I do answer, attempt to make me feel guilty for not answering the next time we speak or manipulatively demand to know where I was that I couldn’t answer the phone.  I am left with some poor choices here:  answer the phone & deal with whatever games they are playing at the time, or don’t answer the phone & later deal with guilt trips (which don’t work, but really tick me off!) or their anger & especially nasty treatment because I didn’t bend to their wishes by not answering when they called the first time.  Not nice choices!  So, often times I answer the phone, even when I don’t want to, because it’s the lesser of the evils.  While the phone is ringing though, I am weighing my choices & deciding what I can & can’t handle before I pick it up.

It’s frustrating, but this is often the position you are forced into.  And, equally frustrating is others who don’t understand the situation, tell you what you’re doing is wrong & firmly believe you need to hear their opinions on the matter.  I don’t think most people are aware of how incredibly frustrating it is to be forced into these no win situations with a narcissistic parent.  They just see that you are doing something wrong, & that you should do something else, without realizing that their solution would have even more disastrous results than yours does.  They don’t grasp that you are doing what you are doing because it is going to create slightly less disastrous results than what they think you should do.  Or, if they know about narcissism, they may say you’re giving the narcissist that narcissistic supply they crave so desperately, which is why what you’re doing is wrong.  They aren’t seeing that while yes, sometimes you do give that supply, it’s better to give only a small amount of it than a ton of it.  The times when I do take my parents’ calls?  It seems to give them less supply than when they treat me poorly for not answering the phone right away.  Those times after they’ve given me sufficient grief, they seem happier & lighter by the time they hang up the phone.  I feel like I have chosen the lesser of the two evils when I take their calls immediately.

However you choose to handle situations with your narcissistic parents, choose wisely.  Sometimes your best answer isn’t going to be good or even right, but only less wrong.  Unfortunately that is normal.  Don’t listen blindly to the advice of others- listen to what they say & see if it would make sense  in your situation.  Hopefully others will give you a new & helpful solution, but sometimes they don’t, which is why you must consider carefully what they said. After all, no one knows your specific situation better than you do.  Just make sure you pray about what to do & weigh your options.  Do what you feel is right (well, less wrong) in your heart, & you will be doing the best thing you can do in your particular situation.  And, don’t forget to take care of yourself too.  If you end up frustrated, hurt or angry, vent your feelings in a healthy way.  Be good to yourself, too- dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic parent, is very trying.  You need plenty of self-compassion & self-care after having dealt with a narcissistic parent.

4 Comments

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

My New Books

I thought I would let you know what’s happening on the book front with me..

I now have two books I’m working on as I can.  Unfortunately I’m still recovering from the carbon monoxide poisoning & the concussion that came with  it, so writing is a challenge for me at the moment. (as if writing with C-PTSD isn’t enough of a challenge sometimes..lol)  But, I’m trying to do a little as often as I can.

My one book is a fictional story I started over a year ago.  I had it about halfway done when the external hard drive it was on crashed, taking my book with it.  (Tears were shed, let me tell ya!)  I decided to start working on  it again, trying to recreate what was lost.  It was inspired by the movie “Gaslight”- the movie from which the term gaslighting was coined.  It takes place here in Maryland in the late 1800’s.  It’s about a young widow who, after her mourning period, is caught up in a whirlwind romance with a man who in truth is only after her money.  In order to have full access to it, he decides to drive his pretty young wife insane.  He enlists the help of the young maid he’s having an affair with by telling her that his wife is really his sister, & he’s trying to help her show symptoms of her “illness” since she usually hides them from the doctor.  She reluctantly agrees.  As they are in the process of driving this woman insane, the wife & maid end up learning the truth, & decide to turn the tables on him, driving him insane instead.

My other book is going to be about recovering from narcissistic abuse.  I’ve read so much about it, but there are plenty of things I haven’t read- I had to experience them & learn about them firsthand instead.  For example, if you read about C-PTSD (very common with survivors or narcissistic abuse), it says many people experience nightmares.  It’s often implied that the nightmares are about re-experiencing the traumatic events.  I have learned that although that happens, it’s more rare, & nightmares are often things that are very upsetting yet symbolic of past trauma instead.

So anyway, these two are my current projects.  I’m not sure when they’ll be released.  Honestly, I don’t even feel comfortable setting a goal on that right now, not until I recover more.  I’ll be sure to share when they will be released as the day comes closer though.

2 Comments

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

“You Just Need To Get Over It!” & Other Pearls Of So-Called Wisdom About Narcissistic Abuse

I read a very interesting quote, & it really hit home with me:

“There is a theme that runs through responses I receive from children of a narcissistic parent(s).  The child is subjected to unbearable levels of ongoing abuse- scalding criticisms, withering humiliations in front of other family members & alone, routine secret physical beatings & other horrendous acts of brutality including psychological & literal abandonment.  When the child lets family members know what is happening to  him, this person is not believed. When the victim of a narcissist tells the truth about his dreadful pathological parent, he is not treated with kindness or understanding.  The family is shocked; the victim is treated with disdain & often told he/she is the sick one or that this is all lies to get attention.”  Linda Martinez-Lewi, PHD

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been treated this way, not only by those close to me (well, not close to me anymore obviously!), but even by therapists.  When I told my high school guidance counselor about my mother spending so much time daily screaming at me, she said, “That doesn’t sound so bad..”  I’ve also been told to let it go, get over it, work things out with my mother- it’s my responsibility, I need therapy, I use C-PTSD to get attention & more.

If you too are the adult child of a narcissist, I’m sure you can relate.

Hearing such cruel, invalidating statements is extremely painful.  You feel abused all over again.  It can be devastating to you & to the relationship you share with that person.  One person I had loved dearly & was once close to said a few comments along the lines of I needed to just get over things.  Her last comment actually destroyed the love I felt for her.  I suddenly no longer cared for her.  Not that I wished her bad- I simply felt nothing at all for her.

So how do you deal with these painful situations?  Avoiding them would be best, but unfortunately, that isn’t always possible.  Sometimes you can, because if you know a person well, you know  that this person isn’t safe to discuss certain topics with.  As a result, you avoid discussing those topics with that person.  Then there are other times when you mention your narcissistic mother to someone who you expect to be supportive, yet they surprise you by invalidating your pain.  Those times are the most painful, because you didn’t expect that response- you expected support & empathy.

When you are told to “get over it”, “you’re only making these things up to get attention,” etc., the first thing to do is to end this conversation before it goes further (hurting you more) however you deem appropriate.  You can simply change the subject, walk away or hang up the phone.  However you set  this boundary, you’ll run the risk of angering the other person, so you need to be prepared for that unfair anger. (The person I mentioned whose comments destroyed my love for her?  When we’d discussed the topic via email the last time, I told her I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but I wasn’t asking for her opinion on my life.  After that, she didn’t speak to me for several months.)  Hopefully the other person you’re having the problem with will simply respect your boundary instead, as many people do.

Once the conversation is done, as soon as you can, get alone with God.  Tell  Him how it made you feel, & let Him comfort you.  Get your feelings out so they don’t end up pushed down inside of you, festering.  That only hurts you!  If you don’t feel comfortable telling God how you feel, journal about them.  Or, write the person a letter that you never send, telling her off if that helps you feel better.

If you’re suddenly doubting yourself (am I really making too much out of things?  That type of thought) because of what was said to you, ask God to tell you if you are.  He will reassure you that you aren’t, which helps tremendously to give you a healthy perspective on what was said.

You also need to evaluate your relationship with this person.  is she someone you’re close to?  Do you have a good relationship other than her lack of understanding about your abusive mother?  Then it is probably worth saving- just accept that your narcissistic mother isn’t a topic you two can discuss.  Or, does this person criticize or invalidate you in other ways?  (I don’t mean the healthy, constructive criticism we all need sometimes)  Then this relationship may need to end. You’ve been treated badly enough in your life thanks to your narcissistic mother- why continue to tolerate being treated badly?

As I mentioned in this post, I recently realized that when the C-PTSD flares up, it seems like every single nasty, invalidating comment I’ve ever heard comes to mind.  Those times are so painful!  I tried to wait on it to pass when it happens, but that doesn’t always work so well.  Sometimes it seems like the comments play over & over, like an old cassette tape stuck on repeat.  So, what I do during those times is think of a specific comment said to me, for example, “that doesn’t sound so bad.”  Then I think about the event that led the person to make the comment, & remember, it really WAS bad!  It was horrible!  Having someone tell you that you’re a horrible person hurts, but add in the fact that was my mother, & she was screaming it in my face?  Yea, it was pretty bad.. if someone thinks it wasn’t, that person obviously has the problem!

I believe that some people simple aren’t able to grasp the hell that is living with narcissistic abuse.  Maybe they come from loving families, & never had to face any type of abuse.  As a result, they just can’t  wrap their minds around the fact not all families are as good as theirs.  Or, maybe they too came from a narcissistic parent, yet haven’t had the strength to face that, & continue living in the dysfunction instead.  Or, in all honesty, narcissistic abuse sounds so far fetched!  Sometimes the things narcissists do sound completely made up, they just are that “out there.”  If I wouldn’t have seen the things my mother did to me, I’m not sure I would believe anyone was capable of such acts either!  Maybe some people can’t believe another human being is capable of doing such things, especially to her own child.  Whatever the reason, that does not give them the right to invalidate your pain!  Narcissistic abuse is a horrible thing to endure.  Its damage can be lifelong & extremely painful.  Don’t let anyone convince you that it was “no big deal” or that there’s something wrong with you for how you feel after surviving such torture!

2 Comments

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

The Silent Treatment

I visited a very good friend of mine yesterday.  Like me, her mother was a narcissist.  A much more malignant narcissist than mine.  While we were talking, she mentioned that her mother never gave her the silent treatment.  In fact, instead she would fake illness brought on by the stress my friend caused by either disagreeing with her or disobeying her.

I told her what she was missing out on!  The silent treatment can be a wonderful thing!  It gives you a break from your narcissistic mother’s drama, cruelty, mind games & more.  At first, it may not feel good, but after a while, it really feels like a gift from God.  Yes, that sounds awful, I know, but it’s the truth!

Many daughters of narcissistic mothers have faced the silent treatment at some point.  As young children, it can be devastating!  It certainly was for me. I couldn’t understand why my mother wouldn’t speak to me.  I would try anything to gain her attention.  I even asked what was wrong, & was met with among the most ridiculous responses ever: “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.”  At first this made me try harder, but I quickly realized that was why she said it, & stopped trying so hard.

As I grew older, I learned some more things about the silent treatment, & I’d like to share them with you to (hopefully!) help you.

  • The silent treatment is about control.  It is supposed to force you to ask, “What’s wrong?” so your narcissistic mother can tell you exactly what is wrong with you to upset her so much, she had to withdraw from you.
  • The silent treatment is also to make you feel inadequate, flawed, wrong, crazy.  The more messed up you believe you are, the less likely it is you’ll stand up to your narcissistic mother.  You will be easier for her to control.
  • The silent treatment really has nothing to do with what you did.  Whatever you did was just an excuse to give you the silent treatment.  Didn’t do anything?  That’s fine too- narcissists aren’t above lying to get what they want.
  • Normal, healthy people do NOT use the silent treatment!!  Normal people get angry, & may even want a little space from you if you said or did something hurtful, but that space doesn’t last long.  It’s only a little time to cool off, & not to punish you.
  • The silent treatment shows the person giving it is very immature, selfish, childish..  If your narcissistic mother can’t approach you like an adult to work things out, using the silent treatment instead, she’s behaving like a spoiled rotten little child.

So how does one deal with being on the receiving end of the silent treatment??

  • Keep the above list in mind.  This will help you to remember that this silent treatment speaks more about your narcissistic mother’s problems than something being wrong with you.  Like I said, normal, healthy people don’t use the silent treatment!  They speak to the person who hurt them & work things out like mature adults.
  • Never, ever ask, “What’s wrong?”  If you do, you most likely will open up her narcissistic rage arsenal of weapons.  “What’s wrong?” seems to translate to “Now I can really abuse her!!” in the mind of a narcissist.  If your narcissistic mother won’t try to work this out, then that is her problem.  How are you supposed to repair whatever you did wrong if you don’t even know what you did wrong?
  • Remember, refusing to play your narcissistic mother’s games is honorable!  Honoring your mother as the Bible commands doesn’t mean play into her manipulation.  To truly honor someone means you want the best for them, & the best is for your mother to be a healthy person.  Granted, to become mentally healthy, she has to want to become healthy- you can’t make her want that, nor can you make her healthy.  However, you can gently push her in that direction by refusing to engage in her games.
  • Think of this time without your narcissistic mother as a break.  In all honesty, probably you aren’t getting the silent treatment because you did something bad.  Probably, you dared to have your own opinion, didn’t praise your mother enough, didn’t jump through some ridiculous hoops that she wanted you to jump through.  Why beat yourself up over something so stupid?  Instead, just think of this silent treatment as a reprieve.  Enjoy the peace & quiet for however long it lasts!  Besides, most likely your mother will contact you soon anyway, as soon as she needs something from you.
  • Take care of yourself.  Refuse to think about “What did I do wrong?” or feel guilty.  Instead, do nice things for yourself. Get a mani/pedi.  Get yourself a new book you’ve been wanting.  Spend a day relaxing with herbal tea & good movies.

It probably will take you some time to stop feeling guilty & to start enjoying the silent treatment.  And then, you may feel somewhat guilty for enjoying it.  I know I did at first.  But, that doesn’t last long once you realize how peaceful your life has become!

I have realized that the last few times my mother has given me the silent treatment, it took me a while to realize it was happening!  Weeks would go by, when suddenly I realized she hadn’t called me.  Quite an improvement over fretting about how to get her to start speaking to me again & feeling guilty for being such a terrible daughter, don’t you think?

8 Comments

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

Do Narcissists Really Know What They Are Doing?

The answer is a resounding YES!!!

 

Narcisissts are absolutely aware of what they are doing & the damage they cause.  And, they are well able to control their actions.

 

Anyone who has spent time around a narcissist knows that they act entirely differently around people they want to impress versus people they don’t care about impressing.  That is painfull obvious.  The fact is though that they also are very aware when they have gone too far over the top in their actions.

 

Recently, I posted about my narcissistic mother’s fake concern, get well card & cookies for my (also narcissistic) mother in-law, even though she knows perfectly well that I haven’t spoken to the woman since 2002 due to her abusive ways.  (I posted about that here).  This betrayal by my mother & her flaunting it in my face hurt me more than it usually does when she feigns concern for my mother in-law’s failing health.  It made me physically sick for over a week.  I also ignored the phone several times since then when my mother called, which I normally don’t do. (periodically yes, but not several in a row).  Apparently, she noticed, & this made an impression…

 

I finally took my mother’s call yesterday.  She tried to be pleasant. Even attempted to give me a complement.  She also mentioned something hurtful her mother told her once.  The call was quite odd to say the least.  I was thinking about it & I think it was to “apologize” to me for her behavior regarding my mother in-law.  She is very aware of when her behavior is too over the top, like most narcissists.  Besides, I realized I’ve seen this kind of thing before with my father.  At one point, when I didn’t answer his call, he called my cousin who lives 450 miles away & my father in-law looking for me.  I was livid & let him know that.  After, he began being gentler & kinder with me, & even mirroring me in an attempt to regain my trust.

 

This is very typical of narcissistic behavior.  They know when they have gone just too far, & rather than take responsibility for their behavior & apologize (like normal people), they engage in various behaviors.

 

  • Mirroring: People naturally feel most comfortable with those who share many similiarities. Narcissists will mirror your behavior & likes/dislikes in order to regain your trust.  (“See how much alike we are?  How can you be mad at me??”)
  • Minimizing or temporarily foregoing the criticisms:  In order to get you to forgive & forget their bad behavior, they will stifle their nastiness temporarily until they believe you have forgiven them.  (“See what I nice person I am?  You can’t be mad at me- I’m too nice!”)
  • Feigning thoughtfulness:  The narcissist will call you to let you know a movie you like is coming on TV shortly, for example.  They will perform small acts of showing they were thinking of you to prove how nice they are.
  • Giving you distance, respecting your space: For the narcissist who insists on constant attention such as an engulfing narcissistic mother, this is the hardest thing for her to do.  However, she will do it if it will get her back in your good graces.  If she calls you daily or near daily, she will skip calling for a few days after the incident, then call you, acting much meeker than usual.  She will employ one of the above tactics during that conversation.  If she believes that you have forgiven/forgotten her, this is the last pleasant conversation you will have with the narcissist.  If she believes you’re still upset, the routine will happen repeatedly until she believes you are over what she has done to you.

 

Always remember- the narcissist in your life upsets you, remember- do NOT tell her!  Explaining your hurt feelings to a narcissist only gives them ammunition to hurt you further.  However, if you become angry & the narcissist picks up on your feelings, be aware- the games will begin!  Remember these things & you can be prepared for what to expect.

 

 

10 Comments

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

How To Deal With Those Who Invalidate Narcissistic Abuse

My always “fun” narcissistic mother called me the night before last.  She told me that one of the few movies with both like, “Duel” from 1971, was on TV.  I was pleasantly surprised not only because I enjoy the movie, but that my mother thought to let me know it was coming on.  I thought that was oddly not narcissistic & very sweet of her.

Then last evening, she called me again.  She asked if I watched the movie & we ended up having a rather pleasant chat for a while about movies & actors.  I relaxed for once while we spoke (that is a VERY rare occurrence).   Suddenly my mother asked me a favor- she asked me to give her a home perm.

*sigh*

I’ve done it many times, & really never minded it all that much, in spite of her often treating me like the hired help.  Then the arthritis in my hands got worse, & putting those little perm rods in her hair became quite painful for me. I told her this probably 2 years ago by now, maybe longer ago but I’m not sure, & haven’t done a perm for her since.  So last night’s request came as a surprise to me.  For one thing, we were talking just fine, then suddenly, she expects a favor that I’ve told her I can’t do.  UGH!  I had to remind my mother yet again that I have arthritis in my hands, & can’t do this for her.  Her response?  “So you’re saying you can’t give me a perm, huh?”  Really???  All she took from what I said was what directly affected her.  Fantastic.. typical narcissist. *banging head into walls*

I was thinking about this conversation this morning.  It’s things like this that happen over & over, & many people just do not grasp the severity of such incidents.  People who know my mother may think she’s rather eccentric, but not a bad person.  In fact, if I tell them stories like this, they say I’m oversensitive, reading into things, need to shake it off, etc.  These people act like I am the one in  the wrong, not my mother, who treats me as if I’m just here to be used.  They ignore the fact that things like this reinforce the fact my mother thinks I’m just here to serve her, that I’m not allowed to have needs, feelings or anything else.  My sole purpose in life is to be used by my mother, according to her.  So what I have arthritis?  I should suck it up, Buttercup, & do what she wants because she wants it!  Ugh.. & to tell the truth, I think my mother thinks I’m lying about having arthritis just to get out of doing for her.  Never mind it’s a medical fact, on record & I’ve had it for 12 years now…

This kind of behavior is it invalidating, & it’s plain hurtful!  It also has made me wonder why people are so quick to defend a narcissist & blame the victim.

I think many people are afraid of becoming uncomfortable.  Their comfort zone is so important to them that they cannot tolerate anything that doesn’t fit into said comfort zone.  They would rather be invalidating & hurtful to you than forced to believe the narcissist they know is anything less than a good person.  Maybe the narcissist is good to them (for the moment anyway, until the mask slips off..), & they simply do not want to face the fact that she is capable of heinous acts.  Learning someone you care about isn’t a good person is a painful thing, & many people do not want to deal with that pain.

What does this mean to you, the victim of a narcissist?

This means that you are going to need to be aware of people like this, as they are everywhere.  They even can be a close relative or friend.  Chances are, they don’t intend to hurt you- they are simply oblivious to the fact they are abusing you by invalidating you.  However, even intentions that aren’t bad don’t make this behavior hurt any less, or make it acceptable.

Once you’re aware of these people, you need to stop discussing your relationship with your narcissistic mother  (or father,or sibling, or friend, etc.) with this person if you wish to continue this relationship. If you continue to attempt to force this person to see your perspective, they will become resistant, & angry with you for trying to force them to see what they don’t want to see.  They will flatly refuse to see the truth, & it can put a big wedge in your relationship or even cause them to sever ties with you. Did you read my post “Two Good Lessons From One Dream“? If not, please read it now.  In that dream, God showed me clearly that you have to use wisdom on who you discuss narcissistic abuse with.  Don’t frustrate yourself & ruin relationships by discussing it with people who are hell bent on not hearing a word you have to say!  It’s not worth it!

How do you not discuss the cruel things your narcissistic mother is doing to you when people ask you?  By telling them that this topic is not up for discussion…

  • “I’m not going to discuss this topic with you.”
  • “Let’s talk about something else.”
  • “I don’t want to discuss this.”
  • Change the subject as often as necessary & ask the other person something about his/her life.
  • Walk away or hang up the phone if they insist on discussing this topic even though you set appropriate boundaries.

You owe no one any explanation, & an explanation only will start an argument anyway.  If they say anything to you on  the topic, the best way I have found to avoid discussing it is to change the subject.  Eventually, most people will get frustrated & give up trying to discuss the topic they originally wanted to, especially if you ask him/her about his/her life.  Most people, even non-narcissists, will talk readily about themselves.

Protect yourself from people like this, Dear Reader,& use wisdom  when you must deal with them.  You deserve it.  You have been abused enough by your narcissistic mother- you don’t need further invalidating abuse from “friends” or “family” even if they are well-meaning.

7 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

I Realized I Am Grieving

If you missed it, yesterday I posted about my narcissistic mother’s betrayal.  She currently is feigning great concern for my husband’s mother being ill, in spite of knowing the massive amount of abuse the woman has put me through.  And, she is flaunting it in my face- when we saw my parents Saturday, my mother kept bringing up his mother’s health,displaying deep concern for her. The only reason she is doing this is to cause me pain, & it is working.  Those of you who also have a narcissistic mother know that if I had said anything to her Saturday, she would have portrayed herself the innocent victim of her evil daughter.  The worst part is nothing would improve, but most likely it would only get worse.

Since Saturday, I have not been happy at all. I am deeply hurt,& crying easier than usual (normally I cry easily anyway, but this is over the top even for me). The C-PTSD has been flaring up- my head is swimming, anxiety levels are terrible & I had nightmares all night long last night.  I can’t remember many details other than being abandoned in them, which tells me my brain is still trying to process what my mother is doing to me.

I also realized this morning that I am grieving. There are five stages of grief..

  1. Denial- denying this is happening.  it’s a normal defense mechanism.
  2. Anger- when you feel as if this can’t be happening because you aren’t ready for it.  You may be angry at anyone or everyone at this point.
  3. Bargaining- “if only he had seen a doctor sooner!” thoughts invade your mind.  Or, “God if you let him live, i’ll do anything you want!”
  4. Depression- sadness becomes almost overwhelming.
  5. Acceptance- accepting what has happened, & beginning to move on.

These stages of grief not only happen when someone you love dies, but they can happen in other areas of life as well.  I believe they also can happen during especially painful times, such as what I’m experiencing. When someone goes above & beyond to hurt you, that is horribly painful, but when it is your own mother- the one person who is supposed to love you no matter what- the pain is magnified by 1,000.

So this is why I am grieving right now.  When my mother first began her “concern” for my mother in-law, I wasn’t surprised.  She has been sending her Christmas cards ever since the first Christmas after I told my parents how bad my mother in-law treated me.  However, the constant mentioning her, the “I’m praying she gets better soon”, & then the cookies & card for her were over the top, even by my mother’s standards.  It was almost impossible for me to believe she had gone this far at first (stage 1).  Once it started sinking in shortly after leaving my parents’ home Saturday, I got angry (stage 2) & stayed angry all during yesterday.  By last night, I actually began to wonder if I had done something wrong, something to deserve this from my mother or something that made her behave this way (stage 3).  That didn’t last long as anger & then depression (stage 4) kicked in.

Once I thought about this, I realized that I go through this often when my mother pulls some of her antics.  Honestly, most of them I am so used to that I only get angry or disgusted that we are going through it again.  Even so, sometimes, she surprises me & pulls something so especially painful, it catches me off guard.  This is one of those times.

I believe grieving like this to be common, & not only for me, but for all children of a narcissistic parent.  if you share similar feelings to mine after dealing with your narcissistic mother, then please be aware of two things:

First, you are not crazy!  You are not wrong, nor are you at fault for feeling this way.  You are perfectly normal! You are grieving something very painful, & need to be compassionate & gentle with yourself until you have come to terms with the incident. Take care of yourself- pamper yourself, & do things that make you feel good.  If you made a comfort box or bag, get it out & enjoy the special items you put inside.

And second, know you are not alone!  It isn’t “just you”.  Just because your narcissistic mother says nobody else is as bad/crazy/stupid/etc. as you means it is true.  She is lying to justify her abuse.  Ignore her!  She is the one with the problem.  There are others like you who understand your pain & will validate you!  I am only one of them.

2 Comments

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

Ranting & Raving.. (revised)

Good morning, Dear Readers!

Well, it isn’t really a good morning for me.  I really do want to keep my posts as encouraging & as positive as I can, but I also promised you readers that I would also be real.  That means some posts won’t be all happy & positive.  This post is going to be one of those.  In fact, I was going to write it only in my journal, but I felt I should write it in here.  Maybe someone needs to read this today.  It’ll probably be pretty long, longer than normal at least, so get yourself comfortable if you want to read this.. lol

The last few days have been really rough, & the C-PTSD is flaring up badly as of yesterday.  My head is simply swimming.  To start with, our little American Eskimo dog, Dixie, has been sick.  Thankfully, she is well on her way to recovery now, but not recognizing her symptoms at first terrified me.  My pets are like my children, so  when they are sick, I get extremely concerned.  Then my husband’s mother went into the hospital a couple of days ago.  I’m not sure she didn’t put herself there for attention, to be completely honest about it.  It wouldn’t be the first time she’s done that.  I think it was last year just before Christmas my husband told me she said that she quit taking her meds for a few days prior to going into the hospital.  Yep, I love narcissists.. NOT.  *sigh*

And, as the icing on this crappy cake, my husband & I saw my parents yesterday.

Recently, my parents bought a new chair.  Once it was delivered, my mother decided she didn’t like it, & wanted to exchange it for another one.  She called to ask if my husband would mind picking it up with his truck, as she didn’t want to pay another $80 delivery charge.  He said he’d be fine with doing it Saturday (yesterday).  So Friday, I said I should call her to be sure of what time to meet my parents at the furniture store.  He volunteered to make the call instead, which was fine with me at the time.  Now, I’m not happy he did this at all & that will not be happening again as I have learned a painful lesson.  Although I have told him many times, do NOT say anything about our furkids or his parents to my parents other than everyone is “fine”, he told my mother Dixie was sick & probably needed to see the vet in the morning, & also that his mother was in the hospital so we couldn’t make it a long visit.  If my mother hears anything other than FINE about any of them, I will end up very angry with either her nasty comments about my furkids, or fake concern over my in-laws.  The fake concern hurts me very badly, because she knows perfectly well I haven’t spoken to my in-laws since 2002 because of how cruelly my narcissistic mother in-law has treated me.  And a side note here- I asked God once why my mother does this.  He showed me that my mother thinks my in-laws have a perfect life- been married 60+ years, financially comfortable, nice home in a nice area, their children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren visit them often.  She fails to see the mountains of dysfunction in their family, only what looks good on the outside.  My mother, being a narcissist & naturally overly concerned with appearances, wants to impress them. By me refusing to tolerate my mother in-law’s abusive ways, I’ve embarrassed my mother.  In return, she wants to hurt me as much as possible by showing concern for them, as well as showing them even though I’m a “terrible person,” at least she isn’t bad like me.  She is good enough to care about them even if I don’t.  This is also why she has sent them Christmas cards since I first told her how cruel the mother in-law is.  Amazing what goes on  in the mind of a narcissist..

Back to the original topic..

The visit started at the furniture store.  My mother sat in the car, & my father approached us in hubby’s truck.  He handed hubby a booklet about county services for seniors I’d given my parents a couple of months ago.  He said it was because hubby’s parents probably needed it.  Really?  Hubby told my father no, they’re fine- my parents need it.  My father said my mother thought they needed it more, so they should have it. Hubby grabbed the booklet & spoke to my mother, telling her SHE needs this, his parents are taken care of.  I heard snippets of their conversation- she kept changing the subject, showing concern for his mother being in the hospital.  ARGH!  So while this happened, my father & I walked into the customer service area & gave them the receipt.  We waited a few minutes for him to bring the chair outside for us, & chatted.  Finally we were loaded up & ready to go.  I moved the truck over to beside my mother’s car to get it out of the way.  My mother said hi to me, I ignored her & waited for hubby.

At my parents’ house, my mother asked me how Dixie was.  i said fine.  She said “Oh?  Your dad said she was really sick.”  I said nothing further.  (I feel somewhat bad about that, because knowing her, she’ll jump on my father for lying to her even though he wasn’t lying.  But, not trying to be vengeful here, he has no problems throwing me under the bus with my mother.  Why should I feel bad that I inadvertently did the same to him once, yanno?)  So she then talked to hubby about his mother.  I continued ignoring her, but was stewing inside.  How dare she?!  Plus i was also angry hubby told her about Dixie when I have said many times mention NOTHING about her or the cats to my mother.

My husband, father & I assembled the chair.  While working on it, my mother brought out a plate of cookies & demanded we all eat one.  I refused.  All my life, my mother has insulted what I eat, how much I do or don’t eat, demanded I eat what she wants when she wants me to & ridiculed me for being fat no matter how little I may weigh.  When she tells me to eat something now, I refuse in order to set a boundary.  Plus, the emotional flashbacks I get make me feel like I did at around 10 years old when her abuse regarding food was so bad that I became anorexic then later bulimic: terrified of her anger if I didn’t do as was told or take her criticisms with a smile, angry, like I am too hideous & disgusting to live.  This feels HORRIBLE & it makes me angry that at 43 years old, I quickly can revert to feeling like I did as a child.

Finally, the chair was done, & we were ready to leave.  As I said goodbye to my father, my mother spoke to my husband about his parents again, feigning such great concern for their well-being.  I could feel the anger inside me bubbling by this point.  Then, as I moved to say goodbye to her before my head exploded, she said “Wait a minute.”  My mother went into another room & came back with a plate of cookies & a get well card for my mother in-law!!  She handed them to hubby.  I was in shock at this point.  She then hugged us both & told me she loved me as we left.  I practically ran to the truck.  I also realized when she has been especially cruel to me recently, she always says she loves me.  No other times.  In fact, I could probably count on one hand how many times she has said that in the last 30 years until this behavior began recently.

I cannot put into words how hurt I am by this whole episode.  I know my mother is extremely angry with me because I set boundaries with her early last month.  (See this blog entry)  I’ve been expecting a narcissistic rage because of that as I mentioned in that post, which meant I was expecting her to say excessively cruel, hurtful things to me in a public place.  But this betrayal & flaunting it?  And to top it off, my husband basically handed her the weapon on a  silver platter & doesn’t understand why I’m upset?

I am just depressed, hurt & angry today.  I feel so alone in this situation, & am so tired of feeling that way. I can’t talk to my husband about it since he doesn’t really understand.  I can’t talk to my father- he’s got his own concerns with how cruel she is to him, & those concerns are very valid.  He also won’t speak on my behalf to my mother.  I also feel like I don’t matter.  Again. I am so tired of this feeling!  My mother made me feel this way growing up.  Being a typical malignant narcissist, I was only there to be an extension of her, meet her needs & please her.  I wasn’t to “bother” her with having needs or feelings. Growing up, things haven’t really improved with her in that area.  My husband’s invalidating “I wouldn’t give it any credence” comment about my mother’s actions yesterday have made me feel the same “I don’t matter” feeling.  I’m so tired of it!!!

I’m also incredibly frustrated.  Something must be done with my mother, but I am too frazzled at this moment to figure out what.  If I speak up about her “Caring” about my mother in-law, it’ll feed her- she will be sure to show more concern for her just because she knows exactly how much it hurts me.  If I remain quiet, she will show more concern to be sure she is getting to me.  Damned if I do, damned if I don’t… So, I need to pray about how to handle this after I feel better.

Right now, I’m wallowing in the self-pity place.  I know  this all too well, & I don’t like it at all.  But, I have learned some things since I’ve been here so many times in my life: this place is necessary, & it doesn’t last forever.

So many people will tell you things like “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” but sometimes you need to wallow for a bit, to feel sorry for yourself because you have been through something very painful.  I think of it as feeling compassion for yourself.  If someone told me what I just told you, my heart would break for them.  I would want to tell them everything will be fine & somehow make it better if I could.  So why not have that same compassion for myself?

I also think that the self-pity times allow us to process painful things, & we need to process painful things!  Sweeping things under the rug or ignoring the pain they cause do no good at all!  In fact, ignoring things can cause a great deal of harm.  I never really dealt with the abuse I endured until I was around 30 years old.  By the time I was 41, I developed full blown C-PTSD after living with many of the symptoms my whole life.  I wonder if I had been able to deal with things earlier, if I would have C-PTSD now.  Not dealing with things also can cause physical problems such as arthritis, heart problems, ulcers, high blood pressure, & much more.

If you made it this far, God bless you!  Thank you for listening to me rant & rave.  I hope somehow you were able to glean something helpful from this post.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I’m revising  this post only slightly…..

 

I saw yesterday that the card my mother gave my husband for his mother wasn’t in a sealed envelope- the flap was just pushed in.  Seemed odd to me, but I figured that meant my mother wanted me to read it.  Knowing her, that just made sense in her dysfunctional little world.  So, I finally gave in a few minutes ago.  This is the card- nothing has been altered at all. This shows just how hell bent my mother is to hurt me- she is sending a nicer card to someone she can’t stand than she has ever sent to me.  I honestly don’t even know if she’s ever given me a get well card…

 

This is the outside of the card...

This is the outside of the card…

& here is the inside... lovely wording, isn't it?

& here is the inside… lovely wording, isn’t it?

 

 

11 Comments

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

Gifts & Narcissists

Giving gifts can be a wonderful thing.  It makes the receiver feel loved because someone would listen closely enough to know what gift would make the receiver happy, then spend the time to pick out this gift, spend the time to wrap  it up pretty & all this shows that they cared enough to want to do these things.  The giver is also blessed because there is a great joy in seeing someone’s face light up when they get a special gift that you are responsible for picking out.

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, this isn’t the case.

 

For one thing, narcissists are notoriously terrible at giving gifts.  To give a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to listen to what the receiver says about their needs & wants.  You have to know things about them, such as their favorite color, the size clothing they wear, styles they like, their favorite author or singer.  Narcissists can’t be bothered with such “trivial” matters, so they will choose what they like or what they think you need instead.

 

Narcissists also give you gifts in order to try to make you more like what they think you should be.  Clothing in a color or style that they think you should wear instead of clothing you like, or a CD from a band they like instead of from a band you like.  Probably fifteen years ago or so, during a conversation with my mother in-law that took place not long before Christmas, I mentioned the fact I don’t like to cook.  I do it of course, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.  For Christmas that year, she & both of my sisters in-law gave me a lot of cooking paraphernalia.  I got spoons, spatulas, cook books, food & the largest, ugliest pasta dish I have ever seen in my life (I did find a good use for it eventually.  When the roof leaked, in the short time before it was fixed, I used that ugly dish to catch the rain water that leaked into the attic ..lol)

 

And of course, in true narcissistic fashion, when they give gifts, the purpose is self-serving.  Giving makes them feel like they are good people.  See how caring they are?  They gave someone a gift!  Yay for the narcissist!!  My mother gives me things constantly, often things she has gotten as gifts but didn’t like, clothes she wants rid of, clothes she will buy for me because she likes the color/style (not that I like them), or things she has received in return for donating to a charity.  For the longest time, I felt like I should hold onto these things, I think because on some level, I thought these gifts meant she actually cared for me.  Once I realized that she was giving me things not to bless me, but to serve her own agenda or clean out her own junk, I didn’t feel that need any longer to hold onto her gifts.  Some, yes, but not many.

 

There also may be another motive when receiving gifts from a narcissist.  They may want something from you.  They may want you to do something for them, so when they ask for you to do that favor, they can say, “How can you say no after I gave you that great gift?”  My in-laws are like that.  Gifts come with strings attached.  They give my husband birthday & Christmas cards with money, & in return, he is to help them with whatever needs they have, no matter how ridiculous.  (Not that he shouldn’t help out his aging parents of course, but when they call him to take one of them to the emergency room rather than 911 in an emergency, something is very wrong!)  Have they ever spelled this out?  No.  It is an unspoken rule, as many narcissistic families have.

 

Some narcissists also give to others in the hopes of making themselves appear to be the martyr, taken advantage of by ungrateful people.  This often makes the recipient of the gifts feel as if they are taking advantage of the giver, & they offer to repay the “generous” narcissist somehow.

 

If you receive a gift from a narcissist, just be forewarned- the gift probably has some pretty hefty strings attached to it!

 

12 Comments

Filed under Narcissism