Tag Archives: heal

About Anger After Trauma

Often people who are very forgiveness centered seem to think that to forgive someone means that whatever they did to you no longer triggers any negative feelings. You will be completely immune to any upset on that topic.  For example, if your narcissistic mother constantly told you that you were fat, & someone else calls you fat, if you have truly forgiven your mother, some people think that means that this other person’s words won’t bother you in the slightest. 

I really don’t believe that is true.  You can forgive someone yet still be angered by certain behaviors.

Forgiving someone doesn’t always mean you have forgiven & forgotten what they did, & everything is now unicorns & rainbows.  Forgiveness can mean that you release any expectations on them of apologizing & trying to make it up to you for wronging you.  While doing this is a good thing, it doesn’t automatically release the anger or hurt you feel that their actions caused.

Even if you have managed to release all anger & hurt you feel at the person who has hurt or even abused you, their actions still can be very upsetting.  Let’s say for example you were robbed at knifepoint.  You have recovered from any physical injuries & have forgiven the robber.  Maybe you even learned he was out of work at the time & trying to get money to feed his starving children, so you felt some compassion for him with his plight.  Do you really think that all of this would make you ok with anyone robbing anyone at knifepoint?  No!  It definitely wouldn’t, because you know this behavior is wrong, no matter what the story behind it is.  You also know how it feels to be in that position, the terror & anger it stirs up in you, & wouldn’t wish that on anyone.  If you were in this situation & heard of someone else being through what you have, you naturally would be upset, no matter how much or little anger you feel towards the person who hurt you.

Honestly, I think it is not only normal to be upset by reminders but healthy.

Not being bothered by reminders of your trauma would mean you are desensitized to it.  How is being desensitized to trauma good?  It doesn’t help you, & may in fact hurt you.  If you’re numb to the trauma you experienced, that probably means that you have ignored it for a very long time rather than process it.  That is not even close to mentally healthy!   

Being desensitized to trauma doesn’t help others who have experienced trauma either.  If you think what they say was a traumatic experience wasn’t a big deal, & you tell them that, it will instill shame in them.  They will become ashamed of being so affected by something so “trivial”.  They will wonder what is wrong with them, why they were so traumatized by something that other people wouldn’t be bothered by.  They could begin to shut down & ignore their pain rather than deal with it.  Doing this could lead to a plethora of problems such as physical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or digestive disorders.  It also could make them turn to substance abuse, shopping addiction or promiscuity rather than face the fact that they are hurting.

Dear Reader, please know that no matter how much you have forgiven your abuser, things that they have done will continue to upset & even anger you, & that is totally normal!  In fact, let the emotions motivate you!  Become an advocate against the type of abuse or trauma you experienced.  Talk about it, so people know that these things are wrong.  If you feel bold, write a blog or a book.  See what you can to do get laws changed so other abusers like yours will go to jail.  Good truly can come from those feelings, & remember, they aren’t proof that you are unforgiving or bitter.  Far from it.  They prove you’re a person with a wise & compassionate heart. 

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

Are Dreams From God?

Unfortunately, I don’t think many people realize just how beneficial dreams are.  That is understandable considering how strange dreams can be.  Who hasn’t had a dream of losing all their teeth or falling?  Dreams like that are bizarre & seem to have no meaning & can be upsetting. 

Dreams really can be beneficial though!  In the past few years, I have started paying more attention to my dreams.  They have taught me a great deal about the state of my mental health, helped me to figure out causes of my anxiety & work through trauma.

When I first started paying more attention to my dreams, I wondered if I was doing something wrong.  Many so called psychics have claimed to have dreams about upcoming events or clues for solving crimes.  Being a Christian, I didn’t want to engage in any behavior that would go against God’s word, & I believe that any dabbling in the occult does just that.  To figure this out, I prayed & looked into the Bible for answers.  What I learned was very interesting!

There are a lot of Scriptures about dreams in the Bible!  In the book of Matthew, God speaks to Joseph in dreams.  In the first chapter, Joseph has a dream where he is told that his fiancée Mary, is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  In the second chapter of Matthew, God uses a dream to tell Joseph to take Jesus & his mother away to Egypt.  Later, he had another dream telling him it was safe to take them back to Israel.

There are also many examples in the Old Testament of God speaking to people in dreams.  Daniel had dreams & Joseph interpreted dreams.  In Numbers 12:6, God said that He speaks to prophets in dreams.

I’m pretty sure all this means dreams have value & shouldn’t be ignored!

If you are interested in learning from your dreams, then I encourage you to do it!

To do this, start paying attention to your dreams.  Remember everything you can about them.  What you were doing, who was in the dream, colors, objects, locations… everything can be important so it’s smart to remember every detail you can.  These things may symbolize something important or be vital pieces to a puzzle.

It often helps to write things down, too.  Writing can bring clarity that considering or talking about things doesn’t, so why not utilize that?

Find a good dream dictionary, too.  I like dreammoods.com, but there are other websites & countless books available.  No doubt you can find a dictionary that you really like either in print or online.

Remember that dreams aren’t always significant, so you probably won’t remember every dream you have.  The brain is constantly processing information, no matter if the information is good, bad or indifferent.  If you don’t remember a dream, then chances are it had no real significance for you at this time.  It is simply your brain processing some type of information.

The most important thing I have found to do to help understand dreams is to pray.  God will help you to understand & get the most benefit from your dreams.  When they are nightmares rather than dreams, He will comfort you as well as teach you what they mean.  Let Him help you!

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How Best To Help Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Having experienced narcissistic abuse, I have learned that when you first tell people about it, they seldom know what to say.  Rather than admit that, they say some things that come across as invalidating or uncaring.  To help people avoid coming across the wrong way with victims, I thought I would share some things to say instead.  If you are a victim of narcissistic abuse & struggling to ask those close to you for what you need, feel free to share this post with them.

If you have no experience with narcissistic abuse, it’s understandable you can’t comprehend the bizarre things narcissists do.  Even when a person has experienced it first hand, the abuse is still hard for them to understand.  That being said, don’t assume the person you’re speaking with is exaggerating or even making up everything.  Most people aren’t creative enough to make up such things.  Even if you struggle to believe what this person is telling you, if you know the person is honest, then trust what they say!  Your validation will help!

Unless the person asks you for advice, don’t give it.  For many victims of narcissistic abuse, we need to talk about it.  A lot.  It doesn’t necessarily mean we are looking for advice.  Talking about it helps us to process what happened & come up with ways to cope. 

Don’t assume that the narcissist is just your average jerk or is just selfish.  Narcissists are so much more than that!  They have absolutely no empathy & enjoy inflicting pain on their victims.  Normal ways that a person deals with the average jerk don’t work with narcissists.

Don’t say things like, “You need to let this go.”  All victims of narcissistic abuse know that.  The problem is that it can cause PTSD or Complex PTSD, & once you have one of those disorders, there is no letting go no matter how much a person wants to do so.  The disorders make letting go of trauma impossible.  Managing the symptoms is the best a person with PTSD or C-PTSD can hope for.

Don’t push forgiveness.  Yes, forgiveness is a wonderful thing.  Yes, it’s in the Bible.  However, to really & truly forgive takes time when horrific & traumatic acts were committed against a person.  Shaming a person for continuing to feel anger towards their abuser does no good, & only adds to their problems. 

Don’t say things like, “It takes two to tango” or, “There are two sides to every story.”  By doing this, you’re telling the victim that they are equally responsible for the abuse as their abuser.  That is wrong, unfair & nothing but victim blaming!  While no one is perfect, no one can force another to abuse them.  All responsibility for abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of abusers.  Period!

Don’t trivialize the abusive & traumatic events.  One of my aunts referred to the abuse I endured from my parents as “childhood hurts”.  That may have been the most hurtful thing anyone ever told me.  Trivializing trauma stirs up hurt & anger like you won’t believe.  If you love this person, don’t do it!  Even if events they describe as traumatic sound pretty harmless to you, remember that everyone experiences things differently.  Just because that might not have been traumatic to you doesn’t mean it wasn’t traumatic to them.  Don’t judge their definition of trauma. 

Ask the victim what you can do to help.  Chances are, there really isn’t much but knowing that someone cares & is willing to help means so much! 

Offer to pray with & for the victim.  Prayer is so comforting & knowing that someone is willing to take the time to pray for them will comfort the victim greatly. 

Remind the victim how strong he or she is to have survived the abuse.  Victims often feel weak & the reminder of their true strength is incredibly encouraging!

Always be non-judgmental, supportive & kind.  These three traits can go a very long way with anyone who has endured narcissistic abuse.

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

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

Saying Things Out Loud

I really am a firm believer in writing things down.  It gives you clarity & insight & is one way to help you heal from trauma.  That being said though, speaking out loud has its pluses too.

The Bible has a LOT of Scriptures regarding what we say out loud.  Possibly the most powerful example being  Proverbs 18:21 which says that there is life & death in the power of the tongue.

So many verses focused on one topic tells me that topic is very important, otherwise God wouldn’t have wasted space in the Bible discussing it.  We need to be well aware of the importance of our words, even in the area of healing from narcissistic abuse, & use them wisely.

Sometimes you have to speak things out loud to heal.  It can help you to hear the words describing what you have been through as well as seeing the reactions others have when you tell them your story.  Discussing traumatic events can help you to get validation from others & even to validate yourself.  I found writing my own story when I wrote my autobiography was incredibly validating.  Seeing clearly on paper what I went through was eye opening.  But, hearing yourself talking about the horrors you experienced can be validating as well.  Something about getting your story out of you either verbally or in writing can be incredibly therapeutic.  It makes the events more real, somehow.  Possibly because after experiencing repeated abusive & traumatic episodes, a person often becomes desensitized to it all.  It hurts, sure, but it just is what it is.  Speaking about these things removes the desensitizing even if only for a while.

Talking also can be helpful for processing the trauma.  Some people do better with writing theirs, but there are others who are helped more by speaking about it.  Something about verbalizing things helps people to process their pain or come to ways to help them process it & heal.  That is one of the purposes behind talk therapy, after all.

Also when you talk to someone, they can help you to see things from a different perspective.  That can be incredibly helpful sometimes!

If you talk to another victim of narcissistic abuse, there is another potential benefit, too.  They may have found ways to cope with a similar situation to yours, & can help enlighten you to new ideas that may help you.  Or, they may have made mistakes & can tell you what didn’t work & why.  Both are very beneficial.

I learned another benefit of talking several years ago.  I wrote about it when it happened.  May 5, 2016, I had a huge argument with my parents.  I knew it was coming, so before I took their call that night, I asked God to guide my words.  Well, He did, but not as I expected Him to!  Rather than remaining calm & providing no narcissistic supply, I yelled, cussed & cried.  As soon as I hung up the phone, I got in prayer.  I told God I was so sorry!  I must have somehow missed His guidance.. maybe I should call my parents back & apologize.  As clearly as I’ve ever heard His voice, He said, “No.  Your parents needed this.  They needed to see their normally calm, rational daughter terribly upset because of them.”  Why, I have no clue but I know He knew.  It also showed me that although most times when dealing with narcissists, it is foolish to be outspoken with them, there are certain times when it is necessary.  If you trust God, He will help you to do it.

While talking about things obviously can be helpful in many ways, never, ever forget to be wise with whom you share your story of narcissistic abuse.  There are many people out there who support narcissists, & will hurt you for talking about your experiences.  If they know the narcissist, they’ll also tell him or her everything you say.  Remember Matthew 10:16, & be wise as serpents, harmless as doves!

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Anger As A Helpful Tool

Some time back, I decided to change my online diary to another website.  Unfortunately I can’t export the old one & import it to the new.  I have to copy & paste old entries manually.  I considered starting from scratch but quickly abandoned the idea.  It’s helpful to be able to read over old entries.

One thing I realized in reading those old entries was how helpful anger has been to me.  Many of you may remember in 2016, I had a big argument with my parents that led to no contact.  It was a very hard time for me, & I was full of a great deal of anger.

I don’t like feeling anger.  In fact, I really hate it.  When someone wrongs me, no matter how badly, I do my best to release that anger as quickly as possible.  Yet after the argument with my parents, not only could I not release it, it got worse for a while.  At the time it felt horrible & I was miserable.  I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did.  Looking back though, I realize how valuable that anger was.

The anger I felt then helped me to stay no contact with my parents.  I felt incredibly guilty for going no contact because they were in failing health.  That anger helped me to maintain my distance.  And, I later learned that maintaining no contact was what God wanted from me at the time.  In fact, it led to my father’s Salvation at the very end of his life.  (That incredible story is on my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug if you’d like to read it.)

That anger also helped me to maintain boundaries when people insisted I should speak to my parents.  We all know that flying monkeys think they know best what victims should do to please their narcissist.  This behavior really goes over the top when a victim boots a narcissist out of their life.  I experienced this in 2016 & 2017.  The anger I felt at my parents helped me to keep a good perspective on the relationship I’d had with my parents, & not to cave when people tried to force me to resume it.

The anger I felt also helped me to think logically.  That was very helpful, too!  If I started to think the flying monkeys might be right, almost immediately I would ask myself what would it benefit anyone for me to return to the abusive relationship?  What makes people think they have the right to suggest that to me?  Logical thoughts like that are fantastic for giving a healthy perspective.

I know in Christian circles, talk like this is often very frowned upon.  So many quote Colossians 3:13 that says we should be quick to forgive or they say anger is a sin.  While I agree that forgiveness is a good thing, people shouldn’t be labeled sinful for feeling anger!  Anger isn’t a sin.  It’s simply an emotion.  What a person does with anger can be sinful, but isn’t that true with pretty much anything?  Owning a knife isn’t a sin either, but if that knife is used to kill someone, that becomes a tool to sin.

Rather than looking at anger as some black & white issue, I think it’s good to look at it more objectively.  Consider the reason you’re angry & pray about it.  Maybe you can learn something from the anger or the situation.  Maybe it will help motivate you to change.  Few things are as good a motivator as anger, after all.

While I’m not saying act carelessly out of anger, let it help you.  Don’t let it be a waste.  Let your anger teach or help you in whatever way it can.  It can be uncomfortable to experience but it also can be a very good teacher & helper.

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How Many Abuse Victims Process Negative Emotions

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January 29, 2021 · 6:30 AM

Facts About Toxic Shame

Toxic shame can be one of the most damaging aspects of narcissistic abuse.  It tells a victim that something is deeply wrong with them, unlike guilt which tells a person that they did something wrong.  This shame obliterates self esteem & makes a victim easier to control.  This is why shame is such a common weapon of narcissists.  It’s extremely effective.

Narcissists instill toxic shame in their victims in various ways.  They let their victim know that their feelings, thoughts, & beliefs are wrong.  The victims likes & dislikes are also harshly judged & criticized.  In fact, everything about the victim is harshly judged & criticized.  His or her looks, actions, hopes, dreams & more.  Even if a victim tries to be what the narcissist wants, the narcissist will let the victim know it isn’t good enough.  In fact, nothing the victim does is good enough.  Instead of the victim seeing this as the narcissist is impossible to please, most victims take it as them being a failure for not pleasing their narcissist, which adds to their toxic shame.

Shame also forces victims to keep the abuse secret.  The victim is too embarrassed to admit that they tolerate such cruelty in some cases.  In others, the victim is ashamed of feeling angry or hurt by the abuse because the narcissist has convinced the victim that the victim is the reason for the abusive behavior or that it really isn’t abuse, the victim is being oversensitive.  Either way, the abuse being kept a secret is another benefit for the narcissist.  They can continue the abuse without fear of the victim exposing their heinous acts.

Even once a victim ends the relationship with a narcissist, toxic shame is still a part of that victim’s life until he or she realizes it & works on healing.  Adults with toxic shame end up in abusive relationships, whether they be romantic, friendships or coworkers.  They are depressed & seldom realize why.  They often have tremendous anxiety as well.  They live to please other people, & feel as though they fail even when told they have done a great job.  They have no self esteem.  They’re simply miserable!

One of the best ways to start to combat toxic shame is by talking about the abuse.  Being open about your experiences is a very effective way to release the power they have over you.  I’ve thought of it like this… if you remember anything about the old legends of vampires, when they were in the dark, they were incredibly powerful.  Nothing could stop them.  Yet, in the sunlight, they were powerless in the short time before they were destroyed.  Talking about the effects of the abuse is the same.  Being open about it releases the power it has over you.  In fact, it enables you to take back your power!  By talking about it, you’re basically telling your abuser, “This is my story too & I have every right to talk about it.  You can’t stop me anymore!”

By talking about the abuse, I’m not saying you need to talk about it non stop to everyone, write books or have a blog like mine.  You have to do whatever feels right to you.  It’s usually best to start out by praying about it.  Also, you can write in a journal.  From there, you can talk to a safe person such as a close friend or counselor.   Take baby steps, since talking about it can be pretty scary at first.  As you get more comfortable discussing it, maybe one day you will feel like creating a blog or writing a book about your story.  Only God knows what the best plan for you is.  Until such time as that plan is revealed though, start talking.  It will help you destroy that toxic shame & live a happier life!

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Another Way To Help You Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

I recently watched a show about cults, & this episode featured the Heaven’s Gate cult.  The entire story is interesting, but something said during an interview with an anti-cult lawyer really got my attention.

He was talking about how in cults, many people are forced to change their name to something very different, & Heaven’s Gate was no exception.  He said something to the effect that many cult leaders require this of anyone who wishes to join them.  It is a way to shed their old identity & take up a new one.  Interesting, no?

It made me think of something.  Many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse have changed our names.  I’ve done it.  My parents always referred to me as “Cindy”.  Now I ask no one call me that, & call me “Cynthia” instead.  Other people may take this to a more extreme place & legally change their name to something entirely different, sometimes even changing their last name as well.

In any case, I think this is a good idea however it’s done.

When narcissists are involved with something, that thing can be tainted somehow.  As an example, if you dated a narcissist who loved the same restaurant you love, after breaking up, you probably won’t want to visit that restaurant anymore.  The same kind of thing can happen with your name.  My parents never, ever called me Cynthia.  My mother always said she loved the name Cindy, & C-I-N-D-Y is the only correct way to spell the name.  As a result, Cindy feels nothing like the person I am, but the dysfunctional mess that I used to be.  The person my parents created.  By choosing to go by Cynthia, I took their power away by essentially killing off Cindy.  As far as I’m concerned, that person no longer exists & will NOT be resurrected under any circumstances.  Cynthia is the person that I’ve created, & the narcissists who have been in my life have absolutely no part in her.

If you’re reading this today, I hope you’ll consider what I’ve said.  Whether you opt to alter your given name slightly, change its spelling or legally change it to something entirely different, it really can be a healing move.  It empowers you by giving you control over something you should have control over.  At the same time, it also helps you to shed the person that the narcissist in your life tried to turn you into.  I can tell you, after years of being Cynthia, when I look at old things with Cindy on it, such as papers from when I was in school, it feels very different.  When I look at my old name, even in my handwriting, it feels as if that is someone else I once knew & quite frankly, never really liked.

One final thought.. if you do opt to do this, if possible, I really don’t recommend telling the narcissist what you have done.  If he or she is still in your life, then they will ruin it for you, & you’ll be right back to square one.  You making a change to your name in any way will offend the narcissist, because it’s something you decided to do & followed through doing all on your own, without his or her input.  Because of this, that will gain disapproval & anger.  It’s better not to let the narcissist know this.  My parents died without knowing I asked people to call me Cynthia.  I did once tell my mother I preferred Cynthia, which shocked her, but I always signed cards to my parents Cindy, as she preferred.  I knew who I was, in spite of them, so it wasn’t a big deal.  It was a small price to pay to keep the peace in that area.  

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Identifying Victims From Narcissists Who Pretend To Be Victims

Many narcissists, in particular covert ones, love to portray themselves as victims no matter how badly they have abused someone.  They prefer to hide behind the mask of innocent victim than to show people the ugly truth, that they are evil & abusive.  Unfortunately countless people fall for their victim act.  Real victims act very differently, & those who have bought a narcissist’s victim act think this means the real victim is the one faking it, not the narcissist.  

People need to be able to identify a genuine victim from a narcissist’s victim act in order to avoid being pulled into a narcissist’s abusive web.  I think this can be especially beneficial when applied to people met online.  So many victims join support groups & forums looking to meet others who share their experiences only to learn someone they met in one of those places is actually a narcissist.  

There are some behaviors narcissists do that give away the fact that they aren’t real victims. One thing they do is only tell their side of the story.  What I mean is narcissists will talk about how the other person yelled at them or called the police on them, yet not share any information on what led up to that scenario.  They make it sound like the other person just snapped suddenly for no good reason, & attacked them.  A real victim doesn’t do that.  They tell the entire story, not leaving out selected parts that might make them look bad.

Along those lines, if a narcissist feels they must mention some bad behavior they have done, they make excuses for it.  For example, say they hit their victim in a fit of rage.  They will find ways to blame the other person for making them hit them.  Or, they will excuse it away, maybe saying the other person hit them first.  A real victim doesn’t make excuses or blame others for their bad actions.  They admit their bad behavior & accept responsibility for what they have done, no matter how ashamed of it they are.

Narcissists also turn any conversation back to their situation, even when speaking with victims such as in an online group.  Real victims support each other.  Sure, they share examples from their own life some, but they keep the focus on the person doing the talking.

Narcissists talk about the situation over & over.  They tell their story to anyone who will listen, even if the listener isn’t interested.  They seem to want to tell everyone how badly they were treated.  Real victims don’t talk to anyone & everyone about their story.  They are selective with whom they discuss their situation.  Even if they are like me & write publicly about it, when it comes to discussing it, they still are selective.

Narcissists want pity.  They want to be seen as a completely innocent victim who did nothing to deserve what was done to them, so people will pity them.  Real victims don’t look for pity.  Empathy is great as is support, but pity isn’t something real victims want.

Narcissists expect everyone to understand their plight & offer them validation.  Real victims aren’t like that.  They know not everyone can relate to their situation.  They know not everyone will care that they were abused.  They don’t need external validation.  They know what they have been through, & that is enough for them.

Everyone needs to be aware of these behaviors in others, in particular victims of narcissistic abuse.  Not everyone who says they were abused by a narcissist is truly a victim.  There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, who look for true victims to meet the sick needs they have.  Consider a person’s behavior rather than blindly believing someone who tells you they are a victim of abuse.

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Narcissists Aren’t The Only Ones Who Have Important Things Happen To Them

Anyone who has been subjected to narcissistic abuse knows that unless it affects a narcissist, a narcissist isn’t going to care about it.  Period.  As if that isn’t bad enough, they train victims to feel the same way.  No matter what happens to a victim, it isn’t important.  You could be lying in a pool of blood after someone hacked off your leg while the narcissist with you has a cold, & that narcissist will do their best to convince you that your freshly severed leg is no big deal.  Their sniffles though, now that is a crisis, so you need to stop whining about your leg!

Narcissists manage to convince victims of the lack of importance of their problems subtly.  They’re so subtle, most of us don’t even pay attention to what they are doing until years later when we realize it.

My overtly narcissistic mother simply ignored my problems.  I might as well have said nothing, because she would act as if I didn’t say anything or talk over me to change the subject.  There were other times if she did listen, she would blame me for the problem, even when I wasn’t at fault.

My father & ex husband, both covert narcissists, used a different tactic.  They would let me talk, listening to every word I said.  It seemed like they cared, but they didn’t.  They wouldn’t respond like a normal person & say “I’m sorry that happened to you” or “Are you ok?  Can I do anything to help?”  Instead, they would tell me how upset they were or how hard my problem was for them.

For example, the night in 1990 when I was 19 & my mother threw me into a wall, both my father & ex husband turned that into their crisis.  My ex said how upset he was that my mother did this, he was furious with her for hurting my back, etc. etc.  Not once that evening or in the years following did he offer me any comfort.

My father brought up that night periodically until he died.  Mostly about how awful it was that when he walked out, my mother locked him out of the house.  His keys were in his pocket & he could’ve come back inside at any time.  He also mentioned how bad the damage was where my mother threw me into.  It took him time to patch it up.  A couple of years before he died, my father literally said to me, “It’s ok.. you don’t have to apologize for busting up that wall.  I fixed it & it’s all over.”  I was blown away!  Why would I apologize?  Yes, it was me that broke a wall but not due to my own carelessness!  It was because my mother, who was much stronger than me, threw me into the thing!  And for the record, I told him this.

Although narcissists are clearly very good at training their victims to think their problems don’t matter, that doesn’t mean they are correct.  Not by a long shot, in fact.  For some reason, I never saw it until a few months after my mother died.  That is when I suddenly realized how it happened & how terrible it is!  I repeatedly have told myself that it wasn’t so bad, how my parents & ex treated me.  I’ve even doubted having C-PTSD in spite of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression & more.

Please learn from my experiences!  Don’t buy the narcissist’s lies!  What happens to you *is* important!  It does matter!  Acknowledge your experiences for whatever they were.  Admit to yourself that you did great sometimes in spite of what the narcissist tells you.  Also admit that the traumatic ones were bad.  There is nothing wrong with that!  In fact, it’s a good thing to do because once you realize that, you can start to heal.

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

Socially Acceptable & Unacceptable Trauma Responses

Have you ever noticed there are socially acceptable & socially unacceptable responses to trauma?  There are.  The especially interesting part is the socially acceptable ones are the most unhealthy trauma responses & encouraged.

Some socially acceptable trauma responses are:

  • being a workaholic.
  • focusing on career over family.
  • never taking breaks.
  • being over scheduled or too busy.
  • sleeping too little.
  • excessive exercising.
  • under eating.

Some socially unacceptable trauma responses are:

  • taking time off to relax.
  • crying or being angry about the trauma.
  • admitting that it still upsets you, even years after the trauma.
  • taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication.
  • seeing a counselor.
  • severing ties with an abuser.
  • discussing the abuse.

When you live with PTSD or C-PTSD, trying to heal is tough enough.  It’s not easy, even under the best of circumstances.  It’s much worse though when you have people telling you that your healthy coping skills aren’t healthy, & insisting you instead use unhealthy coping skills.

Having been through narcissistic abuse, I can vouch for the insecurity that comes from it.  It takes a conscious focus on my part not to assume someone’s criticism of me is right & to consider what is said before assuming I’m wrong, & frankly I’m not always good at this.  When someone tells me I should use one of the unhealthy trauma responses instead of my healthy ones, naturally I figure they’re right & feel shame.  No doubt many of you reading this experience the same type of response.

You can learn to deal with the dysfunctional response in these types of situations.

Remember, the world thinks quite skewed in the area of mental health.  No one bats an eye at someone who goes to a doctor with a broken leg, yet many of those same people claim someone is weak for seeing a counselor for their mental health problems.  That is just one example of this skewed thinking.  Anyway just because so many people think this way doesn’t mean they are right.  What others think about how you heal isn’t important.  What is important is that it works for you.

Use logical thinking.  When someone criticizes you for how you approach your emotional healing, ask yourself if what they say makes sense & why.  For example, if someone says you’re being lazy, you need to keep busy instead of taking time off, think about this statement for a moment.  How would keeping busy benefit you?  Sure, you might be busy enough not to think about your problems for a bit, but that won’t last forever.  Besides, ignoring emotions means they will come out in unhealthy ways later.  So many addicts became addicts because they tried to avoid facing their own traumas.  Considering all of this, do you really think this person gave you good advice?

Another thing to consider is people view things through the lens of their own experiences.  Many people who are the quickest to judge others’ healing journeys are ones who also have been abused, but refuse to deal with that.  Rather than be inspired by someone else facing their pain, they get upset by it.  They often think because they aren’t facing their past trauma, they are over it.  They’re functioning just fine while someone else is suffering with C-PTSD.  In their mind, clearly that person is weak & could learn a thing or two from the person without C-PTSD.  They honestly think they’re helping by telling the other person what they do, which involves their socially acceptable trauma responses.

Remember, just because some people think your approach to healing is wrong doesn’t mean that is true.  You have to do whatever works best for you.  What others think shouldn’t matter.  All that should matter to you is that what you’re doing helps you to heal.

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“You Can’t Love Someone Until You Love Yourself”

One cliche I’ve heard my entire life was “You can’t love someone until you love yourself.”  My mother said it periodically when I was growing up, & somehow it never felt right to me even when I was just a little kid.

As an adult, I have come to realize how wrong this is, & how shaming as well.

Wrong because just because a person has low or no self esteem, doesn’t mean they are incapable of love.  It only means they don’t love themselves.  People who feel this way are very capable of loving others, & it shows when they love their spouse, children, family, friends, pets.   I was this same way for many years.  I absolutely hated myself, yet absolutely adored certain people in my life as well as my pets.  They all meant the world to me & I would have done anything for any of them.

This phrase is shaming because it makes people feel that they lack this one basic skill any human being has, to love.  Victims of narcissistic abuse already have enough shame to deal with thanks to the narcissists in their lives.  They don’t need any more false, toxic shame heaped onto them.

What can be true, although certainly is not true in all cases, is if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others in a Godly & healthy way.  In cases where someone has been abused in childhood, that person may not yet know how to love someone in a healthy way.  They may think if they love someone enough, they can fix their abusive ways.  In fact, this may seem good or even Godly to the dysfunctional person.  Sadly, many people support such dysfunctional thinking, encouraging the unhealthy behaviors.  Some folks even will quote Scriptures that are taken totally out of context to validate their beliefs.

A dysfunctional person also may think boundaries are selfish & unloving, so they think telling someone no is a bad thing.  Out of good intentions, they allow other people to come first in their lives, even if it costs them their health, finances, or peace.  They mistakenly hurt themselves under the delusion they’re being loving.

Similarly, a dysfunctional person may think that giving a person whatever they want is the most loving thing they can do for someone.  They fail to realize that sometimes, people need to struggle for what they want in order to learn to appreciate things.

Many dysfunctional people also think that if they are just nice enough or good enough, they can make an abusive person love them.  They don’t realize that is impossible, because abusers are incapable of true, Godly love.  They also fail to realize that the harder they try, the more abusive an abuser will become, because they see this person as weak & willing to please them at any personal cost.  I experienced this first hand.  My late mother in-law hated me.  Being young & naive, I wanted her to like me, so I tried hard to make that happen.  Nothing I did was good enough, & our relationship only got worse.

The fact is, to love others, we must learn what true love really is.  It is wanting what is best for another person rather than what we want from that person.  It is wanting them to succeed in life, & enjoy their life.  It is wanting them to live whatever their best life is, even if it goes against something we would like for them.  Mostly, it is wanting others to have a close personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.  Any person can want these things for other people, even when they don’t love themselves.

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About Coping With Pain & Suffering

I get a daily email from the funeral home that took care of my mother when she died.  It sometimes has good & interesting emails.  Sadly though because our relationship was so abnormal, & it’s aimed for people with normal relationships who are grieving, it isn’t usually particularly helpful.

I just read the first email I truly disliked.  Even so, I think it can be a valuable teaching tool, even for those in relationships with narcissists.

The email quoted a book written by a young woman whose sister died.  She said her mother cried non stop.  She wore headphones constantly so she wouldn’t have to hear her mother cry, & her father worked very long hours for the same reason.  The commentary on this brief story said that as someone grieving, you should consider how your actions affect others.  You should keep your home life as normal as possible.  People who love you will be upset to see you suffering.  It ended with take time to share your feelings & not isolate yourself.

When I read this, it bothered me.

Not talking things out isn’t healthy.  Whether you’re grieving as the lady in this article or suffering at the hands of a narcissist. you have to talk about things.  You can’t ignore things & hope they’ll go away because they won’t.  The same goes for toning bad things down when you do talk about them.  It’s wise to share only with people you know are safe of course, so I’m not saying talk to just anyone.  Only aim to talk with safe people who won’t judge, criticize or invalidate you.  Can you imagine how much better the lady in this article would’ve felt if she had someone to talk to?!

Also, it seems to me the family in this article split up rather than pulling together with their shared loss.  That isn’t healthy!  The family in this email would have been so much better off if they would have spoken to each other about what each one was feeling & supported each other.  Whether you are grieving a death like the lady in this article or are suffering at the hands of an abuser, you should come together with people who are experiencing a situation similar to yours.  That way you can help each other to get through.  Finding that common ground with another person also can be incredibly validating!  If you don’t know anyone, there are countless online forums & groups on social media sites where you can meet such people.

The final sentence bothered me, too.   It seemed to me that taken in context with the rest of it basically said, “Let people know you’re upset, but not *too* upset.”  That is just wrong.  If people truly care about you, naturally they don’t want to see you upset of course, but they also won’t expect you to hide your feelings just to appease them.  They would rather see you bawl your eyes out or yell than plaster on a fake smile & pretend everything is ok.  They probably would see through the fake smile easily anyway.  I know my friends would.  If you’re suffering at the hands of a narcissist in particular, I know it can feel sometimes like no one cares, but that isn’t true!  That is only what the narcissist wants you to think, so you won’t discuss the abuse with anyone.  There will be people who genuinely care & want to help you.  Let them!

In the midst of suffering, it really can feel like there is no escape, like you’re all alone & no one cares.  Don’t believe that!  People do care & you can get through this.  And most importantly, there is a God who loves you so much & will be there for you no matter what.  Don’t forget to turn to Him & let Him help you to get through!

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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“Super Powers” In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently saw the most interesting conversation on television!  In this particular scene, a younger lady was talking with an older lady.  The younger lady was deaf, & discussing how things went when she began to lose her hearing in her teens.  She said she was afraid & angry, naturally, but her older sister told her being deaf was her super power.  She learned how to adapt to this new life which obviously wasn’t easy.  She also mentioned how people in their community were learning sign language, & that it was all because of her.

Immediately I began to think of those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.  We have super powers too!

We survived some pretty horrific stuff!  Simply surviving narcissistic abuse definitely fits into the super power category!  Many people don’t.  They end up committing suicide, & quite honestly, who can blame them?  Like many others, I sure considered it plenty when I was going through it.

We also not only survived, but we did so with our sanity & humanity in tact.  Narcissists pull out all the stops when they abuse their victims in an attempt to utterly destroy them.  Surviving that without becoming angry or bitter or continuing their abuse is really impressive!  Many people who survive narcissistic parents simply don’t have the strength or courage to break the cycle of abuse, & they abuse their children.

Many of us go on to talk openly about our painful experiences, & by doing so, help other people.  We create awareness of narcissistic abuse, which is desperately needed.  And, we help other victims to learn what is happening with them when we discuss our experiences.  I’m sure you remember how it was prior to learning about narcissistic abuse.  You felt like you were going crazy, maybe the narcissist was right & you were causing all of the problems in the relationship & more.  Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is incredibly freeing because you learn the narcissist is the problem, not you like the narcissist said.  By discussing your experiences openly, you’re helping other people obtain that freedom!  Also, by discussing narcissistic abuse, we are able to show others what does & doesn’t work with not only dealing with narcissists but the healing process as well.

If you have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, you aren’t exempt from having the super powers.  I know many who have it consider themselves weak or seriously flawed, but that isn’t the case at all!  You simply have a scar that shows yourself & others you survived some pretty horrific stuff.  I know C-PTSD is horrible, I live with it too.  But living with something so painful & challenging is a super power!

And you know something else?  By being open & honest about your struggles with C-PTSD, you’re helping others.  You may help some people who may not yet realize they too have the disorder.  They may hear of your struggles & realize this is what’s been happening with them.  While naturally no one wants to be diagnosed with any illness, mental or physical, if you’re suffering with symptoms & have no clue why, learning what is happening is incredibly helpful!  Having answers means you know what you’re dealing with & can find the proper treatment.

Also, by discussing your symptoms openly & how you cope with those symptoms, you help others find ways to manage their symptoms.  It can be so hard to come up with ideas to help yourself, especially when symptoms are flaring up, which means learning what works & doesn’t work for others can be extremely helpful!

Please never forget, Dear Reader, that you have super powers.  You survived some of the cruelest abuse a human can survive & are going on to help others.  Those are some impressive super powers!  That is amazing & you should be very proud of yourself!

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Being Too Busy

So many people seem to admire others who are constantly busy.  If you don’t believe me, you can see this for yourself.  If someone asks what you’ve been up to lately, notice their reaction to your answer.  If you say, “Not much,” most people look a bit disgusted with that answer.  However, if you say, “I’ve been really busy,” most people look pleased with your answer.

Keeping busy isn’t always the good thing many people think it is though.  Constantly going takes a toll on your physical, emotional & even spiritual health.  Physical because you aren’t taking the proper time to rest like your body needs you to.  Emotional because you aren’t allowing your mind to relax or giving it time to process things you need to process.  Spiritual because you aren’t taking time to spend with God, so He can restore you,  heal you or simply love you like you need.

Keeping busy is also a trauma related response.  Many people who have experienced trauma throw themselves into activities or work rather than take the proper time to face & heal from their trauma.  Think about it.  How many people after the death of someone they love, for example, suddenly get more active in work, volunteering, working at their church or other activities?  A lot of people do this.  They also will frequently say something like keeping busy helps them not to think about their departed loved one so much.  Whether or not they realize it, they are trying to avoid the pain of missing their loved one by being so busy, they don’t have time to think about that pain.

As hard as it can be to stop this behavior, it really is important to do so.  If you are too busy, I’d like to encourage you to pray about it.  Ask God to help you let go of activities that aren’t beneficial to you, to help you streamline your life so you will have more free time, & to give you the courage & strength you need to face the issues you have been avoiding.

Also, seriously examine your activities.  Are there things you do that aren’t bringing you any joy or benefiting your life in any way?  Then it may be time to abandon them if possible.  Or, if you can’t fully abandon them, how about reducing the time, energy & finances spent on those activities?

Use technology to help you.  I lean heavily on Google Calendar.  It took some time to set it up, but once I did that, it’s become a life saver!  All important dates are on it, such as birthdays & anniversaries.  I also added dates our monthly bills are due (including notifications for a week or two before to remind me they are coming up soon so I can plan accordingly), & have them recur each month.  My husband & I both have Calendar on our cell phones, so we know when we have plans, when we have free time & when our bills are due.

Another useful tool is paying bills online.  Most companies save your payment information so if you pay the bill once, you can return each month, click a couple of buttons & pay your bill.  If you are financially able, another useful feature is automatic payments.  Most companies allow customers to schedule their payment so it automatically comes out of the bank on the same day each month.

Decluttering is another way to free up time.  Yes, it takes time to do, but once it’s done, it’s a wonderful thing.  My Grandmom had an aversion to clutter, & would say more stuff is only more stuff to clean & maintain.  She was right.  Less stuff to clean & maintain means more free time for you.

Use common sense, & you no doubt will see activities you can stop or do a different way to free up some time in your life.  You’ll enjoy your life a lot more when you have plenty of time to spend in prayer, reading, or whatever other ways you like to spend your time.  You’ll also be much less anxious & more able to face whatever issues you need to face.  xoxo

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Any Reaction Is Good As Far As Narcissists Are Concerned

Narcissists do their best to elicit reactions from their victims.  It doesn’t matter to them if the reaction is positive or negative, so long as it’s a strong reaction.

If you react positively to a narcissist, this provides narcissistic supply because it builds up their ego.  They see your reaction as proof that they are the awesome, amazing person they want people to think they are.  This means they will pursue you fervently in order to gain more of that precious supply you provide.

If you react negatively to a narcissist, this also provides narcissistic supply.  In the mind of the narcissist, it proves they are incredibly powerful.  After all, only a powerful person could elicit such a reaction, as far as they’re concerned.  Or, they can portray themselves as your victim, which is another great way for them to gain supply.  This situation also means they will pursue you fervently, because they want that narcissistic supply.

Narcissists really are experts at creating “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenarios, aren’t they?

As difficult as it seems, you need to avoid both scenarios.  The more narcissistic supply you provide, the more the narcissist will demand of you.  They will not hesitate to drain you of anything & everything you have- money, possessions, your time, energy, etc- to gain that supply.

To avoid providing a narcissist with supply, you need to stop reacting & start responding.

Reacting is that knee-jerk reaction, that thing that just happens automatically, without thinking.  Responding, however, happens after you take time to calm down & think.  Responding is what you need to do when dealing with a narcissist.

Responding isn’t nearly as easy to do as reacting, but it is possible, even when face to face with a narcissist.  To start with, pray.  Ask God for help responding & to keep your reactions in check.  You also can pray Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (KJV)

Remind yourself how important it is to stay calm.  Remembering why you need to behave this way can be helpful.  Also tell yourself that you can do this, you are well able to remain calm no matter what.   Remember Proverbs 23:7  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…” (KJV)  If you tell yourself such things, you will be able to do them.

Another trick I learned is to stop for a second & take a deep breath, then release it.  This act forces you to calm down because of the breathing.  It also gives you a second to think of a response or ask God for help.

If you are no longer in a relationship with the narcissist, & they are either harassing you (themselves or via flying monkeys) or creating a smear campaign, I still would urge you to remain calm.

If the narcissist is harassing you, block her every way possible- on social media, email, your phone- & ignore her completely no matter what.  If she sends you something via postal mail, before you do anything with it, pray.  Some narcissists see returning mail as contact, thus it provides them with supply, & encourages them to continue harassing you.  Others may not see it that way.  You need to pray about this before you accept or return their mail.  You also may need to get a restraining order (talk to a police officer in your area for more details).  In many cases, narcissists know about stalking laws & stay just barely legal.  This means you can’t get a restraining order since they haven’t broken the law.  Even if you can’t, document everything they do.  Save emails & texts.  Take screen shots.  Save voice mails.  And, save everything in a safe place, such as online storage, so you won’t lose it no matter what.  This way, if the narcissist does break the law at some point, you have evidence that their behavior has been awful for a long time.  This can help you with the legal system.

If flying monkeys are harassing you, also remain calm in their presence & respond, don’t react.  Any reaction on your part just proves to them that the narcissist is right about you & may encourage them to continue abusing you.  Change the subject.  Tell them you don’t wish to discuss the narcissist with them.  If they ignore your boundary, tell them this subject isn’t up for debate & if they continue, you will leave/hang up the phone.  Follow through on your threat.  If the flying monkeys approach in other ways such as via email, ignore the email.

If you’re the victim of a smear campaign, ignore it.  Let your true character shine.   I know it hurts when you hear the horrible lies being told about you, & when people you thought cared about you believe them, & I’m sorry for that.  Unfortunately, people are going to believe what they want to believe.  Some people are so determined to be right, they will ignore all evidence to the contrary.  Let them.  Smear campaigns, as painful as they are, are also a good way to find out who your true friends are.  True friends will question the person saying awful things about you & defend you.  Those people are gems that you should thank God for placing them in your life.

Lastly, you will need to release all the anger & hurt the narcissist has caused you once you are away from them or their flying monkeys.  Prayer is incredibly helpful.  Sometimes you may not feel like talking & journaling is a great way to cope during those times.  I think of my journal entries as talking to God in writing since He & I are the only ones who read my journal.  Talk to a safe friend or counselor.  When you’re able to release the negative emotions, be sure to let it all out.  I admit it- I’ve used awful language & called the narcissists in my life terrible names during those times, but it helped me to purge myself of all the awful feelings.  Not once have I felt God judged me for it either.  Not like He hasn’t heard those kinds of things before!

Whatever your situation with the narcissist in your life, Dear Reader, you can handle it.  I believe in you!  xoxo

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Busyness: An Unhealthy Trauma Based Way To Cope

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Being Supportive Of Other Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

James 4:17 in the Amplified Bible states, “So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.”  These are pretty powerful words, don’t you think?  They made me think….

People sin every day in all kinds of ways, no matter how hard we try not to.  Some by doing something extreme, such as killing another person, but most of the time it’s smaller things.  How many times have you felt in your heart that God wanted you to do something, even just something small, for another person, yet you ignored it?  I don’t even want to think about how many times I have been guilty of this.  I don’t always let that car into my lane when I feel I should or leave a good tip to a waitress as I know in my heart God would like me to do.

There are bigger issues though & yes, they relate to narcissistic abuse.  There are also times I don’t want to listen to another victim of narcissistic abuse tell me their story.  I’m not proud of that but it’s true.  There are times I just can’t because I’m burned out on the topic, & in dire need of a break.  But there are other times when I’m not burned out that I just don’t want to offer support or even just a listening ear for whatever reason.  That is being really selfish & I’m not proud of it.  I also believe it’s a sin, because I know God put this person in my path for a reason.

Unfortunately I think many people are guilty of this same behavior.  We need to use balance & wisdom when someone approaches us, wanting to discuss their experiences with narcissistic abuse.  There are times we need to protect our mental health, such as when burning out on the topic or if the C-PTSD is flaring up.  At those times we can gently explain this isn’t a good time for us to discuss the topic.  Let’s talk later.  Or even suggest they email you.. that way they can get it out now, but you don’t have to deal with it immediately.  It’s a really good solution.

Other times, however, maybe someone needs your support & you just aren’t in the mood to discuss narcissism.  I truly get that.  I am so tired of this topic it’s pitiful!  That being said though, if someone is suffering, it isn’t fair to brush them off just because I don’t feel like talking about a topic they need to discuss.  It’s unkind, & there is already a lack of kindness in the world today.

I’ve found if I know I should be there for someone when I’m not really feeling my most supportive, there are ways I can motivate myself.  Knowing I’m helping someone is wonderful of course, but there are times I need a little extra motivation  I think of a little reward for myself I can do or get later.  Maybe it’s a new bottle of nail polish or time alone with a good movie & some knitting.  The rewards are nothing really extravagant, just little things I like.  It’s amazing how silly little things like that can be so motivating.  It’s a good thing though, because it helps you to do the right thing when you just don’t want to.  You also get a little something you really like

When in these situations, how can you think to help to motivate yourself?  Like I said, it doesn’t even have to be extravagant.  Some small little thing can be surprisingly motivating.  And never forget the best part of all.. you’re helping someone else who has suffered as you have.

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Secrets Narcissists Have But Hope Victims Don’t Learn

Narcissists have secrets that they hope will remain secret indefinitely.  Learning these secrets can help you when you must deal with a narcissist or to sever ties with them.

One of their biggest fears is that they will be forced to be held accountable for their actions.  Document EVERYTHING the narcissist says & does to you.  Save voicemails, text messages, emails, screen shots, etc.  Save these items to cloud storage or email them to yourself & save on the server rather than on your phone & computer to be sure they aren’t accidentally lost.  Don’t forget to hide the access information from the narcissist too!  This documentation can work to your advantage if you need to go to the police, go to court or get a restraining order.  It also can make a narcissist afraid of being exposed, damaging their reputation.   Mention discussing their behavior with someone, for example.  No doubt the narcissist will immediately tell you what a horrible person that is you’ve been speaking with in an attempt to make you stop speaking to them.  This fear of discovery means they may discard you quickly, freeing you of their abuse, so don’t hesitate to drop hints about documenting their behavior. 

Acting indifferent to a narcissist is devastating to them.  Narcissists love attention, be it good or bad.  Showing a narcissist that nothing they do affects you is utterly devastating to them.  Narcissists feed off of emotional responses, so by denying them that, they will get bored & leave you alone.  If you must deal with a narcissist, show no reaction whatsoever to anything they do.  If you have ended the relationship & they’re trying to harass you, never respond.  Any response will be their fuel to try to hurt you further, so deprive them of that fuel!

Any attempt from a narcissist to lure you back into the relationship isn’t because they truly love & miss you.  Instead, it is so the narcissist can abuse you further, then end the relationship on his or her terms.  Narcissists must be in control & you ending the relationship removed their control.  This infuriates narcissists!  They usually do whatever they can to rekindle the relationship.  They try to lure their victims back with false promises of change or they even try scaring them into resuming the relationship.  Once the victim is back, the narcissist abuses the victim even worse than before, then discards the victim.

You are nothing more than narcissistic supply to a narcissist.  Narcissists don’t see people as human beings.  They only see them as tools to be used however the narcissist sees fit.  This is why they are able to abuse & throw away people so easily.  People mean nothing more to narcissists than a screwdriver or hammer.

When a narcissist tells you someone else is much better than you, what they mean is that person has fallen for their act.  This other person hasn’t caught on to what the narcissist really is yet, so they provide good narcissistic supply.  In the eyes of a narcissist, that makes this person better than you.

Narcissists will apologize, but it won’t be a sincere apology.  Narcissists prefer to control without resorting to apologies, but they will if they think it will get them what they want.  There are big problems with narcissistic apologies, however.  They never accompany the narcissist accepting responsibility for their behavior & making appropriate changes.  As if this doesn’t prove enough that the apology isn’t genuine, their words do that too.  They say things like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or, “I’m sorry you think I did something wrong.”  These fake apologies are meant to pacify a victim by saying, “I’m sorry” while not accepting any responsibility for the bad behavior.

Narcissists will use your empathy against you.  Covert narcissists in particular have no problem making you feel sorry for them if it will accomplish their goal.  They do this in various ways.  One way is apologizing for their actions but offering excuses such as “I was just trying to help!”  or, “I didn’t know that would upset you!”  Adding such comments onto an apology is meant to make you accept their abusive behavior because their excuse makes it ok.  You are supposed to feel ashamed for being upset about their abusive actions, & accept that behavior again.

Keeping these things in mind can help you cope when you must deal with a narcissist.

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Scars

Often a physical injury results in a scar.  Did you ever think about the fact that psychological injuries also result in scars?  They may not be so easy to see like physical scars, but they are there nonetheless.

PTSD & C-PTSD are scars that result from exposure to extreme trauma or multiple traumas.  The traumas were so bad they literally “broke” a person’s brain, causing physical changes, that create some very difficult problems to cope with.

Depression is a scar resulting from living through the horrors of emotional abuse.  The constant berating, gaslighting & more of emotional abuse created depression that can last even long after the relationship has ended.

Anxiety is a scar that comes from living with someone, either a parent or a spouse who is demanding, highly volatile & unpredictable.  The constant feeling of walking on eggshells in an attempt to avoid angry outbursts creates anxiety that can last a lifetime, whether or not the volatile person is still in a victim’s life or not.

These scars are incredibly difficult to live with, I know.  I live with C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse I’ve endured.  It is a horrible disorder to live with but for me, the anxiety & depression are probably the worst parts of it.  It could be very easy to get caught up in the heartbreaking, discouraging & unfair nature of it all.  Honestly, there are some times that happens.  However, there are also times it doesn’t happen because of the perspective I try to have on these scars.  My hope is this information will help you too.

Scars remind you of what you’ve been through so you retain what you learned.  Having survived narcissistic parents, an ex husband, in-laws & countless so called friends & family, naturally I’ve learned a lot.  That’s a good thing, because now I spot unsafe people easily.  I know quickly either to avoid them or to have firm boundaries in place if I must deal with them.  I also know when they are attempting to manipulate me, & avoid falling for their games.

Scars also remind you that you survived something that was meant to destroy you.  This can be really hard to remember when you’re facing suicidal thoughts, flashbacks or paralyzing anxiety or depression, but it’s true.  The goal of narcissists is to destroy their victim emotionally.  (If they can tear a person down enough, that person will be easy to bend to their will, so it just makes sense that is the goal of narcissists.)  You survived that!  Yes, you still have issues from it but who wouldn’t?!  You survived something really terrible, & that is the main thing!

What I think is the best part of all is that scars also are an excellent reminder of God being by your side, through this “valley of the shadow of death,” so to speak.  Remember Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;” (KJV)  Your scar is reminder that although you went through something utterly horrific, God was by your side the entire time helping you to survive.  He loves you so much, & your scars are a reminder of that wonderful fact.

When you have problems because of the scars you have as a result of surviving narcissistic abuse, please try not to get discouraged!  I know it’s hard, but you can do it.  Remember the points in this post.  Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  Acknowledge your feelings & accept them.  If you feel things like you’re damaged, a burden to your loved ones or other negative things like that, remind yourself that they are simply old beliefs stemming from narcissistic abuse.  And, most of all, lean on God.  Pray often. Ask Him for comfort, strength, wisdom, guidance & anything else you can think of.  Remember, He was there with you “through the valley of the shadow of death.”  He is still with you!

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Why Victims Should Tell Their Stories

Before I write one word on this topic, let me just say that I don’t believe every single person who has experienced abuse must write books or a blog about their experiences.  It’s a very good thing to do of course, but it also isn’t every person’s calling in life.  If you’re reading this & immediately felt badly because you have yet to write publicly about your experiences, then please stop.  You have no reason to feel badly!  That may not be what God has planned for you, & there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

That being said….

I firmly believe that everyone who has suffered narcissistic abuse needs to be open about their experiences.  No victim has a reason to feel shame for being abused, so why hide it?  Why pretend it didn’t happen?  Instead, be open about your story.  The Bible says in  Proverbs 31:8-9:

“Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!”  (MSG)

By being open about your story, you can help other people!  Sharing your story in any capacity can let people know that they aren’t alone.  There are so many victims who don’t understand their pain & your story can help them.  There also are those who don’t know anything but abuse, & when they hear your similar story to theirs, their eyes open.  Suddenly they see how wrong the things that were done to them were.  Your story can give them the courage to walk away.

If you speak openly & without shame about your awful experiences, you can do more good than you realize.  You can help people in so many ways by doing nothing more than talking.

And, if you think this is only about other people, you’re wrong.  By being willing to discuss your own experiences, you can help yourself as well.

Do you know anything about the legends of vampires?  I read quite a bit about them when I was a kid.  I learned that vampires were very powerful, supernaturally powerful in fact, unless they were exposed to the sunlight.  The sun would utterly destroy  these impossibly strong, immortal beings by turning them into dust.  That same principle applies to issues stemming from abuse.  So long as they remain in the dark, in other words, they aren’t discussed, are ignored or hidden, they have a great deal of power.  They control your life.  Once you discuss them however, they lose that power like a vampire in the sunlight.  Discussing your issues helps to release you from their hold over you somehow.  It’s incredibly healing to be open about abusive experiences.

In my younger days, even though I knew something was very wrong, I still didn’t want to discuss the abusive situations I experienced.  I felt like if I did so, I was betraying my abusive parents & ex husband.  It seemed wrong to do anything other than hide what they did to me.  Not that they told me I shouldn’t tell anyone what they were doing, but it was as if it was some unwritten rule that I shouldn’t tell anyone what they did.  Many victims of abuse feel much the same as I did, that they shouldn’t “tattle” on their abuser.

I want to tell you today that this thinking is wrong.  This is your story too, not only that of the abuser!  You have every right to share as much or as little as you want to.  Abusers aren’t the only ones who can talk about whatever they want!  You have that right as well!

I do want you to know that if you opt to discuss your experiences freely either verbally or in writing, you need to be aware of the laws against libel & slander in your state.  While you are free to discuss your situation, you also need to use wisdom when it comes to protecting yourself in any capacity from your abuser.  Even with these limitations in place, you can say an awful lot, & help many people!  I wish you the best in doing so!  xoxo

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Ongoing Problems As You Heal

When you are healing from narcissistic abuse, it can be incredibly discouraging.  It sometimes seems like no matter what you do, you still have problems that you cannot fix, which can be incredibly frustrating!

Recently, my husband turned a movie on tv whose subject matter was football.  This is not good for me.  When I was growing up, my father was utterly obsessed with football.  He was so obsessed that his normally civil demeanor turned into something resembling a screaming demon if a game was on.  If my mother or I walked into the room, he would yell at us about making too much noise.  If I wanted his attention, I had to sit still & quiet until there was a break in the game.

As a result, I absolutely hate football.  It stirs up memories of feeling less valuable than a leather bag of air & a bunch of guys playing an over-glorified game of fetch.  Just hearing the sounds of a football game makes me angry.

I am in my late forties as I write this.  I have tried to let this go.  I have tried forgiving my father for his jerk-like behavior surrounding this game, & I think I have.  I also understand it is simply the result of some very dysfunctional behavior of my father’s more than a reflection on me.  Yet in spite of it all, football sounds still make me angry.

This has been incredibly discouraging to me!  I have healed from so much of the abuse I have experienced.  So why is this still a problem??

One day several years ago, God showed me this verse….

Philippians 1:6 in the Amplified Bible says,

“I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].”

Suddenly everything clicked…

On this healing journey, there are going to be issues we do not heal from in this lifetime.  God will work with us & on us.  He will continue to improve us & heal us.  Yet, even so, some things are going to be an issue for as long as we live.

When this happens, Dear Reader, know it does NOT mean something is wrong with you.  It simply means you are normal.  It can be incredibly frustrating I know, but at least it does not mean you are doing something wrong, or are broken beyond repair.  It just means you are a normal human being!

Rather than be upset about this, why not do what you can to accept this as a simple shortcoming & rely on God to help you get through?    Remember, Psalm 23:4 says,

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The valley of the shadow of death is never pleasant of course, but even so, you can get through it.  In my experience, it is those trips through that awful valley that brought me closer to God.  Also sharing my ongoing issues like this often mean someone who reads my story also can relate & is comforted by knowing someone else understands their struggles. This means something good can come from those dark times!  That pain has a purpose!  As bad & painful as the bad times are, it truly helps when you know that something good can come from them & your pain was not in vain.  If you have trouble understanding what the purpose is, ask God to show you, to help you see the purpose.  He truly will not disappoint you!

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Understanding Narcissistic Behavior

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Some Thoughts About Grief

Two years ago today, my father passed away.  Naturally, the date has me thinking a lot.  I tend to overthink anyway so no big surprise there.. lol

One thing that came to mind is a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye that my father liked….

“Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am in a thousand winds that blow,

I am the softly falling snow.

I am the gentle showers of rain,

I am the fields of ripening grain.

I am in the morning hush,

I am in the graceful rush

Of beautiful birds in circling flight,

I am the starshine of the night.

I am in the flowers that bloom,

I am in a quiet room.

I am in the birds that sing,

I am in each lovely thing.

Do not stand at my grave bereft

I am not there. I have not left.”

Lovely, isn’t it?  It offers a great reminder that when someone we love has passed away, there are still things surrounding us that help us remember that person.  For example, when I see  butterflies, I think of my granddad, & monarch butterflies remind me of my father’s miraculous salvation at the end of his life.  They always make me smile.

When the person who died is a narcissist, it’s certainly understandable if you don’t want reminders of that person.  I understand completely, as sometimes reminders of my late parents are hard for me to handle.  However, if you have lost someone you love, those reminders can offer a great comfort.  They remind you that you can see your loved one again someday or of some good times you shared.

I’ve also come to realize that items hold energy.  I don’t mean things can be haunted like in scary old ghost stories.  What I mean is items that were particularly close to someone seem to hold a bit of that person’s “vibe” if you will.  For example, I have some of my paternal grandmother’s jewelry.  I love wearing it!  It brings me comfort, reminds me of her or good times we shared.  It’s as if I carry a bit of her essence with me when I wear it.

There also is a negative side to this.  If the person whose item you have was abusive, the item can make you feel bad.  I tried wearing some jewelry belonging to my narcissistic maternal grandmother.  It was pretty, I like pretty jewelry, so it seemed natural for me to wear it.  I quickly realized it didn’t feel right.  It also made me feel as if I carried a bit of her essence with me, but the problem was, unlike my other grandmother, she was cruel!  That wasn’t the vibe I wanted, so I stopped wearing her jewelry, pretty or not.

Considering all of this, I’ve come to believe that one thing that can help a person can get through grieving the loss of a loved one is having something of their deceased loved one’s.  I’ve also come to believe that if the person who passed away was a narcissist, it may help the person grieving to avoid their possessions.  It really depends on the relationship between the two parties involved.

I’m also not saying you have to cling to or avoid the deceased person’s item forever.  What I am saying is that I believe that it can be helpful when the death is recent & grief is at its most difficult place.  Since my father has been gone a while, now I can handle being around his possessions much easier than I could at first.

Grief is very hard & very painful, whether the person lost is someone you loved or a narcissist.  I sincerely hope this post gives you another helpful way to cope.  xoxo

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Songs About Narcissistic Abuse

I’m really into music, mostly classic & hard rock/metal.  I find music to be very good for one’s mental health.  A song can transport you back to a special memory such as your first slow dance or maybe the day you met your spouse.  It also has a way of putting your feelings & experiences into words when you lack that ability.

Recently I realized something as I was listening to some hard rock & heavy metal music.  I think some artists have experience with narcissists & have made songs about it.  I found their songs oddly validating, & hope you will too.

Below are the songs that made me come to this realization.  The titles are links to the song’s video on YouTube if you want to check it out.  If not though, I understand.  Not everyone is a fan of this kind of music.  I included links to pages that contain just the lyrics for my readers who don’t share my musical tastes.

Thorn In My Side, from the 1992 album “Force Of Habit” by Exodus. Here is the link to the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/exodus/thorninmyside.html  In particular, notice the chorus.  If this doesn’t describe what it’s like growing up with a narcissistic parent, I don’t know what does.  The video also tells the story well.  It nearly brought me to tears the first time I saw it.

You are a thorn in my side,
all my life you never left me alone
Thorn in my side, in your mind you wish I never were born
Thorn in my side, through it all I think you pushed me to fail
Thorn in my side, it’s about time you’re recognized
for your lies and your worthless alibis

Soul Sucker from the 2010 album “Scream” by Ozzy Osbourne.  Here are the lyrics:  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ozzyosbourne/soulsucker.html  The chorus on this song in particular struck me as being very interesting.  It describes very well what it’s like being in a relationship with a narcissist, don’t you think?  Whether the narcissist is a parent or romantic partner, this describes very well how it feels.

Stop talking to me
Just like I don’t even bleed
This cross is heavy when
You’re my soul sucker

Get out of my face
The past is running in place
The slivers cut me as you
Suck the soul right out of me

Soul sucker

Holier Than Thou from the 1991 album “Metallica” (or The Black Album) by Metallica.  Here are the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/metallica/holierthanthou.html  To me, the lyrics sound like they’re describing a narcissist.  So many use God & religion to abuse their victims, & definitely display that “holier than thou” behavior.  My mother did it.  When I was in my teens, she told me she was going to Heaven because she was such a good person, but being such a bad person, I was bound for Hell.  Anyway, I found this part of the song in particular especially interesting:

Before you judge me take a look at you
Can’t you find something better to do
Point the finger, slow to understand
Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand

These songs have made me wonder what other songs out there of any genre also came to be due to narcissistic abuse.  Do you know of any?  Do you find listening to them validating?

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Another Way To Help Anxiety

There is a lot of talk lately about being a minimalist.  In other words, not having tons of stuff.  Some people even give away of most of their belongings & moving into a tiny house or tiny house trailer.

By their definition, I’m not a minimalist.  I need a slightly larger house than that!  However, I’ve always been of the mindset I don’t need a lot & regularly clean out some of my belongings.

Since I periodically help my husband with the unpleasant task of emptying his late parents’ home & am in the process of doing the same to my late parents’ home, I’ve realized this minimalist thing needs to be taken up a notch in my life.  No, I won’t sell my home & replace it with a 300 square foot tiny house, but I am cleaning out.

I’ve found a great deal of pleasure in downsizing.  Recently I went through our entire CD collection.  Somehow it grew to just over 300 CDs! Since I’d ripped most of them & safely stored those mp3 files on online storage, I figured this is ridiculous.  They take up a lot of space in my small house & I’d like my space back.  I made sure everything was ripped & got rid of all but 31 CDs that have some sort of sentimental value.  They now fit in a storage box that’s slightly larger than a shoe box!  I can’t tell you how good it feels not to have that big collection anymore!

I realized that my paternal grandmother was right.  Too much stuff is just more to maintain & clean, which takes up precious time that could be put to more pleasant uses.  Some of those uses are hobbies, hanging out with people you love, volunteering…  I’d love more time for those things, wouldn’t you?

Too much stuff also can create anxiety.  Something about living in a cluttered space makes me VERY anxious, as no doubt it does many other people.  Since those of us who survived narcissistic abuse usually deal with a lot of anxiety, that is what made me think writing about this topic may be a good idea.

If you’re considering downsizing, I have some tips to help you get started.

When considering getting rid of an item, ask yourself what function it has in your life.  Does it make your life easier?  Does it bring you joy?  If the answers are no, it may be time to let that go.

When was the last time you used/wore the item in question?  If it’s been a while, it may be time to let it go.  But, if it’s something you do use, just only maybe once or twice a year, that may be an item to keep.  As an example, not everyone needs a deviled egg plate daily, but sometimes it can be useful.

Consider what your life would be like without the item in question.  Do you think you would feel better or worse without it?  If better, send it to a new home!

If you’re going through items like books, scrapbooks, pictures, movies or music, do you enjoy the hard copy or could you be content with digital only versions?  Digital versions don’t take up space like hard copies do & can be right at your finger tips, so they have a big advantage like that.  However, some things are irreplaceable, so it would be very hard & even depressing to get rid of them.  Use wisdom & balance in these situations.  I have a ton of pictures stored online, but I also have quite a few printed pictures from years ago.  Also, if you opt to keep digital versions, remember – phones, computers, & external hard drives crash.  I recommend using a reputable cloud storage for such things to be sure nothing gets lost.  I like Dropbox but there are also Google Drive & other online storage options.

Is the item a one of a kind item?  That can make it trickier to give away.  If the item has sentimental value because it once belonged to someone you love that has passed on, I recommend keeping it if you can.  If you don’t feel peace about that though, find someone special to pass it along to that you know will love it as you have.

I firmly believe in downsizing, balance is the key.  Clean out!  Give away things that don’t serve you well, but keep things that do serve you & bring you joy.  You may be surprised how much less anxious you are when you realize you have a lot less stuff in your home than you once did.

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Are You Trying To Be Stronger Than You Are?

Society values the strangest things anymore.  For example, being busy is admired these days.  Strange thing to admire since being too busy is unhealthy physically & mentally.

It also seems to me a false strength is admired.  What I mean by false strength is when a person feels unable to continue doing something, but goes on anyway.  Like when a loved one dies, the surviving people are expected to just go on like nothing happened.  People seem to think once the funeral is over, their grief should be too.  It’s time to go on with life at that point.  They don’t realize that for most people, that is when their grief really begins.  Or, if a person is physically ill or disabled yet pushes him or herself to the point of extreme pain &/or fatigue, that is admired.

Another type of false strength that seems to be admired in society is going on as if nothing happened after being abused.  “It’s in the past,” “let it go,” “stop wallowing in the past,” “get over it” & other heartless comments are commonly made to abuse survivors.  What many people fail to realize is we want to let it go & get over it, but we can’t.  We have to process things fully before we can truly let things go.

The simple fact is childhood is an extremely important time in a person’s life.  All things, good, bad or indifferent that happen to children make a very deep imprint on them.  Much deeper than on an adult.  When bad things happen to a child, that child carries that into adulthood, possibly even for their entire life.

Many people who suffered child abuse also have PTSD or C-PTSD.  These are disorders where the victim has experienced so much trauma, their brain has physically changed, broken even.  Neither disorder is something that can be shaken off, & they should be taken seriously.  Many, many people with PTSD or C-PTSD have committed suicide & many consider suicide on a regular basis – these are potentially life threatening disorders!

If you too suffer with PTSD or C-PTSD, then I am particularly writing to you, however, I think this article can benefit most anyone.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I was told constantly how lazy I was.  This has stuck with me – I still battle feeling lazy constantly even though I’m in my 40’s.  Many other adult children of narcissistic parents I’ve spoken with share similar stories with similar results.  I believe for many of us, this is at the root of this “I always have to be strong & productive” behavior.  As a result, we continue pushing ourselves beyond our physical & mental limits constantly rather than be “lazy” like Mom always said we were.

No matter what the reason, continuing to push yourself beyond your limits isn’t being strong- it’s unwise, because you’re putting your physical & mental health at risk!!

I hope to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to learn to take better care of yourself.  The fact you have made it this far shows you are strong- you have nothing to prove to anyone.  Listen to your body & mind.  If they feel stressed, then it’s time to rest.  There is no shame in resting your body & mind.  Even God rested.  Genesis 2:2 states, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”  (KJV)  In fact, there are also several accounts in the Bible where Jesus took off to be by Himself.  There is NOTHING wrong with rest.  It helps you to renew your strength.  In fact, if you incorporate rest into your life as you need it, you will be stronger.  In 2000 when I was one of my grandmother’s caregivers, she ran me ragged.  Once I stopped being at her beck & call constantly, & started making time to rest & take care of myself, I was better able to take care of her.  (And, with her being a narcissist, I needed every advantage I could get too!  lol)

If you truly want to be strong, practice self care & abandon pushing yourself too hard!  It really does make a difference!

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Thinking About Your Past- Good Or Bad?

I caught a brief video on Facebook recently & in it, the gentleman said, “if you hold onto your history, you do so at the expense of your destiny.”  This sounds so inspiring doesn’t it?  But then I paused to think about it for a second.. & it hit me wrong.

Your history can be a very good thing, even when it’s full of awful, negative things &  trauma.

As you live life, you learn.  Good, bad & indifferent, you’re constantly learning things.  If you let go of your past, you’re also letting go of things you’ve learned.  As an example, say you were once married to a narcissist.  It was a horrible & traumatic time.  Then you got away from that person.  As you healed from the experience, you learned a lot.  You learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, ways to identify narcissists & ways that you could heal from the abuse you endured.  If as you heal, you try to forget what that marriage was like, you put yourself in a dangerous position.  Even though you learned how to identify a narcissist, you may not do it.  You may meet another narcissist who wants to date you & even though you recognize the signs, you may think “I’ve learned & grown so much.  I can handle it.  Narcissism isn’t that big of a deal!”  You easily could end up dating or married to this person & suffering another abusive, miserable marriage.  However, if you remember just how awful it was being married to that first narcissist, you won’t even give this one the time of day, let alone become romantically involved.

Another thing to consider… if you wish to heal completely from any emotional trauma or abuse, you have to delve into your past to do so.  To truly heal, you have to get to the root of the dysfunctional behavior that lets you know something is wrong.  If you want to get rid of a weed in your garden, you can pluck it or dig it out by the root.  Only by digging out the root can you truly get rid of the weed.  If you simply pluck the flower part, the root is still there, which means that weed will return over & over again until you get rid of the root.  That is how emotional healing is.  Sure, you can stop drinking, using drugs, or whatever other unhealthy coping skill you’re using, but unless you find the root of what drove you to that behavior in the first place, the behavior may return or another dysfunctional one will show up in its place.

While I agree that we should do our best not to let our pasts control us or define us, I think our pasts can be very valuable teaching tools for the present.

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