Tag Archives: heal
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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
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
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?
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.
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!
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.
Those who are of the “But that’s your MOTHER!!! She wouldn’t hurt you!” mentality, please leave quietly now. This post is for those who are suffering through this day due to having a narcissistic mother. No doubt it will irritate you, & those for whom this post is written don’t want or need to hear any judgmental comments. Thank you.
Now that that’s out of the way….
For those of you with narcissistic mothers, I know this is one of the worst possible days of the year. For many weeks prior, the message of loving mothers is everywhere. “She’s your mother- she would do anything for you.” “She loves you more than life itself!” “Don’t forget to idolize your mother today!!” When your narcissistic mother has tried to kill you, either physically or mentally, there aren’t exactly a lot of warm feelings associated with Mother’s Day. How could there be?
Many people at least are sympathetic to our pain, even if they can’t understand it. God bless these people! Then there are the others. Those who say shaming things like, “But that’s your MOTHER!” Often these people are narcissists themselves, flying monkeys who help their narcissist abuse their victims. Others are people who have suffered abuse & refuse to acknowledge their pain. Their goal is to shut down anyone who faces their pain. Witnessing someone face their pain reminds them of their own & makes them feel cowardly for not facing theirs. Rather than make healthy choices, they opt to shut down healthy people instead.
Understanding things like this can help to take some of the pain out of their heartless comments, because it proves that the comments are about the dysfunction of the person saying these things. However, it’s still going to sting a bit, even knowing that.
Being raised by a narcissistic mother is painful. There are ways to cope, however.
I firmly believe it’s necessary to grieve. Grieve for the fact you didn’t have a good childhood. Grieve because your mother never has been or will be a loving mom. Grieve what you missed out on by your mother not being a healthy, functional mom. Grieving such things helps you to accept your situation & heal.
On Mother’s Day, if you have children, spend time with them when possible. Enjoy your family & celebrate this gift God has given you.
Don’t forget to acknowledge those wonderful women who were like mothers to you. I had a friend I called my adopted mom. She was about 20 years older than me, & a wonderful lady. Kris was nurturing, kind, loving, a natural mom & a devoted Christian. Unfortunately it wasn’t until after she died that I realized I should have celebrated her on Mother’s Day. Don’t make the same mistakes I did! If you have a wonderful mom figure in your life, wish her a happy Mother’s Day. Give her flowers or a card. Take her to lunch. Do something together to show her how much you appreciate her.
If you absolutely must deal with your narcissistic mother on Mother’s Day, before you see her, pray. Ask God to show you what you should do. He will help you to know the best ways to cope!
Don’t forget, you also have the right to set limits on your time spent with your mother. Don’t spend the entire day with her if you don’t want to. Set aside an hour or two for her & no more. If you know you’ll have trouble leaving when you want to, arrange something to do so you have to leave her at a certain time.
Take care of yourself on Mother’s Day & every day, Dear Reader. You deserve to be loved & cared for, especially by yourself. xoxo
During the course of healing from narcissistic abuse, you may want to confront your narcissistic parent. You may want to let her have it, to tell her she’s abusive & evil, to tell her although she tried, she didn’t destroy you & many other things. In your fantasy of doing this, she breaks & apologizes for all of the hurt she has caused you. She says she wants to change, & to make it up to you for all of the damage she has done.
Unfortunately this is a very unrealistic expectation.
Narcissists don’t admit to any wrong doing on their part. They often do one of three things- either blame the victim for making them do what they did, say it happened an entirely different way or deny it ever happened in the first place. As a result, often confronting the narcissist is more damaging to the victim than if they don’t confront.
Confrontation is certainly your choice. You have every right to call out an abuser on her abusive behavior. However, you need to have realistic expectations on how the situation may happen for it to be a healthy choice for you.
If you confront your narcissistic parent, will it help you to get it all out to her? Will it help you to call her out on what she has done even if she denies it or blames you? If so, then confrontation is a good option for you.
However, if you expect that your narcissistic mother will suddenly have a moment of lucidity, then accept full responsibility for her actions, genuinely repenting of what she has done, you are setting yourself up for serious disappointment. In fact, that disappointment may be devastating for you.
Probably around 10 years ago, my father went through a phase of complaining even more than usual about his & my mother’s marriage to me. I hate that! That is emotional incest & abusive! I don’t want or need to know about their marriage problems, yet both of my parents have dumped them on me my entire life. One day when I saw him alone, I finally decided enough was enough. I was tired of changing the subject to get him to stop complaining. I had to tell him that he was hurting me, & it needed to stop. So I did. I told him those words- “It hurts me when you complain to me about your marriage & about Mom. Please stop it. Find someone else to talk to.” He responded by saying, “Oh ok.. but just this one more thing…” He went on to complain about her for 45 more minutes until he left my home! (Yes, I timed it! I was curious how long it’d go on.) I ended up even more hurt than I was originally, because at this point, he knew he was hurting me yet did what hurt me anyway.
When considering confronting your narcissistic parent, please consider it long & hard. Pray about it too, & ask God to show you what you should do & if you should confront, how you should do it. I would hate to see you hurt, Dear Reader, so please do those things before you confront your narcissistic parent! xoxo
One topic that I haven’t seen a great deal of information on is anger after narcissistic abuse. It’s a pity too because most victims face a great deal of it, & rightly so!
Not long ago, as I was praying, God spoke to my heart & said that I have a lot of anger inside. He was not accusatory, simply stating a fact. He also said it’s time to face it.
I was less than thrilled with this. Like all other victims I have spoken with, anger was just one more facet of myself I ignored rather than face my mother’s ridicule or shaming for my terrible temper. It’s only in the last couple of years I’ve begun to recognize & face when I get angry, & it’s not fun! I’m still not used to it. Even so, God’s been helping me.
He showed me why this happens in victims, why so many of us stuff our anger. It isn’t only due to the ridicule & shaming from the narcissists. It’s also because in many cases, we had two narcissistic parents, & when the overt was abusive, the covert turned the situation around to him or her, & how painful it is for that parent. As children, we comfort that parent rather than face our anger regarding what was done to us.
There is also the fact that most narcissistic parents don’t give their children time to recover from one abusive incident before inflicting another. There simply isn’t time to process the anger! The victim is too busy trying to survive, so emotions get pushed aside so survival instincts can work. This becomes a habit, even into adulthood, & victims ignore their emotions without even realizing it.
Often, people don’t want to hear our stories. “It’s in the past” “Let it go” “Stop wallowing” “You need to forgive & forget!” & other callous phrases show victims it isn’t safe to talk about their experiences & emotions, so they continue ignoring their emotions.
We can’t forget the flying monkeys, either. Prior to learning about narcissism or in the very early stages of learning about it, it’s easy to buy into their nonsensical logic. “That’s your mother!” “You only get one set of parents!” “They won’t be around forever yanno!” Such gibberish can make a person feel guilty for their feelings, & resume the dysfunctional lifestyle that is so familiar.
While these situations are understandable, that doesn’t mean they need to be permanent! Dear Reader, maybe it’s your time to face your anger too!
I know facing anger is scary, especially when you haven’t done it before, but it is also necessary for your mental & physical health! Holding it in can cause all sorts of physical & mental problems such as high blood pressure, kidney problems, pains without a physical cause, depression & more. You deserve better than that, don’t you agree?
Once you decide to start facing it, pray. Let God help you through this difficult process. I found He guides me to what I need to face & only allows things in small doses. The anger isn’t overwhelming that way. I also talk to Him a lot about what I feel, which helps so much in getting it out of me.
Journaling about it is also very helpful! Seeing your story in writing can be shocking at first, but it also reminds you that yes, this happened, yes it was awful & no it was not something you deserved.
Talk to safe, non judgmental friends. They can be a gift from God! They’ll understand, support & validate you, all of which are so very important!
As you work through your anger, you may feel like suddenly you’re angry about all kinds of things that never bothered you before. I firmly believe this is normal. I believe facing the unfairness of the awful things done to you seems to make you more aware than you once were of just how many awful or even simply wrong things have been done to you. I don’t mean things like someone stealing your parking space. I mean things like how you are usually the one to compromise with your spouse. Maybe you’ve just always done it, but suddenly you’re seeing that isn’t right & your spouse could do some compromising too for a change. Just work through that anger like the rest, & have a talk with your spouse when you are able to do so calmly.
You can get through this ugly process, Dear Reader, & you will be so much better for doing so! You’ll feel freer & more peace & joy than ever. xoxo
Recently I wrote this post about the time my mother tried to kill me, & the tough time I’m having regarding this incident. I wondered something. Why now? Why this year? Every other November 28 since 1990 when it happened hasn’t been this hard. Difficult sometimes, sure but not like this. So what is going on?!
A thought crossed my mind that answered that question.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband & I went to dinner at this little local bar/restaurant we like. As we ate, someone started playing the juke box. The song “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line” by the Kentucky Headhunters came on. It immediately made me think of a story I told in this post last year. The abridged version is this…
The day of my father’s funeral, I asked my Amazon Echo Dot to play music by Wham! since I wanted something light & fun, but instead it mysteriously played Waylon Jennings’ song, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line”. I just knew in my heart that God & my father wanted me to know that song is kinda how my father felt – trapped & unable to protect me from my mother. I thought about my father’s notes I’d found documenting some of the abuse my mother inflicted on me & terrible things she said about me as I listened to the song. I read them that day & it was pretty overwhelming to say the least.
Anyway… when the song played at the restaurant, immediately I felt transported back to that experience. It triggered a ton of intrusive memories of abuse & naturally a big C-PTSD flare up.
Later, I prayed about it all & asked God what was that about?! He clearly spoke to my heart & said, “This was a gift from your father. He knows you have a lot of anger inside, & rightfully so. He wants you to face it & heal. He knows you’re strong enough to do that. I agree.”
Since then, I’ve been getting very angry about things as they come to mind, & my mother’s attack on me is no exception. I never realized before that I hadn’t been overly angry about it. Why? Because I felt I had to be more concerned with how others were affected.
My father complained about my mother locking him out of the house when he left the night she attacked me. His keys were in his pocket! He could’ve let himself back in at any time!!! But that was what was wrong with the situation, not my mother trying to kill me. Years later, my father complained to me about having to fix the wall my mother threw me into. He expected me to apologize. That did NOT happen & I told him it never would. Not my fault she broke the wall with my back.
When it happened, my ex husband was upset about it, but not because I’d been hurt. It was more because it upset him that she did this, rather than her actions causing me harm, if that makes sense.
Both my father & my ex wanted me to comfort them. As a result, I did (I was only 19 & knew nothing of NPD obviously), & ignored my own anger. That anger is now at the surface after 28 years & it’s time to face it.
I’m seeing more & more how valuable anger can be. Yes, we should forgive, not be full of anger or try to get revenge on people, but at the same time, anger has its place! It is an excellent motivator for change. It is also a big part of the healing process, & should NEVER be ignored! The only way to heal from anger that I know of is to get angry. Feel it. Yell, cry, write hateful letters you never send, or whatever works for you, but feel that anger & get it out of you. Then you can release it fully.
Forgiving too easily or early is an issue, like it was with me. Once I became a Christian in 1996, I heard a lot about forgiveness. I thought I forgave my mother for her attack, but what I really did was just ignore the anger that I felt. I think many victims of narcissistic abuse do the same thing.
I believe one of the best things you can do for yourself when trying to heal from narcissistic abuse is to decide early on that you will forgive your abuser, then face your anger head on. It’s miserable to do, I know, & scary when you’ve never really felt anger before, but you have to do it. Remember that anger is from God like all of our emotions, so that alone proves it is valuable. Feeling it helps you to cope with injustices done to you & motivates you to make appropriate changes. It also helps your self esteem when you get angry about what was done to you because it’s like it shows you that you are valuable! You deserve to be treated right!
“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
The above saying is so incredibly true when it comes to healing from abuse.
Anyone who has experienced any type of abuse knows that healing from it isn’t easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing you ever do in your life. There will be times you want to give up & just forget everything that happened. Other times, you’ll want to curl up in your bed & never get out again because the pain is overwhelming & so depressing. Yet other times you feel like you can’t think about anything but some traumatic, horrible experiences, even though you would love to think about something, anything, else.
Awful times like this are, unfortunately, a very natural part of the healing process.
When these times come, I want to encourage you to keep pressing on. The results will be worth it when you make progress in your healing. All progress, even baby steps, is good when you’re healing from abuse, after all. Do whatever you know to do to help you heal. Or, if you don’t know what to do, then talk to God. He wants to help you, so let Him!
Whatever happens during these incredibly trying times, don’t give up, Dear Reader! I know it’s hard & painful, but don’t give up! You can & will get through these times. Be gentle & understanding with yourself. Be especially good to yourself too- do things that make you feel good. Pamper yourself. Splurge on that yummy milkshake or latte. Snuggle up in your favorite blanket or get soft, cozy new pajamas. Watch your favorite movies or tv shows. Self care is always important, but especially so during the hard times. Don’t neglect to take care of yourself! xoxo
I’m sure we’ve all been there. We try to discuss some about our traumatic situations with a narcissist only to be met with someone trying to shut us down. They clearly don’t want to hear about it & say things to invalidate your pain such as “Just get over it already,” “Lots of people were abused by their parents but you don’t hear them talking about it,” or (possibly the stupidest one yet) “But that’s your MOTHER/FATHER!!”
When this happens, it can make you feel bad in many ways. It can make you ashamed of “whining”, it can make you feel like you’re petty or overreacting to things that weren’t a big deal, or it can make you feel like a bad son/daughter or even Christian for being upset about your parents abusing you.
Dear Reader, I want to tell you today, please do NOT feel bad when someone treats you this way! The truth is, their wanting to shut you down is about them, NOT you! These people have their reasons for wanting to shut you down, They aren’t good reasons, but they also have nothing to do with you.
The person may be gaining something from supporting/enabling your narcissistic parent or partner. What that is can be anything- maybe they get money, things or even just the narcissist’s praise. If this person is also a narcissist as many flying monkeys are, that praise is extremely important to them after all. This person obviously is not willing to jeopardize losing whatever it is he or she is gaining, so it is more beneficial for them to shut you down than to listen to what you have to say.
The person also may have their own issues, & you facing yours reminds them of theirs. That can make them want to shut you down quickly, because you make them feel uncomfortable by reminding them of their similar situations.
What if a person has codependency issues? If that person is raised in an emotionally incestuous/parentalizing environment, that person is going to believe it is a child’s job to take care of & cater to their parent forever. At least until such time as they learn how unhealthy this situation is. But, if a person doesn’t realize how unhealthy it is, they think everyone should do as they do, & cater to & care for their parents no matter what. They may even think it’s loving & “Godly” to tolerate whatever abuse their parents dish out. If you’re standing up for yourself, setting boundaries or even *gasp* saying your parents are less than perfect, to this person, you are committing a terrible sin in this person’s eyes. They want to shut you down so they don’t have to hear about it. They think everyone should do as they do. That is their reality & it makes them uncomfortable if you threaten it in any way.
There are two other possibilities that God spoke to me when my father was dying in October, 2017. As I wrote about before, at the time, people continually harassed & tried to bully me into visiting my father. I mean, not only daily but often multiple times in a day. I eventually asked God why were they so cruel to me? He told me two things…
They were in denial about my father. They wanted to believe he was a good guy, & me refusing to speak to him threatened that denial. They wanted me to go to him so they could remain in denial. After all, if I went, it would be proof to them that all was fine. People in denial will do about anything to protect their delusions.
God also said to me that they don’t know me now. They remembered me as that scared of everything little kid I once was, that was also blindly obedient to my parents. By that person being strong enough to face her own issues, it makes them feel weak for not facing theirs. They wanted to push me back into being like I used to be so they didn’t have to feel weak. If the person in your situation knew you when you were being abused, they knew a different version of you. They knew the beat down victim that we all have been at some point. It’s very possible that they may want you to stay that way so they don’t have to feel badly for not dealing with their own issues.
Just remember, Dear Reader, when people invalidate you or try to shut you down, it’s not your fault. It’s not about you. It’s about them & their own issues.
Many people think that understanding your abuser is unimportant to the healing process. They say the reasons they did what they did doesn’t matter- only the fact that they hurt you matters. I disagree with this type of thinking.
When you understand what makes your abuser tick, it helps you a great deal by seeing that that person is the one with the problem, not you. You finally can see that you aren’t responsible for what they did to you. You did nothing to make that person hurt you. Nothing you did or didn’t do forced them to hurt you. Ultimately, it’s the choice of the abuser how they treat people & once you understand that your abuser made some very bad choices, it sets you free of any false guilt you carried for what you endured.
Understanding your abuser also helps you if you are still in a relationship with that person. (As I’ve said many times, not everyone is able or willing to go no contact with the narcissist in their life, & I am trying to help those people.) When you know how they think, you understand why they’re saying & doing the hurtful things they are. This means their words or actions don’t hurt as badly as they could, because you know that they aren’t personal, exactly- they are the result of the dysfunction of the abuser. It also helps you because you’ll be able to anticipate their next move. When you know them well enough to predict their actions, you can anticipate the best ways to protect yourself & set boundaries.
If you’re being abused, please consider what I’ve said. If your abuser is a narcissist, they are especially devious, so learning about narcissism is especially important. Learn what you can. Read books & websites. Most of all though, pray. Ask God to show you whatever you need to know. Also, ask Him to show you ways to cope. If you’re able to go no contact & considering it, ask Him if you should, & if so, how to go about it. God will provide you with great, helpful insight.
Recently, seemingly out of nowhere, I suddenly felt as if a ton of bricks landed on me. I have had one very hard, painful year & currently have quite a bit going on. The intensity of it all hit at once. I really felt overwhelmed for a while & couldn’t stop crying.
Eventually I did though, & realized what was happening. I hadn’t really dealt with things very well. In fact, I avoided thinking about some things, stuffing my emotions like I always used to do. Old habits die hard, & apparently that one resurrected briefly without me realizing it. I think my old habit returned because I had so much happening at once. I didn’t have time to cope with one thing when three more bad things happened.
Upon realizing all of this, I have formed a plan. I will take things one issue at a time. When I first realized I had problems stemming from my childhood, I thought I could deal with everything at once. Forgive my parents, accept the fact they were abusive, face being depressed & anxious, think positive, & all would be fine. Naive? Oh yes.. but truthfully, I didn’t realize how deep my issues went or have any grip on this emotional healing stuff. Now I know better, & I have learned that a lot of times, it’s best to face one issue at a time, as it arises.
What I mean is this…
As an example from my life, part of my issue is the fact that when my father was dying, so called “family” came out of the woodwork to tell me what I needed to do regarding my parents,what a horrible person I was for not obeying them or “forgiving & forgetting” & not “honoring” my parents. Mind you, this is on top of the death of my father. Instead of lumping this all into one thing to deal with, I’m dissecting it, & dealing with each issue as I am able. Here are the issues:
- My father died.
- I was attacked by many people at that time over a few months, but in particular my father’s final month of life.
- Some people were strangers, so dealing with their nonsense isn’t too hard. I don’t know them so they don’t mean anything to me.
- Others were family & those relatives fall into 2 categories:
- Family I once had been close to & felt betrayed they treated me this way.
- Other family I never was close to so the fact they attacked me was a big shock in addition to the pain of the things they said & did.
I think it’s healthier to deal with things this way because the events of that time are very distinct & complex, not to mention overwhelming to face all at once. Even just the one part with family is difficult because there were two very different dynamics at play. My relationships with these people were very different, so naturally that means I must deal with the situations differently. Plus, doing this also gives me smaller things to cope with rather than trying to tackle one huge issue. Smaller bits will be easier to cope with, which is especially important since I have C-PTSD. Having the disorder means my brain is broken. I have to treat myself gentler than a person without C-PTSD treats themselves.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed too, Dear Reader, I’m sorry. It happens sometimes & it’s rough, I know. Just try to remember to approach the situation in small doses, especially if you too have C-PTSD. Break it down into manageable parts, & deal with those however works best for you rather than tackling the big picture all at once. The little things will add up to form the big picture. Also 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.” (KJV) Sometimes when you’re facing your pain, it feels like you are all alone. People don’t understand, & may avoid or even abandon you during your darkest hours. God isn’t that way though. He loves you & is with you no matter how bad things may be. xoxo
Your body remembers everything that you’ve experienced, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, & stores such memories on a cellular level. Your brain may or may not remember things, but your body does. This is why certain smells, sounds, tastes, feelings or sights bring specific feelings to mind.
Body memories are especially common with victims of sexual assault. Even if the assault happened when the victim was too young to recall details, smelling the same cologne the attacker wore, or hearing music that was playing in the background during the assault can trigger incredible anxiety in the victim, even a panic attack. The victim’s mind may not recall the assault, but the body remembers every detail.
Body memories aren’t only linked to sexual assault, however. They also happen with victims of other types of abuse, including narcissistic abuse.
Often, narcissistic abuse is a series of constant traumatic events. I think of it much like a machine gun of abuse- one trauma immediately follows another then another & yet another in rapid succession. You don’t have time to heal from one trauma when another five are thrown your way. It may be too much to cope with, so your mind forgets some of the abuse as you try to survive the constant trauma. However, your body remembers it all. That is why certain things trigger anxiety, fear, anger, etc. in you for no obvious reason. It is your body’s way of trying to protect you from things like that happening again.
A couple of years ago, I went to my old high school with a friend. They were having a craft show & we thought it’d be fun to check it out since we both love crafts & both attended that school. From the moment we set foot on the campus, I became anxious & even panicky. I had trouble holding back the tears until we left. It turned into a miserable experience for me. I had no idea exactly why I was in such a state then. Since, I have remembered a few instances of abuse at the hands of my mother on the property of that school though, which apparently my body remembered even though my mind didn’t at the time.
When things like this happens, you need to remember you aren’t crazy! Your body is remembering something pretty terrible. There is pain that you need to acknowledge. Some people suggest talking out loud to yourself. Remind your body that what happened won’t happen again, & that you survived. You’re OK now.
I think prayer is a better idea, however. Asking God to help you to cope. Or, maybe a combination of prayer & talking to your body. Whatever works for you is what matters. Body memories can be a very unpleasant thing to deal with, but at least they can help offer some insight into areas where you need healing.
People say, “Just let it go!” all the time to those who have been through bad experiences or abuse, but what do they really mean? I think many people who say that don’t say it to try to help you. Instead, I think they really mean, “Stop talking about it. It makes me uncomfortable!”
Unfortunately, this statement can make a person feel ashamed of themselves for being unable to “just let it go.” They feel like something is wrong with them, or maybe they’re a bad Christian when the truth is, they’re simply human.
The fact is, most people just can’t “let go” of pain. It’s not that we want to hold onto it at all- we have no choice in the matter. It’s kind of like a splinter. You can’t wish it away or let it go- you actually need to deal with it to get rid of it.
If you really want to let something go, once & for all, it takes work. You need to feel the anger, feel the hurt & get it out of you. It can be intimidating at first, especially if you weren’t allowed to show your emotions as a child, but it does get easier in time.
When it happens with me, I make time to write in my journal. Writing is often easier than saying things out loud for me, so although often prayer is my first place to start, journaling is in this particular situation. I let it all out- name calling, bad language & all. Sometimes I’ll write as though I’m speaking to the person, sometimes I just vent about them & what they did. I just follow whatever feels right, & let it all out. I pray after, & ask God to help me. For many things, this helps to purge me of the anger & hurt completely. For other things, I have to repeat it a few times. I’ve learned not to judge it- abuse does bad things, & everyone heals differently.
Maybe what I do will help you as well. It’s worth a try anyway, right? If you’re sure it won’t, then do whatever does work for you. Or, ask God to show you what you need to do. Healing is a very individual thing, & there’s nothing wrong with you if something other than what I do helps.
Remember, Dear Reader, if you can’t “just let it go”, there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s OK! It’s perfectly normal to have to feel things to heal.
I am obsessed with psychology. I wonder why people do the things they do, what makes them tick. I’m even hooked on the ID Channel & several of the true crime shows on that channel.
When a friend of mine told me about the MBTI test a couple of years ago, I was intrigued. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator test is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types. I took the test & when I read my results was shocked. For the first time in my life, I realized I’m not the freak many people have said I am! In fact, I’m quite typical of my personality type. My type just happens not to be overly common.
Since that time, I’ve read a lot about my type & my husband’s as well. It’s helped me so much to understand both of us better. And, it helped me to understand the best ways to help myself heal from the narcissistic abuse I’ve experienced. My type is pretty much even logical & emotional. One thing that helps me is to understand the motivation behind the abuse. I’ve come to understand why my parents are/were narcissists, why my father didn’t protect me from my mother’s constant abuse & that being a narcissist means everything they do is motivated by narcissistic supply. Knowing all of that has helped me to understand completely that none of the abuse was my fault. Realizing everything they do is motivated by gaining narcissistic supply also helped me when I was in relationship with my parents to be prepared for what they might do. I could see things coming a mile away a lot of times so I wasn’t surprised when they happened. I also figured out what I think my parents’ types were, which helped me to understand them better. Granted most of our problems were due to their narcissism, but realizing that their personality types & mine were pretty much my polar opposite sure didn’t help the situation! We just don’t really understand each other because our personalities are naturally very different.
Learning about your personality type can benefit you too, Dear Reader. The more you understand yourself, the better you’ll be at finding ways to help you to heal. It also helps you not to take the cruel criticisms to heart that your narcissistic parent said. My mother in particular always made me feel like something was very wrong with me or I was crazy, so learning that I’m simply typical of my type was very freeing!
In case you’re interested, this is the test I took: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
If you decide to take the test, then learn all you can about your personality type. I find this site to be quite useful: http://personalitygrowth.com
There is one last link I want to share with you. This one is about the unhealthy side of each personality type. I found this to be beneficial because it shows you what behavior you are prone to if you’re dysfunctional. https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2017/07/31/evil-versions-every-myers-briggs-personality-type/
So many survivors of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with take on so much blame for being abused. They say things like, “I should’ve known he was this way when we first met…” or, “I was a difficult child.. my mother had to be hard on me.”
This makes me sad. People need to have a balanced view of blame rather than taking on too much.
If you too grew up with a narcissistic parent or two, there is a great deal of blame to be laid on your parent(s). If you have C-PTSD, anxiety or depression issues, struggle with self-harm or eating disorders, chances are very good the root of those problems lies with enduring narcissistic abuse as a child. Nothing you did could create these problems for yourself. It is your responsibility to deal with those problems, but not for having the problems.
If your narcissistic mother shamed you, told you that you were a mistake, ignored you or was abusive instead of disciplining you, the fault lies with her. No matter what a child does, a child cannot make her parent treat her in such cruel ways. No bad behavior is a valid reason to abuse a child!
Having trouble relating to other people after being raised by a narcissist or two is completely normal. The blame for that can be traced back to your narcissistic parent(s). However, the responsibility for making changes to have healthier relationships is on you.
Not having a healthy balance in such areas & accepting blame for these things can lead to nothing but misery. False guilt, shame, depression, anxiety & more can result.
Do you place blame where it belongs or do you take on too much blame, Dear Reader? I urge you to take a long, hard, honest look at your situation. Ask God to help you identify areas where you’re in need of balance. He will!
I realize that saying your narcissistic mother is to blame for your problems as an adult can trigger unkind, even cruel, comments from others who don’t understand narcissistic abuse. That being said, I urge you also to consider carefully who you discuss this with. Aim for safe people- people who have been through similar situations, who are non-judgmental & have your best interest at heart. If you’re unsure if anyone in your life currently fits that description, then check online. There are many online support groups. (I have a Facebook group that is full of love & support. You’re welcome to check it out if you like.) Talking about it can help you a great deal, when you talk with the right people.
Denial is a common survival tool of victims of all types of abuse. Pretending things didn’t happen, weren’t that bad or there was a good reason your abuser acted as she did are all forms of denial.
Denial may help you to cope for a while, but it shouldn’t be a permanent solution. It can be very unhealthy.
It enables you to avoid facing the damage done & the pain you feel. Although that may feel good for a short time, in the long run, it can hurt your physical & mental health. Stifling emotions can create anxiety, depression, headaches, body aches with no physical cause, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes & more.
Denial may get you through a bad situation as it’s happening, but otherwise, it has no benefits. I know facing the ugly truth can be hard, but I want to encourage you, Dear Reader, to face it. As hard as it may be, it’s actually much easier in the long run than denial is.
Facing the truth allows you to heal. When you no longer deny the facts, you can see the situation for what it is, then deal with it & heal from the damage.
Staying in denial often also means staying in an abusive situation. Many people think they don’t have a right to be upset about their situation because their narcissistic parent wasn’t as bad as someone else’s, or at least their abusive husband didn’t beat them like their friend’s did, so they continue to have a close relationship with their abuser. There is no logic at all in this! Abuse is abuse, period! It’s all bad! Degrees of abuse don’t matter. What does matter is no one should tolerate being abused!
When you know you need to start facing certain things, it’s time to get into prayer. Ask God to help you. Ask Him for strength & courage. Ask Him to enable you to face whatever you need to, & only to allow you to face what you are able to at any given time. You will be glad you did this as you begin to face ugly truths. And, you’ll be glad you started facing those truths once you realize how much healthier you’ve become!
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (KJV)
We all know that light conquers darkness. If you were in a pitch dark room & lit a match, that tiny match would dispel a surprising amount of darkness.
Jesus referred to Himself in the above Scripture as the light of the world for a reason. Light also gives life- look at plants, as an example. Without light, they won’t survive. Like light, Jesus gives life- eternal life. If you follow Him, He will make clear what path to take in your life. He also can show you things you might not have noticed before. (If it wasn’t for Him, I don’t know if I’d know anything about narcissism.)
In your journey of healing from narcissistic abuse, have you asked the Lord to help you? He truly wants to! And, although even He can’t make it easy, He can help to make it less painful & difficult. I can tell you from my own experience, I wouldn’t be where I am now without His help. He’s shown me what I needed to do & how to do things. He’s answered my questions, let me rant when I was angry or hurting & comforted me when no one else could.
If you haven’t asked Jesus for help in your healing journey, maybe now is the time for you to do that. He wants to help, so let Him! Ask Him to show you what you need to do & how you need to do it. Ask Him for comfort, wisdom, strength, courage & anything else you need. He will be more than glad to help, so why not let Him?
Narcissists love to put their issues on other people rather than face them. Shame is a big one- any shame a narcissistic parent feels is going to be thrust upon their child, for example.
After a lifetime of not even realizing I was carrying around my mother’s shame, it finally hit me in 2015. As I was recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning, I felt horrible for asking my husband to help me in any way. I’d nearly died for pity’s sake! Carbon monoxide poisoning has a high fatality rate & also has a very long recovery time (you do the bulk of your healing 9-12 months after poisoning) during which chances are very good you won’t heal completely. Yet in spite of all of this, I felt horrible for asking my husband for any help. After praying about it, God showed me this was all about shame. It’s very common for those abused as children to experience toxic shame, & I was no exception.
One way God showed me to deal with this shame is to imagine myself holding a big box containing shame, handing it off to my mother while telling her “I refuse to carry this for you a moment longer”, then walking away.
It sounds silly, but this was very helpful for me. Even though I can’t physically give my mother back her shame that she’s put on me, by imagining returning it to her, at least I was able to stop carrying it somehow. It’d be the same as a real scenario if she wouldn’t hold the box. If I placed it at her feet, I wouldn’t be carrying it any longer. What she would do at that point would have no effect on that fact.
I can’t say I am 100% cured of this toxic shame, but it drastically improved my problem. I no longer feel incredibly guilty about writing about my experiences or asking my husband for things (either stuff or help), & these used to be very big issues for me. I still fight the guilt with my husband sometimes, but that’s better than every single time.
Have you ever tried something like this, Dear Reader? It doesn’t have to be shame.. it can be anything your narcissistic parent put on you- self-hatred, eating disorders, believing you’re ugly or stupid. Obviously I can’t guarantee it’ll cure you immediately, but I do believe it’d help you as it helped me. It’s worth a try, right?
Triggers are things that remind you of something else. Sometimes, they can be good such as the sound of whipped cream being sprayed from that can reminds me of my late kitty, Delta, who loved it & would do a little dance for a spray of whipped cream.
Often though, when you come from an abusive past, triggers aren’t so nice. Certain scents, sights, sounds or situations can take you right back to a traumatic event, making you feel like that scared child you once were.
Triggers are easy to understand when they are obvious. The scent of a perfume that your abusive mother wore when you were a child or a cruel nickname that your father called you are obvious. Not all triggers are so obvious though.
Some triggers appear to have absolutely nothing to do with why you feel the way you do. Those triggers are what we’re going to talk about today.
Some triggers on the surface seem innocuous, yet you end up feeling just as bad as you did as a child in a traumatic situation. Talking to someone who shows no empathy may enrage you because it makes you feel like it did when you were growing up with your narcissistic parent, for example.
When this happens, it can be confusing. Having a strong reaction to something that isn’t really a big deal can make you wonder about your sanity. It’s a horrible feeling, but it can be dealt with.
As soon as you can, go somewhere where you can be alone & pray. Ask God to show you what is going on, what’s the root of this feeling? He will show you, & from there, you can begin to heal. It may be something that you thought was small, but apparently it wasn’t since it’s still causing you problems. Or, it may be a big, ongoing issue. Either way, once you know what the problem is, then ask Him to help you to heal & show you what you need to do in order to heal. Write your experiences & feelings in a journal. Talk with a therapist or trusted friend. Work on this however helps you, & the trigger will lose its power.