Tag Archives: healing

God Plans Our Lives With Love

There is no denying that live can be exceedingly difficult sometimes. My readers know this as well if not better than anyone due to experiences with narcissists. This can make anyone wonder where was God during the abuse? Did He even care about what was happening to me? Does He really love me? The answers are He was right with you, He did care & was deeply upset about it & yes, He absolutely loves you!

I was considering writing my own post on this topic but found this one on an amazing blog that explains this topic much better than I can. I decided to share that post instead, & I hope it blesses you tremendously! The link to the post is below.

I did want to say one thing though… for years now, Romans 8:28 has helped me during the especially tough times & I think it may help you as well…

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

Romans 8:28 AMP

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

Year End Sale On ALL Of My Ebooks!

From December 17, 2021 until January 1, 2022, my publisher is offering 25% off all of my ebooks. If you’ve been wanting to read any of them, it’s a great time to buy. Simply go to my author page on my publisher’s site at the link below. The coupon will be applied automatically at checkout.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.), Writing

About Scars

Most people are very uncomfortable around someone with obvious scars.  They stare at the person who has scars from surviving a house fire or they avoid even making simple eye contact with the person.  Some especially rude people ask this person what happened while wearing an expression of sheer disgust on their face.  Experiences like this make the person with the scars feel ashamed of how they look.  This sort of experience also can happen to someone who wears their scars inside as a result of surviving abuse.

So many people who live with ongoing mental health struggles such as Complex PTSD, PTSD, anxiety & depression as a result of being abused are shamed.  Some people mock these mental disorders while others deny their existence, which further contributes to the shame most abuse victims feel on some level for being abused.  This behavior is incredibly cruel but also foolish.

Everyone has scars to some degree.  Those scars shouldn’t be a source of shame.  Scars tell a story of things you have experienced.

Some scars show a woman has birthed healthy children.

Some scars show what happened to a soldier who bravely threw himself in harm’s way to protect his fellow soldiers.

Some scars show that a fireman was injured while rescuing someone from a burning building on the verge of collapse.

Some scars show the vet assistant’s job involves a lot more physical pain than most people think because scared animals scratch & bite.

Some scars even show that a person was abused by someone they thought they could trust, someone they thought loved them & would be good to them.

The one thing all scars have in common is that they tell a story of something that could have destroyed a person yet they didn’t.  They tell a story of survival, strength & bravery. 

If you have survived abuse & feel your story isn’t somehow good or worthy like the people in the examples I provided, I want you to know that you are wrong.  Having a mental disorder or even disorders doesn’t mean you are weak, stupid, or a failure.  Far from it!  It means you survived something that could have destroyed you.  Narcissists do their level best to destroy their victims in every possible way, yet you survived that!  Of course you have some issues as a result of the abuse, because that is only normal.  Rather than be ashamed of those issues, why not be proud of the fact you survived what many people don’t?  Then, as if surviving isn’t enough, here you are, not only coping with those issues but learning, growing, healing & helping others who have experienced what you have.  You should be so proud of yourself for how far you have come!! 

Rather than be ashamed of your scars & try to hide them, I would like to suggest that you to accept them without judgment as reminders of your strength & courage!  Hold your head high & be proud of the person you are!

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About Perspective Of Good & Bad Experiences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Empathy vs Codependency

A couple of very misunderstood concepts today are empathy & codependency. 

Some things I’ve read about empathy haven’t been overly accurate.  In fact, some make it sound like being empathic is some sort of weird psychic power when it is nothing of the sort.  Some people also seem to think having empathy means that you have no boundaries, & are completely self sacrificing 1000% of the time.  According to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary however, empathy means: “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.”  Empathy is a good thing to have, since it enables you to be kind to others.

Codependency isn’t like empathy.  It isn’t concerned about what is best for others or how you can help people.  It’s about enabling bad behavior.  Also according to Merriam Webster’s online dictionary, codependency means: “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin)”.  Codependency says, “Let me make this situation pleasing to you” whereas empathy says, “How can I help you to help yourself to do what is best for you?”

Although both of these words clearly have very different meanings, some people confuse them, using them interchangeably either from a point of being naïve or being manipulative.  With narcissists, it’s almost always manipulative.  Narcissists don’t care if someone empathizes with their pain, but they do care about having a victim who is willing to overlook their abusive ways & enable their toxic behavior.  Narcissists may claim their victim is lacking in empathy when what the narcissist really wants from the victim is codependency.  Many victims of narcissistic abuse are empathic people, & unless they know better, they will be hurt by the narcissist’s accusation.  Rather than have the narcissist think they are heartless, sometimes empathic people enable the narcissist’s toxicity in an attempt to get the narcissist to think they are good people & earn the narcissist’s favor.

If you realize that you have codependent tendencies or are in a codependent relationship, you’re not alone.  It happens to many victims of narcissistic abuse.  The good news is you don’t have to stay that way.  You can unlearn these unhealthy behaviors!

As always, I recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to show you what you need to change & how to make appropriate changes.

Also learn what you can about empathy & codependency.  Learning what you can will help you to see when you’re being empathic & when you’re being codependent.

Don’t forget to learn about boundaries, too.  You’ll need to gain a good sense of boundaries & know effective ways to enforce them.  To help you get started, I created a free online book study course about boundaries.  It’s available on my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

I know this probably sounds pretty overwhelming & hard to make the healthy changes you need to make, but really, it’s easier than you might think.  Once you recognize progress in yourself, it encourages you to keep on doing what you’re doing.  Also know that you’ll feel a lot of guilt when you begin to change your codependent ways.  That is totally normal.  When it happens, rather than give into ask yourself if you truly have a reason to feel this guilt or not.  Chances are excellent that you’ll recognize that you have no valid reason for the guilt.

I wish you the best with making these healthy changes!

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

Depression During The Holidays

Many people suffer with depression during the holiday season.  November & December are very painful for them.  Yet sadly, this phenomenon is rarely discussed.

Thanksgiving & Christmas can be a very difficult time for many people & for countless reasons. 

Even for those who adore the holidays & circumstances are good in their lives, there is the stress of extra money spent for meals & gifts, so much more to do in preparation such as meal planning & decorating, less time to relax & more.  This stress can ultimately result in anxiety & even depression.

For those who don’t host, holidays still can be very stressful.  There are family demands & expectations.  Many dysfunctional families have very high expectations for the holidays & everyone must meet them or else suffer consequences.  Having been down this road, I can assure you, it doesn’t exactly make a person happy during the holidays!

Often young married couples are pressured to spend holidays with their two families, which is very stressful.  Their holidays are a source of stress & scheduling to make everyone happy or consequences if they don’t.

There are also so many people who have lost a loved one to consider.  This may be their first holiday season without the loved one who enjoyed hosting holiday get togethers.  No longer having those gatherings can create sadness as losing them is what is known as a secondary loss to the primary loss of that special person.  Even years later, that loss still can be painful.  Or, even if that person didn’t make a fuss over holidays, holidays still may be a reminder that someone special is gone.

Many other people have had to sever ties with their abusive families, & the holidays are a painful reminder that they are without a family.  Seeing others happily spending time with their families or talking about how they can’t wait to visit with their relatives are painful reminders of what a person in this situation is missing.

People who are unable to be with their family during the holidays experience similar emotions.  Law enforcement officers, first responders & military personnel are some examples of people in this situation.

I recently read that an estimated six percent of people struggle with depression during the holiday season.  Many of those people don’t experience depression at any other time.  Some of them also have been misdiagnosed as having Seasonal Affective Disorder because they present with similar symptoms & happen at similar times of the year. 

It’s also estimated that 64% of people with a mental illness experience worsening of their symptoms around the holidays.

If you too experience depression during the holidays, you aren’t alone by far!  Many people share your pain.  There are some things you can do that can help.

I always recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to help you however you need.

If you feel alone, try spending time with friends whenever possible.  Go out for coffee or lunch.  Hang out at home & talk.  If they aren’t available, volunteer with a cause near to your heart or visit folks in nursing homes. 

Consider seeing a counselor.  If you aren’t able to or are uncomfortable doing this, at least write in a journal.

Have good boundaries.  Don’t say yes to every invitation.  You don’t need to be constantly busy. 

Create new traditions either just for yourself or with your family.

If you feel you must visit others on the actual date of the holiday, set aside a different day to enjoy the day with those closest to you. My paternal grandparents never celebrated Christmas on December 25.  They celebrated on the weekend between Christmas & New Year’s.  That way, no one felt pressured to be with them on Christmas day.  They could spend the day however they wanted & still enjoy my grandparents’ annual Christmas celebration.

Don’t expect your adult children to spend all day with you, especially if they have a significant other or friends they want to visit.

Keep your expectations realistic.  Don’t expect to lose this depression easily.  One good holiday won’t cure you forever.  It may take several holidays to make progress.  Or, you may not be able to shake the depression completely.  I haven’t been able to.  But, since I know it will come each year, I try to find ways to bring some joy into my life during the season.

Don’t let anyone shame you for how you feel at this time! I’ve experienced this & can’t tell you how maddening it is. People who are quick to judge lack empathy & have no business hurting someone who is already hurting. Ignore them!

I hope these tips help you!

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Filed under Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

Some Reasons Why Victims Side With Abusers

If you have survived an abusive relationship & are working on healing from that, the possibility of someone who has been a victim siding with their abuser can seem utterly impossible to comprehend.  Yet sadly it happens more often than you might think.

Many people who have been abused refuse to find some way to come to terms with it.  They won’t accept that someone who was supposed to love them not only didn’t love them but actively tried to hurt them.  This is particularly the case with children abused by their parents.

Being abused by a parent also can make you feel like if your own parent doesn’t love you, then clearly you must be unlovable.  Children naturally seem to have a propensity for accepting blame that isn’t theirs, so when their parent doesn’t love them, they assume it’s because of something they have done wrong or there is something wrong with them.  Instead, they accept this faulty belief as fact, thinking they deserve the abuse.  They often grow up to say things like, “Yea, Dad was hard on me but he made a man out of me!”

Another reason victims of abuse may side with abusers is cognitive dissonance.  That is the feeling that comes with learning the truth that directly clashes with some deeply held belief.  Believing your parents are good people then learning they were anything but creates that painful cognitive dissonance.  It makes a person question everything they thought they believed.  Cognitive dissonance is truly painful, & many people would rather avoid it completely.  If that means siding with their abusive parent, so be it.  They prefer that to facing their pain.

Sometimes adults who survived abusive childhoods see other victims dealing with their pain.  They see the suffering they go through with flashbacks, nightmares, crippling anxiety & depression, maybe even suicidal tendencies & they are afraid that if they face their pain, they will end up going through the exact same pain.  Also, they may be reminded of their own pain that they refuse to face.  Instead of trying to show victims they care, they rush to shut them down.  One way they do this is to side with abusers & try to normalize their behavior.  Not only the abusers of their fellow victims, but theirs as well.

Another reason victims may side with their abusers is to create the illusion of normalcy.  If they can justify their abusive parent’s behavior, then it becomes normal, which in turn means they were treated normally & are normal people.  Thinking this way makes the victims feel normal, & not like a victim or something is wrong with them. It also has another purpose.  Many times, victims of child abuse marry other victims as adults.  In these situations, often one person faces their pain while the other tries their best to avoid it.  If the one facing their pain points out to the one who refuses to that his or her parent is abusive, that causes pain that this person has tried hard to avoid for a long time.  If he or she can make the other person believe they are overreacting, over sensitive or even crazy, the abuse was totally normal, & their parent did nothing wrong, this can stop the healthier person from discussing this topic.  The healthier person will get discouraged in trying to help their partner, & may give up the unhealthy person to their dysfunctional ways.

Rather than deal with painful things, it seems like many victims of abuse think that the easier alternative is to side with the abusive parent.  Pretending all is fine & their abusive parent wasn’t a monster at all but instead a good parent doing their best is truly a dysfunctional coping skill!  It’s a shame it’s also such a common one.

If you have someone in your life who is doing this, I know how incredibly difficult & frustrating it is.  You want the best for him or her, but this person doesn’t see that.  They see you as unreasonable, over sensitive, unkind, or whatever.  If you are to continue this relationship, then please pray.  Ask God to give you wisdom about how to handle things & pay attention to what He says.  He knows this person better than you possibly could.  If you feel God wants you to speak on this subject, then do so gently & humbly.  Remain logical & not emotional because heated emotions only shut this type of person down.  Ask logical questions too, like, “Why do you think it’s OK your father beat you with a belt?  If I told you my father did it, would you still think it’s OK?”

God may also say that you shouldn’t discuss this with your loved one.  Some people are extremely determined to continue in this dysfunction & nothing anyone says can get through to them.  If this is your situation, then do NOT discuss it!!  Have a safe place to vent your frustrations though, because you are going to need it.  Pray, journal, talk to a close friend.. just don’t keep your frustrations inside.  Remember, you don’t have the right to try to force something on another person, even if your intentions are good & it’s a good thing.  Let God deal with this person & show them the truth.  When He does it, there won’t be any doubt it’ll be done the best way possible!

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Warrior For Truth

On the morning of July 30, 2016, I woke up from a very odd dream.  In it, I saw my in-laws.  I was keeping a distance when one of my sisters in-law approached me.  My personality in the dream was as it is in real life, & I wanted nothing to do with her due to her past treatment of my husband & I.  She meekly mentioned seeing information about narcissism & then talked about their family.  She said reading this made her realize how bad things were.  I told her I was glad for her because now she can heal.  Then I woke up. 

I try to pray each morning before I get up, but this particular morning, it was a struggle.  I kept thinking about the strange dream & wondering what it meant.  God told me that the way I was in the dream is how I am.  I value truth over everything else.  He called me “a warrior for truth.”

That phrase has stuck in the back of my mind ever since that dream.  And, the older I get, the more I realize just how true it is.  I need only truth in all areas of my life & all of my relationships.

Truth also helps so much with healing from narcissistic abuse.  Learning what the problem was with my relationships helped me to realize that although I did make plenty of mistakes, I wasn’t completely to blame as others claimed I was.  For years I carried the blame around for causing other people such heartache & so many problems when the truth was they weren’t my innocent victims as they portrayed themselves to be.

Truth also helped me to have some compassion on those who were abusive to me.  Learning why they turned into narcissists or seeing that they had no desire to change their behavior in spite of being miserable gave me a degree of compassion for them which helped me to pray for them while also accepting that they were too dysfunctional to be in a relationship with.

Clearly what Jesus said about the truth will set us free is absolutely accurate! 

Sadly though, we live in a world where truth isn’t always as valued as it should be.  So many people are comfortable in their dysfunction & would rather avoid the truth if at all possible.  They are afraid of leaving their comfort zone, so they believe comfortable lies rather than facing the ugly truth.  Certainly feeling that way is understandable!  Truth is wonderful but sometimes it can be scary & painful too.  The fact however is that even if the truth is painful, it’s still so much better than lies & dysfunction!

Facing the truth means your relationships are healthy, functional & genuine.  You can trust those in relationship with you to have your best interests at heart as you have theirs.  You know they won’t lie or deliberately hurt you.  They also will value you highly because they know you too won’t lie to them or deliberately cause you pain.  They know you’re someone of integrity.

Facing truth also means that although some things in life are incredibly difficult, you know you’ll get through the pain & come out just fine on the other side. Certainly that is much better than working so hard to hide from pain your whole life.  Isn’t a season of pain better than a lifetime of it?

Please consider what I’ve said.  If you’re struggling with facing the truth, just know that it truly is worth doing in spite of the fear.  I can promise you that!

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

Valuable Knowledge For Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

At the time I’m writing this, it is October 27, 2021.  Four years ago at this time, my father’s funeral was taking place.  I remember the day well & following is why.  I believe what I learned that day can help those of you who follow my work, so I’d like to share my story with you.

Years before my father died, he gave me a Bible I’d given him as a gift years before.  He said he wanted me to be sure it was in the casket with him when he died.  For a long time, it sat on a shelf in a closet, sadly waiting for that day.  Shortly after he died in October, 2017, I remembered that Bible.  Although we were no contact at the time of his death, I knew I had to honor my word & be sure that Bible was in his casket.  Before the funeral, my husband & I went to the funeral home & spoke to a very lovely lady who told me she’d be sure it was in the casket where no one could see it, then prayed over my husband & I.  Something else very interesting happened at that time though.

Prior to giving the Bible to the funeral home, I thought I should check inside it.  My father kept things everywhere, so maybe he had things stored in the Bible.  Turned out he did.  I found receipts, greeting cards & notes in there.  Upon removing these items, I realized the notes spoke about the abuse my mother forced upon me in my childhood.  I put everything aside because I knew I wasn’t able to handle whatever was said in those notes.  I tried not to think of them because I was so upset about not only his passing but my abusive & horrible family’s behavior at that time & knew I couldn’t handle the content of those notes just yet.

The day of my father’s funeral, I decided to read those notes & was stunned with what I learned.  I knew my father didn’t know all of the abuse from my mother, but the notes showed me he knew far more than I realized.  I became angry, because he knew quite a bit, but did nothing to help me.

A bit later that same day, I was doing some housework.  I told my Amazon Echo Dot to play music by Wham!  I thought fun 80’s music could be a distraction from the sadness of the day & anger.  Interestingly though, rather than playing what I asked her to, she said, “Here’s music by Waylon Jennings…” & immediately played “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line.”  I was shocked because she never misunderstood me.  I love Waylon Jennings’ music, as did my father, so I figured let it go.  Oddly I didn’t know that song.  I thought I’d heard all of his music, & learned I was wrong.  I stopped what I was doing to listen to it & was stunned with what happened.

If you don’t know, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line” is about a man married to an awful wife, yet he stays with her in spite of being fed up.  As I listened to the song, I knew in my heart that song was basically God saying, “This is how your father felt.”  Not making excuses for his behavior or saying anything like “forgive & forget because..” or, “You can’t be mad, because….”  This was simply an explanation as to why my father failed to protect me from my mother.  While that made me angry at my father for failing to realize he could’ve protected me, it also gave me some peace.  For so long I wondered why my father let my mother treat me so badly.  I finally had an answer.

For those of you who have also been abused by a narcissist, if you have the opportunity to learn why a narcissist abused you, or why your other parent failed to protect you better from your narcissistic parent, I would encourage you to learn all you can.  Learning the reason for the abuse or the failure to protect you obviously doesn’t make everything ok.  It probably is going to make you angry.  But, it also may help you to realize that the abuse truly had nothing to do with you.  Yes, you were the victim of some very unfair & horrible treatment, but that doesn’t mean that you deserved it!  It means that your abuser was pretty messed up to think it’s ok to treat you that way.  It also means anyone who thinks that treatment of you is ok or failed to help or protect you is just as messed up as the narcissist.  This knowledge is priceless!  It’s also so freeing!  The truth really does set you free!  It may not miraculously deliver you from all damage done, but it sure will help you if you’re struggling with thoughts like what you did to deserve the abuse or make the narcissist treat you so badly. No one who has been abused should have to deal with such thoughts.

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

Slipping Up As You Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

Healing after narcissistic abuse is messy.   There is nothing easy about it!  It’s not like walking on a nice, level, freshly paved sidewalk.  It’s more like walking on a rocky, narrow path up a steep hill.  Lots of ups & downs & struggles.

There are going to be times on your healing journey when you struggle & even fail.  You’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional patterns.  You’ll apologize for something that isn’t your fault or over explain yourself.  You’ll feel guilty for setting boundaries & maybe even give up on those boundaries since it seems easier not to have them.  You may even resume a relationship with the narcissist you had kicked out of your life.

Times like this are incredibly frustrating, but they also are incredibly NORMAL.  Everyone has had setbacks like these as they heal.  Yes, they’re awful but they happen.  Narcissistic abuse is extremely damaging, so this happens to everyone.

Rather than beat yourself up for being stupid, a failure or whatever other terrible things you’re telling yourself, stop it right now.  Beating yourself up does no good.  Besides, didn’t the narcissist in your life do enough of that for you to last a lifetime?  Why add to it?

Instead, try to relax.  Fix the things you can.  Reestablish those shaky or removed boundaries.  Remind yourself that you owe no one any explanations & stop offering them.  If you resumed a relationship with the narcissist in your life, then end it again & this time, stick to it.  Block their phone numbers, emails, social media accounts.  Avoid going places they go to as much as humanly possible.

Never forget that this was only a stumbling block on your healing path.  Just because you may have fallen into a ditch doesn’t mean you have to stay there.  Pick up where you left off.  If you’re really struggling, ask God to help you.  In fact, even if you aren’t struggling much, ask Him to help you!  We all need His help to survive this incredibly difficult journey, & He is more than happy to help His children however possible.

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“You Never Said That Before!”

Many times, victims are accused of changing their story when they discuss the traumatic abusive episodes of their past.  It can be understandable to a degree that people are concerned with that, because many people lie.  How many false rape accusations have you heard of, for example?  I would bet quite a few.  Or, how many times have you heard of someone being arrested & changing their story either before the trial or while they were in court? 

The problem is that with many victims of abuse, the story can change some but that doesn’t mean the accusations are false or that the victim is lying.  There are several reasons for this.

Many victims have repressed serious trauma.  One way the mind copes to serious trauma is to hide the memory until such a time as one can cope with it.  When you are in an abusive relationship, you endure trauma after trauma, with no time to cope with the first trauma when the second comes along.  Then the third.  Then then fourth & so on.  The mind can handle only so much.  Rather than try to juggle coping with the barrage of constant trauma, it hides some.   Basically, it’s as if the mind puts some events in a box on a shelf.  Later, when in a safer environment, the mind can relax & not function in survival mode.  Those times are often when it decides to take those boxes off the shelf as it is able to cope with them.  This is why immediately after a trauma, sometimes a person can forget key aspects of the situation then days, weeks or even years later, suddenly remember them.  To someone unfamiliar with the mechanics of repressed memories, they can look as if the victim is changing their story even though it is nothing of the sort.

Some details are too embarrassing to share, so they prefer to censor some of the story.  Being involved with an abusive person in any capacity is embarrassing, but it seems to me that being involved with them romantically is especially embarrassing.  It’s embarrassing to admit you fell in love with someone so awful, because it makes you feel stupid & incredibly flawed.  I never was in love with my ex husband, although I thought I was & said I was.  I tried to be.  Even so, for a long time I felt ashamed of myself for wasting my time with someone like him.  As if that isn’t enough though, a lot of narcissistic spouses are very demeaning sexually.  They have no problem raping their spouse through violence or guilt/shaming tactics.  They also seem to get a thrill from degrading them by expecting them to perform acts that cause them either physical or emotional pain or both.  Most people aren’t overly comfortable discussing details of their sex life even when they have a normal one, but discussing the details of the degrading things your narcissistic spouse has done to you or made you do is even worse.  No one wants to admit to having done or been subjected to such awful things!

Most victims also realize that not everyone is capable of emotionally handling the gory details of abuse, so they edit their story for some people while sharing more with others.  This doesn’t mean a victim is trying to get attention from certain people.  It means we’re all pretty aware that there are some folks who can handle our story better than others, & we feel more comfortable sharing details with them. 

As you heal, you become more comfortable discussing your story.  The more you heal, the more comfortable you are with your story.  You realize you aren’t the awful person the narcissist convinced you that you were.  You realize the abuse wasn’t your fault.  You also realize the shame of the abuse isn’t yours to carry, but your abuser’s.  The things you are willing to discuss today may not be things you were willing to share last year.  It’s simply part of the healing process to be more comfortable with being open about your story than you once were. 

If someone jumps you for never saying that before or some similar comment, remember these points.  There is nothing wrong with divulging more or less during certain times or to certain people as long as you’re telling the truth.

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Print Book Sale!!

From now until October 22, 2021, my publisher is offering a sale on all print books. Simply use code SPOOKY15 at checkout & get 15% off your purchase.

Visit the link below to see my print books:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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The Body & Mind Hold Onto Trauma

At the time of this post, it’s October.  October 3, 2017, I got the call that my father was on a ventilator without much time left to live.  He died twenty days later.

During that time, as I’ve shared before, I was subjected to cruel attacks, multiple times a day, from my family because I didn’t break no contact to say goodbye to my father.  My home & cell phones rang constantly, & often when they rang, they would ring for five to ten minutes straight.  I got tons of text messages & social media messages. I dodged all calls & messages as best I could, but there was no escaping reading the first part of some messages due to how texts, emails & social media messages are designed. The hatred & venom coming from even that little bit I read was simply astounding!  And, one of the social media messages was from the account of my aunt who had been dead for three years at that point!  I’d blocked her daughter some time before & she used her mother’s account to try to bully me.  Ain’t family grand?

As a result of that horrid time, every October, I struggle.  It’s like a month long emotional flashback.  I can count on depression, anxiety & nightmares plaguing me even more than usual on top of the natural sadness connected to my father’s death.  The fact this happens during my favorite time of year makes this even more frustrating. I just want to enjoy the beautiful leaves changing & cooler temperatures in October!

The reason I’m sharing this is in the hopes of helping anyone reading this who experiences something similar. 

Sometimes we go through things that are so traumatizing, that even well after the trauma is done, we can’t help but suffer effects.  Even if we try not to think about it, it’s still lodged in the back of the mind, not going anywhere.  We might get anxious or depressed around the anniversary of the event without even realizing the date.  Or, we experience the same emotions we did at the time of the trauma.  This is known as an emotional flashback.

The body remembers too, & as a result, we may feel ill, have some unusual aches or other odd symptoms without medical cause suddenly appear for a brief time.  If you were physically injured at the time of the trauma, you also may feel the pain of that injury again.  This is what is known as a somatic flashback.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic wand to wave & make these symptoms stop.  If only it was that easy!  Instead, if you want to survive this with some semblance of sanity, you are going to have to do some work.  Not all of it will be bad, but some will be pretty unpleasant.

You are going to need to face your feelings about what happened & feel those emotions.  You can’t ignore feelings or they will manifest in some pretty unhealthy ways such as in the form of addictions, self harm or self destructive tendencies.  My best friend says, “you have to feel your feels” & it’s true.  To do this, you need to find healthy outlets that help you.  For me, that means prayer & writing in a journal.  For you, it could be speaking to a counselor, pastor or trusted friend.  Whatever works is what matters. 

“Feeling your feels” is hard work, & you will need to take breaks when you start feeling that it’s just too much.  What helps you to relax?  Creative outlets are wonderful for relaxing & healing your soul.  If you don’t have one, it might be time to find one.  If you are out of ideas, notice what your friends are doing.  One of their hobbies might appeal to you.  Or, consider what you enjoyed doing as a child & start doing that again.  Get some finger paints, doodle, or buy a coloring book & crayons. 

Take care of your physical needs as well.  Make sure to allow extra time for you to rest since emotional work requires a lot of energy.  If you like exercising, go for walks, swim, ride a horse… whatever you enjoy that helps you to feel good physically.

Most of all, don’t forget to lean on God.  He will show you what you need to do, & help you to get through this trying time.  All you have to do is ask for His help.

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10% Off All My Print Books Until October 1, 2021

My publisher is having another sale. 10% off ALL print products, which naturally includes my books. Simply use code BUY10 at checkout. You can see my books at the link below:

lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

If you’re interested in checking out the other great selection of print products my publisher sells, simply visit lulu.com & use code BUY10 at checkout

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When Adult Children Of Narcissists Marry Each Other

When children grow up with narcissistic parents marry, it can be incredibly challenging.  Usually, either one person is a narcissist & the other isn’t, or one is trying to heal & the other prefers staying in their dysfunction.  The last scenario seems to be the most common. There isn’t a lot of information available on the topic, which is why I opted to discuss it today.  It happens pretty often & people in this situation know how to handle it!

When you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can be so incredibly freeing!  That’s how it is when you learn truth, though.  Not everyone sees it that way, however.  The truth isn’t always pleasant or easy, so many folks prefer to avoid the ugly truth in favor of pretty lies.  The pretty lies are easier & preferable to some people because they’re what is familiar.  Familiarity doesn’t always breed contempt.  Sometimes it breeds cognitive dissonance in the adult children of narcissistic parents. 

That cognitive dissonance can be incredibly difficult to live with for someone married to a person who prefers to avoid it whenever possible.  When you see the truth so clearly & someone you love avoids it like the plague, it is so frustrating!!  You just want them to wake up & see the truth, but they won’t.  Instead they continue to tolerate their toxic parents abusing them & even you & your children if you have them.  They also will fight you on this topic, even if they aren’t normally disagreeable.  If you complain about their parents, they will tell you things like it’s your problem & to leave them out of it.  If this kind of thing doesn’t make you want to scream, nothing will!

I prayed about this behavior recently when it came to mind & God showed me some things.

While this behavior feels intensely personal, it isn’t.  It’s about them, their dysfunction & self preservation.

When a person has a spouse that loves them & a narcissistic parent, the spouse is the safer of the two people.  In this situation, the adult child knows someone is going to be angry & they will suffer for it.  In their minds, the spouse is the safer one.  They’ve had a lifetime of knowing just how incredibly cruel their narcissistic parent can be, so they do their level best to avoid their anger & cruelty.  It’s safer to deal with the anger of a loving spouse than a narcissistic parent, so they choose (albeit unconsciously) the safer of the two people to anger.

Unfortunately for the spouse, this means that their dysfunctional mate is going to put them in some pretty awful positions.  They’ll expect their healing spouse to tolerate whatever the narcissistic parents dish out, & when the healing spouse doesn’t, arguments are going to happen.  Even if the narcissistic parent in question is the healing spouse’s parent, the dysfunctional spouse most likely will be upset if the healing spouse is setting boundaries or even severs ties with their parent.  The dysfunctional spouse is going to minimize, excuse or even deny abusive behaviors.  This can be so difficult because the healing spouse wants to heal but also wants to have a good relationship with their dysfunctional partner.  Sadly, the relationship can only be so good while one is dysfunctional & the other is trying to heal.


If you’re in this position, you will need God’s guidance on how to navigate this situation.  He knows so much more than you could possibly know so let Him help you!  And, pray for your spouse to see the truth & be able to handle it, too.  That is what someone in that position truly needs!

Also always remember that your spouse’s reactions aren’t personal.  They’re about that person’s dysfunction.  Keeping that in mind will help you to be less hurt & angered by their behavior, which will in turn help you to deal with the situation more effectively.

Don’t be afraid to set your boundaries!  Just because your spouse is fine with being abused doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it.  Protect yourself & if your spouse is angry about it, that is that person’s problem.  There is nothing wrong, bad or even un-Christian about protecting yourself!

When you must discuss your spouse’s or your narcissistic parent with your spouse, try to keep your emotions under control.  Any anger shown on your part could make your spouse become very protective of the parent in question, which will start a fight between you.  Avoid it as much as possible by remaining calm when discussing parents!

Lastly, don’t give your partner an ultimatum to choose either you or their parent if you want to stay married.  Those who do that usually lose their spouse.  The one given the ultimatum feels their spouse is being manipulative, which naturally pushes them away & towards the parent.  Don’t put your spouse or yourself in that position.  If you end up wanting to go your separate ways, find another way to discuss it. Ultimatums end in anger & make the situation worse.

I wish you the best!

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Ways To Handle Flying Monkeys

In scrolling through my memories on Facebook recently, a picture came up.  The picture is one taken of my parents on their wedding day while they stood by my father’s car.  I originally shared it on Facebook in 2014 because I thought the picture was nice & my family might enjoy seeing it.  The car in the picture was special to my father, too, & I thought they also might remember it.  One of my cousins said something about how my father & I both love cars.  I responded that was true, it was one of the few things we had in common.  Out of nowhere, one of my aunts verbally attacked me for not trying harder to find things in common with my father.

Does this sound at all familiar to you?  If so, welcome to life with narcissistic parents & their awful flying monkeys!

Flying monkeys absolutely love to tell the victims of narcissistic abuse what we need to do, how we need to work harder for the narcissist, how we should ignore our own needs in favor of the narcissist & so much more.  The pressure can be unbearable sometimes.  It also can trigger a lot of anger, as my situation with my aunt did.  I hope to help you to find ways to help you deal with these awful people in this post.

The very first thing you should do when trying to learn ways to deal with flying monkeys is to pray.  Ask God for wisdom, clarity, strength not to cave into their unrealistic expectations & creative ways to help you to cope.  He absolutely will grant you those things!

Some flying monkeys are people who were genuinely duped by narcissist, but not many are.  Many flying monkeys are truly horrible, evil & narcissistic people that enjoy causing others pain while simultaneously acting as if they are only trying to help so no one can be angry with them.   The way to tell the difference is by listening to what these people say.  The genuinely duped are open to hearing your side & admitting that the narcissist might just be wrong.  The evil flying monkeys however have no interest in hearing your side of the story.  They are convinced you are wrong, the narcissist is right & that is the end of the story.  They have zero interest in truth, & their minds are completely closed to anything that disagrees with their views, no matter how slightly.  People like this are toxic, & need to be removed from your life.  It’s not likely that those who are genuinely duped need to be removed from your life.  They may see the error of their ways & aren’t so toxic.  Use your best judgment with them regarding whether or not to remove them from your life.

If you’re unable to remove the toxic flying monkeys from your life, it’s best to interact with them as little as possible.  If you must interact with them, share as little personal information as possible.  Telling them anything personal means that most likely, they will run to your narcissistic parent to share that information as quickly as possible.

Refuse to discuss your narcissistic parent with the flying monkeys.  Remember, the toxic ones are online interested in what supports their perspective.  As a result of that, they WILL hurt you by invalidating or shaming you.  They will attempt to force you to do what they believe you should do, such as resume contact with your narcissistic parent no matter how toxic your parent is.  Change the subject, even if it means doing it repeatedly or being rude.  Only discuss neutral topics with flying monkeys such as the weather.  Or, ask them about things in their lives.  There’s not a narcissist around that will pass up the opportunity to discuss themselves, so why not use this to your advantage?

Show no emotions whatsoever to the flying monkeys.  Narcissists feed off emotions, & their flying monkeys do too.  In fact, they use any emotions you show as proof that the narcissist is right about you, & you’re crazy, angry, unreasonable & more.  No matter how justifiable emotions are, flying monkeys still take them as proof of a victim’s mental incompetence.  Once they are convinced of your mental instability, they will use that to hurt you, so it’s best to refuse to show them any emotions that you feel.

Flying monkeys are miserable, awful people who thrive on hurting others.  Not dealing with them is the best solution, but if you must deal with them, I hope the tips in this post will help you to do so.

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Stop Comparing Your Struggles To Someone Else’s

One thing I have noticed a great deal of in the community of abuse survivors is comparisons.

Those without PTSD or C-PTSD sometimes think those with either disorder are weak, & shame them for being so weak.

Those who have siblings shame those of us who are only children, because they think we had it so easy growing up without abusive siblings.

Still others who were older children look down on their younger siblings for having it so easy as to be “spoiled” by the same parents that abused them.

The problem is that these mindsets make no sense whatsoever.

Someone who managed to escape an abusive childhood or abusive marriage without PTSD or C-PTSD should be grateful for that fact rather than judging others who live with these disorders.  Those without such disorders are in the minority.  The fact is that surviving an abusive relationship often causes either disorder, & it’s not very common to escape without them.  Rather than looking down on those of us you may deem weak, instead be grateful that you don’t live with PTSD or C-PTSD.  Be grateful you don’t have any idea what it’s like to live with crippling anxiety & depression, or have nightmares every night, or live with being so hyper-vigilant that your own spouse coming into the room where you are can make you feel blind terror for a few moments.  Living with such horrible things is an absolute nightmare.  Be glad you don’t suffer with this! 

If you think those of us who were only children had it easy, then think again.  I won’t say it’s easier for only children to survive an abusive upbringing than those with siblings, because each situation has its own unique challenges.  I will say as an only child, I can speak from experience in saying that being the sole focus of a narcissistic parent’s rage is a nightmare.  It’s just as bad of a nightmare as it is for someone who grows up with siblings who turn out like their parents, & abuse their scapegoated sibling.  One is no better or worse than the other, simply different.  Different does NOT mean one had it easy & another did not.

Rather than waste time comparing your experience to someone else’s, I would like to encourage you today to accept not only your experiences but the experiences of others to be valid.  Everyone who has survived abuse has seen some horrific things.  While yes, some experienced worse than others, that does not make the experiences of those who experienced less horrific abuse any less valid or abusive.  Abuse is abuse & it hurts.  Period.  Accept that.  Validate your experiences.  There is nothing wrong with this!  In fact, doing so can help you to heal.  Not doing so, & comparing your experiences to that of others invalidates your pain.  It makes you feel your experiences don’t matter.  They weren’t so bad, so just ignore them & pretend they never happened.  That mindset is incredibly unhealthy!  I know facing your demons is hard, but it also is healthy, brave & a strong thing to do.  It’s necessary if you wish to heal from the trauma in your life.  So why waste time comparing your experiences to those of other people when you can help yourself to heal?

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A Suggestion To Help You Enjoy Life After Narcissistic Abuse

Some time back, I decided that rather than simply inform those who follow my work of information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & ways to cope, I wanted to branch out a bit into ways to add more joy to their lives.  Today’s post is about that very topic.

A few years ago, I learned of hygge.  It is a Danish word used to describe a lifestyle of coziness, contentment & comfort.  I haven’t done as much as I would like to with what I have learned about this concept but I’m working on it.  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned with you today.

In order to create a hygge lifestyle, I think it’s wise to start by examining your life.  What activities can be cut back on, eliminated or done more efficiently to give you more free time?  It may help to give you a clearer picture to write out what you do.  Consider these things & eliminate what you can that isn’t productive or that doesn’t add joy & value to your life.  If some things can’t be eliminated then consider how you can reduce your obligation to or time spent on these things.  The more free time you have, the more time you can devote to the things that bring you the most joy in life such as your hobbies & people you love.

Another aspect of creating the comfortable hygge life is examining the relationships in your life.  Most everyone has people in their life in certain mental boxes.  There are the people closest to you such as your spouse, children, & closest friends & relatives.  Slightly further out are people you still care for but not as much as those closest to you.  There also may be people further out such as co-workers & acquaintances.  The farthest out should be the toxic people.  Consider all of these relationships.  What relationships are worth focusing your time on?  Which are the most healthy, loving & even fun?

When it comes to relationships, I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity.  Better to have three awesome people in life than seventy iffy people.  Keeping only the best relationships means you have more time & energy to focus on those wonderful people who deserve your best.  It may be awkward & even hard to do, but eliminating the bad relationships & focusing on the good relationships is a wise move that adds joy to your life.

What is your home like?  Your home should be your sanctuary.  Make your home that way!  I don’t care if your home is a studio apartment or a huge mansion, it can be made into a comfortable safe haven on any budget.  Decluttering is an excellent place to start turning your home into that haven because clutter is a known cause of anxiety.  Also the less stuff you have, the less you have to clean & maintain.  Keep only the things that are useful & that bring you joy.  Decluttering doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Start with one drawer, then move to another, then a shelf, then a closet.  Add things to dispose of to either a trash bag, box to donate to charity or give to friends & loved ones.  Get rid of the boxes & bags as they fill up.  If you wonder what is worth keeping & what isn’t, ask yourself some questions: if you had to move tomorrow, would this item be worth moving?   Does this item add joy or usefulness to my life?

Keeping your home clean & organized will reduce anxiety.  A little work each day can maintain a clean, organized home with minimal effort.

Invest in small changes such as a new paint color or cozy sheets on your bed.  These changes won’t require much of a financial investment but can make your home feel more inviting & comfortable.  They even can make it feel like a very different place. 

If you lack ideas for changing your home, look at homes in all different styles.  Something will appeal to you, & once that happens, inspiration won’t be far behind!  I love Victorian era homes, & although my home isn’t completely Victorian, I have enough of that influence to make it into a comfortable, cozy sanctuary.

Also, be sure to place pictures that are important to you around your home.  Whether those pictures are of important people in your life, pets, pictures you have taken or artwork isn’t important.  Display those pictures to add to the cozy feel of your home.

Creating a hygge lifestyle may not be the most important step in enjoying life after narcissistic abuse, but it sure does help.  Why not give it a try?

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Celebrate Your Healing!

Some time ago, I shared something on Facebook someone else disagreed with. The way this person stated their opinion triggered shame in me because they sounded much like my mother & ex husband used to sound when they disagreed with me. The good part about this was I realized very quickly what was happening. This person didn’t intend to shame me. The way they stated their opinion was simply a trigger, nothing more. I also realized this person was wrong, but rather than blindly believe this person or get into some big debate (which I absolutely hate), I simply deleted my post.

Do you have any idea how very important this is?!!?

Until the last few years, when someone disagreed with me, I automatically assumed I was wrong, they were right & I should be ashamed of myself for thinking what I did. Growing up hearing how wrong you are about everything will do this. You naturally assume you’re wrong about everything, even when every fiber of your being knows otherwise. I’m sure many of you who also were raised by narcissistic parents can relate all too well to this. The behavior goes deep & is hard to change. Yet, I conquered it!!! That is worth celebrating!

Another common behavior of those of us with narcissistic parents is to minimize our accomplishments & not celebrate them. I always thought my parents expected me to do great things not because I was smart or talented, but just because they thought I should do those things. As a result, I learned not to celebrate anything I did because I figured I was just supposed to do those things. It took me writing several books before I created a celebratory ritual that I do once I publish a book. Prior to that, I just published a book & started another. No celebration was involved.

Some time back, after considering such things, I decided to celebrate more often & that includes when I recognize how much I’ve healed. The incident I mentioned at first almost went uncelebrated. Old habits die hard, after all. It took a few days for me to realize what had happened & that I should be proud of myself for healing to this point. When I did though, I gave myself a mental pat on the back for healing.

I want to encourage you, Dear Reader, to do the same.

There are going to be times when you backslide in your healing journey. We all do that. Chances are good you spend plenty of time beating yourself up for those times. I certainly do! Why not spend at least the same amount of time celebrating your successes? The more you do that, the better you’ll feel about yourself. And as an added bonus, the less the backsliding times will affect you. They’ll still annoy you of course, but they won’t be devastating.

By celebrating these times, I don’t mean you have to have a big party or anything so elaborate. If you like that, by all means, go for it! If not, that’s fine too. The celebrations can be simpler. I often reminded myself of how far I’ve come. I remember some things from my younger & much more dysfunctional days then thought of how that person is now a stranger. God has helped me heal so much, I don’t even recognize the old me. I sit with that for a while, knowing God truly has blessed me. Sure, I still have issues. I still have C-PTSD. But, I also no longer make rash or foolish decisions based on what other people want while ignoring what I want. Other people can no longer control or manipulate me. These are really important accomplishments! It took a lot of work & listening to God’s guidance to get to that point & I am proud of myself for what I have done.

You should feel the same! Be proud of everything you have accomplished in your healing. Even the baby steps count, so if you feel you’ve healed in one tiny way, be proud of yourself for that! That still took work & is something special. Congratulate yourself on a job well done!

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Lesser Known Signs Of Trauma

When you have experienced trauma in your lifetime, in particular repeated trauma, it’s going to affect you.  Some expected signs of trauma in a person are things like depression & anxiety.  There are a host of other, lesser known signs that can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life.

Hyper-vigilance may be the most common sign of trauma in a person’s life.  It happens often in a person who has lived with their abuser, such as the child or spouse of the abuser.  Living with an abusive person means you must be on your guard at all times, so you don’t do anything that upsets the abuser.  That hyper-vigilant behavior often stays with a person long after they have ended the relationship with their abuser.  It also leads to a host of other problems.

Physical pain in victims of abuse is often a sign not of an injury or illness, but of having experienced trauma.  In particular, this pain often manifests in the neck & back.  This is due to living in a hyper-vigilant state for an extended period of time.   Hyper-vigilance causes your body to be in a state of not only emotional but physical stress, & that can cause physical pain in spite of there being no injury.

An extreme startle response is also caused by having to be in a state of hyper-vigilance.  It manifests as being drastically more startled than you would expect to be in a specific situation.  This startle response often cause anger or even tears in the startled person.

Sleep disturbances is another common sign of trauma in a person’s life.  Nightmares that either relive the trauma or trigger emotions similar to those experienced during traumatic episodes happen often.  Waking up often during the night or struggling to fall asleep in spite of doing things to help even including taking sleep aids are also common.  Some people can wake up throwing punches, because they are so accustomed to protecting themselves.  This happens with those suffering from PTSD who have served in the military or those in law enforcement.

Being too busy is a trauma response that many people employ.  These people will keep themselves as busy as possible during their waking hours.  They work long shifts, participate in many activities & rarely take time to just rest, even when they’re sick.  They do this as a way to avoid facing their pain.  If they don’t have time to think, they also don’t have time to think about their pain.

Similar to being too busy is losing yourself in activities.  Staring at social media or watching tv for hours is another way to escape facing pain by focusing attention elsewhere.  While neither is bad, doing so for hours on end is unhealthy, especially if the one doing so is unable to stop.

Eating disorders can be another sign of unresolved trauma.  It is a way to regain some control when a person feels like they have no control otherwise.

Avoiding places & people that remind a victim of past trauma are more trauma responses.  No one wants to face reminders of pain, of course, but those who have been through extreme trauma will go to great lengths to avoid it.

Avoiding conflict is very common in those with traumatic pasts.  When abuse happens during conflict instead of dialog designed to work things out, it instills fear in a person about conflict with anyone, not only the abuser.

If you recognize yourself in some or even all of these symptoms, hope is not lost!   The more you deal with the trauma in your life, the more these unhealthy patterns will break.  Not overnight, but they will happen.  Keep working on your healing however works for you.  Pray, write in a journal, talk to a supportive friend or therapist… whatever you do that helps you, keep on doing it even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress.  Healing isn’t a simple thing.  Sometimes it looks like nothing is improving, then suddenly you make big progress.  Other times, you’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional habits.  It’s ok!  It’s just a part of the healing journey.  Don’t give up!

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15% Off My Print Books Until Friday, August 13

My publisher has been having some really good sales this year. Here’s another one. Just use code CREATOR15 at checkout when you buy any of my print books from now until August 13, 2021

Here is the link to my books:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Helpful Routines For Highly Sensitive People

In case you haven’t heard the term, highly sensitive people, or HSPs, are people who are especially sensitive, just as the name implies.  They also are known to have a high sensory processing sensitivity.  This means HSPs can be very sensitive to all sorts of things such as textures, loud noises, & bright lights.  They also are very in tune with other people, & are often easily stressed by tense situations & violence.  Due to their sensitivity, highly sensitive people can become overwhelmed very easily.  There are very good parts of being a highly sensitive person though.  They tend to be very creative & empathic people with good quality relationships & a deep appreciation for beauty in all its forms. 

In my experience of talking with many people who have been abused by narcissists, many victims of narcissistic abuse are highly sensitive people, which is why I have chosen to discuss this topic.

Due to the nature of being highly sensitive, life easily can become overwhelming sometimes.  Highly sensitive people need to develop healthy routines to maintain good mental health & prevent burn out.

I firmly believe a close relationship with God to be vital.  The closer you are to Him, the more peaceful you naturally feel because you know He is in charge.  He also will help you figure out ways you can avoid burn out.

Getting rest is essential.  HSPs need more rest than most people, due to their senses working so hard.  While it may not sound it, that really can be exhausting.  It’s important to get good sleep, so investing in a comfortable bed with good quality linens is money well spent.  You also may want to listen to soft music or nature sounds to help you fall asleep.  Pillow speakers can be a great investment for those who sleep with a partner.

Part of getting rest is prioritizing down time.  After a long day, it’s very important to take time to relax & decompress.  What can you do to enjoy your down time?  Pray?  Read?  Listen to music?  Knit?  Think about what helps you feel calm & participate in that often, preferably daily.

Reevaluate your schedule.  While being busy is valued in today’s culture, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  Being too busy reduces the ability to enjoy down time, can interfere with sleep & cause a plethora of mental & physical health problems.  What can you eliminate from your schedule?  Are there ways you can at least cut back on certain activities?  Is there anything you do that you can get help with doing from your spouse, kids or coworkers?

Reevaluate your boundaries.  Many highly sensitive people are so in tune with the needs of those around them, they ignore their own needs.  This clearly is an unhealthy habit!  While it’s great to be there for those you love, it’s also important to take care of yourself.  There is nothing wrong with limiting what you do for other people.  In fact, doing so is a very loving thing to do for you as well as them.

Consider your home.  Home should be your sanctuary, away from all cares of the world, where you can relax & be at peace.  Does that describe your home?  Clutter can create anxiety so if you have clutter, clear it out & your anxiety should diminish greatly.  If you aren’t happy with how it looks, make changes to turn your home into your personal sanctuary.  Those changes may be as simple as decluttering or as drastic as repainting every room.

Start journaling.  Journaling is a wonderful thing.  There are no hard & fast rules to it.  Your journal can be as fancy or as plain as you like.  It can be online only or a physical book.  You can write as much or as little as you like, as often as you like & in whatever style you like.  Some people write as if they are writing a letter to a friend when they journal or they write out their prayers.  Others draw pictures or cut out pictures from magazines & such then paste in the pages of their journals.  There are also countless journaling prompts available online to help if you get stuck. 

If these suggestions seem too much, then don’t try to do them all at once.  Start by doing one.  Add another when you feel ready.  The changes you make will help you physically & mentally.

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Sharing Some Inspiration

I recently caught a show on the Oxygen network about the Cleveland strangler, Anthony Sowell.  I believe the show was called, “Snapped Notorious: The Cleveland Strangler.” If you don’t know him, he was a serial rapist & murderer in whose Cleveland, Ohio home the bodies of 11 women were found. 

I found the show fascinating.  Not only because of my interest in true crime but mostly because of the surviving victims.  At the end of the episode, four victims who miraculously survived Sowell’s attacks were interviewed.  They were very strong & inspiring ladies!  I regret that I didn’t make a note of their names.  I was too busy jotting down notes from what each lady had to say to think of names at the time, but if you get to watch this show, you can find out their names.

Anyway, what these ladies had to say was so inspiring & I think also very valuable for victims of all kinds of abuse, which is why I wanted to share their wisdom.

One lady shared that she wants to start an organization called Cracked Not Broken whose sole purpose is to tell people there is always hope.  She said too that there needs to be more support for victims.  She’s right.  There isn’t much good support.  She & the other three ladies on this show supported each other though, & that is so wonderful!  I think victims of crimes & any type of trauma & abuse need to support each other because they can do so better than anyone else.  They understand the pain, the difficulties in healing, & more.  What healing could take place if more people supported each other rather than compared their traumas or minimize the traumas of other people!

Another lady stressed the importance of never minimizing your experiences.  Many victims of abuse minimize their trauma.  Since she said this, I assume victims of crimes do it as well.  It’s not a healthy thing to do!  To heal, you need to accept what was done to you for what it was, not some watered down version of it.  Then you can get angry about it & really start to heal.

She also said the only way to heal is to “get that stuff off you”.  That is so true!  Holding things in doesn’t help anyone & is detrimental to mental health.  This particular lady suggested reaching out for help.  If you are unwilling or unable to do so, there is always journaling.  That is incredibly helpful in “getting that stuff off you.”  Better yet is prayer.  God truly will help you to heal from anything!

Another lady said victims need to know they didn’t deserve what was done to them & not to blame themselves.  This happens to so many people who were victimized in any capacity.  The woman who was raped blames herself for wearing a short skirt, the person whose car was stolen blames himself for forgetting to lock the doors, the victim of a narcissistic parent blames herself for making her parents abuse her.  This is so wrong & it needs to stop.  No one can force another person to abuse them & no one deserves to be abused.  Period!

Another lady said just because the person who hurt you didn’t see your value, that doesn’t mean you don’t have value.  You are valuable!  You deserve to love yourself.  And, as you heal, take each day a step at a time.  Don’t rush the healing process.

Lastly, this same lady said one thing that helped her to heal was to keep her head up & never give up.  Clearly she knew she had no reason to be ashamed of what happened to her, so she wasn’t going to carry that shame!  So very wise!

I hope you were as inspired by these brave, beautiful ladies as I was! xoxo

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25% Off My Ebooks Until July 31, 2021 & 10% Off My Print Books Until July 23, 2021

The month long sale on my ebooks is still going, but will be ending at the end of this month. Don’t forget to check it out. Click the link below to see all of my ebooks..

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

Or, if you prefer print books, you can use code CREATOR10 at checkout until July 23, 2021. Click the link below to see my print books…

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15% Off Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 15% off all of my print books until July 16, 2021. Simply use code SUMMER15 at checkout.

Click the link below to see all of my print books..

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Acting Normal After Trauma Can Create Shame

I’m a huge fan of the ID channel’s true crime shows, & I watch them often. It fascinates me the things that people are capable of. Not only those who commit heinous crimes, but those who have the strength & wisdom to outwit their attackers & survive brutal attacks.

Recently I was watching one of these shows. In it, a woman’s ex boyfriend kidnapped her under the guise of saying he wanted her to come with him to say good bye to his daughters. He said there was a party in another town, & he would take her to the party where his daughters would be so she could say good bye. On the way there, he threatened her & even tried to choke her. Sadly, when they got inside the house where the party supposedly was, it was empty & abandoned. It’s where he killed her.

What got me about this show was what happened just before they got to that house. The boyfriend told her to behave herself when they arrived at the party, in other words, act like he hadn’t just tried to choke her. It struck me – that is exactly how narcissists act! They can do the most painful, vulgar thing to a victim, & victims aren’t allowed to show others any signs of the trauma they just survived.

Naturally, narcissists do this to hide their horrible behavior so they can continue to do it & to impress whoever they want to impress. However, there is another facet of this behavior. Not allowing someone to act as if they have been through trauma instills shame in them.

Hiding your emotions in such a situation is good for survival, but at the same time, it can make you feel like something is very wrong with you for being upset about the trauma. I wonder if it’s partly because of how narcissists think. Many act like their victim is supposed to be able to do anything. Not because that victim is capable or smart, but because they want the victim to do things. Certain things are just expected of a victim, no matter the victim’s abilities, strengths or weaknesses. Acting normal after trauma is one of those expected things. When you feel as if you can’t act normally or struggle to do so immediately after a traumatic event, you can feel ashamed of your feelings.

Another reason for shame in such situations could be how many people treat victims. So few people are sympathetic to victims. Many people expect victims to “just get over it”, “let go of the past” or “forgive & forget.” Not a lot of people have patience for a victim who still shows signs of having been through trauma & they do their best to get them to act normal. Being around such people can instill a great deal of shame in a victim.

I’ve also experienced shame by being around someone who isn’t affected as strongly as I am by similar traumas. As an example, my husband is someone who can go on no matter what. No trauma slows him down. I’m not sure why he’s that way & trauma hits me much harder. There have been plenty of times I would see him keep going to work, working in the yard & doing other normal things after something traumatic happened. Yet, let something not as traumatic happen to me & I struggle to do things I do every day. This kind of comparison also can instill shame just like being told to act like nothing happened can.

When you experience this type of scenario, & chances are you will at some point, you need to turn to God. Pray about it. Tell Him how you feel & ask for help.

Also think about your situation objectively. It’s not normal to act like nothing happened after trauma. It’s normal to feel certain things & to act differently. If it was 95* outside, it’d be normal to sweat. Would you be angry at yourself for sweating in such hot weather? No, because it’s totally normal & understandable. Similarly, it’s normal & understandable to act differently after trauma. You have no reason to feel shame for acting differently.

Just remember, Dear Reader, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you for being affected by trauma, no matter what the narcissist or insensitive people may think. xoxo

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When Gratitude Can Be Toxic

Gratitude is a topic that is presented as of the utmost importance in society.  And, gratitude is a wonderful thing.  Life is much happier when you are grateful for the good things in your life.  I feel so much joy when I focus on appreciating little things, like going for a drive with some good music playing in the car.

There are times though that gratitude isn’t the best solution.  It may even be impossible. 

If you have lost a loved one, for example, you will get to the point where you are grateful they’re no longer suffering & that you had them in your life for however long the time was.  To get to that point though, you first will need to go through the grief process.  That is going to take time, & involve some unpleasant emotions like feeling lost & alone, anger & intense depression.  To get to the grateful place is messy, & shouldn’t be skipped over.  Focusing only on gratitude for that person while not properly grieving means you’re ignoring pain that needs your attention in order to heal.  Ignored pain finds alternative ways to get your attention, & those ways aren’t healthy.  It can manifest as unhealthy relationships, addictions, physical & mental health problems.

This is also true when it comes to dealing with abuse in your past. 

There are people who tell victims that they need to be grateful for the trauma because it supposedly made them strong or it made them who they are today.  This can be so harmful for victims!  It’s invalidating & also can create a great deal of shame in a victim who is struggling & unable to feel any gratitude.  It is so cruel to tell someone this & make their struggle even harder than it needs to be!

This post is for people who have hurt such comments about how they need to be grateful for what they have been through.  There is nothing wrong with you for not feeling grateful.  Healing is ugly.  It involves a lot of terrible feeling emotions.  It also is a grief process, because you have to accept that some pretty terrible things were done to you, & that caused you to lose precious time in your life, maybe even your whole childhood if your abuser was your parent.  How can any human feel gratitude during such a process?!  It takes a long time & a lot of healing first before you can feel any gratitude related to your situation.

Rather than try to create a grateful heart at this time, forget that.  Not necessarily forever, but for the near future at least until you are further along in your healing journey.  Focus on your healing instead of gratitude.  Feel all the ugly emotions & process them fully.  Then, maybe you can be grateful for some aspects of your experiences.  There are a few things to be grateful for after all.

You can be grateful the trauma & abuse didn’t destroy you, that you have a lot of inner strength that enabled you to survive it, that the abusers are no longer in your life & that God has found some purpose in your pain such as writing about it to help other people.  You also can be grateful for having the courage to face your struggles, because that courage isn’t something everyone has.  Please remember that gratitude can be a good thing to help a person add joy to their life, but it isn’t a cure all.  It isn’t a healthy alternative to pain.  It isn’t like an ointment that will soothe your pain either.  You can feel gratitude while also facing painful, even traumatic things have happened to you.  Just remember not to try to rush yourself into feeling gratitude.

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Making A Change

I just thought I would let everyone know I’m thinking of making a change in my writing. Instead of only sharing what I learn about NPD, narcissistic abuse, & C-PTSD, I have decided to expand that a bit into ways to add more joy into your life.

Since I turned 50 in April, I guess you could say I’m having a mid life crisis of sorts. (No, I’m not going to divorce my husband, date a guy who’s half my age & buy a Mazda Miata.. lol) I’ve come to realize how little I’ve enjoyed my life. NPD has taken up so much time & space in it! It’s time to make some changes.

You know how the Bible says that the enemy has come to steal, kill & destroy, & is looking for someone he may devour? Well, I firmly believe he does this, but not always in obvious ways. Sometimes those ways are subtle. Being abused by a narcissist is both obvious & subtle in its devastation to one’s life. The abuse itself is obvious of course, especially when it’s someone raging at you like an overt narcissist does or giving you intense guilt trips like a covert narcissist. But the aftermath is much more subtle. It is so easy to get caught up in obsessing over trying to understand what happened & ways to heal, that you can fail to enjoy your life. That has happened to me & I’m tired of it! I would guess that many of you reading this feel the same way.

At the time I’m writing this, I have about 8 months worth of blog posts written & scheduled to publish. You won’t see many posts on enjoying life for a bit because of that. I may rearrange & reschedule as I go to interject some but I’m not sure yet. That depends on what I feel God wants me to do. More of those posts definitely will be published in the future along with my usual educational type of posts though.

Please just bear with me through this. I’m not entirely sure yet how this is going to play out. I’ve felt God putting it on my heart to write more about enjoying life from a Christian perspective as I learn to, but as of the moment, not many details have been forthcoming.

Thank you for your understanding & patience with me, & always being there! I love all of you! xoxo

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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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Bringing More Joy Into Your Life

Those of us with C-PTSD are all too aware of the bad triggers.  They remind us of traumatic & painful events, sometimes even to the point of having flashbacks.  They can be a good thing in the sense they show what areas need more healing, but they sure don’t feel so good when they happen!

There is another kind of trigger too, which is much more pleasant & much less talked about.  Good triggers are just as important, yet sadly there isn’t much information available on them.

Good triggers are things that can trigger joy, comfort, pleasant memories or nostalgia.  For me, the smell of Old Spice cologne always reminds me of my Granddad, who I adored.  The song “You’re My Best Friend” by the band Queen always reminds me of my husband since that is our song.  The scent of a fireplace burning on a cool autumn day reminds me of my favorite time of year & triggers a sense of coziness.

Please think about what good triggers you have, & write them down.  If you are unsure, I can offer you some ideas…

  • Some things that can trigger joy might be being kind to someone else, spending time with someone you love, or accomplishing a task you’ve been postponing.
  • Some things that can trigger comfort might be enjoying clean sheets on your bed, wearing an especially soft pair of pajamas or lighting your favorite scented candle.
  • Some things that can trigger pleasant memories or nostalgia could be listening to music you enjoyed at a particularly good time of your life, baking something your favorite relative baked or journaling about some good experience such as when you first fell in love with your spouse. 

Another thing I am in the process of learning about to bring joy into my life is the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).  Hygge is about creating a cozy, comfortable & relaxed lifestyle that leaves you with a feeling of well being & contentment. 

There are no hard & fast rules to living this lifestyle, other than what makes you feel cozy & comfortable.  I have come to realize that less stuff is an important aspect of hygge to me.  Less stuff means less to clean & maintain, & less clutter in my home, all of which help me to be more relaxed.  This also means my home is easier to clean, because of having less stuff which also helps to contribute to a more relaxed state.

Learning about hygge also inspired me to simplify every aspect of my life.  For example, each week I have most of our bills paid automatically by going on a credit card that gives cash back.  I pay this credit card bill weekly, so it doesn’t get out of control, & sometimes I also use the cash back to help pay the balance. 

Focusing on your good triggers, creating new ones as well as living a more relaxed & comfortable lifestyle are all very good for bringing more joy into your life.  I hope you are inspired to make some healthy changes in your life!

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