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Victim Shaming Comments

Victim shaming is a big problem in society these days.  It happens when someone says something that makes a victim feel shame for whatever abuse was perpetrated against them or makes the victim feel to blame for what happened.

Some statements are especially common, & those will be addressed in this post.

“I know someone who had that happen to them, but it was way worse.”  Trauma isn’t a contest.  Trauma hurts, period, & there is no reason to compare one person’s traumatic experience to another’s.  This sort of statement does nothing good.  It only minimizes & invalidates the victim’s pain.

“Your abuser has had a rough life!  You should help him/her.”  A history of being abused or through trauma is NOT an excuse to abuse other people.  Yes, people who have been abused & traumatized don’t always act like functional people.  However, the vast majority also aren’t abusive.  I think this is because they know how badly it hurts to be abused, & they won’t want to inflict that kind of pain on others.

“You know what the problem is?  You weren’t nice enough.  You didn’t kill him/her with kindness.”  Killing someone with kindness can help in some situations.  It can help a person see that their behavior is wrong.  They feel convicted & change.  When dealing with a narcissist or other personality disordered individual though?  Being overly kind is seen as a green light to abuse & take advantage of a victim more & more.

“I don’t know why you two just couldn’t get along.”  This phrase puts the blame for the abuse on both people in the relationship, which makes a victim feel at least partly responsible for the abuser’s behavior.  This is totally unfair!  The only person responsible for the abuser’s behavior is the abuser, period, end of story!

“Stop being a victim!”  While this may sound empowering at first, it’s also a way to stop a victim from discussing their experience & try to get the victim to get over their experience.  There is absolutely no shame in being the victim of abuse.  None!  There is also no shame in the fact it takes time to heal from abuse.  In many cases, it takes a lifetime.  That doesn’t make a person weak or a failure!

“You need to forgive/let this go.  You’ve been holding onto this for too long!”  I am a huge proponent of forgiveness.  Holding onto anger isn’t good for your physical or mental health.  That being said, you can’t let go of all anger just because someone tells you to!  Doing so is a process.  I firmly believe in forgiving immediately in the sense you don’t expect your abuser to try to make it up to you for what they have done.  In that sense, it’s easy to forgive because you know an abuser can’t truly make everything ok for what they have done.  Letting go of your anger, however, isn’t so easy.  That takes a lot of time & actually feeling the anger  as a way to get it out of you.  There is no time limit on that.

“That happened in the past.. why are you still holding onto this?”  This statement is beyond foolish.  When something extreme happens to a person, either good or bad, they can’t just “shake it off”!  Not to mention, when a person is traumatized, there is an excellent chance of that person developing PTSD or C-PTSD if the trauma is ongoing.  A hallmark of both disorders is not being able to let go of trauma, because it returns often as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares.

When people say statements like these to you (& they will at some point), please remember, these statements are not about you.  They are about someone who truly has no concept of surviving abuse & trauma in a healthy way.  That person may have been through abuse too, but lacks the strength to face their pain.  If they can make others not face theirs as well, it makes them feel more normal.

Many people also like to pretend that there is no ugliness in the world.  If they can stop you from discussing your traumatic experiences, they can resume thinking that the world is a happy place at all times.

Rarely when people are insensitive & invalidating is the behavior about the person on the receiving end of their comments, but instead is about the person saying such things.  If you can remember that, it will help you not to be devastated by their cruel comments.

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

For Those Who Lack Joy Around Holidays & Birthdays

I truly dislike holidays & birthdays, & have felt this way for years.  The reason I feel this way is also the reason for so much negativity in my life.  It boils down to narcissistic behavior.

For all of my adult life, I’ve had demanding in-laws, both past & present, who expected my husband & I to do only as they wanted on holidays with no concern to anyone’s wishes beyond theirs.  In fact, my current in-laws claimed almost all holidays before they died, not only Thanksgiving & Christmas, but also Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, etc.  I’ve also had husbands who felt they must obey their demanding parents no matter what I felt.  My birthday also has been ruined by narcissists more times than it hasn’t been.  This all has ruined the joy I once felt about holidays.  Seems quite understandable to me that I dislike special days now, but many people can’t seem to grasp this.  In fact, many have been very critical of me for my feelings.

I thought I should write this for those of you who share similar experiences &/or feelings about special days.

You need to understand that if you feel as I do, your feelings are reasonable & valid.  They are there for a reason, so don’t discount them.  I know, most people can’t stand to learn a person doesn’t look forward to special days with a sense of glee, but they don’t understand that sometimes things happen.  Sometimes one truly severe or traumatic thing can happen that instantly destroys your fondness of these days, such as the death of a loved one close to or on a holiday.  How could anyone look forward to a holiday again when it’s a reminder of one of life’s most painful experiences?

Other times, you experience the same special day misery over & over again every single year.  Maybe you’re forced to spend the day with someone who abused you.  You know it’s not going to be pleasant to put it mildly.  There is no way you’re going to happily anticipate holidays knowing what unpleasantness is coming your way.

Even if you haven’t experienced something awful around the holidays, you may have a family that only comes together on holidays, & the phoniness of it bothers you.  That is one thing that rubs me very wrong about many holiday get togethers.  If this group of people only sees each other on a holiday, why are they seeing each other at all?  Why don’t they call each other or hang out together other times?  To me, that feels incredibly fake, & it gets under my skin badly.  I want no part of such get togethers because of the phoniness of it all.

Whatever your story, it’s ok to feel as you do.  Accept that about yourself without judgment.  If you’re struggling to do so, then imagine your closest friend came to you sharing their story which is yours.  What would you tell that friend?  Would you shame him or her for feeling that way or would you tell your friend you understand?  Tell yourself whatever you would tell that friend.

Try to deal with your feelings however works best for you.  Pray, journal, talk to someone safe & non judgmental.  Talking through this helps a great deal to release so much pain inside you.  Writing does, too, & it also can help to bring clarity to your situation & validate you.

I’m not going to tell you that you need to try to change your feelings & learn to love the holidays.  That is up to you if you want to try to do that.  I did, but it felt fake to me which is something I just can’t tolerate in myself.  But, maybe it’ll work for you.  If so, create new traditions just for yourself,  Spend the day with special friends.  Or, if you spend the day alone, make it a day just for you by doing something you thoroughly enjoy such as reading, watching good movies or going to a park.

I truly wish you the best in your situation!  It’s not easy feeling like a holiday villain in a society that demands everyone enjoy the holidays.  xoxo

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Ongoing Problems As You Heal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippians 1:6 in the Amplified Bible says,

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

Suddenly everything clicked…

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

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

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

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

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

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Understanding Narcissistic Behavior

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Minimizing Your Abusive Experiences

Those of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse, in particular at the hand of our parents, tend to share many characteristics.  One of them is the inclination to minimize any & all traumatic experiences, whether or not they had anything to do with the original abuser.

Some indicators that you are doing this is if you say things like:

  • “It wasn’t that bad.. at least he didn’t hit me.” after leaving a relationship with someone who was verbally abusive.
  • “Yea, that person held a knife to my throat but all he did was take my wallet…”
  • “I know my parents did some bad stuff to me but others have it way worse than I did.”

See the common thread in these statements?  Each one minimizes something very traumatic.

Another way people do this is to use the words “just” or “only” often.  Think of statements like, “It was just verbal abuse” or “He only hit me the one time.”

I realized some time ago that I have done this same thing.  What got my attention was watching a tv show about a serial killer, believe it or not.  The killer’s ex wife was interviewed, & many things she said that he said as well as some of his behavior that she described reminded me a great deal of my ex husband!  No, he’s no serial killer, but to realize he shared some behavior & personality traits with one was a big wake up call to me.  It showed me that in spite of what most people said, that marriage truly was bad!  His behavior really was abusive, & he had some serious mental health issues.  Yet, when I discussed that marriage, I often downplayed the abuse.  Realizing all of this showed me how unhealthily I’ve behaved, & also how many other people do exactly the same thing.

Minimizing one’s trauma is a terribly unhealthy thing to do!  It contributes to a root of shame, & toxic shame affects every area of your life.  Toxic shame makes you feel unworthy in every possible area of your life.  It’ll make you willing to settle for the job you hate because you don’t think you’re qualified to do a better job you would enjoy.  It’ll make you settle for a romantic partner who isn’t good for you since you believe you wouldn’t be attractive to someone better.  The same goes for friendships.  Someone with toxic shame will settle for friends who mistreat you because you don’t believe you deserve a better caliber of friends.

Minimizing also gives other people the message that what you went through wasn’t so bad.  This can lead to people having no compassion for you or others who have experienced abuse.  Since you act like it’s not a big deal, they will assume it isn’t.  It also can send the wrong message to others in similar situations.  They may think that since you don’t see the abuse as bad, maybe they’re overreacting to their situation.  Of course, this will lead to toxic shame & all of the problems that go along with it.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today.  Listen to yourself.  Do you minimize your traumatic experiences?  Do you use “just” or “only” often?  If so, STOP!  Trauma is trauma, no matter if someone else had it worse than you.  Don’t minimize your suffering!  Acknowledge it for what it is so you can heal.  Minimizing only causes problems!

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Irritable Gratitude Syndrome

I recently read an article about Traumatic Brain Injuries that mentioned the term Irritable Gratitude Syndrome.  This phenomenon happens to many who have survived a TBI.  People often tell these survivors how lucky they are to still be alive, it could have ended so much worse or be happy you don’t have it as bad as someone else does.  Many caregivers or survivors at this point want to scream, & rightfully so!!  Such comments can stir up some pretty angry thoughts & feelings that are quite justified.

Yes, it’s great the person is still here, but it’s not so great that he or she has lost their personality, has constant headaches, struggles to comprehend even the simplest things & forgets so much.  Many unaffected by TBIs have zero idea just how awful these things are to live with either in yourself or someone you love.

Ok, true, the situation could’ve ended worse than it did, but even so, that doesn’t mean it ended well!  It can be very hard to be grateful to be alive when you’re struggling with the awful day to day symptoms of a TBI or watching someone you love struggle with said symptoms.

And yes, others have it worse.  That doesn’t negate the fact that all TBIs are unique, they all host at least some pretty challenging symptoms & they all are very disruptive to a person’s life.  As someone with a brain injury, I can tell you that knowing someone else has it worse than me doesn’t make mine any less obnoxious to live with.

As I was reading the article & considering such things I realized something…  I really don’t think Irritable Gratitude Syndrome is only for those with brain injuries.  I also think it can be common to those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.

Think about it… how many times have you been told that you should be glad your situation wasn’t worse, at least he didn’t hit you or everyone has problems with their parents?  That’s kind of similar to the comments TBI survivors often hear, & they also stir up similar emotions & thoughts to what I described above.

How can you be glad your situation wasn’t worse when you struggle with C-PTSD from the narcissistic abuse?  Living with the symptoms of C-PTSD is miserable & incredibly difficult.

Maybe that abusive ex didn’t hit you but he didn’t need to hit to hurt you.  Narcissists destroy their victims on the inside, not the outside, but doing their best to ruin their sense of self.

While it’s true, everyone has problems with their parents at some point, that doesn’t mean all parents are the abusive monsters narcissists are.  There is a big difference between normal disagreements & narcissistic parents determined to destroy their own children.  Saying they are the same only trivializes narcissistic abuse & invalidates victims.

I think there are some things to do that can help you when experiencing such thoughts & feelings.

  • Pray.  Tell God what you think & feel.  Let it all out!  He can handle your anger & sadness.
  • Write it out in a journal.
  • Talk to someone who is non judgmental, safe & understanding of your situation.
  • If you don’t feel like talking or writing, then get alone & cry, scream, beat up some pillows or whatever helps you feel better.
  • I know this one is very hard but try to be patient with yourself.  You’ve been through a lot!  It’s ok to feel badly about that!
  • Rest when you need to.  Emotional things take a big physical toll.  Give your body extra rest.

I know that when Irritable Gratitude shows up, it’s not pleasant.  Quite the opposite in fact.  But you can & will get through it!

In case you are wondering, this is the article I was referring to:  https://www.brainline.org/blog/learning-accident/irritable-gratitude-syndrome

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

One Way Abuse Victims Process Emotions

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge true crime buff.  Pretty sure my poor husband is sick of it since when I turn the TV on, that’s usually what I end up watching.

I’ve also never been a big fan of stories with happy endings.  If it suits the story, that’s fine but if it seems forced, I’m not a fan of that.  I prefer real endings, even if they aren’t happy ones.

Growing up, my mother always said how negative & pessimistic I was.  She made me feel abnormal for liking such “negative” things instead light, fluffy things like she did.  I assumed she was right & something was wrong with me.  Yet, nothing changed even into adulthood.  I still dislike fluffy stories.

I finally came to a realization about my so called negativity, & I think it may help some of you as well.

So many people I’ve spoken to who were raised by narcissistic parents also dislike light, fluffy stories.  They prefer something real even if it is sad.  Many also share my interest in true crime.

Many who were abused by narcissistic parents also share some similarities.  We often are introverts, very down to earth & interested in the deeper things in life over the superficial, in particular what makes people tick.  Knowing these traits, it only makes sense that we prefer what we do.

Another thing I realized is these things allow us to feel the emotions we never were allowed to feel growing up.  Narcissistic parents deny their children the right to have emotions, in particular anger or hurt over the abuse.  This often carries into adulthood.  We grow up not comfortable showing or sharing certain emotions, & aren’t sure how to deal with them.  Feeling anything about the abuse perpetrated on us by our own parents is especially not OK, so those emotions are ignored.  Since those emotions aren’t felt, they need an outlet.  Watching sad movies or true crime, reading sad or unjust stories or even listening to sad songs provides that outlet.  They enable you to feel the sadness or anger without feeling it as it relates to the abuse.

Something else narcissistic parents can’t tolerate is their child feeling sorry for themselves.  This, too, carries into adulthood, & many struggle with feeling compassion for ourselves because of that dysfunctional teaching.  Being able to feel the emotions because of songs, stories or whatever also help you to feel them while not feeling sorry for yourself.  If you watch a story of a young woman who was abused & murdered by her parents, as an adult woman who was abused by her parents, you’re going to be able to relate to her story.  Your heart will go out to her, & you’ll feel pity, sadness, anger at the injustice.  You should be feeling such emotions for yourself, but can’t.  Instead it’s redirected.

If you realize that you too behave in this manner, all hope isn’t lost!  At least you’re feeling the emotions you need to.  That is good.  Emotions demand to be felt, so if you don’t feel them in a healthy way, they will find another outlet.  This outlet isn’t as destructive as it could be, so that is a definite plus.

Some people think about themselves as a child.. if that child was in front of you, what would you tell him or her now?  Wouldn’t you want that child to be open about their feelings & heal?  If it helps, talk to that child.  Write letters to him or her.  It may help you tremendously.

Most of all, never ever forget to talk to God.  He truly understands even when we don’t.  He wants to help & comfort you, so why not let Him?

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Manipulative Memes

I love memes.  In fact, I saved many over the years.  Some inspire me with quoting Scripture.  Others inspire because of the beautiful pictures.  And then there are ones like this one that was popular on Facebook for a while.  It said, “It is very sad when members of the same family do not talk to each other.  The children suffer for the adult ego.  Cousins miss the wonderful opportunity to be together, & all due to a bruised adult ego.  Stop getting offended.  Reunite with your family members.  One day your imaginary conflict will all come to an end…with or without you.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Type yes if you agree.”

That one about made me gag.

I will admit, there are families where someone is being a petty jerk & not speaking to other family members.  It does happen, but I don’t believe it’s all that common.

What is much more common is when someone in a family is abusive, & their victim gets fed up.  They sever ties with that abuser to protect themselves & sometimes also their spouse &  children.  The abuser & their devoted flying monkeys harass the victim, drag their name through the mud & blindly support the abuser.   Meanwhile the victim is left behind in a state of shock & deeply hurt by the betrayal of not only the abuser but the family members who once said they loved the victim.  I guess that truth doesn’t make such a “nice”, wholesome sounding meme though, does it?

If I sound angry about this, it’s because I am.  Not only for myself since I have been in this position but for the countless others who have been as well.

It’s not right to abuse someone in the first place.  There is no reason to abuse anyone.  The only thing that makes this even worse is when people know about the abuse, but treat the abuser with kindness & the victim with disdain.  Treating someone who has the courage to open up about being abused is one of the cruelest things a person can do to another in my opinion.  It takes a lot of courage to go against the abuser’s wishes in any way, especially their desire to keep their acts secret, because once it’s out, you can’t take it back.  To treat someone in this position as if they’re lying, making a big deal about nothing, acting like a spoiled brat, trivialize their feelings or experiences or claim they want to hear nothing about it is absolutely disgraceful & disgusting.  Anyone who does this should be utterly ashamed of their actions, but sadly that is rare.

People who act this way are people who are fans of the meme I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  Those people obviously have issues.  Since I’m related to many of that type of person & have seen their sick behavior first hand, I think I can say that without any doubt.  Thanks to these people, I have learned a few things about this kind of person.

People who treat victims as they do often have abuse in their past.  They don’t have the guts to face that fact, so they deny it.  They put on a fake happy face & tell stories of their happy family.  Their denial runs deep so they don’t have to face the pain.  Any perceived threat to it & they attack.  This includes silencing other victims who are willing to speak out, even when those victims are their own family.

There are others who know the narcissist & refuse to believe the truth.  They believe the “nice guy/girl” act & will also attack any threat to their denial of the truth.

People like this are just as toxic as the narcissist who abused you in the first place.  And sadly, they’re out there creating memes like this & hurting & manipulating God only knows how many people who see it.  It’s utterly disgusting!  You really can’t believe everything you read, because sometimes it’s nothing more than garbage written by toxic people.

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Subtle Abuse

Many people think  abuse is something loud & cruel, such as screaming obscenities at another person.  This certainly is one type of verbal abuse, but for the most part, it is much quieter & more subtle.

Ignoring someone is abusive.  It can create anxiety or avoidance when it happens enough, especially when it happens to children.  It makes someone feel insignificant or even invisible to be ignored, especially by someone important such as by a parent or spouse.

Normalizing abuse is also abusive.  Everyone needs to know that abuse is NOT ok.  When someone doesn’t know that, they tolerate abuse because they don’t know it’s wrong.  This is one reason abusers try to make their victims think the victims are the problem, rather than the abuse being the problem.

Constant criticism is abusive.  While everyone needs constructive criticism from time to time, no one needs abusive criticism, in particular when it is non stop.  The difference is constructive criticism is meant to help a person be better, while abusive criticism is meant to manipulate, control & destroy a person’s self esteem.

Failure to give someone praise & support is abusive.  While people are drastically affected by constant criticism, they also can be affected by a lack of praise & support even without the constant criticism.  My mother used to brag to me about how one time in my entire childhood, she told me she thought I was “kinda pretty.”  That along with her constant criticisms made me incredibly insecure about my looks for my entire life.

Shaming someone is abusive.  To make someone feel shame doesn’t always have to involve saying things like, “What is your problem?!”  “You need some therapy!”  It also can involve laughing at someone, rolling your eyes at them or making them the butt of jokes.  Toxic shame makes a person feel there is something wrong with every single thing about them, which destroys self esteem & makes a person easy to control.

Criticizing someone harshly claiming that it was done, “for your own good” is abusive.  My mother was hyper critical of every single thing about me when I was growing up.  Whenever I would say something about how critical she was, she told me it was for my own good.  I needed to know my faults so I could change them.  I couldn’t argue with that logic as a child.  As an adult however, although I do agree that everyone needs to be aware of their faults, they also need to be equally aware of their good qualities too.  Only being aware of their faults can destroy one’s self esteem.

Similarly, saying or doing cruel & saying it’s “tough love” is abusive.  When my mother’s abuse hit its peak, she said everything she was doing to me was tough love, because I wouldn’t learn any other way.  This made me feel like something was wrong with me, I was the problem in our relationship & I made her abuse me.  A victim in such a situation usually believes the way I did.

Last but not least, gaslighting is extremely abusive.  Gaslighting is when an abuser subtly makes a victim doubt their perceptions of reality.  It isn’t hard to gaslight children in particular, but anyone can be a victim.  An abuser doesn’t have to raise their voice to accomplish it.  All they have to do is convince their victim that what happened didn’t happen the way the victim believes it did or didn’t happen at all.  That can be accomplished easily by instilling doubt in a victim & stating the lies with extreme confidence.  An abuser may even feign concern for a victim for being so confused as to think things happened the way they did instead of the way the abuser says things happened.

Abuse comes in many different forms.  Many of those forms can be hard to recognize at first.  I hope this post will help you to be very aware of them so you don’t fall prey to an abusive person who behaves this way!

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Feeling Your Feelings Is Vital To Good Mental Health

Narcissistic parents teach their children that they are to have no wants, needs & even feelings.  As a result, those children grow up out of touch with their emotions, with anger issues, their emotions can manifest in dysfunctional ways such as in picking abusive romantic partners, or they even can have physical ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammatory disorders, diabetes, kidney or digestive problems.

Add in that dysfunctional & cruel people tell adult children of narcissistic parents things like, “Get over it.”  “Forgive & forget.”  “You aren’t honoring your parents by talking about such things.  After all, the Bible says love covers a multitude of sins!” & it’s pretty much a guarantee that the adult child of a narcissist will suffer with mental & physical illness.

A person who hasn’t felt their feelings needs to learn that there is nothing wrong with emotions!  They’re from God, & the Bible says in James 1:17 that all good things are from God.   I know, many Christians say negative emotions are sinful, but I disagree.  Even negative emotions have their place.  Anger & sadness show you that something is wrong.  If you’re going to fix something, you need to know it’s wrong, which tells me these negative emotions serve a very good purpose.  How can that possibly be bad?

My best friend has a saying.  “You gotta feel your feels.”  Obviously, she’s very wise.  It’s so true!  If you want to be mentally, emotionally & even physically healthy, you need to feel your feelings.  As hard as it can be at first to feel painful emotions, it is much easier than working to keep your feelings stuffed down.  One thing I’ve noticed is the older I get, the more my feelings demand to be acknowledged.  If I’m going to control my emotions rather than them control me, I find it best to deal with them as soon as possible.

Dealing with a lifetime of emotions for the first time can sound overwhelming, but it isn’t.  When I first began my healing journey, I naively thought I would forgive my parents for everything they ever did to me at once, & all would be right in my world.  That isn’t even close, & thank God because that was truly overwhelming!

Instead, I have found that God helps me to deal with only what I can handle at a time, nothing more.  I think about an incident & focus on that, then another & another.  Rather than focusing on everything at once, it’s easier to focus on incidents one at a time.

When something comes to mind I must deal with, I try to remember every detail about it.  My surroundings, scents, sounds, & every awful thing that was said or done to me.  Doing that stirs up emotions & from there I can pray, journal, cry, yell.. whatever helps me to cope.  If the incident was especially painful, it may take a long time or I may need to repeat this process a few times but the pain associated with that incident will subside.  I can promise you that!

This process really helps you to heal.  It benefits your mental health greatly!  You’re validating yourself by feeling your emotions.  Basically, you’re saying, “That was wrong!  That person shouldn’t have done that to me!  I deserve better than to be treated that way!”

You’re also releasing emotions that have been stuffed inside you for years or even decades.  That helps your physical health by releasing the stress & effort of stuffing down those emotions.

You also gain a great deal of peace, because you’re no longer haunted by the terrible experiences.  They lose their power over you.  You won’t feel such intense pain or devastation when you think of those things.  You’ll know you’re healing when that no longer happens & instead you feel more like you’re remembering a bad dream.  Yes, it’s unpleasant but nothing you can’t handle.

Also, your self esteem will improve which will benefit you in so many ways!  You’ll have no more trouble setting boundaries & you’ll know yourself much better.

I want to encourage you today to “feel your feels.”  It truly will help you!  xoxo

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Reinventing The Past

Anyone who has experienced a relationship with a narcissist knows that they love to reinvent the past.  In their version of events, they weren’t abusive.  They were just trying to help.

Narcissists aren’t the only ones who are able to reinvent the past, however.  Sometimes their victims do as well.   I have a very good example of this phenomenon.

I know of someone who was what I refer to as a holiday Nazi.  She demanded her adult children, their spouses & grandchildren spend holidays with her, & they had to celebrate on the exact day.  There was no acceptable reason not to do this, it seemed.

One Christmas season, her adult children decided they wanted to spend the day with their respective families rather than their parents.  Apparently, Mom didn’t approve.  She stopped taking her insulin a few days before Christmas & ended up in the hospital either Christmas day or within a couple of days after, I can’t remember which.  She told her adult children that she did it because she was too busy baking Christmas cookies that she didn’t have time to take her insulin.

Some time after this fiasco, her son who had heard what she said & even repeated it said that never happened.  It was during the time when she was having trouble regulating her insulin dosage.

Rather than admit how manipulative his mother was, & how she would risk her own health just for some attention, he convinced himself that was not the case.  He convinced himself that this happened because the doctors hadn’t regulated her insulin need at that time.

If you have done something similar, you’re not alone.  There is no need to be ashamed of yourself for doing it.  There is, however a need to change that behavior.

Reinventing the past only gives the narcissist power, because their actions are being excused rather than holding them accountable for their actions.  Narcissists realize they can do anything, & you’ll pretend they didn’t.  In fact, you may even end up blaming yourself for what they did.  You won’t punish them for their actions, so this makes them believe they can do anything without fear of consequences.  There is no reason to limit their abusive actions.

It also makes the victim feel like they have to tolerate the abuse.  They convince themselves that what happened was ok by pretending it didn’t happen as it actually did.  This means victims will tolerate a LOT of abuse.

You can change your behavior into something much healthier!

Writing is an incredibly useful tool.  I don’t mean writing a book or blogging about your experiences.  I mean writing in a journal or writing letters you don’t send.  Seeing your experiences in writing helps to make them more real somehow.  It’s very validating!  Writing also gives you an outlet for getting your emotions out with no fear of anyone judging you, which can be incredibly helpful.  It can show you, too, just how much you’ve grown & healed, which is very encouraging.  And regarding changing this habit of reinventing the past, writing also gives you a written record of events, so you can’t reinvent anything.  If you wrote something down, you can revisit that knowing that is what happened rather than this different scenario you started to form in your mind.

Dealing with the traumatic event also will help you to stop reinventing the past.  Reinventing things happens as a way to avoid pain.  If you face that pain & deal with it. you automatically won’t try to reinvent the scenario.  I know that seems terrifying, but truly it will help you a great deal if you face it.  It’ll hurt for a while but not forever.  You’ll heal & that situation won’t have power to devastate you anymore.  At most it may sting a bit when you think of it.  Wouldn’t you prefer that to being devastated?

And as always, never forget to turn to God & trust Him to help you to do what you need to in order to release that unhealthy habit of reinventing the past.  xoxo

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When Places Or Items Trigger Traumatic Memories

This post is going to sound a bit odd to many of you, I’m sure, but I hope you’ll read it anyway as I believe it can be beneficial to those in similar situations.

I saw a quote on Facebook that got me to thinking.  It was long, so I’ll summarize.  It suggested that you talk to nature.  Before cutting a tree or plant, tell it what you have in mind to do, & talk to animals with respect.  That sort of thing.

Having some Native American Indian heritage in me, I tend to do this.  It just seems to be in my blood.  I never thought much about it though until reading the quote.

I’ve always talked to my pets as if they were people, & treated them with love & respect.  Many people including many at their vet’s office have commented how well behaved, smart & loving they are.

After my mother died, I took over some of her house plants.  I’ve never been particularly good with plants, but decided to try with some of them anyway.  I started talking to them when I decided to bring them home.  I told them I was taking them home soon & I’ll do my best to take good care of them.  They’re doing surprisingly well!

Before reading this Facebook post though, I began doing this more, & that even includes talking to inanimate objects.  Reading the post only confirmed to me that I was onto something.

When my mother died, & I learned I was to be her personal representative, I was less than thrilled to put it mildly.  I hated going into her house for years, I even hated the house itself, because of all the awful memories it held.  It seemed every room had some bad memories attached.  Knowing I’d have to spend a great deal of time there triggered horrible anxiety & even anger in me.  I had no idea how to deal with this, so I asked God for help.  He told me, “Talk to the house.”  I thought I must be imagining things… then my very logical husband said the same unusual thing a day or two later, even though I told him nothing about God saying that.

One day when I went to my parents’ house, I started talking to it.  Obviously, I felt strange, talking to this inanimate object, but I did it anyway.  I told the house I realized I was wrong for being upset with it for things that people who lived in it did to me. It wasn’t fair to blame the house for the actions of people, & I was sorry.  Let’s get to know each other better.  Suddenly I began to feel a lot more comfortable in the house.  I’m not angry at the house & I don’t cringe every time I see a location in it where something bad happened anymore.

I also did this with my mother’s car, which is now mine.  There were a lot of pretty bad memories of times with her in that car, so I dreaded dealing with the car.  The first couple of times I got behind the wheel, I talked to the car much like I did with the house.  And you know something?  I don’t mind driving that car now.  I’m comfortable with the car now.

Like many of us in our family, my mother named her car.  Her name is Peaches, so when I take her out I often say things like, “Hey, Peaches.. ready to go for a drive?”  I also told her she was getting new tires recently.  I do the same for the house, saying hi & good bye, or telling the house what I’ll be doing today in what room.

I firmly believe a lot of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse have similar feelings.  Some things & places can offer reminders of awful situations, or even trigger flashbacks.  I suggest talking to the item in question.  It really can help you!  I know it sounds crazy, but isn’t it worth a try?  Whatever helps you to remove some pain is a good thing.  So please, give it a try.. what do you have to lose?

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Another Way To Help Anxiety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Are You Trying To Be Stronger Than You Are?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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An Unhealthy Trauma Based Coping Skill

In today’s society, keeping busy, even too busy, is seen as admirable.  When people haven’t seen you for a while, & ask how have you been or what have you been up to, “Been busy” is an answer that always seems to get approval.  Saying, “Not much” on the other hand gets looks of disapproval.

I don’t subscribe to the admiration of busyness.  While I’m not advocating for being lazy & unproductive, I don’t think being too busy is wise in many ways.  The stress of it can cause physical & mental exhaustion.  That stress also can cause health problems such has high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease & heart problems.  Most people are aware that these things can happen.

What I don’t think most people are aware of is that making yourself too busy also can be an unhealthy way to cope with trauma.

After experiencing trauma, some people cope with it however works for them.  They do what they can to heal & they move on as best they can.  On the other hand though are people who have been through so much pain, they feel they can’t take anymore.  They don’t see that facing their pain is going to help them, or they’re afraid of the pain.  Maybe they think that it’ll take over & or they can’t recover from it, so they decide to hide from it.  Many in this position turn to addictions such as drugs, alcohol, sex or even shopping.  Making their lives too busy is a much lesser known addiction, but it is just as dangerous as the others.

A person who is too busy has no time or energy to devote to healing.  This enables the person to avoid their pain very well by removing the opportunity even to think about it.  Stuffing pain inside is unhealthy!  Doing so can cause big physical & emotional problems.  Emotions demand to be felt, & if they are ignored, they’ll find other ways to manifest, & chances are that manifestation isn’t going to be a healthy one.

It is much better to face your pain than to ignore it.  Yes, it’s painful, but it is much less painful than living with dysfunctional ways of trying so hard to ignore it.  Think of it like draining an infected wound.  Sure, the draining process is painful & well, pretty gross.  Once it’s done though, the wound heals much quickly & may not even leave a scar.  Ignoring the wound means it’ll take much longer to heal, if it does heal, & an ugly scar will be left behind.

Traumatic events are like the poison in an infected wound.  You can drain your traumatic wound by dealing with that pain.  Face the trauma, admit it happened, admit it was terrible, admit you never deserved it, admit you didn’t make anyone abuse you & feel those feelings attached to it.  Doing these things will help you so much to heal!

If you’re too busy, however, you can’t do this so easily.  You’re going to need to make some life changes first.  To begin, I strongly recommend prayer.  Ask God to guide & help you in this situation.

Also consider all of the things that are taking up your time.  How necessary is each activity?  What is your motivation for participating in each activity?  Which activities bring you joy?  Which ones do you dislike?

Once you know which activities you need to eliminate & which to continue, think about creating more efficient ways to do these things.  Let your dirty dishes soak while you run the vacuum so you spend less time scrubbing dishes.  Take turns with another parent of a child on your child’s sports team driving your kids to practice.  Common sense little time savers like these may not seem important, but they really can add up quickly, giving you more time to relax, enjoy your life do what you really need to do, including working on your emotional healing.

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Some Reasons People Try To Stop You From Talking About Narcissistic Abuse

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Thinking About Your Past- Good Or Bad?

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

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

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

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

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

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Having A Healthy Perspective

If you have survived narcissistic abuse, then you know how badly it can mess with your mind.  One thing it does is it can skew a person’s perspective in all kinds of ways.  It can leave a person feeling badly about themselves, such as believing they are ugly or stupid when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also can make a person overly pessimistic, because he or she has had so many bad things happen to them.  Or, it can turn a person overly optimistic, because either he or she has decided not to be so negative like the narcissist who abused them or he or she is  trying so hard to distance from the abuse in every possible way.

In any case, neither being too pessimistic or optimistic is good.  Pessimists are often depressed because they only see the bad things in life & expect only bad things to happen.  Optimists are often depressed, too, because they constantly expect good things to happen.  When something happens that isn’t so good, they are shocked & saddened.

Being realistic yet slightly optimistic seems to be the healthiest way to think, in my opinion anyway.  You accept things as they are, whether good or bad, & if there is a way to glean good from it, you do it.

It can be tricky to get your thinking more balanced after being so out of balance for a long time, but it is still possible.  It takes time, patience, understanding with yourself, focus & help from God.

Prayer truly is the best place to start.  Ask God for whatever it is you need, such as helping you to be more aware of unhealthy thoughts so you can change them.

I recommend too, focusing on God.  If your relationship with Him isn’t particularly close, then work on it.  Drawing close to your Heavenly Father really helps to bring comfort, peace & joy.

Also try to focus on what you think about.  Many times, people just think things & don’t even realize what they are thinking about.  Slow your thoughts down & pay attention to the things that cross your mind.  Acknowledge them & accept them without judgment.

Question those thoughts, too.  Is it possible that your expectations of this person/situation are unrealistic?  Ok, so this situation is pretty bad.. is there something good that you can take away from it?

If you tend to think too emotionally, then try to interject some logic into your thoughts.  If you have trouble doing this, try imagining your situation not as yours, but as that of a friend who has come to you with this situation, looking for advice or comfort.  How would you feel about it as an outsider?  What would you think of your friend’s feelings?  Thinking this way can help to detach you some emotionally so you can look at situations more objectively.

Although it may take some time, you can learn to have a healthier perspective on life.  It will be well worth your time & energy when you are a happier & more peaceful person.

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Recovering From A Smear Campaign

After escaping abuse at the hands of a narcissist, many victims find their narcissist has created a smear campaign against them.  In other words, they trash the victim’s reputation to anyone & everyone who will listen.  They also turn friends & family against the victim, including people the victim never expected could be turned against them.  This on top of all of the horrors of the abuse can be utterly devastating.

When a narcissist creates a smear campaign, you first need to remember what it is.  It’s an abusive tactic designed to isolate you, to leave you without support & love by making people think terribly of you.

A smear campaign is also done to remove your credibility, so if you tell others what the narcissist did to you, you won’t be believed.  It is a way for a narcissist to protect his or her reputation by removing the believability of the claims of their abusive ways & focus from their behavior while making a victim look bad at the same time.

This may be the hardest part of a smear campaign, but it is also very true.  People who blindly believe the lies don’t truly love you.  If they did, they would know you well enough to recognize the lies rather than believe them.  They also would defend you to the person spreading such lies.  As painful as this realization is, it’s also very important.  You need to know who truly loves you & who doesn’t.  This is the one good thing about a smear campaign, how it shows you who loves you & who doesn’t.

You also need to remember that ultimately, this smear campaign isn’t about you.  It’s about the narcissist who started it.  The narcissist wouldn’t have started it if you wouldn’t have seen the ugliness behind the mask.  Because you did though, he or she has determined it’s best to destroy your reputation & your credibility so their secret will remain safe.  As an added bonus, the narcissist gets narcissistic supply by hurting you & feeling powerful by destroying your reputation.

Those who support & help to spread the lies of the smear campaign aren’t innocent either.  They are also gaining something from what they are doing.  Maybe they have gained favor with the narcissist, maybe the narcissist is giving them money or gifts, or maybe they’re just getting narcissistic supply by looking like they care while they’re abusing you by slandering your good name.  There is also the possibility that they are in denial about what the narcissist is, so they are trying to shut you down so their denial won’t be threatened.

When a smear campaign happens, the best thing you can do is to ignore it.  Ignore everything that is being said about you & don’t defend yourself.  Anything you say to defend yourself may be taken as proof that the narcissist is right about you, that you really are crazy, angry or whatever other nonsense the narcissist says.  The best thing you can do is to live your life.  Let your good character shine & it will prove the smear campaign to be wrong.  Anyone who cares about the truth will see that your behavior doesn’t line up with what is being said about you, & question what they have heard.

If anyone tries to tell you what the narcissist is saying about you, if at all possible, end the conversation.  Change the subject.  Walk away.  Do not engage in it.  You don’t need to hear the lies that are being spread about you.

And never ever forget that this smear campaign isn’t about you nor is it a reflection on who you are.  It’s about the narcissist who started it & the mindless minions who help to spread it.

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Just So Everyone Knows..

I’ve decided to take a hiatus from writing books for a while.  Dealing with my mother’s estate is a lot of work, & with my mental & physical limitations, also excessively stressful.  Writing is a lot of work, so I don’t feel I can write & deal with that at the same time.  Or, if I could, I doubt I’d do either all that well.  So, writing books is going on the back burner for a bit.

I’m still going to keep up with this blog & my YouTube channel though.

Since I have some really wonderful readers, I know you’ll understand & I thank you so much for that understanding.  xoxo

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Closure With A Narcissist

People often talk about closure & how beneficial it is.  They encourage victims of narcissistic abuse to get closure somehow, such as by saying good bye to their dying narcissistic parent even if they have not spoken for years.  What these people fail to realize is closure in the normal sense of the word is impossible with narcissists.

Closure is when someone knows & understands why a relationship ended.  Maybe one person even apologized for mistreating the other person, an explanation was given, good byes were said, even some tears shed.  This  scenario just cannot happen with narcissists.

Narcissists do NOT want to give their victims closure.  They prefer to leave them suffering, wondering why things were as they were.  Often, their adult children spend their entire lives wondering, “Why couldn’t Mom love me?”  Even if Mom knows, there is no way she would admit the truth to her child, because her reasons might make her look less than perfect.  Since appearances are so important to a narcissist, they will refuse to admit any wrong doings or even simple shortcomings.

Normal closure is impossible with narcissists, but that doesn’t mean a form of closure isn’t possible.  It absolutely is.

If you can surrender the hope that one day the narcissist in your life will change or show genuine remorse, you can have closure with that person.  I know this probably sounds like giving up, & maybe in a sense it is, but I believe it is a healthy move.

Everyone knows that most narcissists don’t change unless it is to behave even worse.  As long as you cling to the hope that maybe this time will be different or one day he or she will see the light & change their terrible, abusive behavior, you aren’t getting closure.  In fact, you’re going to be miserable & constantly disappointed.  You are tying yourself to this person with your expectations.  Why do this?  You’re only causing yourself pain.

Aim for closure with the narcissist in your life.  Giving up the hope & expectations of change will do you a world of good.  It may not be closure in the traditional sense of the word, but it still is helpful & healing for you.

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My New Project

I recently had an idea.  I am going to create a series of small books that focus on only one facet of narcissism & narcissistic abuse at a time.  Each book will be maybe 1/4 the size of my regular book & naturally much cheaper.  I think this is a unique way to get information out there & hopefully it will help raise awareness too.

I’ll be releasing a few in the near future,  I’m thinking maybe 3 or so, & I’ll post about it when that happens.  I don’t want to release a series that contains only one book, yanno?

When the books are available, they will be available on my website at:

www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

And also at my ebook publisher’s website at:

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

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Thinking Of Confronting Your Narcissistic Parent?

During the course of healing from narcissistic abuse, you may want to confront your narcissistic parent.  You may want to let her have it, to tell her she’s abusive & evil, to tell her although she tried, she didn’t destroy you & many other things.  In your fantasy of doing this, she breaks & apologizes for all of the hurt she has caused you.  She says she wants to change, & to make it up to you for all of the damage she has done.

Unfortunately this is a very unrealistic expectation.

Narcissists don’t admit to any wrong doing on their part.  They often do one of three things- either blame the victim for making them do what they did, say it happened an entirely different way or deny it ever happened in the first place.  As a result, often confronting the narcissist is more damaging to the victim than if they don’t confront.

Confrontation is certainly your choice.  You have every right to call out an abuser on her abusive behavior.  However, you need to have realistic expectations on how the situation may happen for it to be a healthy choice for you.

If you confront your narcissistic parent, will it help you to get it all out to her?  Will it help you to call her out on what she has done even if she denies it or blames you?  If so, then confrontation is a good option for you.

However, if you expect that your narcissistic mother will suddenly have a moment of lucidity, then accept full responsibility for her actions, genuinely repenting of what she has done, you are setting yourself up for serious disappointment.  In fact, that disappointment may be devastating for you.

Probably around 10 years ago, my father went through a phase of complaining even more than usual about his & my mother’s marriage to me.  I hate that!  That is emotional incest & abusive!  I don’t want or need to know about their marriage problems, yet both of my parents have dumped them on me my entire life.  One day when I saw him alone, I finally decided enough was enough.  I was tired of changing the subject to get him to stop complaining.  I had to tell him that he was hurting me, & it needed to stop.  So I did.  I told him those words- “It hurts me when you complain to me about your marriage & about Mom.  Please stop it.  Find someone else to talk to.”  He responded by saying, “Oh ok.. but just this one more thing…” He went on to complain about her for 45 more minutes until he left my home!  (Yes, I timed it!  I was curious how long it’d go on.)  I ended up even more hurt than I was originally, because at this point, he knew he was hurting me yet did what hurt me anyway.

When considering confronting your narcissistic parent, please consider it long & hard.  Pray about it too, & ask God to show you what you should do & if you should confront, how you should do it.  I would hate to see you hurt, Dear Reader, so please do those things before you confront your narcissistic parent!  xoxo

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Should I Go No Contact?

Ending a relationship with anyone is a huge decision, in particular when it comes to family members.  If you read anything about people who are victims of narcissistic abuse, they’re frequently told, “Just go no contact.”

No contact is a very viable option for victims, & usually the best one.  However, it also isn’t an easy solution.  I have yet to talk to one person who has implemented no contact that came to that decision easily.  It often came after months or even years of wondering if there was any other solution & much trying to turn a toxic relationship into a healthy one.

The purpose of this post today is to help you to gain some clarity on whether or not no contact is your best option.

To start with, I always recommend prayer.  Ask God to show you the truth about your relationship, what you should do, how to handle the situation & to give you strength, courage & wisdom to do what is best.

Then, consider your relationship.  There is a difference between someone who is abusive & someone with whom you just don’t get along.  Personality clashes can be very challenging & frustrating, but they also don’t leave a person feeling badly about themselves or even doubting their own sanity.  How does this relationship make you feel?

Are you the only one in the relationship who is trying to make it healthy?  If not, that’s great!  If so, that is a sign this person is toxic.

Does the other person make excuses or blame you for their bad behavior?  Do you come away from a confrontation feeling as if you’re the problem every single time?  That is a huge red flag!  Healthy people accept responsibility for what they do wrong.  They also apologize, try to fix things when possible & change their behavior.

How does the other person react to you setting reasonable boundaries?  Healthy people are fine with boundaries.  Unhealthy people, not so much.  They get angry, pout, behave in passive/aggressive ways, ignore & mock boundaries.

Probably by now, you have more clarity on whether or not you should end the relationship.  If you think you do need to end it, there are other things you should consider too, especially if this person is a family member.

Possibly the most important thing to consider is this.  If you go no contact, will you be able to stay no contact, no matter what?  Going no contact then later resuming a relationship with an abuser never ends well for the victim.  Reason being is abusers see this as a victim having weak boundaries that mean nothing.  They can be trampled over with no real consequences for the abuser.  This means an abuser will behave worse than ever when they understand this.

For your own peace of mind, I also believe it’s important to know you tried your best in the relationship.  No, one person can’t fix any relationship on their own.  However, having peace of mind knowing you did your best is very beneficial.  So many abusers do anything they can to make a victim think they didn’t do enough before severing ties or if they just would have done that one thing, the relationship wouldn’t have failed.  When you truly know you did your best, those sorts of tactics don’t work.

Going no contact also means losing friends & family who side with the abuser.  You need to be aware that will happen, even with those who you never expected to abandon you.

Lastly, what do you feel in your heart is the right move for you to make?  Instincts are a wonderful thing & I believe God’s still small voice speaking to us.  Trust what you feel in your heart, & you’ll know if no contact is the right decision for you.

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Anger In Survivors Of Childhood Narcissistic Abuse

Many survivors of childhood narcissistic abuse grow up showing virtually no anger.  Even when they have valid reasons for being angry, they don’t show anger, in particular anger at their abusers.

 

Rather than get in touch with their anger, they often stuff it deep down inside & make excuses for their abusers.  “If only I hadn’t done…”  “It’s not his fault, he had a bad childhood.”  “She was right, & I’m oversensitive.  I always have been.”

 

Sometimes, abused children grow up depressed.  They aren’t necessarily depressed though.  They may be incredibly angry about the traumas they endured.  Repressed anger can manifest as depression.

 

Anger really is a scary thing when you’ve never been allowed to express it, & even more when you were shamed for feeling anger by your parent.  The only anger that was allowed in the home where I grew up was my mother’s.  If I showed even a bit of frustration let alone anger, she shamed me for having “that Bailey temper.”  It took me until well into my 30’s before I could express any anger at all, & into my 40’s before I got comfortable with it.

 

 

Anger really isn’t a bad thing at all, Dear Reader.  I know so many people say it is, Christians in particular, but it truly isn’t.  Anger is simply an emotion & emotions are from God.  Would He give a bad gift?!  Matthew 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (NIV)

 

What is bad about anger is when you do bad things with it.  You shouldn’t let your anger motivate you to get revenge, for example.  Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”  (NIV)

 

What is good about anger is it can let you know when you’re being mistreated.  If someone treats you well, you won’t feel anger, but let that person steal from you for example, & you WILL feel anger!

 

Anger also can motivate you to make positive changes.  No one ever started a diet who was happy with the state of their body.  They started it because they were fed up with not wearing a smaller size, getting winded walking up the steps or because they were having health problems.

 

So how can you learn to feel & express your anger in a healthy way?

 

You need to accept that you have the right to be angry sometimes.  Every single living being has the right to feel anger about some things, & that includes you.  Hiding it as a child was no doubt a very useful survival skill, but you’re not that child anymore.  You are an adult who has every right to feel it & express it in healthy ways. Remind yourself of that & do so often.

 

 

 

You also need to gain a good understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It helps in so many ways, but one way that helps you is because you understand projection.  A narcissist who shames you for being angry or having a bad temper is simply projecting their bad temper or anger issues onto you.  Their cruel comments are absolutely no reflection on you.

 

You need to recognize that you have the right to be angry at your abuser(s).  During the abuse, you obviously couldn’t show your anger.  Now that the abuse is done, get angry!  Let out all that old anger you stuffed inside you for so long!  It’s hurting you physically & emotionally to hold it in so let it out.  It’s long overdue!  It’ll help to free you of shame, guilt & feeling worthless to do so.

 

**I’m not saying that by getting angry at your abusive parents you need to confront them.  That is entirely your decision.  All I am saying is you need to feel & express that anger.**

 

Everyone has ways to deal with anger that work for them, & you need to do the same.  You can journal, get a punching bag, punch pillows, yell when home alone… there are all kinds of different ways you can cope.

 

 

Don’t think that if you decide to forgive your abusive parents, the anger will vanish.  I made that mistake early in my healing, & thought there was something really wrong with me for still feeling angry with my parents after deciding to forgive them.  I didn’t realize that deciding to forgive them wouldn’t make all the anger I felt magically disappear.  I believe forgiving & getting rid of anger are two separate things.  At least they have been for me.  I make the decision to forgive those who have done me wrong immediately, but even so, it takes time to work through & release the anger.

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My Ebooks Are On Sale

From March 3-9, 2019, my publisher is having a sale!  All of my ebooks will be 25% off.

Come check it out at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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My New Accomplishment

I recently added something new to my repertoire, & I’m pretty proud of myself for it.  I now have an Amazon Alexa skill for the Echo, Echo Dot, etc. about narcissism.  It describes some signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  There isn’t much available in the Alexa skills about narcissism, so I thought it might be a good idea to add some to it.  I don’t know much about creating these skills, so this first one, being very simple, was a good experiment for me.  I am hoping to add more skills about NPD as time goes on.  I’m thinking of adding some of my free ebooks maybe?  Not sure yet… I’m figuring this out as I go, so this may be my only one.  We shall see though!  I’ll share when (& if) I add new skills.

If you’d like to check it out, here is the link:    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07P1T5163/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-skills&ie=UTF8&qid=1551105049&sr=1-1&keywords=narcissism

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About Dreams

I am a firm believer in understanding dreams.  They can teach us things about ourselves.  They can show us areas in which we need more healing.  They can help us to process things that are incredibly difficult to process.  They also can bring us comfort when we need it most.

Tomorrow, it will be 4 years since I survived Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  It was the most traumatic episode of my life, which considering my life, is really saying something.  As a result of that plus the brain damage, I no longer have control over intrusive thoughts, so each year as February 27 approaches, I think a LOT about the day I nearly died.  It has improved some, thank God, because the first year anniversary was the most difficult.

For weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened, & how close I came to death.  I was shaken up badly & nothing seemed to comfort me.. until a dream I had on the night of February 26th, 2016.  In it, I was at a local library where I worked as a teen.  They were closing, so I walked out the door & lo & behold, there was my granddad!  I asked what he was doing here.  He smiled & said, “I came to show you my new car.”  His new car was a pretty burgundy Jeep Rubicon.  I said it was nice & he told me to get in, because we were going for a ride.  We went four wheeling!  We rode over boulders & into deep valleys.  It was so much fun!  When I later woke from the dream, my mood was drastically improved.

(As a side note, I don’t believe the dead technically visit us in our dreams.  I do, however, believe they still care about their loved ones they left behind, & sometimes ask God to tell us something which could mean they show up in our dreams.  Or maybe my dream was God knowing I needed something to comfort me, so he gave me a dream of my favorite person.  I’m not sure which it was, but in any case, it was great!)

I have had so many other interesting dreams that have proven to be very helpful.  For example, for years I had a similar dream about having to repeat high school, & relying on my mother to take me to school,  but she got me there late or would yell at me about how she was doing me a big favor (just like how things were when I actually was in high school).  The more I began to heal from her abuse though, the less frequent the dreams became.  They also started to change, such as I realized I had my own car & didn’t need to rely on her or I remembered I’ve been through high school & had no need to repeat it.  Eventually after going no contact with her, the dreams stopped.  Those dreams helped me to gauge my healing.

The reason I’m telling you about these dreams is to show you the value that can be had in dreams.  I know a lot of people think they have no purpose, but they really do!  Acts 2:17 says, “‘And it shall be in the last days,’ says God, ‘That I will pour out My Spirit upon all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see [divinely prompted] visions, And your old men shall dream [divinely prompted] dreams;” (AMP)  I believe this is happening now.  Everyone needs to pay attention to their dreams!

The brain constantly processes information, good, bad or indifferent.  It continues to do so even when we sleep, which can be what our dreams are.  As I mentioned, they have helped me to gauge my healing, which was incredibly helpful.  There are other times when I don’t remember many of my dreams, & I firmly believe that is the brain processing things that simply aren’t important enough to remember.

When I don’t know what a dream meant, I pray, asking God to show me what that meant.  I also check out a good dream dictionary site I like, www.dreammoods.com.  I look up everything I can think of in the dream, such as objects, people, colors, emotions.  I write things down & then look at the information I gathered as a whole.  Usually then, I understand what the dream was about.  I believe God gives me that clarity when I need it.  If I don’t understand it, I figure it is simply my brain processing things & I don’t need to know what it’s about.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you to start paying attention to your dreams.  They really can offer you insight, understanding & even comfort.

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Lies People Believe Rather Than Believing Victims Of Abuse

When a victim of abuse has proof of abuse, such as bruises or broken bones, that person is usually believed.  Sadly, the emotional warfare narcissists dish out doesn’t leave such obvious physical evidence behind, & many victims aren’t believed because of that.  As a result, victims are often re-victimized by people who don’t believe them, & who accuse them of exaggerating, lying, seeking attention or being the abuser who is trying to cover our tracks.  This often includes a victims own friends & family.

The excuses people give as to why they don’t believe a victim may sound plausible, but in reality, they aren’t.  This post shares some commonly used excuses.  I apologize in advance to those who find this post triggering or upsetting!  

“She is too nice.  I can’t imagine this sweet person abusing anyone!”  Abusers hide their cruel activities from everyone but their victim.  By acting “nice” around other people, this protects the abuser’s reputation & makes people believe him or her over the victim.

“This person is a pastor/teacher/ nurse… there is no way he could be abusive.”  Wrong.  Narcissists are drawn to helping professions such as pastor, teacher, & the medical field because people in these fields are admired.  Such positions also offer power over other people.

“But she is so active in the church!  She carries her Bible everywhere she goes!”  Being active in the church & carrying around a Bible doesn’t mean a person couldn’t be abusive.  There are abusive people in every area of life, & that includes in the church.  This role of being “religious” can bring them the admiration they want while protecting their reputation in such a way if their victim speaks out, they often won’t be believed.

“He brags about his kids all the time.  I can’t imagine this person abusing those kids.”  Narcissists have children as yet another means of gaining narcissistic supply.  When people think well of their children, narcissists take it as people thinking well of them, so yes, many narcissistic parents will brag about their children as a way of gathering narcissistic supply.

“She’s your mother!  Mothers always love their children & never would hurt them!”  This is delusional.  While most mothers do love their children, not all do.  The same goes for fathers.  Some people, like narcissists, are simply incapable of loving anyone & this includes their children.

“He’s always nice to me.  He can’t be abusive.”  All this means is the abuser hasn’t let you get close enough to them to see their true self.  They are keeping you at a distance.

“She says you’re lying & she never abused you.”  Seriously.. do you really think an abusive person would accept responsibility & admit being abusive?  Not gonna happen.  If they admit anything happened, you can guarantee they will have excuses or their version will be much different than the victim’s version.

“He never hit her!  That means it’s not abuse!”  So wrong!  Abuse can be more than simply hitting a person.  Abuse also can be manipulating, invalidating, harshly criticizing, destroying a person’s self esteem, or forcing someone to do sexual acts they want no parts of.

“The victim is an angry person.  That doesn’t mean the narcissist was abusive!”  Ok, that can be true.  However, if you know the victim, you will know if this person is generally angry or not.  And, if the victim is just an angry person, chances are super slim that anger will be focused only on one person. He or she would be angry with pretty much everyone.

“They were just not a good match.”  There is a big difference in a mismatched couple & abuse.  A couple who isn’t compatible can still involve good people.  Abusers aren’t good people, period.

“They were toxic for each other.”  If this is the case, both parties involved will admit their shortcomings.  One person will not claim total innocence while the other claims abuse.  They also will work on trying to improve their relationship or mutually agree to end it.  And, if they end it, one person won’t stalk or harass the other.

The next time someone says one of these types of comments to you, I hope you remember this post & it helps you!

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About Understanding Narcissistic Behavior

Some time ago I was mopping the floors on the main level in my house (the glamorous life of an author!  lol).  As I went towards the bathroom, I remembered something very painful that happened to me in  2009…

As I was mopping my floors one day, my mother called.  I took her call & continued to mop.  My bathroom floor is ceramic tile & there is a big marble threshold strip at the doorway, as is common in many old houses like mine in this area.  As I went to leave the bathroom, my bare foot slipped on the wet tile & crashed into the marble, breaking my pinky toe immediately.  The pain caused me to spew a trail of obscenities that probably would embarrass your average truck driver or mechanic, yet my mother didn’t even notice.  She continued talking as if nothing had happened.  I loudly said to her, “Mom, I have to go. I just broke my toe & it’s killing me.”  “Oh” she said.  “Did you hear me?  I’m in a lot of pain here.. I’ll have to call you back later.”  My mother let out an obviously bored sigh.  That infuriated me, & I said, “Are you listening at all?  I broke my toe & need to go.  I’ll talk to you later.”  At that point she said “Oh ok.. bye!” & we hung up.  I called her back later that day.  She never asked if I was OK or what had happened.

It was either that evening or the following evening, my father called.  He asked how I was doing.  I said laid up with a broken toe, didn’t Mom say anything?  No, she didn’t.  In fact, when he called back again the next day, he said he told her about my toe & she said, “Oh?  When did that happen?”

I have quite a lot of stories along these lines that display my parents’ blatant disregard for me.  Even having studied narcissism in depth since 2011, these stories still blow my mind.  I mean, I understand a lot about the disorder & the utter lack of empathy narcissists have.  Yet, at the same time I can’t fully comprehend how anyone can be so indifferent to the suffering of other people, in particular, their own child.

When I’ve mentioned this inability to fully comprehend narcissistic behaviors on various social media pages or groups, I’ve been attacked several times.  People have told me things like, “They’re evil & you just need to accept that.”  “Stop expecting narcissists to be normal!”  There have been more comments, but honestly I don’t even remember them anymore.

Since I’ve experienced this, I figured some of you who read my work have too, & this should be addressed.

If you can’t “wrap your mind” around the behavior of narcissists, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with this.  In fact, I take it as a good sign because I think the only people who can fully understand narcissistic behaviors are narcissists.

If someone tells you there is something wrong with you for not grasping the behavior of the narcissist in your life, the best thing you can do is ignore them, because the truth is their nasty response isn’t about you.

Some people are simply very logical & not quite so open minded simply due to how logical they are.  It’s not that they don’t have feelings or are closed minded, but that logic rules their minds a lot.  These people may narcissists in the “evil box” or say who cares why they do what they do.  Well, not everyone is that way.  That doesn’t mean anyone is right or wrong here.  It simply means some folks have different personalities which means they have different ways of coping & understanding things.

There are also those who write about or make videos about narcissism who are pretty burned out on the topic.  If someone asks them a question or makes a comment, these people are very short with their reply, & often even rude.

The truth of the matter is everyone is different.  Some people can heal just fine not understanding the reasons behind the narcissist’s actions.  Others need to understand the reasons, & get frustrated when they can’t fully grasp those reasons.  Neither is wrong.  You do whatever works for you!

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