Tag Archives: healing

An Important Point About No Contact

No contact is often the only solution preached when a victim of narcissistic abuse looks for advice.  People make it sound like once you get that narcissist out of your life, everything will be peachy keen.  However, this is not the case!

 

No contact is a wonderful thing.  I am very much in favor of it since often it is the only solution that can help a victim keep their sanity.  It creates the distance needed to help the victim have clarity of thought that is impossible while involved with a narcissist.  That being said, though, there needs to be more to it than simply cutting the narcissist out of your life.

 

If your parents are narcissists, chances are you find yourself in friendships & romantic relationships with narcissists.  You can end the relationship with your parents, but if that’s all you do, you’ll continue to find yourself in these toxic relationships.

 

Rather than cutting ties only, you need to learn all you can about narcissism.  Doing this will help you to spot narcissists easily, before they lure you into their dysfunctional web.  It also will show you that you are not to blame for anything they did to you.  Narcissists love blaming their victims for the abuse they dish out, which leaves victims feeling guilty unnecessarily.  Learning about narcissism will help you to get a revelation on the fact that their abuse was all on them.  You truly aren’t the problem, a bad person or anything else they said you were!

 

Also, focus on your own healing.  Grow stronger & healthier emotionally.  Get to the root of your issues so you can truly heal.  As you get healthier, your self esteem will heal too, & you will find yourself attracted to & attracting healthier people into your life.  You also will find you can handle yourself with the abusive ones that are impossible to avoid.

 

If you are considering going no contact, then please keep these points in mind!  Going no contact can help you a great deal of course, but you don’t need to stop there.  Learn about narcissism & focus on your healing as well as going no contact, as these things will benefit you immensely!

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

Unhelpful Advice

Many people truly have no grasp how incredibly difficult the process of healing from abuse is.  As a result, they often provide some unasked for & useless advice.

 

  • “Just get over it.”
  • “Just let it go.”
  • “That happened a long time ago.  You need to get over it already!”
  • “Don’t think about it.”
  • “Think happy thoughts.”

 

These messages all say the same thing- “Don’t talk about it.  Sweep it under the rug & pretend it didn’t happen.”  What a horrific message to give to someone who is suffering!!

 

Never allow this awful unasked for advice to get inside you!  If you follow it, your pain will manifest in awful ways such as depression, nightmares, high blood pressure, digestive issues, diabetes & more.  Emotions demand to be heard.  If not given a healthy way to process, they will find other ways to come out.

 

People don’t realize that victims *do* need to think about it.  Want to?  No.  Need to?  Yes.  Only when you face things can you heal.  You need to remember what happened & feel all of the emotions connected to it- anger, hurt, etc.- before you can release them & be healed.  This process often involves talking about it.  A lot.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong or wallowing in the past.  It means you’re processing the event so you can move on.

 

Many times, victims have PTSD or C-PTSD.  Intrusive thoughts come with the disorders.  This means that thoughts go through your mind whether or not you want them to.   Sometimes it’s impossible to “think happy thoughts.”  There is nothing wrong with that.  Sometimes, things just suck!  It’s OK to admit that.  A while back, God showed me that at times, being positive isn’t always a good thing.  You can read about that at this link for more details.  Are You Too Positive Or Too Negative?

 

Narcissistic abuse is especially complicated & insidious.  It permeates every part of you.  It takes a long time to heal from it because of its complexities.  There is nothing wrong with you for taking a while to heal.  I haven’t spoken with one victim who was able to fully recover, let alone do so quickly.  I am in my 40’s & regularly still deal with things that happened to me in my childhood.

 

The next time someone offers you useless, unasked for advice such as “just get over it”,  do your best to ignore it.  Chalk it up to someone being ignorant of the complex road that is healing from abuse.

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Understanding Anger After Abuse

Growing up with narcissistic parents, you learn many things early in life that most people don’t, such as you aren’t allowed to have feelings.  Often if you are happy, a narcissistic parent will ask you what you have to be so happy about, shaming you into hiding your joy.  If you are sad, you’re told you don’t have anything to be sad about because other people have it way worse than you.  If you’re angry, you’re told you have a bad temper & are crazy.

 

Because of such things, you learn early on to ignore your emotions.  Stuff them down deep inside & pretend they aren’t there.  Eventually though, after years of doing this, enough is enough.  You can’t physically or mentally handle this stress any longer, & you have to start learning to express yourself.  It feels so strange at first.  Sometimes, I still feel like I’m waiting for some sort of backlash for sharing my emotions, because I’m doing something I learned as a child was absolutely wrong.  It has improved over time, but is still there to a degree.

 

I think though that anger is the hardest emotion to handle when you learn to share your emotions.  Aside from the messages of shame for feeling anger that you must get rid of, anger seems to have a mind of its own.

 

When first getting in touch with your anger, it may feel as if there is an infinite pit of it inside you, which is pretty scary.  You must realize that if you’ve been stuffing it inside you for your entire life, there is going to be a lot of anger in there to deal with.  There is an end to it all, but it’s going to take a while to deal with it all.

 

Also, when you’re not allowed to express anger, it comes up later, even years later.  I get angry with my parents for things that happened 30 years ago sometimes.  It makes me feel like I’m living too much in the past. It can be so frustrating!  Unfortunately it’s also very normal.  You can’t simply expel all of the anger you feel inside at once.  You mentally couldn’t handle that.  Instead, it comes out in manageable doses.  This means you’ll probably have to deal with an incident at a time.  Since narcissistic parents dole out such a great deal of abuse to their children over the course of their lives, there are obviously going to be many, many incidents to deal with, even going back to your very early life.  It’s an unfortunate & frustrating fact of being raised by narcissistic parents.

 

Sometimes the anger comes up later because you were so busy trying to survive the abuse that you didn’t have time to cope with it at the time.  I had a terrible relationship with my husband’s mother.  Then, my husband defended her to me which caused many problems in our marriage.  I had to fight with him as well as her, & didn’t really have time to process what was happening, because I was trying to survive both of them with my sanity in tact.  It wasn’t until I cut her out of my life that I could finally deal with the things she had done to me as well as the anger at my husband for taking her side no matter what she did.

 

You need to realize that all of these feelings are normal.

 

You also need to realize that you have a right to your anger.  Being abused isn’t fair.  No one deserves it!  You have every right to feel anger about that.

 

You have every right to learn to deal with your anger in a healthy way.  It’s well overdue.

 

There is nothing wrong with anger in & of itself, so please don’t buy into the lies you heard about that.  Anger is simply an emotion & emotions aren’t bad.  It’s what we do with that anger that can be bad.  Trying to get revenge on someone out of anger is bad, but feeling anger is not.  Anger is a good thing since it lets you know something is wrong.

 

I know anger is a very scary thing when you never learned how to handle it in healthy ways.  However, you can learn healthy ways to deal with it.  Prayer is the absolute best place to start, I believe. Ask God to show you what to do, how to handle it.  He certainly will answer that prayer!

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

A Bump In The Road Of Healing

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, it affects you deeply & in ways you aren’t even aware of.  The chaos, abuse & manipulations are simply normal to you.  Thank God He teaches us about Narcissistic Personality Disorder so we can get away from that dysfunction!

 

As you learn about narcissistic abuse & heal from it, naturally you change a great deal.  While becoming healthier, you see things differently.  You finally understand just how wrong so many things your parents taught you were.  It’s empowering, this learning & growing, but something comes along with it that can be difficult.  Constant reminders.

 

Some time ago, I realized that it seemed like everything reminded me of something awful about my relationship with my parents.  For example, after becoming deathly sick in 2015, seeing families rallying around a sick family member can bring me to tears.  I never told my parents what happened, because I know they would turn the situation back to them rather than care how I was, & it hurts!  Reminders that others have loving parents brings that awful thought back to the forefront of my mind, & depresses me.  Other times, I’ve seen reports on TV about a murdered person, & their grieving loved ones talk tearfully about what a wonderful person he or she was.  I know if I died, my parents wouldn’t miss me in the least, but instead would enjoy the narcissistic supply they could get by portraying themselves as the grieving parents.

 

These things began to happen after I got sick in 2015.  I chalked it up to the head injury & carbon monoxide poisoning I received at the time since both are known for changing a person’s personality.  Somehow that didn’t feel right though.  I prayed & God showed me what was happening.

 

The more a person heals from parental narcissistic abuse, the less they see things through the fog of gaslighting thrust on them.  The clarity means they understand how things should be, not as their narcissistic parents say they are.  Seeing healthy, normal situations is simply a reminder of how things were not when they were growing up.  Unfortunately the reminders can hurt a great deal.

 

Realizing your parents are narcissists is a painful experience, partly because of the grief that is involved.  You grieve the fact your parents never loved you, weren’t & will never be there for you, & even can’t be the kind of parents you would like them to be.  (I personally believe this is a lifelong grief, although it gets easier over time.)  It’s much like when someone you love dies- the initial grief can be debilitating, but in time it mellows to something more tolerable, only occasionally bringing you to tears when something reminds you of your loved one.  I remember right after my granddad died.. one day my husband & I ended up following a car that looked identical to his.  I cried because seeing that car made me miss him.  Almost 14 years later, I still shed some tears if I see a car like his last one or even vaguely like it.  Seeing something that reminds you of what your parents did or didn’t do for you can be like that- a sad & painful reminder.

 

If you are experiencing something like this, then Dear Reader, know you aren’t alone & you aren’t broken. I know it’s frustrating & painful, but I firmly believe it’s completely normal under the circumstances.  All you can do is understand these things happen, be gentle with yourself when they do & pray, pray, pray!  God will help you to get through!  Let Him do that for you!  xoxo

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Purging Of Repressed Emotions

Since I have been no contact with my parents, strange but good things have been happening.  One of those things is God has helped me to get in touch with the negative emotions I had stuffed inside for years.

 

I’ve had a lot of nightmares, repressed memories & flashbacks to deal with, especially in the last few months.  While it hasn’t been fun by any stretch, it’s been a very good thing.  I’ve been able to remember things I hadn’t thought of in a long time, then deal with them.  This has enabled me to make great strides in healing.  I feel freer & even physically lighter, as odd as that may sound.  I feel cleansed of things I didn’t even realized I needed cleansing from.

 

I can’t help but thinking that this is happening as a result of going no contact.  I noticed this has happened to me after being no contact with my parents for several months & also years before after going no contact with my narcissistic mother in-law & sisters in-law.

 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist- be they your parent, sibling, spouse or anyone- so much of your thinking is taken up by that person.  Either you’re trying to find ways to appease her to avoid her rage, or survive the relationship with your sanity in tact.  Either way, you simply don’t have time to cope with the constant wounds inflicted on you by her abuse.  You’re functioning in survival mode.

 

Once the narcissist is out of your life, it takes some time for your mind to feel safe enough to stop functioning in survival mode.  When it does though, finally, it seems to demand that you work on all those issues you weren’t able to face due to constant trauma.

 

If you too are faced with nightmares, flashbacks &/or repressed memories after going no contact, please don’t panic, Dear Reader.  Your brain may be doing as mine has done- it stopped functioning in survival mode & wants to be healed.  I would suggest going with it.  Work on your healing from narcissistic abuse however helps you.  Pray.  See a therapist.  Whatever works for you.  After all, maybe one of the reasons for you being out of that toxic relationship is so you can heal.

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The Little Things Can Be A Big Help

Song of Solomon 2:15  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  (KJV)

 

This Scripture came into my mind recently.  So often, little things can steal our joy.  A good mood can be ruined easily by someone’s insensitive, cutting criticism.  A financial blessing can be spoiled when a person learns how much they’ll have to pay in taxes.

 

However, the reverse is true too.  Something bad can be reversed by something small yet positive.

 

If you’re having a bad day, yet a handsome stranger smiles at you, does that not improve your day?  It certainly does mine.  Or, when you put your hand in your pocket to find a few dollars you didn’t know were there, would that not brighten your day at least a little?

 

When you’ve been through some awful things in your life, it’s easy to cling to the negative while ignoring the positive.  Especially if you’ve grown up with at least one narcissistic parent.  They are truly the most negative people you can meet- if there is a bad way to look at a situation, they’ll find it.  And, they train their children to do the same thing.  It can be a hard habit to break, but it is well worth it.

 

I’m not one to advocate being overly positive & optimistic, because people who are out of balance that way tend to be disappointed constantly.  However, I do encourage people to be realistic & yet still positive.  Sometimes, things just stink & nothing can make it better.  However, there are also many more times when your situation stinks but there are tiny blessings around you that can help you to get through it.

 

God has been showing me lately that good can be found in a great deal of negative situations.  Flashbacks & nightmares even have their purpose.  Yes, they’re incredibly  awful at the time they happen, but once they’re done, if I look at them, I realize they often show me areas where I need more healing.  I believe they happen when they do because God basically says, “Now is the time to face this.”  Every time I do, I make another step towards healing.

 

I’ve also noticed that when I’m very depressed or upset about something, my cats will do silly things or snuggle me more than usual.  To me, that is a wonderful blessing because even in my worst moods, they can make me smile.

 

The point is, Dear Reader, that there are often silver linings in even the darkest clouds, & those silver linings can help get you through.  Not to make us overly optimistic to the point of being foolish, but to help strengthen us when we need it the most.  If you’re having trouble finding those silver linings, then by all means, ask God to help you to be aware of them.  He will!  Be sure to notice everything, even the tiniest things, because God has sent them to help you!  Even something small like noticing the blooms on a majestic magnolia tree in the middle of summer.. as common as that is, it’s still a beautiful thing to see if you love magnolias.  Maybe God put you in the path of that lovely tree to bring you a little joy at the specific time you needed it.  Enjoy it.  Revel in it.  It’s a gift from God just for you.

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

What Can Happen To You After Going No Contact

Going no contact with a narcissistic parent (or two) is an incredibly difficult thing to do.  It takes a tremendous amount of prayer, thought, discussion & energy to make that decision.  Chances are you feel peace about your decision even though it hurts things came to this.  You read about the smear campaign & flying monkeys, so you feel prepared, but the truth is, you aren’t.  Other things can happen that no one warns you about.

 

One of the other things is the incredible influx of memories, nightmares & even flashbacks that happen.

 

I functioned my entire life with my parents in survival mode.  It wasn’t until they were out of my life for almost one year (this past May 5) that survival mode finally stopped.  I finally felt safe enough to let my guard down, not worry that at anytime they may show up at my home, may call or I may see them in a public place.  It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders!  At least until the nightmares, repressed memories & flashbacks started.

 

While I’ve experienced them all for many years, the sheer amount was shocking.  It seemed like I couldn’t go a day without something happening, often a few times a day, & frankly, it was overwhelming & scary at first.  Upon praying about it, God spoke to my heart saying I no longer have my parents in my life demanding so much of my attention & focus, so now is the time to heal.  When memories came up, or nightmares or flashbacks happened, pray, & He would enable me to heal.  He truly has!!

 

Each time something happens, I pray about it.  I feel the anger or hurt, & tell God about it.  I often journal about it too, because something about seeing things in writing is so validating.  It’s a good reminder that I didn’t deserve the things that happened to me & that none of it was my fault, as I was told.

 

Doing such things has brought me a tremendous amount of healing in a short time!  Yes, it’s been difficult, but I’ve been through much more difficult things.  And, as a bonus, at least these difficulties have a purpose- to help me to heal.  Thankfully, things have slowed down quite a bit.  I can go a couple of days without a nightmare, repressed memory or flashback.

 

If this happens to you too after going no contact with your parents, Dear Reader, don’t be surprised.  In fact, I would encourage you to go with it.  This may be a time of great healing for you.  If it happens, I would recommend you start by praying.  I don’t even know why I didn’t pray as soon as things began to happen, but it was a mistake on my part.  As soon as I did pray though, my healing started to make real progress.  I’m sure yours will too!  All you have to do is trust God & work with Him however He suggests.

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Narcissistic Families & Cults Have A Lot In Common

Have you ever considered the similarities of cults & narcissistic families?  There are quite a few similarities…

 

  • Leaders demand unquestioning, blind devotion, no matter what.
  • Leaders demand how those under them should act, think & feel.
  • The leader is always right, period.
  • Questioning leaders is discouraged, & often severely punished.
  • Isolation is extremely important.  Relationships with those not in the group is discouraged, often the leader demands others to sever ties in those relationships.
  • Life outside of the group is discouraged.
  • Leaving is looked at as a betrayal, & the person leaving is often spoken badly about.
  • Mind games/gaslighting are the norm.
  • Independent thinking is not allowed.  The leader has done all the thinking necessary so those under him need only to submit to his will.

 

Don’t these characteristics of cults sound also like the characteristics of narcissistic families?

 

The above reasons are precisely why it is so hard to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Living in this cult type environment is detrimental to your mental health!  People who have escaped both cults & narcissistic families work on their healing for many years, often their entire lives.

 

When people say you should “just cut ties” or “just leave”, the above reasons are exactly why it is so hard.  Not only are they talking about abandoning your family, but thanks to the cult mentality, leaving them is even harder than one might think.  You feel as if you’re betraying your family, as if you’re committing some unpardonable sin by thinking of your own mental & physical health.  You also may be afraid of the backlash because they will send out a smear campaign to destroy your reputation.  Not to mention, the unknown can be scary!  All you know is their warped mentality & way of life.  Even though it’s awful, it’s familiar, & there is a degree of comfort in what is familiar.  Things have to be really, really bad to take that leap of faith by leaving the familiar & treading into the unknown.

 

If you were raised in a narcissistic family, please understand that the damage done is incredibly severe.  Never get mad at yourself for taking too long to heal, or having so many issues.  Narcissistic abuse is incredibly insidious & pervasive.  It’s only normal to have a lot of problems after being raised in such an environment, even well into adulthood.

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Why Didn’t I Learn About NPD Years Ago?!

Many victims of narcissistic abuse that I have spoken with have said the exact same thing that I felt for  years: “I wish I’d learned about narcissism years ago!  I wish I knew why God waited so long to show me.”  Most victims I’ve spoken with were over 40 when they first learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The absolute youngest I would say was in her late twenties.

This is often a source of frustration for many victims.  We tend to feel angry for all the years wasted, not understanding what was happening & blaming ourselves for our abusive parents or spouse.  We also don’t understand why God didn’t show us the real problem years earlier.

I wonder, Dear Reader, if it was because we simply weren’t mature enough to handle this knowledge until we have a few years under our belts.

If you still have a relationship with your narcissistic parent, it takes a great deal of wisdom & maturity to be able to handle it with your sanity in tact.  These things can be gained only through age & experience.

Also, a solid foundation with God is absolutely essential to help you cope with the relationship.  As a young, new Christian, you may not have had the mature relationship & deep faith you have today.

Whether you still have a relationship with your narcissistic parent(s) or not, if you are healing, you also need that strong relationship with God.  I have found He guides my healing as I am able to handle things.  He helps me face things only when I am strong enough.  He also shows me new information as I am able to understand it. Looking back, I don’t think I would have accepted the information or help in my younger days when I felt like I needed to be able to do everything myself.  It took years for me to learn to rely on God at all, because, like all children of narcissistic parents, I grew up knowing I shouldn’t “bother” anyone with my “petty” problems.  I know now that I need God to help me cope & understand the things I have been through, but in my younger years, I would have denied that & refused His help.

I hope this answers that frustrating question of why didn’t God teach you about narcissism earlier.  It can be a point of frustration for sure, but God does know what is best for us.  If He delayed you learning about NPD, one thing you can know without a doubt- there was s good reason for it.

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Making Healthy Changes In Your Relationship With Your Narcissistic Parent

One year ago tomorrow, it’ll be one year since having that huge argument with my parents.  That means it’s also been a year since speaking to my mother, & almost five months since speaking to my father.  My mother stopped speaking to me after that argument but my father didn’t.  He called less & less frequently as time passed, & the calls were much shorter, but he kept the door open with me.

I’ve prayed a LOT about the situation this past year.  I felt God wanted me to pull away from my parents yet not tell them I want them out of my life.  So, I didn’t contact my mother, send her cards or anything.  I also haven’t sent my father any cards or called him, but I did take some of his calls & allowed him to visit me last December.  Also during this year, God has shown me via dreams & opening my eyes just how selfish & dangerous my father really is.  That visit in December really was eye opening for me.  My father told me when he was coming to my home, & what we were doing while he was here.  That on top of all of the other things that have happened made me pull away even further from him to the point I stopped taking his calls all together, & blocked my parents’ phone number.

Apparently this was an issue for my father.  He sent several people after me to tell me I needed to call him asap.  Thank God, in spite of the nasty old, dysfunctional feelings of needing to do as my parents say, God enabled me to resist contacting him.

My point in sharing this story with you, Dear Readers, is to give you hope.

When you have narcissistic parents, then learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you realize you need to make changes & it can be scary.  You’re going against your parents, which is intimidating!  They’ve trained you your entire life to be a certain way or face dire consequences.  Even as an adult, the consequences still can be scary.

You may even feel you need to go no contact with them, which is even more intimidating.  Doing it may feel impossible to you, but I can tell you it is possible.

Whichever you are planning on doing- changing your behavior yet staying in a relationship or going no contact- you can do it!

You need to begin in prayer.  Ask God to show you what to do, how to do it & enable you to do whatever you need to do.

Start small.. start setting small boundaries, such as not answering the phone every time your narcissistic parent calls.  When the phone rings, pray first.  Ask God if He thinks you are able to handle the call or not, & listen to what He says.

Say “no” to your parent sometimes.  Your parent will hate it, of course, but do it anyway.  Say no to small things at first, then bigger things.  An example is if your parent wants you to come by Friday, say no- Sunday would work better for you.  It’s small, sure, but it’s taking back a little power.

If your parent insists on driving when you get together, you say you’ll meet them there & drive your own car.  If need be, arrange to have something else to do after seeing them so you have a legitimate reason (in your parent’s eyes) to drive yourself.   This is another small way to take back some power.

Small gestures like this are a great place to start- they worked wonders for me.  Seeing I could take back some power & set some boundaries gave me strength.  It made me realize I really didn’t have to settle for being abused constantly.  And, as time wore on, I set more & more boundaries.

This behavior naturally pushes away narcissists, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!  I knew I wanted to go no contact quite some time before it happened, but it never felt right to tell my parents that.  Being healthier naturally pushed them away which put us in a low contact state that I could tolerate.  It also showed me just how abusive & dysfunctional they are because they can’t respect my boundaries.  Normal people, if they dislike a boundary, they still respect it.  Narcissists aren’t normal though.  They try to get you to change your boundary, pout or get passive/aggressive when they are faced with a boundary they don’t like.  Seeing my father’s behavior when I set boundaries with him was quite eye opening.  For example, after our argument, he tried calling me non stop for days.  When I didn’t take his calls, he called so early one morning I was still asleep!  I thought I was dreaming about answering a phone until I heard his voice & woke up quickly.  He said “he” just wanted to talk to me & “he” wanted to hear my voice & “he” thought this & “he” felt that.  When you see something like this, it’s impossible to deny someone is abusive & manipulative.  It can be very good seeing such things, because it gives you strength to either set more boundaries or to go low or no contact

I’m telling you, Dear Reader, these things work.  They are a fantastic place to start making healthy changes in your life & relationship with your narcissistic parent.  Try them, & see for yourself!

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Why People Defend Abusive Parents

So many people are quick to defend abusive parents.  They may say they did the best they could, or you should forgive & forget what they did to you since they were abused as children so they didn’t know any better.  Others simply refuse to believe the abuse happened, accusing you of lying or exaggerating.

 

Why does this happen so often anyway?!  I have some thoughts..

 

If you notice, people who came from truly loving, functional upbringings aren’t the ones doing this.  They know what real, Godly love is, so this means they also know what it is not.  When you tell them horror stories of the abuse you endured, they normally are shocked & horrified that a parent could treat their own child that way.  Their parents never would have done such a thing to them, & they know that.  They won’t make excuses for the abuse or try to normalize it.  It’s wrong & they call it wrong.  They offer you love & support because they know that is the right thing to do.  They may not understand how you feel since they never endured such things, but even so, they empathize with you, & it hurts them you have been so mistreated.  I have two friends that I’ve known since Kindergarten & first grade.   One male, one female.  Both were raised by loving mothers, she had a very kind wonderful father & the his father physically abused his mother.  They have no personal experience with being abused narcissistic parents, yet they are very supportive & kind to me.

 

People who come from dysfunctional upbringings however act much differently.  They are the ones who are quick to say, “But those are your parents!  They won’t be around forever!”  “I’m sure they did the best they could!”  “They just don’t know any better!”

 

I can’t help but think this is because these people are triggered by your openness.  You discussing your painful childhood makes them think of theirs, & they aren’t willing to face theirs at all.  If they can shut you up, they can resume their denial of their own pain.  For years, my husband thought I should try harder with my parents.  Ignore their cruelty.  He made excuses for what they did.  At the same time, he was doing just that with his own abusive parents.  It took him many years before he would say anything even remotely negative about his parents, let alone admit his parents were abusive.

 

Some people also may recognize their own behaviors when you describe the abuse you endured, & they don’t want to face that either.  They may be abusing their child the same way you were abused, & don’t want to admit they are abusive or wrong. They like the control they have, & don’t want to lose it.

 

There are also others who can’t handle anything negative.  These are the same people who expect every book & movie to have happy endings, & they want the same from real life.  My mother is that way.  She hates anything negative.  These people don’t want to hear about your problems.  They want to hear only about light, fluffy, happy topics, ignoring anything bad or negative.   These people don’t seem to have good coping skills, so they avoid anything that is even mildly upsetting.  You discussing your pain is upsetting, so they don’t want to hear about it.  Unless you can share something light & happy with them, they don’t want you to talk about it with them.

 

Whatever the reason someone defends abusive parents, take it as a warning for you that this person is NOT safe to discuss your painful experiences with!

 

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A Little About Flashbacks & Repressed Memories

Recently, I’ve been having a lot of repressed memories return to the surface along with a flashback.  I had a total of 6 repressed memories & 1 flashback in a period of 2 days.  Not a fun 2 days for sure!  However, I realized something.  They all had reasons for happening.

 

Flashbacks & repressed memories show you what areas you need healing in.  If you’ve dealt with events properly, you won’t have flashbacks about them.  You’ll also remember them, so they won’t be repressed memories returning to the surface.  Although they’re rough, at least flashbacks & repressed memories can help you see what you need to work on.

 

They also can enable you to feel emotions that you couldn’t feel, let alone process, at the time of the trauma.  When I experienced mine recently, for the first time, I felt all the pain, anger & fear I was unable to feel at the time because I was simply trying to survive.  Feeling those emotions enabled me to release the pain.  Finally!

 

Flashbacks & repressed memories also are a good validation for why you’re low or no contact with your narcissistic parent.  I only recently blocked my parents’ phone number after months of no contact from them.  My father apparently called, & couldn’t reach me so he sent his flying monkeys after me to tell me to call him.  Considering his age & failing health, I honestly had a tough time not calling him at first.  Thank God I have a loving God & good friends who reminded me why I blocked his number in the first place to get me through the worst of it.  A bit later is when the flashback & repressed memories happened.  They really helped drive home the fact that I need to stay away from my parents.  They showed me exactly how abusive & dysfunctional they are.

 

I know flashbacks & repressed memories are extremely painful to deal with, but if you allow yourself to learn & heal from them, at least that pain won’t be in vain.  If you’re unsure what you’re supposed to learn or do after a flashback or a repressed memory returns, then pray.  God will show you what the purpose of it coming to your mind at this time is.  I also suggest keeping a journal.  Writing things down gives you something to look back on.  It reminds you of things you may have forgotten, & offers you strength when you see how far you’ve come.  A written record can be a wonderful thing!  I use an online, password protected diary so my journal is completely private.  No one reads it but God & I.  There are plenty to choose from, so you might want to do the same.

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Rejection & Narcissistic Abuse

Part of the reason narcissistic abuse is so damaging is the rejection.  Rejection is at the core of many behaviors done by narcissists.  Not hearing someone is rejecting them.  Not allowing someone to have any rights is rejection.  Mocking & criticizing someone is rejection.  Failing to protect a child is rejecting them.  Not being validated is rejection.

 

Rejection hurts, whether you’re a child or adult, & no matter who does the rejecting.  However, it seems to me a child rejected by a parent hurts more than anything, & the pain often continues well into adulthood.  There are ways to cope however.

 

You have to realize that a parent who abuses (rejects) their child is the one with the problem, not the child.  I know, that is a tough thing to really get a good grasp on, but it is vital that you do!  A child cannot do anything that forces her parent to reject her- that is on the parent.

 

When your parent rejects or hurts you, ask God to tell you the truth about the situation.  As soon as possible, get into prayer.  Ask God, “Is my parent right in what she said about me?”  “Did I deserve to be treated that way?”  or any other questions you may have, then wait on Him to speak to you.  God cannot lie.  He will tell you the truth, & it will heal your wounds!  I have done this many times.  God has carried me through some incredibly painful experiences by simply speaking His truth, the real truth, to my heart.

 

Look at the situation from your parent’s perspective.  If your parent is a narcissist & you aren’t, this can be kind of tricky, but I encourage you to try it.  It will show you the depths of their dysfunction, which will help you to understand that you aren’t the problem.  For example, my mother has always had problems with my looks.  I look absolutely nothing like her, but instead look like my father’s family, in particular my grandmother.  Looking at it through my mother’s eyes, I can see how this is a problem.  My mother told me she assumed I would look like her when I was born, but I didn’t.  She hates her in-laws, all of them, & here I am, looking like them instead of her.  Her mother in-law to boot!  Does that mean it was OK for her to be so hyper critical & cruel to me about my looks?  Of course not.  But, understanding that showed me that I’m not the repulsive, ugly creature she always treated me like, & my mother has problems to treat me that way!  In fact, my grandmom was a beauty in her youth, so I consider it an honor to look like her.

 

Accept the fact that your parent isn’t capable of loving you in a normal, healthy way that a parent should love a child.  This one is hard & very painful, but you need to do it.  If you don’t, you might cling to the hope that she’ll change.  Instead, you’ll constantly be disappointed that your parent didn’t treat you better this time when you saw each other.  Your parent not changing has nothing to do with you- no one can make another person change.  Instead, it has everything to do with your parent not wishing to change, to be emotionally healthier.

 

Talk about your pain.  Pray.  Talk to a trusted friend or relative.  Write in your journal.  Get the hurt & pain out of you so it doesn’t poison you.

Be prepared- you may feel anger that you’ve never felt before.   The more you heal from narcissistic abuse, the more you see things through a healthier perspective.  That means that what was once normal for you suddenly you see as incredibly dysfunctional or abusive.  This is going to make you angry.  I started getting angry at my mother a few years ago for ordering me around like I was her personal slave rather than asking me to do thing for her.  All my life, that was just how she was.  No biggie.  Once I got much healthier, I realized I deserve better than to be bossed around so disrespectfully, & it made me very angry.  As the anger rises up in you, don’t be afraid of it.  Don’t ignore it, because it won’t just go away.  Find healthy ways of dealing with it.  Talk to God about it.  Vent to someone close.  Write scathing, angry letters that you don’t show to anyone.  Just get the anger out of you!

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Do You Have Something That Is Just Yours?

A little while ago, I was listening to some music from the 80’s.  Being a teen in the 80’s, it’s often my go to genre.  I was really enjoying the songs & a thought crossed my mind.  Most people who listen to their childhood music are transported back to happy days of their youth.  I’m not. My childhood wasn’t happy.  Even so, I still love the music of the era.  As I wondered why, & didn’t even have a chance to ask God why, He gave me the answer.  My taste in music was the first thing that was just mine, that my narcissistic mother couldn’t ruin for me.

 

My mother likes 50’s music & country music by the Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys & similar sounding artists.  My father is mostly into outlaw type country- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt.  Neither likes 80’s music.  When I first got into it, my mother harshly criticized it, yet she didn’t spoil my love of it in spite of her valiant efforts.

 

She tried to squelch my love of other things over the years too- my taste in cars, other types of music I like (such as Southern rock & metal/hard rock), my love of feminine clothing & perfumes, knitting, scary movies & books. I’m positive her motivation was to make me dislike these things & replace them with things she likes or approves of.  (Narcissists love to change people into what they think they should be, rather than allowing people to be individuals.)  It hasn’t worked, however, & these things all bring me a great deal of joy, even when she insults them or me for liking them.

 

When you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, holding onto something that the narcissist couldn’t ruin for you or take away from you is precious!  It makes you feel strong.  In spite of every hateful thing she tried, she couldn’t take this from me!  There was one thing she couldn’t destroy about me!  YAY ME!!

 

Do you have something that is just yours, that your narcissistic mother couldn’t take from you?  What is it?  Whatever it is, I urge you to celebrate it!  Enjoy it to the max!   Relish in the fact she couldn’t take it from you no matter what.  Be proud of yourself for having the fortitude to hang onto that thing!

 

If you can’t think of anything, that is ok too!  Find something!  Try something new- a new hobby, a new type of tea, listen to a different genre of music.  You’ll find something that is so special to you, that even the meanest narcissistic mother can’t take away, & you will thoroughly enjoy it.

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On Survival Mode

In the past several months since my parents have stopped speaking to me, I’ve gained quite an education.

 

One thing I’ve learned is about survival mode.  Survival mode is a way of behaving in an abusive situation.  Basically, your emotions are shut off & you do whatever you need to in order to get through the awful situation.  Barely speaking so as not to say something that upsets your abuser, for example.

 

I’ve learned that survival mode doesn’t necessarily end when the relationship ends.  In my case, my parents didn’t say outright that they never wanted to speak to me again- they just stopped calling me.  I think that is why I stayed in survival mode for months after our last conversations, I didn’t know for sure if they’d call or not.  When I realized months had passed since I’ve heard from them (11 for my mother, 4 for my father to date- not her longest silent treatment, but it is his) only then did survival mode end.  This happened with my in-laws too.  I stopped speaking to them in 2002, but survival mode didn’t end for months after.

 

I think this means that the brain wants to be completely, 110% sure that the abusers are gone before it can relax.  Survival mode is all about protecting you, so it makes sense the brain would want to be absolutely certain all danger is gone before it exits survival mode.

 

I’ve also learned that once survival mode is gone, emotions come out.  Naturally when you’re in survival mode, your emotions get put on the back burner because you’re focused only on surviving.  Once the danger is gone, emotions come to the surface, including ones that have been suppressed for a long time.  It can feel overwhelming especially when you haven’t dealt with them for a very long time.  However, I firmly believe it’s necessary to deal with them.

 

Without the burden of focusing on survival, I feel like I’m noticing every little thing.  Unfortunately, part of that includes triggers.  They seem to happen constantly.  The other day, I saw a TV show where this lady’s son in-law cheated on her daughter.  Although the daughter forgave him & he promised to mend his ways, the mother still was very upset.  When she told her son in-law that there is no pain worse than watching your child suffer & you not being able to fix it, I flashed back to the fight I had with my parents last May.  My father changed the subject to really odd topics to deflect my yelling at him.  My mother sighed an obviously bored sigh as I cried & yelled at her until I gave up & told her if she had anything to say before I hang up, do it now.  Her chance to apologize turned into her whining about having vertigo (for the record, I have it too- yes, it sucks, but you’d think when your normally calm, rational daughter is that upset, that might just take priority..).  I realized that caring parent isn’t something I’ll ever have, & it hurt me enough to make me burst into tears, something I rarely do.

 

In order to handle these experiences, I rely on God a LOT.  I tell Him how I feel & He reassures me, comforts me & explains what’s happening.  He also shows me things that help.  For example, I can be scrolling through Facebook when a meme or article that pertains to my situation pops up, & the information in it is very helpful to me.

 

I also write in my journal- seeing things written out is a good way to gain clarity.  Not sure why that is, but it’s true.  Seeing events written out as well as my feelings has helped me to see the situation clearer, instead of through the eyes of someone whose views are skewed hurt by narcissistic abuse.

 

Talking about things with a safe person is helpful too.  I’ve told my husband some of what’s been going on.  Sometimes, he gets angry or looks completely shocked by things I’ve shared about my parents.  That lets me know it’s not normal!  When you grow up with narcissists, abuse & bizarre is your normal.  Even as an adult, it can be hard to let go of that & embrace the healthy & good things.  Having someone you love & trust say that certain things were wrong or bizarre is helpful in letting go of those bad beliefs.

 

Dear Reader, if you too have been in survival mode for a long time, these things may happen with you too.  Or maybe they’re happening already.  If so, please rest assured that you are fine!  It may not feel that way but you are.  Ending survival mode is truly a good thing.  Your mind & body finally can relax, & you can deal with those long buried emotions.

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God Will Give You Great Wisdom

James 1:5  “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.”  (TLB)

 

As many of you know, I have C-PTSD.  It’s badly damaged how I think & my short term memory.  Then in 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning which caused me to pass out & hit my head, further damaging my brain.  Thanks to these problems, I’m really not as smart as I once was, & it can be simply maddening.

 

The above Scripture has helped me a great deal with my physical limitations.  I lean on God so much more than I used to for giving me wisdom, & He has not disappointed me.  I’m not bragging about my intelligence.  I am bragging how generous God has been!

 

So many times in my life, I have been stuck in a painful situation I didn’t want to be in, & God has shown me creative ways to get out of the situation or to cope with it so it isn’t so painful to me.  One that comes to mind immediately happened a few years ago.  My narcissistic mother told me I was going to take her to & from the doctor who is almost 30 miles away.  I had things going on that day & didn’t want to do it, but she refused to reschedule her appointment.  This had happened many times & I was tired of it.  It also bothered me we’d be taking her car & not mine- I hate being trapped without my own vehicle.  I asked God to help me get through the day &  I needed a creative way to either get out of this in the future, or for Him to put it on my mother’s heart to be more open to my schedule, not only hers.  As we were leaving the doctor’s office, God gave me an idea- drive home like we were on a NASCAR track.  There wasn’t much traffic, so I did.  I had a lot of fun speeding down the highway, & my mother was especially angry because it was her car I drove that way.  That was the last day my mother saw this particular doctor.  LOL  He wasn’t doing her any good anyway- she just got narcissistic supply from him & his staff because they listened to her.  They didn’t help her pain at all.

 

So many other times in the past few years since developing my physical problems, I have needed wisdom & asked God for it. He has answered those prayers every time.  From simple things, like creating a routine for maintaining my home that keeps my place very clean but isn’t hard for me, to more challenging things like how to deal with financial problems, God has helped me every time.  He has even helped me to understand my narcissistic parents, which has helped me so much!  Understanding them has shown me that I’m not the problem, & they have some serious issues that aren’t my fault.  Talk about a blessing!  After hearing how I was always the problem, this knowledge has truly comforted me more than I can say.

 

What areas do you need wisdom in, Dear Reader?  Whatever your needs, I encourage you to ask God for wisdom.  He will grant you wisdom & creativity far above & beyond anything you can imagine.  Whether your situation is like mine where you need more wisdom to handle daily life or it is a one time frustrating situation, be prepared to be amazed when you ask God to give you wisdom.

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New Apps

Some time back, I created an android app for my website.  In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app.  Now, I have.  It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think.  The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app.  If  you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.

 

While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.

 

I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them.  They are totally free.  Links are below…

 

For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :

http://http://app.appsgeyser.com/4696748/Cynthia%20Bailey%20Rug 

 

For http://TheButterflyProject.Tripod.com : 

http://app.appsgeyser.com/4697063/App%20for%20The%20Butterfly%20Project

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A Quote To Help You Heal & Cope With Narcissists

I am a fan of true crime stories.  Kinda dark & morbid maybe, but from a purely psychological standpoint, also fascinating.  I love learning how people think, what motivates them & what makes them tick, even the darker, more evil people.

 

Recently I was watching a story about a serial killer who killed his first & second wives plus a girlfriend.  The police weren’t able to catch him for many years.  One person who was a great help was a Texas private investigator named Gina Frenzel.  She claimed to be an investigator for an insurance company, & needed to take some pictures of the property this man lived on, as there was a fire on it some time in the past.  He allowed her to do so.  On another visit, he seemed to think they were friends, so they talked for hours.  One of the things he said struck me very interesting.  In fact, it may be one of the most insightful things about narcissism I’ve ever heard…

 

“As long as your ego is the main power in your brain, it is not going to let the spirit have equal power, equal time, anything.”

 

Doesn’t this make a lot of sense?!

 

Narcissists are all about their ego- protecting it & feeding it.  It’s so consuming to them, they have no thoughts for empathy, love or anything to do with other people.

 

When you consider your relationship with the narcissist in your life in relation to this quote, things will make so much sense.  This is why your overtly narcissistic mother said such cruel things to you- anything good about you might encroach on her precious & fragile ego.  If someone thinks you’re prettier or smarter than her, it would take away narcissistic supply.  This is also why your covertly narcissistic father wouldn’t protect you from her abuse- he had no room to consider your pain.  If it was discovered his wife was abusing his child, he might look bad for allowing it.  And, he’d lose the narcissistic supply of looking like the good, long-suffering husband.

 

Getting a deep realization of such things is going to help you in your healing so much, Dear Reader.  Narcissists, parents in particular, instill so deeply in their victims that everything is the victim’s fault.  My mother blamed my behavior for her abusing me.  She called it “tough love” & said she was “saving me from myself.”  My ex husband twisted everything around from him hurting me to me being selfish, wrong, no other woman was like this, etc.  I’m sure you can relate to such scenarios, can’t you?

 

These kinds of situations instill the belief in a person that all abuse is their fault.  It takes a long time to undo that sick, wrong belief.  One way to do it is to fully understand that the narcissist has issues that they want to put off on others.  Realizing the truth in this quote can help you to do that.

 

And, if you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parent (or any narcissist for that matter), this quote can help you to survive it.  Understanding that their ego is what is driving them will help you to take their cruelty less personally, thus making it hurt less.  Sometimes, the narcissist’s only focus is feeding their ego.  So much so that they may not even think about the fact they are hurting you.  Or, more commonly, they realize they’re hurting you & get a thrill from the power they have that they can hurt you.  Either way, their need for narcissistic supply is fueling their behavior.  It’s not because you have done something wrong or bad.  It’s not because what they say about you is true.  It’s only because they are so hell-bent on feeding their egos.  When you truly understand this, when you have a revelation on the truth of that fact, it helps their behavior hurt less.

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Fear Is Not From God

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (NKJV)

 

As many of you know, I have agoraphobia.  Leaving home, sometimes even to go into my yard, is very difficult or impossible.  Anxiety takes over & logic that nothing is going to go wrong or hurt me goes out the window.  Quite frankly, it sucks.

 

Recently I’ve been wanting to go for a drive.  That’s all- just enjoy a short drive in my awesome car.  However, the agoraphobia left me at home & my car sitting…

 

A few days ago, I opened up my email first thing in the morning.  I get a Scripture delivered daily.  That particular day the Scripture I shared above was in the email.  When I read it, something clicked in my mind.  No, God didn’t give me a spirit of fear.  My agoraphobia is NOT from Him.

 

The agoraphobia started in 1996, just after my paternal grandmom passed away.  My husband told his mother, who didn’t even acknowledge my loss- she changed the subject.  A short time later, this exact same experience happened with his sister.  Somehow, these experiences cemented in my mind that I don’t matter.  I shouldn’t bother anyone with my problems or even my presence, which is a belief that stems from my upbringing with my narcissistic parents.  Their behavior made this belief evolve into feeling like I don’t even have the right to leave home, possibly bothering people in public places.

 

Thinking about this angered me a great deal.  As is common with many adult children of narcissistic parents, I’m suffering because of other people’s cruelty.  This agoraphobia isn’t from God at all, & that Scripture was a reminder of that.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 enabled me not only to go for a ride, but a longer one than I originally wanted to do.  And, I got on smaller interstates too!  (After getting sick in 2015 & being unable to drive for a long time, I lost a lot of confidence in driving.  I’ve avoided bigger roads & interstates since.)

 

I’m not saying I’m cured.  Even thinking of leaving home now makes me tense up.  However, I do know that keeping these things in mind is going to be helpful for me leaving home in the future.

 

I’m sharing this with you today, Dear Reader, because I know so many of you also live with anxiety &/or agoraphobia.  Please consider what I wrote about here.  Know that such awful things are NOT from God.  It helped me to remember that & get mad at those who put the anxiety & agoraphobia on me.  Maybe it can help you as well to think about it.  What is the root of your anxiety?  If you don’t know, then ask God- He will show you.  He showed me why I have agoraphobia.  I never would’ve guessed that on my own!  He can do the same for you.  Once you get to the root of the problem, you can work on healing it properly.

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Physical Problems Can Change You

Those of you who have been reading my work for some time know that on February 27, 2015, I nearly died.  My fireplace’s flue had a problem & it caused carbon monoxide to enter my home.  It caused me to pass out, hitting my head on the logs beside the fireplace which gave me a concussion.  I easily could’ve died that day, but I didn’t.  I live with symptoms daily from the experience but my thinking has been especially odd to me.

 

My emotions & ways of thinking are different now than they were prior to my accident.  I have become much more self-centered in my thinking.  I firmly believe this is a side effect of the concussion, as many people I’ve seen who have experienced brain injuries become extremely selfish, some even narcissistic.  Thankfully I’m aware of it & do my best not to let it get out of hand.  I am also triggered VERY easily now.  Seeing a happy parent & child together saddens me, for example, because my relationship with my parents is so unhappy & downright toxic.  It’s very odd since I never thought that way before.  I also don’t lose my temper often, but when I do it is very ugly.  Even after 2 years, I’m still getting used to all of this.

 

I finally recently asked God about what is going on with me.  I’m hoping what He said will help some of you as well if you’ve experienced changes after a health scare.

 

Some health issues can change a person.  The chemical or physical changes caused by some illnesses or injuries can cause a person to respond differently than they once did.  Traumatic brain injuries & carbon monoxide are known for changing a person, but other illnesses & injuries can as well.  Many people experience depression after surgery, for example.  The changes you experience due to your physical problems may influence how your brain processes information.  In my case, my brain was already injured due to C-PTSD, & the concussion was just one more injury & one more trauma.  No wonder I’m triggered more easily now.

 

Becoming more selfish isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.  As long as it’s kept in check, it’s actually a good thing.  So many of us raised by narcissists learned early to put other people ahead of ourselves no matter what.  We need to become a bit more selfish & start taking care of us & without feeling guilty for it!

 

Everyone has a point where enough is enough.  When a person faces a serious health scare or near death experience, that may push the “enough is enough” point way up.  Something about coming close to death makes a person realize just how fleeting life is & how quickly it can end.  Often, that realization means patience for abusers vanishes & sometimes that filter that keeps you speaking nice things doesn’t always work.  You may not get mean, but you may become more blunt.  The realization also can make a person more determined to enjoy every possible moment of their life.

 

 

If you come from a narcissistic family, facing health problems means you have an additional complication to your health concerns.  Do you tell them?  If so, you know they won’t be there to help you if need be.. will they even care?  Can you deal with whatever cruelty they dish out to you on top of being sick?  Being faced with having to hide your problems or hear from your narcissistic parents about how much worse of *insert name here* has it than you are NOT nice prospects!  In fact, they hurt a great deal & they make you angry.

 

If you’re experiencing changes in your personality after illness or injury, talk to your doctors.  If nothing is physically wrong, then maybe you’re experiences are simply similar to mine.  Why not try to embrace the changes the best you can?  Maybe once you get to know the new you, you’ll think you’re pretty cool!  And maybe  too, the changes are for the best.  Losing patience for abusers is a good thing- you won’t be a doormat anymore!  Being more determined to enjoy life is a wonderful thing too.  You’ll  waste less time on fruitless things & spend more time on the things you enjoy & that are important to you.  I know it can be hard to find the good in health problems, but some things like I’ve mentioned in this article can be good.  They may be hard to get used to at first, but they really can be a good thing!

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People Who Think They Have The Right To Tell You What You Should Do Regarding Your Narcissistic Parents

Some people will intervene when you have issues with your narcissistic parents.  They will try their best to make you feel guilty if you’re not speaking to them by saying your parent misses you, they are so upset that you won’t speak to them, they don’t know why you’re angry with them or say your parent is sick or elderly so you should end this no contact immediately & rush to their side.  If you’re still in a relationship with them but it is very strained, some people will tell you to fix it, to behave yourself, you need to respect your parent or try harder.

 

These people blindly accept what the narcissistic parent tells them as truth, while giving no thought whatsoever to whether what they say is actually true or not.  They simply accept the lies with no care to what the real truth is.

 

They are one of three types of people:

  1. Incredibly ignorant, genuinely fooled by the narcissist.
  2. Someone refusing to admit the narcissist isn’t the good person she portrays herself as.
  3. Abusers who get a thrill of abusing you along with the narcissist while maintaining the image of someone who isn’t abusive but caring.

 

These people, often referred to as flying monkeys, can be a real nuisance, quite frankly.  To those new to learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they are also dangerous.  They can make these victims feel as if they are wrong for protecting themselves, which can make the victim revert to old, dysfunctional habits.  To those of us who have known about NPD for quite a while, they are simply annoying, like flies on a picnic.  We know the truth & we won’t be manipulated by their antics, but they’re still annoying.

 

Flying monkeys can be dealt with.  The more devoted the flying monkey is to the narcissist, the greater your chances of losing a relationship with this person though, so just be forewarned of that possibility.

 

Always keep calm when talking with them.  Many flying monkeys are covert narcissists.  If you show them any emotional reaction, it will provide them with narcissistic supply which will make them continue pushing your buttons, making you more upset, making them want to continue button pushing & the cycle will continue.  Avoid this by staying calm in their presence.

 

Discuss nothing with them.  The situation between you & your narcissistic parent is not anyone else’s business.  You owe no one explanations for your behavior.  Don’t discuss the topic of your parents with them.  Change the subject.  Tell the flying monkey you won’t discuss that topic with them.  If they persist, tell them you aren’t discussing this topic, & if they continue, you will hang up the phone (or leave the room), then follow through on the threat if need be.

 

Never allow this person to convince you of anything other than the truth.  You were there.  You lived the situation.  You know the truth.  Don’t believe the person who says your narcissistic parent didn’t mean to hurt you, never said/did those things, etc.  Cling to the truth, & ignore their version of it.

 

Accept that the flying monkey believes wholeheartedly that they are right & you are wrong.  You can’t convince this person to see the truth.  Don’t waste your time & energy trying.  You know the truth & that is going to have to be enough for you.

 

If you cannot handle this person, you have the right to sever ties with them.  You have every right to protect your physical & mental health.  Some flying monkeys are incredibly toxic, & there is nothing wrong with you refusing to have them in your life.

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Don’t Be Too Quick To Label “Survivors”

Among those who write about abuse, many are quick to label those who have experienced abuse as “survivors.”  The term is meant to be empowering, reminding people of how far they have come, & what they survived.  While the term survivor can do this for many people, it also can be shaming to others.

 

Some people, especially those who have only recently learned they were abused, may feel ashamed because they feel they should be “over it” by now or at least further along in their healing.  Those who haven’t got the luxury of a good support system also may be subject to shame by the term survivor.  But, almost anyone who has been abused can feel at least some shame when hearing that term.  There is such a pressure to get over things these days, even by the most well meaning (yet clueless) people.  Not “getting over” something fast enough for someone’s liking can make anyone feel ashamed.

 

Personally, I think everyone has the right to label themselves however works for them.  If you are empowered by “survivor”, then by all means, call yourself one & do it proudly!  If you aren’t, that is nothing to be ashamed of.  Everyone is different.  There is no shame in thinking of yourself as a victim.  In fact, that is what I do because it reminds me that what was done to me wasn’t my fault.  I am in no way to blame for the abusive narcissists in my life doing their best to hurt me, however, there are still times I wonder what I did to deserve the things that have been done to me.  Reminding myself I was an innocent victim helps to keep such thoughts to a minimum.  Doing this may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

 

Whatever people think of you ultimately doesn’t really matter, so please do your best not to be influenced by their opinions.  What God thinks of you, what you think of yourself & what those you love think of you are the only opinions that should count.

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PTSD, C-PTSD & Triggers

Triggers are things that trigger PTSD or C-PTSD symptoms to flare up.  A certain sound that makes you have a flashback or a scent creates a panic attack are triggers.

 

Unfortunately triggers are everywhere.  There is no avoiding them entirely, as wonderful as it would be if that was possible.  I have realized there are times when you can be more easily or less easily triggered.  Certain dates (an abusive parent’s birthday for example) can make you more sensitive to triggers.  Some people also are more or less triggered at various stages of healing.

 

So what can be done about triggers?  Since they can’t be avoided completely, they need to be managed.

 

Prayer is the best place to start.  Ask God for help showing you ways to manage your symptoms during triggers or ways you can avoid them.

 

Identify your triggers & avoid them when possible.  This isn’t always easy, as thinking about your triggers can be upsetting.  But, you need to know what upsets you so you can either avoid it or be prepared to deal with it when you can’t.

 

Triggers can show you what areas you need healing in, so pay close attention to them. For me, hearing someone talk about being sick & having their family care for them is a big trigger for me.  I barely saw a doctor growing up, my mother complained when I was sick about having to take care of me or being stuck at home with me.  As an adult, my mother doesn’t believe me if I have a health problem, blames me for getting sick or injured or accuses me of faking it.  When I hear someone talking about their awesome family who was there for them during a health crisis, I know that I couldn’t experience the same thing, & it hurts me.  It also makes me angry at my mother for being incapable of feelings that any normal mother feels for her child, for seeing nothing wrong with her behavior & instead getting upset with me for being rightfully angry with her.  All of this shows me I still need healing in this area.  The good part about all of this is the more that you do heal in that area, the less power the triggers will have over you.

Also focus on the here & now.  Being well aware of your surroundings can help you  to stay focused on that rather than get caught up in a panic attack.  This also can help you to stay in reality during a flashback.  Touch something with an extreme texture- very soft or coarse fabric, maybe hold an ice cube.  Smell something with a strong scent, such as lavender (which also has anti-anxiety properties) or that holds good memories for you, such as the perfume your favorite aunt wore when you were a child.

 

Write in a journal.  Writing can be extremely therapeutic.  It also can be validating when you see things in writing rather than speaking about them.

 

Learn what self-soothing techniques work best to relax you.  They should involve at least one of your senses.  Soak in a bubble bath, wear soft & comfy clothes, stretch, listen to calming music, listen to nature sounds, sing, drink herbal tea or flavored coffee (decaf is best), light a scented candle or incense, smell some flowers, read a book, watch a funny movie or tv show, look at pictures of those you love or that inspire you.

 

 

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Should You Listen To Your Emotions?

Ever since I became a Christian in 1996, I’ve heard preaching about not allowing your emotions to rule you.  Keep them in check & don’t let them run your life!

 

Basically, this made me feel bad when I would feel hurt or angry & couldn’t control how I felt.  I thought something must be wrong with me for not having a better grip on my feelings.

 

The truth though is everyone needs to have a healthy, balanced perspective on emotions.

 

Emotions are given to us by God to let us know when things are good or bad.  When something is good, you feel happy, content or pleased.  If something makes you sad or angry, you know this thing isn’t good.  Emotions are a good monitor in that respect.

 

Emotions can teach you a lot about yourself.  Where your boundaries lie, what you enjoy or don’t enjoy & who you are the closest to.  Not allowing yourself to feel such things can turn you into a shell of a human being, & that is not what God wants for you.

 

Sometimes emotions can be irrational too.  There may be times that you’d rather lay on the sofa watching TV than go to work, even when you enjoy your job, & you have no idea why you feel this way.  In times like this you know it’s best to ignore those emotions & go to work.

 

When you are healing from trauma or abuse, however, you need to be sure not to ignore your feelings.  If you suddenly feel anxious, angry or depressed, you need to know why you feel that way.  Then you will be able to feel the emotion fully, process it & release it.  Ignoring your feelings if you’re healing only serves to drag out the healing process & make you more miserable.  I know, facing past trauma is hard, but it is easier than constantly trying to stuff it down inside of you.

 

I firmly believe that while you can’t listen to your emotions blindly, you do need to listen to them often & use wisdom on how to deal with them.  Know sometimes you can ignore them, but mostly, you should pay attention to them & respect them.  Don’t judge your feelings either.  They aren’t good or evil- feelings simply are.

 

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Those Who Have Been Abused Don’t Think They Deserve Care

Abusers destroy their victim’s self-esteem.  The more completely they can destroy that, the more completely they can rule their victim.  Yet in spite of the destruction, many victims reach a point of breaking away from their abuser, whether the person is a spouse, friend or parent.

 

Unfortunately, that only is the beginning.  So much damage is done, especially to the self-esteem.  That low self-esteem causes all kinds of problems for a victim, including believing that she is unworthy of care.  Abusers make sure their victims know that they don’t matter, which means their pain doesn’t matter either.  That false belief can follow a person for years even after the abuse has ended.

 

So many victims don’t believe they deserve to be cared for or even validated, when nothing could be further from the truth!  They are easy to spot too- they are the ones saying their situation “wasn’t so bad,” or, “So & So had it much worse than me,” or even, “It was only mental/sexual abuse.”

 

Dear Reader, today I want you to know that you *do* matter!  Your abuser was absolutely wrong!  You deserve to have your pain acknowledged & validated!  It doesn’t matter if someone else “had it worse” than you- abuse is painful & destructive, period!

 

I know it’s hard to really understand that you matter after years of being told you don’t, but it’s the truth!  God has a purpose for everyone & everything in this world, which includes you.  You matter & God loves you!

 

If you truly want to heal, you need to start by understanding that you have been through some terrible things.  Acknowledge that rather than saying it wasn’t a big deal or someone else had it worse.  What was done to you was wrong!  You matter, & you didn’t deserve to have those horrible things done to you.

 

Also, please remember how much God loves you.  Healing is the hardest thing you may do in your life- you need His love & support.  He truly will help you to cope & even to learn to love yourself.

 

Romans 8:35-39  “35 Who shall ever separate us from the love of [a]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written and forever remains written, “For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.”  37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (AMP)

 

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Pay Attention To Your Dreams- They Are Important!

I had a very interesting experience the other night.   I had a dream about my husband’s parents.  Suddenly the dream changed a bit & it was just his mother & I.  She hugged me & said she was sorry for everything she did to me.

 

When I woke up, I was WIDE awake, so I figured I might as well utilize the time & ask God what the heck that was about.  When she was alive, she seemed to have no guilt for treating me badly, so I thought maybe this was some sort of weird wishful thinking on my part.  No.  Not even close.

 

God said she knows I pay attention to my dreams so she wanted me to dream what I did.  He also said that she felt very bad for being so awful to me.  She was so bad to me because of her own insecurities (typical narcissistic behavior).  She thinks I “made a man” out of my husband.

 

This blew me away.  Partly because my mother in-law never accepted any responsibility for anything she did to me, let alone apologized so I just assumed it’d be the same after her death.  Also partly because this sort of thing happened with my ex husband’s mother as well.  We got along  great until my ex & I moved in with his parents.  Then when I divorced him, naturally she was on his side & I became the scourge of the earth.  But after she passed in 2010, suddenly she started appearing in my dreams on a pretty regular basis.  She once said she understood why I wanted a divorce & another time, said she was proud of me for helping people with my writing.  In my dreams even if she doesn’t speak, she’s always smiling at me & seems proud of me.

 

My point in sharing all of this is to show you just how important dreams can be.  They truly are worth paying attention to!  You can learn a great deal about yourself through your dreams, since they are almost always about the dreamer.  They can reveal areas in which you need healing or need to change your thinking or behavior.  Or, they can be Heaven sent messages like my dreams about my mothers in-law.  In any case, dreams are very important!!

 

There also will be plenty of dreams you don’t remember or only remember snippets of.  That can be frustrating when you’re trying to understand your dreams, I know, but even those have a purpose.  I asked God about them at one point because I have so many like that.  He said the brain constantly processes information- good, bad or indifferent.  Those dreams you don’t remember are simply that, your brain processing things.  They aren’t important.

 

If you want to start learning from your dreams, then start by praying.  Ask God to help you to understand them better & to remember the important ones.  Keep a written record of them too, as seeing them all together with the dates of them can help reveal a lot about your life.   It’s also a good idea to use a dream dictionary.  I use one online, http://www.DreamMoods.com  I write down all the things about my dream I can remember, then look up what those things mean on the website.  I write down what the site says about each thing, then read over the entire thing.  If I don’t understand, I ask God to help me figure it out, which He does.  Sometimes I don’t even make it that far- as soon as I wake up, He tells me what the dream meant, but that doesn’t happen very often.  In any case though, dreams can be utterly fascinating & helpful, so please consider paying more attention to yours!

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Are You Too Positive Or Too Negative?

I never really thought of myself as a very negative person, but I was told I was my entire life.  My mother, a self proclaimed optimist in spite of her ability to find the negative in any situation, has said this more times than I can count.  My husband even made similar comments over the years about how negative I am.

 

As a result, I have tried to be more positive.  I have been able to see more positive things than I used to in negative situations.  This has been beneficial to a degree.  It has helped me to be a bit happier than I used to be.

 

That being said though, God showed me something this morning about positive thinking that never crossed my mind before.

 

I was getting laundry out of the dryer & praying as I did.  I had a dreadful night last night, barely getting any sleep & what sleep I had was full of nightmares.  I’ve been in a nasty funk for a few days now which wasn’t helped by last night’s “sleep” & was telling God about that too.  Complaining really.  I wasn’t finding any positive in anything, & feeling guilty for that.  I didn’t admit that to God but of course He knew anyway.  And, He said something about that.

 

“Being too positive can invalidate your pain.  It says you don’t have a right to be disappointed, hurt or angry because something good came from the situation.  Being positive is good, but only in balance.  It’s OK to say things just suck sometimes.  This is one of those times.  Feel the pain, & get it out.  Then, & only then, the funk will lift.”

 

So many of us who have been abused have been told by other people we’re too negative if we discuss it.  Some people think it’s a taboo topic not to be discussed.  Sweep it under the rug, pretend that didn’t happen.  Or, if something good came out of the awful situation (such as having kids with the abusive partner), then you shouldn’t be upset about it.  Something good came from it, so you shouldn’t complain or have problems stemming from the abuse.

 

What these people fail to realize is by telling victims to “stop being so negative” or to “think positive”. they are being abusive.  They are invalidating your pain, & invalidation is abuse.  Invalidation says your pain doesn’t matter, & there is something wrong with you for feeling the way you do.  Whether that is the intention or not by saying “think positive” & such statements, that is the result.  The person who is told to think positive feels there is something wrong with them for feeling as they do.

 

Dear Readers, please remember this post when someone tells you to be positive.  Being positive is a wonderful thing.  It helps you to feel good.  But, it also is unrealistic to think you can be positive 100% of the time.  Sometimes things just suck!  There is nothing wrong with admitting that.  There is also nothing wrong with thinking about those things & feeling whatever emotions that the event triggered in you.  Ignoring such things does no good.  Those emotions will come to the surface at some point, & probably not in a good way.  It is better to have a short period of being depressed or angry as you heal than years of emotions manifesting in unhealthy ways such as addictions, self harm or suicidal thoughts & actions.

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“I” Statements

I’ve always used “I” statements in conflict.  For example, “I feel hurt when you….” rather than, “you hurt me!”  During my first marriage, I read about the importance in always using “I” statements when trying to work out marital conflict.  I stepped up using them, because we didn’t need any more reasons to argue.  I tried avoiding any further conflict & thought that would help.

 

Then I realized something.  I’ve taken these “I” statements too far.

 

I’ve caught myself saying “I was abused” rather than “my mother abused me”.   “I was screamed at daily” rather than “My mother screamed at me daily.”  “I was thrown into a wall during a fight with my mother” replaced, “My mother threw me into a wall.”

 

See the problem?  “I” statements absolved my abusive mother of the responsibility she should have had for abusing me.

 

I still believe “I” statements have their place.  If a close friend said something hurtful, I’m sure they’d be more receptive to “I was hurt that you said that” over “You hurt my feelings!!”  But that is the only place I think they are appropriate.  If you’re talking about your experiences with narcissistic abuse or abuse of any kind, they are very inappropriate.

 

Whether you realize it or not, saying things like “I was abused” over “My mother abused me,” subtly removes responsibility from the abuser, at least in your mind.  For a long time, I wrestled with what my mother did to me being my fault, & I believe saying those “I” statements helped me to feel it was my fault instead of hers.

 

It also seems to soften the story a bit when you say you were abused over naming your abuser.  I’ve noticed people respond differently to me saying “I was abused” over “My mother abused me.”  Naming my mother as my abuser often shocks people.  Compassionate people seem to feel more compassion for one naming her abuser over simply saying, “I was abused.”

 

I think people respond this way because “I was abused” sounds less personal somehow than saying, “My mother abused me.”  It seems to take the human element out of abuse, I think.  It also makes you sound more detached from the abuse, which I would think would mean people would be less likely to understand why you’re still having problems stemming from the abuse.  Just my random thoughts on this..

 

I also think many victims of narcissistic abuse wrongly use “I” statements as I have, & as a result, may struggle more with accepting that the abuse was the narcissist’s fault, not theirs.  If this describes you, it’s time to make a change!

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with “I” statements in the right context, but if you’re discussing being wronged or abused, place the blame where it belongs- on the person who wronged & abused you!  There is absolutely nothing wrong, disrespectful, dishonorable, selfish, etc. about doing so.  Abusive people need the blame placed squarely on them, especially in this age of blaming victims.  And, victims need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that being abused was never their fault.

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You’re Much Stronger Than You Think!

Something crossed my mind recently…

 

I thought about how I dealt with the abuse as it happened to me in my younger days.  I didn’t deal with it.  For one thing, I didn’t have the time.  It was one crisis after another after another for years.  I didn’t have time to deal with something before something else happened.  For another thing, I grew up thinking I never had any real problems.  It didn’t matter how much something hurt me.  My pain was never validated, so I believed it was no big deal.

 

As a result, I went on with life as if nothing happened no matter what trauma I’d just endured.  Like, when I was 19 & had my first nervous breakdown.  I locked myself in my parents’ bathroom & was catatonic for roughly 5 hours.  By the time I came out, I had about one hour to get to work.  I was at work on time, & went through my day as if nothing happened, in spite of being tired & feeling very “off.”  The prior year, my mother came to my job, screamed at me in the parking lot, humiliating me.  When I went back inside, I took a few minutes to relax only because my supervisor told me to, then got back to work.  In fact, after both situations, I ended up comforting my now ex husband because he said such situations were hard for him, rather than receiving comfort from him or anyone for that matter.

 

I used to think these things meant I was strong but I realized something today.  I wasn’t strong- I was dysfunctional.  True strength would have meant I faced these situations & took care of myself after.  Instead, I told myself they were no big deal.

 

When you are abused by a narcissist, you get a very warped view of all sorts of things, including what true strength is.  Pretending things don’t bother you when they do isn’t true strength.  It’s merely setting yourself up for these things to manifest in bad ways at a later date.

 

I’m telling you this today, Dear Reader, because if you feel weak, like so many victims do, because you can’t seem to “get over” the abuse  you endured, you need to realize you aren’t weak.  Quite the contrary.  It takes a lot of strength to face past abuse & trauma.  It doesn’t take a lot of strength to ignore it.

 

It takes a lot of strength to live daily with PTSD or C-PTSD.  It’s  incredibly difficult living with constant memories of things you wish you could forget but can’t, managing symptoms, pulling yourself out of a panic attack, calming yourself after nightmares or coming back to reality after a flashback.  Things things take a great deal of strength.

 

It also takes a great deal of strength to change, to try to live a healthy life instead of a dysfunctional one.  Change can be scary since it’s going into foreign territory.  The familiar is comfortable, even when it is painful, so many people find it easier to stay dysfunctional than to change.

 

Developing new & healthy boundaries is downright terrifying when you haven’t had them before, so setting & enforcing them also takes a tremendous amount of strength.  When people who had weak or no boundaries first start to set them, they meet with a LOT of opposition.  To press on even though everyone around you is calling you selfish or wondering what happened to that “nice” girl you used to be takes a lot of strength!

 

So you see, Dear Reader, just how strong you are?  Give yourself some credit today.  You are  so stronger than you give yourself credit for!

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Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Your Mistakes

I’ve always had a knack for remembering dates.  Even after the TBI I got in 2015, I still remember many dates that have been important to me at some time in my life.  For example,  I got my first car on July 6, 1989.  I moved out of my parents’ home on June 9, 1990.  I met my husband on March 14, 1992 & our first date was November 4, 1994.

 

Don’t get me started on my furbabies- I remember who I adopted when or when who was born, & when who passed away.

 

Remembering dates can be convenient sometimes, but it also can trigger some very unpleasant memories.  For years, I beat myself up from August 23 until November 24 because that was the short time I was involved with a man who I thought was a good guy, but I was unhappy dating.  When I told him I wanted to break up, he did his best to make me feel stupid & like a failure, which sunk in with me.  I believed I ruined his life & was a terrible person for it.  Many years later, I read that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself in their home.  It finally clicked that maybe he wasn’t the good guy he portrayed himself as.  I started remembering our short time together & realized that he was a very disturbed man.  I didn’t have clues then to just how disturbed, though.

 

In a way, learning this information was a good thing.  I finally was set free from the guilt of leaving this man.  It was as if I finally had permission to accept that leaving him was for my own safety.  It also helped me to think about something…

 

I have spent my life beating myself up for way too many things!

 

The disturbed man I mentioned?  I was only 19, he was 28 when we dated.  He was very controlling & I was so accustomed to being controlled, although it bothered me, I didn’t realize it was wrong.  It was so bad, in fact, that I didn’t want to date him.  I only did because he was pushy & my friend at the time said I should.  After growing up with narcissistic parents, this behavior of allowing others to control me is pretty normal.  I see that now, but for years, I told myself how stupid I was for this.  I should’ve known better.  HOW?!  How could I have known better?!

 

I’ve also beat myself up for not standing up to my parents more often, for tolerating way more than I should have.  This also doesn’t make sense- they’re my parents!  Aside from the dysfunctional teaching I grew up with that said I deserve whatever is done to me, being parents puts them in a unique position in my life no one else shares.  Most people are like me in that they are more willing to tolerate things from their parents than other people.

 

Does this describe you as well?  Have you spent way too much time chastising yourself for things that really aren’t your fault?  If so, please stop it right now!

 

Everyone makes mistakes!  Those of us raised in abusive, dysfunctional environments tend to make even more than most people because we simply do not know any better.  Frankly, it sucks, but it happens!

 

Have you learned from your mistakes?  Good!  That shows you don’t want to continue being dysfunctional!  That is something to be proud of!!

 

Do you realize that sharing stories of things you did & what you learned can encourage other people?  It really can!  I’m hardly proud of sharing the things I have in this blog, but the good part is they encourage other people.  I have the emails & comments to prove it.  In a way, my mess has become my ministry.  Not only the mess of my dysfunctional upbringing, but the mess of the dumb things I did as a result.  That encourages me too, because I know it means my pain has a purpose.  It wasn’t for nothing!

 

Your pain has a purpose too, Dear Reader!  If you don’t feel that way, then talk to God about it.  He will reveal the purpose to you, & comfort you!

 

 

 

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