Tag Archives: healing

Signs Of Surviving Child Abuse In Adults, & Ways To Cope

There are some very clear ways to identify a survivor of child abuse.  These symptoms also are detrimental to the mental health of said survivors.  If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, then please don’t beat yourself up.  We’ve all been there!  Try to accept them as nothing more than a sign of having experienced some really terrible things, then find ways to heal from them however work best for you.

  • Blaming yourself for what happened.  Children seem to take the responsibility on for their parents’ bad behavior rather than face the fact that their parent has done something pretty terrible.  It’s totally normal!  However, it isn’t helpful once you’re an adult.  It’s ok to admit your parents were less than perfect, & yes, even cruel.  No child can make any parent abuse them, including you.  Abusive behavior lies squarely on the shoulder of all abusers, never their victims.  ALWAYS!
  • Accepting what your parents said as the gospel truth.  Abusive parents lie.  Period.  They also convince their children that their lies are the truth.  Not only that the abuse was the child’s fault, but that the child is unlovable, stupid, ugly, useless, no man/woman will ever want to marry that child & more.  It’s time to start challenging those false beliefs as they rise up in you.  Ask yourself, what evidence is there that what your parent told you is true?  I would guess there is no real evidence at all!
  • Unhealthy coping skills.  Watching too much TV, emotional eating, sex, shopping, drugs or alcohol.  Whatever coping skill used is unimportant.  The fact is the person using such coping skills is trying to avoid the pain inside.  Although these coping skills may have served you for some time, it’s time to retire them & face the pain.
  • Being a people pleaser.  Growing up afraid of rocking the boat where your parents are concerned can create a habit of people pleasing.  This is so unhealthy!  Of course, it’s good to care what people think.  When that rules your life & makes you do things that you disagree with or hurt you, however, there is a big problem!  Learn to say “no”.  It’s perfectly ok!
  • Lack of good self care.  Self care isn’t all bubble baths & eating ice cream.  Self care also involves taking good care of your physical & mental health, resting when tired, not overworking, & having good boundaries.

If you’re wondering where to start changing these behaviors in you, the best place I know of is what I always recommend.  Prayer.  Ask God to help you to be healthier & to heal from the trauma you have experienced.  He truly will!  One thing I do is when something comes up, I ask Him to tell me the truth about it.  “Am I right to feel *insert feeling here*?  Why or why not?” & listen for His response.

Read about the type of abuse you experienced.  Chances are, you’ll find other survivors experience similar things to you.  Learning there are others out there going through what you are can be extremely validating.  It also will help you to learn how to cope with what you’re experiencing when you see how other people got through it.

Do you keep a journal?  If not, now is the time to start!  Seeing things in writing can be so validating & clarifying.  It also can help you to keep track of the truth.  Abusers, narcissists in particular, love to reinvent the past, & lie about the present.  Having written documentation helps you to keep track of the truth so you don’t get lost in their lies.

I truly wish you the best, Dear Reader.  Facing pain & changing dysfunctional behavior isn’t easy.  However, it is worth it when you’re healthier, happier & behaving in a much more functional way.

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Abusive Behaviors Normally Not Considered To Be Abusive

Narcissists & their flying monkey enablers have a very skewed view of what is ok & what isn’t ok, what’s abusive & what isn’t abusive.  Narcissists are an extremely entitled bunch & they lack empathy, so in their minds, whatever they want is all that matters.  Hurting others isn’t important.  And, their flying monkeys agree wholeheartedly.  So what if someone gets hurt?  The narcissist is the important one, after all.

These people act like certain abusive behaviors are completely normal.  In time, this can make victims think the narcissist is right, that they are wrong for being upset about something that is supposed to be so normal.  More subdued abusive behaviors often fall into this category.

Also, many abuse victims develop a very thick skin when it comes to abuse.  This comes from being abused repeatedly.  If an abuser isn’t screaming at them or physically assaulting them, they sometimes don’t think they are being abused.  Unfortunately abuse isn’t always so easy to spot.  It can be subtle, but equally abusive.  This post will describe some of the subtle ways a person can abuse.

Taking or relocating your property.  When you live with someone, chances are excellent you will move each other’s property at some point.  My husband moves my purse if it’s in his way, for example.  But when someone hides or even gets rid of something that belongs to you, that is abnormal!  It is also abusive if the person blames you for forgetting that you moved or got rid of the item when they are the one who did it.  That is gaslighting!

Controlling behavior.  Telling you what to say, how to act, how to look, what to wear, hiding your car keys so you can’t go anywhere are all abusive, even if there are no physical threats to go along with the control.  No one has the right to control another person.

Sexual violations.  Someone who uses guilt & shame to force you to perform a sexual act that is something you really don’t want to do or causes you pain is just as guilty as the masked man who rapes you at knife point.  Just because a weapon wasn’t used doesn’t make this ok.  It’s not ok if you’re married either.  Being married doesn’t give anyone the right to be sexually abusive.

The silent treatment.  While the silent treatment isn’t usually considered abusive, it actually is.  If you don’t know what the person’s up to, the silent treatment can make you do almost anything to win the favor back of the person not speaking to you.  It sets you up to be controlled & manipulated while damaging your self-esteem.  Once you understand what the silent treatment is about though, it can be a pleasant respite from the abuse.

Being confusing & unreasonable during a disagreement.  Most people try to work together to a solution when involved in a disagreement, even if things are heated.  An abusive behavior is instead of working on a solution, talking in circles, trying to focus on something other than the issue at hand, projecting their flaws onto you, bringing up past arguments, & gaslighting.

Please remember not to normalize or excuse abuse.  Behavior like this is NOT normal & there is no excuse for anyone to act  this way.  Even if it happened “only once”, there is still no excuse for it.  Instead, admit the truth, that such actions are abusive & terrible.  You also need to accept that you have done nothing wrong, & you did nothing to deserve such treatment.  You have every right to be upset about what was done to you.  You also have every right to protect yourself from further abuse so set those boundaries & take good care of yourself!

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Socially Acceptable & Unacceptable Trauma Responses

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

Some socially acceptable trauma responses are:

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

Some socially unacceptable trauma responses are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Some Life Altering Symptoms Of C-PTSD

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD, is a rather new mental health diagnosis.  It is common among those who have survived repeated traumas, such as those who endured child abuse or domestic violence.

C-PTSD shares many of the same symptoms of PTSD.  It also includes other symptoms that make C-PTSD more, well, complex than PTSD.

Moodiness to the extreme.  Moods can be difficult to control for anyone at times.  A person with C-PTSD has a much more difficult time controlling them on a regular basis, & sometimes is unable to control them.

Difficulty trusting people.  A person with C-PTSD has seen the  worst of people, & only naturally has a great deal of difficulty trusting people.  It takes a lot for someone with C-PTSD to learn to trust anyone.  It also doesn’t take a lot for someone with C-PTSD to lose trust in people.

Flashbacks.  There are three types of flashbacks.  The typical flashbacks where a person feels as if they are reliving a traumatic event.  There also is emotional flashbacks.  They don’t feel as if the event is being relieved per se, but the emotions of a traumatic event are being relieved.  Emotional flashbacks are extremely common with C-PTSD.  Lastly there are somatic flashbacks.  They are similar to emotional flashbacks, but rather than dealing with the emotions connected to trauma, they deal with the physical pain connected to trauma.

Toxic shame.  Toxic shame is extremely common among those who have survived abuse, in particular those who survived child abuse.  Their parents told them the abuse inflicted on them was their fault, which instilled a root of toxic shame in them for supposedly making their parents do the terrible things they did.

Dissociation.  A survival tactic, dissociation emotionally removes a person from a traumatic or abusive episode.  Many survivors of sexual assault in particular describe it as feeling as if they are not in their body as the assault happened.  It also can lead to extensive day dreaming when not in a traumatic situation or even Dissociative Identity Disorder in some extreme cases.  DID is especially common among child abuse survivors.

Hyper-vigilance.  Hyper-vigilance can take two forms.  One is when a person is extremely aware of their surroundings.  Even in a crowded place, those with C-PTSD are aware of a person heading to the restroom or leaving the building.  Another form of hyper-vigilance is when the body is constantly in a state of preparedness for attack or trauma.  This often leads to constant pain.

Suicidal thoughts.  The most serious & potentially life threatening aspect of C-PTSD is suicidal thoughts.  Those who have  C-PTSD frequently battle with severe depression, even to the point of suicidal thoughts.  Sadly, suicide seems like the only escape from the pain in the mind of many people with C-PTSD.

While these symptoms are very common with C-PTSD, their seriousness shouldn’t be underestimated.  All are life altering, & suicidal thoughts obviously can be life ending.  They can be managed, however.  I find prayer to be my most effective help when these symptoms flare up.  Journaling about them is also very useful.  It can help you to see what causes the symptoms to flare & figure out ways to cope with them.  Another helpful tip I have found is to remind myself of what is happening.  I remind myself that whatever is happening is merely a symptom of the disorder, nothing more.  I’m safe, nothing can hurt me.  Grounding can be very useful during flashbacks, & it needs to be something that is very extreme to the senses.  Smelling a strong scent like lavender or touching a scratchy blanket help by distracting your mind away from the flashback.

Lastly, when your symptoms flare, they’re showing you where you need healing.  They actually do have a purpose, so use them to help you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Not All Causes Can Be Your Causes

Periodically I notice comments on Facebook that get under my skin.  The topic isn’t important, but the message is.  The message is something along the lines of, “If you don’t care about this topic, you’re a selfish jerk.”

In fact, some people have said things to me about issues, expecting my support, but when I don’t give it, they get downright shaming.  One of them was about how disappointed someone was in me for not noticing that one public figure was a narcissist.  Well, the truth is I disagreed with her assessment.  I also had virtually no interest in the arena where this person was popular, so I naturally hadn’t paid a lot of attention to this person.  In her world, apparently none of this was valid.  I was simply a terrible disappointment for failing to notice this person’s supposedly narcissistic ways.

There was a comment that I remember from several years ago when a lion was murdered in a sanctuary by a ruthless hunter.  It broke my heart seeing such a beautiful, wonderful animal murdered for no purpose beyond the hunter’s desire to say he killed this lion.  As I read through comments on a post on the topic, I saw a comment that said something like, “You people get so upset about just a lion, but do you even care about the fact that so many innocent babies are aborted every year?!”

In my younger days, comments like this made me feel guilty.  Honestly, I’ve never been interested in politics or the abortion debate or many other current events issues.  My heart lies more with issues about animal rights, Christian topics & naturally surviving abuse.  I felt I must be wrong for that until I realized something.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country in which I live or the rights of the unborn.  What it means is I feel God wants me to focus more on animal rights, Christian topics & surviving abuse.

No one person can support every single issue!  It’s too much!  No one can afford to donate money to every worthy cause either,  simply because there are so many causes.

Also, no one can emotionally afford to support every single worthy cause.  Strong emotions can drain a person, even when those emotions are positive ones.  Everyone needs breaks, to distribute their emotions wisely & to do so with balance.  Doing this isn’t a bad thing.  It doesn’t make a person selfish or uncaring.  It makes a person human!

If someone tries to shame you for not actively supporting some cause that they support, I hope you will remember the information I shared here today.  Every single person has a unique calling in life & that means they need to support whatever issues they feel called to support.  That does NOT mean they need to support whatever the cause of the moment is.  God gives each person a unique purpose in their life, & the approval of other people isn’t a requirement.  What it does mean is that each person should follow their unique path, supporting the issues closest to their heart, & allowing others to do the same without judgment.

This also means each person should support the issues on their heart however they deem appropriate.  For some folks, it means writing as I do.  For some other folks, this means donating money.  For others, it means picketing in front of large corporations or political offices.  For still others it means working to change laws.  Not one of these is any better or worse than the other.  Different doesn’t equal wrong or bad.  It’s simply different, as each person’s unique walk that God has given them.

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Changes On My Website

As I mentioned not long ago, I decided to stop creating YouTube videos in favor of podcasts. It’s easier for me to do podcasts & I am seriously focusing on making my life easier!

I decided to do one other thing.. I have made available on my website (www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) my notes that I used in my podcasts & YouTube videos. Since some folks have issues with sensory processing or just prefer to read rather than watch a video or listen to a podcast, I thought I would do this for them. The notes are all on this link. Feel free to download as many as you like for your personal reference. As I add new podcasts in the future, I’ll naturally add the notes to this page. If you lose the link, simply visit www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com & look at the list of links at the top of the page. You’ll see it there.

Also, I added a search bar to my website, so you can find information on there easier now. Rather than read through lots of pages, you can simply type in your search critera & it will bring up results. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging about the changes I’ve decided to make. I truly value your input. 💖

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Reinventing The Past As An Unhealthy Coping Skill

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Why Anxiety Is Worse After Leaving Narcissistic Abuse

Severing ties with a narcissist is a very difficult thing to do.  Not only telling the person you are done with the relationship, but the aftermath.  It can come with a plethora of challenges.  One of them for many people is extreme anxiety.

Many people who have left a narcissistic relationship have discovered that once they are safely away from the narcissist, their anxiety gets much worse for a while.

On the surface, this doesn’t make sense.  They’re safe, the narcissist hasn’t tried to contact them in ages.  They haven’t even seen the narcissist in passing at the grocery store or on the road.  Why would anxiety be bad when it should be so much lower?  I think this happens for a few reasons.

When in a relationship with a narcissist, you learn to function in survival mode out of necessity.  Your entire universe consists of thoughts like what can I do to please the narcissist, what can I do to make sure the narcissist doesn’t get angry with me, what needs does the narcissist have that I can anticipate in the hopes of gaining some favor from this person.  When you think this way, it’s as if there is simply no room in your mind for anxiety.  All the space in your brain is taken up with those thoughts, & there is no room for anything else.  I really believe narcissists do their best to keep their victims busy in this way so they don’t have the opportunity to see the abuse is wrong or plan their means of escape.

If you were romantically involved with a narcissist then begin to get involved with someone who isn’t a narcissist, that can create a lot of anxiety at first.  It feels so foreign to be with someone who is healthy when you are so accustomed to abuse & dysfunction.  You also naturally can feel like you did with the narcissist, waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  When it doesn’t, that can be unnerving simply because of what you were accustomed to in a relationship.

If the narcissist in your life was a parent, then you grew up in an extremely abnormal environment, which means you grew up to be a bit abnormal.  You couldn’t see life as a normal child does when growing up.  You have a skewed view of the world.  When you escape your narcissistic parent, you suddenly have to function in a very different environment.  Even though it’s healthier, it’s still different than what you are used to.  This can create anxiety, even though it’s a good thing.

You also grew up with this way of thinking like, “I’m supposed to do this thing, so I’ll do it.”  No further thought happened.  As an adult free of that abuse, now you see things as you should have seen them as a child but did not have that opportunity.  It can  create anxiety, & sometimes even shame for the things you did simply because you were told to do them.

The best way I know to deal with anxiety like this is with reassurance.  Ask God to reassure you & to help you with the anxiety for starters.  Also, talk to yourself.  Remind yourself that the danger has passed.  Those terrible things that once happened to you are no longer going to happen.  That abusive person is out of your life, & you’re safe now.  If you’re dating someone, remind yourself that this person isn’t the narcissist, but an entirely different person.  You can’t expect the same behavior from this person that you got from the narcissist, because healthy people do NOT act like narcissists.  And thank God for that!

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An Announcement About My YouTube Channel

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Sale On All My Ebooks!

My ebook publisher is offering a sale on all of my ebooks from July 1-31, 2020. They will be 25% off. They’re available on my website or use this link to go to the site directly: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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About Irritable Gratitude Syndrome

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I’m Doing Something New

I decided to try something new.. podcasts. The idea popped into my head recently, even though I know nothing of podcasts. It felt like God was leading me in a new direction, so I decided to give it a try.

To get started, I’ve decided to use the audio from my YouTubes. Yes, it’s a repeat of information having it on podcasts, YouTube & in this blog, but not everyone learns the same way. Some are visual learners & love YouTube. Some learn best from reading & others prefer learning audibly. I doubt many people will benefit from all three formats, so by doing them, it enables more people to (hopefully!!) learn from my work.

If you’d like to check them out, here is the link:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

I only have a few out there at the moment, but I’ll add more as time goes on. I was hoping to get all of them done asap, but yanno something? I can’t get them done quickly. Not with my mental health. So, I hope you’ll be understanding & patient with me taking my time in adding more podcasts.

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About Coping With Pain & Suffering

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

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

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

When I read this, it bothered me.

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

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

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

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

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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“Super Powers” In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When Dysfunctional Family Members Side With Your Abuser

Living through narcissistic abuse is a horrific experience that no one should have to endure.  As if that isn’t bad enough, many victims open up to their family about their experiences & are met with unbelief, blame, shaming comments, denial & more.  Their family members say that they should forgive & forget, get over it, & other invalidating comments.  It’s so shocking when you expect support & love & are met with these terrible reactions.  As if this wasn’t enough, many families offer unconditional love & support to the abuser while shunning the victim.

The vast majority of my family never cared that my parents were abusive to me.  They ignored signs when I was a child.  As an adult, they told me things like I needed to get over my childhood hurts, I only get one set of parents & I needed to fix the relationship with my parents.  No doubt many of you can relate.

Victims often wonder why their family acts this way.  I have some ideas why.  By explaining the behavior, I am certainly NOT excusing it.  There is no valid reason to treat a victim this way.  I am simply trying to show victims that the people who say such comments are incredibly dysfunctional & should be ignored not believed.

Denial is the main reason families reject victims & support abusers.  Who wants to accept the fact that someone they love in their own family is capable of horrible acts?!  No one.  Many people do it anyway.  Many other people lack the courage to face that ugly truth.  Also, by denying the abuse, they can have a clear conscience when it comes to failing to help or protect the victim.  If the abuse didn’t happen, even only in their mind, then they did nothing wrong.  Lastly, many of these people care a great deal about the abuser.  Narcissists can be quite charming & likeable.  These people believe this act is the real person & become so enchanted with that false persona, they will reject anything that threatens it which includes someone claiming that person isn’t the perfect person they present themselves as.

Many of these abuse defenders have abuse in their own past.  For every victim of abuse who confronts their pain & works on healing, there are other victims who don’t have the courage to do the same.  They pretend they weren’t abused, pushing all memories as far away from them as they can so as to avoid their pain.  When you face your pain, those people are reminded of theirs, especially if the abuse had similarities.  Facing your pain makes them feel badly for not facing theirs as well as reminds them of their own pain.  Since they don’t want to be reminded of their own pain, they will do their best to shut you down quickly. 

Some abuse defenders are also abusive narcissists.  Abusers don’t want to admit any behavior is abusive.  It means admitting to themselves that they too are abusers, & what they are doing is wrong.  While narcissists lack the empathy to care about the pain & suffering they cause their victims, they do care about what others think of them.  To be known as an abuser tarnishes their reputation, which is something they wish to avoid at all costs.

Many abuse defenders benefit from befriending the narcissist.  Immediately after my mother died, I learned she sent one of my aunts money monthly.  I was stunned!  They never got along & my mother often had complained of my aunt’s lack of money management skills as well as her expectations of others to bail her out every time she got herself into trouble.  I can only assume her benefiting from my mother is why she was such a staunch defender of my parents.  There are many others in similar situations who like my aunt, refuse to chance losing their benefits from the narcissist & prefer to throw their victims under the bus.

When you are in such a situation, I hope you keep this information in mind.  When your family dismisses your valid claims of abuse, the problem definitely isn’t you.  It’s them!

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Being Too Busy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tips For Healing From Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a terrible thing.  It forms so much of who we become as adults, good & bad.  Unfortunately usually there is much more bad than good.

The way to help minimize the bad is to heal.  To do this, you have to face the trauma, & that involves facing the emotions connected to it.  I know, this isn’t exactly fun but it’s quite necessary for healing.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, so not doing so will result in them manifesting in such toxic ways.  They will negatively affect your mental & physical health.  They can draw you to unhealthy relationships & circumstances.  That’s why it’s so much healthier to face trauma than to avoid doing so.

An effective way to do this that I have found is loosely based on Craig Hill’s “The Ancient Paths” book & seminars.  Start by looking at your life.  What areas are you consistently struggling with?  From there, you can ask God to show you what the root of the problem is.  When I have done this, God has shown me a memory, & usually it’s from childhood.  I focus on that memory, remembering everything about it that I can – what happened, where it happened, who was there, even more insignificant things like scents, sounds, who wore what clothing.  Remembering as much as possible makes it more real, which triggers many emotions.  Once I feel the emotions I tell God that in that situation I felt a certain way, like helpless, ashamed, stupid, ugly.  Then I ask Him to tell me if what I felt was right.  Was I right to feel the things I did?  I then listen for His response.  There really is healing & life in God’s word!  When He has spoken to me, I end up feeling so much better!  So much of the pain just disappears.

There is still a bit of work to do after this, however.  You will need to feel your feelings.  I mean really feel them.  Cry, get angry, yell… do whatever helps you to feel those emotions so you can get them out of you.  I often tell God just what I’m feeling.  He really can handle that & offer comfort during these painful times.  You may need to do this a few times to purge yourself completely of the emotions.  That depends on the trauma & how you as an individual feel about the situation.

When I first learned about all of this, I naively thought doing it once or twice would heal me completely.  Unfortunately healing from trauma is an ongoing process.  You have to heal from one incident at a time instead of all at once.  I can’t tell you it’s ever easy, but I can say that the more you do it, the easier it gets.  You get stronger as you heal, which enables you to face things better.  You also grow closer to God, because facing trauma in this manner makes you depend on Him for help.  It naturally strengthens your relationship.  It also helps you see God as He is, your Heavenly Father, rather than how you view your earthly parents.  So many abused children grow up seeing God as unreliable & untrustworthy as their earthly parents.  It’s natural, unfortunately.  Working on your healing in this way naturally changes your perspective on Him, & draws you closer to Him.

Also remember that doing this can be very emotionally draining.  It’s only natural that dealing with such negative & strong emotions would leave you feeling drained & a bit raw emotionally after.  When this happens, take good care of yourself.  Rest, be sure to eat healthy & relax as much as you can.

I know this all sounds intimidating, but truly, you can do it & you’ll be very glad you did!

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Some Victim Shaming Comments

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What I Learned From No Contact

So many websites & authors make no contact sound like an easy decision & once you go no contact, all will be right in your world.  Nothing could be further from the truth!!  While no contact is often the best & even the only solution, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.

If you’re considering no contact with a narcissist in your life, in particular one in your family, you need to be aware of some things.  I am not writing these to make you change your mind about no contact, only to help you prepare for the potential aftermath.

  • No one has the right to abuse you, not even your family.
  • You are under no obligation whatsoever to tolerate abuse from anyone & yes, that includes family.
  • Cutting toxic people out of your life doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you someone who cares enough about yourself not to tolerate abuse.
  • Just because you severed contact with someone doesn’t mean you hate them.  You can love someone but still not be able to be in a relationship with them because they’re abusive.
  • No one can fully prepare for what may happen after no contact because all people are different.  When I went no contact with my mother, she ignored me & kept her distance.  When I went no contact with my father, he continually tried to force me to talk to him, including getting his family to try to force me to talk to him.  It’s hard to predict how the person on the receiving end of no contact will handle it.
  • You will be depressed for some time after going no contact.  No matter how sure you are that you did the right thing or how much you know you had no choice but to do this, ending a relationship especially one with a family member is TOUGH!  It hurts!
  • You’ll also feel very guilty for a while, even though there isn’t a valid reason to feel that way.  This is simply because that is how this person trained you.  Their feelings are more important than yours & how dare you put your feelings ahead of theirs, at least that is what they want you to believe.  Remember, this person is the reason the relationship fell apart.  Yes, you walked away but only after you were pushed into doing so to protect your mental health.  There is no reason to feel guilty about this!
  • You’re going to have doubts.  It’s only normal.  Remind yourself of how much thought & prayer went into your decision when this happens.  Also remember what led you to make this incredibly difficult decision.  Doing so helps a great deal.
  • Not everyone is going to understand.  Some people are going to judge you very harshly.  Those people can be incredibly hurtful & cruel.  No matter how convicted they are in their beliefs, it doesn’t mean they are right.  Don’t let them make you doubt your decision or tolerate their abusive words.
  • Of those who judge you, you will be surprised by who is doing it.  Some folks you were convinced were on your side will turn on you, & it is going to hurt badly!  You also may be surprised by acquaintances & even strangers who attack you for going no contact.  It’s shocking when someone you barely know or don’t even know at all thinks they have the right to tell you what they think you should do with your life.
  • Those who don’t understand also will try to guilt or shame you into reconnecting.  Don’t let that happen!!  Again, remind yourself of what led you to making this decision.  Also remind yourself that these people don’t know the whole story, so their input is useless to you.
  • Often, these people who attack you are going to be your own family.  Family is often the most abusive in these situations.  Mine certainly has been.  Various members have attacked me like they were starving lions & I was vulnerable prey.  Sadly this is pretty normal in narcissistic families.  Family members often delude themselves into thinking they’re a happy, normal, functional family.  They will do anything to protect their delusions, including attack someone who tells the truth.  If they can quiet the truth teller, then their delusions can remain in tact.  To them, attacking their own kin is worth it if it protects their delusions.
  • You may think if you just did something they wanted you to do or loved them enough, the abuse would have stopped.  That is not true!  A person changes because they want to.  To make an abuser want to change is nearly impossible.  They get what they want from being abusive & they lack empathy.  This means they see no reason at all to change.
  • You also may have days where you miss this person.  You may be tempted on those days to rekindle the relationship.  You may even want to apologize for going no contact.  DON’T DO IT!!  Once someone has gone no contact then later returns to the relationship, it gets much worse than it originally was.  It may start out good, but it won’t take long before the mask comes off again.  When that happens, the person underneath is even uglier than they were before.
  • You won’t be functioning in survivor mode anymore, so you may feel much different.  You may feel very vulnerable & over sensitive.  Little things can make you cry or make you angry that never bothered you before.  You may have more nightmares than usual.  You may experience changes in anxiety levels by either becoming more anxious in general or less anxious but when you do get anxious those times are harder than they used to be.
  • You may feel oddly lost, too, like you don’t know what to do with your life.  When in a relationship with a narcissist, they seem to take up all the room in the relationship, even down to including all the room in your brain.  Without them, what is there to think about?!  It can take some time to feel less lost after survival mode is over.
  • At some point, you are going to feel so much better!  You’ll experience freedom & enjoy that feeling immensely.  If the narcissist in your life was a relative, guilt will come attached to enjoying your new freedom, but in time it will get less & less, until it disappears.
  • You’ll also experience peace, possibly for the first time in your life!  No more unnecessary drama.  No more narcissistic rages.  The peace is glorious!!
  • You won’t feel on edge all the time, worried about what to say or do to appease the narcissist so he or she won’t rage at you.  You finally can relax & not focus all of your energy on this person.  It’ll feel like a giant weight is lifted off your shoulders.
  • You also will start to enjoy little things more than you used to.  When you’re life is totally focused on a narcissist, it’s hard to enjoy subtle things like a bird singing, a beautiful full moon or even a great song on the radio.  It can feel almost like you’re reborn, I think is the best way to describe it.

In time, you’ll learn that no contact was absolutely worth it.  In spite of all the pain, the tears, the doubts & the attacks from horrible people, it truly was worth it.  You will survive it, & be better & stronger for it!

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Sale On My Ebooks Extended

My ebooks are currently on sale until May 31, 2020.  Check them out at the following link:

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

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One Way To Minimize Anxiety

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If You’re Struggling With Setting Boundaries Or Going No Contact With Your Narcissistic Parent

Many people have issues with setting boundaries or even severing ties with a narcissistic parent.  They say you are being mean, unreasonable, selfish.  In religious people, they may also throw in that you aren’t honoring your parent, & they quote Exodus 20:12 that tells us to honor our parents.  Or, in Asian cultures, they mention filial piety, which is respecting & caring for one’s parents being the highest of virtues.

People who say this sort of gibberish are either completely clueless or they’re narcissistic enablers.  Yet, in spite of that, sometimes victims are convinced that these imbeciles are right.  They stop using their boundaries, continue to tolerate the abuse, & are completely miserable.

If you are reading this & in this place of either wanting to set boundaries or go no contact with your narcissistic parent, but feel you are being selfish, mean, etc., you need to know that you are wrong!  I promise you that, & will show you why.

Although I don’t know much about religions other than Christianity, I do know that many of them seem to share one common belief, which basically boils down to, “you reap what you sow.”  Just look at what the Bible has to say about that…

 

  • Proverbs 11:25 “The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 19:19 “A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
    For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 22:8 “He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble,
    And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail.” (AMP)
  • Obadiah 15 “The day of the Lord is near for all nations.
    As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (NIV)
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].” (AMP)
  • Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.
    8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)

 

These Scriptures prove that whatever a person does, good or bad, there are consequences.  It’s a natural part of life.

I realize as the child of a narcissistic parent or two, this feels so foreign.  After all, the child never should upset the parent, burden them with “trivial” things like their needs or let the parent face consequences of their terrible behavior.  However, this is so wrong!  God has made sure this reaping & sowing wisdom is mentioned repeatedly in His Word.  This has to be important to be mentioned many times, wouldn’t you agree?

If you think about this, I’m sure it’ll help you to realize that your boundaries or no contact aren’t you being an awful person, but simply the natural course of events.  That is what happened with me.  I felt bad for setting boundaries with my parents & going low contact. God reminded me of Galatians 6:7-8.  I thought about it & realized it made sense.  Every time I so much as started to feel guilty, I remembered that Scripture.  It was very encouraging!  So much so that I was finally able to go no contact with my parents.  I felt mostly sadness because this wasn’t how things should be, which I think is totally normal, but very little guilt.  Without realizing the principle of sowing & reaping, I don’t know if I could have gone no contact.  If I had, no doubt the guilt would have been about crippling!

Please consider this post if you are struggling with setting boundaries or going no contact with your narcissistic parent, Dear Reader.  You aren’t wrong, selfish, unreasonable, mean or anything else.  You have every right to do these things!

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Ways To Cope With Triggers

Anyone who has suffered trauma knows about triggers.  They are something that reminds you of past trauma & can leave you feeling very shaken up.

Triggers can be such a miserable thing to experience!  They feel like there is no reason for them when you’re going through them, but I believe they actually have a purpose.

When you are healed in a specific area, you can experience a trigger, & although it certainly isn’t pleasant, it isn’t devastating either.  It reminds me of what it feels like when you remember a nightmare.  Unpleasant but not terribly upsetting.

When you aren’t healed in some area however, that is when triggers can be helpful.  They show you the areas where you need some healing.   Paying attention to exactly what emotions you feel can be an excellent start to heal in this area.

When you’re triggered, I firmly believe it’s wise to consider exactly what you felt & why you felt it in order to heal.  For example, were you angered because you felt invalidated, powerless, ignored, or disrespected?  Did you feel shame because you felt judged, unimportant, or mocked?  Were you hurting because you felt excluded, unloved or as if no one cared at all about you?

Once you realize the root of your feelings, you can heal.  What helps me if I’m unsure why I feel what I do is to ask God to show me the root of this feeling.  Where did this start?  Usually then I remember some incident from a long time ago that shows me where the problem began.  Once I remember that, I try to remember everything possible about that incident, even seemingly unimportant details like what clothes I was wearing.  I also try to feel all the feelings associated with it, as difficult as that may be.  The more thoroughly an incident can be remembered, I believe the more healing takes place.  The more healing that happens, the less you will experience triggers like this in the future.

One important thing to remember is when you do this, take breaks.  Emotional healing is very difficult & painful work.  It also doesn’t happen quickly.  Because of these factors, it can get to be too much sometimes, especially when the trauma is extremely bad.  When those times happen, it’s best to take a break.  Stop focusing on your healing & focus on something else that has absolutely nothing to do with the trauma for a little while.  You need to put your emotions in a box on a shelf for a time, & take some time to do something fun.  Watch a movie, read, work on a craft, snuggle your furkids, spend time with a good friend sharing some laughs… whatever you do, make sure it is lighthearted & fun.  If it can make you laugh, all the better.  After you have relaxed & feel less overwhelmed, when you get back to working on your healing, you will be in a better frame of mind to do so.

Triggers can be difficult to deal with, I know.  Frankly, they just stink.  However, they can be a very helpful tool in your mental & emotional healing.  Why not use them that way & make the pain they cause count for something?

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Another Sale On My Ebooks!

From March 20-April 20, 2020, all my ebooks are 30% off.  They can be found at this link:

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

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When You Have Bad C-PTSD Days

I think most of us who suffer with C-PTSD hide when we’re having bad days.  It can be scary to be vulnerable enough to let another person see how things really are, because people can be cruel.  There is never a good time to hear insensitive & invalidating comments of course, but on a bad C-PTSD day?  That is the absolute worst time.

Having a bad C-PTSD day, it is TOUGH!  I’ll explain how it goes for me.  Feel free to show this to anyone in your life that may need to understand your experiences with C-PTSD.

Often I wake up from a night of fitful sleep, too little sleep or a night full of nightmares.  The nightmares can be of reliving trauma or more often, something strange or unrelated to the trauma, yet stirs up the same emotions that traumatic events in my life did.  This leaves me exhausted, anxious, depressed & on high alert.

Before getting out of bed, I lay still, often with my eyes closed, trying to relax after a bad night.  I focus on my breathing to help me calm down, yet in spite of the effort, anxiety comes in waves.  I have to remind myself that I am safe, this is merely the C-PTSD doing what this disorder does.

Sometimes a few minutes, sometimes an hour later, I am able to get out of bed & start my day.  The anxiety & hyper-vigilence are still there, but a little better at least.  Usually I can function at this point, but some days, it’s about impossible.  Sometimes, I have panic attacks.  If you’ve never experienced one, count your blessings.  My chest gets incredibly tight, making me feel like I could be having a heart attack.  My breathing gets rapid & feels so strange.  I feel like when I’m inhaling, I should be exhaling & vice versa.  I end up breathing very shallow & fast until it eventually subsides, making me lightheaded.

Other times, flashbacks start.  Imagine trying to discern whether you’re in reality or somehow transported back in time to a traumatic event.  Fighting to make sure to stay in reality while dealing with the emotions of a traumatic event is a LOT of work!  As if the bad night’s sleep wasn’t enough to make me feel exhausted, this makes the exhaustion even worse.

Between the mental & physical exhaustion, being able to think or focus on tasks like a normal person seems impossible.  Even something simple as getting a drink can be difficult.  It can be hard to remember where the glasses are, decide if I want ice or not, & decide what do I want to drink.  Little things like this that most people take for granted become very daunting & challenging.  Often my moods are erratic but get moreso when these days happen.

All of these things are a real blow to the self-esteem.  I often think, “I’m so stupid for having C-PTSD!”  “Other people have been through worse, yet I have C-PTSD.  What’s wrong with me?!”  “Why am I not better than I am?!  I’ve dealt with this disorder for years!”  These thoughts leave me filled with even lower self-esteem than normal, ashamed of myself & doubting why I write about what I do, even considering quitting.  If I’m such a mess, how can I help anyone else, after all?

Eventually though, I return to normal, which is still not even close to what normal for most people is.  I am able to remember that C-PTSD is a terrible disorder.  Just because I have it also doesn’t mean I’m weak.  It means I’ve been through some terrible things.

If you experience similar days to mine, know you aren’t alone.  There are plenty of others who understand your struggles!  Pray.  Remind yourself of the things I mentioned.  Be understanding of yourself & always take good care of you!

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

About Flashbacks

Those who don’t have flashbacks usually have no idea what a flashback truly is.  They sometimes think those of us who have them are exaggerating or being dramatic about something we remembered, & have little patience for us because of our “drama queen” ways.

People who think like this need to understand something.  Flashbacks aren’t the result of someone being overly dramatic.  They also aren’t simple memories or even repressed memories.  They are much different.  They’re intense & complicated.

Flashbacks aren’t as simple remembering a traumatic event.  All of your senses kick in & you see, hear, smell, taste & feel the same things you felt when the event originally happened to you.  It literally feels as if you’re reliving the traumatic event, even though logically you know you aren’t.  It can be very hard to tell the difference between reality & the flashback.

If you’re very lucky, when a flashback happens, you still maintain enough composure to remember to ground yourself somehow.  Touching something with an extreme texture, such as burlap for example, can help.  Or, smelling something with a very strong scent like lavender also can help.  The trick is to override your confused senses with something real in order to get them to focus on something other than the flashback.  Grounding yourself like this can be quite effective in helping you to get through the flashback.  Even so, remembering what to do in the midst of a flashback is something else entirely.  It’s incredibly hard to have focus on anything when your mind & body are trying to convince you that this horrible memory isn’t just a memory, but it’s happening to you all over again.

As if all of this isn’t quite enough, once the flashback is over, you’re drained both mentally & physically to the point of exhaustion.  I have described it as feeling like I was hit by a huge truck.  The anxiety of it tenses your muscles greatly.  When it’s over, those muscles can ache badly for a while.  Your heart races during the flashback & it takes time for it to slow back down once the flashback dissipates.  Chances are very good your stomach will be upset & you’ll have a nasty headache for a while as well.

In addition to the physical side of flashbacks, there is also the mental ones.  Flashbacks are utterly depressing.  It’s so unpleasant remembering traumatic events under any circumstances, but it’s even worse when you feel as if you just relived it.  They also can make you feel ashamed for not being healed from the trauma by now, embarrassed if it happened in front of another person or other people, & they take away your hope of having a normal life without flashbacks.

They also make you incredibly anxious because you wonder when is the next one going to strike?  Will it be just like this one or will it involve another traumatic event?  What if it happens when I’m driving?  What if it’s worse?  Is it possible to get stuck in the flashback & never come out of it?

If you’re one of those folks who never has experienced a flashback, I’m telling you, count your blessings!  Thank God for this!

If you know someone who has flashbacks though, I hope you will remember this information & treat your loved one accordingly. Remember that this person isn’t seeking attention or being overly dramatic.  They are dealing with a very difficult & painful mental illness.  They have experienced something or some things so traumatic that their brain physically broke!  It isn’t your loved one’s fault they have flashbacks, & chances are excellent if this person could find a way never to have them again, they would.  So please, be patient & understanding with anyone you know who suffers with flashbacks.  A little gentleness can help us more than you know.

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

What No Contact Is & Is Not

Many people I have dealt with seem to misunderstand what no contact really is.  Since others have experienced this too, I decided I would share some thoughts today on what no contact is & is not.

First of all, & yes, this is directed specifically at those who have said this nonsense to me.. no contact is NOT un-Christian.  Enabling bad & abusive behavior is un-Christian.  Tolerating abuse silently is un-Christian.  Never confronting someone about their abusive behavior is un-Christian.  If you don’t believe me, open a Bible.  As Christians, we are to love people.  Part of loving people is wanting what is best for them & helping them to be their best.  When someone doesn’t listen to another’s complaints, they need consequences to make them want to improve their behavior.  When normal consequences don’t work, no contact is a very viable option, even for those closest to a victim such as their own family & yes, even parents.

No contact isn’t about being unforgiving.  A person can no longer speak to someone & have forgiven them for their abusive ways at the same time.  Protecting one’s mental health has nothing to do with unforgiveness.

No contact isn’t taking the easy way out.  Far from it!  Anyone who has gone no contact with someone they love has suffered a great deal not only due to the abuse, but also making the decision to go no contact & living without that person.  If you disagree, consider my story.  I went no contact with my parents several months before my father died & almost three years to the day before my mother died.  Doing that & not being there for them when they needed me at the end of their lives was horrible.  If you think that was easy, you are very sadly mistaken!

No contact isn’t about trying to change someone.  Yes, you are giving that person consequences for their actions, but that doesn’t mean you are trying to manipulate them into behaving better.  You set that stage & it’s up to them to do with it as they want.

No contact also isn’t about not accepting someone.  It’s about accepting that person as they are, yet knowing you can’t have a healthy relationship with that person.

No contact has nothing to do with being disrespectful.  Rather it has everything to do with self respect, with respecting one’s self enough to detach from an abusive relationship.

No contact isn’t about hate.  Just because you have ended a relationship doesn’t mean you hate the other person.  You can love someone a great deal yet not be able to be in a relationship with that person.  Some people I’ve spoken with assumed I hated my parents because of being no contact with them.  Far from it!  I loved my parents a great deal.  It was how they treated me that I hated.

No contact isn’t about creating conflict or being dramatic.  Every single person I’ve spoken with who ended an abusive relationship, no matter who that relationship was with, wanted the exact same things I did: no further abuse, peace & a conflict & drama free existence.  When a narcissist’s flying monkeys go after someone who has gone no contact, fewer things can be more stressful & upsetting.  We try to avoid that at all costs!

I doubt there is anyone who truly wants to end a relationship with someone they love, even when that person is abusive.  That being said though, there are times when it’s necessary.  Some people are so toxic there is no other solution other than no contact.  Sadly, this even happens in families.  As I said, I ended the relationship with my parents.  They were simply that cruel & toxic.  It happens, unfortunately, so if it has happened to you as well, know you’re not alone.  Many of us understand!

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

Sale On My Ebooks!

My publisher is offering a 25% off sale on my ebooks from March 1-7.  Find them at the link below:

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

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