Tag Archives: healing

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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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

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

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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Another Control Tactic Of Narcissists- Interrupting

As anyone subjected to a narcissist for any length of time knows, narcissists love to control other people.  It gives them a sense of power, which gives them narcissistic supply, in other words, feeds their ego.

 

One tool they use that seems innocuous is interrupting others.

 

Interrupting seems like simple bad manners, but with narcissists, it is much more.

 

Narcissists only care about themselves & procuring narcissistic supply, & interrupting gives them a couple of ways to gain that supply.

 

For one thing, interrupting is often done if the other person in the conversation is not discussing the narcissist or anything about the narcissist’s life.  The narcissist will interrupt & turn the conversation back to what she wants to talk about- herself, her accomplishments, how talented she is, etc.  Most people who have been interrupted allow the conversation to take the new turn, seldom returning to the original topic.

 

Another reason narcissists interrupt is that taking over a conversation gives them a sense of power.  They were able to redirect the conversation, which makes them feel powerful, & provides narcissistic supply.

 

Interrupting may seem not worth fighting over, but anything that provides a narcissist supply can make them want to use you more & more.  That is why it is vital if you’re in any relationship with a narcissist to provide as little supply as possible.  The more supply you provide, the more they will use & abuse you.

 

Interrupting is pretty simple to deal with. My narcissistic mother uses this tactic constantly, & I have learned from her the best way to deal with it is not to deal with it.  I ignore her as much as possible & show no reaction to her.   If I’m talking with someone else & she interrupts, I ignore whatever she is talking about, then when she is finished talking, resume the conversation she interrupted.

 

Sometimes, she uses more unusual methods of interrupting.  Once in a restaurant, my father & I were talking about a topic she wasn’t interested in.  As we spoke, she picked up a napkin, held it to her nose & acted like she was blowing her nose, making loud, gross noises with her mouth.  My father & I stopped talking, & she took the napkin away, & began laughing a very creepy, unsettling laugh.  It was painfully obvious she did this to get attention, & it worked.  Not only were my father & I looking at her, several others in the restaurant were as well.  Thank God, He showed me immediately she just wanted attention, so I quickly resumed the conversation with my father, as if nothing happened.  When ridiculous antics are her interruption tool of choice, I ignore them too.

 

The same goes for nasty comments to interrupt.  When she says something hateful, it’s obvious it’s just to gain attention/supply.  Another example was during dinner with my parents & grandmother once many years ago.  My mother told my father what to order.  He said he wanted a change, & asked what I was going to get.  I said the taco salad, & he decided to try one.  When dinner arrived, he & I were talking.  My mother looked at our plates & loudly said, “It looks like someone threw up on your plates.”  I acted as if she hadn’t said a thing, & continued talking to my father. It annoyed her- my father reacted to her by giving her a shocked expression, but I ignored her.  I’m sure the goal was to get an equal reaction out of me.

 

Ignoring is pretty easy, but sometimes having no reaction can be difficult.  If you remember exactly why this is happening, & how you do NOT want to provide narcissistic supply, that helps you to stay calm.

 

Prayer also helps.  Ask God to help you before you answer that phone or visit your narcissistic mother.  He truly will not disappoint you!

 

Once your visit is done, you’re going to be angry &/or hurt.  Don’t hold it in!  Get it out by praying, talking with a safe person, or journalling.  Maybe a combination of all of them.  Whatever works for you.

 

By staying calm & ignoring your narcissistic mother’s petty interruptions, you are taking back control.  It also will frustrate her, & she will use this tactic less & less frequently.

 

 

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Talking About Your Trauma

I’ve been reading lately about discussing abusive & traumatic experiences.  It seems many people have very definite opinions on the matter.  Some think it is the duty of the victim to talk about it, to raise awareness & help other victims.  Others think talking puts unfair pressure on the victim, & they’ve been through enough.

 

It seems to me that in a way, they’re both right.

 

Proverbs 31:8-9 says,

“8  Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.

9  Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  (KJV)

 

I believe this clearly states that it is right to speak up against abuse.  But, if you notice, it says to “speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”  That could be those who are still being abused & unable to escape, but it also could be those who are recently traumatized or even those who only recently realized they were abused (as abusers love to convince victims they are helping, the victim made them hurt them, it isn’t abuse, etc).  It can be hard or even impossible to talk about your trauma when you’ve only recently escaped your abuser or learned what was done to you was abuse.

 

So how do you know what is right for you to do?  Pray.  Ask God to show you what He would have you to do.

 

If you feel speaking about your experiences is the answer for you at this time, it can be scary, I know.  Lean on God to enable you to do it. Not everyone who discusses their abusive experiences is in the public eye.  God may not want you to write a book or blog.  He may instead send people across your path periodically who need to hear your story.  That calling is no less important than those who are in the public eye.  Helping people cope with their pain is an extremely important calling, no matter how it is done.

 

If you don’t feel the need to discuss your experiences, probably this means you have some healing to do first.  Talking about things really isn’t easy.  Abusers always make victims afraid to talk.  When you first escape the abusive situation or first realize what was done was actually abuse, you may need to think & pray a lot to come to terms with things.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!  Do what you need to do!  Prayer, writing in a journal & even writing letters you never show to the abuser are excellent places to start.  Never feel bad if you’re in this place!  Everyone starts their recovery somewhere, & often it’s alone.  Besides, if you hope to be one who can help other victims, you have to be able to do so.  Self-care is vital!  You have to take care of yourself if you want to be of any help to others.

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

Old Anger Coming To The Surface

The other night out of the blue, I thought about the fight with my parents in May.  As if that didn’t anger me quite enough, then I thought about when a year or two ago, when my mother called me & said my father told her my ex husband hit me.  She asked if that really happened & said if she would’ve known, she would’ve called a lawyer. (a lawyer, not the cops?! Trying to profit off it?)  Both my parents saw me all bruised & battered right after it happened, & didn’t give a damn.  My mother blamed me, in fact, for “making” him do that.

 

So many other times my parents haven’t cared about me popped into my head.  (gotta love intrusive thoughts..gggrrr!)  The hateful comments when I’ve lost a furkid, such as, “they’re better off dead than with me as their mom.”  Or, “Oh, you still upset that cat died?”  a week after losing a furbaby.  Snide comments when my back was injured, thanks to my mother, about being lazy.  Or, criticizing my writing- it’s trash, a waste of time, no one wants to read it, etc.

 

This morning I’m still very angry.  It sickens me how anyone can be so cold & cruel to another human being, but especially their child that they are supposed to love.  I can’t fathom treating anyone that way.

 
I felt embarrassed about being so angry.  After all, part of being a Christian is forgiving others easily.  Preachers speak about it constantly.  “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger!”  “Forgive so your Father may forgive you!”  It’s embarrassing to be an angry Christian, no matter how valid the reasons for your anger.  I tend to feel guilty & ashamed if I’m angry partly because there isn’t good, Biblical preaching out there on anger (at least that I have found).

 

Also, I honestly thought I’d forgiven my parents for everything, other than the fight in May.  I’m seeing now that I have a lot of anger for how selfish they are.  They can’t see beyond their own noses.  If it doesn’t directly affect them, it doesn’t matter (typical narcissists), which makes me angry.

 

However, I’m seeing this anger isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  This anger is helping me to maintain my healthy boundaries & distance.  It’s giving me courage that I may not have otherwise to keep a distance from my parents.

 

The anger also helps me to focus on the truth that they are dysfunctional, cruel & abusive, & I have every right to protect myself & my little family from that.

 

It also isn’t bad in the sense that I’m not planning to hurt my parents or get them back somehow.  I truly wish no bad on them, I just know I need to keep my distance.  Hardly a bad thing.

 

Another good thing is the anger is giving me the courage to speak out against narcissistic abuse more openly than ever.

 

God’s also showed me this anger is normal in my situation. I’ve had too many years of stuffing my anger. It has to come out!  Let it out & deal with it appropriately.  He has not told me my anger is wrong, & after 20 years in a relationship with Him, I’m quite in tune with His voice.

 

I do know that in time, I truly will forgive my parents.  But, I doubt I’ll ever lose the righteous anger about narcissistic abuse & the devastation it causes.  There is nothing wrong with that either- even God gets angry about injustice & when people are mistreated.

 

Hoping this maybe helps some of you that read my work, which is why I’m sharing.  I can’t be the only one who has experienced this.  If you are too, you’re not alone!  Please don’t be ashamed for how you feel or beat yourself up for it.  xoxo

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

“You’re Too Negative!”

One thing many victims of narcissistic abuse have told me is people have told them they are too negative if they discuss their experiences.   I’ve heard it too.  “You’re too negative.”  “Your problem is you don’t think positive” (I guess thinking positive will fix my C-PTSD.. if it was only that easy!)

 

What people fail to realize is telling the truth about narcissistic abuse isn’t being negative.  It’s telling facts.  It’s telling your story.  It’s raising awareness of this awful epidemic.  It also helps us to heal, discussing things.  (The constant gaslighting/crazy making made us doubt ourselves so much, & talking about things helps us to keep a healthy perspective & remember the narcissist was the real problem.)

 

There is nothing negative or critical or even dishonorable about discussing your experiences with narcissistic abuse!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!  Talk about it as you are comfortable.  Help raise awareness!  Help yourself heal!

 

One important thing to remember though- if you’re seeking validation by discussing your story, you may not get it.  Many people don’t understand narcissistic abuse, nor do they want to.  Even those close to you may invalidate your pain.  You have to accept that not everyone will provide the support & understanding you crave.

 

If you’re worried about the narcissist finding out you’re talking about what she did to you, I understand.  It’s scary.  Narcissists, in particular narcissistic parents, can be scary, especially during a narcissistic rage.  But, keep in mind- there is really nothing they can do to you anymore!  Scream at you?  Call you names?  Talk badly about you to other people?  Chances are, after years of it, you’re so used to these things they barely phase you anymore.  I understand!  As a grown woman, I sometimes get afraid someone will tell my parents what I write about.  I remember my mother screaming & raging at me as a kid.  When that happens, I remind myself that I’ve experienced her rages so many times, that I’ve become pretty numb to them.  I also remind myself that this isn’t just her story- it is mine too.  I have every right to discuss it with whoever & however I want to.

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There Are No One Size Fits All Solutions

When people discover that what they have experienced is narcissistic abuse, they look for answers.  Some make the mistake of thinking there are obvious answers, but unfortunately, there isn’t any such thing.

 

Every narcissist is different.  Every victim is different.  There are also many gray areas when it comes to dealing with narcissists- very little is black & white.   As a result, what works for someone else may not work for you & vice versa.  You aren’t going to find anything that maps out your perfect way to healing yourself of ways to cope with a narcissists.  You have to try different things to figure out what works best in your situation.

 

An online friend & I were discussing this topic recently.  For her, understanding that her narcissistic mother was abused as a child didn’t help her in the least.  In fact, it seemed to make her angrier that her mother would take her issues out on her daughter.  While I get that, for me, learning my narcissistic mother was abused helped me to be more understanding & compassionate with her while still maintaining my healthy boundaries.  I was able to stay calmer than I once had around my mother.  I realized she was wounded & acting out of those wounds because she has no healthy coping skills.  Neither my friend nor I are wrong- we’re doing what works for us.

 

As an author who writes primarily about the topics of narcissism & narcissistic abuse, I have come to realize that as much as I want to help everyone who reads my work, I can’t.  The best I can do is explain what I have learned, talk about what works & doesn’t work for me, & discuss my experiences.  It’s up to each reader to glean from the books & articles what works for them.  Unfortunately, some will be disappointed that what I suggest doesn’t work for their situation.

 

And, ignore those who say things like, “*fill in the blank*  will work for you”.  It may work for you.  Hopefully it will.  But, it also may not work for you.  People who say they have the answers may, in fact, be narcissists themselves.  I realized that after reading a  blog about healing from narcissistic abuse some time ago.  The blogger wasn’t open to opinions other than her own.  She seemed to think what worked for her would work for everyone, & if you disagreed, you were wrong.  For example, no contact.  It was the only solution this blogger supported, & there were no excuses for not going no contact.  While that makes sense to a degree, not everyone is willing or able to go no contact.  What if the narcissist is low on the spectrum?  They may be hard to deal with but also tolerable.  Plus, going no contact is very hard, especially with your own parents.  Not everyone feels capable of going no contact.  Low contact may be a better option.  Still others live with their narcissistic parent & can’t afford to move out so again, no contact isn’t an option.

 

That is just one example.  There are other authors that are the same way- they believe they have all the answers & you need to listen to them.  Be careful whose advice you take when reading about narcissism!   If something seems off, trust that feeling.  Pray & ask God to show you who you can trust & who you can’t, & help you to get the information that will help you the most.

 

 

 

 

 

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Adding More Gratitude, Peace & Joy To Your Daily Life

One way I have learned to add more gratitude, peace & joy to my life is by focusing on beauty.  It’s quite easy to do, too, since beauty is all around us!  I have folders of beautiful images on my tablet.  Flowers, beautiful homes, art, or anything that strikes my fancy.  Looking at these lovely images helps me to feel more peaceful & happy.  My anxiety levels go down, too.  I even become more appreciative.

 

Why beauty has such a profound effect, I’m not sure, but I thoroughly enjoy it!  Why don’t you give it a try as well?  Start noticing the beauty around you.  Look at the flowers in your garden.  Really study them.  Focus on the lovely colors & graceful curve of the leaves & petals.  Animals are beautiful too- watch the graceful way a lion moves as he walks or listen to the haunting but beautiful sound of a wolf howl.

 

 

Museums are a wonderful place to take in some beauty.  I’ve noticed that after seeing some stunning paintings by Claude Monet (my favorite painter) at the museum, I started appreciating other beautiful things more.  I’ve never  been a fan of modern art, but even so, after enjoying Monet’s paintings, I could see a beauty in it that I never saw before.  It seems to me that once you start really appreciating beauty, you start to see it everywhere.  At least I did.

 

 

One interesting place to find beauty is also old cemeteries.  I absolutely love them!  They are so full of history if you read the headstones, but there is also much beauty there as well.  Old headstones are often much more elaborate than modern day ones.  Westminster cemetery in Baltimore where Edgar Allan Poe is buried is an amazing place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Narcissists & Consequences

So many victims of narcissistic abuse wonder why the narcissist seems to stroll happily through life without consequences for their actions while their victims are left to suffer alone or are even blamed for what was done to them.  It’s so unfair!

 

This came to mind recently.  I had a flashback.  When thinking about it later, my mind wandered to when I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall & hurt my back.  She has not had any consequences for her actions in the 26 years since that happened.  My father said he tried talking to her about it not long after it happened, & she just said “Are you ever going to let that go?”  He dropped the subject.  I never said anything to her- I was too afraid of it happening again, or her doing something worse. Also why I never called the police, even though now I wish I would have.  My ex husband (who I was with at the time) also never did anything aside from tell me how hard it was on him, what she had done.

 

In fact, I think my father blames me for what happened that night.  A year or two ago, for whatever odd reason, he mentioned that incident & told me I didn’t need to apologize for busting up the wall- he was able to repair it.  Excuse me?  The wall was busted up because my mother threw me into it, so no, I have no plans on apologizing for that.

 

Sadly, I think this is pretty typical.  I can’t think of one victim I’ve spoken with who doesn’t have a similar story.  And like me, they are baffled that the narcissist who abused them received no consequences for their actions.  They’re also angry, which is certainly understandable.  It’s extremely unfair!  We’re the ones who suffered because of them, & they don’t get so much as a scolding for what they’ve done!

 

I really am not sure why this happens.  Maybe it’s because people are afraid of the narcissists.  If you don’t know much about NPD or have limited experience with a narcissist, the overt narcissist can be very intimidating.  Their rages can be terrifying.  Or, if the narcissist in question is a covert narcissist, maybe people are afraid of hurting them.  Covert narcissists love to play the innocent victim.  (They can make their victim apologize to them- they are that convincing).  They make the person confronting them feel guilty, even ashamed, & certainly no one wants to feel that way!

 

Some who know a little about narcissism believe that NPD is something beyond control.  They believe the term “disorder” means that the narcissist cannot control her actions at all, when the rest of us know absolutely she can & does on a regular basis.

 

Or, maybe it’s because victims are the sane, rational ones, & other people think the sane, rational one should “be the bigger person” in the relationship, the one to forgive & forget, & the one to ignore the narcissist’s “flaws”.

 

Whatever the reason, I know it’s incredibly frustrating that people don’t allow the narcissist any consequences for the abuse she dishes out.  Just once, wouldn’t it be amazing to see her get told off for how horribly she treats other people?   Maybe not the most good Christian attitude, but in all honesty, what victim of a narcissist hasn’t felt that way at some point?  I sure have!

 

So instead of waiting on others, why not give the narcissist consequences yourself?  I’m not saying go cuss her out.  If you’re a Christian, act like it!  But, there are ways to give a narcissist the deserved consequences without being vengeful.

 

Boundaries.  Have & be willing to enforce good, healthy boundaries.  You have every right to tell her no, you won’t tolerate that or do that.  Let her figure out how to do something herself or have something done if it’s something you don’t feel you should do or if it goes against your morals.  Or, for example, if you’re with your narcissistic mother & have had enough, tell her you’re going home (or need to hang up the phone).  If your narcissistic mother is like mine, she expects you to deal with her until she’s tired of you & dismisses you.  It will irk her to no end if you end the visit or call first, but it is entirely your right to do so!  She doesn’t need to get her way all the time & you need to take care of your physical & mental health.

 

Don’t allow her to order you around.  My mother is a big one for barking out orders, rather than saying something like “Would you please get that for me?”  Instead, it’s “Hand me that.”  A few months ago, I noticed this.  (Sadly, it took my entire life to notice it..)  I decided to change how I reacted to her orders.  Rather than blindly obeying, I do a couple of things.  Sometimes I tell her “In a minute” or “Ok, later” instead of interrupting what I was doing.  Other times, I do as she wanted & say “Since you asked so nicely, here is the item you wanted.  You’re welcome.”  This annoys my mother, but she has started to say “please” sometimes.  It’s a little thing, but it means a lot to me to be treated with simple respect rather than being treated like the hired help.

 

My mother also employs a very common coping skill, especially with narcissists.  She reinvents the past.  According to her, she was quite the impressive mother.  Many other victims I’ve spoken with go through this with their narcissistic mother, too.  Rather than validating her delusions, you have the right to tell her that isn’t what happened & tell her the truth.  In all honesty, I don’t do this with my mother because I see a tremendous amount of guilt in her for how she’s treated me.  I don’t think she could handle me telling her the facts & shattering her delusion.  Even so, I refuse to validate her stories.  “I don’t remember it that way” or “I don’t remember that happening at all” work for me.  She then changes the subject before I can say what the truth was.  It’s not a perfect solution but it works for us.  She can still use that coping mechanism (as dysfunctional as it is) without me validating it.  It’s her right to use it, after all.  It’s also my right to refuse to condone it.

 

Narcissists may not always get the consequences they deserve, but they do need some nonetheless.  Consequences teach us how to treat other people, & frankly, who needs to learn how to treat people if not a narcissist?  Consequences may not make them treat you like a non-narcissist would, but they most likely will improve the way they treat you in some ways.  They also will gain a little respect for you for not allowing them to push you around so much anymore.  Not that they’ll admit that, of course, but it still happens.

 

 

 

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

Narcissistic Abuse Awareness

There are no pretty ribbons or months dedicated to narcissistic abuse awareness or to help comfort or inspire victims.  This seems so wrong to me since narcissistic abuse really is an epidemic.

 

A few months back, I created The Butterfly Project in an attempt to change this.  It hasn’t felt like enough, though.

 

I recently decided to make bracelets that I hope will comfort & inspire victims as well as raise awareness.   I did my best to keep the cost reasonable & quality decent.

 

For more detailed information, click the link below.

http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Narcissistic-Abuse-Awareness-Bracelets.php

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Anger Isn’t Always A Bad Thing!

Anger is an emotion that strikes fear into many people.  In Christian circles, many think anger isn’t of God.  It’s from the devil & to be avoided at all costs.  If you’re angry, you’re a sinner/wrong/a bad person.  People who were abused fear anger, assuming the angry person is going to hurt them like their abuser did.

The truth is though that anger is simply one of the many emotions God gave us, & if God gave it, it can’t be bad.  What you do with the anger can be good or bad though.

I have learned that sometimes, it is good to hold onto some anger.  If I think back on the terrible, abusive things my narcissistic mother has done to me, although I have forgiven her for doing them, the unfairness of them still makes me angry.  This is not a bad thing at all!  If I can remember to focus on that anger, it helps me to stay strong with my mother when she does something else hurtful.  The anger empowers me- it helps me to have the inner strength to call her out on her actions when I need to, rather than letting her get away with abusing me.

There is also a big difference in being angry at the injustice of a situation & angry at a person.  God commands us to forgive one another repeatedly in the Bible,  I believe because it benefits us so much to forgive others.  (A few examples are: Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:31-32, Matthew 18: 21-22 & Matthew 6:14-15.)  Not forgiving others can lead very easily to bitterness or tainting your judgment of other people.  (example: if your husband cheated on you, you think all men are cheaters)  Being angry with a righteous anger at the unfairness of a situation though, does not have the same results.  Yes, an unjust situation makes you angry but it doesn’t make you bitter, & it gives you strength to stand up for what is right.

If you feel anger, I urge you to really delve into why you are angry.  If you are angry at the person who hurt or abused you, then by all means, please try to let it go.  I wrote about the topic of forgiveness on my website.  You can click this link if you’d like to read it.

If you’re angry about the unfairness of a situation though, I would urge you to hold onto that righteous anger.  It will help you if you ever are faced with a similar situation.

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Creativity Is A Wonderful Thing

For whatever reason, lately I’ve been feeling creative.  I decorated a wreath for my front door.  I knitted some scatter rugs.  I want to make some valances for my enclosed porch windows (been wanting to do this since 2001 when we bought this house, but for some reason finally have motivation to work on this project).  I have a few other little projects in mind to create or repair around the house.

 

I’ve realized just how good it feels to be creative!  Not only do I feel productive, I feel free by making things I enjoy making, & doing them however I want to do them.

 

Creativity is a gift from God.  Not only does it help humans survive by giving us new & creative ways to deal with abuse or survive when finances are tight, but it gives us a way to feel good & enjoy life.  There is something very fun & rewarding about seeing a new, functional & creative way to do something.

 

Do you give yourself time to enjoy this creative part of you?  Or, are you like so many people- too busy to be creative?

 

If you’re too busy or have another reason for not indulging in your natural creativity, then I urge you to make time to be creative.  Is there some fun project you can do around your home to make it more appealing?  Paint a room a fun color, or even just an accent wall in a bold color or wallpaper.  Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean going big or spending a small fortune.  My wreath cost me all of about $5.  I had the wreath (I may have paid $.50 at a yard sale for it- I don’t remember for sure) & bought pretty flowers & butterflies for it at a local dollar store.  My scatter rugs?  The knitting needles were a gift from a good friend & I found the yarn on a buy one skein, get one 50% off deal.  I used one skein (half a skein per rug) & have another left over.

 

Have you heard, like me, that your ideas are stupid, a waste of time, etc.?  My narcissistic mother said those things & more to me.  I eventually realized she was jealous- I can do some things she can’t (like knit) so she envies me for having that skill she never was able to develop.  Also, our tastes are very different.  That doesn’t mean my taste is wrong!  The same is true for you!  If someone says you have bad taste, that doesn’t mean it’s true.  Chances are, your taste is just different than that person’s.  Different doesn’t equal bad.  So why not take a chance?  Go out on a limb & do something creative that feels good to you.

 

If you’re lacking ideas for expressing your creativity, that isn’t a hard problem to tackle.  Wander a craft store.  Guys, craft stores aren’t just for ladies- there is plenty of inspiration for you there as well!  Model kits, slot cars, scale trains, woodworking- chances are you can find something to enjoy.  Ladies, there are crafts for everyone at a craft store, so just go- something will strike your fancy.  And, many big craft stores offer plenty of good coupons on their website so you can try a new craft cheaply.

 

Drawing, painting, needlepoint, crocheting, model building, radio control cars, decorating your house or apartment… there are so many ways you can express yourself in a creative way.  So many ways can be productive as well.  Why not try being more creative?

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Trauma Changes You

Trauma actually can cause physical changes in the brain. That is why PTSD & C-PTSD happen- the brain is actually broken due to traumatic experiences. The physical damage to the brain causes the awful symptoms of both disorders.

However, I don’t believe you have to have an actual disorder to be changed by trauma.

I have C-PTSD, but the symptoms didn’t fully manifest until the spring of 2012. Prior to that, I have experienced many traumas, & I realized I changed after several of them, long before the C-PTSD.

In 2010, my house was hit by lightening while my husband & I were at a friend’s wedding reception. When we came home we learned a window unit air conditioner had been hit, & caught fire, but somehow the fire went out. The neighbor’s tree beside our driveway, where my car sits, was hit, as was their brick chimney. There were large limbs & bricks surrounding my car, but nothing touched my car. Coming so close to losing my car, furkids & home was extremely traumatic. It made me appreciate them all even more. I constantly snuggle & tell the furkids how much I love them now (sometimes to their disappointment..lol). Cleaning my home & car also aren’t as big of a nuisance as they once were.

Shortly after the lightening incident, upon leaving a store, my shoe got caught on the curb & flung me into oncoming traffic.  Thankfully I was only sore & embarrassed, but that oncoming truck that came within inches of hitting me scared me!  It made me realize that life can change or even end in an instant.  Since then, I take better care of my mental health now instead of ignoring when the C-PTSD flares up. I am less rigid in my routines, opting to do fun things whenever the opportunities arise. I also constantly reevaluate things in my life & am much more open to making changes than I was.

Things like what I have experienced are normal. Trauma is so dramatic, how can it not change you in some way?

The changes may not be as drastic as mine have been. Sometimes, it’s small changes. For example, since I developed C-PTSD, I am not as interested in knitting & crocheting as I had been. I loved doing both ever since I was five years old, so suddenly losing interest has been very strange to say the least.

Have you changed as a result of trauma? If so, you are completely normal! It’s ok! These changes may simply be a part of the new you. Why not embrace the changes? You may discover new interests or a renewed passion for an old one. You may have a new appreciation for the people, pets or even things in your life. You may wish to end old relationships that aren’t beneficial to you or the other person, & that too is fine. It may be a good thing. Maybe it’s time for a fresh start. You also may change often, your likes or dislikes changing frequently.

I encourage you to pray if you are unsure of or uncomfortable with the changes happening to you. God will reassure you of what is fine & let you know if something is wrong.

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Being Too Responsible

One thing that is very common among those who have experienced narcissistic abuse at the hands of a parent is an extremely overdeveloped sense of responsibility.

Narcissistic parents are extremely demanding of their children.  They expect their child to please them, no matter what. The child must take care of the narcissistic mother emotionally (emotional  incest).  The child must anticipate her narcissistic mother’s every whim, preferably even before she knows she has the whim, & meet it perfectly.  If she doesn’t, the mother believes she has every right to rage at her child.  This scenario makes the child extremely responsible.  Not only for her narcissistic mother, but for anyone in her life.

Thank God for helping me, because I was absolutely terrible in this area.  If someone was upset & I knew it, I thought it was my responsibility to make that person happy.  If the person  had a need or want, it was my responsibility to meet it, even if they could take care of it themselves.  This was an awful way to live.  So much pressure!  I thank God for getting me away from that.

Learning about boundaries is what helped me the most.  Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend’s book “Boundaries” literally changed my life.  Boundaries show you where you end & others begin, which helps you to know what you are & are not responsible for.  Once you know that information, you realize it is truly NOT your responsibility to do certain things.  It takes a great deal of the burden off of you.

Leaning on God is a tremendous help too.  Ask Him to show you what to do, then wait for the knowledge that you should or should not help that person & how to go about it.  He truly will guide you & enable you not to feel guilty if He doesn’t want you to help someone for whatever reason.  God does not want you to suffer with feeling you have to fix everyone.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism