Tag Archives: health

When People Don’t Agree With Removing Family From Your Life

It’s a simple fact of life that some family members abuse other family members.  Every single person I have spoken with who reads my work has been abused by at least one relative.  I have been too.  And one thing the majority of us have in common is that we have severed ties with these monsters to protect ourselves.

So many people have experienced the same thing I have, people coming out of the woodwork to tell us we have done something terrible by severing ties.  They seem to think since you’re related, that relationship is somehow sacred, & there is never any reason to end it.  Many people even bring God into their warped views, saying you have to “forgive & forget” or “honor your parent” by tolerating whatever they do to you.

I want you to know today that is completely wrong!

Titus 3:10 says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,” (ESV)  And, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says,“3 But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) (Emphasis added)

Did you notice something in there about how this applies to anyone but family?  Me neither.  Probably because it’s not there!

So many of you reading this post today have ended relationships with your abusive family members, & are struggling with guilt & doubt.  I totally understand.  I’ve been in this same position.  After I stopped speaking to my parents, I had a LOT of both guilt & doubt.  Shortly after, I learned my father had leukemia, which added even more guilt & doubt.  I also had relatives constantly telling me how awful I was & doing their best to shame & even bully me into resuming the relationship with my parents.  The only reason I survived all of that with my sanity in tact is God.

When times got tough & people were being so cruel to me about being no contact, I depended on God to help me get through.  Help me He did too!  God would remind me that I did what was right, at the time it was right, & I did nothing wrong.  They didn’t see that because of their own issues, not because I had done something bad.  He even stopped me from making things worse by enabling me not to respond to their vicious attacks.  He kept reminding me that if I responded, things would get worse, so ignore them.  Save their emails, messages, etc. in case I need them one day, but don’t read them or respond to them. 

Everything God did for me during the flying monkey attacks was exactly what I needed in my situation.  He will do the same for you!  

If you have come to the point of having no contact with some of your family, please rest assured God understands!  Contrary to what some people think, He is ok with you removing toxic, abusive people from your life, even if they are family.  When you’re struggling with your decision, talk to Him & ask His help.  He won’t let you down!  Let Him help!  He can get you through anything, even this!

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

A Little Down Time Does The Heart Good!

Lately, I’ve been busy. Not writing the usual books but taking a bit of a breather from that to create some cross stitch patterns. Since I’m not the only one who needs a break from the draining topic of narcissism, I thought I’d share the link to them here.

Cross Stitch Patterns

I also have some crochet patterns available on my site as well. They are on this link.

I hope those of you reading this will like them. I also hope that even if you aren’t into crafts, you’ll remember that mental health breaks are very important. PLEASE take some time where you deliberately do NOT think about narcissism or your healing from narcissistic abuse. Such a draining topic requires plenty of rest & distraction to prevent you from burning out.

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Filed under Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Dealing With Those Who Think They Know It All About Narcissistic Abuse

I keep hearing the term “mansplaining”.  I get how annoying this can be.  Being a blonde female who loves cars, I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of men acting like I’m too dumb to know much of anything, let alone a complicated topic like cars. 

This know it all attitude isn’t just men doing it to women, & it isn’t just about cars.  Anyone can treat someone this way & the subject matter can be anything.  Many victims of narcissistic abuse have experienced it.  I would bet that all victims have heard someone say that the abuse wasn’t so bad or NPD isn’t a real thing.  If the victim is a Christian, then it also includes smug people without any real understanding of the Bible misapplying Scripture to justify the behavior of abusive people while condemning the victim for wanting to set boundaries or end the relationship. 

When on the receiving end of know it all behavior, it can be so hard not to take it personally & cuss out the person treating you this way.  Truly, I get it!  I’ve felt that way.  That doesn’t mean I have followed through with that desire however.  I also learned how not to be so upset when it does happen.  In fact now it barely bothers me at all.

Getting to this point isn’t as hard as you may think.  To start with, I think it’s best to accept the fact that people who act this way are going to cross your path.  There is no way to avoid them completely because know it alls are everywhere.  The more you heal though, the more repelled toxic people will be by you & the more functional, healthy people will be attracted to you.  This means that naturally, the less you’ll be exposed to know it alls.  Another motivation to focus on healing!

Also, rather than be hurt or angered by their heartless words, it really helps to remember that this isn’t personal.  While it can feel intensely personal, it truly isn’t.  Know it alls clearly have some sort of issues.  Functional people realize they don’t know everything.  They have no problem admitting that they aren’t experts on certain topics or trying to learn new things.  They listen to other people as well, & aren’t quick to offer their input unless asked for it.  Dysfunctional people however aren’t willing to learn or grow.  If someone they’re speaking with is discussing a topic they don’t know much (or nothing) about, they don’t want the speaker to know this.  They would rather act like they are experts on a topic than risk people thinking they aren’t as smart as they want others to think they are by admitting they don’t know much about a specific topic.

Another thing to remember with these know it alls is they have their own painful situation similar to yours.  When you discuss your situation, it triggers their own painful memories that they are trying to avoid.  Rather than realize their triggers are trying to tell them they need healing, they prefer to shut down the person who is inadvertently triggering them.  One of the ways some people do that is by shaming the victim.  They create shame in victims by claiming to know everything about narcissism & it isn’t so bad.  Or, they pull random Scriptures they remember out of thin air & use them to shame a victim for not being willing to tolerate abuse.

And lastly, never forget to ask God to help you in this situation.  Sometimes even knowing these facts isn’t enough to help you deal with a truly impossible person.  God will be glad to help you to do whatever you need to do.

I pray the next time you run into someone who thinks they know everything, the tips I have shared with you will help you!

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

Anger As A Helpful Tool

Some time back, I decided to change my online diary to another website.  Unfortunately I can’t export the old one & import it to the new.  I have to copy & paste old entries manually.  I considered starting from scratch but quickly abandoned the idea.  It’s helpful to be able to read over old entries.

One thing I realized in reading those old entries was how helpful anger has been to me.  Many of you may remember in 2016, I had a big argument with my parents that led to no contact.  It was a very hard time for me, & I was full of a great deal of anger.

I don’t like feeling anger.  In fact, I really hate it.  When someone wrongs me, no matter how badly, I do my best to release that anger as quickly as possible.  Yet after the argument with my parents, not only could I not release it, it got worse for a while.  At the time it felt horrible & I was miserable.  I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did.  Looking back though, I realize how valuable that anger was.

The anger I felt then helped me to stay no contact with my parents.  I felt incredibly guilty for going no contact because they were in failing health.  That anger helped me to maintain my distance.  And, I later learned that maintaining no contact was what God wanted from me at the time.  In fact, it led to my father’s Salvation at the very end of his life.  (That incredible story is on my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug if you’d like to read it.)

That anger also helped me to maintain boundaries when people insisted I should speak to my parents.  We all know that flying monkeys think they know best what victims should do to please their narcissist.  This behavior really goes over the top when a victim boots a narcissist out of their life.  I experienced this in 2016 & 2017.  The anger I felt at my parents helped me to keep a good perspective on the relationship I’d had with my parents, & not to cave when people tried to force me to resume it.

The anger I felt also helped me to think logically.  That was very helpful, too!  If I started to think the flying monkeys might be right, almost immediately I would ask myself what would it benefit anyone for me to return to the abusive relationship?  What makes people think they have the right to suggest that to me?  Logical thoughts like that are fantastic for giving a healthy perspective.

I know in Christian circles, talk like this is often very frowned upon.  So many quote Colossians 3:13 that says we should be quick to forgive or they say anger is a sin.  While I agree that forgiveness is a good thing, people shouldn’t be labeled sinful for feeling anger!  Anger isn’t a sin.  It’s simply an emotion.  What a person does with anger can be sinful, but isn’t that true with pretty much anything?  Owning a knife isn’t a sin either, but if that knife is used to kill someone, that becomes a tool to sin.

Rather than looking at anger as some black & white issue, I think it’s good to look at it more objectively.  Consider the reason you’re angry & pray about it.  Maybe you can learn something from the anger or the situation.  Maybe it will help motivate you to change.  Few things are as good a motivator as anger, after all.

While I’m not saying act carelessly out of anger, let it help you.  Don’t let it be a waste.  Let your anger teach or help you in whatever way it can.  It can be uncomfortable to experience but it also can be a very good teacher & helper.

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

How Many Abuse Victims Process Negative Emotions

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January 29, 2021 · 6:30 AM

Truths About Forgiveness

Many people talk about forgiveness as if it means you resume a relationship as if nothing happened.  You also no longer feel any anger or hurt.  It’s as if a magic wand has wiped away all evidence that the painful event happened!  And, if this isn’t the case in your situation, clearly something is very wrong with you.

Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth!  Believing these lies has done a lot of emotional damage to victims of narcissistic abuse.  I want to share the truth about forgiveness in this post.

Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation.  Some relationships have run their course & need to end for various reasons.  One example is when one person in the relationship is abusive & shows no interest in changing their ways.  Staying in a relationship with someone who abuses you simply makes no sense!  Even if the abuser is a spouse or family member, it’s best to leave the abuser behind.

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that a relationship needs to continue exactly as it was.  When someone does something very bad to someone else, that bad behavior needs to stop.  Continuing the abusive behavior over & over is terrible for the victim & also the abuser.  The abuser learns that their behavior is perfectly acceptable.  Clearly this is NOT good for either party!

Forgiving someone is much like forgiving a debt.  If you lend someone money & they can’t pay you back, you can “forgive” their debt.  In other words, you don’t expect them to repay you & you don’t mention that they owe you.  That debt is a done deal.  When someone wrongs you, you can do something similar by not expecting them to try to make it up to you for what they have done.  Doing this really lifts a great deal of weight & stress from you!

Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean that you never feel anger or hurt about the incident again.  If you forgive someone as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, that does open the door to your anger & hurt diminishing or even disappearing in time.  Some abusive actions are so egregious though, that there may always be a degree of hurt or anger attached to the memory.  That doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven the person who hurt you.  It means that the action was really terrible.  Remember me sharing the story of when my mother threw me into a wall when I was 19?  I honestly have forgiven her for that.  Remembering the incident, however, still makes me cringe.  Sometimes it even makes my back hurt in the location she injured it.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t forgiven her, am holding onto bitterness or am not a good Christian.  It means that was a really bad action!

When it comes to the business of forgiving, I do my best immediately to decided to forgive.  Most likely there is nothing the person can do anyway to completely make it up to me for what they have done, so I mentally release them from that “debt” of sorts.

I also have found praying to be VERY helpful.  I ask God to help me forgive naturally, but also tell Him how I feel.  I say it was wrong of them to do or say whatever they did.  I cry or rant to get my feelings out & that helps so much.  He is never surprised or offended either.  He lets me say whatever I need to.

Journaling is also helpful.  I’ve learned that writing things down helps bring clarity to situations that speaking about them doesn’t.  There is something so helpful about seeing things in writing!

If you don’t journal, you still can get the benefits of writing.  Write letters you never send to the person who has hurt or abused you.  Let it all out in them, too.  Once you’re done, you can save the letter somewhere well hidden or you can dispose of it.  I used to burn mine.  It was like the anger & hurt went up in flames with the paper.  Strange, I know, but still very helpful.

You don’t have to live up to the impossibly high standards some folks have of forgiveness.  It’s unrealistic & unhealthy!  Remember these truths about forgiveness.. I believe they will help you!

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

Facts About Toxic Shame

Toxic shame can be one of the most damaging aspects of narcissistic abuse.  It tells a victim that something is deeply wrong with them, unlike guilt which tells a person that they did something wrong.  This shame obliterates self esteem & makes a victim easier to control.  This is why shame is such a common weapon of narcissists.  It’s extremely effective.

Narcissists instill toxic shame in their victims in various ways.  They let their victim know that their feelings, thoughts, & beliefs are wrong.  The victims likes & dislikes are also harshly judged & criticized.  In fact, everything about the victim is harshly judged & criticized.  His or her looks, actions, hopes, dreams & more.  Even if a victim tries to be what the narcissist wants, the narcissist will let the victim know it isn’t good enough.  In fact, nothing the victim does is good enough.  Instead of the victim seeing this as the narcissist is impossible to please, most victims take it as them being a failure for not pleasing their narcissist, which adds to their toxic shame.

Shame also forces victims to keep the abuse secret.  The victim is too embarrassed to admit that they tolerate such cruelty in some cases.  In others, the victim is ashamed of feeling angry or hurt by the abuse because the narcissist has convinced the victim that the victim is the reason for the abusive behavior or that it really isn’t abuse, the victim is being oversensitive.  Either way, the abuse being kept a secret is another benefit for the narcissist.  They can continue the abuse without fear of the victim exposing their heinous acts.

Even once a victim ends the relationship with a narcissist, toxic shame is still a part of that victim’s life until he or she realizes it & works on healing.  Adults with toxic shame end up in abusive relationships, whether they be romantic, friendships or coworkers.  They are depressed & seldom realize why.  They often have tremendous anxiety as well.  They live to please other people, & feel as though they fail even when told they have done a great job.  They have no self esteem.  They’re simply miserable!

One of the best ways to start to combat toxic shame is by talking about the abuse.  Being open about your experiences is a very effective way to release the power they have over you.  I’ve thought of it like this… if you remember anything about the old legends of vampires, when they were in the dark, they were incredibly powerful.  Nothing could stop them.  Yet, in the sunlight, they were powerless in the short time before they were destroyed.  Talking about the effects of the abuse is the same.  Being open about it releases the power it has over you.  In fact, it enables you to take back your power!  By talking about it, you’re basically telling your abuser, “This is my story too & I have every right to talk about it.  You can’t stop me anymore!”

By talking about the abuse, I’m not saying you need to talk about it non stop to everyone, write books or have a blog like mine.  You have to do whatever feels right to you.  It’s usually best to start out by praying about it.  Also, you can write in a journal.  From there, you can talk to a safe person such as a close friend or counselor.   Take baby steps, since talking about it can be pretty scary at first.  As you get more comfortable discussing it, maybe one day you will feel like creating a blog or writing a book about your story.  Only God knows what the best plan for you is.  Until such time as that plan is revealed though, start talking.  It will help you destroy that toxic shame & live a happier life!

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Adding Some New Things To My Website

Aside from the hours of thinking & talking about NPD I do daily, there has been a LOT going on in my life the last few years. This exacerbates my mental & physical health problems. I realized recently this is ridiculous… I need a break!

I have blog posts & YouTube videos scheduled well ahead of time so I can take time off from those things. But I needed to do more. This brought me to the idea of spending more time crafting since it relaxes me so much. Working on a crafty project also takes my focus so I don’t think about NPD at all.

The crafting thought gave me another idea… add some craft patterns on my website!

Clearly I’m not the only person who needs frequent breaks. Anyone who is healing from narcissistic abuse naturally spends a lot of time reading & thinking about it, which can take a mental & physical toll. If you aren’t doing that, then please start! Whatever helps you to relax & think about something more pleasant than narcissism isn’t important, so long as you do it.

If you’re not sure what to do, why not try something creative? Guys, you need to do this too. There are all kinds of creative ideas out there! I focus on knitting, crochet & cross stitch, but there are about a zillion other things you can do. Draw, paint, woodworking, model building, RC cars or airplanes, sculpting… possibilities are endless!

If you’re interested in knitting, crochet or cross stitch like me, then please check out the patterns I’ve made & put on my website. I’ll be adding more over time, but there are a few patterns on there already that I hope you’ll like. The link directly to those patterns is below:

Craft Patterns

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On Insulting & Critical People

My husband & I were watching a true crime TV show not long ago, as we often do.  On it, a man shot & killed another.  At the time, he was very high on drugs & paranoid.  He mistook a simple comment made by the victim as insulting & disrespectful, which infuriated him enough to shoot this man.

I thought about how ridiculous this is.  Even if the man had been insulting, who cares?!  That was no reason to kill the guy!

Growing up with narcissistic parents, people often go one way or another.  Some turn out like what the comedian Christopher Titus referred to as an insult Navy seal.  After your parent has said unimaginably cruel things to you & called you dreadful names, no one else’s insults can hurt you.  You’ve built up a high tolerance to insults, & it takes a LOT to upset you.  Then there are many other people who have gone the other direction.  They have a thin skin when it comes to insults, & are easily devastated.  You are the folks I am writing this post for.

Nobody likes to be insulted.  Pretty sure that is just a given.  That doesn’t mean insults need to be devastating though.  For one thing, no one can please everyone.  You can be a beautiful person, inside & out, highly intelligent, successful in every area of your life, & someone still will have something negative to say no matter how perfect you are simply because no one can please every single person.

For another thing, emotionally healthy people aren’t judgmental or critical.  They are usually way too focused on managing themselves, learning, growing & being good people to worry about picking someone else apart.  This tells me that the majority of critical people aren’t emotionally healthy, like critical narcissists.  Do you really care about the opinion of someone like that?

Many insults are said out of jealousy.  For an example, a person struggling in college may be very critical of their friend who appears to be sailing through without any problems.

There is also something called morbid envy.  Narcissists are quite prone to this.  They envy someone so much that they are excessively cruel to that person.  They can be extremely nit picky towards the subject of their envy too, such as criticizing small things like a woman having a broken nail or a man’s hair being slightly disheveled.  Another common sign of morbid envy is when a person receives a complement & the narcissist immediately insults either the receiver or giver of the complement or even both.  In any case, morbid envy makes a person very insulting towards others!

And don’t forget.. there is a big difference in someone being insulting & offering constructive criticism.  Constructive criticism is worded to offer help & be as not offensive as possible.  Insults aren’t said to help, but only to hurt.

My point in sharing these thoughts with you is to help you realize that when someone is insulting to you, Dear Reader, it’s not about you.  It’s truly about that person.

What they say also has no basis in reality, only in that person’s dysfunction.  An insulting person is trying to hurt or control you by any means possible.  That doesn’t mean that what they say is true.  In fact, most likely it isn’t even close.

If you can remember these points when you come across someone who is insulting & mean to you, it really will help you to avoid being upset by that person’s nastiness.  A different perspective can be a truly helpful thing sometimes, in particular when it comes to dealing with very dysfunctional, hateful people.

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Making Some Changes To My Free Ebooks

I just got a email from one of the publishers I use. They will be making some changes that will affect my free ebooks, which has gotten me to do some thinking….

I’ve been considering retiring all of them & republishing with the other publisher I use to gain more exposure. Due to the changes, I plan to do just this.

Since I need to redo the ebooks anyway, I’m going to add more to them & they’ll no longer be free. Probably I’ll only ask a little for them, like maybe $.99 since I don’t plan to add a lot to them.

While these books won’t be free, my website, this blog, my YouTube channel & podcasts all still will be. There is plenty of information on these sources. While I’m glad to share all of the information I can, I need some more balance. I need to start charging for some of it. Helping people is great & I love it, but it also doesn’t pay the bills either!

I’ll retire my free ebooks by January 31, 2021. In the meantime, you can find them at this link:

https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/free-e-books/

You can find all of the other links I’ve mentioned on my website at this link:

https://CynthiaBaileyRug.com

Thank you for understanding! God bless you!

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

Experiencing Grief After Narcissistic Abuse

A common feeling many people experience after narcissistic abuse is grief.  It makes sense since there is a great deal to grieve!  If the narcissist in question was a parent, you grieve the loss of your childhood, the pain of having a parent who didn’t treat you right or love you, the years wasted trying to please your impossible to please parent, the parent you wish you had & more.  If the narcissist was a spouse, there is grief too, because that person married you not out of love, but out of wanting to use & abuse you.  There is also time wasted with this person that could have been spent in much better ways.  You also may grieve the loss of the person you thought the narcissist was at first.   If you passed up a good person to marry the narcissist, there is regret & grief over losing that good person.  If you had children together, no doubt there is also a great deal of guilt over giving your children this terrible person as a parent. 

Whatever your situation, if you’re grieving after escaping narcissistic abuse, please know you are normal!  It’s awful to experience but it’s also very normal.  Grief isn’t only something to be experienced after someone dies.  It comes after all kinds of losses.

You need to experience & process your grief after narcissistic abuse just as you would after losing someone you love.  It is healing to cry & be angry about the unfairness of it all.  Ignoring it, pretending it isn’t happening or even shaming yourself as if something is wrong with you for feeling this way isn’t healthy at all!

Rather than do those unhealthy things, why not try accepting your feelings without judgment?  They’re not abnormal, they’re not wrong & you aren’t crazy for feeling the way you do.  Stop criticizing them.  Accept them for what they are- your feelings that are completely valid.

As you accept them, sit with them for a while.  Cry or yell if you need to.  I know this can be difficult for those of us shamed for having feelings by our narcissistic parent, so if those are too much, then try writing things out.  If you don’t have a journal, it may be an excellent time to start one.  If you want to be certain no one ever reads it, there are online journals that are private & password protected.  I use Penzu’s free version, but there are plenty of others as well if it doesn’t meet your needs.

I’ve also found writing letters to the narcissist very helpful.  I wrote out everything I thought & felt about what they did, not censoring myself.  The especially important part of this is I never sent the letters.  I wrote them to purge myself of the awful things I felt because of the actions of a narcissist, not to tell the narcissist how they made me feel or to try to make them see the errors of their ways.  Doing such things is a complete waste of time & energy with a narcissist.  In fact, if you do them, chances are you’ll only feel worse after instead of better because the narcissist will try to convince you that you’re oversensitive, overreacting or even crazy.  Instead, I’ve found ripping the letters up & throwing them away or burning them to be very helpful.

If you have a safe friend, relative or even counselor, talking about your grief or praying with them can be very helpful as well. 

You also need to be aware that grief doesn’t have time limits.  You can’t expect to get over the trauma in a set time.  In fact, a part of you most likely always will grieve to some degree, just like when someone you love dies.  It does get easier in time though.  You also learn to rebuild yourself & adapt to your new life without suffering narcissistic abuse. Whatever you choose to do to cope isn’t important.  What matters is that you deal with your grief & accept it as a natural part of the healing process.

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Remembering Only Good Things After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

One thing that has always baffled me is how people talk about how wonderful that person who died was, even though you know very well that person was an absolute jerk.  As if death somehow turned that sinner into a saint.

A few years back, a former friend of mine lost her mother.  Her mother had abused her terribly for her entire life.  Yet, when this woman died, my friend constantly posted on Facebook how much she missed her mother, she loved her & what a beautiful, wonderful person her mother was.  Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore… I had to ask her why she was saying these things after all the terrible things her mother did to her.  She said it helped her to cope with the emotions if she pretended her mother was a good mother.  Not a healthy coping skill by any means, but she was content with it. 

I think many people probably have the same reason for their similar behavior.  Losing someone you love, even someone abusive, is incredibly difficult & painful.

After my mother died, I caught myself remembering the good things about her.  Those few times we got along well, when we could laugh & have fun together.  The time she taught me to crochet when I was 5.  Little things like that.  I also prayed a lot during this time & knew that not only was she in Heaven, but she also was no longer the abusive & cruel person she was before she died.  I realized that I was starting to do somewhat like my former friend did when her abusive mother died, focusing on only the good about my mother.  While she was fine coping in that way, I wasn’t.  It didn’t feel right or healthy to me.  I got in prayer about it & learned some things.

When you love someone dies, you’re going to miss them.  If that person was abusive, you’re going to miss the few good things about them, if there were any.  If not, you’ll miss the person you wish they had been.  Part of grieving is letting go.  You are naturally going to have a harder time letting go of the good things than the bad, or even the good things you wish would have been. 

Remembering the good things brings some normalcy to a very abnormal situation.  There is absolutely nothing normal about coping with the death of a narcissistic parent.  You can feel as if you’re completely alone, you’re crazy or unreasonable. You also most likely will feel that not one single person on the face of the earth understands what you’re feeling, because what you feel isn’t what most people feel when their parent dies.  Focusing on the good, remembering the good things makes you feel more normal.  It’s normal & socially acceptable to miss the good things about your parent.  In most situations, it’s not normal or socially acceptable to feel glad your parent is gone or relief he or she can’t abuse you any longer.  Unfortunately with narcissistic parents, both of those feelings are totally normal, they just don’t feel that way.

It’s incredibly difficult to mourn the death of a narcissistic parent.  It’s easier in a sense to grieve the normal aspects of your parent, whether they were real or what you wish your parent had been like.  Grieving the death of a narcissistic parent can be complex, confusing, infuriating, sad, devastating & so much more.  When you grieve someone you love, basically it boils down to you miss that person.  Of course that’s painful but it isn’t really convoluted.  You don’t have to deal with all the intricacies & complexities that go along with mourning the death of a narcissistic parent.  If you can make your parent more “normal”, it makes the grief process easier by making it less complex.

I don’t think remembering the positive things about your narcissistic parent is a bad thing in general.  However, if you’re in this situation & remember only the good, that should be a red flag that you aren’t coping with your parents’ passing in a healthy way.  It’s ok to remember the awful times & the abuse, & even to be angry about them.  It’s ok to admit to yourself & others that your parent wasn’t exactly parent of the year.  It’s also ok to be glad your parent is gone & you’re finally free.  These things don’t mean you’re a terrible person.  They mean you’re HUMAN!

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My Newest Book Is Available!

I’ve been getting tired of writing the same type of book so I’ve been considering other options. One of them is this book. It’s a journal created to help the reader help themselves heal from the damage of narcissistic abuse.

Each month in the journal will focus on one traumatic event, & each week, one aspect of the event. It also schedules time to relax so the healing work doesn’t become overwhelming.

In the future, I may create other similar journals on different topics, but honestly I’m not positive yet. We’ll see where God leads me.

The journal is available only in print, unlike many of my other books. It can be found at this link:

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Humor As A Helpful Coping Skill

Some time back, I saw a quote.  I don’t recall the name of the author but anyway the quote said something like, “What didn’t kill me made me stronger.  It also gave me a dark & twisted sense of humor.”  Immediately I felt a bit embarrassed because I know that’s me.  My sense of humor can be very dark & twisted.  Quickly though I remembered something.

In my late teen years, I had a good friend a couple of years younger than me.  His mother was also abusive, & his sense of humor could be very dark & twisted like mine.  One day, we were laughing about something & he said, “Yanno, I’m so glad to have a sense of humor.  I really believe that’s helped so much to get me through everything.” 

I believe that former friend was right.  His relationship with his mother never really got better after we grew up.  He had very limited contact with her well before I even knew that “low contact” & “no contact” were healthy options, but kept his sense of humor through it all.  One day we went to a yard sale.  He found a pot for houseplants he liked.  He commented how it looked like a spittoon from the old west & I agreed.  He paid for it then looked at me & said, “Now when Mom comes over, she’ll have a place to spit her chewing tobacco!”  She didn’t chew, but the mental picture of this made me laugh. 

I’ve laughed at some things regarding my mother too.  In high school she accused me of having sex with the entire football team.  I’ve never been promiscuous & was a virgin at the time, so the accusation was ridiculous & hurtful.  Eventually I found humor in it.  My husband has too.  Once in a while, he says something about it & we laugh at the stupidity of the comment.

Sometimes, even in the midst of dark times, humor can be a blessing.  My husband’s favorite ring tone is Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor, which happens to be the well known theme song from the old scary movie, “Tales From The Crypt.”  It’s very morbid sounding yet beautiful.  Anyway, while in the ER with his father one night, one of his sisters called, triggering that ring tone.  In spite of the serious situation, he & a few nurses laughed at the ring tone which helped lighten everyone’s mood.  Also, the night we received the death notification about my mother, the funeral home called my husband’s cell as we were talking with a police officer.  Again, Bach’s song played when his phone rang.  The poor policeman looked horrified, but it made me laugh.  Inappropriate?  Sure, but I was so shaken up, that laugh helped to calm me a bit so I could focus on the task at hand.

I know when times are painful, it can feel impossible to laugh.  It may even feel disrespectful to find humor in such a somber situation.  But if at all possible, I want to encourage you to try to find some humor in the situation.  It often can be done.  It also can be an incredibly helpful coping mechanism, so why not use it?

Rather than be offended & hurt by the lies the narcissist accuses you of, try to find the humor in it.  Often their lies are so incredibly outrageous, they’re funny!  Really!  Look at my mother’s lies about me with the entire high school football team.  I was in her presence constantly & had no time for that even if I had the inclination.  It was an outrageous & stupid thing to say.  No doubt the narcissist in your life has also said outrageous & stupid things about you.

I also hope you find a reason to laugh every day.  Find a comedian you like & listen to his or her routines often.  Watch funny movies or tv shows.  Spend time with your friends who make you laugh.  Doing these things will improve your mental health.  You’ll be happier & enjoy life more.

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Unconventional Grief After Narcissistic Abuse

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Signs Your Mental Health May Be In Danger

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Comparing Your Struggles To Someone Else’s Is NOT Good!

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Another Way To Help You Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

I recently watched a show about cults, & this episode featured the Heaven’s Gate cult.  The entire story is interesting, but something said during an interview with an anti-cult lawyer really got my attention.

He was talking about how in cults, many people are forced to change their name to something very different, & Heaven’s Gate was no exception.  He said something to the effect that many cult leaders require this of anyone who wishes to join them.  It is a way to shed their old identity & take up a new one.  Interesting, no?

It made me think of something.  Many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse have changed our names.  I’ve done it.  My parents always referred to me as “Cindy”.  Now I ask no one call me that, & call me “Cynthia” instead.  Other people may take this to a more extreme place & legally change their name to something entirely different, sometimes even changing their last name as well.

In any case, I think this is a good idea however it’s done.

When narcissists are involved with something, that thing can be tainted somehow.  As an example, if you dated a narcissist who loved the same restaurant you love, after breaking up, you probably won’t want to visit that restaurant anymore.  The same kind of thing can happen with your name.  My parents never, ever called me Cynthia.  My mother always said she loved the name Cindy, & C-I-N-D-Y is the only correct way to spell the name.  As a result, Cindy feels nothing like the person I am, but the dysfunctional mess that I used to be.  The person my parents created.  By choosing to go by Cynthia, I took their power away by essentially killing off Cindy.  As far as I’m concerned, that person no longer exists & will NOT be resurrected under any circumstances.  Cynthia is the person that I’ve created, & the narcissists who have been in my life have absolutely no part in her.

If you’re reading this today, I hope you’ll consider what I’ve said.  Whether you opt to alter your given name slightly, change its spelling or legally change it to something entirely different, it really can be a healing move.  It empowers you by giving you control over something you should have control over.  At the same time, it also helps you to shed the person that the narcissist in your life tried to turn you into.  I can tell you, after years of being Cynthia, when I look at old things with Cindy on it, such as papers from when I was in school, it feels very different.  When I look at my old name, even in my handwriting, it feels as if that is someone else I once knew & quite frankly, never really liked.

One final thought.. if you do opt to do this, if possible, I really don’t recommend telling the narcissist what you have done.  If he or she is still in your life, then they will ruin it for you, & you’ll be right back to square one.  You making a change to your name in any way will offend the narcissist, because it’s something you decided to do & followed through doing all on your own, without his or her input.  Because of this, that will gain disapproval & anger.  It’s better not to let the narcissist know this.  My parents died without knowing I asked people to call me Cynthia.  I did once tell my mother I preferred Cynthia, which shocked her, but I always signed cards to my parents Cindy, as she preferred.  I knew who I was, in spite of them, so it wasn’t a big deal.  It was a small price to pay to keep the peace in that area.  

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Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 10% off on my print books until October 30, 2020. Just use code SPOOKY10 at checkout.

Here is the link to my author spotlight on my publisher’s site:

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

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Commonly Used Gaslighting Phrases

Gaslighting is an especially insidious form of abuse that makes a victim doubt their memories, perceptions, reality & sometimes even their sanity.  Narcissists love to use it due to the fact that people who live with frequent gaslighting are easy to control.  After all, if a person doesn’t trust themselves, they will look elsewhere for whatever information they need, even to an abusive person who is the reason they no longer trust themselves.

Gaslighting can be very subtle, which means it can be difficult to identify.  Below are some commonly used phrases narcissists use to gaslight their victims.

“You’re crazy.”  Either said outright or implied with phrases like, “You need help.”  This phrase can make a person doubt their sanity when repeated often enough & with certainty.

“You’re over sensitive or overreacting.”  Another common gaslighting phrase.  This is said to make a victim feel shame for being upset at what the abuser has said or done.  Few things will shut a person down faster than shame, & when they are shut down, they won’t complain about the abuse.

“I was just kidding!”  This phrase is closely related to “You’re oversensitive.”  It is designed to create doubt.  The victim is supposed to think they overreacted or are too sensitive or stupid to realize the comment was just a joke.  The truth is however that it was nothing of the sort.

“You need to get over it!”  This phrase basically tells a victim that they are wrong for still being upset about whatever the abuser did that upset them.  Narcissists want their victims to tolerate abuse indefinitely & without complaint.  If they can make their victim feel badly about themselves or even ashamed for being upset, then they have an excellent chance of getting the victim to continue to tolerate abuse.

“It didn’t happen that way!”  This phrase can be used in a couple of ways.  The first & most obvious of course is to make a victim doubt their perception & believe the narcissists’s version of events.  The other use may be the narcissist’s lack of coping skills coming into play.  The narcissist may be ashamed of something they said or did, not because it hurt the victim, but because it may make the narcissist look bad if the victim tells others about what happened.  In order to avoid that, the narcissist may try to convince themselves & the victim that it didn’t happen that way, it happened this very different way instead.  This way will involve the narcissist not acting badly or the victim doing something to provoke the narcissist to do what they did.

“That never happened!”  Denial is a very commonly used tool with narcissists.  If they can get their victim to believe that something never happened, that person won’t tell others what the narcissist has done.

“No one else would feel that way./ You’re the only person in the world who would feel that way.”  This phrase is another way for narcissists to shame victims by making them feel they are weird, wrong, broken.  If they can shame a victim enough, the victim will stop complaining about the abuse & tolerate it quietly.

“I’m only doing this because I love you.”  My mother used to justify abusing me by telling me it was “tough love” she was using on me & I deserved it because of my terrible behavior.  That is all this phrase is – a way for a narcissist to justify being abusive.

“No one will ever love you like I do.”  My ex husband told me this once, & I thank God he was right about that!  The phrase is said to make a victim feel that they are lucky to have the narcissist’s love, because no one else ever could or would care about them.

When the narcissist in your life says such things to gaslight you, keep in mind that is exactly what these phrases are, gaslighting.  That means there isn’t an ounce of truth in them at all.  If you have doubts, ask yourself why do you think the narcissist is right.  Or better yet, ask God to tell you the truth in this situation.

Keep a journal.  If you haven’t done this before, do it now.  Write down what the narcissist says.  Seeing things in writing can bring about a great deal of clarity.  Often, it makes things clearer than simply talking or thinking about them.

Always remember, the narcissist says these things to manipulate you & to keep you down.  Don’t give the narcissist that satisfaction!

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About Being A New Creation In Christ

2 Corinthians 5:17 says that anyone who is born again is a new creation in Christ. I have learned though that other things can make a person feel almost as if they are reborn, just not quite to that same extreme.

This has happened twice in my life.  The first time was in February, 2015 when I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  The poison made me pass out for about 25 minutes, & from what I understand from a doctor, usually people who are out for 20 minutes from carbon monoxide never wake up.  That was so hard to grasp!  Literally, I should have died but I survived!  Plus, the lack of oxygen that the poisoning creates often does permanent brain damage & I also suffered a concussion (I believe) from hitting my head when I passed out.  Both of these factors changed my personality quite drastically.  It was all a lot to get used to in addition to the long term physical symptoms.

The second time was when my mother died in April, 2019.  As the police told me that she had passed & I had to go to her home immediately to deal with having her remains taken to the funeral home, I felt this sensing that my life as I knew it was over.  That sensing turned out to be right!

Although both of these events were traumatic & very difficult, I came to realize something.  Although I’m not grateful they happened, I’m grateful for the changes they brought.

The changes in my personality from the poisoning mean I have no further tolerance whatsoever for abusive people.  As soon as someone starts showing signs of being controlling or manipulative, I kick them out of my life, usually without a word because people like that won’t realize they were wrong or change their behavior anyway.  I realized there’s no point in wasting my time.

I also got very protective of my husband & our little family.  I know first hand just how quickly life can end & won’t allow any threats to my loved ones.

When my mother died, something in me seemed to die too, but that isn’t a bad thing.  I no longer struggle so much with shame on a daily basis.  I’m also much less anxious in general now, however sometimes when I am anxious, it’s worse than it once was.  Somehow I’m able to cope with it pretty well.

I also learned that my mother is in Heaven, my prayers were answered.  God has seen fit to bless me by sharing some messages from her, which is just incredible.

Somehow along the way, I also lost the need for external validation.  I’ve gotten quite good at validating myself!  Sure, I backslide periodically, but it doesn’t happen often.

What has happened in your life that has made you feel as if you were reborn?  What changed after those moments?  I don’t mean the traumatic moments that changed you or contributed to you having PTSD or C-PTSD.  I mean life altering moments that although they were very hard to get through, eventually worked out well for you like mine did.

Some moments that can lead a person to feel this way include things like coming close to death or losing a loved one like me, but there are other things too.  Moving, ending or beginning a new relationship, changing jobs, changing careers, having a child, having a child leave home, caring for an elderly loved one… there is no end to the things that can alter a person’s life drastically.

If you have experienced the reborn feeling, I would like to urge you to consider the good that has come from the experience.  If you really think about it, I’m sure you can find some good in your situation.  I find great comfort when I learn my suffering had a purpose, & you may experience the same thing, which is why I hope you will do this.  xoxo

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Narcissists Obsess Over Victims

One way narcissists lure victims into a relationship is by paying way too much attention to their victims.

Narcissistic friends & romantic partners alike commonly smother their new found interest (aka victim) with positive attention.  They cling very quickly to someone they just met.  They claim the new interest is their soul mate or they felt some sort of special connection the moment they met.  They shower this person with praise & often gifts as well.  They want to spend every possible moment together.

I have experienced this with friends as well as my ex husband.  I’ve met several people online who within a day or two of meeting me decided we needed to talk constantly.  Probably the first one was the worst.  I didn’t know about narcissism at the time & was flattered she thought so highly of me.  We used to speak on the phone often as well as via email.  When I didn’t respond to her call or email, she would get mad.  She’d claim she was just kidding when she said things like how dare I not call her back sooner than I did or “joke” about me being so busy when she clearly thought I never had anything to do.

I was young & naive, living with narcissistic parents when I met my ex husband.  He constantly told me how pretty, smart, etc. I was, how he waited all his life for someone like me & expected me to spend all of my free time with him.

Anyone can be extremely flattered when someone treats them this way, but the average functional person realizes quickly this behavior isn’t normal.  Those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents however are different.

Growing up with narcissistic parents means you have no concept of healthy boundaries.  Even if this person’s attention is overwhelming, you don’t feel you have the right to refuse it.  After all, the person is saying & doing what seems like the right things.  How can you refuse that?!

Also children of narcissistic parents are neglected.  Having someone pay positive attention feels good, & it’s about impossible to resist.

And, narcissistic parents don’t praise their children.  These children grow up starving for praise.  When someone comes along, showering them with praise, they can’t resist it.

If you grew up with narcissistic parents, you need to be aware of people like this who obsess over you.  They’re predators looking for a victim.

Sometimes people meet & they just “click” immediately.  My husband & I were that way.  The same with my best friend & I.  There was no obsessing though.  We talked often & were free with complements, but no one was offended if the other didn’t answer their phone call or call back immediately.  There was no talk of “soulmates” or anything similar in the very beginning or pressure to spend every waking moment together.

I’ve learned that children of narcissists need to be aware of people like this much more than the average person because of the natural weaknesses that come from being raised by narcissists.  I strongly recommend asking God for discernment with people to help you to figure out who is safe & who is not.

Listen to your gut feelings, too.  If something doesn’t feel right about someone, that feeling is there for a reason.

Pay attention to people’s actions, not only their words.  A person can say anything they want, whether it’s true or not.  A person’s actions tell you what is truly in their heart.

If you have doubts, talk to a safe, wise friend about your thoughts.  Sometimes an outsider can be very helpful in providing an objective opinion.

Remember, not everyone who pays attention to you truly cares about you.  They can be looking for your weaknesses & fears to exploit them & manipulate you.

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Narcissists Aren’t The Only Ones Who Have Important Things Happen To Them

Anyone who has been subjected to narcissistic abuse knows that unless it affects a narcissist, a narcissist isn’t going to care about it.  Period.  As if that isn’t bad enough, they train victims to feel the same way.  No matter what happens to a victim, it isn’t important.  You could be lying in a pool of blood after someone hacked off your leg while the narcissist with you has a cold, & that narcissist will do their best to convince you that your freshly severed leg is no big deal.  Their sniffles though, now that is a crisis, so you need to stop whining about your leg!

Narcissists manage to convince victims of the lack of importance of their problems subtly.  They’re so subtle, most of us don’t even pay attention to what they are doing until years later when we realize it.

My overtly narcissistic mother simply ignored my problems.  I might as well have said nothing, because she would act as if I didn’t say anything or talk over me to change the subject.  There were other times if she did listen, she would blame me for the problem, even when I wasn’t at fault.

My father & ex husband, both covert narcissists, used a different tactic.  They would let me talk, listening to every word I said.  It seemed like they cared, but they didn’t.  They wouldn’t respond like a normal person & say “I’m sorry that happened to you” or “Are you ok?  Can I do anything to help?”  Instead, they would tell me how upset they were or how hard my problem was for them.

For example, the night in 1990 when I was 19 & my mother threw me into a wall, both my father & ex husband turned that into their crisis.  My ex said how upset he was that my mother did this, he was furious with her for hurting my back, etc. etc.  Not once that evening or in the years following did he offer me any comfort.

My father brought up that night periodically until he died.  Mostly about how awful it was that when he walked out, my mother locked him out of the house.  His keys were in his pocket & he could’ve come back inside at any time.  He also mentioned how bad the damage was where my mother threw me into.  It took him time to patch it up.  A couple of years before he died, my father literally said to me, “It’s ok.. you don’t have to apologize for busting up that wall.  I fixed it & it’s all over.”  I was blown away!  Why would I apologize?  Yes, it was me that broke a wall but not due to my own carelessness!  It was because my mother, who was much stronger than me, threw me into the thing!  And for the record, I told him this.

Although narcissists are clearly very good at training their victims to think their problems don’t matter, that doesn’t mean they are correct.  Not by a long shot, in fact.  For some reason, I never saw it until a few months after my mother died.  That is when I suddenly realized how it happened & how terrible it is!  I repeatedly have told myself that it wasn’t so bad, how my parents & ex treated me.  I’ve even doubted having C-PTSD in spite of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression & more.

Please learn from my experiences!  Don’t buy the narcissist’s lies!  What happens to you *is* important!  It does matter!  Acknowledge your experiences for whatever they were.  Admit to yourself that you did great sometimes in spite of what the narcissist tells you.  Also admit that the traumatic ones were bad.  There is nothing wrong with that!  In fact, it’s a good thing to do because once you realize that, you can start to heal.

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Gratitude After Abuse

Every once in a while, I hear someone say they are grateful for the terrible things that happened to them at the hands of an abuser, because those awful things made them stronger or made them who they are today.  Honestly, I’m not sure that this is a good thing.  It may sound empowering, but really… is it truly good to be grateful for suffering horrific abuse even when good came from it?  I just don’t know.  It sounds too close to toxic positivity for me, but I can’t say with 100% certainty I’m right about that.  It may just be something that each person needs to decide for themselves if it is good for them or not.

What I do know though, is that whether or not you’re grateful for those terrible things, it’s a good idea to be grateful in general.  It helps to appreciate your loving husband, great kids, a secure job & whatever else is going on in your life.  A grateful attitude can help alleviate or at least lessen depression so naturally you should be grateful for the good things.

While it may be hard, I really think it’s good to appreciate the good that came from the bad things in your life too.  It’s taken me quite some time, but I eventually became grateful for all that I learned as a result of the narcissists & their abuse in my life.

I can spot a narcissist easily now, rather than simply ignore my instincts that were saying I should run for the hills rather than deal with this person.

If somehow I end up forced to deal with a narcissist, now I know how to deal with them in ways that protect my mental health.  There will be no more narcissists defining who I am.

Also if I end up forced to deal with one, I know ways to set boundaries now that prevent them from taking advantage of me.

My tolerance for abuse in any form is now gone.  I have no problem calling out abusive behavior whether it’s done to me or to someone else.  If it’s done to me, & someone reading this has been abusive to me, just know that you are going to be the subject of at least a blog post or two, YouTube video or maybe even a book at some point.  Probably you already have been in one of these roles by now.

I love the fact that the awful experiences in my life had a purpose.  Being able to write about such things & help others learn, grow & heal is incredibly rewarding.  It helps me to cope.  I can be less angry about the abuse knowing it all had a purpose.

Also, being through the horrors of abuse means I appreciate good people in my life more than the average person.  Those who haven’t been abused tend to take good people for granted much easier than those who have.  Appreciating good people just feels good, & that leads you to seek out other good people while rejecting toxic people.  It also strengthens relationships with good people because you can’t help but to let them know they are appreciated.

The more grateful you are, the more grateful you become.  Certainly that is a very good thing!

So what good things can you think of in your life that are a direct result of surviving abuse?  I’m sure if you think about it, there are plenty of good things.  Whether you are grateful for the horrors you’ve experienced or not, I really would like to encourage you to be grateful for the good that has come from it all.  It can be very good for your mental health!  xoxo

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Narcissism: Is It Really Mental Illness?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The name implies that narcissistic behavior is an actual mental illness, doesn’t it?  It sounds like narcissists cannot control their behavior because something is actually broken in their brains, much like with schizophrenia, PTSD & other mental illnesses.

This “disorder” thing didn’t sit right with me when I first started to learn about NPD.  I also thought about my parents & ex husband.  They all were very good at controlling themselves.  I remember my mother screaming at me when I was a teenager, as she did daily for quite some time.  Then, the phone rang, & she spoke with the caller in a normal voice as if nothing happened.  My father convinced everyone he was a nice, simple country boy rather than the controlling manipulator he was behind closed doors.  My ex?  When we argued, he would push me to the point of yelling as he sat calmly saying the cruelest things imaginable, & annihilating my self esteem.

Even so, I thought since narcissism was classified as a disorder, that meant my observations must be wrong.  Obviously disorder means they can’t help the way they act, right?

Not necessarily.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is part of the cluster B group of personality disorders that also include Borderline, Antisocial & Histrionic Personality Disorders.   A few years ago, I read on Dr. Karyl McBride’s Facebook page that personality disorders  are dysfunctional behaviors rather than a broken brain, if you will.  Someone with Schizophrenia, for example, has a physical problem with their brain.  They display bad behaviors but they are beyond the person’s control.  That can’t be said for someone with NPD.  All it takes is watching a narcissist for a short time when you realize that that person can control their actions VERY well.

This difference probably doesn’t sound overly important to you, but it actually is.  The difference means you treat someone who is narcissistic different than someone with Schizophrenia, PTSD, depression or another mental illness.  This isn’t only because the symptoms vary so greatly, but because of the nature of the problems.

Although chances are someone with mental illness will hurt you at some point, it won’t be intentional.  It will be because their illness made them behave a certain way.  They may not even be aware of hurting you if their illness is quite severe.  Once made aware of what happened, they will apologize & try not to repeat the hurtful behavior.

Narcissists are very different.  When they hurt you, you can guarantee they had a distinct reason for it, & they are glad they did it.  They enjoy hurting other people at worst, & feel absolutely nothing for it at best.  If they are confronted about their behavior, they may apologize, but it will be a non-apology, such as, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” or, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.”  You also can bet on the fact that the hurtful behavior will happen again once they know just how much it upset you.

Due to such vast differences in the way they respond when they have done something wrong or even abusive, you need to treat each person differently.  The mentally ill person deserves mercy if they are trying to behave better.  The narcissist isn’t going to try, so rather than “forgive & forget”, it’s best to protect yourself.  Set & enforce strong boundaries instead.  Give them almost no personal information.  Learn about the Gray Rock Method.

If you buy into the lie that the disorder in Narcissistic Personality Disorder means they can’t help their behavior, you might pity them & tolerate the abuse.  Never forget that personality disorders describe a dysfunctional behavior rather than a person with a sick brain, & treat the narcissist accordingly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Face Mask Related Anxiety

**Before reading this, please know I am not trying to start any pro-mask or anti-mask debates.  Please leave those comments off this post!  If I see any, they will be removed quickly.  Thank you!**

Life sure has changed during this time of social distancing & wearing face coverings!  One thing that I personally have struggled with is masks.  For some reason, I have never been able to wear those things.  I’ve tried many times over the years to wear them while doing certain household activities with no success.  I would put one on, & my heart began to race as a panic attack quickly followed.  Learning we were required to wear them in stores about broke my heart.  Finally, I have been able to get my agoraphobia under control enough to where I could go into public places alone but I can’t because of my reaction to wearing masks.  ARRGGGGHHH!!!! 

Recently I got fed up about this obnoxious mask induced anxiety, & googled this situation.  I figured it can’t just be me.  There must be others out there with this same problem.  Apparently there are!  Plenty! 

According to the various articles I read many people struggle with wearing masks.  I don’t mean the people you would expect to struggle, such as those with respiratory problems like asthma.  Many perfectly healthy people struggle.  Some folks have been the victim of a crime where the perpetrator wore a mask or bandana, so seeing others wearing them or even wearing them themselves can trigger panic attacks.

Other folks have been through very difficult & even traumatic medical procedures, so seeing or wearing masks is a reminder of that trauma.

Some folks have sensory processing issues, such as those with brain injuries, which can make wearing a mask feel as if it is smothering them.

Still others who panic about face masks fall into a different category.  Victims of child abuse.  There are a few suspected reasons for this behavior.

  • When most of a person’s face is covered, it can be difficult to pick up on subtle cues to their moods.  Children of abusive parents often rely on giving their children such cues to make the children behave as they want them to.  Missing those cues resulted in punishment.  Being unable to read those cues, even years after the abuse, can create a great deal of fear.
  • If someone tried to strangle or suffocate a child, or if a child was locked in a small room or closet, masks can recreate the claustrophobic feeling.
  • Some abusive parents put their hands over their children’s mouths as a punishment.  That too can cause panic with masks.

I found some things that have helped me to work with this mask induced anxiety, & I hope these tips help you too.

Since I can’t wear a mask, I have compromised with a bandana.  Yes, I realize I look like a gunfighter in the old west, but at least I can wear it without as much panic as I would have with a mask.  Bandanas are open at the bottom too, which means if panic starts, I can pull the bottom away from my face slightly.  This helps me feel less claustrophobic while still offering some covering as protection to others.  It also helps me to calm down.

Reminding myself that I can still breathe, I’m safe, I’m not smothered & am safe is helpful too.  Grounding behaviors like this are very helpful during flashbacks, but they also can be during panic attacks.

I put on my bandana at the last possible moment before entering a place where masks are required, & I remove my bandana as quickly as I can when out of those places to minimize the time I wear it as much as possible.  I also remove it as needed by going somewhere private, such as a bathroom stall or my car.

It also helps to avoid wearing masks in hot places when possible, because wearing them can make you very hot.  That can add to panic or upset sensory processing issues.

I also don’t go into public places alone.  My husband is very helpful in keeping me focused if I get too panicky.  Having another safe person with you can help a lot in this situation too! 

I hope these tips help you manage your mask related anxiety!  xoxo

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Filed under Mental Health

Differences In The Silent Treatment & No Contact

In spite of what many people seem to think, there are very significant differences between no contact & the silent treatment.

The silent treatment is a frequently used punishment for either a real or more commonly perceived wrong.  No contact has a long list of grievances that have happened over a long period of time.  It isn’t done because someone did one little thing wrong, unlike the silent treatment.  It also is never used as a punishment.

The silent treatment will end when the person who initiated it feels their victim has been sufficiently punished for their sins.  Once it is done, the one who implemented the silent treatment often contacts the victim & acts as if nothing happened.  No contact is meant to be permanent, & nothing will make the person who initiated it talk to the abuser.

There is absolutely no honor in the silent treatment.  It is simply a passive/aggressive way to punish someone.  No contact is honorable.  There is also no honor in enabling bad & even abusive behavior.

The silent treatment is immature.  Young children use it to get their way but most of them grow out of it eventually.  Not everyone does, unfortunately, so they use this childish behavior to get what they want.  No contact is mature, well considered & a very viable option in toxic relationships.

Virtually no thought goes into the silent treatment.  Narcissists will use the silent treatment for any reason at any time, without forethought.  No contact is much different in this area as well.  By the time a person has gone no contact with an abuser, a great deal of time, consideration & prayer have gone into the action.

The silent treatment creates conflict.  Other people are involved, & picking sides.  They tell the person on the receiving end of the silent treatment to fix the relationship, or apologize to the person who initiated the silent treatment.  No contact is an attempt to minimize conflict.  People who initiate it don’t try to get other people involved or force the abusive person to apologize.

The silent treatment is a power trip.  If a victim is unaware of what the person giving the silent treatment is up to, they will do their best to make the abuser talk to them again & to please this person.  They will apologize & sometimes even beg the abuser to forgive them.  No contact is not a power trip.  People who implement it aren’t interested in anything their abuser does or says.  They are simply done with the relationship at that point.

The silent treatment is disrespectful.  A person won’t treat someone they respect in such a way.  Instead they will try to work out their problems.  Someone who uses no contact has tried many times to work out the problems, & gotten nowhere.  This person eventually realizes there is no other solution, & they end the relationship.  They respect themselves enough to walk away from a toxic relationship.

The silent treatment isn’t Godly.  It’s so many bad things like I mentioned previously.  No contact, however, is very Godly.  You are removing this person’s opportunity to sin by abusing you.  You are giving this person consequences for bad behavior, which opens the door for them to change.  Whether or not they do is up to them of course, but you give them that opportunity.

Sadly, some relationships are simply beyond repair.  It takes two to make a relationship work, & when one isn’t willing to do any work, that relationship is doomed.  Sometimes the best thing a person can do is to walk away in order to protect their own peace & mental health.  It’s an extremely difficult & painful decision to make, but there are times it must be done.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Some Ways To Cope With Triggers

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

Abusive Behaviors Normally Not Considered To Be Abusive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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