Tag Archives: health

Realizing How Wrong Abuse Is Can Help You

I realized something recently that has been a big help to me, & I believe it can be to you too.

When remembering some of the traumatic & abusive events I’ve been through in my life recently, suddenly I started seeing just how wrong those things were.  Oddly, doing that small gesture has helped loosen the hold the damage from such events had over me.  I think that happens because I never really questioned these things before.

If you’re reading my blog, chances are you too have experience with narcissists, so you probably know just what I’m talking about.  Narcissists don’t allow you to question anything.  Whatever they say or do, that is the end of the matter.  They’re right, according to them, & you aren’t allowed to think otherwise.  Especially with parents, when this happens often as a child, you learn not to question things, just accept them as fact.  Seeing clearly that they were wrong & accepting that is a big step in breaking the hold this abuse has over you.

I recently had a flashback about something that happened to me in late 1989 when I was 18.  My current ex husband & I were dating, & I hadn’t moved out of my parents’ home at that time.  I forget why, but he wanted to use my car one day, so we swapped cars.  I was off work that day & my mother insisted I go to the grocery store with her.  I said before I went, I wanted to put gas in the car since it was low, as usual.  I’d do that then meet her at the store.  I did, & on my way to the store, I lost control of the car & landed in a ditch around a turn.  It was raining, & the ex’s car had bald tires, so it’s no surprise this happened in spite of me being very careful.  Thankfully I wasn’t hurt, & his car only had minimal damage.  This happened close to my ex’s parents’ house so I went there.  A nice man driving a dump truck took pity on me walking in the rain & gave me a ride.  When I got there, I told the ex’s dad what happened.  He arranged to get the car towed & I called my mother at the grocery store (pre-cell phones, obviously).

You’d think ditching the car was the trauma, but it wasn’t.  When I called my mother, she  yelled at me, telling me she knew when I didn’t show up, I’d been in an accident & it served me right for driving that piece of junk car.  The ex’s father was furious at what happened, blaming me for driving recklessly.  The ex’s mother also blamed me but was at least nicer about it.  The ex, believe it or not, was glad it happened, because it meant his parents would finally buy him the new tires he wanted.  Later that evening, the ex & I visited my (narcissistic) grandmother who wouldn’t have cared less what I had went through that day.

For years, I accepted that this accident was my fault & I deserved what I got.  It simply hadn’t crossed my mind to question that until my recent flashback.  Suddenly it hit me how incredibly wrong this whole event was!  I didn’t know just how bad the tires were- all I heard was they were wearing out so be careful.  I never thought to check for myself.  It wasn’t my car, so why would I, especially when my ex was a mechanic?  Also, this could’ve been avoided if I’d had my own car- it was ridiculous my ex wanted to have mine as often as he did at that time.  Granted, mine was the better of our two cars, but if he wanted better, he should have got his own better car!  My ex’s parents should have replaced the tires, too, since they knew just how bad the tires were.  And lastly my mother.. that is how she treated her own daughter after her first car wreck?!  No “Are you ok?”  or any sign of concern, just yelling at & blaming me.  Considering her mother didn’t care either, it’s obvious where she got her lack of compassion.

For the first time, I finally realized how wrong all of this was.  Every single person in this scenario was wrong except me, the one who got all the blame!  I realized how wrong it is that the only person who was nice to me in that incident was the dump truck driver- a total stranger!  This entire situation was wrong- every single thing about it!

Looking at the situation differently reminded me of turning a kaleidoscope.  One small turn & the scene inside looks entirely different.  At least kaleidoscopes give a pretty picture.  This was far from pretty, but at least it helped me to release the guilt I felt for almost 29 years!

Since this happened, I’ve been looking at other situations in a new light, & having the same type of results.  The slight turn of the kaleidoscope gave me a new perspective, & enabled me to release guilt, shame, & false beliefs while accepting the truth in their place.

Dear Reader, I urge you to try this too.  Think about a specific trauma in your life from a more objective perspective.  Try to look at it as if you’re watching a movie, for example, or as if it’s happening to someone else, so your emotions are not so involved.  Chances are, you’ll see how wrong & unfair it was as I have.  Did it help you to release any guilt or false beliefs you had received as a result of that awful experience?  If not, ask God to tell you the truth about it, & I have no doubt He will help you to release those things!

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

The Non Apology

Narcissists are masters of what I call the non apology.

A non apology is when someone says the words “I’m sorry”, yet their actions don’t back up the words.  They accept no responsibility for what they did, make no changes in their behavior, they offer lame excuses or they blame you for making them do whatever it was they did.  Some examples are:

  • I’m sorry you feel that way.
  • I wouldn’t have done what I did if you wouldn’t have done what you did.
  • I’m sorry I said/did that.. I was just upset.
  • I’m sorry if what I said/did upset you.
  • My sponsor/therapist says I have to make amends with you, so I’m sorry.

Some non apologies don’t even involve saying “I’m sorry” at all.  Sometimes narcissists will simply give you space for a little while, then resume contact with you, pretending nothing happened.  My mother did this sometimes.  She would give me the silent treatment, then call me later, acting as if nothing happened.  Her record was an 18 month long silent treatment.  I was stunned when she called after so long, but she acted like we’d just spoken the day before & all was fine between us.

Non apologies are a very common tool used with narcissists.  They let the narcissist apologize to pacify you without making any changes in her behavior.  If you confront a narcissist on something awful they have done & they provide you with a non apology, then later repeat the behavior, they can make you look like the bad guy.  All they have to do is say something like, “I said I was sorry!”  “Nothing I do is ever good enough for you!”   “I apologized & that isn’t even good enough for you!”  Unless you’re aware of the non apology phenomenon, chances are good you’ll shut down & possibly even apologize to the narcissist.  You also won’t say anything the next time the behavior is done.  This is a huge dose of narcissistic supply.  The narcissist gets a free pass to do this behavior again, made you feel bad & even apologize all on top of doing whatever it was that hurt you in the first place.  It’s like a narcissistic supply jackpot!

Due to the supply jackpot factor, chances are excellent you’ll have to deal with a non apology at some point.  There are ways to handle this awkward situation.

First, I really recommend praying when you’re forced to deal with non apologies.  Not only asking God to help you to recognize them when they happen but also to give you wisdom on the best way to deal with them.

You also need to recognize what is happening.  Know the signs of a real apology & a fake one.  You don’t want to mistake a real one for fake or vice versa!  Either way can’t end well.  Real apologies involve remorse, & someone taking responsibility for & changing their behavior.  Even if that is all you remember, it’ll help you to spot non apologies easily.

Also be creative in your response.  Neutral is often the best way to go, especially in situations like a work environment or if you don’t want to deal with any narcissistic conflict or drama.  Something like, “Thanks.”  “Thanks for saying that.”  or “Thanks for taking the time to tell me that.” “I appreciate what you said.” can be useful.  This shows the narcissist their so called apology was accepted & the matter will be dropped.

If you want to let the narcissist know you’re aware this is a non apology, try something like, “Thanks.” “That’s a start.”  “Thanks for trying.”  “Uh huh.”  “Ok.”  “If you say so.”  You also can ask them what exactly they mean by their non apology… “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you mean exactly.” is a good way to say it.  Asking narcissists to explain their actions in a calm, logical manner throws them for a loop.  They realize they can’t rage at you without looking foolish, so they usually try to drop the topic immediately.  If they try to change the subject, keep going back to it in that calm, logical manner.  They will feel so uncomfortable, they may just decide what they did wasn’t worth feeling this way so they won’t repeat it again.

Non apologies are an annoying part of life, but you can cope with them successfully.

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Thoughts On Emotional Healing

Recently, seemingly out of nowhere, I suddenly felt as if a ton of bricks landed on me.  I have had one very hard, painful year & currently have quite a bit going on.  The intensity of it all hit at once.  I really felt overwhelmed for a while & couldn’t stop crying.

 

Eventually I did though, & realized what was happening.  I hadn’t really dealt with things very well.  In fact, I avoided thinking about some things, stuffing my emotions like I always used to do.  Old habits die hard, & apparently that one resurrected briefly without me realizing it.  I think my old habit returned because I had so much happening at once.  I didn’t have time to cope with one thing when three more bad things happened.

 

Upon realizing all of this, I have formed a plan.  I will take things one issue at a time.   When I first realized I had problems stemming from my childhood, I thought I could deal with everything at once.  Forgive my parents, accept the fact they were abusive, face being depressed & anxious, think positive, & all would be fine.  Naive?  Oh yes.. but truthfully, I didn’t realize how deep my issues went or have any grip on this emotional healing stuff.  Now I know better, & I have learned that a lot of times, it’s best to face one issue at a time, as it arises.

 

What I mean is this…

 

As an example from my life, part of my issue is the fact that when my father was dying, so called “family” came out of the woodwork to tell me what I needed to do regarding my parents,what a horrible person I was for not obeying them or “forgiving & forgetting” & not “honoring” my parents.  Mind you, this is on top of the death of my father.  Instead of lumping this all into one thing to deal with, I’m dissecting it, & dealing with each issue as I am able.  Here are the issues:

 

  • My father died.
  • I was attacked by many people at that time over a few months, but in particular my father’s final month of life.
    • Some people were strangers, so dealing with their nonsense isn’t too hard.  I don’t know them so they don’t mean anything to me.
    • Others were family & those relatives fall into 2 categories:
      • Family I once had been close to & felt betrayed they treated me this way.
      • Other family I never was close to so the fact they attacked me was a big shock in addition to the pain of the things they said & did.

 

I think it’s healthier to deal with things this way because the events of that time are very distinct & complex, not to mention overwhelming to face all at once.  Even just the one part with family is difficult because there were two very different dynamics at play.  My relationships with these people were very different, so naturally that means I must deal with the situations differently.  Plus, doing this also gives me smaller things to cope with rather than trying to tackle one huge issue.  Smaller bits will be easier to cope with, which is especially important since I have C-PTSD.  Having the disorder means my brain is broken.  I have to treat myself gentler than a person without C-PTSD treats themselves.

 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed too, Dear Reader, I’m sorry.  It happens sometimes & it’s rough, I know.  Just try to remember to approach the situation in small doses, especially if you too have C-PTSD.  Break it down into manageable parts, & deal with those however works best for you rather than tackling the big picture all at once.  The little things will add up to form the big picture.  Also remember, Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  (KJV)  Sometimes when you’re facing your pain, it feels like you are all alone.  People don’t understand, & may avoid or even abandon you during your darkest hours.  God isn’t that way though.  He loves you & is with you no matter how bad things may be.  xoxo

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Revelation About Hating My Body

Lately my hormones are all over the place. In my late 40’s, I know it’s normal, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.  I griped some to my husband about it one day recently, which I almost never do.  Usually I try to hide any physical or mental problems from him.  He’s got enough to deal with plus although I’ve improved, I’m still not overly comfortable admitting when I feel under the weather.

Anyway, after listening to me gripe, he said, “Can I ask you something? Why do you hate your body so much?” I was surprised by the question & immediately thought of many things. My looks have always been the main thing my mother & ex husband insulted about me, so I’ve always felt ugly thanks to their cruel words & wished I looked differently.  I have pain from arthritis, & now out of whack hormones.  I’ve also gotten taller & just bigger from the birth control I’ve been on for years.  Then there are the symptoms I developed after Carbon Monoxide poisoning in 2015.  It seemed at the moment like I had plenty of things to hate about my body.

Then, later on that afternoon, I wasn’t even thinking about this conversation when suddenly it popped into my mind out of the blue & I realized something… I blame my body for the actions of other people, as well as hating it for doing normal things!  How ridiculous is that?!

All of this has caused me a great deal of shame over my life.  Thanks to the constant criticism of how I look, I’ve always been very ashamed of my looks & felt incredibly ugly & disgusting.  I’ve been ashamed of getting arthritis when I was only 31 years old because it’s abnormal.  Truth be told, it’s probably a direct result of living with narcissistic abuse since it often causes inflammatory disorders.  The symptoms from the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning & crazy hormones?  Both are very normal & nothing to be ashamed of.

After some prayer, I think all of my faulty thinking stems from being raised the way I was.  My mother criticized everything about my looks my entire life, I assume because I look like my father’s mother & not her side of the family.  No doubt that was a disappointment to her.  In fact, she probably felt betrayed by that as most narcissists would.  As a result, I grew up hating everything about my looks, & not believing anyone who said I was pretty.  My ex husband later reinforced this in me by being so critical.

Then there was sickness. Anytime I was sick or injured as a child was nothing but an inconvenience to my mother.  She obviously resented taking care of me.  As an adult, she didn’t believe me when something was wrong unless it was very obvious (the flu, a broken toe that was black & blue, etc).  This taught me that I was wrong to be sick or injured.  I’ve actually felt like my body has betrayed me by being sick or injured when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also had me not believing my own symptoms, thinking I must be faking them or at least exaggerating things.

When I realized all of this, I thought there may be others who are going through the same thing, so I figured I should share it.

If you feel the same way, then know you’re not alone. We can change this dysfunctional thinking.

Start by praying about it.  Ask God to show you the truth & ask Him for help healing from it.

I believe that it’s important to get to the root of problems if you wish to heal completely, so to do that, I ask God what is the root of this issue?  Sometimes, He’ll bring a specific memory to my mind.  Other times, several memories come to mind.

Once you see the root cause of your false belief, aside from asking God for more help, also look at the situation objectively.  When you look at it as an outsider rather than a victim, you can see just how evil your abuser is & how wrong the things they taught you were.

Also, look at yourself objectively not through the eyes of someone trained to self hate through narcissistic abuse.  Psalm 139:14 says that we are fearfully & wonderfully made.  Rather than hating your body, consider that verse.   God made you the way you are for a reason, & it is a good reason!  Consider the good things about your body- how you look & the things you can do.  Just because someone told you that you’re ugly or didn’t care when you were sick or injured doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.  What it does mean is that the person who said such things to you has some serious problems!

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About Hoovering

Hoovering is when a narcissist doesn’t want to accept the fact you have ended the relationship, & they try to lure you back.  If you’re not aware of hoovering tactics, it can be easy to be lured into a false sense of believing the narcissist has truly changed, & the relationship will be better this time only to be sadly disappointed when finding out the narcissist really hasn’t changed.  To prevent this from happening, this post will address some hoovering tactics narcissists use.

 

Love bombing is very common.  It involves the narcissist confessing their undying love for you, doing nice things for you, showering you with gifts &/or plenty of attention.  It can be hard not to believe a narcissist really cares since they can be very convincing.  It also can be hard to resist.  It’s important to remember that these displays of the narcissist’s love are NOT real!  They’re only designed to lure you back into the toxic relationship.

 

Narcissists also will use family & friends, aka flying monkeys, to talk “sense” into you.  This is a very tough one.  When someone you think highly of tells you that you should resume a relationship with someone else, it can make you doubt yourself.  Instead, think about what this person is saying.  Does this person make sense?  How much do they know of the situation?  Do they believe you when you say the narcissist has been abusive to you?  Do they want to hear what you have to say or do they cut you off or tell you that you’re wrong?  Your honest answers to these questions will determine if you should listen to what that person has to say.

 

Another hoovering tactic is using or faking illness or injury to reconnect with you.  Most people want to help a sick or hurt person, especially if it’s someone they love.  If this happens, remember- when you went no contact, it was for excellent reasons.  It also was permanent, not until the narcissist got sick or injured.  Maybe that sounds cold, but truly, it isn’t.  It’s a person reaping what they have sown.  A person who abuses another can’t expect that victim to be there for them indefinitely.  Everyone has  limits.

 

Sending cards, letters or calling on special days like birthdays, anniversaries or holidays is another common hoovering tactic.  It feels wrong to spend special days not acknowledging the narcissist.  For those with narcissistic parents, birthdays in particular can be difficult.  And, for those with narcissistic exes, anniversaries can be especially difficult.  It’s normal, but even so, remember all they are trying to do is hoover you back into the toxic relationship by using the special day.

 

Some narcissists give their victims months or even years of no contact when suddenly they call or write.  It seems that they figure after some time has passed, the victim has forgotten just how bad the relationship was, & will be open to resuming it.  If this happens, remind yourself of exactly why you ended the relationship in the first place.  The chance of that behavior improving is very, very slim.  Is it really worth taking a chance on resuming the relationship?

 

Some narcissists don’t go the route of trying to convince you that they love you or are thinking of you.  They opt to get cruel.

 

Smear campaigns can get really nasty to provoke a response out of you & also to discredit a victim so people won’t believe them but instead they’ll believe the narcissist.  You may learn that people are saying you’re crazy, stupid, spoiled, abusive to the narcissist or even a bad Christian.  As hard as it can be, do NOT respond to these ridiculous accusations!  Doing so only convinces people that you are the terrible person the narcissist says you are.  And, if you confront the narcissist about the lies, it only gives that narcissist narcissistic supply.  The narcissist can look like the innocent victim of your abusive ways.

 

Many narcissists who can’t win a victim back will resort to attempting to bully the victim to return to the relationship by stalking & harassing them.  They’ll inundate victims with countless phone calls, emails, texts, & letters.  They may show up at places the victim frequents or drive by the victim’s home frequently.  Especially devious ones send others to drive by the victim’s home so if the victim says anything about the narcissist stalking them, they look paranoid or even crazy.  The best things to do is block all access the narcissist uses to get to you, & document EVERYTHING.  If you decide to press charges, documentation will work in your favor, even if the narcissist didn’t break the law.  Documentation of bad behavior, even when legal, can only help your case.

 

Remember, Dear Reader, never allow the narcissist to hoover you back into the relationship.  It only ends badly!  The behavior is usually much worse after hoovering than it was in the first place.

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When Narcissists Go Too Far

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Boundaries Are Important, & Not Only With Narcissists

Boundaries are a very important part of life, but perhaps even more so in victims of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists don’t allow their victims to have any boundaries.  This creates victims who think they aren’t allowed to have boundaries not only with the narcissist, but with everyone.  Lacking healthy boundaries sets a person up to be used & abused.  Even the kindest, most well meaning people can inadvertently take advantage of someone without good boundaries, because the person doesn’t say no.  How can anyone know what they’re asking someone to do is a problem if that someone doesn’t say no?

Boundaries are like the fence that surrounds your yard.  They show you where you end and other people begin, & what is & is not your personal responsibility.  Your emotions, beliefs, desires & behaviors are your responsibility.  Likewise, the emotions, beliefs, desires and behaviors of other people are their responsibility, not yours.  You do not even need to have an opinion on these things.  If they are hurting you or are being self-destructive, however, Ephesians 4:15 says that you may speak the truth to them in love about the issue.

No one can control someone with healthy boundaries.   You will show others that you have confidence & self-respect, & that you love yourself enough to take good care of you.

By learning about boundaries, you will quickly learn what is & is not important to you, therefore you know what you need to confront another person about, & what you can let slide.  You will be more sensitive to the early signs of resentment or anger that let you know that your boundaries are being violated.  It is best to nip things in the bud, rather than to let the problem continue until it is much bigger.

Boundaries also enforce consequences.  Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Often, many people try to interfere with this natural law to avoid painful consequences, however, doing that often causes bigger problems.  Boundaries allow this reaping to take place because you know that it is not your place to interfere.  People need consequences for their actions, good or bad!  How is someone who does good things for others benefited by never receiving recognition or a reward for their good works?  That person becomes discouraged, potentially even bitter.  Or, what good does it do anyone to say or do anything they want, & never suffering when they cause others to suffer?  This person learns nothing, nor does she have any opportunity to grow and mature or grow closer to God.

When you first begin to set boundaries, some people will not like it.  They will tell you that you are being selfish or uppity, or they may ask what happened to the “good girl” you used to be.  Reasonable, safe people will accept & respect your new boundaries with no problems.  Unsafe people will not.  If others cannot respect your healthy boundaries, then they are the ones with a problem, not you.  Setting boundaries is a very good way to learn who is safe & who is not.

For your first step in getting started on boundaries, I strongly suggest you spend some time asking yourself these questions, & really think about your answers:

• What things am I no longer willing to tolerate from other people?
• What things do I need from other people?
• What boundaries do I need to set in my own life?
• How can I enforce them in a healthy way?

When setting your new boundaries, be very decisive about them. Wavering in your boundaries can lead to problems, such as others not not respecting your new boundaries.

You also need to figure out healthy ways to enforce those boundaries. Some simple phrases that may help you are:

• “I’m not going to do that.”
• “I won’t discuss this subject with you.”
• “You’re entitled to your opinion, but so am I.”
• “If you don’t stop talking about this subject, I’m going to hang up the phone (or leave the room, etc).”
• “No.”

Enforce your boundaries with consequences when necessary.  Hang up the phone, leave the room, or whatever your consequence is.  If you do not enforce your boundaries, people not only will lose respect for the boundary you are setting, but they will lose respect for you as well.

Remember to respect the boundaries of others too.  You may need to write down what you are & are not responsible for regarding others in your life.  Everyone is entitled to the same things that you are- lack of judgment on their own emotions, beliefs, desires, & actions.  And remember- you are also not responsible for the feelings & well-being of others.  People are also allowed to freely express their emotions.  While you may offer sympathy, it is not your responsibility to make things all better for them.  If you have done wrong by them, however, then it is certainly your place to apologize & try to make it up to them for the pain you caused.

You will need to tailor this information to your unique situation, but you can do this!  Even if you are afraid, as most people learning to set boundaries for the first time in their lives are, do it anyway!  The benefits of boundaries outweigh the risks.  You will have more inner peace than ever before, you will feel less burdened & freer since you do not need to be responsible for some things you once were (such as the happiness and choices of others), & you naturally will begin to attract much healthier, happier people into your life.

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

How Untruths Become A Part Of You

One especially devious, creative ways narcissists abuse their victims is cementing facts in their brains.  What I mean is, a narcissist can imply something once, then reinforce what they said by their actions instead of words.  The result is you feel a certain way, & if you say anything to the narcissist, they will say they don’t know what you’re talking about or deny that they ever said anything in the first place.

As one example from my life, I have a terrible time admitting when I don’t feel well, taking time to recover or asking for help.  I feel like I need to be OK at all times so I don’t upset anyone or burden anyone by asking them for help.  I even question myself, wondering if I really have whatever problem I am dealing with at the time, even when my symptoms are glaringly obvious.

Do you have some false belief cemented in your mind too?  If so, you’re not alone!  This sort of thing happens all the time to children of narcissistic parents.  There are some ways to cope.

As always, I recommend praying as the first step.  Ask God for wisdom, to help you heal & anything else you can think of.

When it comes to healing, I firmly believe in getting to the root of the problem.  It’s the most effective way to resolve the problem permanently.  To do this, try to remember the earliest time in your life when you felt a certain way, & then deal with it from there.  To explain it, I’ll tell you what I did.

When considering how hard a time I’ve had admitting I have health problems, I thought back over my life, present to past, during times I was sick or injured.  I remembered many, many times when my mother didn’t believe I had a health problem unless it was something very obvious, like a bad case of the flu.  As a child, she complained when she had to take care of me when I was sick.  When I was only 5 years old, my mother woke me up one morning by tickling me.  In trying to get away from her, I slipped & hit my head on the big wooden headboard.  Long story short, the result was a trip to the ER & several stitches in my scalp.  Afterward, my mother took me to the mall & bought me a coloring book & crayons, something she complained about buying for years.  During the experience, my mother didn’t comfort me.  She was upset & I felt completely responsible for that.

These experiences taught me that I shouldn’t burden anyone with my health concerns, I should be “ok” at all times so as not to upset anyone & my problems aren’t important.

To undo this warped thinking, I found it very helpful to look at things very logically, ignoring feelings for the moment.  Here are some things I came up with:

  • Why did my mother take me to the mall after a trip to the hospital?!  I had a head injury!  I should’ve been home, resting quietly.   She could’ve called my father & asked him to pick up the coloring book & crayons on his way home from work, or asked a friend or neighbor to do it.
  • My mother should never have complained to me about how hard that incident was for her or having to take care of me when I was sick.  That is what parents do.  It’s a part of the job.
  • Why has my mother not believed me or blamed me about health issues as an adult?  Since narcissists love projection, it makes me think it’s because she has either exaggerated or even faked her own health problems & thinks other people do the same

I can’t honestly say that I’m 100% ok now.  I can say though, that since thinking about these things, I’ve already gotten better at admitting when I don’t feel well.  I haven’t needed to ask anyone for help yet, but I am certain that will be easier too.  It seems to me that when you face things, they lose much of their power over you.  When you examine them & realize how wrong they were, they lose even more power.

What false beliefs are cemented in your mind?  I would like to encourage you today to face them.  No, it isn’t easy, but it is possible.  The things I mentioned earlier did hurt me when I first thought about them, & made me angry.  However, I’m still glad I did because that enabled me to remove the false beliefs I’ve carried around my entire life & replace them with healthier beliefs.  I firmly believe the same thing can happen to you!

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Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue is a little discussed phenomenon.  It happens when someone continually puts other people’s needs first while ignoring their own, & eventually burns out.  It can happen with caregivers, people in helping professions such as nursing or teachers, & also with adult children of narcissists.

Adult children of narcissists learn early in life to ignore their own needs & put their parents’ needs ahead of their own.   Their parents demand it & doing so means the child has less of a chance of facing a narcissistic rage, so it becomes a means of survival.  Sadly, this sets in place a pattern of behavior that often lasts into adulthood.  A lifetime of ignoring your own needs for the needs of others can take a toll, both physically & mentally.

Some signs of compassion fatigue are as follows:

  • Being irritable.  Anyone who is tired can be irritable.  But, when you are beyond tired, irritability is pretty much a given.  Little things that normally wouldn’t bother you suddenly can seem like a huge crisis.
  • Anxiety is also common.  Being too tired can make a person feel “off.”  When that person is off, anxiety is more likely to happen, especially if the person in question already has issues with anxiety.
  • Lacking motivation.  How can a person be motivated when they are exhausted & sick of doing for everyone else?
  • Trouble with sleeping can happen too.  Have you ever heard the phrase “too tired to sleep”?  It does happen.  You may find yourself unable to sleep when normally you don’t have that problem.  You also may wake up frequently during the night or have unusual dreams or nightmares that disrupt your sleep.
  • Depression is also a common problem.  Some people are very sensitive to others, so when they need our help often, we can get depressed.  We feel badly for them because they can’t do things on their own, or the problems they tell us about make us sad for them.
  • A big red flag to compassion fatigue is feeling numb.  When you hear of someone having a serious problem, you simply feel nothing.  You just don’t care, even if the person with the problem is someone you love dearly.  This numbness can happen when you have cared too much for too long.
  • Headaches can happen as well.  If you never had migraines, they may start.  At the very least, chances are your head may ache on a regular basis even if you never suffered with frequent headaches before

If you can relate to any of these signs, then it’s time for you to take a break.  You need time to reevaluate your situation as well as to relax.

If at all possible, take some time to yourself & pray.  Tell God how you feel, ask Him to show you what to do in your situation & then listen to what He tells you to do.  He may not tell you obviously by saying, “Thus sayeth the Lord”.  It may be much more subtle such as you suddenly getting the urge to resume a hobby you once enjoyed or spending time with your closest friend that you haven’t seen in a few months.  Whatever you feel you should do, then do it!  It WILL help you!

Also do things that help you feel nurtured & comforted.  Indulge in herbal teas, buy yourself that new CD you’ve been wanting or snuggle up in a soft blanket & watch Netflix all day.  Little things like that can have a surprisingly positive affect on your emotional state.

Take a break if at all possible & do it frequently.  Everyone needs breaks & there is no shame in it. And, while you take that break, refuse to think at all about what is causing this compassion fatigue.

If you’re a caregiver, arrange for help.  Tell your family you need help a couple of days per week or whatever you need.  If they refuse to help, look into professional in home care.  Contact your local Department Of Aging or Social Services.  They may be able to help you or at least point you in the right direction.  Local churches also may be of some assistance, whether or not you’re a member.  Also, don’t forget the library.  Libraries are truly a wealth of information.  My local library has a lot of very helpful pamphlets right inside the front door, & many of them pertain to caregiving.

Balance is the key to avoiding compassion fatigue.  It may feel strange & hard at first, but you need to set reasonable boundaries.  You have the right to say no sometimes & to set limits on what you do for others.  After all, if you don’t take care of yourself, how can you help others?

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Encouragement For The “Weak”

This post is for those of you in the position of being unwilling or unable to go no contact with a narcissist.

Almost every bit of information available for those in a relationship with a narcissist basically say the same thing- “just go no contact.”  The tone of some articles & even some fellow survivors who say the same thing can be downright shaming, as if being unable or unwilling to go no contact means something is very wrong with you or you’re weak.

While it’s certainly true that no contact is almost always the best way to deal with a narcissist, that doesn’t make it an easy solution.  Whoever the narcissist is in your life & no matter how badly that person treats you, it still hurts to end a relationship.  The closer the relationship the more it hurts, too, such as ending a relationship with your parent hurts a thousand times more than ending it with someone with whom you have gone on only a couple of dates.  Due to the nature of narcissists, they usually abuse those closest to them.   This is probably why the most abusive relationships with a narcissist are the closest relationships, such as parents & spouses, & those relationships are very hard to end.

Abusive or not, it still hurts to end a relationship with someone so close to you.  Not wanting to end that relationship doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or you’re weak.  It means you’re normal!

Even if you want to go no contact, it often takes time to work up the inner strength to be able to do it.  Narcissists beat their victims down so badly, they can obliterate their self esteem.  Once you learn what is happening, it takes time to repair your self esteem & to build up enough strength to go no contact.  Or, maybe you know somehow that the timing isn’t right somehow for no contact.. that happened to me with my parents.  I wanted to go no contact with them for well over a year before I felt God was saying it was time.  There is also the common situation of a victim who lives with a narcissist being financially dependent on that narcissist.   It takes time to be able to save enough money to move out, to find a job & a place to live.  None of these situations make a person weak or flawed.  It simply means they’re in difficult situations.

There are also some folks whose narcissist is pretty low on the spectrum.  Yes, that person causes problems but they aren’t over the top in their behavior.  Some people would prefer to learn ways to deal with them than end those relationships.   That is their right to make that choice

For those of you in those situations, I want to encourage you today.

I know it’s terribly hard being in a relationship with a narcissist in any capacity.  Until such time as you are ready & willing to go no contact, there are some things you can do to make your life a little easier.

As always, I recommend praying.  Ask God to show you creative & effective ways to cope with the narcissist as well as to help you to go no contact if that is your desired result.

Always remember- narcissists are all about gaining narcissistic supply to prop up their egos.  It’s their primary motivation for everything they do.  Any attention or reaction you give them, good or bad, provides that supply.  Be as boring to the narcissist as possible.  Show them no anger, sadness or even joy.  Be calm & cool in the presence of the narcissist.  Offer simple answers without explanations.  Provide no personal information.  This is known as the Gray Rock method.  Basically, you become as boring to the narcissist as a plain gray rock.

Don’t forget to question things the narcissist says.  They are masters of gaslighting & manipulation, so basically almost everything they say can be a lie.  Ask yourself if what is being said is true or not.  You also can question the narcissist, but if you do so, do it calmly in your gray rock way.  “Oh?  Why do you think that?”  “Explain to me how that makes sense.. I don’t follow you.”  Logical, calmly asked questions like that can throw a narcissist off kilter.  It lets her know that you’re onto her games & won’t be manipulated.

Keep & enforce healthy boundaries.  You have the right to tell the narcissist no & to expect to be treated with respect.  You also don’t need to explain your boundaries.  Or, if you feel you absolutely must, remember to stay gray rock U keep explanations minimal.

Also remember that whatever they are doing isn’t about you.  It’s about them.  Yes, that person is hurting & abusing you, but it’s because it makes her feel better.  You have done nothing to deserve it & nothing that person says about you is true.  Narcissists project their own flaws onto their victims.  It doesn’t mean you actually are whatever the narcissist says you are.

If you are hoping to go no contact in the future, low contact may be an excellent option for you.  It’s as the name describes- you are in low contact with the narcissist.  You don’t take phone calls or visit as often, but only when you feel able.  Low contact can be a really good stepping stone to no contact.

While there are no easy solutions for dealing with narcissists, these tactics can help you.  And, don’t forget- there isn’t anything wrong with you for being unable or unwilling to go no contact.  It’s a big decision, & every person has to do it only when they feel equipped to do so.

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Another Weapon In The Narcissistic Arsenal

One weapon narcissists use is to tell their victims “I know you better than you know yourself.”  While it may sound rather innocuous, that phrase, especially when said by a parent to a child, can be devastating to the self esteem.

My mother said this to me my entire childhood.  I ended up feeling like I was stupid (how can a person not know themselves after all?!) & like I had to look to her to know what I liked & didn’t like, my opinions on things, what I should & shouldn’t do.  I was so insecure, & partly because of that stupid phrase!  Even now, in my mid 40’s, I have issues sometimes with figuring out what I really like & don’t like.

Have you heard this insidious phrase from your narcissistic parent too?  If so, you’re not alone!

The key to letting go of the insecurity caused by hearing this phrase is to pay attention to yourself.  Get to know you.  The real you, the person God made you to be & not the person your narcissistic parent tried to make you into.  Notice how you truly feel about everything.

Chances are, when you first start to do this, you’ll feel some guilt, like you’re going against your narcissistic parent’s wishes.  That is normal.  Just remind yourself that you are allowed to be an individual.  God created you to be an individual.  You were made to be you, not some cheap imitation of you & certainly not some lump of clay molded by a narcissistic parent only concerned with their wishes.

As you begin to know yourself, your narcissistic parent will disapprove.  Don’t let that disapproval discourage you. The disapproval doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad person at all!  It means the narcissist is disappointed in you for not continuing to allow her to control you.  If your narcissistic parent attempts to make you feel bad, wrong, guilty or ashamed because you’ve changed, pretend you don’t notice.  Ignore the comments!  You do what is best for you, NOT the narcissist!

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Life With High Functioning C-PTSD

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Body Memories

Your body remembers everything that you’ve experienced, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, & stores such memories on a cellular level.  Your brain may or may not remember things, but your body does.  This is why certain smells, sounds, tastes, feelings or sights bring specific feelings to mind.

Body memories are especially common with victims of sexual assault.  Even if the assault happened when the victim was too young to recall details, smelling the same cologne the attacker wore, or hearing music that was playing in the background during the assault can trigger incredible anxiety in the victim, even a panic attack.  The victim’s mind may not recall the assault, but the body remembers every detail.

Body memories aren’t only linked to sexual assault, however.  They also happen with victims of other types of abuse, including narcissistic abuse.

Often, narcissistic abuse is a series of constant traumatic events.  I think of it much like a machine gun of abuse- one trauma immediately follows another then another & yet another in rapid succession.  You don’t have time to heal from one trauma when another five are thrown your way.  It may be too much to cope with, so your mind forgets some of the abuse as you try to survive the constant trauma.  However, your body remembers it all.  That is why certain things trigger anxiety, fear, anger, etc. in you for no obvious reason.  It is your body’s way of trying to protect you from things like that happening again.

A couple of years ago, I went to my old high school with a friend.  They were having a craft show & we thought it’d be fun to check it out since we both love crafts & both attended that school.  From the moment we set foot on the campus, I became anxious & even panicky.  I had trouble holding back the tears until we left.  It turned into a miserable experience for me.  I had no idea exactly why I was in such a state then.  Since, I have remembered a few instances of abuse at the hands of my mother on the property of that school though, which apparently my body remembered even though my mind didn’t at the time.

When things like this happens, you need to remember you aren’t crazy!  Your body is remembering something pretty terrible.  There is pain that you need to acknowledge.  Some people suggest talking out loud to yourself.  Remind your body that what happened won’t happen again, & that you survived.  You’re OK now.

I think prayer is a better idea, however.  Asking God to help you to cope.  Or, maybe a combination of prayer & talking to your body.  Whatever works for you is what matters.  Body memories can be a very unpleasant thing to deal with, but at least they can help offer some insight into areas where you need healing.

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“Just Let It Go!”

So many of us raised with narcissistic parents have heard the phrase “just let it go” too many times to count upon mentioning our awful upbringing.  People fail to realize that we would love to let it go & not think about it anymore.  Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple!

 

Narcissistic abuse is incredibly ubiquitous.  It doesn’t simply affect one small part of you- it permeates every area of your mind & even body.  All of your thinking stems from the perspective of someone who was abused by a narcissist.  Your body may reflect that abuse too, even if the narcissist didn’t attempt to hurt you physically.  The constant stress of living with a narcissist can lead to adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, C-PTSD or PTSD (which are both brain injuries resulting from surviving trauma).

 

Simply put, you can’t “just let go of” such things no matter how much you wish you could.  And honestly, why would you?  To make some cold hearted, unfeeling person more comfortable in your presence?  Life experiences- good, bad or indifferent- made you the person you are.  Learn from them all & grow!

 

There are some things you can let go of, however.  You can let go of:

 

  • expecting the person who told you “just let it go” to be caring & supportive of you.
  • the warped belief that something is wrong with you for having problems (either physical or mental or both) after surviving narcissistic abuse.
  • that sick belief the narcissist instilled in you that you made him/her abuse you.
  • believing that you are the only one responsible for making relationships work.

 

The next time someone tells you to “just let it go,” you can tell them what you have let go, using the above statements as an example.  Or, if you really want to throw them for a loop, ask them what exactly do they want you to let go of & how they recommend you go about doing so.

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Life

Three years ago today, I suffered the most terrifying trauma of my life. I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. My husband & I didn’t know it that day, but apparently somehow a bunch of debris suddenly gathered behind my chimney’s flue, pushing it slightly closed. Not enough to smoke up the house when the fireplace was lit, but it was just enough to fill it with carbon monoxide after hubby left for work.

As seems to be my new February tradition, I’ve been thinking a great deal about this recently. Coming close to death definitely makes you reevaluate your life. Plus the damage to my brain changed my personality a great deal, which is actually a good thing in some ways. I’ve gotten better at self care & not tolerating abuse among other things, so I’m still getting to know this new me & what I want & need.

One thing that I realized that I need to remind myself of frequently is life can change drastically or even end in an instant. (I certainly didn’t wake up on February 27, 2015 expecting to nearly die that evening or that it was going to be the first day of a new life full of weird health problems & a lot of brain damage.) I think it’s an excellent idea to life life without regrets, because you don’t know when or how your life will change or even end.

I realize living every day like it’s your last isn’t quite possible. You still have a job, housework, budgeting, family obligations & what not to consider of course. But, I think it’s an excellent idea to get in any joy in life where you can, to do things you want to do or try new things as often as possible. Even little things can make a big difference. Go for a drive without a destination in mind & blare your favorite music on the radio. Grab a milkshake once in a while. Buy a new color of nail polish (one of my favorites) or dye your hair a fun, funky color. Tell the people you love how much they mean to you, why you love them & do it often. Make time for a hobby you love or pick up an old hobby you once abandoned. If time is an issue, look over your schedule & streamline it. I have a routine for my housework that helps me to maintain a clean home with spending the minimum amount of time on it. Doing a little almost daily is easier for me than doing a lot a couple of days each week since I run out of energy quickly. It also allows me more time available for writing, hobbies, spending time with friends or whatever I want.

It seems to me that society values being busy, but that just isn’t healthy or conducive to enjoying every moment in life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being productive 24/7! Even God took a day of rest after creating everything, & then told His people to do the same! (see Genesis 2:1-3) He did NOT create people to be non stop busy. He created people to work & also to take time to enjoy their lives. When you get to the end of your life, don’t you want to think about what a well lived life you had & not what a busy one you had?

Another thing society values that I realized isn’t healthy is being overly positive. Yes, positivity is good. It can help you avoid depression. However, being too positive can set you up for disappointment. Did you know many people who commit suicide are known for being optimistic? They became depressed when they were repeatedly disappointed.

Being too positive can set you up for feeling shame, too. If you’re very positive yet end up feeling negatively or unable to find good in a situation, it can make you feel terrible shame. That’s not good! If you know very positive people, you also know you can’t tell them you’re sad or disappointed, because they’ll make you feel ashamed of yourself. They’re not people you can be real & honest with, & that’s not good either!

I’ve found I have much more peace & less stressful being realistic. Sure, I look for the good, but I’m also not ashamed for getting depressed, angry or disappointed sometimes. I’m also not ashamed to say sometimes, things just stink & I can’t find anything positive in the situation.

Another thing to consider… your relationships. While soul searching after my awful experience, I also took the time to evaluate the relationships in my life. When I realized that through the complete delirium of the poisoning, I still had the sense to tell my husband as soon as I saw him never tell my parents about this, it was a huge wake up call for me. I knew anyone who wouldn’t care that I nearly died couldn’t be a part of my life, & they wouldn’t have cared. I also realized some friends weren’t good for me or at least they weren’t what I wanted in a relationship. The relationships were too one sided & some didn’t even care about what I experienced. Saying, “You’ll be fine”, “But you didn’t die!” or “Glad you’re ok.. so anyway *subject change*” after such an experience showed me how cold & uncaring these people were.

What about your relationships? If, God forbid, something terrible happened to you, could you count on the people in your life being there for you? Would they be care about your pain & suffering or would they brush you off? If they wouldn’t be there for you, then it might be time to consider whether or not you really want them in your life. You deserve good, loving people with whom you can have an equal & loving relationship. There is nothing wrong with refusing to settle for less than that!

John 10:10 is beautifully said in the Amplified translation: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus died not only so we could spend eternity with Him & have a relationship with God the Father, but also so we can enjoy life while we’re alive here on this planet. There is no good excuse not to enjoy your life! You deserve it! Jesus obviously thought so too! So why not start thinking about ways you can add more joy to your daily life?

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Forgiveness

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Bad Decisions & Narcissists

Psychology fascinates me.  I like to understand what makes people tick & why they do the things they do, which explains my interest in true crime.  I’m this way even with narcissists.  While I never can agree with their abuse of course, I am still curious what makes them do the things they do.  Besides, I’ve learned understanding them to a degree helps me to keep a healthy perspective about who is really the abuser, & who is the victim.    A lifetime of gaslighting still can make it hard sometimes to remember who the real victim & abuser are.  (For the record, I don’t think anyone can fully understand a narcissist except for another narcissist, so I know I’ll never entirely “get” them.)

 

I would guess I’m not the only person who is interested in understanding how people think, so I’m sharing this in case anyone else may find this as interesting as I did.

 

God showed me something quite interesting just before my father died last October.

 

As I mentioned before, he was in the hospital for 20 days on life support.  In that time, I had people (some I didn’t even know) contacting me to tell me that I needed to see him before he died, “so he could die in peace.”  “After all, you only get one set of parents!”  “You need to put your feelings aside.” & the classic, “I understand why you won’t see him, but you need to go see him.” (How does that even make sense?!)   Yep, I heard a LOT of crap.  My phone also rang, sometimes for 20+ rings at a time or there were frequent repeated calls back from people I didn’t even know, but who knew my parents.  Thank God for caller ID!  I didn’t know the number but at least I knew the names, so I knew not to take those calls.  It was a very painful time.. not only because of losing my father but also because of the constant bullying & harassment from so many people, even total strangers.

 

A few days before my father died, I was thinking about the entire situation.  It made me cry, as it did a lot at that time.  In my sadness I asked God, “Why do things have to be this way?!  This whole thing is so stupid & so wrong!”  Very clearly, I heard His voice… “Some people have made very bad decisions.”

 

It struck me.. that makes so much sense.  I knew exactly what He meant by that simple sentence!

 

Narcissists decide to act as they do.  They decided early in their lives that they were more important than other people & entitled to whatever they want.  They decided to shut down the natural empathy that people are born with & focus only on their wants, needs, etc. instead of caring about others.  They also decided they are allowed to use & abuse people to get what they want.

 

Flying monkeys also made a decision to be blindly loyal to their narcissist no matter what.  They decided they didn’t want to know anything beyond what the narcissist says about a situation.  They also decide to harass, stalk, shame & basically torture a victim if that’s what a narcissist wants of them (& often it is).  All flying monkeys have decided that a narcissist’s victim does NOT matter, only the narcissist & flying monkey matter.

 

Bad decisions like these are why people are abusive.  They have chosen to put themselves first & to disregard & even abuse other people.  This means the responsibility of their actions is completely on them.  No one  forced anyone to make the decisions they made.  No one forces them to continue making bad decisions or to continue the dysfunctional course they’re on.

 

These bad decisions also open the door for Satan to enter their lives, & close it for God to enter.  Every bad decision opens the door wider for the devil while closes it tighter to God.  I firmly believe that narcissism isn’t necessarily something biologically wrong with a person, but is demonic in nature.   2 Timothy 2:25-26 says, “He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”  (AMP)  The day my father died, a dear friend of mine received a vision from God about his salvation.  God reminded her of this verse at that time.  He said that is why my father behaved as he did- he had been taken captive by the devil to do his will.  Not long after he died, I thought about that Scripture & how it related to the bad decisions God told me about.  It makes a great deal of sense!

 

One thing many people fail to realize though is everything a person decides to do sows a seed, good or bad.  Galatians 6:7 says,  “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  (KJV)  A person who abuses other people will NOT reap a harvest of love & kindness.  It’s only natural!  You can’t plant corn & expect to get an apple tree!

 

And, everyone has a point where they’ve had enough.  When they walk away, that is because the abuser is reaping their harvest.  I know, abusers & flying monkeys see this very differently, but it’s true.  No one who walks away is trying to punish or hurt the narcissist (we all realize that’s impossible anyway- narcissists don’t feel the way normal people feel).  We decide to walk away to protect ourselves & to stop the constant abuse.  It is a perfectly normal thing to do.  It is the natural harvest a person reaps after deciding to sow seeds of abuse in another person’s life.

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Why Adult Children Of Narcissists End Up In Abusive Relationships

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Why Adult Children Of Narcissists End Up In Abusive Relationships

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“Just Let It Go!”

People say, “Just let it go!” all the time to those who have been through bad experiences or abuse, but what do they really mean?  I think many people who say that don’t say it to try to help you.  Instead, I think they really mean, “Stop talking about it.  It makes me uncomfortable!”

 

Unfortunately, this statement can make a person feel ashamed of themselves for being unable to “just let it go.”  They feel like something is wrong with them, or maybe they’re a bad Christian when the truth is, they’re simply human.

 

The fact is, most people just can’t “let go” of pain.  It’s not that we want to hold onto it at all- we have no choice in the matter.  It’s kind of like a splinter.  You can’t wish it away or let it go- you actually need to deal with it to get rid of it.

 

If you really want to let something go, once & for all, it takes work.  You need to feel the anger, feel the hurt & get it out of you.  It can be intimidating at first, especially if you weren’t allowed to show your emotions as a child, but it does get easier in time.

 

When it happens with me, I make time to write in my journal.  Writing is often easier than saying things out loud for me, so although often prayer is my first place to start, journaling is in this particular situation.  I let it all out- name calling, bad language & all.  Sometimes I’ll write as though I’m speaking to the person, sometimes I just vent about them & what they did.  I just follow whatever feels right, & let it all out.  I pray after, & ask God to help me.  For many things, this helps to purge me of the anger & hurt completely.  For other things, I have to repeat it a few times.  I’ve learned not to judge it- abuse does bad things, & everyone heals differently.

 

Maybe what I do will help you as well.  It’s worth a try anyway, right?  If you’re sure it won’t, then do whatever does work for you.  Or, ask God to show you what you need to do.  Healing is a very individual thing, & there’s nothing wrong with you if something other than what I do helps.

 

Remember, Dear Reader, if you can’t “just let it go”, there’s nothing wrong with you.  It’s OK!  It’s perfectly normal to have to feel things to heal.

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Responding vs Reacting To Narcissistic Behavior

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After No Contact

During the last few months of my father’s life I realized something about narcissists & flying monkeys.  They are an incredibly determined, persistent bunch, & that doesn’t end with no contact.

 

With most people, when someone ends a relationship, they stop calling, emailing, or trying to contact that person in any way.  They don’t try to bully or harass the person into speaking with them again, stalk them or send other people to “try to talk some sense” into them.  Instead, even though they may be hurting a great deal, they leave the person alone & move on with their life.

 

This isn’t so with narcissists & their flying monkeys.

 

One narcissist I severed ties with harassed me for several years.  (In fact, I’m not sure she’s done with me yet, because she’ll go for months with no contact, then suddenly she will do something out of the blue.)  I immediately blocked her on social media, blocked her email, blocked her phone number, & figured it was done.  Not even close!  She emailed me through my website, & when I saw that, I found out her IP address & blocked that.  She then used other people’s computers to contact me through my website!  She even contacted me that way when my father was dying to tell me I was a narcissist.  No low is too low for a true narcissist, & they do love to strike when you’re hurting already.

 

Other similar things happened when my father was dying.  My mother tried calling repeatedly, in spite of me blocking her phone number (my phone shows when a blocked number has tried to call).  She also sent me notes in the mail.  Some people I don’t even know beyond the simple fact we’re somehow distantly related wouldn’t leave me alone either.  As soon as they called or messaged me, I blocked them, & they would find a different way to contact me, so I would have to block that way too.  One person used her dead mother’s Facebook account to contact me.  I had to block a dead woman on Facebook as a result of that!

 

If you have gone or are considering going no contact with the narcissist in your life, this sort of thing may happen to you as well.  I’m not trying to dissuade you from going no contact- you have to do what you believe is right in your situation.  I am simply trying to forewarn you of what may happen so you can prepare yourself.

 

If you haven’t done so, block not only the narcissist’s means of contacting you but also her flying monkeys.  Block everything you can- phone number, email, social media.  The truly determined will find alternative ways to reach you, so be prepared for that.  Don’t take phone calls if you don’t recognize the number on your caller ID or ones that say “anonymous” or “blocked number.”  Anyone can block their number temporarily, so why take chances?

 

Also, blocking apps may not be 100% useful.  The one I found for my cell phone  showed in my notifications that I received a blocked call or text.  And, the entire text would show up!  Not really helpful since I didn’t want to see any texts at all!

 

You also may end up being contacted by strangers.  The narcissist’s neighbor, pastor or distant cousin may be a flying monkey.  Remember names, so when you see names on your caller ID, you know who that person is.  Or, if you only see the number, use a reverse phone number website to check out the number before you answer it.

 

Speaking of phones, I also don’t think voicemail is a good idea.  Hearing a narcissist’s voice can be very triggering, or they or the flying monkeys could leave you vile messages that you don’t need to hear.  Better not to give them the option & to protect your mental health by not using voicemail, I think.  This may not be everyone’s favorite solution since most folks use it, but I personally have found it very helpful.

 

Narcissists & their flying monkeys don’t like to take no for an answer, so don’t be surprised if they show up  at your home.  Keep your doors locked at all times & post a “no trespassing” sign.  Not that they respect your boundary with the sign, but it helps if you have to ask the police to remove them to have that sign.  The police won’t be so quick to remove someone from your property without that sign.

 

You may get postal mail.  You need to know the person sending it well enough to know if you should mark it “return to sender” & send it back or not.  Some may get discouraged quickly with their mail being returned, others will use it to gain pity & narcissistic supply so you’re better off not returning their mail.

 

And, if you do get mail, remember that you don’t have to read it.  That is your choice what you do with it.  You can read it, throw it away, or put it aside to read at a future date.  You are in complete control of how you handle that.

 

Don’t be surprised if the narcissist wants to offer you a gift, something you would like to have or that you need.  It’s only an attempt to lure you back into the relationship, so do NOT take it!!  There would be too many strings attached!  Instead, trust God to meet that need or desire.

 

Narcissists or flying monkeys may apologize to you in their attempts to contact you.  Before you accept that apology, study it.  Is it a real apology?  Is the person saying “I’m sorry if you think I did something wrong” or offering excuses like “I was upset when I said that” or accepting full responsibility for their actions & discussing details?  If you’d like more details on what a real apology versus a fake apology looks like, I wrote about the narcissistic apology in this post.  Do NOT accept a fake apology or else the relationship will return to the abusive nightmare it was prior to going no contact.

 

If the narcissist &/or flying monkeys harass you, it can take a surprising toll on you.  It’s shocking how exhausting, depressing & anxiety inducing this sort of behavior can be.  Don’t judge yourself if you feel these things!  Just take good care of yourself.  Do what self care things help you as often as you can.  Pray.  Talk to supportive & safe people about what you feel.  Journal about it.  And always remember, whatever you do, do NOT let the narcissist or flying monkeys know you feel the way you do.  It provides them with narcissistic supply so they’ll continue doing it just to get that supply.  Let them think you barely noticed everything they have done.

 

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Knowing Your Personality Type Can Help You, Even How You Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

I am obsessed with psychology.  I wonder why people do the things they do, what makes them tick.  I’m even hooked on the ID Channel & several of the true crime shows on that channel.

 

When a friend of mine told me about the MBTI test a couple of years ago, I was intrigued.  The Myers Briggs Type Indicator test is based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality types.  I took the test & when I read my results was shocked.  For the first time in my life, I realized I’m not the freak many people have said I am!  In fact, I’m quite typical of my personality type.  My type just happens not to be overly common.

 

Since that time, I’ve read a lot about my type & my husband’s as well.  It’s helped me so much to understand both of us better.  And, it helped me to understand the best ways to help myself heal from the narcissistic abuse I’ve experienced.  My type is pretty much even logical & emotional.  One thing that helps me is to understand the motivation behind the abuse.  I’ve come to understand why my parents are/were narcissists, why my father didn’t protect me from my mother’s constant abuse & that being a narcissist means everything they do is motivated by narcissistic supply.  Knowing all of that has helped me to understand completely that none of the abuse was my fault.  Realizing everything they do is motivated by gaining narcissistic supply also helped me when I was in relationship with my parents to be prepared for what they might do.  I could see things coming a mile away a lot of times so I wasn’t surprised when they happened.  I also figured out what I think my parents’ types were, which helped me to understand them better.  Granted most of our problems were due to their narcissism, but realizing that their personality types & mine were pretty much my polar opposite sure didn’t help the situation!  We just don’t really understand each other because our personalities are naturally very different.

 

Learning about your personality type can benefit you too, Dear Reader.  The more you understand yourself, the better you’ll be at finding ways to help you to heal.  It also helps you not to take the cruel criticisms to heart that your narcissistic parent said.  My mother in particular always made me feel like something was very wrong with me or I was crazy, so learning that I’m simply typical of my type was very freeing!

 

In case you’re interested, this is the test I took: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

 

If you decide to take the test, then learn all you can about your personality type.  I find this site to be quite useful:  http://personalitygrowth.com

 

There is one last link I want to share with you.  This one is about the unhealthy side of each personality type.  I found this to be beneficial because it shows you what behavior you are prone to if you’re dysfunctional.   https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2017/07/31/evil-versions-every-myers-briggs-personality-type/

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“She Couldn’t Have Done Those Things! She’s Too Nice!”

When an abuse victim isn’t believed, often times the person who doesn’t believe the victim says it’s because the abuser is too nice or too good of a person.  No one so kind could do the terrible things the victim says they did!  The victim must have misunderstood, is exaggerating or flat out lying!

What the non believing people fail to realize is that this is typical of abusive people, narcissists in particular.  Abusers have two sides- the side they show the public & the side they show to those closest to them, their victims.  Behaving in such a manner guarantees the victim won’t be believed if she tells others about what the abuser does.  People will believe the charade of a good person because abusers are notoriously good actors.  Some are even able to convince mental health professionals they aren’t abusive, & that the victim is lying.

If someone you know tells you that someone else you know is abusing them but you don’t believe it, please keep this in mind.  Don’t brush someone off because the person they accuse of abuse is “too nice” to do such things.  If you don’t live with that person, you don’t know the real person!

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The Blame Is Not Always Yours!

So many survivors of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with take on so much blame for being abused.  They say things like, “I should’ve known he was this way when we first met…”  or, “I was a difficult child.. my mother had to be hard on me.”

 

This makes me sad.  People need to have a balanced view of blame rather than taking on too much.

 

If you too grew up with a narcissistic parent or two, there is a great deal of blame to be laid on your parent(s).  If you have C-PTSD, anxiety or depression issues, struggle with self-harm or eating disorders, chances are very good the root of those problems lies with enduring narcissistic abuse as a child.  Nothing you did could create these problems for yourself.  It is your responsibility to deal with those problems, but not for having the problems.

 

If your narcissistic mother shamed you, told you that you were a mistake, ignored you or was abusive instead of disciplining you, the fault lies with her.  No matter what a child does, a child cannot make her parent treat her in such cruel ways.  No bad behavior is a valid reason to abuse a child!

 

Having trouble relating to other people after being raised by a narcissist or two is completely normal.  The blame for that can be traced back to your narcissistic parent(s).  However, the responsibility for making changes to have healthier relationships is on you.

 

Not having a healthy balance in such areas & accepting blame for these things can lead to nothing but misery.  False guilt, shame, depression, anxiety & more can result.

 

Do you place blame where it belongs or do you take on too much blame, Dear Reader?  I urge you to take a long, hard, honest look at your situation.  Ask God to help you identify areas where you’re in need of balance.  He will!

 

I realize that saying your narcissistic mother is to blame for your problems as an adult can trigger unkind, even cruel, comments from others who don’t understand narcissistic abuse.  That being said, I urge you also to consider carefully who you discuss this with.  Aim for safe people- people who have been through similar situations, who are non-judgmental & have your best interest at heart.  If you’re unsure if anyone in your life currently fits that description, then check online.  There are many online support groups.  (I have a Facebook group that is full of love & support.  You’re welcome to check it out if you like.)  Talking about it can help you a great deal, when you talk with the right people.

 

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When People Say Ugly Things About You

When people tell you you’re stupid, crazy, ugly, etc., there is a reason for it, & it isn’t what you think.

 

A person saying such things to you doesn’t necessarily believe that you are those things.  In fact, most likely they don’t believe it at all.  Quite the contrary, they think you are intelligent, attractive, etc.

 

So why would a person say such awful things to another when they don’t believe them to be true?  There are two very distinct possibilities.

 

Control.  A person with low self-esteem is much easier to control than someone with healthy self-esteem.  The more a person is beaten down, thinking they are stupid, worthless & other awful things, the easier that person is to control because they assume the controlling person knows best.  Also, a person with low self-esteem will work as hard as they can to get love & approval.  This works nicely for the controller because she can get anything she wants from the victim.

 

Projection.  Narcissists love to project their flaws onto others.  If the narcissist is a liar, she will accuse you of lying.  Overeats?  She’ll call you a glutton, pig or fat.  By doing this projection thing, it allows the narcissist to be angry about the flaw while not accepting that they have it.  It is just one in their arsenal of horrible coping skills.

 

The next time someone says terrible things about you, take notice.  There is a very good reason for it, & chances are that it isn’t that they are offering you constructive criticisms in order to help improve you.

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Understanding Your Abuser vs Justifying Their Abuse

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The Need To Discuss Narcissistic Abuse

Those of us who have been through narcissistic abuse need to talk about it.  It is part of the healing process, discussing our experiences.  This happens for several reasons.

 

Narcissists routinely convince their victims of all manners of ridiculous things, & it takes a lot of talking to be able to sort out the truth from their lies.

 

Narcissistic abuse is very difficult to wrap your mind around, even when you have experienced it first hand.  Talking about what you have been through makes it more real, & enables you to accept that these awful things did happen.  Once that happens, you can begin to heal.

 

Narcissists invalidate their victims constantly, about every single thing that can be invalidated.  Once we realize we have been abused & come away from that, we crave validation.  We especially crave it about the experiences we had, because the narcissist told us we were the problem, they did nothing wrong.  It helps us so much to hear that they were the problem, not us.  We all need to hear this!  The less we hear it, the more likely we are to continue believing we are the real problem in the relationship.  We can’t heal if we don’t know this truth.

 

Some people may not understand that you need to talk about your experiences, & may be nasty to you, but that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with talking about it.  It means you’re a normal person who has been through an abnormal situation.

 

When you find people who don’t understand your need to discuss what you have been through, it’s time to move on, & find others with whom you can discuss your experiences without fear of judgment.  Other survivors are usually the safest people you can talk to.  They understand how surreal everything is, & how you need validation.  They also can share how they have learned to live with the abuse done to them.

 

Remember, Dear Reader, there is nothing wrong with you for feeling the need to discuss what you have been through!  Go with it!  You will feel so much better if you do.

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Differences In Justifying & Understanding Abuse

There is often a great amount of faulty thinking among people that says if you understand why an abuser abuses, that means you’re justifying the abuse.  While that certainly is possible, it isn’t always the case, & it’s also never wise.

 

Anyone who’s been subjected to narcissistic abuse knows narcissists love gaslighting.  Any time they can mess with your perception, feelings & sanity, they are going to jump at that chance.  This even happens when it comes to  their abuse.  They often deny it happened, say it didn’t happen the way you remember or even blame you for making them do whatever it is they did.  As a result of all the gaslighting, it can be very difficult to know & understand the truth.  In fact, it becomes so difficult, many victims do take on the blame for being abused.

 

I was one of those victims who believed being abused was my responsibility.  If I would just be a better daughter, get better grades, obey my mother even more, etc. my mother wouldn’t have needed to spend so much time screaming at me & telling me what a horrible person I was.  Maybe too, my father might try to protect me from her.  I later carried that behavior into my first marriage & my current marriage as well, believing all of the problems in my marriage or with the in-laws were 100% my fault.  In fact, it’s only been in the last probably 10 years or so I’ve been seeing how wrong that is.

 

One thing that helped me to see that I wasn’t always to blame is to understand the people who blamed me.  I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, then later that there are overt & covert narcissists.  I learned how these people behave, & how they abuse.  I also learned about their motivation always being procuring narcissistic supply.  The more I learned, the more I understood my abusers.  Things finally started to make sense.  And, the more I realized those who blamed me when they were the abusers were really messed up!  After a lifetime of hearing that I was the problem, I can’t tell you how freeing it was to learn beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was NOT the real problem!

 

A lot of people will say understanding your abuser is a waste of time.  They’re evil, why bother?  Maybe that works for them, which is great of course, but for me, it was an integral part of my healing.

 

But, this could have ended poorly just as easily.  If I hadn’t questioned the “disorder” in Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I probably would have bought into  the false believe that narcissists can’t help how they behave, because it’s a disorder.  Even seeing all the narcissists in my life control their abusive behavior very well, I wouldn’t have trusted my own instincts about it being something they can indeed control thanks to years of gaslighting.  I could have justified their abuse because they have a “disorder” which means they can’t control their behavior.  It’s not their fault they act the way they do.  Who can control a disorder, after all?!

 

I believe this sort of thinking happens with some folks who learn about NPD.  They hear it’s a disorder, & are willing to absolve the narcissist of responsibility for their behavior.

 

Maybe other people justify narcissist’s behavior because the narcissist had an abusive or neglectful childhood.  While certainly that can create issues in a person, narcissism is a choice.  Narcissists choose to behave the way they do, & they do it because it gets them what they want.

 

Many people justify their behavior because narcissists are not abusive all of the time.  They throw in some nice behavior sometimes.  This confuses victims.  They know the narcissist is capable of being kind & hope she’ll return to being that way.  They fail to realize this is only to lure a victim back into the narcissist’s web, so they make excuses for the bad behavior.  They say things like, “She’s under a lot of stress lately” or, “He was just drunk- it’s not his fault.”  Nice behavior done by a narcissist is never done out of love, but as a way to manipulate & control.

 

Justifying narcissistic abuse in any way is NOT healthy!  It damages your mental health!  It makes you believe you are to blame for what the narcissist does.  It makes you apologize to the narcissist when she abuses you.  It makes you tell yourself incredibly damaging things like you don’t matter.

 

Always remember, there is a huge difference between understanding your abuser & justifying her behavior.  And, only one (understanding your abuser) has the ability to help you.

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