Tag Archives: health

Rejection & Narcissistic Abuse

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Cognitive Dissonance

Recently, my birthday passed.  The first one since having a huge argument with my parents in May of 2016.  My mother didn’t send a card.  My father sent a card though, & as soon as I saw it, I felt so much guilt for the way my relationship with my parents is, or lack of relationship I should say.  The old dysfunctional way of thinking kicked back in.  I should forgive & forget, pretend all is ok no matter how much it hurts me, & I overreacted because they should be able to do & say anything.

 

At the same time, I was remembering why I need to stay no contact with my parents.  A lifetime of abuse flowed through my mind.  The cruelty, the belittling, the manipulation, the control, the parentalizing, the guilt trips, the putting everyone else ahead of me, the invalidation.  The two very conflicting thoughts & feelings were utterly miserable.  Cognitive dissonance always is miserable!

 

Those of us raised with narcissistic parents know this well.

 

Growing up, we were trained to think & believe certain ways, such as the narcissistic parent always comes first, & our thoughts & feelings mean nothing.  Eventually, we learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & realize that all we grew up believing is wrong.

 

Unfortunately that is only the beginning.  It takes a long time to unlearn old thoughts & replace them with new, healthy thoughts.  As you learn, you experience very uncomfortable feelings because of these conflicting beliefs, which is known as cognitive dissonance.

 

When my experiences happened recently, I mentioned what was happening in my Facebook group.  I am very blessed, because the members were incredibly helpful.  They reminded me why I need to be no contact with my parents, & the guilt & conflict I felt wasn’t from God.

 

I also spent plenty of time in prayer.  I asked God what to do, was I overreacting with my parents, was I wrong, should I ask them back into my life?  God did the same thing those in my group did- gently remind me why I’m no contact & that He didn’t want me feeling guilty.

 

Dear Reader, when you face similar moments of awful cognitive dissonance, I urge you to do what I did- pray.  God is your Father & friend- you can talk to Him openly about everything you feel.  Do it!  He’ll help you get through!  Also, open up to those close to you who understand your situation, preferably those who have been through similar.  They can be of great encouragement too!

 

I know experiencing cognitive dissonance is difficult & painful, but you will get through it!  I did.  The day of my birthday was rough, I won’t lie.  It was a struggle, even with the help of God & friends, but I made it through.  The day after was easier & the one after, still easier.  It just took a little time for the healthy thoughts to beat down the unhealthy ones is all.  When this happens to you, remember that you WILL get through & be just fine.  Be patient, understanding & gentle with yourself, knowing that it will pass.  xoxo

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On Survival Mode

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Why Narcissistic Abuse Can Get Worse As Children Grow Up

I’ve heard over & over that narcissists never change.  Yet, I’ve seen my narcissistic parents change a great deal in my lifetime.

 

When I was a small child, my mother controlled everything about me, & my father idealized me.  In adolescence, my mother continued to control me & added scathing criticisms & later screaming at me to her repertoire.  My father still idealized me but when I complained about my mother to him, he told me how hard it was for him, & he was helpless to do anything for me.  Once I moved out, my parents both complained to me about the other one even more often than they had when I was growing up (which was a lot when I was a kid).  My mother no longer screamed at me or could control me as much as she did, but she was also still critical.  My father said how hard it was for him when I was growing up, knowing she was hurting me & wanted my comfort.  Once my parents hit their 70’s, they changed again.  My covertly narcissistic father gets more overt by the day, & my mother’s scathing criticisms have become quietly spoken & more hurtful than ever.

 

Many narcissistic parents follow a similar path in the manners in which they abuse their children.  They adapt their behaviors to the child’s & their stages in life.  But why?  I mean, we can all understand why a physically abusive parent stops hitting their child once the child is physically able to protect herself of course.  The abuser doesn’t want to get beaten as she beats her child.  But why do narcissists change their behaviors so much?

 

Personally, I believe the reason is they are attempting to beat their adult children down so they stay childish.  Eroding their child’s self-esteem will leave that child feeling incapable, rather than like the capable adult she truly is, & will make her feel she must depend on her parents.  After all, the parents want her to believe, she isn’t smart enough to choose the right friends, work the right career, like the right things, etc.  Her parents know best, so she should depend on them.

 

If a narcissistic parent can keep their adult child in a perpetual state of childhood, this can provides an incredible amount of narcissistic supply.  The adult child will depend on the parents, which means they can give the appearance of being good parents.  This adult child also will cater to their every whim, which we all know provides tons of narcissistic supply.

 

If the adult child doesn’t submit, however, she can count on problems with her parents.  Narcissistic parents can’t deal with a child who doesn’t submit to her parents, even as an adult.  They expect blind obedience from their child, no matter her age, & if they don’t get it, they will do their level best to hurt that child. They will treat her worse than ever once they realize she is resisting submitting to them.  Or, they simply discard her like a piece of trash, refusing to have any relationship with her, & often creating a vicious smear campaign against her.

 

As the adult child, you have no obligation to submit to abusive parents.  There is no love or honor in abuse.  You have every right to protect yourself from your narcissistic parents!  It will not be an easy road, but it is worth it.  And, it is much easier than living in that perpetual childhood in an attempt to please them.

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God Will Give You Great Wisdom

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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New Apps

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

For http://TheButterflyProject.Tripod.com : 

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

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When Your Narcissistic Parent Goes No Contact With You

At the time of writing this, my mother hasn’t spoken to me in just under 10 months, my father in 2 months.  They both used to call me constantly, so the silence is something I’m still getting used to.

 

Prior to them stopping speaking to me, I had decided I wanted to go no contact with them.  The odd thing was I felt God didn’t want me to say it to them.  He wanted me to continue to get healthier, enforce my boundaries & stay low contact.  When we had an argument last May 5, I lost my temper, & God told me He wanted that to happen.  He said it’d make my parents want to stay away from me when they realized I’m not so easy to push around anymore.  Has it ever!

 

Although I’m grateful, it still hurts that my parents clearly have decided that I’m not worth speaking to because I defended myself to them.  Since it happened, I’ve done a lot of praying & researching on the topic.  I’ve learned there is virtually no information out there for those whose parents have cut them off.  Almost all the no contact information I could find was for adult children who have gone no contact with their parents.

 

The last few days, I’ve been especially depressed & anxious in spite of some good stuff happening in my life.  It really hurts that my parents cut me off, even though I know it’s for the best.  So, I started praying more about it & God showed me some things.  I thought I’d share them here since there are plenty of us whose parents have cut us off, & there is so little information available for people in this position.

 

When normal people implement no contact, it isn’t to punish anyone- it is to protect themselves from further abuse.  When narcissists do it, there is much more to it.  After all, whatever you did to “deserve” them going no contact (at least in their warped minds), caused a grievous narcissistic injury.  Anything causing a narcissistic injury is going to be met with some type of narcissistic rage.

 

Narcissists use no contact to cause their victim pain.  Basically, it’s a version of the silent treatment.  It’s to let the victim know that they are irrelevant.  The victim’s side of the argument is also so irrelevant that the narcissist doesn’t want to waste time listening to it.  The victim isn’t even worth the narcissist acknowledging.  It’s a cruel rejection, especially coming from a parent.  Narcissistic parents reject their children their entire lives.  This is just one more rejection added onto the pile.  It really hurts, & that is normal!

 

It’s shaming.  Narcissists love to shame their children, no matter the child’s age.  By going no contact with you, they aim to make you feel that you are so bad, even your own mother &/or father can’t tolerate you.

 

Their version of no contact is also an attempt at control.  The narcissist’s goal is to make you run to the narcissist, apologize for whatever you said or did, or didn’t say or do, & give the narcissist whatever she wants to make up for your “cruelty”.

 

Narcissists can’t deal with conflict.  If the no contact came about after an argument like mine did, it’s not surprising.  The cold, hard, & painful truth is a narcissist would prefer to cut off their own child rather than work through conflict, admit that they were wrong or even simply to try to see the situation from their child’s perspective.  That’s what’s happening with my parents, & many other narcissists are the same way.

 

By going no contact, the narcissistic parents can look like the victim.  They can tell people that you were so cruel, so abusive, that they had no other choice.  Often narcissists would prefer to avoid going no contact since it also potentially could make them look bad, but when they are in the position, they’ll work it to the best of their ability.  They’ll gain pity from their flying monkeys or anyone who will listen with their tales of how mean & unreasonable you were.  Devoted flying monkeys may come out of the woodwork & go after you, doing the narcissist’s dirty work for them by telling you what a horrible person you are for doing whatever you did.  That way, the narcissist can still hurt you without having to be in contact with you.  Narcissists love this- they get to hurt you & manipulate another person into doing it for them while they look innocent.  It’s really a perfect trifecta for narcissists.

 

I realized something else… even knowing such things, it really hurts when your parents don’t speak to you no matter how cruel they are!  I know beyond a doubt this is for the best for me, & that God wants my parents out of my life.  I know they would hate the successes I’m having with my writing lately- not only the material I write about but the fact I’m having success.  (My parents clearly hate when things go well for me.)  I don’t even miss my parents & am enjoying the lack of their drama.  I’m enjoying the peace & lack of criticisms, nastiness, & manipulation.  So what is my problem?!

 

I’m grieving.  Not the loss of my parents but the fact that they prefer to be “right” & have me out of their lives rather than talk about our problems.   Also the fact that my mother’s & my birthdays are coming up next month.  There will be no celebrating together.  My parents might send a card like they did at Christmas, but I know it won’t mean they want to work things out- it’s only to make them look good.  Mother’s day is coming in May, Father’s day in June & I have no need to get cards.  Yes it was hard to find rather generic, “have a nice day” kind of cards, but at least it meant I still had parents.  Now?  I feel like an orphan.

 

Dear Reader, if your narcissistic parents have stopped speaking to you, please know you’re not alone.  I’ve spoken with a few people recently who have experienced the same thing, even those who are in similar situations to mine, feeling they wanted to go no contact, but felt God wanted them to refrain from telling their parents that.  Why God asks that of some of us, I don’t know, but I do know He has a very good reason for it.  That you can be absolutely certain of.

 

Also, remember how much God loves you.  He is there during this difficult time.  He will comfort you when it hurts.  He will give you wisdom on what you should do.  Trust in Him to help you get through.  Unlike your earthly parents, God truly is a loving, kind, caring, generous parent.

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Invalidation Is Abuse!

 

Invalidation judges, mocks, & rejects a person’s feelings.  It also implies or  says directly that the person is deeply flawed or crazy.

 

Invalidation is an attempt to control another person & their feelings, as well as to distract that person from abusive behavior.  It hinders or even destroys a person’s ability to trust his or her own feelings, perceptions, & intuition.  It is similar to gaslighting in that respect.  It forces a person to believe that his or her beliefs, thoughts, feelings or even physical presence are flawed, difficult or of no value.  It at best damages self-esteem, or at worst destroys it.

Invalidation frequently occurs when an abuser is confronted about her abusive behavior, or the abusive behavior of someone else (for example, a husband may invalidate his wife when she complains about his mother’s bad behavior).   The purpose is to take attention away from one’s flaws or abusive behavior, & to turn the attention onto you and your (real or imagined) flaws instead.

Interestingly, a person can invalidate themselves as well.  Trivializing your own wants, needs, accomplishments, or feelings, is a form of invalidation.  Essentially, you’re telling yourself that you don’t matter, there is something very wrong with you, or your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs are wrong.  This type of behavior is often learned in childhood, but it also can come from being married to a psychologically abusive spouse.  Paying attention to your thoughts & words about yourself can determine if you do this.  If you are, then you can make the appropriate changes.

As you read this, remember: you are worthy! Your feelings, thoughts & needs matter!  You are ok!  You are not crazy!  Treat yourself accordingly, as a man or woman of value, who God loves dearly!

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A Quote To Help You Heal & Cope With Narcissists

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

 

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

 

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

 

Doesn’t this make a lot of sense?!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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To Confront Or Not To Confront Narcissistic Parents?

I was recently watching a TV show where one of the main characters developed PTSD after being carjacked & tortured.   Someone suggested he visit his attacker in jail & confront him.  He did.  The attacker didn’t even remember who he was at first, then told him he let him live- the victim should be grateful.  He also blamed the victim for scaring him at one point during the attack.  The victim finally left.  He later was talking to his father about it & said nothing changed.  Confronting that man did nothing to help him.

 

I thought about this in the context of those of us with narcissistic parents.  Sometimes people tell adult children of narcissists that we should confront our parents.  It’ll do us good to get it all out.  It doesn’t matter how they respond or if they deny what they did because we know the truth.

 

Sometimes, that isn’t true however.

 

If you’re in the position of considering confronting your narcissistic parent, I strongly urge you to pray & think before doing so.  Think about what you hope to accomplish.  Do you want to just get things out or are you hoping for validation?  If you’re hoping for your parent to validate your pain & admit to the things they’ve done, then you may be in for a very rude awakening.  Narcissists seldom admit to making mistakes, & when they do, often it is turned around so the victim is to blame.  “If you wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have said that.”

 

Do you think confronting them will change their behavior?  Again, you may be in for a rude awakening.  Narcissists rarely change their behavior, & when they do, it’s usually for the worse.  If a narcissist knows that something they do hurts you, they will do it again & again & again.  Hurting you makes them feel powerful, so yes, they will continue to do it repeatedly to get that “high.”

 

However, if you want to confront your narcissistic parent to clear your mind or get things off your chest, & you genuinely don’t care about what they say or do, then you are in a position where confronting your parent may benefit you.  It may help you to feel some peace or feel lighter by getting things out of you.  Even so, before you do, pray.. ask God to strengthen you against whatever nastiness they sling your way so you won’t be hurt when they deny their actions or act bored when you begin to cry.  Narcissists are excessively cruel when confronted, & even the strongest people need extra strength to deal with them.

 

If you are wondering, I’ve decided not to confront my narcissistic parents.  At the time of writing this, it’s been almost 1 year since my mother & I have spoken, over a month for my father & I (very rare for him- he used to call constantly.  He must be very mad at me).  I thought about it recently.. I wonder if either of them will want to talk things out.  If they do, I won’t go along with it.  I have nothing to say & don’t want to hear anything they have to say.  I’m at peace with that decision.  I know nothing I can say will change their behavior or make them see the errors of their ways.  I also don’t need to get things off my chest to them.  Doing so would only hurt me more when they ignore me.  I’ll pray or write in my journal instead.

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The Most Dangerous Of All Narcissists- Covert

When people first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the almost always learn about overt narcissists.  They read that narcissists are always loud, brash, braggarts who openly use & abuse people.  Which is mostly true.  Overt narcissists are absolutely that way.

 

What is equally true is not all narcissists are like that.  Some narcissists come across as insecure & passive, even offering apologies sometimes which overt narcissists don’t do.  They make you feel sorry for them.  If you’re romantically involved with one, he may not even be someone you were attracted to at first.  Somehow though, he acted in a way that gained your attention.  He pretended to share your values while also gaining your sympathy, thus making him attractive to you.  He probably says things like he’s never loved anyone like he loves you, he’s waited for someone like you his whole life & other lies.

 

Over time, the mask slips & a much more devious & sinister person comes to light.  Yet when you have believed that this person was good, believing that they are cruel doesn’t compute.  You think the abuse can’t be real.  You must be paranoid.  You must be imagining things or reading too much into it.  After all, when you approach this person, he blames you & says he is the victim of your cruelty.  Someone so good wouldn’t abuse you..

 

Or would they?

 

Covert narcissists are extremely good at hiding their abuse.  So much so even victims don’t always consider it abuse.  They make excuses- “she just doesn’t know any better,”  “He was just kidding!”  “She was just trying to help…”

 

Confronting a covert narcissist never goes well.  They tell you that you’re crazy, wrong, reading too much into things, they never said or did what you believe they did & more.

 

In this position, victims often submit to the twisted beliefs of the covert narcissist, losing their self-esteem in the process & doubting their sanity.  Some try harder & harder to please the narcissist, never being able to do so.  The narcissist constantly changes what they want so you aren’t able to please them.  The victim’s self-esteem continues dropping, & they try harder to please the narcissist, & the cycle continues.

 

If the covert narcissist is a parent, the parent will do their best to gain their child’s sympathy.  They commit emotional incest on a constant basis, treating their child as a partner rather than a child.  They burden their child with their woes about their failing marriage or other inappropriate topics.  If still married to the other parent, they expect the child to get involved with marital problems or protect the parent from the other parent.  They portray themselves as the real victims of this dysfunctional situation, not the child, nor do they care that they & possibly the other parent abused that child

 

Covert narcissists are a thousand times worse to deal with than overt narcissists, in my opinion.  At least with an overt narcissist, you know what you’re getting.  They are bold & “in your face” with their actions, leaving you no doubt what they’re like.  Covert narcissists keep you guessing.  They use your natural instincts of kindness against you.  While overt & covert narcissists both can make you feel like you’re crazy, chances are you will figure out that you aren’t much sooner with an overt narcissist.  Coverts are not only great at manipulation but also using pity to get what they want.  Victims don’t want to think the covert narcissist is trying to make them feel crazy, & they’re afraid of upsetting him, so they are less likely to question what they are told.

 

Covert narcissists are everywhere.  The mother in-law who won’t let go of her adult son & quietly treats her daughter in-law like dirt when no one is around.  The father married to an overtly narcissistic wife who fails to protect his child, instead wanting her to comfort him because his wife abuses his child & it’s hard for him.  The husband who everyone thinks is a good guy, but behind closed doors, criticizes his wife in every area possible, compares her unfavorably to other women & makes her feel guilty for not measuring up.  The parent who sexually abuses their child.

 

These people are incredibly dangerous!  Covert narcissists should NOT be underestimated!  Be aware of what to look for with covert narcissists, & protect yourself accordingly!!  Have good, strong boundaries.  Pay attention to their words & actions.  Don’t let your guard down around them.  Keep conversations very superficial.  Most of all, pray.  Pray lots!  Ask God for wisdom on how to deal with this person.

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Fear Is Not From God

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Physical Problems Can Change You

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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Children Of Narcissists Matter!

Narcissistic parents, be they overt or covert narcissists, make sure that their children know in no uncertain terms that the parents are the important ones, & the children don’t matter.

 

Growing up, my mother came first, always, in every area.  If I was sick, it was an inconvenience for her.  Growing up seemed to be viewed as a betrayal  rather than a normal course of events.  My father, rather than protect me from her constant abuse told me how hard it was for him that it happened.  Then last May, I had a big argument with my parents (I wrote about it here).  I told my mother flat out I felt betrayed by her behavior, & she didn’t care.  In fact, she sat in silence as I poured my heart out, only giving me an occasional bored sigh in response.  That was also the last time she spoke to me.  The conversation with my father was much the same.  He defended himself until I mentioned I felt he betrayed me, then he went silent, obviously not understanding my perspective, just like my mother, then changed the subject.  Since, he’s barely spoken to me & has yet to offer more than a flimsy attempt at an apology.  He brought up the argument a couple of months ago, & still had no concept of why I was angry.

 

Many narcissistic parents are just as hateful as mine are, so I’m sure many of you reading this can relate.  Unfortunately, I also feel safe in guessing that many of you also battle feelings of worthlessness because of it.  How can you not feel worthless when you are reminded in so many hurtful, cruel ways by your own parent that they believe you to be worthless?

 

Dear Reader, I want to remind you today that you are NOT worthless!  You have great value!  Your narcissistic parent lied to you in order to make herself feel better about herself, to feel powerful since she had the ability to tear you down, or to control & manipulate you since those with low self-esteem are easier to control.  Whatever the reason, she did NOT tell you this because you truly are worthless.  You have worth & value.  God says you’re His masterpiece.. did you know that?   Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  (NLT)  That is only one of the many, many things the Bible says about who God says His children are.  I created a list of these Scriptures & put them on my website if you’d like to check it out.  Feel free to print them out if you like, & remind yourself that those Scriptures are the truth, not what your narcissistic parent has to say about you!  Here is the link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php

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

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

 

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

 

They are one of three types of people:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Do You Have High Functioning Anxiety?

Most people who live with anxiety are all too aware of the fact.  It’s hard to deny when panic or anxiety attacks strike.  Not everyone with anxiety has the obvious signs, however.  Some people experience a high functioning anxiety, which causes different things to happen.

 

People with high functioning anxiety can appear perfectly calm, but their minds are constantly racing with anxious thoughts.

 

They are often extremely busy, constantly doing something, even unimportant tasks.  “Busy work”.  Yet, they may ignore important tasks, allowing them to get backed up rather than admitting they need help.

 

These people hate to be left alone with their own thoughts.  They keep busy or surround themselves with people.  They also may get lost in TV shows often.

 

So how do you deal with this type of anxiety?

 

You learn to ask for help.  Yes, it’s hard, but you need to do it anyway.  No one can do it all by themselves.  Everyone needs help sometimes!  There’s no shame in asking for help.

 

Get proper rest.  Functioning on not enough sleep is bad for your health as well as anxiety levels.  Being tired makes you even more susceptible to bad anxiety.

 

Take breaks often so you don’t get exhausted.

 

Remind yourself that having anxiety doesn’t mean you’re a failure.  It means you’re human.  It isn’t something of which you need to be ashamed.

 

You also aren’t a failure if you need medication to manage your anxiety.  You wouldn’t feel bad if you needed to take insulin to manage diabetes would you?  Then why feel bad for needing anti anxiety medication?  Illness often requires medication, whether the illness is physical or mental.

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Little Things Don’t Have To Become Big Things

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

The little things in life can add up to big things  very quickly.

Neglecting to work through the smaller things can build resentment in a relationship, even leading to drastic measures such as divorce.

Neglecting to appreciate the small things can lead to a negative attitude & lack of appreciation, which makes a person utterly miserable.

Never forget, Dear Reader, that there really isn’t such a thing as “small foxes” in life.  Little things can contain a great deal of power.  They need to be dealt with wisely.

One day a few months ago, I’d had a frustrating day.  One of those days when nothing seemed to go right.  I finally had enough & wanted to relax in bed, watching tv for a bit before falling asleep.  I showered, got into my comfiest pajamas, & pulled back the covers to get into bed when I found one of my cats peed on my bed.  I didn’t even remember the last time this happened.  It’s incredibly rare!  At first I wanted to cry out of sheer frustration.  I began to whine to God, when I felt His calm come over me.  Instead of frustration, I felt I needed to take a deep breath.  I did & the reality of my situation sunk in rather than frustration.  I’d planned on changing my bed linens the following morning- I was simply doing it a little earlier than expected.  And, I have a waterbed.  Basically, it’s a big vinyl bag of water, so the pee didn’t absorb into the mattress like it would with a traditional mattress.  It wasn’t a huge deal.

When frustrations happen, I urge you to do the same thing I did.  Stop.  Talk to God.  Take a deep breath to relax.  Then think about your situation realistically.  Is it really a big deal the thing happened?  If not?  Don’t worry about it.  If so?  Work through it.  Talk to God.  Confront someone if need be, in a gentle manner of course.  Not sure how to do that?  Ask God to show you what to do & how to do it.  He will!

I know that frustrating things can feel like a huge deal, especially after a bad day or if you have anxiety, depression, PTSD or C-PTSD.  They don’t always have to be a huge deal though, Dear Reader.  God can help you to have a healthy perspective, so let Him!

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Covert Narcissistic Parents & Their Need To Rescue Their Children

A thought crossed my mind a little while ago.  Over the last maybe 10-15 years, my father has become quite obsessed with rescuing me.  If I’m in financial trouble, he wants to give me money.  If I have car trouble, he wants to tell me what’s wrong with the car even though I know cars & my husband has worked in the automotive industry for 30 years.  I even remember one day when  I was knitting during his visit to my home, I dropped a skein of yarn & he practically leaped towards me as if he was going to pick up my yarn.  He also tried to tell me how to knit differently.  Mind you, he knows nothing of knitting.

 

Since this rescue thing began, it’s been a problem.  It infuriates my mother & she in turn would take her rage out on me.  Plus, I don’t need a “daddy”- I’m a capable adult.  I needed a father as a child when my mother was actively abusing me & my father wanted me to console him about that fact rather than protect me.  Him wanting to rescue me now & not then just ticks me off.

 

I’ve been wondering why he does this.  I thought it was just about getting some narcissistic supply.  Covert narcissists like him love to look good by helping people.  They don’t help out of the kindness of their hearts or because they care- they help for supply only.  However, it felt like there was something more to it than that.

 

Today, God showed me there is more to it.

 

My father’s behavior started as I began to set more boundaries with my father, to spend less time with him & to pull away emotionally as well as physically.  Narcissists don’t handle their child growing up as normal parents do.  Normal parents embrace each stage of life their child is in.  Narcissists want their child to remain small children indefinitely.  Small children are easy to manipulate & control as well as are eager to please their parents.  Since children grow up, narcissistic parents are forced to find ways to keep their children from maturing too much.  My father has opted to rescue me to accomplish this.  If I see that I need him to help me often, it will keep me doubting myself & dependent on him.  He’ll get the narcissistic supply he needs by looking like the good dad who helps his daughter, plus I’ll stay dependent on him, easier to manipulate & wanting to please him.  I won’t cause “problems” by having boundaries or my own wants, needs, or feelings.

 

There are a great deal of covert narcissists in the world, so I’m sure that my father isn’t the only one who behaves this way.  They all seem to use the same rule book so I’m sure some of you reading this have a covertly narcissistic parent who behaves in this manner.  It can be so frustrating wondering what is happening when they behave this way!  I hope this helps you, Dear Reader, by giving you a possible reason for this behavior.

 

If you’re wondering how to deal with it, the only thing I found to do is to refuse the gifts, advice or attempts at rescuing.  I remind my father I’m an adult & can handle whatever the situation is I need to handle-  I don’t need any help or advice.  It’s going to anger your parent, but the good part of that is they can’t say so without looking foolish, so they won’t say anything.  In fact, I’ve found my father pulled away from me more & more as I refused his rescuing.

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A Reminder For All Children Of Narcissistic Parents

For some reason, I felt strongly that God wanted me to remind my readers of two facts that many children of narcissistic parents struggle with.  I’m sorry this isn’t a new or unique word today.  I firmly believe it is important, & something God wants you to remember though, so that is why I’m sharing it

 

Fact #1:  Your narcissistic parents are NOT your responsibility.  They are adults, entitled to make their own choices (even the bad ones).  It is NOT your job to fix your parents or protect them from the consequences of their horrible behaviors.  Your parents’ lives are 110% their responsibility.

 

Fact #2:  While your parents have the right to live their lives their way, you posses the same right.  You are entitled to live your life however you see fit.  This also includes the right to protect yourself from your toxic, narcissistic parents.  You are NOT being a bad son or daughter by protecting yourself from your parents or refusing to tolerate their manipulations & abuse.  Tolerating abuse is never honorable, loving or good for either the abuser or the victim.

 

I know these two facts can be difficult to remember sometimes, Dear Reader, especially when you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parents, but you need to remember them!  They will help you to refuse to accept the blame & responsibility for things that you shouldn’t accept blame & responsibility for.  They also will help you to avoid falling for the cruelty & gaslighting of your narcissistic parents.

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Don’t Be Too Quick To Label “Survivors”

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Have You Accepted Your Narcissistic Parent’s Reality As Your Own?

In a discussion in my Facebook group, I mentioned how my mother always told me I hated having my picture taken.  I assume that’s why my parents almost never took pictures of me as a child.  Now, as an adult in my mid 40’s, seeing a camera can make me panic.  Oddly, it never occurred to me that this was wrong until a friend of mine pointed it out.  Once she did though, I began to think about it.  I realized I have accepted my mother’s skewed view of reality rather than decide for myself what I felt or believed.

 

Have you done the same, Dear Reader?  Do you feel a certain way about something because your narcissistic parent told you to?  If so, I would like to encourage you today to do what I am doing- challenge that!  Reject your narcissistic mother’s reality & claim your own.

 

Narcissistic parents NEVER have their child’s best interest at heart.  If they try to convince you of something, it is because it benefits them in some way, not you.  My mother convincing me I hate having my picture taken meant she had a good reason not to take pictures of me.  Normal parents want pictures of their children, but mine didn’t want pictures of me.  Not that she said this, of course, but I know it anyway.  Since she convinced me I hated having my picture taken, this shifted the blame for there not being pictures of me onto me.  See what a good mother she was?  She didn’t force me to do something I didn’t want to do!  As an added bonus- she hates having her picture taken so she could project her insecurities onto me.  This situation benefited my mother nicely, but it hurt me, because here I am with very few pictures of me as a child aside from the annual school pictures.

 

Whatever your narcissistic mother’s reality for you is, today is your day to reject it!  Face the real reality & reject hers once & for all!  You deserve the best, & the best is certainly NOT the nonsense a narcissist puts on her own child.  As yourself what you truly think about her reality.  Do you honestly agree with it or do you feel something different?  Ask God to help you to see the truth in the situation if you’re having trouble seeing it.  He will help you!

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Don’t Justify & Explain Your Mental Illness

Mental illness is very different from physical illness in many ways.  One of those ways is the fact most people don’t usually believe someone has a mental illness.  If you have diabetes, people can see there’s a problem.  They see you testing your glucose or giving yourself an insulin shot.  If you have cancer, you have xrays, mri’s & maybe even a visible tumor that people can see.  But if you have a mental illness, there isn’t such evidence.

 

If you have Bipolar disorder, you’re just “moody.”

 

If you have C-PTSD or PTSD, you’re “dwelling in the past, need to stop thinking about things, need to get over it or you can’t have it because you weren’t in the military.”

 

If you’re depressed or anxious, “you’re feeling sorry for yourself, stop being sad or anxious, need to get out more or take a pill & get over it.”  “Everyone feels sad/anxious” is another common comment.

 

What people fail to realize is you can’t control the symptoms of mental illness any more than you can physical illness.

 

As someone who is not only suffering with mental illness but also frustrated with the lack of compassion & understanding many people have about it, you may do like many people, & try to explain & justify your illness.  Chances are, this will only frustrate you further.

 

As someone with mental illness myself, I get it.  You want people to understand & not judge.  You don’t want to be invalidated either.  After years of thinking any problem I had wasn’t important (thanks, Mom & Dad for the invalidation), I assumed my mental health wasn’t important either.  It took a long time for me to accept that I have real problems, & being invalidated by subject changes & such stupid statements as “Just take a pill- you’ll be fine” make me feel as I did growing up, like I don’t count.  Frankly, I’ve come too far to live with that feeling anymore.  I’ve also realized if I continue to explain to certain people who say such invalidating things, it will leave me feeling even more frustrated & angry.  They only dig their heels in deeper & become more committed to know nothing of the problem at hand.   They don’t want to understand, so nothing I can say will make them understand.  It’s not worth my time & energy trying to make them understand

 

If you are in this situation as well, Dear Reader, I would like to encourage you today.  You don’t have to explain your mental illness to anyone.  Some people are going to want to know about it, but some won’t.  Those people are committed to not knowing or understanding, & it’s not your place to make them understand or know what you live with.  You will know if someone is genuinely concerned for you & wants to know what you experience.  They won’t try to tell you what to do to “get over” your mental illness.  They will offer understanding & support, not judgment.  They will offer to help you if they can.  People like this are the only ones that deserve your time & any information you wish to share about your illness.

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Why Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Read & Talk About It So Much

Once you learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it becomes a bit of an obsession.  Everyone seems to do the same thing once they learn about it- they read everything they can get their hands on about NPD.  They join online forums.  They talk about it often.  Thankfully the newness does wear off some, they realize it’s not healthy to be so obsessed & they begin to take breaks where they refuse to think about it or their experiences with narcissistic abuse.  Even so, NPD is still a frequent topic of reading material, discussion & even thoughts.

 

Why does this happen?

 

I believe it happens because for one thing, there’s finally an answer.  Growing up with narcissistic parents, we’re told we’re the problem.  No matter what, it’s our fault.  If we could just do/be more, better, prettier, etc etc etc, they wouldn’t have to act the way they do.  Yet, when we do our best to be what our parents want us to be, it still isn’t good enough.  They still abuse us or they tell us they never wanted  that out of us, they wanted this instead & we are all wrong.  This situation creates a child who feels like a failure because she didn’t  fix things she isn’t even capable of fixing.  She feels the weight of the world on her shoulders.  As  an adult, learning about NPD, she realizes for the first time in her life that she isn’t the problem.  She isn’t the reason things were so horrible with her parents- her parents are the reason!  It’s incredibly freeing!  By reading about NPD often, it’s a constant reminder that she is OK & that she isn’t the awful person her parents said she was.

 

Unfortunately, the gaslighting & brainwashing of narcissistic parents goes incredibly deep.  Reading such information a few times doesn’t really cut it.  We have to read it & talk about it repeatedly to constantly remind us that we aren’t the problem.  In my situation, I have had moments of revelation where I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I’m not the one with the problem & my parents have always been incredibly abusive.  Yet, even so, I still have doubts about that sometimes.  I wonder if I’m completely wrong & they are right after all.  Reading about, writing about & discussing narcissistic help me to keep in mind the simple truths about them being abusive & I’m not to blame.

 

Dear Reader, if you are doing this, please don’t feel bad.  You’re simply a normal victim of narcissistic abuse.  I would bet all of us obsess to a degree over the topic.  Maybe not forever, but at the very least for a while.

 

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PTSD, C-PTSD & Triggers

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Why Remembering Childhood Trauma Feels Different As An Adult

I’m going to take a wild guess that I’m not the only victim of narcissistic abuse who has experienced this kind of situation.  I’m hoping sharing it will help those of you who have similar experiences.

 

When I was in either seventh or eighth grade, I experienced the scare of my young life at that time.  My parents & I went to the grocery store one night.  While there, we ran into my friend, her parents & brother.  She & I went off to check out the makeup while our families shopped for groceries.  Shortly after we were separated, a very creepy guy started following us & trying to talk to us.  He scared us both badly.  Thankfully, we found my friend’s parents as we were trying to get away from the creepy guy, & she told her parents what happened.  Her father was a very big, imposing man, which worked nicely in our favor.  As Creepy Guy approached, her father put his arms around us both & told the guy to leave his daughters alone or else!  Creepy Guy left us alone.  My friends father told me to stay with them until we found my parents.  Upon finding my parents a few minutes later, he told my parents what happened.  I don’t remember if they even thanked him for protecting me.  We went to one cash register, my friend & her parents another.  Creepy Guy was outside the store at this point.  He was looking in the window at me, waving & smiling.  My father said & did nothing.  My mother continued putting groceries on the conveyor belt & said to just ignore the guy.  By the time we left the store, Creepy Guy was gone.  That was the end of the situation.  Neither of my parents asked if I was OK or showed any concern for how scared I had been.   I never thought about the incident again until I was around 40 years old.

 

When it came to mind one day, I was suddenly very shaken up.  This guy was just very creepy, I don’t know how else to describe him.  It was painfully obvious his motivations with my friend & I weren’t good.  Yet, my parents didn’t show an ounce of concern, not even after my friend’s parents told them what happened.  These were good, Christian people- they didn’t lie or even exaggerate!  Why wasn’t what they said taken seriously?!  If I had a child & this happened to her, I would’ve called the police & spoken with the store manager, not to mention, tried to comfort my child.

 

In considering this situation, I also realized that not only do my parents still shop at this same grocery store, my mother sent me there to do her shopping a few times before I moved out.  I didn’t feel any anxiety in that store during those times I visited it.  It’s only been as a middle aged woman that I feel horrible anxiety if I’m near that store.  Thankfully I don’t shop at that store or have any reason to go near it very often.

 

I was wondering recently why this is.  Why as a child, was I ok, but now, 30 years after the fact, even a quick trip through the parking lot sends me into a panic attack.  God showed me the answer.

 

As narcissists, these parents demand to be treated as gods, basically.  There is no room for anything except for their reality.  You aren’t allowed to have feelings, needs, etc. with a narcissistic parent because that makes you a “bother.”  All that exists with narcissistic parents is their reality, period, & anything to do with you isn’t important.  If you experience a trauma, they won’t care.  It’s not a big deal to them because it doesn’t affect them.  As a child, you accept their reality as your own.  When something traumatic or even simply painful happens, & your narcissistic parent(s) acts like it’s no big deal, you internalize that.  You accept it wasn’t a big deal & ignore your feelings.

 

Years later as an adult, you see things differently.  If you’ve learned about narcissistic abuse, you definitely see things differently than you did as a child.  You realize how messed up your narcissistic parent(s) is.  You see things differently than you once did.  You no longer blindly accept your parents’ reality but instead accept the real, reality only.  You may even have a child, & see things as a parent rather than only seeing them as an abused child.  You see things through more mature eyes plus with the influence of things you have learned & things you have healed from.  That is why if you look back at something from your childhood you hadn’t thought of in a long time at this point, you realize how messed up it was!  You see your parents lack of protection or concern, & instead of taking it in stride, you get angry or hurt.

 

When this happens, it can be hard at first.  When I first thought about Creepy Guy after all those years, I was angry & very hurt that my parents showed so little concern about a potentially very serious situation.  (I also wished I’d had the chance to thank my friend’s father for protecting me before he died, but that’s another issue).  I was also less than thrilled- yet one more thing to deal with from childhood.  UGH.  I realized something though that helped me.  I realized how far I’ve come.  I was so dysfunctional back then, I accepted that this possible rapist or murder being interested in my friend & I was no big deal.  Now, I see how sick it is my parents ignored the situation.  I realized that my view now is normal & that showed me how much healing I’ve done.  Definitely a good thing!!  So please keep that in mind if you go through this experience, Dear Reader.  Seeing things in a healthy way like I did is proof that you are healing, & that is a huge blessing!

 

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Recent Revelations

Recently, I had a rough evening.  I had a nasty flashback to start with.  It was something I remembered, but I hadn’t thought of in a while.  A few hours later, I went to bed & had nasty nightmares.

 

As miserable as this experience was, it had a purpose.

 

The experience in the flashback & the nightmares showed me that there is a VERY common thread in my life with those who have abused or at the least mistreated me.  The abusers may have done different things to me, but they all believed that I was supposed to be their personal punching bag, obey their wishes at any personal cost to me, sacrifice anything for any whim of theirs, & take any abuse they dished out with a smile.  And, anyone I told their behavior was unacceptable acted the same way- as if I had a problem for being upset about their actions.

 

When this occurred to me the morning after the whole experience, something clicked in me.  No normal human acts this way!  While I already realized it, it really hit home to me just how messed up abusers are to think such things & act this way towards those they abuse.  How can anyone think that it’s OK to abuse & there is something wrong with victims for calling an abuser out on it?!

 

My point is that although you probably know this already, I wanted to remind you, Dear Reader, that NO ONE has the right abuse you!  You have every right to speak out, to set & enforce healthy boundaries, to stop the abuse, & to call out your abuser!  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse just because some sick person thinks you do.  You have rights!  Never listen to an abuser who thinks you should tolerate anything they dish out with a smile.  They are WRONG!  No one has to do that.  No one.  You deserve better than to be abused!  Never doubt that!  If you don’t believe me, remember, God thinks so to.  He loved you enough to send His only Son to die for you, so you could become His child.  Do you really think He would be OK with you being abused after that?

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Looking Through The Eyes Of A Narcissist

Recently I’ve realized something surprisingly helpful in helping me cope with the abuse I’ve experienced at the hands of my narcissistic parents.  Seeing things through their eyes.  Granted, that isn’t always an easy things to do since I’m not a narcissist, but it can be oddly helpful.

 

Seeing things through their eyes has shown me the incredible dysfunction they live with, & how so much of their abuse wasn’t personal (although it sure felt that way), but was solely about them.  I was simply collateral damage, an acceptable loss to them.

 

For example, my mother has criticized my looks as far back as I can remember.  Compared her features to mine, telling me how much more attractive hers were than mine.  Naturally, I grew up feeling like the ugliest person on the planet.  Eventually, I looked at this situation through my mother’s eyes.  My mother said when I was born, she figured I’d look like her- brown hair & eyes.  I’m a blue eyed blonde, like the Baileys- my father’s family.  In fact, I look a lot like my grandmother, who, mind you, was a beauty in her youth.  My mother hates all of her in-laws, so if you look at this situation through her narcissistic eyes, I probably betrayed her.  I disappointed her by being born not looking like her, & to boot, looking like people she hates.  Never mind I had zero control over this, somehow it still comes back to her, & I didn’t do as she wanted.  I had to pay.  Plus, she probably thought I was prettier than her, so again, I had to pay.  She had to tear me down so I didn’t think of myself as pretty.  Bonus- tearing me down built her up at the same time.

 

Realizing these things helped me to stop taking her scathing criticisms so personally.  What she said wasn’t true- it was simply a means to make herself feel better & to nurse the “wound” I gave her by being born differently than she wanted me to be.  Granted, I’m still trying to believe I’m pretty, but at least I know now what she said is all lies & I’m not some hideous monster like she made me feel like.  (Feeling pretty probably will take a long time.  Baby steps..)

 

See what I mean?  Seeing things through her eyes helped me to see the truth in the situation, & stop believing her hurtful lies.  It can help you as well, & let’s face facts- anyone who has experienced narcissistic abuse needs any help they can get to heal the damage it’s caused.

 

I would like to encourage you today to try this, Dear Reader.  Look at a painful situation through the narcissist’s eyes.  I guarantee you will see that you did not deserve what was done to you, that it was more about the narcissist than you & that the narcissist lied to you  simply to benefit herself.  If you’re having some trouble, ask God to help you if this is something He wants you to do.

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Should You Listen To Your Emotions?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Pay Attention To Your Dreams- They Are Important!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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