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I recently watched a show about cults, & this episode featured the Heaven’s Gate cult. The entire story is interesting, but something said during an interview with an anti-cult lawyer really got my attention.
He was talking about how in cults, many people are forced to change their name to something very different, & Heaven’s Gate was no exception. He said something to the effect that many cult leaders require this of anyone who wishes to join them. It is a way to shed their old identity & take up a new one. Interesting, no?
It made me think of something. Many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse have changed our names. I’ve done it. My parents always referred to me as “Cindy”. Now I ask no one call me that, & call me “Cynthia” instead. Other people may take this to a more extreme place & legally change their name to something entirely different, sometimes even changing their last name as well.
In any case, I think this is a good idea however it’s done.
When narcissists are involved with something, that thing can be tainted somehow. As an example, if you dated a narcissist who loved the same restaurant you love, after breaking up, you probably won’t want to visit that restaurant anymore. The same kind of thing can happen with your name. My parents never, ever called me Cynthia. My mother always said she loved the name Cindy, & C-I-N-D-Y is the only correct way to spell the name. As a result, Cindy feels nothing like the person I am, but the dysfunctional mess that I used to be. The person my parents created. By choosing to go by Cynthia, I took their power away by essentially killing off Cindy. As far as I’m concerned, that person no longer exists & will NOT be resurrected under any circumstances. Cynthia is the person that I’ve created, & the narcissists who have been in my life have absolutely no part in her.
If you’re reading this today, I hope you’ll consider what I’ve said. Whether you opt to alter your given name slightly, change its spelling or legally change it to something entirely different, it really can be a healing move. It empowers you by giving you control over something you should have control over. At the same time, it also helps you to shed the person that the narcissist in your life tried to turn you into. I can tell you, after years of being Cynthia, when I look at old things with Cindy on it, such as papers from when I was in school, it feels very different. When I look at my old name, even in my handwriting, it feels as if that is someone else I once knew & quite frankly, never really liked.
One final thought.. if you do opt to do this, if possible, I really don’t recommend telling the narcissist what you have done. If he or she is still in your life, then they will ruin it for you, & you’ll be right back to square one. You making a change to your name in any way will offend the narcissist, because it’s something you decided to do & followed through doing all on your own, without his or her input. Because of this, that will gain disapproval & anger. It’s better not to let the narcissist know this. My parents died without knowing I asked people to call me Cynthia. I did once tell my mother I preferred Cynthia, which shocked her, but I always signed cards to my parents Cindy, as she preferred. I knew who I was, in spite of them, so it wasn’t a big deal. It was a small price to pay to keep the peace in that area.
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Gaslighting is an especially insidious form of abuse that makes a victim doubt their memories, perceptions, reality & sometimes even their sanity. Narcissists love to use it due to the fact that people who live with frequent gaslighting are easy to control. After all, if a person doesn’t trust themselves, they will look elsewhere for whatever information they need, even to an abusive person who is the reason they no longer trust themselves.
Gaslighting can be very subtle, which means it can be difficult to identify. Below are some commonly used phrases narcissists use to gaslight their victims.
“You’re crazy.” Either said outright or implied with phrases like, “You need help.” This phrase can make a person doubt their sanity when repeated often enough & with certainty.
“You’re over sensitive or overreacting.” Another common gaslighting phrase. This is said to make a victim feel shame for being upset at what the abuser has said or done. Few things will shut a person down faster than shame, & when they are shut down, they won’t complain about the abuse.
“I was just kidding!” This phrase is closely related to “You’re oversensitive.” It is designed to create doubt. The victim is supposed to think they overreacted or are too sensitive or stupid to realize the comment was just a joke. The truth is however that it was nothing of the sort.
“You need to get over it!” This phrase basically tells a victim that they are wrong for still being upset about whatever the abuser did that upset them. Narcissists want their victims to tolerate abuse indefinitely & without complaint. If they can make their victim feel badly about themselves or even ashamed for being upset, then they have an excellent chance of getting the victim to continue to tolerate abuse.
“It didn’t happen that way!” This phrase can be used in a couple of ways. The first & most obvious of course is to make a victim doubt their perception & believe the narcissists’s version of events. The other use may be the narcissist’s lack of coping skills coming into play. The narcissist may be ashamed of something they said or did, not because it hurt the victim, but because it may make the narcissist look bad if the victim tells others about what happened. In order to avoid that, the narcissist may try to convince themselves & the victim that it didn’t happen that way, it happened this very different way instead. This way will involve the narcissist not acting badly or the victim doing something to provoke the narcissist to do what they did.
“That never happened!” Denial is a very commonly used tool with narcissists. If they can get their victim to believe that something never happened, that person won’t tell others what the narcissist has done.
“No one else would feel that way./ You’re the only person in the world who would feel that way.” This phrase is another way for narcissists to shame victims by making them feel they are weird, wrong, broken. If they can shame a victim enough, the victim will stop complaining about the abuse & tolerate it quietly.
“I’m only doing this because I love you.” My mother used to justify abusing me by telling me it was “tough love” she was using on me & I deserved it because of my terrible behavior. That is all this phrase is – a way for a narcissist to justify being abusive.
“No one will ever love you like I do.” My ex husband told me this once, & I thank God he was right about that! The phrase is said to make a victim feel that they are lucky to have the narcissist’s love, because no one else ever could or would care about them.
When the narcissist in your life says such things to gaslight you, keep in mind that is exactly what these phrases are, gaslighting. That means there isn’t an ounce of truth in them at all. If you have doubts, ask yourself why do you think the narcissist is right. Or better yet, ask God to tell you the truth in this situation.
Keep a journal. If you haven’t done this before, do it now. Write down what the narcissist says. Seeing things in writing can bring about a great deal of clarity. Often, it makes things clearer than simply talking or thinking about them.
Always remember, the narcissist says these things to manipulate you & to keep you down. Don’t give the narcissist that satisfaction!
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that anyone who is born again is a new creation in Christ. I have learned though that other things can make a person feel almost as if they are reborn, just not quite to that same extreme.
This has happened twice in my life. The first time was in February, 2015 when I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. The poison made me pass out for about 25 minutes, & from what I understand from a doctor, usually people who are out for 20 minutes from carbon monoxide never wake up. That was so hard to grasp! Literally, I should have died but I survived! Plus, the lack of oxygen that the poisoning creates often does permanent brain damage & I also suffered a concussion (I believe) from hitting my head when I passed out. Both of these factors changed my personality quite drastically. It was all a lot to get used to in addition to the long term physical symptoms.
The second time was when my mother died in April, 2019. As the police told me that she had passed & I had to go to her home immediately to deal with having her remains taken to the funeral home, I felt this sensing that my life as I knew it was over. That sensing turned out to be right!
Although both of these events were traumatic & very difficult, I came to realize something. Although I’m not grateful they happened, I’m grateful for the changes they brought.
The changes in my personality from the poisoning mean I have no further tolerance whatsoever for abusive people. As soon as someone starts showing signs of being controlling or manipulative, I kick them out of my life, usually without a word because people like that won’t realize they were wrong or change their behavior anyway. I realized there’s no point in wasting my time.
I also got very protective of my husband & our little family. I know first hand just how quickly life can end & won’t allow any threats to my loved ones.
When my mother died, something in me seemed to die too, but that isn’t a bad thing. I no longer struggle so much with shame on a daily basis. I’m also much less anxious in general now, however sometimes when I am anxious, it’s worse than it once was. Somehow I’m able to cope with it pretty well.
I also learned that my mother is in Heaven, my prayers were answered. God has seen fit to bless me by sharing some messages from her, which is just incredible.
Somehow along the way, I also lost the need for external validation. I’ve gotten quite good at validating myself! Sure, I backslide periodically, but it doesn’t happen often.
What has happened in your life that has made you feel as if you were reborn? What changed after those moments? I don’t mean the traumatic moments that changed you or contributed to you having PTSD or C-PTSD. I mean life altering moments that although they were very hard to get through, eventually worked out well for you like mine did.
Some moments that can lead a person to feel this way include things like coming close to death or losing a loved one like me, but there are other things too. Moving, ending or beginning a new relationship, changing jobs, changing careers, having a child, having a child leave home, caring for an elderly loved one… there is no end to the things that can alter a person’s life drastically.
If you have experienced the reborn feeling, I would like to urge you to consider the good that has come from the experience. If you really think about it, I’m sure you can find some good in your situation. I find great comfort when I learn my suffering had a purpose, & you may experience the same thing, which is why I hope you will do this. xoxo
One way narcissists lure victims into a relationship is by paying way too much attention to their victims.
Narcissistic friends & romantic partners alike commonly smother their new found interest (aka victim) with positive attention. They cling very quickly to someone they just met. They claim the new interest is their soul mate or they felt some sort of special connection the moment they met. They shower this person with praise & often gifts as well. They want to spend every possible moment together.
I have experienced this with friends as well as my ex husband. I’ve met several people online who within a day or two of meeting me decided we needed to talk constantly. Probably the first one was the worst. I didn’t know about narcissism at the time & was flattered she thought so highly of me. We used to speak on the phone often as well as via email. When I didn’t respond to her call or email, she would get mad. She’d claim she was just kidding when she said things like how dare I not call her back sooner than I did or “joke” about me being so busy when she clearly thought I never had anything to do.
I was young & naive, living with narcissistic parents when I met my ex husband. He constantly told me how pretty, smart, etc. I was, how he waited all his life for someone like me & expected me to spend all of my free time with him.
Anyone can be extremely flattered when someone treats them this way, but the average functional person realizes quickly this behavior isn’t normal. Those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents however are different.
Growing up with narcissistic parents means you have no concept of healthy boundaries. Even if this person’s attention is overwhelming, you don’t feel you have the right to refuse it. After all, the person is saying & doing what seems like the right things. How can you refuse that?!
Also children of narcissistic parents are neglected. Having someone pay positive attention feels good, & it’s about impossible to resist.
And, narcissistic parents don’t praise their children. These children grow up starving for praise. When someone comes along, showering them with praise, they can’t resist it.
If you grew up with narcissistic parents, you need to be aware of people like this who obsess over you. They’re predators looking for a victim.
Sometimes people meet & they just “click” immediately. My husband & I were that way. The same with my best friend & I. There was no obsessing though. We talked often & were free with complements, but no one was offended if the other didn’t answer their phone call or call back immediately. There was no talk of “soulmates” or anything similar in the very beginning or pressure to spend every waking moment together.
I’ve learned that children of narcissists need to be aware of people like this much more than the average person because of the natural weaknesses that come from being raised by narcissists. I strongly recommend asking God for discernment with people to help you to figure out who is safe & who is not.
Listen to your gut feelings, too. If something doesn’t feel right about someone, that feeling is there for a reason.
Pay attention to people’s actions, not only their words. A person can say anything they want, whether it’s true or not. A person’s actions tell you what is truly in their heart.
If you have doubts, talk to a safe, wise friend about your thoughts. Sometimes an outsider can be very helpful in providing an objective opinion.
Remember, not everyone who pays attention to you truly cares about you. They can be looking for your weaknesses & fears to exploit them & manipulate you.
Anyone who has been subjected to narcissistic abuse knows that unless it affects a narcissist, a narcissist isn’t going to care about it. Period. As if that isn’t bad enough, they train victims to feel the same way. No matter what happens to a victim, it isn’t important. You could be lying in a pool of blood after someone hacked off your leg while the narcissist with you has a cold, & that narcissist will do their best to convince you that your freshly severed leg is no big deal. Their sniffles though, now that is a crisis, so you need to stop whining about your leg!
Narcissists manage to convince victims of the lack of importance of their problems subtly. They’re so subtle, most of us don’t even pay attention to what they are doing until years later when we realize it.
My overtly narcissistic mother simply ignored my problems. I might as well have said nothing, because she would act as if I didn’t say anything or talk over me to change the subject. There were other times if she did listen, she would blame me for the problem, even when I wasn’t at fault.
My father & ex husband, both covert narcissists, used a different tactic. They would let me talk, listening to every word I said. It seemed like they cared, but they didn’t. They wouldn’t respond like a normal person & say “I’m sorry that happened to you” or “Are you ok? Can I do anything to help?” Instead, they would tell me how upset they were or how hard my problem was for them.
For example, the night in 1990 when I was 19 & my mother threw me into a wall, both my father & ex husband turned that into their crisis. My ex said how upset he was that my mother did this, he was furious with her for hurting my back, etc. etc. Not once that evening or in the years following did he offer me any comfort.
My father brought up that night periodically until he died. Mostly about how awful it was that when he walked out, my mother locked him out of the house. His keys were in his pocket & he could’ve come back inside at any time. He also mentioned how bad the damage was where my mother threw me into. It took him time to patch it up. A couple of years before he died, my father literally said to me, “It’s ok.. you don’t have to apologize for busting up that wall. I fixed it & it’s all over.” I was blown away! Why would I apologize? Yes, it was me that broke a wall but not due to my own carelessness! It was because my mother, who was much stronger than me, threw me into the thing! And for the record, I told him this.
Although narcissists are clearly very good at training their victims to think their problems don’t matter, that doesn’t mean they are correct. Not by a long shot, in fact. For some reason, I never saw it until a few months after my mother died. That is when I suddenly realized how it happened & how terrible it is! I repeatedly have told myself that it wasn’t so bad, how my parents & ex treated me. I’ve even doubted having C-PTSD in spite of flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression & more.
Please learn from my experiences! Don’t buy the narcissist’s lies! What happens to you *is* important! It does matter! Acknowledge your experiences for whatever they were. Admit to yourself that you did great sometimes in spite of what the narcissist tells you. Also admit that the traumatic ones were bad. There is nothing wrong with that! In fact, it’s a good thing to do because once you realize that, you can start to heal.
Every once in a while, I hear someone say they are grateful for the terrible things that happened to them at the hands of an abuser, because those awful things made them stronger or made them who they are today. Honestly, I’m not sure that this is a good thing. It may sound empowering, but really… is it truly good to be grateful for suffering horrific abuse even when good came from it? I just don’t know. It sounds too close to toxic positivity for me, but I can’t say with 100% certainty I’m right about that. It may just be something that each person needs to decide for themselves if it is good for them or not.
What I do know though, is that whether or not you’re grateful for those terrible things, it’s a good idea to be grateful in general. It helps to appreciate your loving husband, great kids, a secure job & whatever else is going on in your life. A grateful attitude can help alleviate or at least lessen depression so naturally you should be grateful for the good things.
While it may be hard, I really think it’s good to appreciate the good that came from the bad things in your life too. It’s taken me quite some time, but I eventually became grateful for all that I learned as a result of the narcissists & their abuse in my life.
I can spot a narcissist easily now, rather than simply ignore my instincts that were saying I should run for the hills rather than deal with this person.
If somehow I end up forced to deal with a narcissist, now I know how to deal with them in ways that protect my mental health. There will be no more narcissists defining who I am.
Also if I end up forced to deal with one, I know ways to set boundaries now that prevent them from taking advantage of me.
My tolerance for abuse in any form is now gone. I have no problem calling out abusive behavior whether it’s done to me or to someone else. If it’s done to me, & someone reading this has been abusive to me, just know that you are going to be the subject of at least a blog post or two, YouTube video or maybe even a book at some point. Probably you already have been in one of these roles by now.
I love the fact that the awful experiences in my life had a purpose. Being able to write about such things & help others learn, grow & heal is incredibly rewarding. It helps me to cope. I can be less angry about the abuse knowing it all had a purpose.
Also, being through the horrors of abuse means I appreciate good people in my life more than the average person. Those who haven’t been abused tend to take good people for granted much easier than those who have. Appreciating good people just feels good, & that leads you to seek out other good people while rejecting toxic people. It also strengthens relationships with good people because you can’t help but to let them know they are appreciated.
The more grateful you are, the more grateful you become. Certainly that is a very good thing!
So what good things can you think of in your life that are a direct result of surviving abuse? I’m sure if you think about it, there are plenty of good things. Whether you are grateful for the horrors you’ve experienced or not, I really would like to encourage you to be grateful for the good that has come from it all. It can be very good for your mental health! xoxo
Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The name implies that narcissistic behavior is an actual mental illness, doesn’t it? It sounds like narcissists cannot control their behavior because something is actually broken in their brains, much like with schizophrenia, PTSD & other mental illnesses.
This “disorder” thing didn’t sit right with me when I first started to learn about NPD. I also thought about my parents & ex husband. They all were very good at controlling themselves. I remember my mother screaming at me when I was a teenager, as she did daily for quite some time. Then, the phone rang, & she spoke with the caller in a normal voice as if nothing happened. My father convinced everyone he was a nice, simple country boy rather than the controlling manipulator he was behind closed doors. My ex? When we argued, he would push me to the point of yelling as he sat calmly saying the cruelest things imaginable, & annihilating my self esteem.
Even so, I thought since narcissism was classified as a disorder, that meant my observations must be wrong. Obviously disorder means they can’t help the way they act, right?
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is part of the cluster B group of personality disorders that also include Borderline, Antisocial & Histrionic Personality Disorders. A few years ago, I read on Dr. Karyl McBride’s Facebook page that personality disorders are dysfunctional behaviors rather than a broken brain, if you will. Someone with Schizophrenia, for example, has a physical problem with their brain. They display bad behaviors but they are beyond the person’s control. That can’t be said for someone with NPD. All it takes is watching a narcissist for a short time when you realize that that person can control their actions VERY well.
This difference probably doesn’t sound overly important to you, but it actually is. The difference means you treat someone who is narcissistic different than someone with Schizophrenia, PTSD, depression or another mental illness. This isn’t only because the symptoms vary so greatly, but because of the nature of the problems.
Although chances are someone with mental illness will hurt you at some point, it won’t be intentional. It will be because their illness made them behave a certain way. They may not even be aware of hurting you if their illness is quite severe. Once made aware of what happened, they will apologize & try not to repeat the hurtful behavior.
Narcissists are very different. When they hurt you, you can guarantee they had a distinct reason for it, & they are glad they did it. They enjoy hurting other people at worst, & feel absolutely nothing for it at best. If they are confronted about their behavior, they may apologize, but it will be a non-apology, such as, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” or, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” You also can bet on the fact that the hurtful behavior will happen again once they know just how much it upset you.
Due to such vast differences in the way they respond when they have done something wrong or even abusive, you need to treat each person differently. The mentally ill person deserves mercy if they are trying to behave better. The narcissist isn’t going to try, so rather than “forgive & forget”, it’s best to protect yourself. Set & enforce strong boundaries instead. Give them almost no personal information. Learn about the Gray Rock Method.
If you buy into the lie that the disorder in Narcissistic Personality Disorder means they can’t help their behavior, you might pity them & tolerate the abuse. Never forget that personality disorders describe a dysfunctional behavior rather than a person with a sick brain, & treat the narcissist accordingly.
There are some very clear ways to identify a survivor of child abuse. These symptoms also are detrimental to the mental health of said survivors. If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, then please don’t beat yourself up. We’ve all been there! Try to accept them as nothing more than a sign of having experienced some really terrible things, then find ways to heal from them however work best for you.
- Blaming yourself for what happened. Children seem to take the responsibility on for their parents’ bad behavior rather than face the fact that their parent has done something pretty terrible. It’s totally normal! However, it isn’t helpful once you’re an adult. It’s ok to admit your parents were less than perfect, & yes, even cruel. No child can make any parent abuse them, including you. Abusive behavior lies squarely on the shoulder of all abusers, never their victims. ALWAYS!
- Accepting what your parents said as the gospel truth. Abusive parents lie. Period. They also convince their children that their lies are the truth. Not only that the abuse was the child’s fault, but that the child is unlovable, stupid, ugly, useless, no man/woman will ever want to marry that child & more. It’s time to start challenging those false beliefs as they rise up in you. Ask yourself, what evidence is there that what your parent told you is true? I would guess there is no real evidence at all!
- Unhealthy coping skills. Watching too much TV, emotional eating, sex, shopping, drugs or alcohol. Whatever coping skill used is unimportant. The fact is the person using such coping skills is trying to avoid the pain inside. Although these coping skills may have served you for some time, it’s time to retire them & face the pain.
- Being a people pleaser. Growing up afraid of rocking the boat where your parents are concerned can create a habit of people pleasing. This is so unhealthy! Of course, it’s good to care what people think. When that rules your life & makes you do things that you disagree with or hurt you, however, there is a big problem! Learn to say “no”. It’s perfectly ok!
- Lack of good self care. Self care isn’t all bubble baths & eating ice cream. Self care also involves taking good care of your physical & mental health, resting when tired, not overworking, & having good boundaries.
If you’re wondering where to start changing these behaviors in you, the best place I know of is what I always recommend. Prayer. Ask God to help you to be healthier & to heal from the trauma you have experienced. He truly will! One thing I do is when something comes up, I ask Him to tell me the truth about it. “Am I right to feel *insert feeling here*? Why or why not?” & listen for His response.
Read about the type of abuse you experienced. Chances are, you’ll find other survivors experience similar things to you. Learning there are others out there going through what you are can be extremely validating. It also will help you to learn how to cope with what you’re experiencing when you see how other people got through it.
Do you keep a journal? If not, now is the time to start! Seeing things in writing can be so validating & clarifying. It also can help you to keep track of the truth. Abusers, narcissists in particular, love to reinvent the past, & lie about the present. Having written documentation helps you to keep track of the truth so you don’t get lost in their lies.
I truly wish you the best, Dear Reader. Facing pain & changing dysfunctional behavior isn’t easy. However, it is worth it when you’re healthier, happier & behaving in a much more functional way.
**Before reading this, please know I am not trying to start any pro-mask or anti-mask debates. Please leave those comments off this post! If I see any, they will be removed quickly. Thank you!**
Life sure has changed during this time of social distancing & wearing face coverings! One thing that I personally have struggled with is masks. For some reason, I have never been able to wear those things. I’ve tried many times over the years to wear them while doing certain household activities with no success. I would put one on, & my heart began to race as a panic attack quickly followed. Learning we were required to wear them in stores about broke my heart. Finally, I have been able to get my agoraphobia under control enough to where I could go into public places alone but I can’t because of my reaction to wearing masks. ARRGGGGHHH!!!!
Recently I got fed up about this obnoxious mask induced anxiety, & googled this situation. I figured it can’t just be me. There must be others out there with this same problem. Apparently there are! Plenty!
According to the various articles I read many people struggle with wearing masks. I don’t mean the people you would expect to struggle, such as those with respiratory problems like asthma. Many perfectly healthy people struggle. Some folks have been the victim of a crime where the perpetrator wore a mask or bandana, so seeing others wearing them or even wearing them themselves can trigger panic attacks.
Other folks have been through very difficult & even traumatic medical procedures, so seeing or wearing masks is a reminder of that trauma.
Some folks have sensory processing issues, such as those with brain injuries, which can make wearing a mask feel as if it is smothering them.
Still others who panic about face masks fall into a different category. Victims of child abuse. There are a few suspected reasons for this behavior.
- When most of a person’s face is covered, it can be difficult to pick up on subtle cues to their moods. Children of abusive parents often rely on giving their children such cues to make the children behave as they want them to. Missing those cues resulted in punishment. Being unable to read those cues, even years after the abuse, can create a great deal of fear.
- If someone tried to strangle or suffocate a child, or if a child was locked in a small room or closet, masks can recreate the claustrophobic feeling.
- Some abusive parents put their hands over their children’s mouths as a punishment. That too can cause panic with masks.
I found some things that have helped me to work with this mask induced anxiety, & I hope these tips help you too.
Since I can’t wear a mask, I have compromised with a bandana. Yes, I realize I look like a gunfighter in the old west, but at least I can wear it without as much panic as I would have with a mask. Bandanas are open at the bottom too, which means if panic starts, I can pull the bottom away from my face slightly. This helps me feel less claustrophobic while still offering some covering as protection to others. It also helps me to calm down.
Reminding myself that I can still breathe, I’m safe, I’m not smothered & am safe is helpful too. Grounding behaviors like this are very helpful during flashbacks, but they also can be during panic attacks.
I put on my bandana at the last possible moment before entering a place where masks are required, & I remove my bandana as quickly as I can when out of those places to minimize the time I wear it as much as possible. I also remove it as needed by going somewhere private, such as a bathroom stall or my car.
It also helps to avoid wearing masks in hot places when possible, because wearing them can make you very hot. That can add to panic or upset sensory processing issues.
I also don’t go into public places alone. My husband is very helpful in keeping me focused if I get too panicky. Having another safe person with you can help a lot in this situation too!
I hope these tips help you manage your mask related anxiety! xoxo
In spite of what many people seem to think, there are very significant differences between no contact & the silent treatment.
The silent treatment is a frequently used punishment for either a real or more commonly perceived wrong. No contact has a long list of grievances that have happened over a long period of time. It isn’t done because someone did one little thing wrong, unlike the silent treatment. It also is never used as a punishment.
The silent treatment will end when the person who initiated it feels their victim has been sufficiently punished for their sins. Once it is done, the one who implemented the silent treatment often contacts the victim & acts as if nothing happened. No contact is meant to be permanent, & nothing will make the person who initiated it talk to the abuser.
There is absolutely no honor in the silent treatment. It is simply a passive/aggressive way to punish someone. No contact is honorable. There is also no honor in enabling bad & even abusive behavior.
The silent treatment is immature. Young children use it to get their way but most of them grow out of it eventually. Not everyone does, unfortunately, so they use this childish behavior to get what they want. No contact is mature, well considered & a very viable option in toxic relationships.
Virtually no thought goes into the silent treatment. Narcissists will use the silent treatment for any reason at any time, without forethought. No contact is much different in this area as well. By the time a person has gone no contact with an abuser, a great deal of time, consideration & prayer have gone into the action.
The silent treatment creates conflict. Other people are involved, & picking sides. They tell the person on the receiving end of the silent treatment to fix the relationship, or apologize to the person who initiated the silent treatment. No contact is an attempt to minimize conflict. People who initiate it don’t try to get other people involved or force the abusive person to apologize.
The silent treatment is a power trip. If a victim is unaware of what the person giving the silent treatment is up to, they will do their best to make the abuser talk to them again & to please this person. They will apologize & sometimes even beg the abuser to forgive them. No contact is not a power trip. People who implement it aren’t interested in anything their abuser does or says. They are simply done with the relationship at that point.
The silent treatment is disrespectful. A person won’t treat someone they respect in such a way. Instead they will try to work out their problems. Someone who uses no contact has tried many times to work out the problems, & gotten nowhere. This person eventually realizes there is no other solution, & they end the relationship. They respect themselves enough to walk away from a toxic relationship.
The silent treatment isn’t Godly. It’s so many bad things like I mentioned previously. No contact, however, is very Godly. You are removing this person’s opportunity to sin by abusing you. You are giving this person consequences for bad behavior, which opens the door for them to change. Whether or not they do is up to them of course, but you give them that opportunity.
Sadly, some relationships are simply beyond repair. It takes two to make a relationship work, & when one isn’t willing to do any work, that relationship is doomed. Sometimes the best thing a person can do is to walk away in order to protect their own peace & mental health. It’s an extremely difficult & painful decision to make, but there are times it must be done.
Narcissists & their flying monkey enablers have a very skewed view of what is ok & what isn’t ok, what’s abusive & what isn’t abusive. Narcissists are an extremely entitled bunch & they lack empathy, so in their minds, whatever they want is all that matters. Hurting others isn’t important. And, their flying monkeys agree wholeheartedly. So what if someone gets hurt? The narcissist is the important one, after all.
These people act like certain abusive behaviors are completely normal. In time, this can make victims think the narcissist is right, that they are wrong for being upset about something that is supposed to be so normal. More subdued abusive behaviors often fall into this category.
Also, many abuse victims develop a very thick skin when it comes to abuse. This comes from being abused repeatedly. If an abuser isn’t screaming at them or physically assaulting them, they sometimes don’t think they are being abused. Unfortunately abuse isn’t always so easy to spot. It can be subtle, but equally abusive. This post will describe some of the subtle ways a person can abuse.
Taking or relocating your property. When you live with someone, chances are excellent you will move each other’s property at some point. My husband moves my purse if it’s in his way, for example. But when someone hides or even gets rid of something that belongs to you, that is abnormal! It is also abusive if the person blames you for forgetting that you moved or got rid of the item when they are the one who did it. That is gaslighting!
Controlling behavior. Telling you what to say, how to act, how to look, what to wear, hiding your car keys so you can’t go anywhere are all abusive, even if there are no physical threats to go along with the control. No one has the right to control another person.
Sexual violations. Someone who uses guilt & shame to force you to perform a sexual act that is something you really don’t want to do or causes you pain is just as guilty as the masked man who rapes you at knife point. Just because a weapon wasn’t used doesn’t make this ok. It’s not ok if you’re married either. Being married doesn’t give anyone the right to be sexually abusive.
The silent treatment. While the silent treatment isn’t usually considered abusive, it actually is. If you don’t know what the person’s up to, the silent treatment can make you do almost anything to win the favor back of the person not speaking to you. It sets you up to be controlled & manipulated while damaging your self-esteem. Once you understand what the silent treatment is about though, it can be a pleasant respite from the abuse.
Being confusing & unreasonable during a disagreement. Most people try to work together to a solution when involved in a disagreement, even if things are heated. An abusive behavior is instead of working on a solution, talking in circles, trying to focus on something other than the issue at hand, projecting their flaws onto you, bringing up past arguments, & gaslighting.
Please remember not to normalize or excuse abuse. Behavior like this is NOT normal & there is no excuse for anyone to act this way. Even if it happened “only once”, there is still no excuse for it. Instead, admit the truth, that such actions are abusive & terrible. You also need to accept that you have done nothing wrong, & you did nothing to deserve such treatment. You have every right to be upset about what was done to you. You also have every right to protect yourself from further abuse so set those boundaries & take good care of yourself!
It seems to be a common false believe that giving someone everything they want, enabling them to do anything they want without consequences is loving & even Godly behavior.
So many people I spoke with in my family were downright cruel to me because I wouldn’t see my father at the end of his life in 2017. The barrage of phone calls, social media messages & emails was intense. I barely read any of the messages, because after reading a couple, I knew how incredibly toxic the rest would be. I thought it wiser to protect my mental health by saving the messages without reading them as evidence for police if I opted to take that route. Anyway after my father’s death, I learned that because I refused to say goodbye, he finally turned to God! In spite of my fears it wouldn’t happen, my father gave his heart to Jesus at the end of his life, & is now in Heaven. (That story is on my website at: http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you’d like to read it)
While none of us knew it at the time, me not saying good bye to my father was for his benefit. My family clearly thought I was a cold hearted witch who stayed away out of spite. I knew in my heart God wanted me to stay away & going would have had terrible consequences, but I didn’t know any further details. Me not going made him reach out to God for the first time in I don’t know how long. If I had gone, I firmly believe he wouldn’t have turned to God. So as strange as it may sound, not saying my final good byes to my father was the most loving thing I could do in that situation.
Although many situations are different, the basics are similar. Someone wants you to do something that you know is not in their best interest. It may even cause you pain or problems to do that thing, yet it is expected of you to do it. If you do it, your actions are applauded & if it caused you problems, those problems ignored. If you don’t do it, you’re criticized & even shamed for being selfish or unreasonable.
This is utterly WRONG!
Yes, it’s good to do for other people. Some people genuinely need help & sometimes you are exactly the right person to give that help. But doing anything a person wants isn’t always a good thing. Look what 1 Corinthians 10:23 says:
All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life]. (AMP)
1 Corinthians 6:12 is similar & just as informative:
Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. (AMP)
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s for the best that you do it, either for you or for someone else. People who are accustomed to getting everything they want are spoiled, entitled, selfish & often feel that they don’t need God. By saying no sometimes, it actually benefits people. They learn to be more self sufficient, they don’t become entitled, selfish jerks. And yes, they may recognize everyone’s need for God in themselves.
Maybe situations in your life aren’t as dire, but still, if you know that doing something for someone isn’t in their best interest or yours, don’t do it! The good will far outweigh the bad!
Have you ever noticed there are socially acceptable & socially unacceptable responses to trauma? There are. The especially interesting part is the socially acceptable ones are the most unhealthy trauma responses & encouraged.
Some socially acceptable trauma responses are:
- being a workaholic.
- focusing on career over family.
- never taking breaks.
- being over scheduled or too busy.
- sleeping too little.
- excessive exercising.
- under eating.
Some socially unacceptable trauma responses are:
- taking time off to relax.
- crying or being angry about the trauma.
- admitting that it still upsets you, even years after the trauma.
- taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication.
- seeing a counselor.
- severing ties with an abuser.
- discussing the abuse.
When you live with PTSD or C-PTSD, trying to heal is tough enough. It’s not easy, even under the best of circumstances. It’s much worse though when you have people telling you that your healthy coping skills aren’t healthy, & insisting you instead use unhealthy coping skills.
Having been through narcissistic abuse, I can vouch for the insecurity that comes from it. It takes a conscious focus on my part not to assume someone’s criticism of me is right & to consider what is said before assuming I’m wrong, & frankly I’m not always good at this. When someone tells me I should use one of the unhealthy trauma responses instead of my healthy ones, naturally I figure they’re right & feel shame. No doubt many of you reading this experience the same type of response.
You can learn to deal with the dysfunctional response in these types of situations.
Remember, the world thinks quite skewed in the area of mental health. No one bats an eye at someone who goes to a doctor with a broken leg, yet many of those same people claim someone is weak for seeing a counselor for their mental health problems. That is just one example of this skewed thinking. Anyway just because so many people think this way doesn’t mean they are right. What others think about how you heal isn’t important. What is important is that it works for you.
Use logical thinking. When someone criticizes you for how you approach your emotional healing, ask yourself if what they say makes sense & why. For example, if someone says you’re being lazy, you need to keep busy instead of taking time off, think about this statement for a moment. How would keeping busy benefit you? Sure, you might be busy enough not to think about your problems for a bit, but that won’t last forever. Besides, ignoring emotions means they will come out in unhealthy ways later. So many addicts became addicts because they tried to avoid facing their own traumas. Considering all of this, do you really think this person gave you good advice?
Another thing to consider is people view things through the lens of their own experiences. Many people who are the quickest to judge others’ healing journeys are ones who also have been abused, but refuse to deal with that. Rather than be inspired by someone else facing their pain, they get upset by it. They often think because they aren’t facing their past trauma, they are over it. They’re functioning just fine while someone else is suffering with C-PTSD. In their mind, clearly that person is weak & could learn a thing or two from the person without C-PTSD. They honestly think they’re helping by telling the other person what they do, which involves their socially acceptable trauma responses.
Remember, just because some people think your approach to healing is wrong doesn’t mean that is true. You have to do whatever works best for you. What others think shouldn’t matter. All that should matter to you is that what you’re doing helps you to heal.
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD, is a rather new mental health diagnosis. It is common among those who have survived repeated traumas, such as those who endured child abuse or domestic violence.
C-PTSD shares many of the same symptoms of PTSD. It also includes other symptoms that make C-PTSD more, well, complex than PTSD.
Moodiness to the extreme. Moods can be difficult to control for anyone at times. A person with C-PTSD has a much more difficult time controlling them on a regular basis, & sometimes is unable to control them.
Difficulty trusting people. A person with C-PTSD has seen the worst of people, & only naturally has a great deal of difficulty trusting people. It takes a lot for someone with C-PTSD to learn to trust anyone. It also doesn’t take a lot for someone with C-PTSD to lose trust in people.
Flashbacks. There are three types of flashbacks. The typical flashbacks where a person feels as if they are reliving a traumatic event. There also is emotional flashbacks. They don’t feel as if the event is being relieved per se, but the emotions of a traumatic event are being relieved. Emotional flashbacks are extremely common with C-PTSD. Lastly there are somatic flashbacks. They are similar to emotional flashbacks, but rather than dealing with the emotions connected to trauma, they deal with the physical pain connected to trauma.
Toxic shame. Toxic shame is extremely common among those who have survived abuse, in particular those who survived child abuse. Their parents told them the abuse inflicted on them was their fault, which instilled a root of toxic shame in them for supposedly making their parents do the terrible things they did.
Dissociation. A survival tactic, dissociation emotionally removes a person from a traumatic or abusive episode. Many survivors of sexual assault in particular describe it as feeling as if they are not in their body as the assault happened. It also can lead to extensive day dreaming when not in a traumatic situation or even Dissociative Identity Disorder in some extreme cases. DID is especially common among child abuse survivors.
Hyper-vigilance. Hyper-vigilance can take two forms. One is when a person is extremely aware of their surroundings. Even in a crowded place, those with C-PTSD are aware of a person heading to the restroom or leaving the building. Another form of hyper-vigilance is when the body is constantly in a state of preparedness for attack or trauma. This often leads to constant pain.
Suicidal thoughts. The most serious & potentially life threatening aspect of C-PTSD is suicidal thoughts. Those who have C-PTSD frequently battle with severe depression, even to the point of suicidal thoughts. Sadly, suicide seems like the only escape from the pain in the mind of many people with C-PTSD.
While these symptoms are very common with C-PTSD, their seriousness shouldn’t be underestimated. All are life altering, & suicidal thoughts obviously can be life ending. They can be managed, however. I find prayer to be my most effective help when these symptoms flare up. Journaling about them is also very useful. It can help you to see what causes the symptoms to flare & figure out ways to cope with them. Another helpful tip I have found is to remind myself of what is happening. I remind myself that whatever is happening is merely a symptom of the disorder, nothing more. I’m safe, nothing can hurt me. Grounding can be very useful during flashbacks, & it needs to be something that is very extreme to the senses. Smelling a strong scent like lavender or touching a scratchy blanket help by distracting your mind away from the flashback.
Lastly, when your symptoms flare, they’re showing you where you need healing. They actually do have a purpose, so use them to help you.
One cliche I’ve heard my entire life was “You can’t love someone until you love yourself.” My mother said it periodically when I was growing up, & somehow it never felt right to me even when I was just a little kid.
As an adult, I have come to realize how wrong this is, & how shaming as well.
Wrong because just because a person has low or no self esteem, doesn’t mean they are incapable of love. It only means they don’t love themselves. People who feel this way are very capable of loving others, & it shows when they love their spouse, children, family, friends, pets. I was this same way for many years. I absolutely hated myself, yet absolutely adored certain people in my life as well as my pets. They all meant the world to me & I would have done anything for any of them.
This phrase is shaming because it makes people feel that they lack this one basic skill any human being has, to love. Victims of narcissistic abuse already have enough shame to deal with thanks to the narcissists in their lives. They don’t need any more false, toxic shame heaped onto them.
What can be true, although certainly is not true in all cases, is if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others in a Godly & healthy way. In cases where someone has been abused in childhood, that person may not yet know how to love someone in a healthy way. They may think if they love someone enough, they can fix their abusive ways. In fact, this may seem good or even Godly to the dysfunctional person. Sadly, many people support such dysfunctional thinking, encouraging the unhealthy behaviors. Some folks even will quote Scriptures that are taken totally out of context to validate their beliefs.
A dysfunctional person also may think boundaries are selfish & unloving, so they think telling someone no is a bad thing. Out of good intentions, they allow other people to come first in their lives, even if it costs them their health, finances, or peace. They mistakenly hurt themselves under the delusion they’re being loving.
Similarly, a dysfunctional person may think that giving a person whatever they want is the most loving thing they can do for someone. They fail to realize that sometimes, people need to struggle for what they want in order to learn to appreciate things.
Many dysfunctional people also think that if they are just nice enough or good enough, they can make an abusive person love them. They don’t realize that is impossible, because abusers are incapable of true, Godly love. They also fail to realize that the harder they try, the more abusive an abuser will become, because they see this person as weak & willing to please them at any personal cost. I experienced this first hand. My late mother in-law hated me. Being young & naive, I wanted her to like me, so I tried hard to make that happen. Nothing I did was good enough, & our relationship only got worse.
The fact is, to love others, we must learn what true love really is. It is wanting what is best for another person rather than what we want from that person. It is wanting them to succeed in life, & enjoy their life. It is wanting them to live whatever their best life is, even if it goes against something we would like for them. Mostly, it is wanting others to have a close personal relationship with their Heavenly Father. Any person can want these things for other people, even when they don’t love themselves.
Periodically I notice comments on Facebook that get under my skin. The topic isn’t important, but the message is. The message is something along the lines of, “If you don’t care about this topic, you’re a selfish jerk.”
In fact, some people have said things to me about issues, expecting my support, but when I don’t give it, they get downright shaming. One of them was about how disappointed someone was in me for not noticing that one public figure was a narcissist. Well, the truth is I disagreed with her assessment. I also had virtually no interest in the arena where this person was popular, so I naturally hadn’t paid a lot of attention to this person. In her world, apparently none of this was valid. I was simply a terrible disappointment for failing to notice this person’s supposedly narcissistic ways.
There was a comment that I remember from several years ago when a lion was murdered in a sanctuary by a ruthless hunter. It broke my heart seeing such a beautiful, wonderful animal murdered for no purpose beyond the hunter’s desire to say he killed this lion. As I read through comments on a post on the topic, I saw a comment that said something like, “You people get so upset about just a lion, but do you even care about the fact that so many innocent babies are aborted every year?!”
In my younger days, comments like this made me feel guilty. Honestly, I’ve never been interested in politics or the abortion debate or many other current events issues. My heart lies more with issues about animal rights, Christian topics & naturally surviving abuse. I felt I must be wrong for that until I realized something.
This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country in which I live or the rights of the unborn. What it means is I feel God wants me to focus more on animal rights, Christian topics & surviving abuse.
No one person can support every single issue! It’s too much! No one can afford to donate money to every worthy cause either, simply because there are so many causes.
Also, no one can emotionally afford to support every single worthy cause. Strong emotions can drain a person, even when those emotions are positive ones. Everyone needs breaks, to distribute their emotions wisely & to do so with balance. Doing this isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t make a person selfish or uncaring. It makes a person human!
If someone tries to shame you for not actively supporting some cause that they support, I hope you will remember the information I shared here today. Every single person has a unique calling in life & that means they need to support whatever issues they feel called to support. That does NOT mean they need to support whatever the cause of the moment is. God gives each person a unique purpose in their life, & the approval of other people isn’t a requirement. What it does mean is that each person should follow their unique path, supporting the issues closest to their heart, & allowing others to do the same without judgment.
This also means each person should support the issues on their heart however they deem appropriate. For some folks, it means writing as I do. For some other folks, this means donating money. For others, it means picketing in front of large corporations or political offices. For still others it means working to change laws. Not one of these is any better or worse than the other. Different doesn’t equal wrong or bad. It’s simply different, as each person’s unique walk that God has given them.
I decided to do one other thing.. I have made available on my website (www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) my notes that I used in my podcasts & YouTube videos. Since some folks have issues with sensory processing or just prefer to read rather than watch a video or listen to a podcast, I thought I would do this for them. The notes are all on this link. Feel free to download as many as you like for your personal reference. As I add new podcasts in the future, I’ll naturally add the notes to this page. If you lose the link, simply visit www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com & look at the list of links at the top of the page. You’ll see it there.
Also, I added a search bar to my website, so you can find information on there easier now. Rather than read through lots of pages, you can simply type in your search critera & it will bring up results. Enjoy!
Thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging about the changes I’ve decided to make. I truly value your input. 💖
Many adult children of narcissistic parents treat their children more like partners than their children. These parents expect their children to take care of all of their emotional needs, but some also add in their physical needs (such as cooking or doing housework well beyond what they should be doing at their age) & even sexual needs. This phenomenon is known as emotional incest, parentalizing or parentification. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call it emotional incest in this article.
Narcissists often turn to their children for support rather than their partner for various reasons. Narcissistic supply can be one reason. People see the narcissist’s relationship with her child as very close, not realizing it’s actually very sick, & praise this “wonderful relationship” which provides narcissistic supply. Or, maybe the narcissist is simply unhappy with her spouse or single status, & since the child is convenient, she turns to her child with matters that should be discussed with her spouse or a close friend.
No matter the reason, emotional incest has a devastating effect on a child. The child subjected to this abusive behavior feels a tremendous amount of responsibility for the parent’s emotional state, as well as possibly also the parent’s physical or sexual needs too. This child grows up with a tremendously overdeveloped sense of responsibility not only for the abusive parent, but everyone in her life. This can lead to codependency, depression, anger, anxiety & more.
The child who is abused also feels guilty for growing up, leaving home & wanting to have her own life. When I was 19, I moved out of my parents’ home & my mother was livid. She made her disapproval painfully obvious, & even told me I’d never survive on my own.
Emotional incest also can lead to a child having very unhealthy romantic relationships as an adult. The child is taught from an early age that the parent’s needs come first, no matter what. A person married to an adult child of an emotionally incestuous environment is going to be a lower priority to that adult child than that child’s parents. Whatever the parent wants will be more important than the spouse. If the parent wants holidays spent together, that is what will happen even if the spouse doesn’t want to be a part of them. If the parent has a need (either real or imagined) on their adult child’s wedding anniversary, the adult child will deal with it rather than the anniversary.
If you are in this dysfunctional situation, then you need to break free of it! It won’t be easy but it will be possible.
As always, the first step should be prayer. Ask God to show you what to do to help break the cycle. And, ask Him to help you to have the strength & courage to do it.
Also, start changing the subject with your narcissistic parent. Both of my parents indulged in emotionally incestuous behavior for my entire life, until I ended the relationship with them, & the best way I found to end it was simple subject changes. Asking them about something else related to themselves worked best. Since narcissists enjoy talking about themselves more than any other topic, it makes sense that is their favorite subject change.
Sometimes subject changes don’t work & the narcissistic parent keeps changing the subject back to the topic. If at all possible, end the conversation. If you’re in their home or they are in yours, it can be challenging. Try to have a friend on call, so to speak. Have the phone number of someone you can trust ready so you can dial the number quickly & discreetly or take your phone with you to the bathroom if need be. Tell that person ahead of time that if you call their number & it only rings a couple of times & you hang up, that means they need to call you & say they need you to come to them immediately. Or, if you’re on the phone with your parent & want to end the conversation, ring your doorbell or knock on your door. You can then say, “The doorbell rang.. I have to go.” If you have a dog who barks when they hear the doorbell, this is an added bonus- your parent will hear the dog & know that your doorbell rang. You also can use your cell to call your house phone or vice versa & then you can tell your parent that the call waiting beeped & you need to go. Sneaky? Yes, but not dishonest. Your doorbell rang, your call waiting beeped & you do need to go!
I also learned that saying, “It hurts me when you talk to me about Mom/Dad like that” was a recipe for disaster. Not only did it not stop their behavior, since they knew it hurt me, they did it even more. This is typical of narcissists, so learn from my mistake- DO NOT ADMIT IT HURTS YOU!!!
Always remember, the problems your parent is telling you about are NOT your responsibility. You have no obligation to fix them. Tune your parent’s words out if it helps you.
Lastly, limit your contact as much as possible with your narcissistic parent. If you aren’t so available, they may feel forced to find someone else to listen to their woes & you need the reprieve.
Emotional incest is a very painful thing to deal with, but you can handle it!
Severing ties with a narcissist is a very difficult thing to do. Not only telling the person you are done with the relationship, but the aftermath. It can come with a plethora of challenges. One of them for many people is extreme anxiety.
Many people who have left a narcissistic relationship have discovered that once they are safely away from the narcissist, their anxiety gets much worse for a while.
On the surface, this doesn’t make sense. They’re safe, the narcissist hasn’t tried to contact them in ages. They haven’t even seen the narcissist in passing at the grocery store or on the road. Why would anxiety be bad when it should be so much lower? I think this happens for a few reasons.
When in a relationship with a narcissist, you learn to function in survival mode out of necessity. Your entire universe consists of thoughts like what can I do to please the narcissist, what can I do to make sure the narcissist doesn’t get angry with me, what needs does the narcissist have that I can anticipate in the hopes of gaining some favor from this person. When you think this way, it’s as if there is simply no room in your mind for anxiety. All the space in your brain is taken up with those thoughts, & there is no room for anything else. I really believe narcissists do their best to keep their victims busy in this way so they don’t have the opportunity to see the abuse is wrong or plan their means of escape.
If you were romantically involved with a narcissist then begin to get involved with someone who isn’t a narcissist, that can create a lot of anxiety at first. It feels so foreign to be with someone who is healthy when you are so accustomed to abuse & dysfunction. You also naturally can feel like you did with the narcissist, waiting for the next bad thing to happen. When it doesn’t, that can be unnerving simply because of what you were accustomed to in a relationship.
If the narcissist in your life was a parent, then you grew up in an extremely abnormal environment, which means you grew up to be a bit abnormal. You couldn’t see life as a normal child does when growing up. You have a skewed view of the world. When you escape your narcissistic parent, you suddenly have to function in a very different environment. Even though it’s healthier, it’s still different than what you are used to. This can create anxiety, even though it’s a good thing.
You also grew up with this way of thinking like, “I’m supposed to do this thing, so I’ll do it.” No further thought happened. As an adult free of that abuse, now you see things as you should have seen them as a child but did not have that opportunity. It can create anxiety, & sometimes even shame for the things you did simply because you were told to do them.
The best way I know to deal with anxiety like this is with reassurance. Ask God to reassure you & to help you with the anxiety for starters. Also, talk to yourself. Remind yourself that the danger has passed. Those terrible things that once happened to you are no longer going to happen. That abusive person is out of your life, & you’re safe now. If you’re dating someone, remind yourself that this person isn’t the narcissist, but an entirely different person. You can’t expect the same behavior from this person that you got from the narcissist, because healthy people do NOT act like narcissists. And thank God for that!
My ebook publisher is offering a sale on all of my ebooks from July 1-31, 2020. They will be 25% off. They’re available on my website or use this link to go to the site directly: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
I get a daily email from the funeral home that took care of my mother when she died. It sometimes has good & interesting emails. Sadly though because our relationship was so abnormal, & it’s aimed for people with normal relationships who are grieving, it isn’t usually particularly helpful.
I just read the first email I truly disliked. Even so, I think it can be a valuable teaching tool, even for those in relationships with narcissists.
The email quoted a book written by a young woman whose sister died. She said her mother cried non stop. She wore headphones constantly so she wouldn’t have to hear her mother cry, & her father worked very long hours for the same reason. The commentary on this brief story said that as someone grieving, you should consider how your actions affect others. You should keep your home life as normal as possible. People who love you will be upset to see you suffering. It ended with take time to share your feelings & not isolate yourself.
When I read this, it bothered me.
Not talking things out isn’t healthy. Whether you’re grieving as the lady in this article or suffering at the hands of a narcissist. you have to talk about things. You can’t ignore things & hope they’ll go away because they won’t. The same goes for toning bad things down when you do talk about them. It’s wise to share only with people you know are safe of course, so I’m not saying talk to just anyone. Only aim to talk with safe people who won’t judge, criticize or invalidate you. Can you imagine how much better the lady in this article would’ve felt if she had someone to talk to?!
Also, it seems to me the family in this article split up rather than pulling together with their shared loss. That isn’t healthy! The family in this email would have been so much better off if they would have spoken to each other about what each one was feeling & supported each other. Whether you are grieving a death like the lady in this article or are suffering at the hands of an abuser, you should come together with people who are experiencing a situation similar to yours. That way you can help each other to get through. Finding that common ground with another person also can be incredibly validating! If you don’t know anyone, there are countless online forums & groups on social media sites where you can meet such people.
The final sentence bothered me, too. It seemed to me that taken in context with the rest of it basically said, “Let people know you’re upset, but not *too* upset.” That is just wrong. If people truly care about you, naturally they don’t want to see you upset of course, but they also won’t expect you to hide your feelings just to appease them. They would rather see you bawl your eyes out or yell than plaster on a fake smile & pretend everything is ok. They probably would see through the fake smile easily anyway. I know my friends would. If you’re suffering at the hands of a narcissist in particular, I know it can feel sometimes like no one cares, but that isn’t true! That is only what the narcissist wants you to think, so you won’t discuss the abuse with anyone. There will be people who genuinely care & want to help you. Let them!
In the midst of suffering, it really can feel like there is no escape, like you’re all alone & no one cares. Don’t believe that! People do care & you can get through this. And most importantly, there is a God who loves you so much & will be there for you no matter what. Don’t forget to turn to Him & let Him help you to get through!
“You can’t get mad. He just doesn’t know any better.” I think all of us who have been victimized by a narcissist have heard this statement at some point. It’s said by those who either have absolutely no understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those flying monkeys who enthusiastically enable narcissists to abuse.
This statement can be very unsettling. You can feel so angry by the abuse but then you stop in your tracks. Maybe the person who said this is right, & the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better. You feel badly for being angry with someone for doing something they don’t know is wrong.
Long before I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I was in this situation. I had problems with my now deceased mother in-law from about the moment we met. Obviously I didn’t know what to do since I knew nothing of narcissism. I decided to talk to my husband in the hopes he would have ideas on how to help me get along with his mother. When I first told my husband about the problems I had with his mother, he said that she didn’t know any better. He truly believed it, & I thought maybe he was right. His mother gave the impression of being very naïve, after all. I also knew her mother in-law never liked her. Maybe the problem was that she had no other experience beyond the negativity between her & her mother in-law, & being naïve, she didn’t know how to act better towards me. Logically, it made sense, & I felt terrible for being so upset with my mother in-law for quite some time & silently tolerated her abuse. Yet, “she doesn’t know any better” didn’t sit right with me.
Eventually I realized why the ignorance plea felt wrong. I realized she wasn’t ignorant, she was malicious. I thought I’d share those realizations with you today so if someone tells you that the narcissist in your life doesn’t know any better, you won’t suffer needlessly as I did.
If someone is truly ignorant of their actions, they won’t hide their behavior. Why would they? If they aren’t aware that what they’re doing is wrong, there’s no need to hide it. Someone who is knowingly doing something wrong is going to hide their actions. My husband never once saw his mother say or do anything inappropriate to me. Not once in the eight years she was in my life before I walked away. We saw her often, too, but she never slipped up. If she truly didn’t know that she was treating me badly, why would she have hidden her behavior towards me? She would have treated me the same no matter who was around.
A malicious person doesn’t listen. A person who is told that their actions are hurting someone yet repeats the actions over & over is malicious. By continuing to hurt someone, they are proving by their actions that they either don’t care that their actions cause someone else pain or that they enjoy deliberately causing pain. However, if you confront someone who is truly unaware of the pain their actions cause, they will change their behavior, apologize & even try to make it up to the person they hurt if at all possible. They also won’t repeat the hurtful behavior again.
An ignorant person doesn’t change their actions just because another person enters the room, but a malicious person does. A malicious person will change their behavior if someone whose opinion they value comes along so that person continues to think well of them. Ignorant people won’t think that way because they don’t think their behavior is something that can be construed as bad or wrong.
When in a situation where you are told the person mistreating you simply doesn’t know any better, please consider these three scenarios. They should help you to realize quickly if the person in question truly is ignorant of the pain their actions cause or if they are deliberately mistreating you.