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If You’re Struggling With Setting Boundaries Or Going No Contact With Your Narcissistic Parent

Many people have issues with setting boundaries or even severing ties with a narcissistic parent.  They say you are being mean, unreasonable, selfish.  In religious people, they may also throw in that you aren’t honoring your parent, & they quote Exodus 20:12 that tells us to honor our parents.  Or, in Asian cultures, they mention filial piety, which is respecting & caring for one’s parents being the highest of virtues.

People who say this sort of gibberish are either completely clueless or they’re narcissistic enablers.  Yet, in spite of that, sometimes victims are convinced that these imbeciles are right.  They stop using their boundaries, continue to tolerate the abuse, & are completely miserable.

If you are reading this & in this place of either wanting to set boundaries or go no contact with your narcissistic parent, but feel you are being selfish, mean, etc., you need to know that you are wrong!  I promise you that, & will show you why.

Although I don’t know much about religions other than Christianity, I do know that many of them seem to share one common belief, which basically boils down to, “you reap what you sow.”  Just look at what the Bible has to say about that…

 

  • Proverbs 11:25 “The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 19:19 “A man of great anger will bear the penalty [for his quick temper and lack of self-control];
    For if you rescue him [and do not let him learn from the consequences of his action], you will only have to rescue him over and over again.” (AMP)
  • Proverbs 22:8 “He who sows injustice will reap [a harvest of] trouble,
    And the rod of his wrath [with which he oppresses others] will fail.” (AMP)
  • Obadiah 15 “The day of the Lord is near for all nations.
    As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (NIV)
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].” (AMP)
  • Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.
    8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)

 

These Scriptures prove that whatever a person does, good or bad, there are consequences.  It’s a natural part of life.

I realize as the child of a narcissistic parent or two, this feels so foreign.  After all, the child never should upset the parent, burden them with “trivial” things like their needs or let the parent face consequences of their terrible behavior.  However, this is so wrong!  God has made sure this reaping & sowing wisdom is mentioned repeatedly in His Word.  This has to be important to be mentioned many times, wouldn’t you agree?

If you think about this, I’m sure it’ll help you to realize that your boundaries or no contact aren’t you being an awful person, but simply the natural course of events.  That is what happened with me.  I felt bad for setting boundaries with my parents & going low contact. God reminded me of Galatians 6:7-8.  I thought about it & realized it made sense.  Every time I so much as started to feel guilty, I remembered that Scripture.  It was very encouraging!  So much so that I was finally able to go no contact with my parents.  I felt mostly sadness because this wasn’t how things should be, which I think is totally normal, but very little guilt.  Without realizing the principle of sowing & reaping, I don’t know if I could have gone no contact.  If I had, no doubt the guilt would have been about crippling!

Please consider this post if you are struggling with setting boundaries or going no contact with your narcissistic parent, Dear Reader.  You aren’t wrong, selfish, unreasonable, mean or anything else.  You have every right to do these things!

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Some Lessons Learned From Relationships With Narcissists

Being in a relationship in any capacity with a narcissist is a learning experience.  In order to survive with your sanity in tact, naturally you need to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It helps you to understand what was really happening & that contrary to what the narcissist in your life told you, the problems in the relationship weren’t your fault.  It also helps you to spot the early signs of a narcissist, so you won’t end up in a similar relationship again.

That being said though, there are other valuable lessons you can learn from a narcissistic relationship.

Responding instead of reacting is a very valuable skill!  Not only in relating with narcissists, but even with healthy people, responding is a good relationship skill.  Reacting is done in the heat of the moment & without thought. while responding is done after some consideration.  Narcissists love reacting because people will do or things when they react that they wouldn’t normally do if they had taken the time to consider their predicament.  This can prove to the narcissist that their victim is crazy, abusive or anything else they want to claim.  Healthy people don’t act this way of course, but even so, reacting can cause problems in even the healthiest of relationships.  It’s a good idea to stop for a second to take a deep breath, then release it slowly when you’re tempted to react.  This action calms anxiety & anger, & gives you a second to consider your response.

Boundaries are a very good thing.  Narcissists respect no one’s boundaries.  They feel they have every right to say & do anything they please.  Once a victim is away from this sort of behavior, they learn that boundaries really are a wonderful thing.  They also learn to appreciate people who have no problems with boundaries.

“No” can be an excellent way to figure out if a person is functional or not.  Narcissists can take the simple word no as a victim being rebellious, difficult, disrespectful & even abusive.  A functional person takes no as a boundary & they respect it.  If you want to see if the new relationship in your life is a healthy one, say no & see how the other person reacts.

People believe what they want to believe.  Human beings like things to be as we think they should be, & we can get upset when that perception is threatened.  A healthy, functional person will consider the evidence & even if it’s uncomfortable, go along with the change.  Dysfunctional people aren’t this wise.  They may refuse to face change.  This is never more evident than when there is evidence showing them that a narcissist isn’t the great person they think he or she is.  This is when they become especially vicious to the narcissist’s victim.  Many of these people don’t want to believe that person isn’t the great person they thought they were, possibly out of fear of looking foolish.  It’s more comfortable for them to believe the narcissist’s smear campaign of the victim rather than the victim sharing the truth about the narcissist.  Or, they could be gaining something from the narcissist- money, favor, etc.  Sometimes, they are victims of abuse by someone else, & when the victim speaks out against the narcissist, it triggers their own pain.  These people will do anything to shut down the victim so they can continue denying their own pain.  For victims in this situation, it’s best to avoid such people at all costs.

Let people think what they want.  Closely related to the last paragraph, one valuable lesson I’ve learned from relationships with narcissists is to let people think what they want.  Narcissists create their own version of victims that they believe is accurate.  Their flying monkeys & those close to them will believe whatever the narcissists tell them to believe about their victims.  No amount of work on the part of a victim can make any of these people believe anything they don’t want to believe.  In fact, trying to convince them of the truth most likely will make them think the victim is crazy & treat the victim even worse.  Why go through that?  Let them think whatever they want, & live your life however works for you.

Of course, there are more things I’ve learned.  What about you?  What have you learned from your relationship with a narcissist?

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Help For When Places Or Items Trigger Painful Memories Or Flashbacks

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Living With High Functioning Mental Illness

Living as someone with mental illness yet is high functioning, I can tell you it’s utterly exhausting.  Doing things takes more energy than it would for someone without mental illness because I have to focus harder.  I also do my best to put the problems in a box when necessary so they don’t affect other people.  It takes energy to keep that box closed & on a shelf!!  Add in having a brain injury & I spend a lot of time exhausted.

If you too are high functioning with mental illness, I’m sure you can relate to what I said, even if you don’t also have the brain injury.  You truly are not alone!  This post is to help you to understand that.

It feels like you’re being fake a lot of the time, doesn’t it?  The truth is you aren’t being fake.  You’re just hiding a part of yourself from others you don’t want to know about that part of you.  There is nothing wrong with not being 1000% open with everyone.  Sometimes it’s best to keep some information private from some people.

It also feels like people don’t believe you have any illness at all.  People seem to think if you have mental illness, you need to be incoherent, hearing voices, attempting suicide, or even not taking care of your basic needs such as showering & changing clothes regularly.  If you’re clean, your home is in order, you’re working & maintain relationships, many people don’t think you’re struggling with your mental health.  They miss the small, subtle signs such as an increased or decreased appetite, sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty focusing, or feeling tired.

Your good & bad days look very similar to most people.  They truly have no idea that on bad days, it took every ounce of willpower to pry yourself out of bed, to bathe, to do whatever you need to do on that day.  Chances are, most wouldn’t believe you if you told them because they see no real differences between this bad day & your good days.

Sometimes people may say you’re gloomy or a “Debbie Downer” because sometimes your sadness or negative views show.  They don’t realize that is depression talking.  Or, maybe sometimes you jump at the slightest move from someone or sound & it irritates people.  It happens because you have an anxiety disorder, PTSD or C-PTSD.

Although you may not look like it, you feel you are struggling so much.  Mental illness consumes so much energy!  Focusing on a simple conversation can take a lot out of you.  People don’t often understand why you’re tired, but this is exactly why.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these situations?  If so, I hope it comforts you some to know that you’re not alone.  Many of us understand because we’re on the same boat.

And please remember, just because you can function & function well, don’t think that means you don’t have a real problem.  I know, sometimes it’s easy to think this way when you have a few good days in a row.  That being said though, mental illness is just as serious as physical illness & should be treated as such.  Sometimes it can be more serious in the sense that some mental disorders can be life threatening by making a person suicidal.  Don’t neglect to rest when you need to, take your medication as directed, talk to safe people & let them love & encourage you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking care of yourself or asking for help.  If you broke your leg, you would do those things, wouldn’t you?  Then why not do the same thing to take care of your mental health?

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Ways To Cope With Triggers

Anyone who has suffered trauma knows about triggers.  They are something that reminds you of past trauma & can leave you feeling very shaken up.

Triggers can be such a miserable thing to experience!  They feel like there is no reason for them when you’re going through them, but I believe they actually have a purpose.

When you are healed in a specific area, you can experience a trigger, & although it certainly isn’t pleasant, it isn’t devastating either.  It reminds me of what it feels like when you remember a nightmare.  Unpleasant but not terribly upsetting.

When you aren’t healed in some area however, that is when triggers can be helpful.  They show you the areas where you need some healing.   Paying attention to exactly what emotions you feel can be an excellent start to heal in this area.

When you’re triggered, I firmly believe it’s wise to consider exactly what you felt & why you felt it in order to heal.  For example, were you angered because you felt invalidated, powerless, ignored, or disrespected?  Did you feel shame because you felt judged, unimportant, or mocked?  Were you hurting because you felt excluded, unloved or as if no one cared at all about you?

Once you realize the root of your feelings, you can heal.  What helps me if I’m unsure why I feel what I do is to ask God to show me the root of this feeling.  Where did this start?  Usually then I remember some incident from a long time ago that shows me where the problem began.  Once I remember that, I try to remember everything possible about that incident, even seemingly unimportant details like what clothes I was wearing.  I also try to feel all the feelings associated with it, as difficult as that may be.  The more thoroughly an incident can be remembered, I believe the more healing takes place.  The more healing that happens, the less you will experience triggers like this in the future.

One important thing to remember is when you do this, take breaks.  Emotional healing is very difficult & painful work.  It also doesn’t happen quickly.  Because of these factors, it can get to be too much sometimes, especially when the trauma is extremely bad.  When those times happen, it’s best to take a break.  Stop focusing on your healing & focus on something else that has absolutely nothing to do with the trauma for a little while.  You need to put your emotions in a box on a shelf for a time, & take some time to do something fun.  Watch a movie, read, work on a craft, snuggle your furkids, spend time with a good friend sharing some laughs… whatever you do, make sure it is lighthearted & fun.  If it can make you laugh, all the better.  After you have relaxed & feel less overwhelmed, when you get back to working on your healing, you will be in a better frame of mind to do so.

Triggers can be difficult to deal with, I know.  Frankly, they just stink.  However, they can be a very helpful tool in your mental & emotional healing.  Why not use them that way & make the pain they cause count for something?

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When You Have Bad C-PTSD Days

I think most of us who suffer with C-PTSD hide when we’re having bad days.  It can be scary to be vulnerable enough to let another person see how things really are, because people can be cruel.  There is never a good time to hear insensitive & invalidating comments of course, but on a bad C-PTSD day?  That is the absolute worst time.

Having a bad C-PTSD day, it is TOUGH!  I’ll explain how it goes for me.  Feel free to show this to anyone in your life that may need to understand your experiences with C-PTSD.

Often I wake up from a night of fitful sleep, too little sleep or a night full of nightmares.  The nightmares can be of reliving trauma or more often, something strange or unrelated to the trauma, yet stirs up the same emotions that traumatic events in my life did.  This leaves me exhausted, anxious, depressed & on high alert.

Before getting out of bed, I lay still, often with my eyes closed, trying to relax after a bad night.  I focus on my breathing to help me calm down, yet in spite of the effort, anxiety comes in waves.  I have to remind myself that I am safe, this is merely the C-PTSD doing what this disorder does.

Sometimes a few minutes, sometimes an hour later, I am able to get out of bed & start my day.  The anxiety & hyper-vigilence are still there, but a little better at least.  Usually I can function at this point, but some days, it’s about impossible.  Sometimes, I have panic attacks.  If you’ve never experienced one, count your blessings.  My chest gets incredibly tight, making me feel like I could be having a heart attack.  My breathing gets rapid & feels so strange.  I feel like when I’m inhaling, I should be exhaling & vice versa.  I end up breathing very shallow & fast until it eventually subsides, making me lightheaded.

Other times, flashbacks start.  Imagine trying to discern whether you’re in reality or somehow transported back in time to a traumatic event.  Fighting to make sure to stay in reality while dealing with the emotions of a traumatic event is a LOT of work!  As if the bad night’s sleep wasn’t enough to make me feel exhausted, this makes the exhaustion even worse.

Between the mental & physical exhaustion, being able to think or focus on tasks like a normal person seems impossible.  Even something simple as getting a drink can be difficult.  It can be hard to remember where the glasses are, decide if I want ice or not, & decide what do I want to drink.  Little things like this that most people take for granted become very daunting & challenging.  Often my moods are erratic but get moreso when these days happen.

All of these things are a real blow to the self-esteem.  I often think, “I’m so stupid for having C-PTSD!”  “Other people have been through worse, yet I have C-PTSD.  What’s wrong with me?!”  “Why am I not better than I am?!  I’ve dealt with this disorder for years!”  These thoughts leave me filled with even lower self-esteem than normal, ashamed of myself & doubting why I write about what I do, even considering quitting.  If I’m such a mess, how can I help anyone else, after all?

Eventually though, I return to normal, which is still not even close to what normal for most people is.  I am able to remember that C-PTSD is a terrible disorder.  Just because I have it also doesn’t mean I’m weak.  It means I’ve been through some terrible things.

If you experience similar days to mine, know you aren’t alone.  There are plenty of others who understand your struggles!  Pray.  Remind yourself of the things I mentioned.  Be understanding of yourself & always take good care of you!

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About Flashbacks

Those who don’t have flashbacks usually have no idea what a flashback truly is.  They sometimes think those of us who have them are exaggerating or being dramatic about something we remembered, & have little patience for us because of our “drama queen” ways.

People who think like this need to understand something.  Flashbacks aren’t the result of someone being overly dramatic.  They also aren’t simple memories or even repressed memories.  They are much different.  They’re intense & complicated.

Flashbacks aren’t as simple remembering a traumatic event.  All of your senses kick in & you see, hear, smell, taste & feel the same things you felt when the event originally happened to you.  It literally feels as if you’re reliving the traumatic event, even though logically you know you aren’t.  It can be very hard to tell the difference between reality & the flashback.

If you’re very lucky, when a flashback happens, you still maintain enough composure to remember to ground yourself somehow.  Touching something with an extreme texture, such as burlap for example, can help.  Or, smelling something with a very strong scent like lavender also can help.  The trick is to override your confused senses with something real in order to get them to focus on something other than the flashback.  Grounding yourself like this can be quite effective in helping you to get through the flashback.  Even so, remembering what to do in the midst of a flashback is something else entirely.  It’s incredibly hard to have focus on anything when your mind & body are trying to convince you that this horrible memory isn’t just a memory, but it’s happening to you all over again.

As if all of this isn’t quite enough, once the flashback is over, you’re drained both mentally & physically to the point of exhaustion.  I have described it as feeling like I was hit by a huge truck.  The anxiety of it tenses your muscles greatly.  When it’s over, those muscles can ache badly for a while.  Your heart races during the flashback & it takes time for it to slow back down once the flashback dissipates.  Chances are very good your stomach will be upset & you’ll have a nasty headache for a while as well.

In addition to the physical side of flashbacks, there is also the mental ones.  Flashbacks are utterly depressing.  It’s so unpleasant remembering traumatic events under any circumstances, but it’s even worse when you feel as if you just relived it.  They also can make you feel ashamed for not being healed from the trauma by now, embarrassed if it happened in front of another person or other people, & they take away your hope of having a normal life without flashbacks.

They also make you incredibly anxious because you wonder when is the next one going to strike?  Will it be just like this one or will it involve another traumatic event?  What if it happens when I’m driving?  What if it’s worse?  Is it possible to get stuck in the flashback & never come out of it?

If you’re one of those folks who never has experienced a flashback, I’m telling you, count your blessings!  Thank God for this!

If you know someone who has flashbacks though, I hope you will remember this information & treat your loved one accordingly. Remember that this person isn’t seeking attention or being overly dramatic.  They are dealing with a very difficult & painful mental illness.  They have experienced something or some things so traumatic that their brain physically broke!  It isn’t your loved one’s fault they have flashbacks, & chances are excellent if this person could find a way never to have them again, they would.  So please, be patient & understanding with anyone you know who suffers with flashbacks.  A little gentleness can help us more than you know.

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How Feeling Your Feelings Helps Your Mental Health

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What No Contact Is & Is Not

Many people I have dealt with seem to misunderstand what no contact really is.  Since others have experienced this too, I decided I would share some thoughts today on what no contact is & is not.

First of all, & yes, this is directed specifically at those who have said this nonsense to me.. no contact is NOT un-Christian.  Enabling bad & abusive behavior is un-Christian.  Tolerating abuse silently is un-Christian.  Never confronting someone about their abusive behavior is un-Christian.  If you don’t believe me, open a Bible.  As Christians, we are to love people.  Part of loving people is wanting what is best for them & helping them to be their best.  When someone doesn’t listen to another’s complaints, they need consequences to make them want to improve their behavior.  When normal consequences don’t work, no contact is a very viable option, even for those closest to a victim such as their own family & yes, even parents.

No contact isn’t about being unforgiving.  A person can no longer speak to someone & have forgiven them for their abusive ways at the same time.  Protecting one’s mental health has nothing to do with unforgiveness.

No contact isn’t taking the easy way out.  Far from it!  Anyone who has gone no contact with someone they love has suffered a great deal not only due to the abuse, but also making the decision to go no contact & living without that person.  If you disagree, consider my story.  I went no contact with my parents several months before my father died & almost three years to the day before my mother died.  Doing that & not being there for them when they needed me at the end of their lives was horrible.  If you think that was easy, you are very sadly mistaken!

No contact isn’t about trying to change someone.  Yes, you are giving that person consequences for their actions, but that doesn’t mean you are trying to manipulate them into behaving better.  You set that stage & it’s up to them to do with it as they want.

No contact also isn’t about not accepting someone.  It’s about accepting that person as they are, yet knowing you can’t have a healthy relationship with that person.

No contact has nothing to do with being disrespectful.  Rather it has everything to do with self respect, with respecting one’s self enough to detach from an abusive relationship.

No contact isn’t about hate.  Just because you have ended a relationship doesn’t mean you hate the other person.  You can love someone a great deal yet not be able to be in a relationship with that person.  Some people I’ve spoken with assumed I hated my parents because of being no contact with them.  Far from it!  I loved my parents a great deal.  It was how they treated me that I hated.

No contact isn’t about creating conflict or being dramatic.  Every single person I’ve spoken with who ended an abusive relationship, no matter who that relationship was with, wanted the exact same things I did: no further abuse, peace & a conflict & drama free existence.  When a narcissist’s flying monkeys go after someone who has gone no contact, fewer things can be more stressful & upsetting.  We try to avoid that at all costs!

I doubt there is anyone who truly wants to end a relationship with someone they love, even when that person is abusive.  That being said though, there are times when it’s necessary.  Some people are so toxic there is no other solution other than no contact.  Sadly, this even happens in families.  As I said, I ended the relationship with my parents.  They were simply that cruel & toxic.  It happens, unfortunately, so if it has happened to you as well, know you’re not alone.  Many of us understand!

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Sale On My Ebooks!

My publisher is offering a 25% off sale on my ebooks from March 1-7.  Find them at the link below:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Busyness: An Unhealthy Trauma Based Way To Cope

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When People Tell You Not To Discuss Narcissistic Abuse

So many people tell victims of abuse that they should forgive & forget, never mentioning the abuse again, in particular when the abusers in question were the victim’s parents.  They love to quote Matthew 5:38-39 to prove their point.  Those verses say, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (KJV) 

The problem is though that when you pull out a random Scripture from the Bible, you can prove almost any point.  Other Scriptures on the topic need to be considered as well.

Psalm 82:4 “Rescue the weak and needy;
Rescue them from the hand of the wicked.” (AMP)

John 18: 22-23 “But when He said this, one of the officers who was standing nearby [a]struck Jesus [in the face], saying, “Is that how You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus replied, “If I have said anything wrong, make a formal statement about the wrong; but if [I spoke] properly, why did you strike Me?” (AMP)

Acts 16:36-37 “36 And the jailer repeated the words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent word to release you; so come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without a trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now they are sending us out secretly? No! Let them come here themselves and bring us out!” (AMP) 

These verses clearly show that there is nothing wrong with speaking out about abusive behavior!  People need to learn & grow.  They can’t do that if the never are told their actions are wrong & people hide abusive behaviors.

Granted narcissists are not exactly the easiest people in the world to confront or even simply talk about.  They violently rage, create vicious smear campaigns to stop people from doing such things, & almost never learn when dealt consequences for their actions.  However, even so, it’s still your job to give them consequences & to be open about their abusive ways.  You give them chances to make healthy changes by doing such things, & that is the best thing you can do for them.  What they do with those things from there is on them, but you can rest easy knowing you have done the right thing.

You also need to be open about what they have done to you, because you may be helping someone in a similar situation.  Your story may open their eyes to just how bad narcissistic abuse is or inspire them to walk away.

Being open about the abuse inflicted on you also may cause some people to leave your life, but you know something?  It will show you exactly who truly loves you.  They will be the ones standing by your side & supporting you through your healing.  Realizing how special these people are makes losing the others hurt a whole lot less  🙂

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About Helping People

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you’re trained from birth to do for them.  Do what?  Whatever they want.  It’s your job to please them in every way, to listen to them, to serve them… naturally this isn’t reciprocated because you aren’t important- only they are!

Once you’re an adult, this “you’re here to do for others” mentality sticks with you.  And, other people pick up on it.  Users & abusers can sniff this mentality out a mile away.  Other Christians can even pick up on it & use Scripture to back up why you should do for them or other people.

The truth is that no one can help everyone who crosses their path.  It’s too much!  You could ruin your physical & mental health, & even ruin yourself financially if you helped every single person who claims to have a need.  You truly need discernment & wisdom to know who God wants you to help, who He doesn’t, & who he simply wants you to pray for.

When you come across someone in need, the smartest thing you can do is pray.  Ask God for guidance, & to show you what this person’s position in your life is going to be.  Maybe it is to help that person in some way, but maybe it isn’t.  Maybe your position is simply to pray for that person or to guide them to someone who can help them.  Maybe you need to lead that person to Jesus.  Or, maybe you need to set boundaries & refuse to help this person because he or she tends to use people & needs a lesson in the fact not everyone is here to do for them.  Until & unless you ask God, you won’t know for sure.  So ask!  He will guide & help you!

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Ghosting, aka The INFJ Door Slam

Removing someone from your life is a very challenging thing to do even under the best of circumstances.  What makes it even harder is when others criticize not only that you did it but even how you ended a relationship.  It is so frustrating when you took this big step & people with no vested interest in the relationship feel the need to tell you how wrong you were.  It can make you seriously doubt your decision.

One aspect of this I have experienced is being told how wrong I was for simply backing out of someone’s life rather than explaining how I feel or trying to work things out.  Those familiar with the Myers Briggs personality test recognize this as the infamous INFJ door slam, even though all personalities may use it.  Others call it ghosting.  Whatever you choose to call it, many people call it childish, petty & even cruel when it often is nothing of the sort.

While the door slam isn’t appropriate in every relationship that ends, in many cases is it a very good option to take no matter what others may think.

With narcissists, trying to work out relationship problem is a waste of time.  In fact, telling them that you are hurt when they do or say something usually just makes them do or say that thing more often.

They also have no desire to change their hurtful behavior.  If something they do hurts someone, that is either inconsequential to them or it brings them joy.  Trying to talk things out with someone like this is not only impossible, but it will cause a lot more pain & frustration.

Not to mention, narcissists will try to convince a victim to maintain the relationship’s status quo & can be very good at doing so sometimes.  This can cause a couple of unpleasant outcomes.  The victim may become confused & stay in the toxic relationship.  Or, the victim may leave but carry a great deal of shame for leaving the “poor abuser” or “ruining his or her life” by ending the relationship.  Another scenario can happen if the abuser & victim live together.  Talking to the abuser before ending the relationship & moving out can give the abuser time to come up with especially creative & effective tactics to keep the victim in the relationship

In cases like this, it is much better for someone to leave a relationship unannounced & silently for their own mental health’s sake.

Not all relationships are abusive, though, & sometimes a person wants to end it simply because of personality differences, moral differences or even religious beliefs.  In cases like that, sometimes leaving a relationship silently still may be a viable option.

If someone repeatedly hurts you, you tell them they’re hurting you & they continue to hurt you, they have to know why you’re ending the relationship.  They don’t need you to explain yourself yet again.  There is no point.

No one should have to explain to someone how to be a decent human being, especially repeatedly.  Some people seem to have no clue how to be civil, let alone polite, & are content with their behavior.  They say things like, “This is just how I am.”  Explaining why you want to end a relationship with someone like this is most likely going to be a waste of your time.

Obviously, people are very different so you need to consider your options seriously when ending a relationship someone.  If the person is reasonable, explaining why you’re ending it is a good option.  That person may learn that they need to behave in a healthier way.  And, who knows, they may teach you something about your own behavior as well.  If the person in question isn’t reasonable though, quietly walking away probably is your best option.

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What NOT To Say To Someone With C-PTSD

Many people tell those of us with C-PTSD some pretty stupid, insensitive & even invalidating comments about our disorder.  It’s utterly frustrating how people can say things like these & think it’s ok or even that they’re being supportive.  It’s also frustrating how sometimes when these things are said to us, thanks to our disorder, we can’t think of what to tell these people about why this is a bad thing to say.

Below are some frequently used comments & retorts to them.  Feel free to share this post with anyone who you think can benefit from reading this.

“I know how you feel!”  I don’t think so.  C-PTSD is a very weird & painful disorder.  You can feel like you’re going crazy when symptoms flare up.  You also can be suicidal.  Even two people with C-PTSD can experience their symptoms differently.

“I think a lot too.”  Really?  You think that’s what C-PTSD is?  No.  There is a big difference between the average person thinking a lot & C-PTSD.  When a person is “always thinking”, they can control it at least to some degree.  Good luck doing that with the thoughts that come with C-PTSD.  There are ruminating thoughts which are thoughts that play over & over again.  There are also intrusive thoughts, which come to mind at any time, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  We also can’t forget hyper-vigilance, which is being completely focused on one’s surroundings in an attempt to spot any hint of danger to our physical or mental health.  These things are awful & often impossible to control.

“Everyone has nightmares!”  True.  Everyone does have nightmares.  Not everyone has nightmares nightly or almost nightly, often even multiple times in a night.  Not everyone wakes up in a blind panic from a nightmare, either.  Not everyone has nightmares about utterly bizarre things that stir up similar emotions to the traumatic events they have survived.

“You need to stop thinking about the past.”  Well, thank you for that insight.  I never thought about that!  *sigh*  Those of us with C-PTSD want to stop thinking about the past, but our brains won’t let us!

“Everyone has flashes of bad memories.”  Flashbacks are so much more than that.  They’re bad memories that feel like they’re happening all over again.  They can make it very hard to discern between the memory & reality.

“Think happy thoughts!”  “Be more positive!”  C-PTSD isn’t about thinking too negatively.  It’s an actual mental disorder.  Our brains were broken due to the traumas we survived.  The damage means we can’t control our thoughts like someone without C-PTSD can.

“You need to see a counselor!”  It’s not that easy!  Not all counselors understand C-PTSD.  Also, not all counselors understand the best ways to treat people who have suffered through trauma, period, let alone multiple traumas.  There is also the fact that many of us have tried counseling, only to find some counselors are as toxic as the people who abused us in the first place, so we have a strong lack of trust in those in the mental health field.

“You just need to take a pill.”  Also not that easy.  Do you have any idea how many anti-anxiety & anti-depressants there are available?!  I don’t but I do know that it’s a lot!  There are also varying classes & strengths of these medications.  Most also take at least about two weeks to start working, so you may take something for a long time before seeing any changes, good or bad.  Finding the right dose of the right medication can be a very long, frustrating task.

“It’s all in your head!”  Well, C-PTSD is a mental disorder.  Where else would it be?

“You can’t have C-PTSD!  You weren’t in the military!”  Maybe not, but C-PTSD doesn’t discriminate.  It can happen to anyone exposed to any traumas for an extended period of time.  While it happens to many prisoners of war, it also happens to those who survived child abuse or domestic violence.

I hope this post helps you to have a good response the next time someone invalidates your experiences with C-PTSD.  xoxo

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About Disproportionate Anger In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

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Encouragement For Scapegoats

Growing up a scapegoat is a nightmare.  You can do absolutely nothing right.  Any & all family problems are blamed on you, whether or not you actually had any responsibility in them.  Doing this allows the abusive family members to maintain their illusion of normalcy because in their eyes, clearly you are the problem.  Your family lies to & about you constantly, causing you to have no decent relationships, especially within your own family.  You’re on the receiving end of all of your family’s scorn & abuse, yet if you say anything about this, it only gets worse for you.

You hope that once you turn 18 or move out, things will get better.  You aren’t living under the same roof as your dysfunctional family or at least you’re able to escape home which is helpful in minimizing exposure to these awful people.  That is all it does though, minimize exposure.  They still abuse you.

Being a scapegoat can feel like you are in the worst position in the world with no hope of ever experiencing freedom, but believe it or not, there is some good that comes with a scapegoat.

Scapegoats are known for being the black sheep of their family.  They’re different in that they want to learn & grow.  They don’t want to continue the pattern of dysfunction that runs in their family.  Standing out from this crowd is a good thing!

Scapegoats are also known as truth tellers.  They are usually the only ones in dysfunctional families who aren’t concerned with their family’s reputation.  They are more concerned with the truth.  They are incredibly brave, because telling the truth about your dysfunctional family is so hard.  Dysfunctional families can’t handle people knowing the truth about them, so if one of them divulges it, that one must be punished.  They will attack this person & smear their good name.  They will treat the person as if they’re crazy, & none of what they claim happened actually happened.  They will abandon the truth teller when they need love & support the most.  They do all of this because protecting their family’s reputation & their delusions of having a big, happy family are more important than the scapegoat’s mental health.

Interestingly, the rejection of the scapegoat by his or her family can make the scapegoat intensely appreciative of good relationships.  They highly value their friends & romantic partners who aren’t abusive, & don’t hesitate to let them know how loved & appreciated they are.  This makes them fantastic friends & spouses.

Due to their experiences, scapegoats also have great empathy.  Having known intense suffering, they truly understand what it’s like to suffer, & don’t want others to feel as they have.  They want to help others too because they know what it’s like not to have help when in need.  They are often some of the kindest people you can meet.

Also due to their experiences, scapegoats often think differently than most people.  Their different perspective can be very helpful for them as well as other people.  They give unique & often very helpful advice or simply offer a perspective that someone never considered.

As adults, scapegoats also often become advocates for victims of all kinds of abuse.  They help to raise awareness, to educate & even offer comfort to other victims.

In telling you these things, I’m not saying that if you were the scapegoat in your family, you should be grateful.  I really am not sure such a perspective is healthy.  That being said, I do hope that you recognize yourself in these good qualities.  You should be proud of the person you’ve become!  All of that abuse was meant to destroy you, yet it did nothing of the sort.  Instead, you became the wonderful person you are today.  Be proud of your strength, courage & wonderfulness!

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Often “Less Wrong” Is Your Best Solution With Narcissists

When dealing with narcissists, often there is no right answer.  They are masters at creating no win situations, & even when they aren’t actively creating one, they seem to come up anyway.  For example, think about no contact.  In a sense, it’s the right solution.  It’ll protect you from further abuse & give you the space you need in order to heal from all you have endured.  While those are certainly great things, no contact also means a close relationship ended & on a bad note.  Clearly this isn’t a really good thing, even though the good outweighs the bad.  The only other alternative is to continue in an abusive relationship, so a person is limited to two choices, neither of which is particularly great.

Many things with narcissists are like that.  Setting boundaries is another example.  Yes, setting boundaries is a good thing & it is necessary, but at the same time, it starts a lot of problems with narcissists.  Since they don’t respect anyone’s boundaries, when someone tries to set them, they get angry & even more abusive.  The only choices are begin to set boundaries & deal with more abuse at least temporarily, or do nothing & suffer anyway.  Neither answer is really a right one.

Often, the best you can do with a narcissist is choose the least wrong answer.

While I know this sounds depressing & hopeless, I don’t mean it to.  Once you accept this, you can feel less stress & anxiety in your dealings with the narcissist.

Accepting that there really isn’t any right answer helps you to understand that no matter what you do, there won’t be a good, healthy or functional solution.  There is nothing you can do to make that happen.  It’s beyond your control.  This can be very freeing!  It helps you not to beat yourself up because things haven’t worked out perfectly.  You accept that sometimes a person’s best just isn’t good enough, & that’s ok.

It also helps you because you learn to keep your expectations realistic with the narcissist.  You know that the narcissist is going to be angry or upset no matter what you do.  You will have a good idea what to expect rather than thinking that this time will be better.  You also can prepare yourself for whatever is going to happen.

Accepting this truth that there are only less wrong answers with narcissist also helps you not to drive yourself crazy trying to figure out exactly what you need to do & how to do it.  You feel much less pressure to make everything right when you know that no matter what you do, you’ll be wrong anyway.

When you know that the narcissist will say you’re wrong in whatever you do, it’s also much easier to think of yourself instead of only him or her.  You develop a mindset something like, “Well, if I’m going to be wrong anyway I might as well get something out of this too.”

In all honesty, sometimes the fact there often isn’t any right answer also will make you sad.  That is totally normal.  It isn’t exactly the most cheerful fact of life, after all.  But, if you can look at it in ways that benefit you, it really can help you.

I also found that a quote from Captain Picard from the old tv show “Star Trek The Next Generation” to be comforting.  “It is possible to commit no mistakes & still lose.  That is not a weakness.  That is life.”  I know, I’m a nerd quoting this show, but the words are very wise & very comforting.  Definitely worth remembering, in particular when dealing with a narcissist.

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Secrets Narcissists Have But Hope Victims Don’t Learn

Narcissists have secrets that they hope will remain secret indefinitely.  Learning these secrets can help you when you must deal with a narcissist or to sever ties with them.

One of their biggest fears is that they will be forced to be held accountable for their actions.  Document EVERYTHING the narcissist says & does to you.  Save voicemails, text messages, emails, screen shots, etc.  Save these items to cloud storage or email them to yourself & save on the server rather than on your phone & computer to be sure they aren’t accidentally lost.  Don’t forget to hide the access information from the narcissist too!  This documentation can work to your advantage if you need to go to the police, go to court or get a restraining order.  It also can make a narcissist afraid of being exposed, damaging their reputation.   Mention discussing their behavior with someone, for example.  No doubt the narcissist will immediately tell you what a horrible person that is you’ve been speaking with in an attempt to make you stop speaking to them.  This fear of discovery means they may discard you quickly, freeing you of their abuse, so don’t hesitate to drop hints about documenting their behavior. 

Acting indifferent to a narcissist is devastating to them.  Narcissists love attention, be it good or bad.  Showing a narcissist that nothing they do affects you is utterly devastating to them.  Narcissists feed off of emotional responses, so by denying them that, they will get bored & leave you alone.  If you must deal with a narcissist, show no reaction whatsoever to anything they do.  If you have ended the relationship & they’re trying to harass you, never respond.  Any response will be their fuel to try to hurt you further, so deprive them of that fuel!

Any attempt from a narcissist to lure you back into the relationship isn’t because they truly love & miss you.  Instead, it is so the narcissist can abuse you further, then end the relationship on his or her terms.  Narcissists must be in control & you ending the relationship removed their control.  This infuriates narcissists!  They usually do whatever they can to rekindle the relationship.  They try to lure their victims back with false promises of change or they even try scaring them into resuming the relationship.  Once the victim is back, the narcissist abuses the victim even worse than before, then discards the victim.

You are nothing more than narcissistic supply to a narcissist.  Narcissists don’t see people as human beings.  They only see them as tools to be used however the narcissist sees fit.  This is why they are able to abuse & throw away people so easily.  People mean nothing more to narcissists than a screwdriver or hammer.

When a narcissist tells you someone else is much better than you, what they mean is that person has fallen for their act.  This other person hasn’t caught on to what the narcissist really is yet, so they provide good narcissistic supply.  In the eyes of a narcissist, that makes this person better than you.

Narcissists will apologize, but it won’t be a sincere apology.  Narcissists prefer to control without resorting to apologies, but they will if they think it will get them what they want.  There are big problems with narcissistic apologies, however.  They never accompany the narcissist accepting responsibility for their behavior & making appropriate changes.  As if this doesn’t prove enough that the apology isn’t genuine, their words do that too.  They say things like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or, “I’m sorry you think I did something wrong.”  These fake apologies are meant to pacify a victim by saying, “I’m sorry” while not accepting any responsibility for the bad behavior.

Narcissists will use your empathy against you.  Covert narcissists in particular have no problem making you feel sorry for them if it will accomplish their goal.  They do this in various ways.  One way is apologizing for their actions but offering excuses such as “I was just trying to help!”  or, “I didn’t know that would upset you!”  Adding such comments onto an apology is meant to make you accept their abusive behavior because their excuse makes it ok.  You are supposed to feel ashamed for being upset about their abusive actions, & accept that behavior again.

Keeping these things in mind can help you cope when you must deal with a narcissist.

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Scars

Often a physical injury results in a scar.  Did you ever think about the fact that psychological injuries also result in scars?  They may not be so easy to see like physical scars, but they are there nonetheless.

PTSD & C-PTSD are scars that result from exposure to extreme trauma or multiple traumas.  The traumas were so bad they literally “broke” a person’s brain, causing physical changes, that create some very difficult problems to cope with.

Depression is a scar resulting from living through the horrors of emotional abuse.  The constant berating, gaslighting & more of emotional abuse created depression that can last even long after the relationship has ended.

Anxiety is a scar that comes from living with someone, either a parent or a spouse who is demanding, highly volatile & unpredictable.  The constant feeling of walking on eggshells in an attempt to avoid angry outbursts creates anxiety that can last a lifetime, whether or not the volatile person is still in a victim’s life or not.

These scars are incredibly difficult to live with, I know.  I live with C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse I’ve endured.  It is a horrible disorder to live with but for me, the anxiety & depression are probably the worst parts of it.  It could be very easy to get caught up in the heartbreaking, discouraging & unfair nature of it all.  Honestly, there are some times that happens.  However, there are also times it doesn’t happen because of the perspective I try to have on these scars.  My hope is this information will help you too.

Scars remind you of what you’ve been through so you retain what you learned.  Having survived narcissistic parents, an ex husband, in-laws & countless so called friends & family, naturally I’ve learned a lot.  That’s a good thing, because now I spot unsafe people easily.  I know quickly either to avoid them or to have firm boundaries in place if I must deal with them.  I also know when they are attempting to manipulate me, & avoid falling for their games.

Scars also remind you that you survived something that was meant to destroy you.  This can be really hard to remember when you’re facing suicidal thoughts, flashbacks or paralyzing anxiety or depression, but it’s true.  The goal of narcissists is to destroy their victim emotionally.  (If they can tear a person down enough, that person will be easy to bend to their will, so it just makes sense that is the goal of narcissists.)  You survived that!  Yes, you still have issues from it but who wouldn’t?!  You survived something really terrible, & that is the main thing!

What I think is the best part of all is that scars also are an excellent reminder of God being by your side, through this “valley of the shadow of death,” so to speak.  Remember Psalm 23:4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;” (KJV)  Your scar is reminder that although you went through something utterly horrific, God was by your side the entire time helping you to survive.  He loves you so much, & your scars are a reminder of that wonderful fact.

When you have problems because of the scars you have as a result of surviving narcissistic abuse, please try not to get discouraged!  I know it’s hard, but you can do it.  Remember the points in this post.  Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  Acknowledge your feelings & accept them.  If you feel things like you’re damaged, a burden to your loved ones or other negative things like that, remind yourself that they are simply old beliefs stemming from narcissistic abuse.  And, most of all, lean on God.  Pray often. Ask Him for comfort, strength, wisdom, guidance & anything else you can think of.  Remember, He was there with you “through the valley of the shadow of death.”  He is still with you!

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Encouragement For Those Still In Relationships With Narcissists

I know it seems like it’s only you.  No one else is still sticking it out with a narcissist in their life.  You probably even feel ashamed & like a coward for not ending the relationship when so many other folks have.  Today I want you to know that it isn’t only you, you have no valid reason to feel ashamed, & you aren’t a coward!

So much information says, “Just go no contact” when it comes to narcissists.  They make it sound so easy, as do many survivors of narcissistic abuse.  The truth of the matter though is no contact isn’t easy!

It isn’t important whether the narcissist in your life is a friend, romantic partner or even a parent.  Ending any relationship is very sad & painful.  Although that usually is the best solution & often the only one when dealing with a narcissist, even that doesn’t make this an easy or less sad solution.

There is also the fact that narcissists don’t usually abuse strangers.  They abuse those closest to them.  Ending a relationship with someone you have known for a month isn’t so hard.  Ending it with someone you have a long history with however is really tough.

Don’t forget too, that narcissists can behave very well when they want to.  It can be so hard to leave someone who has the ability to be good to you!  Most people want that good version to come back & are willing to hang in there in the hopes it will happen.

If you believe no contact is the right solution for your situation yet are having trouble taking that step, please know you’re ok.  Really!  No contact is such a difficult move to make.  It often takes a great deal of time to work up the inner strength to end an abusive relationship.  Narcissists do their best to destroy their victims’ self esteem.  Once that happens, it takes a lot of time & work to rebuild that self esteem to the point of being able to leave the abuser.

If you’re living with the narcissist in your life, maybe you are in the unfortunate situation of being financially dependent on this person.  It happens more often than you may realize.  Narcissists abuse in every possible way, even financially.  They often spend all their victim’s money, run up the victim’s credit cards, create a great deal of debt in the victim’s name then refuse to pay is in order to ruin the victims’ credit & even force a victim to sign their paychecks over to them leaving the victim destitute.

None of these scenarios are your fault.  Sadly they are very common.

You will know when & if the time is right to end the relationship with the narcissist in your life.  Until that time comes, there are some things you can do to make your situation a bit more bearable.

Always remember to pray.  Ask God for help.  Ask Him to give you creative & effective ways to deal with the narcissist.  Ask Him to help you by giving you whatever you need to go no contact.

Never forget that the primary motivation of anything a narcissist does is narcissistic supply.  The less supply you provide, the more likely the narcissist will leave you alone.  Think about this person- what provides him or her with that supply?  Stop doing those things.  Your anger provides supply?  Never show the narcissist you’re angry.  You looking your best provides supply?  Then let yourself look sloppy sometimes.  No doubt you can come up with a list of things that provide this person with narcissistic supply & ways to stop providing it.

One tool I found to be quite useful with narcissists is asking logical questions without showing any emotions.  You can say things like, “I don’t understand what you mean.  Would you explain that?”  “Why do you think that is a good idea?”  Asking these kinds of questions in a calm manner flusters narcissists.  It shows that you’re onto their manipulation, but in a manner that they know if they get mad at you, they’ll look foolish.  Since narcissists hate the very thought of looking bad in any way, chances are good they will change the subject to avoid this conversation.

If you don’t know much about boundaries, then it is time for you to learn.  You have every right to have reasonable boundaries, such as being able to say no without inciting rage.  You also don’t have to explain your boundaries.  Doing so only encourages a narcissist to try to convince their victim why their boundaries are wrong & instill doubt.  It’s best to state your boundaries without explanation.

Also never forget that the way the narcissist is treating you isn’t about you.  It isn’t personal at all.  I know it feels that way but the truth is the narcissist behaves this way because they have issues.  It isn’t because you deserve to be treated as they are doing.  Remembering this can help to take some of the pain out of their abusive ways.

Lastly, if you are able, low contact is a very good stepping stone to no contact.  Only deal with the narcissist when you feel able to do so.  Give yourself permission not to take every single phone call or visit the narcissist every time he or she demands you do so.  Sometimes, narcissists in this position will initiate no contact with their victim since the victim is no longer a good source of narcissistic supply.

Remember, no contact is a very big decision.  There is nothing wrong with you for taking your time about making that big step.  Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!  You will know in your heart when the time is right & have the ability to do so!

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Why Victims Should Tell Their Stories

Before I write one word on this topic, let me just say that I don’t believe every single person who has experienced abuse must write books or a blog about their experiences.  It’s a very good thing to do of course, but it also isn’t every person’s calling in life.  If you’re reading this & immediately felt badly because you have yet to write publicly about your experiences, then please stop.  You have no reason to feel badly!  That may not be what God has planned for you, & there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

That being said….

I firmly believe that everyone who has suffered narcissistic abuse needs to be open about their experiences.  No victim has a reason to feel shame for being abused, so why hide it?  Why pretend it didn’t happen?  Instead, be open about your story.  The Bible says in  Proverbs 31:8-9:

“Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!”  (MSG)

By being open about your story, you can help other people!  Sharing your story in any capacity can let people know that they aren’t alone.  There are so many victims who don’t understand their pain & your story can help them.  There also are those who don’t know anything but abuse, & when they hear your similar story to theirs, their eyes open.  Suddenly they see how wrong the things that were done to them were.  Your story can give them the courage to walk away.

If you speak openly & without shame about your awful experiences, you can do more good than you realize.  You can help people in so many ways by doing nothing more than talking.

And, if you think this is only about other people, you’re wrong.  By being willing to discuss your own experiences, you can help yourself as well.

Do you know anything about the legends of vampires?  I read quite a bit about them when I was a kid.  I learned that vampires were very powerful, supernaturally powerful in fact, unless they were exposed to the sunlight.  The sun would utterly destroy  these impossibly strong, immortal beings by turning them into dust.  That same principle applies to issues stemming from abuse.  So long as they remain in the dark, in other words, they aren’t discussed, are ignored or hidden, they have a great deal of power.  They control your life.  Once you discuss them however, they lose that power like a vampire in the sunlight.  Discussing your issues helps to release you from their hold over you somehow.  It’s incredibly healing to be open about abusive experiences.

In my younger days, even though I knew something was very wrong, I still didn’t want to discuss the abusive situations I experienced.  I felt like if I did so, I was betraying my abusive parents & ex husband.  It seemed wrong to do anything other than hide what they did to me.  Not that they told me I shouldn’t tell anyone what they were doing, but it was as if it was some unwritten rule that I shouldn’t tell anyone what they did.  Many victims of abuse feel much the same as I did, that they shouldn’t “tattle” on their abuser.

I want to tell you today that this thinking is wrong.  This is your story too, not only that of the abuser!  You have every right to share as much or as little as you want to.  Abusers aren’t the only ones who can talk about whatever they want!  You have that right as well!

I do want you to know that if you opt to discuss your experiences freely either verbally or in writing, you need to be aware of the laws against libel & slander in your state.  While you are free to discuss your situation, you also need to use wisdom when it comes to protecting yourself in any capacity from your abuser.  Even with these limitations in place, you can say an awful lot, & help many people!  I wish you the best in doing so!  xoxo

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How Narcissists Handle Health Crises

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The Apologetic Narcissist

Narcissists almost never offer a real apology.  Sure, they may say the words, “I’m sorry” sometimes, but the words are often followed up by words &/or actions that prove this apology isn’t genuine.  Sometimes however, they can be quite convincing that this time, the apology is real.  This post is to help you spot the signs of a fake narcissistic apology.

The fake apologies are most likely to flow freely after ending a relationship with a narcissist.  They may even say the right things like, “I’ve changed”, “I know I did some bad things,” or even, “I’ll get therapy”.  The words can be very believable.  Naturally, you will want to believe them too.  No one wants to accept that there are people out there capable of the cruelty that narcissists commit on a daily basis.

The problem with such apologies is if you give the narcissist a bit of time after the first apology, some cracks will start to show.  Instead of, “I’ve changed,” they may say things like, “I’ve changed but I need you to do some changing too.”  They also may add a “but” to their apology.  “I’m sorry I did that to you, but you really made me angry!”  Suddenly their willingness to go to therapy either turns into a willingness to go to couples therapy rather than individual, or they claim they never said they would go to therapy in the first place.

At this point, many victims are sucked in by the first, more sincere sounding apology.  They make excuses for the narcissist’s sudden changes.  They blame themselves for making the narcissist do the terrible things they did or even their lack of patience & understanding with the narcissist.  They also think maybe the narcissist is right, & they never promised they would go to therapy.

If the victim continues with this train of thought, resuming the relationship with the narcissist is very likely.  In the beginning the victim will be glad they did this, because everything will be good.  The narcissist won’t be so cruel, but instead will be kind, understanding, even gentle.  This “honeymoon” period lulls victims into a false sense of security.  They believe the narcissist has really changed this time.  They  believe the narcissist meant what they said, & the relationship is going to be ok.

Little by little though, the narcissist begins to resume his or her old ways.  It probably will start out as subtle criticisms or attempts at control or manipulation.  These won’t happen as often as they once did, which makes it easy for a victim to brush them off.

As time passes, however, the narcissist gradually returns to his or her old ways, & most likely adds some new tricks to the repertoire.  The victim ends up shocked one day when reality sets in, & they see that the narcissist never changed at all.

This scenario almost always happens, no matter the nature of the relationship with a narcissist.  You mostly hear about it in the context of romantic relationships, but it also happens with friendships or parent/child relationships.

Don’t let this happen to you!!  If you have ended a relationship with a narcissist, refrain from having any contact with that person at all.  If you must, keep your contact minimal while showing no emotions.  If you can have someone act as a mediator between you both, all the better.

Any contact you do have with the narcissist gives him or her the chance to “apologize” & attempt to lure you back.  Don’t fall for it!  If he or she doesn’t accept responsibility for the behavior & ask how to make things right, or if he or she demands you believe or trust them, those are signs the apology isn’t sincere.  If you resume the relationship at this point, you’ll be as miserable if not more miserable than you were before.  Don’t let that happen.  Walk away & take care of yourself.

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Traits Of Unsafe People

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Victim Shaming Comments

Victim shaming is a big problem in society these days.  It happens when someone says something that makes a victim feel shame for whatever abuse was perpetrated against them or makes the victim feel to blame for what happened.

Some statements are especially common, & those will be addressed in this post.

“I know someone who had that happen to them, but it was way worse.”  Trauma isn’t a contest.  Trauma hurts, period, & there is no reason to compare one person’s traumatic experience to another’s.  This sort of statement does nothing good.  It only minimizes & invalidates the victim’s pain.

“Your abuser has had a rough life!  You should help him/her.”  A history of being abused or through trauma is NOT an excuse to abuse other people.  Yes, people who have been abused & traumatized don’t always act like functional people.  However, the vast majority also aren’t abusive.  I think this is because they know how badly it hurts to be abused, & they won’t want to inflict that kind of pain on others.

“You know what the problem is?  You weren’t nice enough.  You didn’t kill him/her with kindness.”  Killing someone with kindness can help in some situations.  It can help a person see that their behavior is wrong.  They feel convicted & change.  When dealing with a narcissist or other personality disordered individual though?  Being overly kind is seen as a green light to abuse & take advantage of a victim more & more.

“I don’t know why you two just couldn’t get along.”  This phrase puts the blame for the abuse on both people in the relationship, which makes a victim feel at least partly responsible for the abuser’s behavior.  This is totally unfair!  The only person responsible for the abuser’s behavior is the abuser, period, end of story!

“Stop being a victim!”  While this may sound empowering at first, it’s also a way to stop a victim from discussing their experience & try to get the victim to get over their experience.  There is absolutely no shame in being the victim of abuse.  None!  There is also no shame in the fact it takes time to heal from abuse.  In many cases, it takes a lifetime.  That doesn’t make a person weak or a failure!

“You need to forgive/let this go.  You’ve been holding onto this for too long!”  I am a huge proponent of forgiveness.  Holding onto anger isn’t good for your physical or mental health.  That being said, you can’t let go of all anger just because someone tells you to!  Doing so is a process.  I firmly believe in forgiving immediately in the sense you don’t expect your abuser to try to make it up to you for what they have done.  In that sense, it’s easy to forgive because you know an abuser can’t truly make everything ok for what they have done.  Letting go of your anger, however, isn’t so easy.  That takes a lot of time & actually feeling the anger  as a way to get it out of you.  There is no time limit on that.

“That happened in the past.. why are you still holding onto this?”  This statement is beyond foolish.  When something extreme happens to a person, either good or bad, they can’t just “shake it off”!  Not to mention, when a person is traumatized, there is an excellent chance of that person developing PTSD or C-PTSD if the trauma is ongoing.  A hallmark of both disorders is not being able to let go of trauma, because it returns often as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks & nightmares.

When people say statements like these to you (& they will at some point), please remember, these statements are not about you.  They are about someone who truly has no concept of surviving abuse & trauma in a healthy way.  That person may have been through abuse too, but lacks the strength to face their pain.  If they can make others not face theirs as well, it makes them feel more normal.

Many people also like to pretend that there is no ugliness in the world.  If they can stop you from discussing your traumatic experiences, they can resume thinking that the world is a happy place at all times.

Rarely when people are insensitive & invalidating is the behavior about the person on the receiving end of their comments, but instead is about the person saying such things.  If you can remember that, it will help you not to be devastated by their cruel comments.

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For Those Who Lack Joy Around Holidays & Birthdays

I truly dislike holidays & birthdays, & have felt this way for years.  The reason I feel this way is also the reason for so much negativity in my life.  It boils down to narcissistic behavior.

For all of my adult life, I’ve had demanding in-laws, both past & present, who expected my husband & I to do only as they wanted on holidays with no concern to anyone’s wishes beyond theirs.  In fact, my current in-laws claimed almost all holidays before they died, not only Thanksgiving & Christmas, but also Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, etc.  I’ve also had husbands who felt they must obey their demanding parents no matter what I felt.  My birthday also has been ruined by narcissists more times than it hasn’t been.  This all has ruined the joy I once felt about holidays.  Seems quite understandable to me that I dislike special days now, but many people can’t seem to grasp this.  In fact, many have been very critical of me for my feelings.

I thought I should write this for those of you who share similar experiences &/or feelings about special days.

You need to understand that if you feel as I do, your feelings are reasonable & valid.  They are there for a reason, so don’t discount them.  I know, most people can’t stand to learn a person doesn’t look forward to special days with a sense of glee, but they don’t understand that sometimes things happen.  Sometimes one truly severe or traumatic thing can happen that instantly destroys your fondness of these days, such as the death of a loved one close to or on a holiday.  How could anyone look forward to a holiday again when it’s a reminder of one of life’s most painful experiences?

Other times, you experience the same special day misery over & over again every single year.  Maybe you’re forced to spend the day with someone who abused you.  You know it’s not going to be pleasant to put it mildly.  There is no way you’re going to happily anticipate holidays knowing what unpleasantness is coming your way.

Even if you haven’t experienced something awful around the holidays, you may have a family that only comes together on holidays, & the phoniness of it bothers you.  That is one thing that rubs me very wrong about many holiday get togethers.  If this group of people only sees each other on a holiday, why are they seeing each other at all?  Why don’t they call each other or hang out together other times?  To me, that feels incredibly fake, & it gets under my skin badly.  I want no part of such get togethers because of the phoniness of it all.

Whatever your story, it’s ok to feel as you do.  Accept that about yourself without judgment.  If you’re struggling to do so, then imagine your closest friend came to you sharing their story which is yours.  What would you tell that friend?  Would you shame him or her for feeling that way or would you tell your friend you understand?  Tell yourself whatever you would tell that friend.

Try to deal with your feelings however works best for you.  Pray, journal, talk to someone safe & non judgmental.  Talking through this helps a great deal to release so much pain inside you.  Writing does, too, & it also can help to bring clarity to your situation & validate you.

I’m not going to tell you that you need to try to change your feelings & learn to love the holidays.  That is up to you if you want to try to do that.  I did, but it felt fake to me which is something I just can’t tolerate in myself.  But, maybe it’ll work for you.  If so, create new traditions just for yourself,  Spend the day with special friends.  Or, if you spend the day alone, make it a day just for you by doing something you thoroughly enjoy such as reading, watching good movies or going to a park.

I truly wish you the best in your situation!  It’s not easy feeling like a holiday villain in a society that demands everyone enjoy the holidays.  xoxo

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Ongoing Problems As You Heal

When you are healing from narcissistic abuse, it can be incredibly discouraging.  It sometimes seems like no matter what you do, you still have problems that you cannot fix, which can be incredibly frustrating!

Recently, my husband turned a movie on tv whose subject matter was football.  This is not good for me.  When I was growing up, my father was utterly obsessed with football.  He was so obsessed that his normally civil demeanor turned into something resembling a screaming demon if a game was on.  If my mother or I walked into the room, he would yell at us about making too much noise.  If I wanted his attention, I had to sit still & quiet until there was a break in the game.

As a result, I absolutely hate football.  It stirs up memories of feeling less valuable than a leather bag of air & a bunch of guys playing an over-glorified game of fetch.  Just hearing the sounds of a football game makes me angry.

I am in my late forties as I write this.  I have tried to let this go.  I have tried forgiving my father for his jerk-like behavior surrounding this game, & I think I have.  I also understand it is simply the result of some very dysfunctional behavior of my father’s more than a reflection on me.  Yet in spite of it all, football sounds still make me angry.

This has been incredibly discouraging to me!  I have healed from so much of the abuse I have experienced.  So why is this still a problem??

One day several years ago, God showed me this verse….

Philippians 1:6 in the Amplified Bible says,

“I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return].”

Suddenly everything clicked…

On this healing journey, there are going to be issues we do not heal from in this lifetime.  God will work with us & on us.  He will continue to improve us & heal us.  Yet, even so, some things are going to be an issue for as long as we live.

When this happens, Dear Reader, know it does NOT mean something is wrong with you.  It simply means you are normal.  It can be incredibly frustrating I know, but at least it does not mean you are doing something wrong, or are broken beyond repair.  It just means you are a normal human being!

Rather than be upset about this, why not do what you can to accept this as a simple shortcoming & rely on God to help you get through?    Remember, Psalm 23:4 says,

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

The valley of the shadow of death is never pleasant of course, but even so, you can get through it.  In my experience, it is those trips through that awful valley that brought me closer to God.  Also sharing my ongoing issues like this often mean someone who reads my story also can relate & is comforted by knowing someone else understands their struggles. This means something good can come from those dark times!  That pain has a purpose!  As bad & painful as the bad times are, it truly helps when you know that something good can come from them & your pain was not in vain.  If you have trouble understanding what the purpose is, ask God to show you, to help you see the purpose.  He truly will not disappoint you!

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Disproportionate Anger In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently read an article about something called gunnysacking.  Turns out, that is the term for having a disproportionate reaction to someone due to having held in anger for too long.

I’ve experienced this many times, & I believe it’s a common abuse tactic of narcissists.  They push your buttons & somehow let you know that you aren’t allowed to confront them on their bad behavior.  Eventually they say something that is far from the worst thing they’ve ever said yet you lose your temper.  They enjoy this because it proves to them how irrational, crazy, etc. you are.  It also leaves you wondering if the narcissist may just be right about you being irrational or crazy.

The best example I can give of gunnysacking in my life happened in 2016.  At the time, I wanted to go no contact with my parents, but the timing felt wrong somehow.  I maintained the relationship only because I trust my instincts.  When my mother in-law died that April, a few days later, I saw my parents’ number on my caller ID.  They just saw her obituary in the local paper & were angry I hadn’t told them she died.  They were worried what my in-laws would think of them for not being at the funeral.  My parents knew I hadn’t spoken to any of my in-laws in 14 years at this time.  They also only spoke to them maybe 3 times in the 22 years my husband  & I had been together.  I felt betrayed that my parents showed such loyalty to people who they knew mistreated me.  They couldn’t understand why I felt that way., & I was furious.  That was the last time I spoke to my mother, & one of the last times I spoke to my father.

This was hardly the first time my parents showed they cared more for someone else than me.  It also wasn’t the worst thing they had done.  Years of stifling my anger just reached a boiling point in that conversation.  The anger just gushed out even though it wasn’t proportionate to the situation.

I believe there is another variation on gunnysacking, too.  When you have a relationship with a narcissist, yet rather than blow up at the narcissist, you blow up to your spouse, friend, sibling, etc.  This is a bonus for a narcissist because it proves that they have control over you & also causes you problems in another relationship.

Unfortunately I have done this too.  I would speak to my parents, then after the visit, when I’d see my husband, I’d snap at him over nothing.  I was angry with my parents, & unable to hold it in any longer by the time I saw him.  (Yes, I apologized when this happened since it wasn’t fair to him.)

Gunnysacking may feel good at the moment since you’re finally getting those emotions out, but it isn’t healthy.  When you are overwhelmed with emotions, you can’t think clearly.  Negative emotions that overwhelm can trigger survival instincts to kick in & that means rational thought is put aside.  Stress levels are raised & that is certainly unhealthy for your body.  Not to mention, attacking someone disproportionately can damage your relationship.  No one wants to be treated badly but in particular when they haven’t done anything wrong.  Also, in a relationship with a narcissist, as I mentioned earlier, they’ll use gunnysacking to prove how awful you are to yourself & others.  They love to say things like, “She just started yelling at me out of the blue.”  “I don’t know what set him off.  We were talking then suddenly he was screaming.”

To avoid gunnysacking, it’s best to deal with your anger as it comes up.  Since confronting narcissists rarely helps, find other ways to process your anger.  Write in a journal, talk to a friend, draw or even pray.  God can handle your anger & help you get through it.

And lastly, never forget, there is nothing wrong with feeling anger, especially when you’re abused by a narcissist.  Everyone does sometimes, & even Jesus got angry.  It’s perfectly normal.  It’s when others are hurt by your anger that it becomes a problem.

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

Understanding Narcissistic Behavior

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