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Consequences- A Necessary Part Of Life, Even For Narcissists

2 Thessalonians 3:10  “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”  (KJV)

 

So many of us raised by narcissistic parents grew up believing it was our job to protect our parents from consequences.  No matter what our parents did to us, we weren’t supposed to be upset about it or confront them about being abusive.  We were supposed to tolerate everything they did with a smile rather than take the chance in upsetting them.

 

Sadly, this awful belief often is such an ingrained belief, it follows us into adulthood.  Our narcissistic parents can continue abusing not only us but our spouse & children as well without fear of consequences.

 

The fact is that this belief & behavior goes against God’s will.  God is a firm believer in consequences.  The Scripture at the beginning of this post is evidence of that.

 

Dear Reader, if you’re suffering at the hands of your narcissistic parents, you are well within your rights to set boundaries & give your parents consequences!  Doing so won’t make you a bad person or bad daughter or son.  In fact, it means you are following God’s will.

 

The same is true if you have gone no contact with your narcissistic parents.  Although many people will attempt shame you for doing so, going no contact after years of abuse & attempts to improve the relationship is NOT a bad thing.  Yes, it’s sad when a relationship comes to such drastic measures, especially when it’s a close relationship such as parent & child, however, it is also often the only resort left for a victim who wishes to be free of abuse.  The person in this situation has absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about.

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

Shock After Dealing With Narcissists & Their Flying Monkeys

Sometimes, narcissists &/or their flying monkeys go above & beyond in their abuse.  They behave so outrageously or abuse a victim so often, a victim can’t cope.  When this happens, it can thrust a victim into a state of shock.

I spent much of my late teens in shock due to the daily abuse from my mother, & it also happened during the last few months of my father’s life in 2017.

Being no contact with my parents never seemed to bother anyone until my father’s health started to decline.  Once that happened, I was contacted by relatives (some I knew, some I did not), strangers (two police officers, my father’s barber, my parents’ neighbors) & acquaintances.  Every single person had the same message- they shamed me for not having a relationship with my parents, commanded me to talk to them, to say goodbye to my father “so he could die in peace,” telling me I needed to forgive & forget, they’re the only parents I’ll ever have, I should go to them because “if I was a parent, I’d understand” how me staying away made him feel, & other similar,  ludicrous statements.

The final twenty days of my father’s life while he was in the hospital were the worst.  They included an excessive amount of abuse for me.  Daily, I would receive a barrage of these cruel, heartless, shame/guilt inducing type messages & people I don’t even know telling me what they thought I should do with no interest in me.   Since they kept finding ways around the blocks I’d put in place to send me messages, there truly was no escape.  I ended up trying to save all messages without reading them for evidence in case I ever needed it, but even so, I couldn’t avoid seeing a small portion of the messages due to how email & social media messages are set up.  I don’t use voicemail so I didn’t have to hear anyone’s voice at least.

The end result of all of this for me was shock.

Today it’s a little over 11 months since he passed away & I still feel some degree of shock.

Has this sort of thing happened to you too, Dear Reader?  Have you ended up in a state of shock due to the sheer volume of or intensity of the abuse from the narcissist or flying monkeys in your life?  If so, I have learned some things about this state that I believe can help you.

Don’t judge your feelings.  Even if they seem strange to you, they’re there for a reason.  Just accept that they have a purpose & don’t ignore them.  You’ll figure out their purpose.

Don’t try to push yourself to get over this shock.  It happened for a reason & that reason is because you’ve been subjected to some very serious trauma.  The shock is protecting your mind from feeling all of the emotions at once.  Let it do its job!  It will diminish in time, as you’re more able to face the trauma(s).

If you start to feel overwhelmed, imagine yourself putting some emotions or traumatic incidents in boxes on a shelf.  Deal with what you can however works best for you, & when you feel you have handled that, take that box off the shelf & deal with its contents.  Once you’ve dealt with that, take down another box if you have a few on a shelf.  If you can handle one thing at a time, it’ll be easier than trying to deal with multiple traumas at once.  I think trying to face too many things at once is much like plate spinning!  

Take good care of yourself.  It can be hard to eat or not to eat too much when you’re upset.  Try to maintain your normal eating habits as much as you can.  If you’re one who doesn’t want to eat, make sure you take daily vitamins to help you get daily nutrients.  You need to be healthy physically to handle emotional traumas.

Try to get as much rest as possible.  Emotional healing is hard work & you will be exhausted!

Take it easy when you can.  Sometimes time spent just staring at a good movie or sitting in the park watching people can be very restorative.

Spend time with your pets if you have them.  Animals are amazing.  They not only understand when their human is suffering but they know just what to do to help.  Let your furbaby help you!

Talk to safe & supportive friends or loved ones.  Write in your journal on those times you don’t feel like talking.  Both of these things can help the shock dissipate by making the situations seem more real.

Avoid people who don’t “get it,” but especially at this time.  They can make you feel even worse than you already do.  This state of shock can make you feel super sensitive.  Even if you normally can brush off someone’s lack of support & understanding, if you’re in that super sensitive place, you can’t.  In fact, their words &/or actions may send you into a downward spiral of depression.

Most of all, cling to God.  Your faith is what will help you more than anything to get through this awful time.  When I was going through this trauma last year, I know there is no way I could’ve survived without God’s constant gentle, understanding & loving presence in my life.  He helped me to maintain my sanity, not reach out to these abusive jerks & tell them off or seek revenge & to do exactly what His will was, which worked out beautifully in the end.  He can & will do the same thing for you.

 

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

When There Is A Narcissist In The Family

Families that have at least one narcissist in them have some very serious problems.  It may not be evident at first glance.  Everyone may act like they get along just fine.  They may celebrate holidays together every year.  Yet, serious problems still exist in this family.

People raised by narcissistic parents have mental health issues.  There is no avoiding that.  Many struggle with C-PTSD or PTSD at worst, anxiety &/or depression at best.  Some even turn out like their narcissistic parent, emulating the awful & abusive behaviors they grew up seeing daily.  All have relationship problems to varying degrees.

The problems don’t stop at the children of narcissists, however.  If those children grow up to have children, they too will be abused by their narcissistic grandparents.

Other relatives will be drawn into the fray as well.  Narcissists love to tell other people how wonderful they are while also telling them just awful their victim is.  That way, if the victim ever tells anyone about the abuse, no one will believe the victim.  Instead, they will label the victim as crazy, mentally unstable, addicted, selfish, etc. while assuming the narcissist has done nothing wrong.

When this happens in a family situation, it seems that most people are exceptionally willing to blindly believe the narcissist & attack the victim.  That’s how my family is.  No one wants to believe someone they are related to is abusive & cruel.  That is very understandable, of course.  However, in families with a narcissist, they often take this to the extreme.

Not only do narcissistic families not want to accept the fact their relative is an abusive narcissist, they will do anything to shut down the person making the accusation.  They will ignore the victim, accuse the person of lying, being angry, spoiled, immature or unforgiving, or even personally attack the victim.  The particularly aggressive ones may stalk & harass the victim, or inundate the victim with hateful texts, emails or social media messages.  If the victim blocks their phone number, email address, etc, they will find other ways to contact the victim- get a new phone number or email, create a fake social media profile or hack someone else’s profile.  If the victim is a Christian, you can guarantee their faith will become the subject of attack.  The “family” will twist Scripture around to support their warped beliefs &/or claim the victim can’t be a Christian & behave in this manner.

It is a terrible thing finally to summon the courage to open up about the abuse you endured, & when you tell people you think will support you, to be met with disbelief & even cruelty.  It is one of the most horrible things a victim can endure- being mocked or shamed for divulging the most painful experiences in their life while watching those they thought would be on their side comfort & support the very person who abused them.

I know there is nothing I can say to make this experience hurt any less.  I’m very sorry if you’re going through this.  There are some ways you can cope though.

Always, ALWAYS maintain a close relationship to God.  He knows the truth & understands your situation.  He will give you comfort & strength.  He will show you the best way to handle the situation, too.

Remember, you do NOT need anyone’s validation but your own.  Yes, it’s a good thing having people in your life support you & even say things like, “That was awful.. I’m sorry you went through that.”  However, you don’t *need* it.

That brings me to my next point- learn to validate yourself.   To do this, accept your feelings without judgment.  You’re allowed to be hurt & angry your family treats you badly.  Be proud of the good person you are & the direction towards healing you’re taking.  You have overcome a great deal.  If you recently learned about narcissism & began speaking about it, that is a huge step- be proud of yourself for that!

And lastly, never, ever forget that these people who have hurt you so badly have serious problems.  Functional people defend victims, not attack them while coddling an abuser.  These people may get something from the narcissist, so they won’t go against her & risk losing it.  Maybe the narcissist is someone they idolize, so they refuse to listen to anything bad about them.  Maybe they’re simply cowardly, & think it’s easier to go along with the narcissist than to stand up for what’s right.  In any case, this person’s behavior says nothing about you but plenty about them.

Although I know it probably doesn’t feel like it, you will survive this awful situation, & you will be much stronger for having done so!

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When People Believe You Need To Think As They Do

I’ve noticed that many people think others should believe as they do.  People really can be downright shaming if you don’t share their passions.

Quite a few years ago, I said something to one of my football watching aunts about the fact my husband likes football & I hate it, always have.  She verbally jumped me for not trying harder to like it, & she also said I needed to watch games with him so we can enjoy football together.  It was surprising to me because I wasn’t complaining or looking for some solution- I just made a simple statement.  I also remember thinking, “I love knitting.  I don’t see you scolding him & telling him he needs to learn to knit so we can buy yarn or knit together.”  I wish I’d said that- it might have helped her to see how ludicrous & over the top her reaction was.

I’ve experienced similar reactions from people who are extremely focused on politics when they learn I’m not.  In fact, the topic doesn’t interested me in the slightest.  I also don’t have the desire in me to learn enough about candidates to make an informed decision on who to vote for, so I don’t vote.  This apparently infuriates some people who are deeply interested in politics, & some have been downright shaming & nasty to me because of this.  Not that I would do it, but it makes me want to be equally shaming & nasty to them for not helping to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse or help victims.  It’d only be fair, after all, wouldn’t it?

I used to be upset by my aunt & the other people who were equally nasty to me.  Then I realized something.

Not every cause can be your cause.  People believe differently & have varied interests.  That doesn’t mean something is wrong with one person & right with another because they think differently.  It simply means they’re different.

There are many valid causes that need support, awareness & activists out there.  No one can support them all though!  That would leave no time for people to do anything else, like work or sleep.  It’s much better to focus on what means the most to you than to spread yourself too thin by supporting many causes.

And, every person is unique, right down to our fingerprints & DNA.  It is only natural that the causes we support & things that interest us also would be unique.

If you’re in the position of someone shaming you for not sharing their interests or supporting their causes, ignore them!  They aren’t worth your frustration.  They have no right to tell you what to think or how to feel.  You do what is right for you.  You have your own path to walk in life, & the approval of other people is NOT required to do it.  What you do & what you believe in is ultimately between you & God, not you & other people.

If you’re actively in this situation, try changing the subject.  A reasonable person will be fine with that.  If the person isn’t reasonable, then you can tell them you don’t feel comfortable discussing this topic with them & if they continue, you’ll hang up the phone or leave the room.  If they ask why, you can tell them the truth- because they are being disrespectful, nasty, etc. on this topic.  If the person you’re speaking with is truly being obnoxious, you could try logic.  Comments like, “Because you feel/believe that way means I should too?  Why?  Give me a good reason.”  or, “That has never interested me, & I am well aware of that fact.  Why should I do something I have zero interest in?”  Statements like this can often shut a person down pretty quickly, because they realize how ridiculous their behavior is.

In conclusion, just remember there is nothing wrong with you for having the interests you have or not having the ones you don’t.  God made you to be unique, so be unique & enjoy it!

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

“Just Don’t Think About It”

I have a knack for remembering dates, including kinda obscure ones, that even having brain damage hasn’t affected.  I graduated high school on May 13, 1989, for example.

Two other dates I remember are August 23, 1990 & November 24, 1990.  Those were the dates I met & then broke up with a man I was involved with.  He made me feel so guilty for breaking up with him that ever year for many years, I dreaded those dates because I’d feel such guilt.  Although he was only in my life briefly, the dysfunctional relationship had quite an impact on me.

January 31, 2014, I learned that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself two days before.  The news came as a complete shock to me since I had absolutely no clue of his orientation or capacity for murder.  Keeping in mind my knack for remembering dates, all those dates bring him to mind & every time, make me sad for him, his family, his victim & his victim’s family.

A few times, I’ve mentioned the date in passing conversation & the person I was speaking with told me, “Just don’t think about it.”  It sat very wrong with me, even when I knew the person had good intentions, & I’ll tell you why.

“Just don’t think about it” is invalidating.  You’re thinking about something that bothers you & are trying to talk it out, yet the other person shuts you down.  That is invalidation.  Why they do it doesn’t change that fact.

If you “just don’t think about it”, how are you supposed to heal from the incident?  If you want to heal, you have to think about it & process the emotions connected to it.  Not thinking about it is no help at all!

Not thinking about it also contributes to mental & physical problems.  It can create anxiety, depression, anger, high blood pressure, heart disease, & kidney disease.  It also reduces the effectiveness of your immune system, leaving you open to sickness.

Obviously, “just don’t think about it” is not good advice & you should NOT follow it!

I’m not saying you should think of nothing but the traumatic event you were told not to think about.  Instead, I’m saying work with it.  Realize you feel as you do for a reason.  Maybe it’s there to let you know now is the time you should face this issue.  If so, face it.  No, it isn’t easy to face past trauma, but do it anyway!  If you face it, it will lose much maybe even all of the negative effect it has over you.  It also won’t affect your physical health.

If it’s something you’ve already dealt with like I have dealt with my situation, maybe it’s a reminder to pray for the people involved.  I know, praying for a person who has abused you, especially one with no remorse or who has made you out to be the abusive one is tough, but do it anyway.  Do it not because this person deserves your prayers, but because God wants you to do it & because it really can help you.  Praying for those who use & abuse you is incredibly helpful at releasing the anger & even bitterness you feel towards them.  Carrying such things around isn’t good for your health, so why do it?  You can maintain boundaries or even no contact while not carrying around anger.

Whatever you feel when something traumatic comes to mind, honor those feelings & know they are there for a valid reason.  Accept them without judgement.  Face them however you feel you need to do in order to heal.  Pray for the abusive person if you can too.  Whatever you do though, remember that “just don’t think about it” is terrible advice.  Ignore the advice, & take good care of yourself!

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It’s Not Good Ignoring Symptoms Of PTSD & C-PTSD

Recently I read an article about symptoms of PTSD.  I didn’t think much more about it at first, but it kinda bopped around the back of my mind a bit for a few days.

A couple of days later, my husband & I had to go to the doctor for our health insurance.  His appointment was first, & we texted periodically.  He mentioned the doctor was concerned about his depression.  When I saw the doctor, I asked him about it & he said, “I see a lot of people day after day.  He has the look many have who have been depressed for years.”  I thought it was an interesting statement- he’s very observant!

A couple of days later, something hit me.  Our doctor didn’t say a word about my mental health.  Not a comment one about me looking like someone who’s been depressed for years, even though I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t depressed.  Somehow, my lazy Susan-esque brain connected that with the article I read about PTSD symptoms.  In that moment I realized just how much I have been ignoring my C-PTSD symptoms.  I’m so good at it that even my observant doctor had no idea I struggle with C-PTSD.

Yes, I’m hyper-vigilant, but you probably wouldn’t know it to look at me.  Rather than upset people by startling easy, I am on constant guard, surveying my environment so not much surprises me.

I also get very quiet when I have flashbacks.  Naturally I’m quiet anyway so that isn’t a huge red flag  My husband has seen me have many flashbacks, but hasn’t noticed a lot of them because of that.  I don’t even tell him most of the time when I have flashbacks.  I just recover & go on the best I can.

These are just two examples, but there are others.

Thinking of such things I realized how incredibly unhealthy this is that I ignore so many of my symptoms.  On the outside, I look like I’m managing the C-PTSD just fine, but on the inside is a very different story.

In considering all of this, I think this happens simply out of habit.  Growing up with narcissistic parents, I learned early never to “bother” my parents with my problems.  My purpose was to take care of them, not the other way around.  As a result,  like most children of narcissistic parents, I learned to hide or even ignore anything that didn’t please them.  I ignored emotions, illness, thoughts, wants, & needs.  Now here I am, an adult in my 40’s with my own life, still hiding & ignoring important things that I shouldn’t be hiding or ignoring.

No doubt I’m not the only person in this position, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the issue with you, Dear Reader.

It’s important with PTSD & C-PTSD to manage your symptoms.  Ignoring them isn’t the same thing.  Managing them means you have some control over your symptoms.  Ignoring them means you’re working hard to pretend they don’t exist, which shows they have control over you.

Ignoring symptoms also means the problem won’t get fixed or at least controlled.  It also can mean you face health problems because emotions that are ignored can cause stress & we all know stress is terrible for your physical & emotional health.

With both PTSD & C-PTSD, there are some symptoms that are just a part of life but others that can be managed.  Flashbacks come to mind.  Rather than ignoring them or simply accepting them, why not make them work for you whenever possible?  Flashbacks can be a sign of a particular issue that you need to work on.  I’ve learned that if I deal with the issue my flashback was about, I don’t have another about that particular issue.  The same goes for nightmares.  This also can work with anxiety.  Figure out what is the root of this anxiety.  Ask God to help you if need be.  Once you know the root, you can face the problem & eliminate one cause of your anxiety.  Chipping away at it one issue at a time can help make it more manageable.

Maybe your symptoms are flaring up because you’ve been pushing yourself too hard lately or it’s near the anniversary of some traumatic event.  If that is the case, your brain is trying to tell you to slow down & do some good self care.  Listen to the symptoms!  They’re trying to get your attention for a reason!

Remember, PTSD & C-PTSD are potentially life threatening disorders.  They should be taken very seriously.  Ignoring your symptoms isn’t going to help you & can hurt you.  Pay attention to your symptoms- your brain is trying to tell you something, so listen to it!

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Being Too Positive Is As Unhealthy As Being Too Negative

Lately I’ve noticed something.  So many people are just over the top positive. They can find something good in every single situation, no matter what.  While that may sound good, I really don’t think it’s entirely good for a person’s mental health.

If you’re very positive, you expect nothing but good things to happen.  Since life isn’t always perfect, bad things do happen, & when they do, overly positive people can be devastated.  A realistic person hopes for the best, but  also prepares for the worst.  When something bad happens, they aren’t usually overwhelmed, because they knew it was possible something bad might happen.

Very positive people also can unintentionally invalidate others, which damages their relationships.  Look at these typical scenarios:

  • You’re recovering from a potentially life threatening illness.  The overly positive person says, “At least you’re still alive!”  Well, yes, but that comment makes you feel like you don’t have the right to be upset about the fact that you could have died, when in fact you most certainly have that right!
  • A soldier with PTSD saved his friends’ lives by killing an enemy soldier who was running at them, guns blazing.  A positive person might say something like, “You did a brave thing!  Look at the lives you saved!”  While that’s true, how about asking how he feels about the incident, or offering him comfort because he had to kill another human being & is having difficulties coming to terms with it?
  • You tell the overly positive person of trauma in your life such as your parents’ abusing you, being the victim of a mugging or maybe being in a terrible car wreck.  The overly positive person says, “Other people have been through much worse!”  Or, even worse, they don’t so much as acknowledge what you said.
  • You were adopted as a baby.  As an adult, you’re frustrated because you don’t know your family’s history, how many siblings you may or may not have, why you were given up for adoption or even what name your biological mother wanted to give you.  Or, maybe your adoptive parents abused you.  An overly positive person might tell you how lucky you were & how grateful you should be to be adopted, making you feel guilty for not feeling so lucky or grateful.

I’m not trying to say being positive is all bad.  It certainly has its place.  It can help you in tough times to focus on the good, such as remembering the good times with your loved one after he or she has passed away.  I do believe though that there must be balance.

Being too positive means a person doesn’t deal with their emotions in a healthy way.  They ignore the anger, hurt or sadness & put on a happy face.  That is never a healthy thing to do!  Emotions demand to be felt, so if they aren’t felt in a healthy way, they’ll find a way to manifest in an unhealthy way.  This can lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure as well as angry outbursts or depression.

It also can lead to deep insecurity.  If a person feels bad about themselves for feeling a negative emotion, chances are, that person will shame themselves for what they feel.  Their self talk will be awful.  They’ll tell themselves things like, “You’re so stupid for being mad/sad about that!”  Negative self talk can damage self-esteem, which is never a good thing.

You can be positive yet realistic at the same time, Dear Reader.  If something bad happened, there is nothing wrong with admitting that event was bad.  As I’ve mentioned before, in 2015, I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Good has come from it- my personality changes have worked well for me.  I’m happy to say I no longer have patience for abusive people, I’m better with self care than ever before & I finally will stand up for myself.  But, at the same time, I don’t like the fact I get tired so easily, I have constant head, neck & body pain, sometimes my moods swing like crazy, & my memory & comprehension are seriously damaged.  See what I mean?  I have found the positive, but at the same time, I admit the negative.  You can do this too, & I firmly believe when you do, you will be much happier than if you are overly positive.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Ways Trauma In Childhood Affects People Throughout Their Lives

Most people who were abused as children face lifelong problems as a result of that abuse.  The problems can be debilitating at worst, or they can at best be really annoying, but they are there nonetheless.  This post is about some of those problems.

Many people who experienced abuse in their childhood develop PTSD or C-PTSD.  It makes a lot of sense this happens considering that abused children are exposed to at least a couple of life altering traumas in their life, usually many more.  In case you don’t know this, PTSD & C-PTSD happen when trauma is severe enough to “break” the brain.  Physical changes actually happen in the brain that cause PTSD & C-PTSD.  Neither are mood disorders or the result of thinking negatively like many people seem to think.  Medication &/or therapy can help you to manage the life disrupting symptoms.

Even if an adult survivor of child abuse doesn’t develop PTSD or C-PTSD, chances are good that person will suffer anxiety &/or panic attacks &/or fears, even phobias.  When you’re raised by someone whose behavior is violent & unpredictable, you naturally become anxious.  That anxiety can stay even long after the abuse has ended.  Ending the relationship with an abusive parent is naturally a smart thing to do, but that doesn’t mean all problems are solved.  While it removes further abuse from happening, it doesn’t stop the anxiety that the abuse created.  It takes a lot of time for that to diminish. It may never stop entirely.  Learning ways to calm yourself such as through deep breathing can help calm you when anxiety gets bad.  Prayer is also very helpful.  Medication can help as well.  Also, learn to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.  Take tiny steps at first, then once you’re comfortable with the small steps, push yourself a bit further.  It’ll help you to be more confident in yourself & less anxious when you see what you can handle.

Lacking good coping skills is common as well.  When you’re subjected to daily abuse, you simply don’t have time to process one trauma when another happens.  It’s overwhelming!  It also leads to a pattern of not knowing how to cope because you haven’t been able to do so.  You will need to learn coping skills, such as how to slow down & look at the situation objectively so you can find ways to cope.

Many adult survivors of child abuse also are willing to settle.  They don’t want to be in the same or a similar situation to what they’ve been through, so rather than take a risk, they settle.  Pushing yourself out of that comfort zone can be scary, but it needs to be done.  Start with small things.  As you get more comfortable, push yourself to do bigger things.

Talk to people you feel safe with, & let them help you as you heal.  It can be super easy to become a total recluse, because it feels like no one else has been through the things you have.  As you open up to safe people, you may realize that others have been through similar situations.  Sharing these experiences can help you to become closer & also to help each other heal.

Many victims also hold in their anger.  As a child of an abusive parent, it’s a useful survival skill.  Abusive parents can’t & won’t deal with their child’s anger, so it’s safer for the child to hold it in.  As an adult though, it’s no longer a good skill.  Instead it becomes unhealthy both physically & mentally.  You have to learn how to release your anger in healthy ways, such as in prayer, writing in a journal or talking things out with a safe person.

Almost all victims of child abuse avoid confrontation as adults.  Growing up with abusive parents, we learned early in life that confrontation involves rage, name calling, possibly even physical violence.  The truth though is that isn’t always the case anymore!  Not everyone is like our parents.  You need to learn that it’s ok, even loving (believe it or not) to confront someone who is mistreating you.

Adult victims of abusive parents also have issues with boundaries.  Abusive parents don’t let their children have boundaries, & perhaps out of simple habit, those children grow into adults with no boundaries.  You will need to realize that you have every right to have & enforce healthy boundaries, as well as learn ways to develop those boundaries.  I highly recommend reading “Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No To Take Control Of Your Life” by Dr.s Henry Cloud & John Townsend.  The book changed my life!  I even created a free online class based on the book.  It’s available at my website at this link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Boundaries-Book-Study.php

Lastly, most adults abused as children also end up in unhealthy relationships.  They replay the abuse they experienced as children in friendships & romantic relationships because it’s familiar.  While this is normal, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  You need to recognize unhealthy people & avoid them as much as you can.  You can do this by learning about people like your abusive parent.  For example, if your parent is a narcissist, learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder so you can recognize the signs easily.

Surviving consequences of abuse is never easy, but it can be managed.  You can & learn to enjoy your life & thrive in spite of your traumatic experiences.

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

When No Contact Isn’t An Option

While no contact is often the best solution for a person with narcissistic parents, sometimes it isn’t an option or at least isn’t an option in the near future.  This post is for those of you in that position.

I understand how difficult it is to be in that situation.  I wanted to sever ties with my parents for over a year before the timing felt right.  I did learn some things during that time though, & I hope what I learned can help you.

I think it is a good idea first to get to the root of why no contact isn’t an option & eliminate the problem if at all possible.  Are you financially dependent?  Then try to find other means of supporting yourself.  Are you afraid of being alone?  It is better to be alone than to have abusive people in your life!  God can send you new friends who genuinely love you & become like family.  Are you afraid of what may happen if you go no contact such as relatives attacking you?  I know that can be pretty intimidating, but think about it- what can they really do to you?  If all they can do is tell you what a terrible person you are, that is something you can handle.  After all, didn’t your narcissistic parents tell you that often growing up?  My mother did.  Although it bothered me when the flying monkeys told me the same things, I realized their words only upset me because they reminded me of when my own mother said worse to me.  Once your own mother has called you horrific names, you develop a sort of armor to that verbal abuse.  Do you somehow know that the timing isn’t right like I did?  Then keep praying & follow God’s promptings.  When the timing is right, you will know it & He will enable you to follow through with going no contact.

If you are unable to go no contact at this time but want to, then try for low contact.  Limit your exposure to your narcissistic parent as much as possible.  Don’t be available every time they call.  Don’t visit or invite them to your home often.  Follow your heart & deal with them only when you feel you are able to.  I used to pray before answering my parents’ calls.  I’d ask God if I should take it or not & if I felt His answer was yes, I’d ask Him to guide my words & enable me to handle the situation in the best possible way.

When you must deal with your narcissistic parents, there are some helpful skills you can use.

Always remember that your parents are narcissists.  You aren’t dealing with normal, stable, healthy people.  You can’t expect them to behave as such.  Get rid of any expectations for them to behave normally or show love to you.

Also remember- with narcissists, everything boils down to how can they get narcissistic supply?  You’re best off depriving them of that supply, but in ways that can’t trigger their narcissistic rage.  To do this, the Gray Rock method is best.

I think of Gray Rock as becoming boring to narcissists.  What interests them?  Deprive them of that.  In other words, don’t tell them personal information.  In conversation, stick to superficial topics like the weather.  If you’re out of ideas for superficial conversation, ask the narcissist about herself.  They love talking about themselves, so you might as well make it work for you.  In difficult situations, you can ask the narcissist about herself & that should divert the attention off of you since most narcissists can’t resist an opportunity to talk about themselves.

Always stay calm, cool & collected around your narcissistic parent.  Narcissists see displays of emotions as weakness, which makes them attack their victim like a hungry lion attacks a weak gazelle.  In their presence, show no emotion.  Always be cold & emotionless.

Keep firm boundaries in place & offer no explanations for them.  You can say NO without explaining yourself further.  If your narcissistic parent demands to know why you say no, change the subject.  If your narcissistic parent hints at wanting to know, ignore the hints.

Keep learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It will help you to keep a healthy perspective of your situation.  It will help you not to take your parents’ abuse so personally & it will help you to figure out effective ways of dealing with them.

And, never forget to pray often & talk to your safe, supportive friends who understand your situation.  A good support network is extremely important in these situations.  Avoid people who tell you what to do.  People who don’t understand why you won’t go no contact or think no contact is wrong are not people you need to deal with, especially as you are trying to go no contact.

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

About Harassment & Stalking

I really don’t think there are a lot of people who understand the depths of depravity that it takes for someone to harass & even stalk their victims.  Not so long ago, if a person broke up with their significant other, & that person stalked them, it was thought of as almost romantic.  “See how much that person loves you?  They won’t leave you alone- that is love!”  The same sort of mentality was in place if it’s a friendship that ended.  “That friend must really care about you if s/he won’t take no for an answer!”

 

The truth is though, there is nothing loving & romantic about stalkers & harassers.  They don’t love their victims.  They love having control over their victims & even the narcissistic supply they may get from them, but they do NOT love their victims!

 

People like this are incredibly dangerous, as was proven here in Maryland recently.  By now if you’re in the USA, I’m sure you heard about the shooter at the Capital Gazette newspaper building in Annapolis.  If not, here is one article on the topic:  https://patch.com/maryland/severnapark/s/ggidf/accused-newspaper-gunmans-rampage-was-almost-8-years-making?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_term=police+%26+fire&utm_campaign=autopost&utm_content=severnapark

 

Apparently this person who murdered innocent people in cold blood started out harassing someone.  His behavior escalated & ended up in mass murder.

 

People who stalk & harass victims are NOT mentally stable!  Something clearly must be wrong with them to think that behavior is acceptable in the first place.  Obviously they have narcissistic tendencies at the very least to be so convinced that what they want matters more than the fact they’re terrifying & making their victims miserable, although I’m sure many are malignant narcissists or even sociopaths.

 

If you are in the position of being harassed or even stalked, please, PLEASE be careful!  Never underestimate the person harassing or stalking you.  Granted, most do not go as far as the man in this article did, but some do.  You don’t know for sure that the person abusing you will or won’t become so violent.

 

Being stalked & harassed is terrifying, & you have every right to feel afraid!  I’ve been through it twice & no one thought it was a big deal aside from me.  They couldn’t seem to understand why I lived in terror wondering what was next?  What were these people capable of doing to me?  No doubt you feel the same way.  Do NOT let anyone convince you it’s no big deal, or the person doesn’t mean any harm.  Maybe they don’t mean any harm other than to scare you as revenge for severing ties with them.  However, maybe they do mean to harm you.  You don’t know so don’t trust the person at all!

 

Ignore this person at all costs.  Any acknowledgment you give them, they may take as a sign the relationship is back on.

 

Do not believe them if they say they just want to talk or to apologize.  That is said just to lure you back into their dysfunctional web.

 

Look into laws for harassment & stalking in your state.  Talk to the local police, too.  Make sure you know what laws are in place & what you can do to protect yourself.

 

Use wisdom when & if bringing the law into the situation.  Some people aren’t going to be stopped by a restraining order.  In fact, some may get more vicious or violent.  If you aren’t sure what to do, pray & listen to what God tells you is best in your situation.

 

Document EVERYTHING!  Save voicemail messages, texts, messages & emails.  Save all documentation on a cloud storage service or email them to yourself, saving them on your email server.  Phones & computers die, & you don’t want to lose your evidence!

 

Block every possible means of communication this person can use to contact you.  Change your phone number & change your name on social media.  Chances are, they will find ways around your blocks, so keep blocking them.

 

Tell people in your life what is happening.  Make sure plenty of people know that this person is harassing you & plenty of details about the situation.  It can’t hurt to have other people being able to confirm your story to law enforcement if it comes to that.

 

If the person abusing you comes to your home, a home security system or at least outdoor cameras may be an excellent investment.  Many outdoor cameras connect to your cell phone & record video that is stored on a cloud server.

 

Don’t go out alone if you can help it.  Many stalkers aren’t going to bother you if you aren’t alone.  Also, if you have a pet, don’t let your pet outside alone.  Better safe than sorry!

 

And remember, it may get worse before it gets better.  With any luck, your stalker will get bored that you’ve been ignoring him/her & move on.  Prior to moving on though, they will step up the activity.  You may get even more emails or phone calls.  Keep ignoring them.  Do NOT give this person the time of day!  Remember they are just trying to get your attention.  Refuse to give it to them!  If you do, they will draw you back in & things will be even worse than before you ended the relationship.  Ignore, ignore, ignore!!

 

I pray you’re never in this type of situation, but if you are, Dear Reader, stay safe.  God bless you!  xoxo

 

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Some Reasons People Try To Stop Victims From Discussing Narcissistic Abuse

I’m sure we’ve all been there.  We try to discuss some about our traumatic situations with a narcissist only to be met with someone trying to shut us down.  They clearly don’t want to hear about it & say things to invalidate your pain such as “Just get over it already,”  “Lots of people were abused by their parents but you don’t hear them talking about it,”  or (possibly the stupidest one yet) “But that’s your MOTHER/FATHER!!”

When this happens, it can make you feel bad in many ways.  It can make you ashamed of “whining”, it can make you feel like you’re petty or overreacting to things that weren’t a big deal, or it can make you feel like a bad son/daughter or even Christian for being upset about your parents abusing you.

Dear Reader, I want to tell you today, please do NOT feel bad when someone treats you this way!  The truth is, their wanting to shut you down is about them, NOT you!  These people have their reasons for wanting to shut you down,  They aren’t good reasons, but they also have nothing to do with you.

The person may be gaining something from supporting/enabling your narcissistic parent or partner.  What that is can be anything- maybe they get money, things or even just the narcissist’s praise.  If this person is also a narcissist as many flying monkeys are, that praise is extremely important to them after all.  This person obviously is not willing to jeopardize losing whatever it is he or she is gaining, so it is more beneficial for them to shut you down than to listen to what you have to say.

The person also may have their own issues, & you facing yours reminds them of theirs.  That can make them want to shut you down quickly, because you make them feel uncomfortable by reminding them of their similar situations.

What if a person has codependency issues?  If that person is raised in an emotionally incestuous/parentalizing environment, that person is going to believe it is a child’s job to take care of & cater to their parent forever.  At least until such time as they learn how unhealthy this situation is.  But, if a person doesn’t realize how unhealthy it is, they think everyone should do as they do, & cater to & care for their parents no matter what.  They may even think it’s loving & “Godly” to tolerate whatever abuse their parents dish out.  If you’re standing up for yourself, setting boundaries or even *gasp* saying your parents are less than perfect, to this person, you are committing a terrible sin in this person’s eyes.  They want to shut you down so they don’t have to hear about it.  They think everyone should do as they do.  That is their reality & it makes them uncomfortable if you threaten it in any way.

There are two other possibilities that God spoke to me when my father was dying in October, 2017.  As I wrote about before, at the time, people continually harassed & tried to bully me into visiting my father.   I mean, not only daily but often multiple times in a day.  I eventually asked God why were they so cruel to me?  He told me two things…

They were in denial about my father.  They wanted to believe he was a good guy, & me refusing to speak to him threatened that denial.  They wanted me to go to him so they could remain in denial.  After all, if I went, it would be proof to them that all was fine.  People in denial will do about anything to protect their delusions.

God also said to me that they don’t know me now.  They remembered me as that scared of everything little kid I once was, that was also blindly obedient to my parents.  By that person being strong enough to face her own issues, it makes them feel weak for not facing theirs.  They wanted to push me back into being like I used to be so they didn’t have to feel weak.  If the person in your situation knew you when you were being abused, they knew a different version of you.  They knew the beat down victim that we all have been at some point.  It’s very possible that they may want you to stay that way so they don’t have to feel badly for not dealing with their own issues.

Just remember, Dear Reader, when people invalidate you or try to shut you down, it’s not your fault.  It’s not about you.  It’s about them & their own issues.

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

Realizing How Wrong Abuse Is Can Help You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Non Apology

Narcissists are masters of what I call the non apology.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thoughts On Emotional Healing

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

 

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

 

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

 

What I mean is this…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Revelation About Hating My Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Hoovering

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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When Narcissists Go Too Far

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Boundaries Are Important, & Not Only With Narcissists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Untruths Become A Part Of You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Compassion Fatigue

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

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

Some signs of compassion fatigue are as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Encouragement For The “Weak”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another Weapon In The Narcissistic Arsenal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Life With High Functioning C-PTSD

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Body Memories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Just Let It Go!”

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Getting The Most Out Of Your Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bad Decisions & Narcissists

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Why Adult Children Of Narcissists End Up In Abusive Relationships

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Why Adult Children Of Narcissists End Up In Abusive Relationships

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