Tag Archives: health

Narcissism: Is It Really Mental Illness?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The name implies that narcissistic behavior is an actual mental illness, doesn’t it?  It sounds like narcissists cannot control their behavior because something is actually broken in their brains, much like with schizophrenia, PTSD & other mental illnesses.

This “disorder” thing didn’t sit right with me when I first started to learn about NPD.  I also thought about my parents & ex husband.  They all were very good at controlling themselves.  I remember my mother screaming at me when I was a teenager, as she did daily for quite some time.  Then, the phone rang, & she spoke with the caller in a normal voice as if nothing happened.  My father convinced everyone he was a nice, simple country boy rather than the controlling manipulator he was behind closed doors.  My ex?  When we argued, he would push me to the point of yelling as he sat calmly saying the cruelest things imaginable, & annihilating my self esteem.

Even so, I thought since narcissism was classified as a disorder, that meant my observations must be wrong.  Obviously disorder means they can’t help the way they act, right?

Not necessarily.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is part of the cluster B group of personality disorders that also include Borderline, Antisocial & Histrionic Personality Disorders.   A few years ago, I read on Dr. Karyl McBride’s Facebook page that personality disorders  are dysfunctional behaviors rather than a broken brain, if you will.  Someone with Schizophrenia, for example, has a physical problem with their brain.  They display bad behaviors but they are beyond the person’s control.  That can’t be said for someone with NPD.  All it takes is watching a narcissist for a short time when you realize that that person can control their actions VERY well.

This difference probably doesn’t sound overly important to you, but it actually is.  The difference means you treat someone who is narcissistic different than someone with Schizophrenia, PTSD, depression or another mental illness.  This isn’t only because the symptoms vary so greatly, but because of the nature of the problems.

Although chances are someone with mental illness will hurt you at some point, it won’t be intentional.  It will be because their illness made them behave a certain way.  They may not even be aware of hurting you if their illness is quite severe.  Once made aware of what happened, they will apologize & try not to repeat the hurtful behavior.

Narcissists are very different.  When they hurt you, you can guarantee they had a distinct reason for it, & they are glad they did it.  They enjoy hurting other people at worst, & feel absolutely nothing for it at best.  If they are confronted about their behavior, they may apologize, but it will be a non-apology, such as, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” or, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.”  You also can bet on the fact that the hurtful behavior will happen again once they know just how much it upset you.

Due to such vast differences in the way they respond when they have done something wrong or even abusive, you need to treat each person differently.  The mentally ill person deserves mercy if they are trying to behave better.  The narcissist isn’t going to try, so rather than “forgive & forget”, it’s best to protect yourself.  Set & enforce strong boundaries instead.  Give them almost no personal information.  Learn about the Gray Rock Method.

If you buy into the lie that the disorder in Narcissistic Personality Disorder means they can’t help their behavior, you might pity them & tolerate the abuse.  Never forget that personality disorders describe a dysfunctional behavior rather than a person with a sick brain, & treat the narcissist accordingly.

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Signs Of Surviving Child Abuse In Adults, & Ways To Cope

There are some very clear ways to identify a survivor of child abuse.  These symptoms also are detrimental to the mental health of said survivors.  If you recognize these behaviors in yourself, then please don’t beat yourself up.  We’ve all been there!  Try to accept them as nothing more than a sign of having experienced some really terrible things, then find ways to heal from them however work best for you.

  • Blaming yourself for what happened.  Children seem to take the responsibility on for their parents’ bad behavior rather than face the fact that their parent has done something pretty terrible.  It’s totally normal!  However, it isn’t helpful once you’re an adult.  It’s ok to admit your parents were less than perfect, & yes, even cruel.  No child can make any parent abuse them, including you.  Abusive behavior lies squarely on the shoulder of all abusers, never their victims.  ALWAYS!
  • Accepting what your parents said as the gospel truth.  Abusive parents lie.  Period.  They also convince their children that their lies are the truth.  Not only that the abuse was the child’s fault, but that the child is unlovable, stupid, ugly, useless, no man/woman will ever want to marry that child & more.  It’s time to start challenging those false beliefs as they rise up in you.  Ask yourself, what evidence is there that what your parent told you is true?  I would guess there is no real evidence at all!
  • Unhealthy coping skills.  Watching too much TV, emotional eating, sex, shopping, drugs or alcohol.  Whatever coping skill used is unimportant.  The fact is the person using such coping skills is trying to avoid the pain inside.  Although these coping skills may have served you for some time, it’s time to retire them & face the pain.
  • Being a people pleaser.  Growing up afraid of rocking the boat where your parents are concerned can create a habit of people pleasing.  This is so unhealthy!  Of course, it’s good to care what people think.  When that rules your life & makes you do things that you disagree with or hurt you, however, there is a big problem!  Learn to say “no”.  It’s perfectly ok!
  • Lack of good self care.  Self care isn’t all bubble baths & eating ice cream.  Self care also involves taking good care of your physical & mental health, resting when tired, not overworking, & having good boundaries.

If you’re wondering where to start changing these behaviors in you, the best place I know of is what I always recommend.  Prayer.  Ask God to help you to be healthier & to heal from the trauma you have experienced.  He truly will!  One thing I do is when something comes up, I ask Him to tell me the truth about it.  “Am I right to feel *insert feeling here*?  Why or why not?” & listen for His response.

Read about the type of abuse you experienced.  Chances are, you’ll find other survivors experience similar things to you.  Learning there are others out there going through what you are can be extremely validating.  It also will help you to learn how to cope with what you’re experiencing when you see how other people got through it.

Do you keep a journal?  If not, now is the time to start!  Seeing things in writing can be so validating & clarifying.  It also can help you to keep track of the truth.  Abusers, narcissists in particular, love to reinvent the past, & lie about the present.  Having written documentation helps you to keep track of the truth so you don’t get lost in their lies.

I truly wish you the best, Dear Reader.  Facing pain & changing dysfunctional behavior isn’t easy.  However, it is worth it when you’re healthier, happier & behaving in a much more functional way.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Face Mask Related Anxiety

**Before reading this, please know I am not trying to start any pro-mask or anti-mask debates.  Please leave those comments off this post!  If I see any, they will be removed quickly.  Thank you!**

Life sure has changed during this time of social distancing & wearing face coverings!  One thing that I personally have struggled with is masks.  For some reason, I have never been able to wear those things.  I’ve tried many times over the years to wear them while doing certain household activities with no success.  I would put one on, & my heart began to race as a panic attack quickly followed.  Learning we were required to wear them in stores about broke my heart.  Finally, I have been able to get my agoraphobia under control enough to where I could go into public places alone but I can’t because of my reaction to wearing masks.  ARRGGGGHHH!!!! 

Recently I got fed up about this obnoxious mask induced anxiety, & googled this situation.  I figured it can’t just be me.  There must be others out there with this same problem.  Apparently there are!  Plenty! 

According to the various articles I read many people struggle with wearing masks.  I don’t mean the people you would expect to struggle, such as those with respiratory problems like asthma.  Many perfectly healthy people struggle.  Some folks have been the victim of a crime where the perpetrator wore a mask or bandana, so seeing others wearing them or even wearing them themselves can trigger panic attacks.

Other folks have been through very difficult & even traumatic medical procedures, so seeing or wearing masks is a reminder of that trauma.

Some folks have sensory processing issues, such as those with brain injuries, which can make wearing a mask feel as if it is smothering them.

Still others who panic about face masks fall into a different category.  Victims of child abuse.  There are a few suspected reasons for this behavior.

  • When most of a person’s face is covered, it can be difficult to pick up on subtle cues to their moods.  Children of abusive parents often rely on giving their children such cues to make the children behave as they want them to.  Missing those cues resulted in punishment.  Being unable to read those cues, even years after the abuse, can create a great deal of fear.
  • If someone tried to strangle or suffocate a child, or if a child was locked in a small room or closet, masks can recreate the claustrophobic feeling.
  • Some abusive parents put their hands over their children’s mouths as a punishment.  That too can cause panic with masks.

I found some things that have helped me to work with this mask induced anxiety, & I hope these tips help you too.

Since I can’t wear a mask, I have compromised with a bandana.  Yes, I realize I look like a gunfighter in the old west, but at least I can wear it without as much panic as I would have with a mask.  Bandanas are open at the bottom too, which means if panic starts, I can pull the bottom away from my face slightly.  This helps me feel less claustrophobic while still offering some covering as protection to others.  It also helps me to calm down.

Reminding myself that I can still breathe, I’m safe, I’m not smothered & am safe is helpful too.  Grounding behaviors like this are very helpful during flashbacks, but they also can be during panic attacks.

I put on my bandana at the last possible moment before entering a place where masks are required, & I remove my bandana as quickly as I can when out of those places to minimize the time I wear it as much as possible.  I also remove it as needed by going somewhere private, such as a bathroom stall or my car.

It also helps to avoid wearing masks in hot places when possible, because wearing them can make you very hot.  That can add to panic or upset sensory processing issues.

I also don’t go into public places alone.  My husband is very helpful in keeping me focused if I get too panicky.  Having another safe person with you can help a lot in this situation too! 

I hope these tips help you manage your mask related anxiety!  xoxo

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Differences In The Silent Treatment & No Contact

In spite of what many people seem to think, there are very significant differences between no contact & the silent treatment.

The silent treatment is a frequently used punishment for either a real or more commonly perceived wrong.  No contact has a long list of grievances that have happened over a long period of time.  It isn’t done because someone did one little thing wrong, unlike the silent treatment.  It also is never used as a punishment.

The silent treatment will end when the person who initiated it feels their victim has been sufficiently punished for their sins.  Once it is done, the one who implemented the silent treatment often contacts the victim & acts as if nothing happened.  No contact is meant to be permanent, & nothing will make the person who initiated it talk to the abuser.

There is absolutely no honor in the silent treatment.  It is simply a passive/aggressive way to punish someone.  No contact is honorable.  There is also no honor in enabling bad & even abusive behavior.

The silent treatment is immature.  Young children use it to get their way but most of them grow out of it eventually.  Not everyone does, unfortunately, so they use this childish behavior to get what they want.  No contact is mature, well considered & a very viable option in toxic relationships.

Virtually no thought goes into the silent treatment.  Narcissists will use the silent treatment for any reason at any time, without forethought.  No contact is much different in this area as well.  By the time a person has gone no contact with an abuser, a great deal of time, consideration & prayer have gone into the action.

The silent treatment creates conflict.  Other people are involved, & picking sides.  They tell the person on the receiving end of the silent treatment to fix the relationship, or apologize to the person who initiated the silent treatment.  No contact is an attempt to minimize conflict.  People who initiate it don’t try to get other people involved or force the abusive person to apologize.

The silent treatment is a power trip.  If a victim is unaware of what the person giving the silent treatment is up to, they will do their best to make the abuser talk to them again & to please this person.  They will apologize & sometimes even beg the abuser to forgive them.  No contact is not a power trip.  People who implement it aren’t interested in anything their abuser does or says.  They are simply done with the relationship at that point.

The silent treatment is disrespectful.  A person won’t treat someone they respect in such a way.  Instead they will try to work out their problems.  Someone who uses no contact has tried many times to work out the problems, & gotten nowhere.  This person eventually realizes there is no other solution, & they end the relationship.  They respect themselves enough to walk away from a toxic relationship.

The silent treatment isn’t Godly.  It’s so many bad things like I mentioned previously.  No contact, however, is very Godly.  You are removing this person’s opportunity to sin by abusing you.  You are giving this person consequences for bad behavior, which opens the door for them to change.  Whether or not they do is up to them of course, but you give them that opportunity.

Sadly, some relationships are simply beyond repair.  It takes two to make a relationship work, & when one isn’t willing to do any work, that relationship is doomed.  Sometimes the best thing a person can do is to walk away in order to protect their own peace & mental health.  It’s an extremely difficult & painful decision to make, but there are times it must be done.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Some Ways To Cope With Triggers

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Abusive Behaviors Normally Not Considered To Be Abusive

Narcissists & their flying monkey enablers have a very skewed view of what is ok & what isn’t ok, what’s abusive & what isn’t abusive.  Narcissists are an extremely entitled bunch & they lack empathy, so in their minds, whatever they want is all that matters.  Hurting others isn’t important.  And, their flying monkeys agree wholeheartedly.  So what if someone gets hurt?  The narcissist is the important one, after all.

These people act like certain abusive behaviors are completely normal.  In time, this can make victims think the narcissist is right, that they are wrong for being upset about something that is supposed to be so normal.  More subdued abusive behaviors often fall into this category.

Also, many abuse victims develop a very thick skin when it comes to abuse.  This comes from being abused repeatedly.  If an abuser isn’t screaming at them or physically assaulting them, they sometimes don’t think they are being abused.  Unfortunately abuse isn’t always so easy to spot.  It can be subtle, but equally abusive.  This post will describe some of the subtle ways a person can abuse.

Taking or relocating your property.  When you live with someone, chances are excellent you will move each other’s property at some point.  My husband moves my purse if it’s in his way, for example.  But when someone hides or even gets rid of something that belongs to you, that is abnormal!  It is also abusive if the person blames you for forgetting that you moved or got rid of the item when they are the one who did it.  That is gaslighting!

Controlling behavior.  Telling you what to say, how to act, how to look, what to wear, hiding your car keys so you can’t go anywhere are all abusive, even if there are no physical threats to go along with the control.  No one has the right to control another person.

Sexual violations.  Someone who uses guilt & shame to force you to perform a sexual act that is something you really don’t want to do or causes you pain is just as guilty as the masked man who rapes you at knife point.  Just because a weapon wasn’t used doesn’t make this ok.  It’s not ok if you’re married either.  Being married doesn’t give anyone the right to be sexually abusive.

The silent treatment.  While the silent treatment isn’t usually considered abusive, it actually is.  If you don’t know what the person’s up to, the silent treatment can make you do almost anything to win the favor back of the person not speaking to you.  It sets you up to be controlled & manipulated while damaging your self-esteem.  Once you understand what the silent treatment is about though, it can be a pleasant respite from the abuse.

Being confusing & unreasonable during a disagreement.  Most people try to work together to a solution when involved in a disagreement, even if things are heated.  An abusive behavior is instead of working on a solution, talking in circles, trying to focus on something other than the issue at hand, projecting their flaws onto you, bringing up past arguments, & gaslighting.

Please remember not to normalize or excuse abuse.  Behavior like this is NOT normal & there is no excuse for anyone to act  this way.  Even if it happened “only once”, there is still no excuse for it.  Instead, admit the truth, that such actions are abusive & terrible.  You also need to accept that you have done nothing wrong, & you did nothing to deserve such treatment.  You have every right to be upset about what was done to you.  You also have every right to protect yourself from further abuse so set those boundaries & take good care of yourself!

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Enabling Is NOT Loving!

It seems to be a common false believe that giving someone everything they want, enabling them to do anything they want without consequences is loving & even Godly behavior. 

So many people I spoke with in my family were downright cruel to me because I wouldn’t see my father at the end of his life in 2017.  The barrage of phone calls, social media messages & emails was intense.  I barely read any of the messages, because after reading a couple, I knew how incredibly toxic the rest would be.  I thought it wiser to protect my mental health by saving the messages without reading them as evidence for police if I opted to take that route.  Anyway after my father’s death, I learned that because I refused to say goodbye, he finally turned to God!  In spite of my fears it wouldn’t happen, my father gave his heart to Jesus at the end of his life, & is now in Heaven.  (That story is on my website at: http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you’d like to read it)

While none of us knew it at the time, me not saying good bye to my father was for his benefit.  My family clearly thought I was a cold hearted witch who stayed away out of spite.  I knew in my heart God wanted me to stay away & going would have had terrible consequences, but I didn’t know any further details.  Me not going made him reach out to God for the first time in I don’t know how long.  If I had gone, I firmly believe he wouldn’t have turned to God.  So as strange as it may sound, not saying my final good byes to my father was the most loving thing I could do in that situation.

Although many situations are different, the basics are similar.  Someone wants you to do something that you know is not in their best interest.  It may even cause you pain or problems to do that thing, yet it is expected of you to do it.  If you do it, your actions are applauded & if it caused you problems, those problems ignored.  If you don’t do it, you’re criticized & even shamed for being selfish or unreasonable. 

This is utterly WRONG!

Yes, it’s good to do for other people.  Some people genuinely need help & sometimes you are exactly the right person to give that help.  But doing anything a person wants isn’t always a good thing.  Look what 1 Corinthians 10:23 says:


All things are lawful [that is, morally legitimate, permissible], but not all things are beneficial or advantageous. All things are lawful, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].  (AMP)

1 Corinthians 6:12 is similar & just as informative:

Everything is permissible for me, but not all things are beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything [and brought under its power, allowing it to control me]. (AMP)

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s for the best that you do it, either for you or for someone else.  People who are accustomed to getting everything they want are spoiled, entitled, selfish & often feel that they don’t need God.  By saying no sometimes, it actually benefits people.  They learn to be more self sufficient, they don’t become entitled, selfish jerks.  And yes, they may recognize everyone’s need for God in themselves.    

Maybe situations in your life aren’t as dire, but still, if you know that doing something for someone isn’t in their best interest or yours, don’t do it!  The good will far outweigh the bad!

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

Socially Acceptable & Unacceptable Trauma Responses

Have you ever noticed there are socially acceptable & socially unacceptable responses to trauma?  There are.  The especially interesting part is the socially acceptable ones are the most unhealthy trauma responses & encouraged.

Some socially acceptable trauma responses are:

  • being a workaholic.
  • focusing on career over family.
  • never taking breaks.
  • being over scheduled or too busy.
  • sleeping too little.
  • excessive exercising.
  • under eating.

Some socially unacceptable trauma responses are:

  • taking time off to relax.
  • crying or being angry about the trauma.
  • admitting that it still upsets you, even years after the trauma.
  • taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication.
  • seeing a counselor.
  • severing ties with an abuser.
  • discussing the abuse.

When you live with PTSD or C-PTSD, trying to heal is tough enough.  It’s not easy, even under the best of circumstances.  It’s much worse though when you have people telling you that your healthy coping skills aren’t healthy, & insisting you instead use unhealthy coping skills.

Having been through narcissistic abuse, I can vouch for the insecurity that comes from it.  It takes a conscious focus on my part not to assume someone’s criticism of me is right & to consider what is said before assuming I’m wrong, & frankly I’m not always good at this.  When someone tells me I should use one of the unhealthy trauma responses instead of my healthy ones, naturally I figure they’re right & feel shame.  No doubt many of you reading this experience the same type of response.

You can learn to deal with the dysfunctional response in these types of situations.

Remember, the world thinks quite skewed in the area of mental health.  No one bats an eye at someone who goes to a doctor with a broken leg, yet many of those same people claim someone is weak for seeing a counselor for their mental health problems.  That is just one example of this skewed thinking.  Anyway just because so many people think this way doesn’t mean they are right.  What others think about how you heal isn’t important.  What is important is that it works for you.

Use logical thinking.  When someone criticizes you for how you approach your emotional healing, ask yourself if what they say makes sense & why.  For example, if someone says you’re being lazy, you need to keep busy instead of taking time off, think about this statement for a moment.  How would keeping busy benefit you?  Sure, you might be busy enough not to think about your problems for a bit, but that won’t last forever.  Besides, ignoring emotions means they will come out in unhealthy ways later.  So many addicts became addicts because they tried to avoid facing their own traumas.  Considering all of this, do you really think this person gave you good advice?

Another thing to consider is people view things through the lens of their own experiences.  Many people who are the quickest to judge others’ healing journeys are ones who also have been abused, but refuse to deal with that.  Rather than be inspired by someone else facing their pain, they get upset by it.  They often think because they aren’t facing their past trauma, they are over it.  They’re functioning just fine while someone else is suffering with C-PTSD.  In their mind, clearly that person is weak & could learn a thing or two from the person without C-PTSD.  They honestly think they’re helping by telling the other person what they do, which involves their socially acceptable trauma responses.

Remember, just because some people think your approach to healing is wrong doesn’t mean that is true.  You have to do whatever works best for you.  What others think shouldn’t matter.  All that should matter to you is that what you’re doing helps you to heal.

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Some Life Altering Symptoms Of C-PTSD

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD, is a rather new mental health diagnosis.  It is common among those who have survived repeated traumas, such as those who endured child abuse or domestic violence.

C-PTSD shares many of the same symptoms of PTSD.  It also includes other symptoms that make C-PTSD more, well, complex than PTSD.

Moodiness to the extreme.  Moods can be difficult to control for anyone at times.  A person with C-PTSD has a much more difficult time controlling them on a regular basis, & sometimes is unable to control them.

Difficulty trusting people.  A person with C-PTSD has seen the  worst of people, & only naturally has a great deal of difficulty trusting people.  It takes a lot for someone with C-PTSD to learn to trust anyone.  It also doesn’t take a lot for someone with C-PTSD to lose trust in people.

Flashbacks.  There are three types of flashbacks.  The typical flashbacks where a person feels as if they are reliving a traumatic event.  There also is emotional flashbacks.  They don’t feel as if the event is being relieved per se, but the emotions of a traumatic event are being relieved.  Emotional flashbacks are extremely common with C-PTSD.  Lastly there are somatic flashbacks.  They are similar to emotional flashbacks, but rather than dealing with the emotions connected to trauma, they deal with the physical pain connected to trauma.

Toxic shame.  Toxic shame is extremely common among those who have survived abuse, in particular those who survived child abuse.  Their parents told them the abuse inflicted on them was their fault, which instilled a root of toxic shame in them for supposedly making their parents do the terrible things they did.

Dissociation.  A survival tactic, dissociation emotionally removes a person from a traumatic or abusive episode.  Many survivors of sexual assault in particular describe it as feeling as if they are not in their body as the assault happened.  It also can lead to extensive day dreaming when not in a traumatic situation or even Dissociative Identity Disorder in some extreme cases.  DID is especially common among child abuse survivors.

Hyper-vigilance.  Hyper-vigilance can take two forms.  One is when a person is extremely aware of their surroundings.  Even in a crowded place, those with C-PTSD are aware of a person heading to the restroom or leaving the building.  Another form of hyper-vigilance is when the body is constantly in a state of preparedness for attack or trauma.  This often leads to constant pain.

Suicidal thoughts.  The most serious & potentially life threatening aspect of C-PTSD is suicidal thoughts.  Those who have  C-PTSD frequently battle with severe depression, even to the point of suicidal thoughts.  Sadly, suicide seems like the only escape from the pain in the mind of many people with C-PTSD.

While these symptoms are very common with C-PTSD, their seriousness shouldn’t be underestimated.  All are life altering, & suicidal thoughts obviously can be life ending.  They can be managed, however.  I find prayer to be my most effective help when these symptoms flare up.  Journaling about them is also very useful.  It can help you to see what causes the symptoms to flare & figure out ways to cope with them.  Another helpful tip I have found is to remind myself of what is happening.  I remind myself that whatever is happening is merely a symptom of the disorder, nothing more.  I’m safe, nothing can hurt me.  Grounding can be very useful during flashbacks, & it needs to be something that is very extreme to the senses.  Smelling a strong scent like lavender or touching a scratchy blanket help by distracting your mind away from the flashback.

Lastly, when your symptoms flare, they’re showing you where you need healing.  They actually do have a purpose, so use them to help you.

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“You Can’t Love Someone Until You Love Yourself”

One cliche I’ve heard my entire life was “You can’t love someone until you love yourself.”  My mother said it periodically when I was growing up, & somehow it never felt right to me even when I was just a little kid.

As an adult, I have come to realize how wrong this is, & how shaming as well.

Wrong because just because a person has low or no self esteem, doesn’t mean they are incapable of love.  It only means they don’t love themselves.  People who feel this way are very capable of loving others, & it shows when they love their spouse, children, family, friends, pets.   I was this same way for many years.  I absolutely hated myself, yet absolutely adored certain people in my life as well as my pets.  They all meant the world to me & I would have done anything for any of them.

This phrase is shaming because it makes people feel that they lack this one basic skill any human being has, to love.  Victims of narcissistic abuse already have enough shame to deal with thanks to the narcissists in their lives.  They don’t need any more false, toxic shame heaped onto them.

What can be true, although certainly is not true in all cases, is if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others in a Godly & healthy way.  In cases where someone has been abused in childhood, that person may not yet know how to love someone in a healthy way.  They may think if they love someone enough, they can fix their abusive ways.  In fact, this may seem good or even Godly to the dysfunctional person.  Sadly, many people support such dysfunctional thinking, encouraging the unhealthy behaviors.  Some folks even will quote Scriptures that are taken totally out of context to validate their beliefs.

A dysfunctional person also may think boundaries are selfish & unloving, so they think telling someone no is a bad thing.  Out of good intentions, they allow other people to come first in their lives, even if it costs them their health, finances, or peace.  They mistakenly hurt themselves under the delusion they’re being loving.

Similarly, a dysfunctional person may think that giving a person whatever they want is the most loving thing they can do for someone.  They fail to realize that sometimes, people need to struggle for what they want in order to learn to appreciate things.

Many dysfunctional people also think that if they are just nice enough or good enough, they can make an abusive person love them.  They don’t realize that is impossible, because abusers are incapable of true, Godly love.  They also fail to realize that the harder they try, the more abusive an abuser will become, because they see this person as weak & willing to please them at any personal cost.  I experienced this first hand.  My late mother in-law hated me.  Being young & naive, I wanted her to like me, so I tried hard to make that happen.  Nothing I did was good enough, & our relationship only got worse.

The fact is, to love others, we must learn what true love really is.  It is wanting what is best for another person rather than what we want from that person.  It is wanting them to succeed in life, & enjoy their life.  It is wanting them to live whatever their best life is, even if it goes against something we would like for them.  Mostly, it is wanting others to have a close personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.  Any person can want these things for other people, even when they don’t love themselves.

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Not All Causes Can Be Your Causes

Periodically I notice comments on Facebook that get under my skin.  The topic isn’t important, but the message is.  The message is something along the lines of, “If you don’t care about this topic, you’re a selfish jerk.”

In fact, some people have said things to me about issues, expecting my support, but when I don’t give it, they get downright shaming.  One of them was about how disappointed someone was in me for not noticing that one public figure was a narcissist.  Well, the truth is I disagreed with her assessment.  I also had virtually no interest in the arena where this person was popular, so I naturally hadn’t paid a lot of attention to this person.  In her world, apparently none of this was valid.  I was simply a terrible disappointment for failing to notice this person’s supposedly narcissistic ways.

There was a comment that I remember from several years ago when a lion was murdered in a sanctuary by a ruthless hunter.  It broke my heart seeing such a beautiful, wonderful animal murdered for no purpose beyond the hunter’s desire to say he killed this lion.  As I read through comments on a post on the topic, I saw a comment that said something like, “You people get so upset about just a lion, but do you even care about the fact that so many innocent babies are aborted every year?!”

In my younger days, comments like this made me feel guilty.  Honestly, I’ve never been interested in politics or the abortion debate or many other current events issues.  My heart lies more with issues about animal rights, Christian topics & naturally surviving abuse.  I felt I must be wrong for that until I realized something.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country in which I live or the rights of the unborn.  What it means is I feel God wants me to focus more on animal rights, Christian topics & surviving abuse.

No one person can support every single issue!  It’s too much!  No one can afford to donate money to every worthy cause either,  simply because there are so many causes.

Also, no one can emotionally afford to support every single worthy cause.  Strong emotions can drain a person, even when those emotions are positive ones.  Everyone needs breaks, to distribute their emotions wisely & to do so with balance.  Doing this isn’t a bad thing.  It doesn’t make a person selfish or uncaring.  It makes a person human!

If someone tries to shame you for not actively supporting some cause that they support, I hope you will remember the information I shared here today.  Every single person has a unique calling in life & that means they need to support whatever issues they feel called to support.  That does NOT mean they need to support whatever the cause of the moment is.  God gives each person a unique purpose in their life, & the approval of other people isn’t a requirement.  What it does mean is that each person should follow their unique path, supporting the issues closest to their heart, & allowing others to do the same without judgment.

This also means each person should support the issues on their heart however they deem appropriate.  For some folks, it means writing as I do.  For some other folks, this means donating money.  For others, it means picketing in front of large corporations or political offices.  For still others it means working to change laws.  Not one of these is any better or worse than the other.  Different doesn’t equal wrong or bad.  It’s simply different, as each person’s unique walk that God has given them.

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Changes On My Website

As I mentioned not long ago, I decided to stop creating YouTube videos in favor of podcasts. It’s easier for me to do podcasts & I am seriously focusing on making my life easier!

I decided to do one other thing.. I have made available on my website (www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) my notes that I used in my podcasts & YouTube videos. Since some folks have issues with sensory processing or just prefer to read rather than watch a video or listen to a podcast, I thought I would do this for them. The notes are all on this link. Feel free to download as many as you like for your personal reference. As I add new podcasts in the future, I’ll naturally add the notes to this page. If you lose the link, simply visit www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com & look at the list of links at the top of the page. You’ll see it there.

Also, I added a search bar to my website, so you can find information on there easier now. Rather than read through lots of pages, you can simply type in your search critera & it will bring up results. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging about the changes I’ve decided to make. I truly value your input. 💖

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Parentalization, aka Parentification, aka Emotional Or Covert Incest

Many adult children of narcissistic parents treat their children more like partners than their children.  These parents expect their children to take care of all of their emotional needs, but some also add in their physical needs (such as cooking or doing housework well beyond what they should be doing at their age) & even sexual needs.  This phenomenon is known as emotional incest, parentalizing or parentification.  For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call it emotional incest in this article.

Narcissists often turn to their children for support rather than their partner for various reasons.  Narcissistic supply can be one reason.  People see the narcissist’s relationship with her child as very close, not realizing it’s actually very sick, & praise this “wonderful relationship” which provides narcissistic supply.  Or, maybe the narcissist is simply unhappy with her spouse or single status, & since the child is convenient, she turns to her child with matters that should be discussed with her spouse or a close friend.

No matter the reason, emotional incest has a devastating effect on a child.  The child subjected to this abusive behavior feels a tremendous amount of responsibility for the parent’s emotional state, as well as possibly also the parent’s physical or sexual needs too.  This child grows up with a tremendously overdeveloped sense of responsibility not only for the abusive parent, but everyone in her life.  This can lead to codependency, depression, anger, anxiety & more.

The child who is abused also feels guilty for growing up, leaving home & wanting to have her own life.  When I was 19, I moved out of my parents’ home & my mother was livid.  She made her disapproval painfully obvious, & even told me I’d never survive on my own.

Emotional incest also can lead to a child having very unhealthy romantic relationships as an adult.  The child is taught from an early age that the parent’s needs come first, no matter what.  A person married to an adult child of an emotionally incestuous environment is going to be a lower priority to that adult child than that child’s parents.  Whatever the parent wants will be more important than the spouse.  If the parent wants holidays spent together, that is what will happen even if the spouse doesn’t want to be a part of them.  If the parent has a need (either real or imagined) on their adult child’s wedding anniversary, the adult child will deal with it rather than the anniversary.

If you are in this dysfunctional situation, then you need to break free of it!  It won’t be easy but it will be possible.

As always, the first step should be prayer. Ask God to show you what to do to help break the cycle.  And, ask Him to help you to have the strength & courage to do it.

Also, start changing the subject with your narcissistic parent.  Both of my parents indulged in emotionally incestuous behavior for my entire life, until I ended the relationship with them, & the best way I found to end it was simple subject changes.  Asking them about something else related to themselves worked best.  Since narcissists enjoy talking about themselves more than any other topic, it makes sense that is their favorite subject change.

Sometimes subject changes don’t work & the narcissistic parent keeps changing the subject back to the topic.  If at all possible, end the conversation.  If you’re in their home or they are in yours, it can be challenging.  Try to have a friend on call, so to speak.  Have the phone number of someone you can trust ready so you can dial the number quickly & discreetly or take your phone with you to the bathroom if need be.  Tell that person ahead of time that if you call their number & it only rings a couple of times & you hang up, that means they need to call you & say they need you to come to them immediately.  Or, if you’re on the phone with your parent & want to end the conversation, ring your doorbell or knock on your door.  You can then say, “The doorbell rang.. I have to go.”  If you have a dog who barks when they hear the doorbell, this is an added bonus- your parent will hear the dog & know that your doorbell rang.  You also can use your cell to call your house phone or vice versa & then you can tell your parent that the call waiting beeped & you need to go.  Sneaky?  Yes, but not dishonest.  Your doorbell rang, your call waiting beeped & you do need to go!

I also learned that saying, “It hurts me when you talk to me about Mom/Dad like that” was a recipe for disaster.  Not only did it not stop their behavior, since they knew it hurt me, they did it even more.  This is typical of narcissists, so learn from my mistake- DO NOT ADMIT IT HURTS YOU!!!

Always remember, the problems your parent is telling you about are NOT your responsibility.  You have no obligation to fix them.  Tune your parent’s words out if it helps you.

Lastly, limit your contact as much as possible with your narcissistic parent.  If you aren’t so available, they may feel forced to find someone else to listen to their woes & you need the reprieve.

Emotional incest is a very painful thing to deal with, but you can handle it!

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Reinventing The Past As An Unhealthy Coping Skill

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Why Anxiety Is Worse After Leaving Narcissistic Abuse

Severing ties with a narcissist is a very difficult thing to do.  Not only telling the person you are done with the relationship, but the aftermath.  It can come with a plethora of challenges.  One of them for many people is extreme anxiety.

Many people who have left a narcissistic relationship have discovered that once they are safely away from the narcissist, their anxiety gets much worse for a while.

On the surface, this doesn’t make sense.  They’re safe, the narcissist hasn’t tried to contact them in ages.  They haven’t even seen the narcissist in passing at the grocery store or on the road.  Why would anxiety be bad when it should be so much lower?  I think this happens for a few reasons.

When in a relationship with a narcissist, you learn to function in survival mode out of necessity.  Your entire universe consists of thoughts like what can I do to please the narcissist, what can I do to make sure the narcissist doesn’t get angry with me, what needs does the narcissist have that I can anticipate in the hopes of gaining some favor from this person.  When you think this way, it’s as if there is simply no room in your mind for anxiety.  All the space in your brain is taken up with those thoughts, & there is no room for anything else.  I really believe narcissists do their best to keep their victims busy in this way so they don’t have the opportunity to see the abuse is wrong or plan their means of escape.

If you were romantically involved with a narcissist then begin to get involved with someone who isn’t a narcissist, that can create a lot of anxiety at first.  It feels so foreign to be with someone who is healthy when you are so accustomed to abuse & dysfunction.  You also naturally can feel like you did with the narcissist, waiting for the next bad thing to happen.  When it doesn’t, that can be unnerving simply because of what you were accustomed to in a relationship.

If the narcissist in your life was a parent, then you grew up in an extremely abnormal environment, which means you grew up to be a bit abnormal.  You couldn’t see life as a normal child does when growing up.  You have a skewed view of the world.  When you escape your narcissistic parent, you suddenly have to function in a very different environment.  Even though it’s healthier, it’s still different than what you are used to.  This can create anxiety, even though it’s a good thing.

You also grew up with this way of thinking like, “I’m supposed to do this thing, so I’ll do it.”  No further thought happened.  As an adult free of that abuse, now you see things as you should have seen them as a child but did not have that opportunity.  It can  create anxiety, & sometimes even shame for the things you did simply because you were told to do them.

The best way I know to deal with anxiety like this is with reassurance.  Ask God to reassure you & to help you with the anxiety for starters.  Also, talk to yourself.  Remind yourself that the danger has passed.  Those terrible things that once happened to you are no longer going to happen.  That abusive person is out of your life, & you’re safe now.  If you’re dating someone, remind yourself that this person isn’t the narcissist, but an entirely different person.  You can’t expect the same behavior from this person that you got from the narcissist, because healthy people do NOT act like narcissists.  And thank God for that!

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An Announcement About My YouTube Channel

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Sale On All My Ebooks!

My ebook publisher is offering a sale on all of my ebooks from July 1-31, 2020. They will be 25% off. They’re available on my website or use this link to go to the site directly: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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About Irritable Gratitude Syndrome

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About Coping With Pain & Suffering

I get a daily email from the funeral home that took care of my mother when she died.  It sometimes has good & interesting emails.  Sadly though because our relationship was so abnormal, & it’s aimed for people with normal relationships who are grieving, it isn’t usually particularly helpful.

I just read the first email I truly disliked.  Even so, I think it can be a valuable teaching tool, even for those in relationships with narcissists.

The email quoted a book written by a young woman whose sister died.  She said her mother cried non stop.  She wore headphones constantly so she wouldn’t have to hear her mother cry, & her father worked very long hours for the same reason.  The commentary on this brief story said that as someone grieving, you should consider how your actions affect others.  You should keep your home life as normal as possible.  People who love you will be upset to see you suffering.  It ended with take time to share your feelings & not isolate yourself.

When I read this, it bothered me.

Not talking things out isn’t healthy.  Whether you’re grieving as the lady in this article or suffering at the hands of a narcissist. you have to talk about things.  You can’t ignore things & hope they’ll go away because they won’t.  The same goes for toning bad things down when you do talk about them.  It’s wise to share only with people you know are safe of course, so I’m not saying talk to just anyone.  Only aim to talk with safe people who won’t judge, criticize or invalidate you.  Can you imagine how much better the lady in this article would’ve felt if she had someone to talk to?!

Also, it seems to me the family in this article split up rather than pulling together with their shared loss.  That isn’t healthy!  The family in this email would have been so much better off if they would have spoken to each other about what each one was feeling & supported each other.  Whether you are grieving a death like the lady in this article or are suffering at the hands of an abuser, you should come together with people who are experiencing a situation similar to yours.  That way you can help each other to get through.  Finding that common ground with another person also can be incredibly validating!  If you don’t know anyone, there are countless online forums & groups on social media sites where you can meet such people.

The final sentence bothered me, too.   It seemed to me that taken in context with the rest of it basically said, “Let people know you’re upset, but not *too* upset.”  That is just wrong.  If people truly care about you, naturally they don’t want to see you upset of course, but they also won’t expect you to hide your feelings just to appease them.  They would rather see you bawl your eyes out or yell than plaster on a fake smile & pretend everything is ok.  They probably would see through the fake smile easily anyway.  I know my friends would.  If you’re suffering at the hands of a narcissist in particular, I know it can feel sometimes like no one cares, but that isn’t true!  That is only what the narcissist wants you to think, so you won’t discuss the abuse with anyone.  There will be people who genuinely care & want to help you.  Let them!

In the midst of suffering, it really can feel like there is no escape, like you’re all alone & no one cares.  Don’t believe that!  People do care & you can get through this.  And most importantly, there is a God who loves you so much & will be there for you no matter what.  Don’t forget to turn to Him & let Him help you to get through!

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Anxiety With C-PTSD

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About Ignorance vs Malice

“You can’t get mad. He just doesn’t know any better.” I think all of us who have been victimized by a narcissist have heard this statement at some point. It’s said by those who either have absolutely no understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those flying monkeys who enthusiastically enable narcissists to abuse.

This statement can be very unsettling. You can feel so angry by the abuse but then you stop in your tracks. Maybe the person who said this is right, & the narcissist truly doesn’t know any better.  You feel badly for being angry with someone for doing something they don’t know is wrong.

Long before I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I was in this situation.  I had problems with my now deceased mother in-law from about the moment we met.  Obviously I didn’t know what to do since I knew nothing of narcissism.  I decided to talk to my husband in the hopes he would have ideas on how to help me get along with his mother.  When I first told my husband about the problems I had with his mother, he said that she didn’t know any better.  He truly believed it, & I thought maybe he was right.  His mother gave the impression of being very naïve, after all.  I also knew her mother in-law never liked her.  Maybe the problem was that she had no other experience beyond the negativity between her & her mother in-law, & being naïve, she didn’t know how to act better towards me.  Logically, it made sense, & I felt terrible for being so upset with my mother in-law for quite some time & silently tolerated her abuse.  Yet, “she doesn’t know any better” didn’t sit right with me.

Eventually I realized why the ignorance plea felt wrong.  I realized she wasn’t ignorant, she was malicious.  I thought I’d share those realizations with you today so if someone tells you that the narcissist in your life doesn’t know any better, you won’t suffer needlessly as I did.

If someone is truly ignorant of their actions, they won’t hide their behavior.  Why would they?  If they aren’t aware that what they’re doing is wrong, there’s no need to hide it.  Someone who is knowingly doing something wrong is going to hide their actions.  My husband never once saw his mother say or do anything inappropriate to me.  Not once in the eight years she was in my life before I walked away.  We saw her often, too, but she never slipped up.  If she truly didn’t know that she was treating me badly, why would she have hidden her behavior towards me?  She would have treated me the same no matter who was around.

A malicious person doesn’t listen.  A person who is told that their actions are hurting someone yet repeats the actions over & over is malicious.  By continuing to hurt someone, they are proving by their actions that they either don’t care that their actions cause someone else pain or that they enjoy deliberately causing pain.  However, if you confront someone who is truly unaware of the pain their actions cause, they will change their behavior, apologize & even try to make it up to the person they hurt if at all possible.  They also won’t repeat the hurtful behavior again.

An ignorant person doesn’t change their actions just because another person enters the room, but a malicious person does.  A malicious person will change their behavior if someone whose opinion they value comes along so that person continues to think well of them.  Ignorant people won’t think that way because they don’t think their behavior is something that can be construed as bad or wrong.

When in a situation where you are told the person mistreating you simply doesn’t know any better, please consider these three scenarios.  They should help you to realize quickly if the person in question truly is ignorant of the pain their actions cause or if they are deliberately mistreating you.

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“Super Powers” In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently saw the most interesting conversation on television!  In this particular scene, a younger lady was talking with an older lady.  The younger lady was deaf, & discussing how things went when she began to lose her hearing in her teens.  She said she was afraid & angry, naturally, but her older sister told her being deaf was her super power.  She learned how to adapt to this new life which obviously wasn’t easy.  She also mentioned how people in their community were learning sign language, & that it was all because of her.

Immediately I began to think of those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.  We have super powers too!

We survived some pretty horrific stuff!  Simply surviving narcissistic abuse definitely fits into the super power category!  Many people don’t.  They end up committing suicide, & quite honestly, who can blame them?  Like many others, I sure considered it plenty when I was going through it.

We also not only survived, but we did so with our sanity & humanity in tact.  Narcissists pull out all the stops when they abuse their victims in an attempt to utterly destroy them.  Surviving that without becoming angry or bitter or continuing their abuse is really impressive!  Many people who survive narcissistic parents simply don’t have the strength or courage to break the cycle of abuse, & they abuse their children.

Many of us go on to talk openly about our painful experiences, & by doing so, help other people.  We create awareness of narcissistic abuse, which is desperately needed.  And, we help other victims to learn what is happening with them when we discuss our experiences.  I’m sure you remember how it was prior to learning about narcissistic abuse.  You felt like you were going crazy, maybe the narcissist was right & you were causing all of the problems in the relationship & more.  Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is incredibly freeing because you learn the narcissist is the problem, not you like the narcissist said.  By discussing your experiences openly, you’re helping other people obtain that freedom!  Also, by discussing narcissistic abuse, we are able to show others what does & doesn’t work with not only dealing with narcissists but the healing process as well.

If you have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, you aren’t exempt from having the super powers.  I know many who have it consider themselves weak or seriously flawed, but that isn’t the case at all!  You simply have a scar that shows yourself & others you survived some pretty horrific stuff.  I know C-PTSD is horrible, I live with it too.  But living with something so painful & challenging is a super power!

And you know something else?  By being open & honest about your struggles with C-PTSD, you’re helping others.  You may help some people who may not yet realize they too have the disorder.  They may hear of your struggles & realize this is what’s been happening with them.  While naturally no one wants to be diagnosed with any illness, mental or physical, if you’re suffering with symptoms & have no clue why, learning what is happening is incredibly helpful!  Having answers means you know what you’re dealing with & can find the proper treatment.

Also, by discussing your symptoms openly & how you cope with those symptoms, you help others find ways to manage their symptoms.  It can be so hard to come up with ideas to help yourself, especially when symptoms are flaring up, which means learning what works & doesn’t work for others can be extremely helpful!

Please never forget, Dear Reader, that you have super powers.  You survived some of the cruelest abuse a human can survive & are going on to help others.  Those are some impressive super powers!  That is amazing & you should be very proud of yourself!

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When Dysfunctional Family Members Side With Your Abuser

Living through narcissistic abuse is a horrific experience that no one should have to endure.  As if that isn’t bad enough, many victims open up to their family about their experiences & are met with unbelief, blame, shaming comments, denial & more.  Their family members say that they should forgive & forget, get over it, & other invalidating comments.  It’s so shocking when you expect support & love & are met with these terrible reactions.  As if this wasn’t enough, many families offer unconditional love & support to the abuser while shunning the victim.

The vast majority of my family never cared that my parents were abusive to me.  They ignored signs when I was a child.  As an adult, they told me things like I needed to get over my childhood hurts, I only get one set of parents & I needed to fix the relationship with my parents.  No doubt many of you can relate.

Victims often wonder why their family acts this way.  I have some ideas why.  By explaining the behavior, I am certainly NOT excusing it.  There is no valid reason to treat a victim this way.  I am simply trying to show victims that the people who say such comments are incredibly dysfunctional & should be ignored not believed.

Denial is the main reason families reject victims & support abusers.  Who wants to accept the fact that someone they love in their own family is capable of horrible acts?!  No one.  Many people do it anyway.  Many other people lack the courage to face that ugly truth.  Also, by denying the abuse, they can have a clear conscience when it comes to failing to help or protect the victim.  If the abuse didn’t happen, even only in their mind, then they did nothing wrong.  Lastly, many of these people care a great deal about the abuser.  Narcissists can be quite charming & likeable.  These people believe this act is the real person & become so enchanted with that false persona, they will reject anything that threatens it which includes someone claiming that person isn’t the perfect person they present themselves as.

Many of these abuse defenders have abuse in their own past.  For every victim of abuse who confronts their pain & works on healing, there are other victims who don’t have the courage to do the same.  They pretend they weren’t abused, pushing all memories as far away from them as they can so as to avoid their pain.  When you face your pain, those people are reminded of theirs, especially if the abuse had similarities.  Facing your pain makes them feel badly for not facing theirs as well as reminds them of their own pain.  Since they don’t want to be reminded of their own pain, they will do their best to shut you down quickly. 

Some abuse defenders are also abusive narcissists.  Abusers don’t want to admit any behavior is abusive.  It means admitting to themselves that they too are abusers, & what they are doing is wrong.  While narcissists lack the empathy to care about the pain & suffering they cause their victims, they do care about what others think of them.  To be known as an abuser tarnishes their reputation, which is something they wish to avoid at all costs.

Many abuse defenders benefit from befriending the narcissist.  Immediately after my mother died, I learned she sent one of my aunts money monthly.  I was stunned!  They never got along & my mother often had complained of my aunt’s lack of money management skills as well as her expectations of others to bail her out every time she got herself into trouble.  I can only assume her benefiting from my mother is why she was such a staunch defender of my parents.  There are many others in similar situations who like my aunt, refuse to chance losing their benefits from the narcissist & prefer to throw their victims under the bus.

When you are in such a situation, I hope you keep this information in mind.  When your family dismisses your valid claims of abuse, the problem definitely isn’t you.  It’s them!

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Being Too Busy

So many people seem to admire others who are constantly busy.  If you don’t believe me, you can see this for yourself.  If someone asks what you’ve been up to lately, notice their reaction to your answer.  If you say, “Not much,” most people look a bit disgusted with that answer.  However, if you say, “I’ve been really busy,” most people look pleased with your answer.

Keeping busy isn’t always the good thing many people think it is though.  Constantly going takes a toll on your physical, emotional & even spiritual health.  Physical because you aren’t taking the proper time to rest like your body needs you to.  Emotional because you aren’t allowing your mind to relax or giving it time to process things you need to process.  Spiritual because you aren’t taking time to spend with God, so He can restore you,  heal you or simply love you like you need.

Keeping busy is also a trauma related response.  Many people who have experienced trauma throw themselves into activities or work rather than take the proper time to face & heal from their trauma.  Think about it.  How many people after the death of someone they love, for example, suddenly get more active in work, volunteering, working at their church or other activities?  A lot of people do this.  They also will frequently say something like keeping busy helps them not to think about their departed loved one so much.  Whether or not they realize it, they are trying to avoid the pain of missing their loved one by being so busy, they don’t have time to think about that pain.

As hard as it can be to stop this behavior, it really is important to do so.  If you are too busy, I’d like to encourage you to pray about it.  Ask God to help you let go of activities that aren’t beneficial to you, to help you streamline your life so you will have more free time, & to give you the courage & strength you need to face the issues you have been avoiding.

Also, seriously examine your activities.  Are there things you do that aren’t bringing you any joy or benefiting your life in any way?  Then it may be time to abandon them if possible.  Or, if you can’t fully abandon them, how about reducing the time, energy & finances spent on those activities?

Use technology to help you.  I lean heavily on Google Calendar.  It took some time to set it up, but once I did that, it’s become a life saver!  All important dates are on it, such as birthdays & anniversaries.  I also added dates our monthly bills are due (including notifications for a week or two before to remind me they are coming up soon so I can plan accordingly), & have them recur each month.  My husband & I both have Calendar on our cell phones, so we know when we have plans, when we have free time & when our bills are due.

Another useful tool is paying bills online.  Most companies save your payment information so if you pay the bill once, you can return each month, click a couple of buttons & pay your bill.  If you are financially able, another useful feature is automatic payments.  Most companies allow customers to schedule their payment so it automatically comes out of the bank on the same day each month.

Decluttering is another way to free up time.  Yes, it takes time to do, but once it’s done, it’s a wonderful thing.  My Grandmom had an aversion to clutter, & would say more stuff is only more stuff to clean & maintain.  She was right.  Less stuff to clean & maintain means more free time for you.

Use common sense, & you no doubt will see activities you can stop or do a different way to free up some time in your life.  You’ll enjoy your life a lot more when you have plenty of time to spend in prayer, reading, or whatever other ways you like to spend your time.  You’ll also be much less anxious & more able to face whatever issues you need to face.  xoxo

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Tips For Healing From Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a terrible thing.  It forms so much of who we become as adults, good & bad.  Unfortunately usually there is much more bad than good.

The way to help minimize the bad is to heal.  To do this, you have to face the trauma, & that involves facing the emotions connected to it.  I know, this isn’t exactly fun but it’s quite necessary for healing.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, so not doing so will result in them manifesting in such toxic ways.  They will negatively affect your mental & physical health.  They can draw you to unhealthy relationships & circumstances.  That’s why it’s so much healthier to face trauma than to avoid doing so.

An effective way to do this that I have found is loosely based on Craig Hill’s “The Ancient Paths” book & seminars.  Start by looking at your life.  What areas are you consistently struggling with?  From there, you can ask God to show you what the root of the problem is.  When I have done this, God has shown me a memory, & usually it’s from childhood.  I focus on that memory, remembering everything about it that I can – what happened, where it happened, who was there, even more insignificant things like scents, sounds, who wore what clothing.  Remembering as much as possible makes it more real, which triggers many emotions.  Once I feel the emotions I tell God that in that situation I felt a certain way, like helpless, ashamed, stupid, ugly.  Then I ask Him to tell me if what I felt was right.  Was I right to feel the things I did?  I then listen for His response.  There really is healing & life in God’s word!  When He has spoken to me, I end up feeling so much better!  So much of the pain just disappears.

There is still a bit of work to do after this, however.  You will need to feel your feelings.  I mean really feel them.  Cry, get angry, yell… do whatever helps you to feel those emotions so you can get them out of you.  I often tell God just what I’m feeling.  He really can handle that & offer comfort during these painful times.  You may need to do this a few times to purge yourself completely of the emotions.  That depends on the trauma & how you as an individual feel about the situation.

When I first learned about all of this, I naively thought doing it once or twice would heal me completely.  Unfortunately healing from trauma is an ongoing process.  You have to heal from one incident at a time instead of all at once.  I can’t tell you it’s ever easy, but I can say that the more you do it, the easier it gets.  You get stronger as you heal, which enables you to face things better.  You also grow closer to God, because facing trauma in this manner makes you depend on Him for help.  It naturally strengthens your relationship.  It also helps you see God as He is, your Heavenly Father, rather than how you view your earthly parents.  So many abused children grow up seeing God as unreliable & untrustworthy as their earthly parents.  It’s natural, unfortunately.  Working on your healing in this way naturally changes your perspective on Him, & draws you closer to Him.

Also remember that doing this can be very emotionally draining.  It’s only natural that dealing with such negative & strong emotions would leave you feeling drained & a bit raw emotionally after.  When this happens, take good care of yourself.  Rest, be sure to eat healthy & relax as much as you can.

I know this all sounds intimidating, but truly, you can do it & you’ll be very glad you did!

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Signs Of A Mental Health Crisis You Shouldn’t Ignore

A breakdown is often referred to in different ways such as a mental breakdown, emotional breakdown or the less commonly used nervous breakdown.  All terms are used to describe a state in which a person can’t function normally due to overwhelming stress.

When I was 19, & my mother raged at me after I came home late one night.  Her screams woke my father who came in to see what was happening & then they began screaming at each other.  I ran into the bathroom & locked myself in.  I sat on the floor, unable to move, function or think.  I was catatonic for about five hours.

Other times, like when my beloved grandmom passed, the breakdowns weren’t quite as severe.  The catatonia lasted much shorter durations, but they were still awful.

I really don’t think most people take breakdowns nearly as seriously as they should.  They don’t believe such a thing exists or they claim the person having the breakdown is weak or seeking attention.  The sad truth is that breakdowns are serious & can damage a person’s mental health.  It’s vital to recognize the signs before one happens.

One of the first signs is feeling very anxious.  I don’t mean the normal anxiety that you feel before a job interview.  I mean anxiety that threatens to overwhelm you when there is no obvious reason to feel anxiety to such an extreme.  I mean panic attacks, headaches, tense muscles, tremors, upset stomach or high blood pressure.

Depression is another warning sign a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Sometimes, depression overwhelms a person, & a breakdown can happen.  This is what I experienced one after my beloved grandmom died.

Being over sensitive is another warning sign.  It is a big hint that your emotions are at their limit.  They’re overworked which is why they’re so sensitive.

Behavioral changes can be another sign of a pending breakdown.  Because your mind is so overwhelmed, naturally your behavior is different.  You may isolate yourself, lack patience, be short with people or lose interest in things that you normally enjoy.

Trouble with concentration is another red flag that a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Stress makes concentration harder, but when that stress is ongoing, it’s even worse.  Ongoing stress can increase cortisol levels in the body which over time can deteriorate your memory, ability to make decisions & problem solving skills.

Sleep changes often happen if someone is coming close to experiencing a breakdown.  Some people sleep too much while others sleep too little.  The exhaustion of being overwrought emotionally can cause a person to sleep too much.  At the same time, a can person to think too much, making sleep impossible.

Weight loss or gain & appetite changes can be another sign of a possible breakdown in the future.  Some people when stressed don’t like to eat while others overeat.  When a breakdown is likely on the horizon, those changes can be even more prominent.  Over eating in particular because cortisol can trigger cravings for high fat or sugary foods.

If you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s time to take action now.  Breakdowns can be avoided with proper self care.  Pray.  Talk to God like the Father that He is to you.  Write in a journal.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Reduce as many activities that are unnecessary as possible so you can have more time to relax.  Watch your eating habits to be sure you eat properly.  You still can indulge in a slice of cake or whatever treat you enjoy sometimes though- the key is balance, not cutting treats out entirely.  Get extra sleep, even if you need to take a sleeping pill to help you.  Do things that make you feel nurtured & comfortable.  Taking steps like these can truly help you avoid having a breakdown & are good for your mental health.

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About Being True To Yourself

Anyone who knows me knows I am deeply into music.  Although I love all kinds of music, one of my favorite bands ever is the famous rock band, Queen.  Their unique sound & ability to mix all types of sounds to make music is absolutely incredible to me.  “Normal” music bores me so the uniqueness that always has been Queen is super appealing to me.

Anyone who knows me also knows my way of thinking is a bit skewed from what normal people think.  That ties into my Queen fandom, so please bear with me….

Recently I was listening to my favorite Queen song, “The Show Must Go On.”  The song was written by Brian May, the band’s incredibly talented guitarist & by the way also an astrophysicist, for the band’s singer, Freddie Mercury as he was dying from AIDS.  The band members were incredibly close friends, & this song was his gift to Freddie.  The story goes, at the time they were to record it, Freddie was quite ill & the other band members weren’t sure he would be able to sing long enough to create the single.  Upon hearing their concerns, he slammed down a shot of liquor & said he’d do it… then proceeded to create the vocals in only one take.  Pretty impressive especially for a dying man, don’t you think?

Yet, this isn’t something that was un-typical for the magnificent singer.

An extremely shy man, Freddie Mercury created an on stage persona that was very different from his true personality.  His fans loved the extrovert he was on stage, yet in spite of that, when he was off stage, he stayed true to his true shy nature.  His private life stayed private as much as possible.

In spite of being known for being shy, Freddie Mercury had a healthy self esteem.  Many people assume being shy means having low self esteem, but that isn’t always the case.  He recognized his talent as well as his shortcomings.  As a result, he also was very accepting of others & non-judgmental.

Freddie Mercury was comfortable with who he was.  Ok, he was not perfect, but who is?  Even so, this man was clearly comfortable in his own skin.

Also, he wasn’t afraid to step out of the box.  He did many unique things.  The opinions of others really weren’t important to him.  That isn’t a bad thing at all!  Everyone should have such confidence in stepping out of the box!

Thinking of these things, I was reminded yet again that Freddie Mercury is quite the role model.  Yes, I know, he had issues.  But honestly.. don’t we all have some issues??  He was true to himself & that is a wonderful thing!  We should strive to be true to ourselves as well.

I think most of us can learn a thing or two from this amazing man!

Naturally as Christians, we need to keep God first in our lives.  That being said though, it sure wouldn’t hurt any of us to learn a few lessons from Freddie Mercury.

Whatever you do, stay true to yourself, be comfortable in your own skin & don’t be afraid to step outside of the box.  What other people think isn’t important.  And yes, this is aimed at those who survived narcissists!  You take care of yourself, be true to yourself & don’t be afraid of trying anything different.  If you want to dye your hair pink or blue or purple, then by all means, DO IT!!!  Get that tattoo, change your wardrobe into something entirely different from your normal.  Don’t let the opinions of other people determine what you should & shouldn’t do.  I know this can be so hard when you were raised by narcissistic parents, but it’s so important to break away from their mindset.  They don’t know you as the person God created you to be.  They don’t understand His will for your life.  And that is fine.  You know these things & you know that you need to do God’s will for your life.  Do it & enjoy every single moment!

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

Some Victim Shaming Comments

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Any Reaction Is Good As Far As Narcissists Are Concerned

Narcissists do their best to elicit reactions from their victims.  It doesn’t matter to them if the reaction is positive or negative, so long as it’s a strong reaction.

If you react positively to a narcissist, this provides narcissistic supply because it builds up their ego.  They see your reaction as proof that they are the awesome, amazing person they want people to think they are.  This means they will pursue you fervently in order to gain more of that precious supply you provide.

If you react negatively to a narcissist, this also provides narcissistic supply.  In the mind of the narcissist, it proves they are incredibly powerful.  After all, only a powerful person could elicit such a reaction, as far as they’re concerned.  Or, they can portray themselves as your victim, which is another great way for them to gain supply.  This situation also means they will pursue you fervently, because they want that narcissistic supply.

Narcissists really are experts at creating “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenarios, aren’t they?

As difficult as it seems, you need to avoid both scenarios.  The more narcissistic supply you provide, the more the narcissist will demand of you.  They will not hesitate to drain you of anything & everything you have- money, possessions, your time, energy, etc- to gain that supply.

To avoid providing a narcissist with supply, you need to stop reacting & start responding.

Reacting is that knee-jerk reaction, that thing that just happens automatically, without thinking.  Responding, however, happens after you take time to calm down & think.  Responding is what you need to do when dealing with a narcissist.

Responding isn’t nearly as easy to do as reacting, but it is possible, even when face to face with a narcissist.  To start with, pray.  Ask God for help responding & to keep your reactions in check.  You also can pray Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (KJV)

Remind yourself how important it is to stay calm.  Remembering why you need to behave this way can be helpful.  Also tell yourself that you can do this, you are well able to remain calm no matter what.   Remember Proverbs 23:7  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…” (KJV)  If you tell yourself such things, you will be able to do them.

Another trick I learned is to stop for a second & take a deep breath, then release it.  This act forces you to calm down because of the breathing.  It also gives you a second to think of a response or ask God for help.

If you are no longer in a relationship with the narcissist, & they are either harassing you (themselves or via flying monkeys) or creating a smear campaign, I still would urge you to remain calm.

If the narcissist is harassing you, block her every way possible- on social media, email, your phone- & ignore her completely no matter what.  If she sends you something via postal mail, before you do anything with it, pray.  Some narcissists see returning mail as contact, thus it provides them with supply, & encourages them to continue harassing you.  Others may not see it that way.  You need to pray about this before you accept or return their mail.  You also may need to get a restraining order (talk to a police officer in your area for more details).  In many cases, narcissists know about stalking laws & stay just barely legal.  This means you can’t get a restraining order since they haven’t broken the law.  Even if you can’t, document everything they do.  Save emails & texts.  Take screen shots.  Save voice mails.  And, save everything in a safe place, such as online storage, so you won’t lose it no matter what.  This way, if the narcissist does break the law at some point, you have evidence that their behavior has been awful for a long time.  This can help you with the legal system.

If flying monkeys are harassing you, also remain calm in their presence & respond, don’t react.  Any reaction on your part just proves to them that the narcissist is right about you & may encourage them to continue abusing you.  Change the subject.  Tell them you don’t wish to discuss the narcissist with them.  If they ignore your boundary, tell them this subject isn’t up for debate & if they continue, you will leave/hang up the phone.  Follow through on your threat.  If the flying monkeys approach in other ways such as via email, ignore the email.

If you’re the victim of a smear campaign, ignore it.  Let your true character shine.   I know it hurts when you hear the horrible lies being told about you, & when people you thought cared about you believe them, & I’m sorry for that.  Unfortunately, people are going to believe what they want to believe.  Some people are so determined to be right, they will ignore all evidence to the contrary.  Let them.  Smear campaigns, as painful as they are, are also a good way to find out who your true friends are.  True friends will question the person saying awful things about you & defend you.  Those people are gems that you should thank God for placing them in your life.

Lastly, you will need to release all the anger & hurt the narcissist has caused you once you are away from them or their flying monkeys.  Prayer is incredibly helpful.  Sometimes you may not feel like talking & journaling is a great way to cope during those times.  I think of my journal entries as talking to God in writing since He & I are the only ones who read my journal.  Talk to a safe friend or counselor.  When you’re able to release the negative emotions, be sure to let it all out.  I admit it- I’ve used awful language & called the narcissists in my life terrible names during those times, but it helped me to purge myself of all the awful feelings.  Not once have I felt God judged me for it either.  Not like He hasn’t heard those kinds of things before!

Whatever your situation with the narcissist in your life, Dear Reader, you can handle it.  I believe in you!  xoxo

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What I Learned From No Contact

So many websites & authors make no contact sound like an easy decision & once you go no contact, all will be right in your world.  Nothing could be further from the truth!!  While no contact is often the best & even the only solution, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.

If you’re considering no contact with a narcissist in your life, in particular one in your family, you need to be aware of some things.  I am not writing these to make you change your mind about no contact, only to help you prepare for the potential aftermath.

  • No one has the right to abuse you, not even your family.
  • You are under no obligation whatsoever to tolerate abuse from anyone & yes, that includes family.
  • Cutting toxic people out of your life doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you someone who cares enough about yourself not to tolerate abuse.
  • Just because you severed contact with someone doesn’t mean you hate them.  You can love someone but still not be able to be in a relationship with them because they’re abusive.
  • No one can fully prepare for what may happen after no contact because all people are different.  When I went no contact with my mother, she ignored me & kept her distance.  When I went no contact with my father, he continually tried to force me to talk to him, including getting his family to try to force me to talk to him.  It’s hard to predict how the person on the receiving end of no contact will handle it.
  • You will be depressed for some time after going no contact.  No matter how sure you are that you did the right thing or how much you know you had no choice but to do this, ending a relationship especially one with a family member is TOUGH!  It hurts!
  • You’ll also feel very guilty for a while, even though there isn’t a valid reason to feel that way.  This is simply because that is how this person trained you.  Their feelings are more important than yours & how dare you put your feelings ahead of theirs, at least that is what they want you to believe.  Remember, this person is the reason the relationship fell apart.  Yes, you walked away but only after you were pushed into doing so to protect your mental health.  There is no reason to feel guilty about this!
  • You’re going to have doubts.  It’s only normal.  Remind yourself of how much thought & prayer went into your decision when this happens.  Also remember what led you to make this incredibly difficult decision.  Doing so helps a great deal.
  • Not everyone is going to understand.  Some people are going to judge you very harshly.  Those people can be incredibly hurtful & cruel.  No matter how convicted they are in their beliefs, it doesn’t mean they are right.  Don’t let them make you doubt your decision or tolerate their abusive words.
  • Of those who judge you, you will be surprised by who is doing it.  Some folks you were convinced were on your side will turn on you, & it is going to hurt badly!  You also may be surprised by acquaintances & even strangers who attack you for going no contact.  It’s shocking when someone you barely know or don’t even know at all thinks they have the right to tell you what they think you should do with your life.
  • Those who don’t understand also will try to guilt or shame you into reconnecting.  Don’t let that happen!!  Again, remind yourself of what led you to making this decision.  Also remind yourself that these people don’t know the whole story, so their input is useless to you.
  • Often, these people who attack you are going to be your own family.  Family is often the most abusive in these situations.  Mine certainly has been.  Various members have attacked me like they were starving lions & I was vulnerable prey.  Sadly this is pretty normal in narcissistic families.  Family members often delude themselves into thinking they’re a happy, normal, functional family.  They will do anything to protect their delusions, including attack someone who tells the truth.  If they can quiet the truth teller, then their delusions can remain in tact.  To them, attacking their own kin is worth it if it protects their delusions.
  • You may think if you just did something they wanted you to do or loved them enough, the abuse would have stopped.  That is not true!  A person changes because they want to.  To make an abuser want to change is nearly impossible.  They get what they want from being abusive & they lack empathy.  This means they see no reason at all to change.
  • You also may have days where you miss this person.  You may be tempted on those days to rekindle the relationship.  You may even want to apologize for going no contact.  DON’T DO IT!!  Once someone has gone no contact then later returns to the relationship, it gets much worse than it originally was.  It may start out good, but it won’t take long before the mask comes off again.  When that happens, the person underneath is even uglier than they were before.
  • You won’t be functioning in survivor mode anymore, so you may feel much different.  You may feel very vulnerable & over sensitive.  Little things can make you cry or make you angry that never bothered you before.  You may have more nightmares than usual.  You may experience changes in anxiety levels by either becoming more anxious in general or less anxious but when you do get anxious those times are harder than they used to be.
  • You may feel oddly lost, too, like you don’t know what to do with your life.  When in a relationship with a narcissist, they seem to take up all the room in the relationship, even down to including all the room in your brain.  Without them, what is there to think about?!  It can take some time to feel less lost after survival mode is over.
  • At some point, you are going to feel so much better!  You’ll experience freedom & enjoy that feeling immensely.  If the narcissist in your life was a relative, guilt will come attached to enjoying your new freedom, but in time it will get less & less, until it disappears.
  • You’ll also experience peace, possibly for the first time in your life!  No more unnecessary drama.  No more narcissistic rages.  The peace is glorious!!
  • You won’t feel on edge all the time, worried about what to say or do to appease the narcissist so he or she won’t rage at you.  You finally can relax & not focus all of your energy on this person.  It’ll feel like a giant weight is lifted off your shoulders.
  • You also will start to enjoy little things more than you used to.  When you’re life is totally focused on a narcissist, it’s hard to enjoy subtle things like a bird singing, a beautiful full moon or even a great song on the radio.  It can feel almost like you’re reborn, I think is the best way to describe it.

In time, you’ll learn that no contact was absolutely worth it.  In spite of all the pain, the tears, the doubts & the attacks from horrible people, it truly was worth it.  You will survive it, & be better & stronger for it!

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