Tag Archives: hope

To Heal It, You Have To Feel It

So many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse are simply tired.  Tired after years of walking on eggshells & trying to please the unpleasable.  Tired because the experience gave us C-PTSD or PTSD, which are both exhausting disorders for many reasons.  Tired of working so hard, trying to heal & feel normal for once.  It’d be so nice if we could just forget what has happened.  Put it away like an unloved Christmas present from the mother in-law somewhere in the back of a closet where it wouldn’t see the light of day again.

 

Unfortunately though, that is completely unrealistic.

 

If you want to heal from any traumatic situation, you have to deal with it completely.  This means to heal, you have to feel.  Feel what, you ask?  Feel the anger or the hurt.  Get angry.  Cry.  Scream.  Cuss.

 

Sounds wrong, doesn’t it?  That is partly because narcissistic mothers shame their children for having any emotions, society shames victims for not “getting over it” immediately & the church often shames people for not “forgiving & forgetting.”

 

Dear Reader, I’ve been working on healing from narcissistic abuse since 2000.  I bought into those lies for too long.  I ignored the gentle promptings in my heart from God saying it’s OK to feel my emotions.  I tried forgiving & forgetting.  I tried getting angry & just couldn’t do it- I was afraid of getting angry & losing control.  I also could hear my mother’s voice in my head scolding me for having “that Bailey temper.”   I couldn’t even cry or grieve because I thought I was feeling sorry for myself & needed to pick myself up by my bootstraps & get over it.  And, I was miserable.

 

I ignored God’s promptings for years until early last year.  After nearly dying from carbon monoxide poisoning & suffering a concussion when I passed out from the CMP, I changed.  Both of these things can change one’s personality, so it’s not a surprise that happened to me.  I was surprised how I changed though.  I suddenly was less able to control my emotions.  I had no choice but to feel angry or sad or happy or whatever.  And you know what?  It’s been a blessing!!

 

I have been able to heal more since that happened than in the many years prior.  Feeling things has enabled me to release those emotions.  It’s enabled me to purge myself of the yukky emotions buried inside of me & heal.  It’s much like healing an infected wound.  You can slap a bandage on it, but that won’t heal it.  The wound has to bleed to get the germs & infection out first, then it can heal.

 

Another bonus of feeling my emotions has been I’ve learned how to make anger work in my favor.  My mother couldn’t stand me to be angry, even simple frustration was a problem for her, so she would shame me if I displayed even mild irritation.  As a result, I learned early to stuff anger deep down inside, & carried this dysfunctional behavior into my adulthood.  Now, I no longer do that.  I feel the anger, & when it is a righteous anger (such as when she is hateful to me), I let it give me the strength to set boundaries, walk away or even call her out on her bad behavior.  Righteous anger truly is a good thing for giving you strength & motivation to make changes!

 

Dear Reader, don’t wait until something life altering happens- decide today that you are going to feel your feelings so you can heal.  Give yourself permission to do so.  Talk to someone safe & trusted about how you feel.  Also, you can try the chair technique, where you place an empty chair in front of you, pretend your abuser is in it, & yell, scream, cry or whatever you want to do to vent your feelings.  If you don’t feel comfortable verbalizing them, then write them down somewhere safe from prying eyes.  You can pray silently too- God certainly will listen!

 

And, when you’re feeling your feelings, get it all out!  Don’t worry if your language is bad.  Do you think God’s never heard those words before?!  He gets that you are that hurt, angry or frustrated!  It’s much better to get that ugliness out of you than let it fester inside of you.

 

Please remember, to heal it, you have to feel it.  You can do this!  I know it’s scary at first, but do it anyway.  Ask God to give you the strength & courage to face those ugly, scary, traumatic things head on so you can heal from them.  Once you do this, those awful memories will feel more like a bad dream than something you’ve actually lived through.  That is how you know that event has lost its hold over you.

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

Abuse Doesn’t Always Leave Bruises

Since writing my newest book, I have been feeling more of a pull to help those who don’t know why certain people in their lives treat them so badly.

 

 

I used to wonder why my mother treated me so poorly.  I felt as if I was a bother & huge disappointment to her, & like I should stay invisible until she needed me for something.  My ex husband said she treated me badly, but once we were married he treated me the same way.  Both wanted to control me- how I looked, what work I did, who I spent time with, even what kind of car I owned.

 

I never thought of this as abusive.  Not right, sure, but abuse left bruises.  If they didn’t leave bruises or broken bones, it couldn’t be abuse, right?  Wrong.

 

Abuse comes in many forms.  Most everyone knows about physical abuse- when someone causes physical harm to another person.  But, did you know physical abuse doesn’t have to cause injuries?  It is also physical abuse to be threatening (such as punching walls), refusing to allow someone to leave, or driving recklessly.

 

There is also sexual abuse.  Forcing intercourse while threatening with a weapon isn’t the only way a person can be raped or sexually abused.  Saying things like, “If you loved me, you would do this for me” is sexual abuse.  Disregard for a partner’s physical or emotional pain & forcing want you want on them through physical means or guilt is sexual abuse.  These are very common examples of sexual abuse that most people do not consider abusive, yet they are.  Behaviors like these leave victims very anxious or depressed, feeling ashamed, guilty & often thinking things like they are being silly since this request isn’t so bad, they should just do what their partner wants & ignore their own needs/feelings/wants or even that there is something deeply wrong with them for not wanting to go along with their partner’s request.  Others who have not experienced this type of abuse don’t understand the damage it can do.  Many people don’t think a husband can rape his wife, so when she tells people that he did, she is treated as if she is crazy.  Sexual abuse is extremely damaging in so many ways.

 

If you have read much of my work, you know I discuss narcissistic abuse a great deal.  That is because it is extremely common.  Many psychologically abusive people are narcissists.  (psychological abuse includes mental/verbal/emotional abuse).  People who manipulate others, put their needs/wants/feelings/etc. above those of others, who are extremely critical either overtly or more subtly, tell others how to feel, or invalidate you are often narcissistic.  You can read more about narcissistic abuse on my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

 

Because these kinds of abuse leave no bruises, many victims are told get over it, that it’s no big deal or even doubt that what the victim claims is true.  This leaves victims alone, depressed, & often feeling as if they’re going crazy.  Abuse also can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

If you are in one of these situations, please know you’re not alone!  You also aren’t crazy!  If you feel something is wrong, then it is wrong.  Trust your instincts!  Also, pray.  God will show you the truth.  He will show you what is wrong in the situation as well as what you need to do to escape it & to heal.

 

If you are looking for safe people to talk to,  I have a Facebook group.  The members are kind, caring, supportive & wise.  You’re very welcome to join us if you like.  🙂

 

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Sometimes Out Of Your Biggest Problem Can Come Your Biggest Blessing

Recently, a friend pointed something out to me & she was absolutely right.  Since the fight with my parents in May, I’ve changed.  I’m much freer & enjoying life more.

 

I have to wonder why this is.  I think it may be because I finally realized my own value.  I don’t deserve the things that my parents do to me.  Logically I knew this but the extreme insensitivity of their actions really drove that point home for me during that fight.

 

It’s funny how things can work out.  This very painful, bad event turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I’m shocked, because I was extremely hurt & angry for quite a while after it happened, even wondering if I’d ever come to terms with it.  But, God helped me to do that.  Since I have dealt with my feelings about it though, I have become much happier than I’ve been in a very long time.  I’ve even started being myself for the first time.  Some time back, God told me to research the personality of a wolf, as I share many of their traits.  For the first time, I see those traits in myself.  I’ve also been having a lot of fun & being silly.  I crocheted a small Pennywise (the evil clown from Stephen King’s “IT”) for hubby & have been putting him in strange places around the house to surprise him. Hubby has since started doing the same thing to me.  We’re having fun just playing, & it feels good!  I’ve also almost finished a new book in record time.  I’ve been able to focus more on my writing & have a new fire in me to help those who have been affected by narcissistic abuse & to raise awareness.

 

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”  (AMP)  This Scripture is absolutely true!!  The situation I mentioned above is evidence of that.

 

Please be encouraged, Dear Reader.  Whatever you are going through, something good can come from it.  God wastes nothing.  He can bring you blessings even out of your worst hurts.

 

 

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

Don’t Ignore Your Breakthroughs

Many of us who are healing from narcissistic abuse are more focused on how far we have to go instead of how far we have come in our healing journey.  I think this is because when raised by a narcissistic parent (or two), we learned early on to focus on our flaws.  Being harshly criticized constantly will do that to a person.

 

This is a bad habit though & needs to end!

 

I realized how guilty I am of this behavior just recently.

 

My father called one evening to let me know one of my favorite movies was coming on TV, “Christine.”  He’s never done this before, which struck me odd.  My mother has always been the one to do that.  After only a few moments of conversation, he said “Did you hear that?  The call waiting beeped.  I have to go.”  We said our good byes & hung up.  I realized that he lied about his call waiting- I know because when it’s beeped before when we were on the phone, I always heard a second or two of silence each time it beeped.  This time?  Nothing.

 

I thought about this call after hanging up.  Obviously he’s angry with me.  He’ll never say that since he wants to look like the good parent at all times.  He avoids me instead.  Not a full fledged silent treatment, but when we speak, it’s less frequently & the conversations are much shorter.   That’s why he lied about the call waiting- to get rid of me without blatantly stating he wanted to get rid of me.

 

As for him calling about the movie, that was a first.  Usually my mother calls to let me  know when it’s coming on.  She loves to tell me how “crazy”, “weird” or other nasty things I am for liking it & other Stephen King movies.  “Christine” is a bonus for her because Christine is a ’58 Plymouth Fury.  Since I drive a ’69 Fury, this opens the door for her to insult my car.  They’re too big, ugly, destroy the roads, no one needs a car that big, etc.  For her to pass up all that nastiness, she must still be very angry with me due to our argument on May 5.

 

Rather than being upset like I once would’ve been with my revelations, I found this situation funny (probably inappropriately so).  My parents would rather be wrong, pretend to be right, & act like I’m messed up for not tolerating them being hateful with me than admit they were cruel to me.  And, they’re so passive/aggressive, they won’t try to work things out.  Instead they use immature, silly ways to punish me.  The ridiculousness of the situation struck me funny.

 

God also used this situation to show me something very valuable.  Not so long ago, I would’ve been upset.  I would’ve been enjoying the silent treatment, yet wondering if I should do something.  Should I apologize?  Should I “be the bigger person” & try to work things out?  This time though, those thoughts never even crossed my mind!  Realizing that as well as that I could laugh at the ridiculousness of it all made me see just how far I’ve come.  I’m quite proud  of myself!  I’ve come a long way!

 

I also saw clearly how little I usually celebrate such victories.  Instead, I tend to focus way more on how far I have to go, which is depressing.  That isn’t happening anymore.  I realized the value of having balance, & am working on doing that.

 

Looking at how far you have to go is necessary.  It shows you what you need to work on, & when you get frustrated with being a certain way, you get motivated to change.  However, looking at how far you’ve come is equally valuable.  It helps to encourage you.  You realize that if you could improve that much, then you can continue to improve.  Only looking at how far you have to go discourages you, & only looking at how far you’ve come can make you stagnant.  Maintaining a balance & looking at both is vital to your healing journey being successful, I believe.

 

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to start focusing just as much on how far you’ve come as you do on how far you have to go.  Try to maintain that healthy balance.  It will bring you more peace & joy, & you deserve that!!  xoxo

 

 

 

 

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Narcissistic Abuse Awareness

There are no pretty ribbons or months dedicated to narcissistic abuse awareness or to help comfort or inspire victims.  This seems so wrong to me since narcissistic abuse really is an epidemic.

 

A few months back, I created The Butterfly Project in an attempt to change this.  It hasn’t felt like enough, though.

 

I recently decided to make bracelets that I hope will comfort & inspire victims as well as raise awareness.   I did my best to keep the cost reasonable & quality decent.

 

For more detailed information, click the link below.

http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Narcissistic-Abuse-Awareness-Bracelets.php

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God’s Love For You

On this day ten years ago, I was blessed with one of God’s best gifts. My car. Maybe that sounds odd, so just read on- it will make sense.

My granddad had a beautiful 1969 Plymouth Fury when I was born in 1971. Four years later, my father’s car was stolen, & Granddad gave my father this car. In 1979, my father sold the car to a junkyard because he didn’t want to replace the failing transmission & rear end.

In 2005, my father was in the hospital. One Saturday morning, I woke up early, & couldn’t go back to sleep. It was too early for visiting hours, so I suggested to my husband we go to the local flea market, then the hospital.

Once we arrived, I saw a beautiful car at the other end of the parking lot. A green 1969 Fury that looked identical to my granddad’s. My husband suggested I leave a note on the car, saying I’d like to buy it if the seller was interested in selling. I’d never done anything like that before, but decided why not.

The seller did want to sell! He called me two days later. My husband & I met up with him to look at the car better, & decided to buy it. Unfortunately we were refinancing our mortgage so our money was tied up. Thankfully the seller was understanding & patient.

November 23, 2005, I was able to get the car. It was a wonderful day, but things got even better…

My father came by one day to see the car. He said it was his car. I thought he had to be mistaken but he was adamant. Shortly after, he showed back up at my home with an old log book where he had written down maintenance records on some of his cars. He had torn out the pages on the Fury after getting rid of the car, but he had missed the page with the VIN on it. We compared it to the VIN on my Fury, & they were identical! I couldn’t believe it- my car was also Granddad’s car! It was (& still is) a miracle to me that this car is back in my family after 26 years. And, not just any car- my favorite car that either my granddad or my father had. I’ve always loved cars, & there was always something special to me about this one.

I’m telling you this story today, Dear Reader, not only because I love sharing it, but hopefully to inspire you. God is capable of great miracles. All things are possible with God.

God is also very well aware of your deepest desires, even if you aren’t aware of them. I had no idea how much I would love having this car, but God knew & sent her to me. Driving this car is one of the greatest pleasures in my life, & I had no idea until God arranged for me to have her.

God can do the same for you. He can grant you a special blessing too amazing for you to comprehend! Ask Him to bless you! You aren’t being greedy or selfish- you are simply asking Him to do something He wants to do. You will be amazed at what happens!

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Some Information About Living With Mental Illness

Society has skewed so many mental health issues badly.

  • “I about had a panic attack!” is said when someone was really nervous, with no clue to how awful panic attacks really are.
  • Some people think remembering unpleasant things & flashbacks are the same thing.  They fail to realize that during a flashback, it can be almost impossible, or sometimes it is impossible to tell reality from flashback.  You have to fight with every fiber of your being to stay in reality instead of being lost in the awful flashback.
  • They even joke about something upsetting giving them Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dismissing the fact PTSD is caused by extreme trauma.
  • Saying “I’m so depressed” when the truth is they are just sad.  The person has no idea how debilitating depression can be.

Ignorant comments such as this along with the lack of compassion for people with genuine mental illness has done much to create a terrible stigma about mental illness.  The mentally ill are thought of as weak, wallowing in the past, stupid & more.  Even some in the medical field are not immune to having  these warped views.

Living with mental illness & putting up with this cruel stigma is not easy!  If you too have a mental illness, I applaud you!  As if the disorder isn’t bad enough, putting up with the ignorance of others makes it even harder.  It can create so much shame in you that you shouldn’t be forced to carry!

My hope is that writing about my experiences with C-PTSD helps to show that just because a person has a mental disorder doesn’t mean they are crazy, stupid, drama queens or even “less than.”  I’m a normal person who happens to have an illness, that is all.  It doesn’t mean I am weak- quite the opposite, as I’ve always been strong. The fact I have C-PTSD means that I’ve been through repeated traumatic experiences, not that I’m weak or feeling sorry for myself.

That is what you are too, Dear Reader.  If you battle mental illness as well, don’t tolerate people making you feel badly about yourself.  You are fine- you just have an illness.  Would you be ashamed of your illness if you had diabetes, cancer or heart disease?  Then why be ashamed of having a mental illness?  Why should mental illness be something to be ashamed of when physical illness is not?

If you’re like many who read my work & have PTSD or C-PTSD stemming from narcissistic abuse, I also want you to know that you are not alone.  I know it can feel that way sometimes, but it’s not true!  Unfortunately, many others have survived narcissistic abuse only to develop PTSD or C-PTSD as a result.  Sadly, they are normal results from abnormal circumstances like narcissistic abuse.  No one escapes narcissistic abuse unscathed.  Anyone who says they are completely fine is lying, especially to themselves.

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

Help For Dealing With Narcissistic Parents

My parents came by for a visit on Thursday.  I didn’t expect it to be a good one.  My mother is always angry with me, & my father was upset I postponed from last week.  For days,  I prayed & worried.

Wednesday, I suddenly got very angry at the fact that my parents have done so much to me, yet believe they are entitled to come into my home anytime & treat my furbabies & I so nastily in our own home.  Mind you, I’m not particularly good with anger.  Growing up, my mother accused me of having “that Bailey temper”, shaming me, if I was angry or even simply just frustrated. I learned early to ignore anger.  It’s only been recently I’ve been trying to deal with anger in a healthy way.  Even so, it still feels awkward to be angry, so Wednesday was a somewhat difficult day.

I realized something though.  I was gaining confidence.  It really started to sink in that I have a right to be angry about the things they have done & continue to do to me.  That anger gave me the confidence to realize I do NOT have to put up with being abused.  If me having boundaries hurts their feelings, that isn’t my problem.

Shortly before they arrived, I remembered something that also helped me.  Years ago, I stopped speaking to my mother 6 years.  During that time, I had planned to visit my Granddad one Saturday.  The night before, he called & said my parents had just called to say they were coming by on that same day.  He said “If you want to do this another time, I’ll understand.”  I thought about doing that, but said no- I want to see him & if he wants to see me too, then I’ll be there in the morning.  He did so we agreed I’d come by the following morning.   That day of the visit, my mother was shocked to see me there.  (Years before, she had tried to ruin my relationship with my grandparents.  I had stopped speaking to them for several years, & at the time of the visit, only had began visiting him again a few months prior)  She did her best to frazzle me with some of her actions, but instead I let her know they wouldn’t work, much to the delight of Granddad who was quite proud of me that day.  I was proud of myself for handling things so well, too!

Remembering that successful event & being angry both helped me to stay strong when my parents came by & successfully, for the first time, limit the time of their visit!  For the first time, I told them when the visit was over, not them staying in my home until they felt like leaving!

My point (finally..lol) is these tricks can help you when it comes to dealing with your narcissistic mother as well.  I know many Christians think anger is from the devil or you’re a terrible person to feel anger, but I completely disagree!  Anger is a normal emotion & it is from God.  Yes, forgiveness is a wonderful thing & should be practiced regularly.  However, anger has its place too.  A righteous anger at injustice is a wonderful motivator for change.  What is the difference?  Being angry at the unfairness of being abused & being angry because you know you have done nothing to deserve abuse, those are examples of righteous anger.  Me being angry because my parents have abused me & think they still have to right to do so is also righteous anger.  God stirred that anger up in me for a reason on Wednesday- to help me be strong & able to set boundaries with my narcissistic parents the next day.

And, God also reminded me of a very successful interaction I’d had with my parents, which was extremely helpful as well.  Remembering how well that previous episode had gone helped me to see that yes, I could be strong.  Yes, I could handle things well.  Yes, I could even be composed when angry.  I could do it!

Dear Reader, what God did for me, He can do for you as well.  I prayed & asked friends to pray for me to have strength for this visit, & God certainly did not disappoint.  I would like to encourage you too, to think on similar things in your life.  Gain courage from your successes, & hold onto that righteous anger!  If you are having trouble, ask God to help you.  He truly will!

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You, Too, Can Be Broken Yet Beautiful

Many of you know this story I shared several months ago that explains my love of butterflies.  So keep it in mind as you read this post.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in my living room when I looked out the big window to see a lovely yellow swallowtail butterfly fluttering around the tall plants outside the window.  Naturally it made me happy, as butterflies always remind me of my granddad, who I adore & still miss even though he’s been gone for 12 years now.  I kept watching the butterfly & realized something looked different.  I took a bunch of pictures from inside the house (was afraid if I went outside, it’d spook him away) & in the pictures, I could see the butterfly had a damaged wing.  A few more pictures revealed the other wing was also very damaged.  I was stunned!  The butterfly flew so much like any other butterfly, it was hard to notice there was a problem.  And, I realized that this butterfly was just as beautiful as his counterparts whose wings were whole.  Actually, to me, he was even more beautiful since he carried on in spite of his injuries.

I’ve been thinking of this butterfly off & on since that day.  Butterflies inspire me, as you can tell.  In fact, I created The Butterfly Project as a result of the inspiration.  (Please check it out.  I believe it will bless you.)

That butterfly was such a wonderful reminder that in spite of damage, one can still be beautiful.  This turned my mind to other victims of maternal narcissism.  So many of us feel ugly because we were told we were ugly.  Ugly inside & out.  That is not the truth though!  The only ugly person is the one who abuses other people, especially her own child.  You are not ugly, Dear Reader, in any way!  Your narcissistic mother was dead wrong about that!

Also, the butterfly with the damaged wings was still able to function.  Yes, he flew a little differently than others, but different doesn’t equal bad.  The same thing goes for you, Dear Reader.  You may be a bit different because of having survived narcissistic abuse, but that doesn’t mean you are bad.  It simply means that you, like that butterfly, survived something that was meant to destroy you.

Here are some pictures of my precious butterfly visitor that day for you to enjoy…

IMG_7319

 IMG_73164  IMG_7313

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The Butterfly Project

Recently I was inspired to create something to help inspire those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  (Well, ok, I stole the idea but with full blessings of the creator of it.  lol)

I started making origami butterflies that I will be glad to give away to anyone wanting one.  The premise behind this is to remind victims of narcissistic abuse that they are like the butterfly- they may have entered a dark lonely place (narcissistic abuse) like a caterpillar entering the chrysalis, then like the butterfly, they emerged beautifully.  Just because they were once stuck in that place didn’t mean that they would stay that way forever.

My hope is that these little butterflies also will help to raise awareness of narcissistic abuse & the serious damage it causes.

For further information & to learn how to get one, please click the link below.

The Butterfly Project

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Free To Be You

I have learned that something rather magical happens to many folks when they hit 40.  Suddenly they no longer have the patience for abusive people & will confront them on their behavior.  They become more outspoken without being hurtful, & more free with their praise.  They begin to practice self-care for the first time.  They are more compassionate & caring, because they have seen & been through some pretty rough things.  They finally are freer as well.  Free to be themselves, & free to do as they like without caring about the criticisms & judgments of others.

It’s a wonderful thing!!

If you aren’t 40 yet or if you passed 40 without experiencing this, don’t think you need to be 40 to experience this.  It’s never too early or too late to improve yourself!  Ask God to help  you change however you need or want to.  He will do so gladly.  He wants you to be happy & if changing will help you accomplish that, He will be glad to help you.

Also think about some things & ask yourself questions.  You don’t really need to worry about what other people think of you, so why does it matter to you what others think?  Are you putting others before yourself constantly?  Why?  If you were raised by a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you believe (as I still battle with sometimes) that everyone else is more important & you don’t deserve to do good things for yourself.  That is a lie!  You DO deserve to do good things for yourself & take care of yourself.  In fact, if you want to help others so much, you need to take care of yourself.  If you don’t, you won’t have the physical or mental strength to help other people.

Do some soul searching.  Ask yourself the tough questions like the ones in the previous paragraph & honestly answer them.  You may surprise yourself.  You also will become aware of some  changes you need to make to help yourself live a happier life.

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On “Allowing” Narcissists To Abuse You

Have you ever heard that you allowed someone to abuse you, that you gave that person your power or some similar statement that blames you for being abused?

I don’t understand why people feel the need to say such invalidating, cruel things!

While yes, you can stop some abusive actions, you can’t stop them all, especially when it comes to narcissistic abuse.  It is an exceptionally complex type of abuse.

Narcissists tear down their victims, & often make them believe they are getting what they deserve or the narcissist is doing what she does for the victim’s benefit.  Growing up with my narcissistic mother, she had me convinced that she was a good mother, always doing what was best for me.  When her abuse hit its peak when I was 17, she said she was “exercising tough love on me in order to save me from myself.”  I fought back verbally, protected myself from her physical attacks, told her she was hurting me, & more but nothing improved.  In fact, things got worse.   It was much the same with my ex husband.  The worse our marriage got, the more I tried to please him or stop him from being so hurtful, & the worse things got.  He became meaner & more degrading.

How can anyone think I allowed this, that I gave these people power over me?

Dear Reader, I’m sure your situation is much like mine.  You have been a victim of narcissistic abuse, & certainly not by choice.  Maybe you grew up with a narcissistic parent (or 2) or have been married to a narcissistic spouse & unable to afford to move out.  You probably even tried to please your abuser but nothing helped.

These situations are terrible, but not because you did something wrong.  They are terrible because the actions of narcissistic people are terrible, period.  Never let someone make you feel as if you are to blame for being the victim of a narcissist.  You did nothing to deserve it, it is not your fault for making the narcissist abuse you & no one can stop them  from abusing.  (Setting boundaries & enforcing them definitely helps a great deal, but it won’t stop them entirely.)  Narcissists abuse because it makes them feel better about themselves, providing that narcissistic supply, not because it has something to do with the victim or what the victim does.

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Retroactive Justification & Other Dysfunctional Coping Skills Of Narcissists.

My mother recently ended her silent treatment.  She barely spoke to me for several months, & as usual, I don’t know why.

It was an interesting conversation to say the least.  Among things she said, she asked me if my ex husband ever hit me & I said he did, once.  She never asked how badly I was hurt, just said if she would’ve known she would’ve called a lawyer.  (*sigh*  She did know- she saw me all bruised immediately after it happened & made sure I knew she didn’t care in the least.)  Then she said, “His family was really religious though, weren’t they?”  I said no, his mother was.  “So it was his father that was abusive!”  Not really- more neglectful than anything & wasn’t there much since he was an over the road  trucker.  She went on to say no one should be abused, it’s not fair to abuse people, abusers are bad people & other drivel.

Later that night, I’d been thinking of this part of the conversation & wondering why she was trying to justify my ex’s actions.  I couldn’t come up with an answer for that one.  But, I do believe that she was saying he was a bad person to justify why she abused me so badly when I wanted to date him when we were teens.  In her mind, if he was a bad person, she was right in doing the horrible things she did to me in an attempt to keep me away from him.  She used to tell me back then that she was saving me from myself, & probably this could reassure her that it was true.  I thought of this as a sort of retroactive justification for her crazy, abusive behavior

As my narcissistic parents have gotten older, I believe they are trying to cope with their abusive actions.  Normal people would see the error of their ways, & apologize. They may even do something to try to make it up to their victim.  Narcissists however, do nothing of the sort.  They find alternate coping skills, because they refuse to accept the fact that they made mistakes or did cruel, hurtful things.  While you hear plenty about their most common coping skills like projection, there are others you rarely, if ever, hear anything about.

Some of those lesser known dysfunctional coping skills are:

  • Retroactive justification- like my mother just did regarding my ex husband’s abuse.  Finding a reason why they were right to be abusive after the damage is done.
  • Reinventing the past into something nice- things didn’t happen the way you remember, according to the narcissist.  They happened in a much happier, more pleasant way.  My mother loves to talk about what a great mother she has been to me.
  • Denial-  “That never happened!”
  • Selective memories- Only remembering the pleasant things, never the bad.  “I don’t remember that at all…”
  • Creating excuses- “you made me do that!”  “If you wouldn’t have done ____, then I wouldn’t have had to _____”  “You were a very difficult child.”
  • Making themselves the victim-  “I tried to stop your mother from hurting you, but she wouldn’t stop.”  “He’s so much stronger than me.. there was nothing I could do to stop him.”  “It was so hard on me, what she did to you”
  • Feigning incompetence-  “I just didn’t know what to do.”
  • Feigning ignorance when they knew what was happening- “I had no idea she was doing those things to you!”
  • Constant chatter- Both of my parents are  very talkative, but especially with me.  They actually listen to others, but with me, it is pretty much non stop chatter & ignoring anything I say, especially my mother.  I believe having an audience not only provides them with the coveted narcissistic supply, but also means I won’t have a chance to ask questions about why they did the things they did.
  • Looking for comfort from you, the victim- my father is especially good at this one.  When he finds out I’m experiencing a crisis, he wants me to reassure him that I’m ok & all will be fine.  If anything comes up in conversation about abusive things my mother has done to me, it’s the same thing- he wants reassurance that I got through it ok.  Twice I tried to tell him about me having C-PTSD, & twice he changed the subject.
  • Money- my parents never were overly generous with money with me, but in the last few years, they have been very generous.  I’ve never asked my parents for help, but they have volunteered it several times during tight times for me.  I believe it’s to appease their guilt.

So how do you handle these incredibly frustrating coping skills? (And yes, you are going to have to figure this out, because narcissistic parents WILL force you to deal with them at some point.)

In my experience, I decided to let them have their coping skills rather than try to get them to face the truth.  Nothing you can say or do will give them a “light bulb” moment.  They’ll never say “You’re right!  I never should’ve done that to you!  It was wrong & I’m sorry.”  So why try?  It’ll only frustrate & hurt you.  Instead, I’ve found it’s best for me to allow them to have their dysfunction.  Besides, I know in my parents’ case, they aren’t very strong emotionally- I don’t know if they could handle facing the ugly truth about the awful things they’ve done.

While allowing them to use these coping skills, at the same time, I refuse to validate them.  My parents have often wanted me to confirm their false beliefs, & I refuse to do so.  I also refuse to acknowledge that they were incompetent, innocent, ignorant, had to do what they did, or the real victims.  I may allow them to have those false beliefs, but I refuse to validate them & participate in the dysfunction.

When my parents want comfort from me about my problems, I flatly refuse to give it.  I ignore them, or change the subject.  If it gets too bad, I’ll say, “I’m the one with the problem.  I can’t comfort you when I’m the one who’s got the problem & am trying to figure out what to do about it.”  (notice I neglect to admit I’m hurting or any feelings- this is because if I said I felt badly, it’d feed their narcissism.  They’d end up hurting me even more.  Never ever admit your feelings to a narcissist!)

As far as the incessant chatter, I’m not very talkative anyway, so it works for me not to have to create conversation.  Besides, sometimes they do have very interesting things to say.  Like most narcissists, my parents are very intelligent.  Their conversations at time can be quite interesting.  My father knows a great deal about WWII & the War Between The States.  He also was a drag racer in the 50’s-60’s.  My mother knows quite a bit about varied topics, & enjoys crafts.  I enjoy crafts too, so we can have some good chats about crafts we like.  It can be a good thing when you can just sit back & let them do the talking, because you don’t have to try to come up with topics that won’t start an argument.

Even knowing how to handle these dysfunctional behaviors, I still come away hurt or angry sometimes.  My mother discussing the time my ex hit me made me physically ill for that entire day & the next, plus triggered a flashback.  But, the good thing is this sort of thing is a rarity.  Understanding their coping skills & finding ways to cope with them means this sort of thing isn’t the norm anymore.  I no longer leave every conversation with my parents feeling devastated.  In fact, understanding these things mean I usually only feel a bit frustrated or sad that things aren’t better.  That is a thousand times better than feeling devastated or physically ill each time!

This really is about the best you can hope for when dealing with narcissistic parents.  Probably this is partly why so many people think no contact is the only answer.  While it is in many cases, sometimes no contact is impossible or not the desired result.  My prayer is information like this will help those of you still in relationship with your narcissistic parents.

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My New Book Is Available!!

I finished my latest book, “Life After Narcissistic Abuse: There Is Healing and Hope”!!!  YAY  ME!!

This book is all about describing the variety of symptoms survivors of narcissistic abuse experience, & offering some suggestions on how to cope with & heal from them.  I have learned a lot in the last couple of years about this topic, especially in the last few months, & put it all in this book.  God has showed me so much, & I’m praying what I have learned will help others as well.

If you’d like to check it out, you can see it & all of my books at  www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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You’re So Much More Than Someone Who Survived Narcissistic Abuse!

Sometimes I feel like all I am is a narcissistic abuse survivor.  Writing about this topic is not for the faint of heart, & certainly not what I expected to be doing as an author.  But, I feel this is what God wants, so I’m obeying gladly.

Even so, there are still some times that I feel like that’s all I am.

When I got carbon monoxide poisoning last February, I came pretty close to death.  It caused me to do a great deal of soul searching. Among other things, I thought about this & realized I pretty much had become just someone who survived narcissistic abuse.  Frankly, it was depressing.  Surviving a narcissist with your sanity in tact is certainly something to be proud of, but even so.. what about other things?  I’d lost some things I once enjoyed- for some reason, knitting & crocheting became uninteresting to me instead of hobbies I once loved.  Thanks to the C-PTSD, reading has become hard for me as my brain feels overwhelmed if I look at the pages in a book too long.  I felt empty.

I often write about the value of taking breaks from your healing & learning about narcissism.  You simply can’t focus on such deep, heavy topics constantly & maintain any joy.  I think it is equally valuable to take time to get to know yourself though.  Truly get to know the person God has made you to be.

I have focused on this quite a bit since February.  It’s turning into a very good thing.  Getting to know me has helped me to be more comfortable in my own skin.  I’ve begun to take better care of myself with less guilt.  It has helped tremendously in reducing my anxiety levels as well.  I realized this recently at the doctor’s office.  A nurse suggested Weight Watchers for me.  Weight has been an issue for me my whole life.  My mother has always criticized my weight, even when I was thin.  So much so, I had eating disorders starting at age 10.  Now, I’m about 20 lbs overweight, & some people in the medical field act like I’m more like 700 lbs. overweight.  This nurse was one of them.  That situation used to trigger a lot of anxiety & shame in me but this time I felt fine.  I told her no & ended that conversation.

The best part of getting to know myself is my relationship with God has become much more comfortable & open.  There always was some shame in me asking for things I needed.  So much so, I’ve always prayed more for others than myself.  That is balancing out more all the time.

I have learned that I am not only someone who has been through narcissistic abuse, but also am a child of God, a wife, a mother to some super amazing furkids & a person who is gaining some diverse interests.  I have been forcing myself to step outside my comfort zone & explore things, which has led to learning some new interests.

Dear Reader, please do as I have done, & start to get to know yourself too.  You are a wonderful person, & you should appreciate that about yourself.  You are so much more than you were told you were.  Find out who you really are.  Get to know the new you & embrace that person!

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Confronting Narcissists

Have you ever tried to confront  your narcissistic parent on their abuse?  If so, you know the frustration.  Nothing changes & you walk away feeling completely confused.  You even may have ended up apologizing too, when the fact is you didn’t do anything that warranted an apology!

Confronting narcissists is never an easy thing.  They employ so many tactics to avoid the attention being on their bad behaviors.  It often gets so frustrating, you prefer just to let the offense go rather than deal with the games & gaslighting.

Some narcissists will accuse their chilld/adult child of various things to deflect the attention off of them.  They may say their child is ungrateful, a smart mouth, mean, cold, spoiled, a brat, or other awful things.  They also may claim to be doing things for the child’s benefit.  My mother used to claim since I was such an awful child, she had to use tough love on me.

My mother in-law likes to pretend to be the victim when she is confronted.  My father too.  This is a very common tool of the covert narcissist, since they so love the “poor me” or martyr role.  When my father was due to come by my home a few weeks ago, alone, my mother came with him.  He made it to the door first.  Without even saying “hi,” he immediately went into explaining how he had no control over her coming along- it wasn’t his fault.  Really?  She was driving- he voluntarily got into her car!

Overt narcissists may not play the victim so quietly, but they will play the victim.  They will accuse you of being SOOO mean to them!  “After all I do for you, this is the thanks I get?”  “You don’t appreciate all I do for you!”

Some more overt narcissists will meet your confrontation with rage.  When I was a kid, my mother would meet my confrontations with screams &/or accusations &/or trying to hurt me.  When I was probably about 12, she & I were coming home from  her mother’s home.  She was mad at her mother & yelling as she was talking about other things in the car so loud, there was a slight echo.  It made my ears ring.  I asked her if she could talk a little quieter, & she screamed even louder & mocked me for complaining about my ringing ears until I was in tears.

Many narcissists refuse to apologize at all, but the ones who do often employ the passive/aggressive type of apology.  “I’m sorry you got upset.”  “I’m sorry if your feelings got hurt.”  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  While the words “I’m sorry” are said, the fact they believe you’re at fault is clearly implied.  If you mention that, you will be on the receiving end of either tears or rage, because they did say they were sorry after all!  Nothing they do is good enough for you!

Still other narcissists will talk non stop, making excuses for their outlandish behavior or talking in circles until you are completely confused.  They also may use gaslighting at this point- “That isn’t how that happened!”  “That never happened!”  “I never said that!”

Until you are very accustomed to these tactics, chances are you’ll be confused, angry & unsure exactly why or even apologetic to  the narcissist for their bad behavior.  Being aware of such tactics will help you when you have to confront your narcissist.  You will be aware of what they are doing, & can deal with it accordingly.

The best way I know to deal with these things is to avoid them as much as possible.  Not always a good solution because narcissists are already allowed to get away with too much.  Most people instinctively placate them rather than deal with these kinds of situations.

Unfortunately though, there will be times when avoiding a confrontation isn’t wise.  Before confronting her, pray.  Pray a lot, asking God for wisdom & the right words to say.  During those times, remember these tactics.  When the narcissist begins to talk in circles, bring the focus back to the original topic.  Same for if she plays the victim or gets angry.  You can say things like “I understand, but the fact is, I won’t put up with that behavior.  If you do it again….”  Keep firm boundaries in place, primarily staying on topic.  Stay calm- any sign of you being upset will only serve to fuel the narcissist.  She’ll see she can upset you & push to do it more.

Most importantly though, besides prayer of course, is to work on your own emotional healing.  The healthier you are, the stronger you are & the more self-confident you are.  When you are self-confident, narcissists know they don’t have much of a chance at winning with you & either give up easily or fight so hard, they look ridiculous, realize it & then give up.

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“You’re Too Sensitive!”

Are you often told you’re too sensitive?  Criticized for crying easily or wearing your heart on your sleeve?

Many of us who grew up with narcissistic parents have heard those things & much more, especially from our narcissistic parents.  It doesn’t help that most people these days think you shouldn’t show emotion.  They often get extremely uncomfortable when someone shows emotion, & try to shame them into being silent.  Have you ever survived losing a loved one or survived a traumatic event, then shortly after been told you need to “get over it already”?  That is a prime example of what I mean by trying to shame someone into being silent about their emotions.

I don’t believe this is at  all healthy!  God has given us emotions so we can comfort another person who is suffering, know when to end a relationship or start a new one, when we need to make changes, when we are being mistreated or to appreciate when we are being treated well & much more.  Why shouldn’t we feel these things??

Also, I believe being sensitive isn’t a bad thing.  I believe it shows that you have a good, caring heart when things touch you so easily.  Many people who were raised by narcissists turn out calloused & uncaring, but there are also a great deal of us who turned out sensitive & loving.  We know what pain is like, & we don’t like seeing others in pain!  We want to help them if possible, even if it’s only to make them laugh a little or know there is someone who cares.

So few people are comfortable showing their sensitivity for fear of criticism, but I would like to encourage you today to show that part of you to the world!  The more of us who do, the more willing others will be to show their sensitivity too.  It gives others courage to see people who share a quality being so open & unashamed about it.  And, let’s face it- the world is not a nice place!  It could use a lot more niceness, compassion & sensitivity.  If you let a hurting person know you understand, that they aren’t alone, you’re there if they need you, or even cry with the person, that truly can comfort that person more than most anything else can.  You may inspire a turning point in this person’s life- they may begin to heal because of you or use surviving their painful experiences to inspire others.  They even may be inspired to stop contemplating suicide!  You never know- you may save someone’s life or inspire them in a way no one else can!

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Self-Esteem & Narcissism

Today, hubby & I are having lunch with my parents.  Since my mother’s narcissism had returned with a vengeance the last time we spoke on Thursday, I’m guessing today won’t be pleasant.

While thinking about this last night, I realized I wasn’t overly anxious about that as I used to be.  Then it hit me- I have self esteem!  I’ve learned who God says I am in the Bible, & chosen to believe that over all of the horrible lies my mother told me.  God says I am special to Him, He loves me, He had a plan for me long before I was born, & so much more.  If you’d like to read about this topic, go to the “Positive Affirmations” link at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

I’ve also started listening to the complements people say to me.  I used to tell people they were wrong, brushing them off, assuming they were only being nice.  No more.  I still feel a bit awkward when I get a complement, but much better than it once was.

Also, when either getting a complement or reading what God says about His children, I started asking God if that was really true.  His validation helped me greatly to accept that these good things were true. 

My mother told me that her criticism of me while growing up was for my own good, but it did so much harm!  Like so many other children of narcissistic parents, I had no self esteem.  It’s only been recently that I started doing the things I mentioned above, & gained some self esteem.

In gaining this new self esteem, I’ve also been able to accept fully that my mother’s narcissism that makes her act this way truly is on her.  It has nothing to do with me.  No one can make another person behave in that way!  No matter how cruel her words, they always say more about her than me.  Anyone who tries so hard to hurt another person truly has problems!  And, I have the right to protect myself from them on any way I see fit!

I hope what I learned can help you too!  If you are unable or unwilling to go no contact with your narcissistic mother, what I learned may help you too.  I encourage you to build up your self esteem, with God’s help.  Learn what He thinks of you.  Listen to complements you get as well, letting them sink in.  And always remember- your mother’s cruel words & deeds say nothing about you, but plenty about her!  Don’t believe her!  xoxo

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How To Have Inner Peace

I was thinking this morning about how blessed I am.  My youngest kitty, Punkin, brought this on.  He came to me & dropped his favorite toy at my feet. I thought how sweet he was, giving me his precious possession.  Then I quickly realized he wanted me to watch it while he played with another kitty, Chester.  His silliness made me smile, as always.

Punkin came into my life one week after losing my Georgie, as a gift for my cousin who was looking for a cat.  I was going to take him to her the day of her mother’s memorial service.  It seemed perfect- she would have some comfort & a young, fun kitty to help her get through.  But then I woke up sick on that day, & couldn’t go to my aunt’s service.  I was going to take Punkin to my cousin a few days later, but he quickly adopted us, & thankfully my cousin understood this,as she understands cats as well as I do. (Side note- happily, shortly after, adopted 2 beautiful shelter cats).

This worked out well, because Punkin has PTSD (yes, cats can have it too!  I’ve seen him have a flashback) & is blind in one eye.  He needs someone home with him often, as he has bad separation anxiety (although it’s improving greatly).  My cousin works full time, so this wouldn’t have been good for Punkin.  It was, however, very good for me.  I ended up with this sweet, gentle, goofy kitten who I understand well & he understands me well. We understand being hypervigilent & how sudden loud noises make us jump out of our skin.  When things happen, we just look at each other knowingly.  Sharing PTSD has given us a very strong bond.

After the last couple of weeks with my father having all these health problems& spending so much time with my narcissistic mother, it felt good to have something very positive to focus on.  There’s been such an influx of negative things lately, it was making me very depressed.

What you focus on has a lot to do with your attitude & whether you feel joy or not.  Unlike many people though, I don’t necessarily believe that only thinking positively is the healthiest thing to do.  I believe it makes more sense to be realistic. Certainly hope for the best, believe God will bless you, but know that sometimes bad things happen.  Bad things are a part of life as much as good things are, if not more.  But the good news is as a Christian, you will be OK! In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”  (AMP)

An overly optimistic attitude just isn’t healthy.  In fact, I read recently (unfortunately I can’t recall where) that optimists commit suicide most often.  Not pessimists as you might expect- optimists.

I believe balance is the real key to having peace & a good attitude.  Knowing & accepting that bad things will happen, but when they do, know Jesus has given you the ability to deal with them.  That gives you peace even during the bad times.  And also knowing that good things can & will happen gives you hope.

Also, when surrounded by bad things, try to find good things to focus on when you can.  I let myself get too focused on the bad things these last couple of weeks. I should have spent more time focusing on the blessings in my life, like my little Punkin.  I believe that being grateful for the blessings in your life is a key to happiness.

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You Are Stronger Than You Think!

Have you ever thought about what you have been through in your life?  I mean, really thought about the things that you have made it through?

 

If not, I challenge you today to do this.  I did this recently.  A bad night full of awful nightmares, making me feel the same hurt, anger, anxiety & fear I have felt many times in my life triggered this.  I realized that I have been through some really horrible things & I survived them all remarkably well!

 

I have survived having a narcissistic mother who physically hurt me, who tried to destroy the person I am & make me into whatever she wants me to be, who has betrayed me repeatedly, who used me more times than I can count, still tries to gaslight me to this day, & who hates everything about me.  I also survived an ex husband who was much like my mother in how he treated me, constantly gaslighting me, trying to isolate me from my family & friends & morph me into somene he thought I should be instead of accepting who I was.  I’ve survived a narcissistic mother in-law & two sisters in-law who hate me & have not exactly made a secret out of that.  (Well, with me anyway- they all have put on a good show in front of others, especially my husband.)  They also have done their best to cause problems between us, so it’s amazing we are still married.  All of these awful things are in addition to the more common problems everyone has in life such as losing loved ones, financial problems & such.  When I thought about it, I realized that I am one tough chick!  I also realize that without God, I wouldn’t have survived the things I’ve been through as well as I have.  In fact, to be totally honest about it, I probably would’ve killed myself years ago.  I certainly thought about that enough.  Yes, I have problems such as the C-PTSD, but I’m still alive & doing pretty well under the circumstances.

 

Thinking about all of this has given me a peace & strength I hadn’t felt before.  It showed me how strong I am, with God’s help, & how well I can handle crises.  It feels good!

 

What about you?  What have you experienced in your life that should have destroyed you?  I want to encourage you today to celebrate those victories!  Be proud of the things that you have overcome!  OK, so you aren’t perfect- no one is!  But, you got through & are thriving!  You keep pressing on, & try to be a good person.  That is much more than so many others do.  Many abused people go on to abuse others.  They don’t have the “umph” inside to break the cycle, to face their pain.   But you do & that is something you should be very proud of!

 

 

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You Are Not Alone!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

Every morning, I receive an email with a Scripture in it from a Christian website.  It’s a nice way to start my day.  Today’s Scripture was 1 Peter 5:8-9:

Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.Resist him, standing firm in the faith. Do so in the knowledge that your fellow believers are enduring the same suffering throughout the world.” (CEB)

The last sentence is exactly why i write about some of the topics I write about- to let people know thy aren’t alone.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, although I knew nothing of narcissism until a few years ago, I knew something was different.  My experiences were vastly different than my friends’.  I didn’t know anyone else who acted like her or treated their children like my mother treated me.  Once I started talking to a school counselor then a couple of therapists when my mother’s abuse peaked when I was 17, I was invalidated.  The school counselor said “That doesn’t sound so bad to me” when I told her my mother would scream at me, lecturing me about what a terrible person I was.  One therapist, after meeting my mother said she could no longer see me because I was such a “terrible daughter.”  My friends couldn’t understand my suffering, obviously, as narcissistic abuse is nearly impossible to understand even when you have experienced it firsthand.

Then in 2012, I developed all of the symptoms of C-PTSD.  Suddenly, I became a different person.  I was no longer able to hide depression & anxiety as I had previously.  I started with flashbacks & more frequent nightmares.  My sleep became worse than ever- trouble falling asleep & staying asleep.  In discussing some of my symptoms, i learned a lot of people simply don’t care about them.  People close to me, not strangers.  One person even said I used C-PTSD as a “poor me” card.  I told my father that I have this awful disorder twice, & twice he changed the subject.

All of these things have meant I have felt completely alone my entire life.  it’s a terrible feeling.

Once I started writing about my experiences though, I learned that I’m not alone.  There are many, many other victims of a narcissistic mother out there!  The funny part is we all grew up thinking it was just us, that no one understood or experienced the same things.

Many of these people also have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, & many of them feel alone as well due to people close to them not caring.

it is truly tragic how many people feel as if they are completely alone!  While I know I can’t change the world, I want to use my writing as a way to reach people, to let them know they aren’t alone. I pray this blog, my website & books do just that, because the truth is, you are not alone!  So many other people understand your pain & have been through similar experiences!

I also have 2 forums available.  Both are safe places where you can talk about anything you like, gain support, be prayed for or pray for others, learn valuable information & make new friends.

Below is a link to the first forum.  It requires registration to read or post.  If you’re worried about privacy, create a fake user name rather than using your real name. I only recently started this one, so it is a bit slow as it is just starting.  Feel free to start talking though- I will respond, & I believe if a few people start talking, others will join & there will be a snowball effect.

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/

This link is a link to my fan group on facebook.  I gave up my fan page for two reasons: one person used it as a means to harass me & privacy for my fans.  This group is a closed group, which means that only other members can see what you posted in the group.  No one else.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/

I want to stress, both groups are private & safe. I hope to see you there soon!

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Continued Adventures In Caregiving

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

Sunday was only my second day helping my parents, but it was a really rough one both mentally & physically. So rough in fact, I realized that I can’t keep doing this. I can offer some help, sure, but on a very limited basis. Mentally I’m not very strong anymore. Then physically, I have bad knees so a lot of things are just too painful for me to do. I’ve been doing my parents’ laundry, as my father is now unstable on his feet after his stroke, & my mother claims her back pain is too bad to go up & down those steps. She has been wanting to have the washer & dryer moved upstairs from the basement, but has been dragging her feet on the issue. The next time I see my parents on this coming Sunday, I am going to tell her it needs to be done soon, & if not, then I will arrange to have help come into their home that they can pay for.

In order to discuss this topic with my narcissistic mother, I was given some very valuable advice. Something I hadn’t thought of. Make it all about her. If I told my mother I wasn’t able to do certain things because of my knee pain, she wouldn’t care. But, if I tell her that my knees make me unable to do things, which could cause her problems, she’ll be more interested. And, this winter is supposed to be a bad one with a lot of snow here in MD. I live on a major highway, which means I get plowed in. The highway may be clear, but there is a wall of solidly packed snow created by snowplows at the end of my driveway that means I can’t get out quickly or easily. This would affect her! I’ll just leave out the part that it’s frustrating when I get plowed in. This seems like a very good way to handle discussing things of this nature with any narcissist, I think. Every child of a narcissistic parent knows their parent doesn’t care about them unless what happens affects them somehow.

I have begun researching getting some help to be prepared. I looked into their insurance to see if they have long term care coverage, which they don’t. Long term care coverage is a wonderful thing- it pays for health care workers or nurse to come into their home & help them out in various ways.

Since that didn’t work out, I then found this link which directed me to my local caregiver support network in my county.

http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/OAA/How_To_Find/Agencies/Find_Agencies.aspx?sc=–&cc=–

This has been a very helpful place for me to start. They told me an evaluation would need to be done (free) by a social worker before help can be hired, & provided me that phone number. They also gave me references to local home health care workers (they’re the people who do chores, laundry, & such), a directory of various services available in this state for seniors, info on a caregiver support group & much more. I learned that certain injuries or illnesses may be entitled to specific benefits. For example, my father has a traumatic brain injury, & there are special services available for him.

Here is another link with some good information as well:

http://www.ncoa.org/get-involved/i-am-older-adult-caregiver.html

My father also gave me a paper with some information on it that he got from his last hospital stay, too. Apparently many medical records can be available online & this paper had all the information I needed to access it. This is very handy as I can read exactly what the doctors have said & how they are treating him.

As for myself, I’m realizing that I need to take a day off each week to recover physically & mentally. Tuesdays work well for this for me, so I now plan to goof off each Tuesday. It gives me something to look forward to.

I hope this information helps any other caregivers who may be reading this. ❤

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My Newest Book Soon To Be On amazon, etc!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I just wanted to let you know I received my proof copy of my book today.  It looks great but I’ll inspect it closer tonight.  Barring any unforseen issues, I’ll approve it tomorrow, & it’ll be available not only on my website as it is now, but also on amazon, B&N, & other online book sellers within about a month. 

Also, thank you everyone for the prayers.  My father is now home from the hospital.

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My New Book Is Almost Ready For Publishing!

Good news!

My current book, “It’s All About ME! The Facts About Maternal Narcissism” is almost ready for publishing in print & ebook forms! I am hopeful to have this done in the very near future. I’d like to say within a few days, but since I never know how I’m going to feel (thank you, C-PTSD), I’ll say within a couple of weeks instead just to be safe. I will post when it is published, & share links of where the books can be purchased.

Thank you everyone for your support & encouragement while writing this difficult book!

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What Is More Important To You- God’s Word Or Tradition?

Last night, I was watching Jesse Duplantis preach on the TBN channel. I love his preaching- not only is he fun, his preaching isn’t “fluffy” like some other preachers. He touches on deeper issues than how to be blessed, how to be healed, how to prosper financially, etc. such as holy living.

So anyway, last night’s topic was very interesting. It came from his sermon series “Gospel Casino” (available at http://www.JDM.org if you’re interested). He mentioned how when he was first saved, & first going to church, there were so many traditions & ways the church he went to did things. Their traditions were extremely important to them. Rev. Duplantis said something in his heart felt wrong so he started looking up what the Bible had to say about certain things. The first thing he found was Mark 7:13 ” Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” He realized his church’s traditions were more important to them than God’s word! Upon reading this, he started researching what God says about all kinds of things in the Bible. As a result, he has become an absolutely wonderful, inspiring preacher!

I got to thinking a bit after listening to this sermon.. how many people do this very thing- put their own traditions, habits, whatever ahead of God’s word? This is a very common behavior especially for us daughters of narcissistic mothers. We grew up knowing our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, even instincts were all flawed-Mom knows what’s right, not us. So, we often continue dysfunctional behaviors into adulthood because it is what we were told to do- it became habit.

In my last entry, I mentioned how when I got together with my husband, I quickly lost “Cynthia” & became “Eric’s wife.” This is a good example of what I’m talking about- I grew up thinking I was such a terrible person, no wonder I became what I thought my husband wanted instead of hanging onto my real self! I carried my old, dysfunctional beliefs into adulthood just because it was what was normal to me. Thank God He’s been pestering me for years about getting myself back! Only recently have I had the inner strength to begin doing just that, & I am grateful He is helping me do it!

I want you to think about your life. What do you do because Mom always did it? What do you do a certain way because that’s how it was always done in your family? Do you go to a specific church because Grandma went there, then Mom & it’s expected for you to go too? Did you get into a certain line of work because that was expected of you?

Whatever you are doing, I encourage you to pray about it. Ask God what He would have you do, then make changes as necessary. Once you begin doing that, you will feel such indescribable joy! There is an amazing satisfaction & peace knowing you are doing God’s will for your life.

I know I’m hardly the most famous author in the world. Even so, I love what I do! I get an incredible satisfaction from writing in this blog & writing my books. And, when people tell me they were inspired from something I’ve written or learned something from it, I am thrilled! 🙂

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What’s Happening-June 22,2014

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you well.
 
I am making progress on my new book about narcissistic mothers.  As of today, it’s at 38,500 words (needs to be 40-60,000).  Gettin’ there!  And thank God for that, because this is one very hard book to write!  I’m very surprised at just how challenging it is.  After writing my autobiography, “Emerging From The Chrysalis,” I was sure everything else I’d ever write would be a walk in the park.  Seeing the traumatic events of my life written out in black & white was very hard for me, yet validating at the same time.  This book is not the same..not even close!
 
Devoting an entire book to the topic of maternal narcissism has been a daunting task.  I know a lot on the topic, but I was unsure if I had enough to fill up a whole book.  I have asked God to help me out- make sure I leave nothing out of this book, & please teach me what I didn’t know that He wanted to be included.  He has answered those prayers.  I have been learning a lot!  Things to include about the book as well as things in my personal life that I never thought of as abusive before. 
 
For example, today I was writing about isolation being the favorite tool of all abusers, why they do it, & how engulfing narcissitic mothers (like mine) excel at isolating their children from others.  After writing some on the topic, I decided to research it online, to see if there was anything I forgot.  What I read slapped me in the face.  Hard.  Here is a portion of it:

“The abuser may “assign” the victim numerous domestic duties designed to keep her at home. “

(see the full article here:  http://www.abigails.org/Saul&David/control%20&%20isolation.htm
Wow.  I never thought of this as abusive behavior!  My ex-husband’s mother used to do this to me during the brief time we lived with his parents.  I never understood why I had to work so much for her.  I was responsible for all housework, balancing her checkbook, & maintaining paperwork & records for my ex’s father’s trucking business.  Other miscellaneous tasks were assigned to me as well.  There were three other adults in the house- why was so much on me?  I now wonder if was because my ex was very much into isolating me, & if she was “helping” him by keeping me so busy.  They were a very dysfunctional family, so that is a distinct possibility.  Also the only answer I can come up with at the moment. 
 
Thinking back, she also didn’t like me spending time with friends or having them over to our house.  Another isolating behavior.  
 
Whatever the reasoning behind this behavior, this new realization hurts.  I loved his mother a great deal- she & I were good friends, & often had a lot of fun together, in spite of the frequent problems in our relationship during the time of living together. 
 
*sigh*
 
Something else to process.  Yay for me.. not. 
 
Sometimes it seems like healing is the most frustrating, never-ending thing in the world, & sometimes I get so tired of new revelations that show me just how abused I have been in my life.  Honestly, it gets depressing!  I don’t like feeling sorry for myself, but it is hard to avoid 100% of the time.  I know it can be healthy to indulge in a bit of self-pity sometimes, but even so, it doesn’t feel nice.  Learning these things also makes me wonder what is it about me that makes people think it’s ok to abuse me?!  Do I behave in a certain way that says “Go ahead- hurt me.  Treat me like dirt.  It’s fine!”  UGH!
 
In spite of my lousy mood, though, I’m still glad that God is helping me to heal, learn & grow.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, it can be frustrating.  However, it also is helping me understand behaviors & people a lot better.  It’s answering some questions, like why do I get angry or hurt when people behave a certain way.  Like with my ex- mother in-law.  Her list of “duties” for me to do every day used to really make me angry at the unfairness of the amount of duties I had to contend with compared to everyone else in the house.  But, I never knew why until today.  Now, I understand, & feel validated.  Angry, but validated, & at least the anger won’t last long- I am usually pretty quick to forgive.
 
This really lousy mood is telling me that it’s time to relax.  Maybe stop working on the book for a little while, too.  Relax, turn on some good music or watch a good movie or tv show, do some nurturing behavior that makes me feel good like crafting or snuggling the furkids.  & no cooking- hubby is either taking me out tonight or we will have something delivered.

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Last Minute Mother’s Day Thoughts For Abused Daughters

Good morning, Dear Readers.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I know many of you are suffering, because your mother was (probably still is) abusive.  It doesn’t help that everywhere you turn, commercials, ads & even well meaning but oblivious people are telling you to celebrate your mother tomorrow.  After all, she’s the only mother you’ll ever have, & she won’t be around forever!!

..sighs..

My heart goes out to each of you, & I’m praying for everyone reading this to have peace tomorrow.  I’m sorry for not only the abuse you have endured & continue to endure, but for the guilt trips you undoubtedly hear each Mother’s Day.  Ignore the guilt!  While your mother deserves basic respect because she is your mother, that doesn’t mean you need to praise her endlessly for being a fantastic mother if she wasn’t. 

“But it’ll hurt her feelings if I don’t make a big fuss!”   You may be thinking.  True, but did you ever think that if she wanted you to treat her well, she should have treated you well?  We reap what we sow, according to Galatians 6:7-9.  Your mother is no exception.  If you can’t make yourself buy her an overly sweet, sentimental card & a fancy gift, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or a bad daughter- it means she is reaping what she has sown.  How can sowing seeds of name calling, ridicule, mind games or physical or sexual abuse create a harvest of love, deep respect & the desire to praise?  That’s like planting green beans & expecting a harvest of apples!

Take care of yourself, Dear Readers, & don’t forget to be good to yourself tomorrow!  Whether or not you have children, chances are you mother someone.  A niece, nephew, a friend or neighbor’s child or even pets like me.  Do something nice for YOU!  Tomorrow & every day.  ❤

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Why You Can’t Just ‘Get Over’ C-PTSD

I am having a really, really bad day today. I am depressed, tired & can’t even focus on the simplest things. Even writing this simple entry is already a challenge for me. I have no desire to do anything, even the things I enjoy the most, like reading or knitting. This happens sometimes- I call it a bad C-PTSD day. Days like this remind me just how serious this disorder is. I have no control over these days- they just happen when they want to or following some especially stressful event, & are as debilitating as they want to be. I absolutely hate not having control over my emotions! I’ve always had extreme control over them, & when I don’t, it scares me. It’s just one more frustrating part of C-PTSD.

C-PTSD & PTSD are much more than just bad thinking patterns- they mean that trauma has physically damaged the brain. Trauma can cause neurological changes in your brain! If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, &…
-your short term memory isn’t what it used to be, that is because the hippocampus actually shrinks. That is the part of your brain that is responsible for short term memory.
-you have trouble finding the right words, that is because the prefrontal lobe, which is responsible for language, is affected by trauma.
-you have problems regulating your emotions, that is because your amgydala has enlarged. The amygdala is responsible for regulating emotions, & when it is in “overdrive” for a long time, it actually enlarges.
-you always feel afraid, that is because your medial prefrontal cortex (responsible for fear & emotional responses) doesn’t regulate well after trauma.

When I read things online saying faith in God will “get you over” PTSD/C-PTSD, or “you can’t live in the past forever,” or “Think positive thoughts!” I want to read the above list of brain damage caused by trauma to the person saying those things. If “getting over it” was only so easy! No amount of positive thoughts can fix the physical damage of C-PTSD. And, because I have it doesn’t mean I’m living in the past, constantly thinking of the traumatic events I’ve experienced. I don’t think of them often, in fact. As for faith in God? I absolutely believe God can heal anyone from C-PTSD, all things are possible with Him. However, I’ve learned something about God- although He doesn’t put it on anyone to suffer, He can use my suffering to help other people. He has used so much of what I’ve learned since developing C-PTSD to help others who suffer with it too. And, since mine developed from an abusive childhood at the hand of a narcissistic mother, I’ve also been able to share what I’ve learned about narcissistic mothers as well, helping many other people. Good has come from this awful disorder!

If you too, live with PTSD or C-PTSD, please remember what I’ve said, or print it out (that’s what I’ve had to do since I can’t remember it). It is an actual physical injury to your brain. You can’t just get over it, so be patient & understanding with yourself, & don’t let anyone make you feel bad for having this disorder! ❤

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My First Post As A Guest Blogger

Here is the link…  🙂

http://wordpress.com/read/post/id/60403795/2710/

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism, Welcome To My Blog!, Writing

Website Changes

I’ve added a bunch of new information to my website about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and maternal narcissism.  Come check it out!

 

www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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