When a relationship ends, the average person is sad for some time. They may fondly remember special times with the other person or great conversations. They miss such things, but in time, they’re ok. They move on & get involved in other relationships. This is a healthy way to cope, because it allows a person to heal.
Nothing like this happens with narcissists.
Narcissists are incapable of truly loving. Because of this, a relationship that has ended doesn’t affect them in the same way as it affects your average person.. They don’t miss the person they love, but instead, they miss their favorite source of narcissistic supply. This is why they act differently than functional people when a relationship ends. Narcissistic supply is like a drug to them. When a relationship ends, they’re losing their “fix”, if you will. That isn’t an easy thing for any addict to handle.
To start with, narcissists don’t usually understand why someone ends a relationship with them. To understand, they would need at least some empathy, which most people know is something that all narcissists lack. They don’t understand why their ex would object to them cheating, why that former friend complained that they took advantage of their good nature, or why their adult child was hurt when they cut their child out of the will for simply telling the parent, “no.” Narcissists are incapable of grasping such concepts. In their minds, they’re entitled to whatever they want. Besides, the behavior didn’t hurt them, so it isn’t important to them. If it had hurt them, they’d change their behavior at the speed of sound. Since it didn’t though, they are left baffled why their partner, friend or child ended the relationship. What the other person wanted or felt wasn’t so much as a blip on their radar. All that matters to a narcissist is what they want, which usually boils down to their precious narcissistic supply. Since the wants of the narcissist & victim are vastly different & the victim’s are not even considered by the narcissist, usually the end of a relationship catches them by surprise. Their victims often warn them for months or even years in advance that they won’t tolerate the abuse forever, yet still, narcissists are shocked when someone ends a relationship with them.
Narcissists also don’t like rejection. No one does, of course, but narcissists are infuriated by it. Rejection is a narcissistic injury. It makes them feel badly about themselves, so the person who rejected them must pay for making them feel that way. Rather than walk away from the failed relationship with some semblance of dignity, most narcissists opt for revenge. Overt narcissists often harass & stalk their victim, & get their flying monkeys in on the process as well. They also will unleash a very impressive smear campaign, lying about the victim being the cause for the failure of the relationship because of being selfish, crazy, controlling & even abusive. This often isolates the victim from friends & even family who believe the lies. Covert narcissists are much less likely to harass & stalk their victim, since they prefer to look like a good person, but some will or have their flying monkeys do their dirty work for them. They also don’t have any trouble creating a smear campaign, but it is much different than their overt counterparts. Rather than say outright their victim is crazy & abusive, they phrase their smear campaign in a way so as not to sound critical, but concerned instead. They may say something along the lines of, “I’m not surprised my ex left me. She got so mean when she took drugs. She just wasn’t herself. I hope she’ll be ok…” See how this smear is? It makes the person saying these things sound concerned & as if he isn’t trying to destroy the reputation of his ex girlfriend. People will believe this type of smear campaign very easily, even if they know the ex in question & know she never took drugs.
There is also the likelihood of the narcissist trying to “hoover” the victim back into the relationship. When this happens, the narcissist may do their best to make the victim believe they have changed. They may make promises that they have no intention of keeping such as they won’t do whatever the victim complained about anymore. Some other empty promises are if the victim would only take the narcissist back, he or she will be faithful, they’ll be less selfish, they’ll think more of their victim’s needs. The narcissist also may shower the victim with expensive gifts or love letters. They may send their flying monkeys to tell the victim how miserable they are without the victim, & how desperately they want to resume the relationship. This is a tough one, I know. When I first broke up with my now ex husband, it seemed like everyone we knew was telling me how sad he was, how miserable he was, how much he missed me & how I really should get back together with him. I felt so incredibly guilty at that time that I agreed not only to return to him but to marry him after only a short time apart.
Sometimes, narcissists fall into depression after a relationship ends, too. They have no coping skills & aren’t fully aware of their emotions, plus they just lost their narcissistic supply. It’s normal they wouldn’t handle any break up well when you consider these facts. This can be so hard for the person who ended the relationship. When people tell you how sad this person is or he says he doesn’t want to live without you, it can be incredibly hard to take. It can make you feel incredibly guilty & responsible, which is truly unfair.
If you experience these things after ending a relationship with a narcissist, I urge you to remember that the narcissist is acting this way not out of a genuine & healthy love for you, but because he or she is a narcissist. They are incredibly dysfunctional people. You stick to no contact, & remind yourself often exactly why you came to that decision. Write things down if it helps, since writing can be an incredibly useful tool. Also remember that person’s emotions aren’t your responsibility. Don’t forget to document everything in case you need to involve the law at some point. Even if you don’t, the documentation will help you a great deal to remember why you’re no contact. It’ll also help you to see the way this person tries to manipulate you. And, if the narcissist creates a smear campaign against you, never, ever react to it. Any reaction would give this person narcissistic supply, so you deprive this person of that supply. In time, he or she will get bored with your lack of reaction & give up the smearing. Lastly, if the narcissist sends the flying monkeys after you, remember that few are truly innocent people who are fooled by the narcissist. Most are also narcissists, I believe. Treat them accordingly. Remember to tell them nothing that you would object to the original narcissist knowing, in particular anything about the original narcissist. Chances are the flying monkey will share everything you say with that person, so give them no material to work with. Most importantly, pray & lean on God to help you get through this. He truly will help you!
I’ve been working on a book for a while now about toxic/narcissistic in-laws. I’m struggling to write it for a few reasons. I’ve been really distracted by things going on in my life since I started this book 2 years ago. I also felt that I needed to put it on the back burner to write other books. The topic is such a hard one for me to write about too, because I honestly have been through hell because of some of my husband’s family, & I’m still healing. And, in spite of taking frequent breaks, I’m pretty burned out on all things narcissism. These issues make this one tough book to write. That being said, I believe the topic is an important one so I will finish it. It just may take some time.
Since my book is delayed, here is a post to help identify whether or not your in-laws are toxic. I will write from the perspective of a daughter in-law with a toxic mother in-law, since that is the bulk of my experience as well as the bulk of the experiences of people I’ve spoken with. The information is good for toxic sisters in-law, fathers in-law, etc. though.
Does your mother in-law ignore you? The purpose of this behavior is to show you that you mean nothing to her.
Does she refuse to accept responsibility for treating you badly? Rather than say something like, “I shouldn’t have said that.. I’m sorry,” does she make excuses for her words or actions or deny them completely? This is a big red flag. Functional people accept responsibility for what they say & do.
Does your mother in-law have a different personality depending on whether or not you are alone with her or others are around? Another big red flag! Any abuser will behave differently to their victim depending on whether or not there are witnesses. They want to hide their abuse from other people.
Does she expect you to be blindly devoted to her family, even to the point of rejecting your own family & friends? Many toxic mothers in-law remind me of the Borg from the tv show “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” They expect their son’s or daughter’s new spouse to become completely enmeshed in their new in-law family.
Like the Borg, toxic mothers in-law expect their new sons or daughters in-law to adapt to their opinions, religion, way of life, etc. Individuality is highly discouraged by toxic mothers in-law. I once told my late mother in-law I hate to cook. I do it, but hate it. For Christmas a few months later, she & her 2 daughters gave me nothing but cookbooks, utensils, food & other cooking paraphernalia.
Toxic in-laws show no respect. Toxic in-laws show no respect for personal space, choices, likes/dislikes, parenting, & even boundaries.
And speaking of a lack of respect, your mother in-law makes it clear to you that she doesn’t like you. Unless you abuse your mother in-law’s adult child or your children, if your mother in-law had any respect whatsoever for her child, she would be civil to you no matter how much she disliked you. The inability to be civil even only for the sake of her adult child proves she is toxic.
Is she manipulative & controlling? Toxic people, in particular narcissists, must be in charge. Chances are, your mother in-law controls her spouse & children. Since you married one of her children, she expects you to be as control-able & easily manipulated as everyone else. When you say no, she is NOT happy.
If your toxic mother in-law is nice to you, it’s short lived & in front of others only. Very few people are cruel 100% of the time. Toxic people bring out their nice side when it can be advantageous to them. Being nice sometimes will make their victim want to see it more, so they work harder to please the toxic person. Also, being nice to a victim in front of others helps the toxic person prove to others that if you complain about the relationship, you are obviously the problem.
Mothers in-law like this care nothing of their adult child beyond what he can do for her. They clearly have no respect for him either, since they treat the person he chose to spend his life with so badly. His marriage is nothing more to this kind of mother than an embarrassment, & she would like it simply to go away. Since she can’t file for divorce on his behalf, she becomes extremely destructive to the adult child’s marriage with her abusive ways.
Your spouse no doubt suffers greatly from his mother’s abusive behavior, yet tolerates it anyway. This is because he is accustomed to how his mother behaves. This is his norm & many adults in this situation have accepted this as their permanent reality. By complaining about his mother’s behavior or even confronting her, this threatens his norm. Facing the truth can be incredibly painful for many in this position, which is why many refuse to face the truth. This feeling is known as cognitive dissonance. Rather than face this miserable feeling, many people in this situation will do their best to shut down their spouse. They don’t want to hear about the bad things their mother is doing, so they will tell their wife they don’t believe her, she is over sensitive, she just doesn’t understand Mom, that’s her problem so she needs to leave him out of it & more. They refuse to confront their mother on behalf of their wife.
Naturally, the wife in this position feels rejected, unloved & hurt. She wants to fight for her marriage, but it seems whatever she does is wrong, & whatever his mother does is right. Her trying to save her marriage only causes more problems. The reason for this is she doesn’t know that when you’re dealing with a narcissist, normal ways to cope don’t work.
For anyone in this position, you need to think of this situation more like a game of strategy than a relationship.
As always pray. Ask God to help you to know what to do & to give you whatever you need to enable you to do it. Pray for your husband to see the truth & for God to enable him to be able to cope with it, too.
Cope with your emotions as best you can by journaling, talking to a safe friend, pray.. whatever works for you. Whatever you do, don’t hold in your emotions!
Don’t focus on your mother in-law’s bad behavior when it can be avoided. Instead, focus on being the loving wife that you are. Don’t neglect to remind your husband how much you love him. If he complains about his mother to you for any reason, don’t join in. Listen quietly to him & give him objective advice if he asks for it. The reason being, the mindset of many people in this situation is they can complain about Mom, but if anyone else does, they jump to her defense. This would only cause more problems in your marriage.
Along those lines, if you discuss his mother’s behavior with him, stay calm. State your issues in a matter of fact way, lacking emotion. If you rant & rave, that too will make him feel he must defend his mother, which only will hurt you & possibly your marriage.
Limit your exposure to your mother in-law as much as possible, but especially alone. No narcissist wants to abuse their victim in front of the person they want to think well of them, so stay glued to your husband’s side as much as possible.
Keep your emotions in check around your mother in-law. Narcissists love to twist a victim’s normal reaction around to prove how mentally unstable or even abusive the victim is to other people. In her presence, stay calm. Vent later when you’re away from her as needed though, so you don’t hold in all the bad emotions.
Having to deal with toxic, narcissistic in-laws is tough. I know, I’ve been there. But, with prayer, love, patience & wisdom, you can survive it with your marriage in tact.
From March 3-9, 2019, my publisher is having a sale! All of my ebooks will be 25% off.
Come check it out at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
Today would have been my ex husband’s & my 28th wedding anniversary. Naturally, realizing that made me think about our relationship. I thought I’d share my random ponderings with you, since many of you who read my blog have been divorced as well.
When I decided to end my first marriage, although I wasn’t yet a Christian, I still felt terrible for breaking my vows. I took them very seriously. I also felt like a total failure for not being able to make that marriage work. No matter what I did, that marriage was still not good & he was never happy with me. I was never good enough for him. I also felt incredibly guilty. Guilty for not being able to fix the marriage, for never being able to please my ex, for doing everything wrong, for wanting the divorce & more. I felt that intense guilt for a long time, for at the very least, a couple of years after we separated.
Looking back now, I realize how wrong I was.
While marriage vows should be taken seriously, they should be taken seriously by both partners, not only one. If one doesn’t take them seriously & mistreats or even abuses you, there is nothing wrong with breaking the vows to protect yourself & your children if you have them. There is nothing good or holy about tolerating abuse from anyone, period!
One person also can’t save a relationship. It takes two to make any relationship work. It’s impossible for a relationship to work when only one person is trying to make that happen, especially if the other person is a narcissist. They will do their best to sabotage your efforts & refuse to give you what you want or need. So, if you couldn’t fix your marriage, welcome to the club!
Although I still don’t like that I hurt my ex, there really was no other choice. He hurt me plenty as well, which is why I wanted a divorce in the first place. I certainly didn’t decide to divorce him because things were going well!
Does any of this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader? If so, I want to encourage you to change your thinking like I did.
Remind yourself that did the best you knew to do at that time. How can you be mad at yourself for not knowing then what you know now? It doesn’t even make sense. That would be like being angry at a year old baby for not knowing multiplication. We all learn as we go, even as adults.
Narcissists are also fantastic actors, so even if you knew about narcissism & married this person anyway, you still can’t beat yourself up because of what fantastic actors they are. We all can get fooled sometimes, no matter how much we know about narcissism. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid – it just means they are ridiculously good actors!
Don’t forget – if you grew up with narcissistic parents, you also were wounded because of your upbringing, which means you didn’t have the ability to make the best decisions. Unfortunately, this happens! You’re learning, growing & getting healthier now & that is what matters most.
Also, never hesitate to go to God. Ask Him to tell you the truth. Were you stupid to marry that person? Are you a failure for your divorce? He really will answer you & you know what He says is the absolute truth. Let Him help you! He will do so & gladly!
And never, ever forget – while you may not have been the perfect spouse, that doesn’t mean the divorce is absolutely, completely your fault. Narcissists would have their victims believe that, but it’s not true. Wanting to escape the torture & abuse isn’t a bad thing! In fact, quite the opposite. It shows you love yourself enough to know you don’t deserve this kind of treatment.
My ebook publisher is offering a sale that I am participating in. From December 25, 2018 – January 1, 2019, my ebooks on Smashwords.com are going to be 25% off.
Check it out at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
I think it’s a very safe assumption that almost everyone who has gone no contact with a narcissist, in particular a narcissistic parent or other family member, has had more than their share of doubts. Ending relationships is tough, but especially when the relationship is a close one such as in the case of family.
What makes the doubts worse is when after not speaking for some time, you learn through the grapevine that the narcissist is sick, lost their job, or going through some very difficult situation. Considering this is someone you were once very close to, it’s only natural to want to help them & to feel bad they are in this situation. Those desires may make start to override the terrible things that made you sever ties in the first place.
Today, I want to tell you.. DON’T DO IT!!
No, I don’t know you or the narcissist personally, but I do know a lot about narcissists & have more than a little experience with them. I have learned that once you end a relationship with a narcissist, resuming it will only cause you heartache as it did me.
At first, the narcissist will behave, & probably even be respectful & caring. This lulls you into thinking this person has changed. All is right in the world now. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth!
In time, little things will change. Maybe a comment here or there about how you shouldn’t have left in the first place. Or, instead of 10 complements a day, it’s dropped to 9 & a nasty criticism. Everyone has a bad day sometimes, so you rationalize the comments as nothing more & let it go. After all, things have been going so well.
Gradually more things change. Things get worse. There are more criticisms. Now there are also some manipulation attempts too. “I never did that.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” There are also guilt trips about you “abandoning” the narcissist in the first place. They may even have their friends or family mention how hard it was for them when you weren’t in their life. You begin to feel guilty for hurting the narcissist, so you go along with what they do.
Before you know it, the relationship is as bad, if not worse as it was before you went no contact in the first place.
Maybe you’re thinking this won’t happen to you but I can tell you, the chances of it happening to you are excellent. I was fooled into thinking that myself in three very different relationships.
One was a friendship. Upon meeting, she told me we were going to be best friends. I was young, naive & knew nothing of narcissistic personality disorder, so I blindly obeyed, & became her good friend. The friendship ended a couple of years later, then a couple of years after that, resumed. At first, things were good. We had a lot of laughs together. Then things changed. She constantly demanded my attention. I spent a lot of time with her, no matter what I had going on. She expected me to watch her small kids while with her too, which is something I’m not good at doing. I ended that friendship again after about a year & a half.
One was my first marriage. I broke my engagement to my ex husband because I realized I wasn’t happy with him. While we were apart, he insisted we remain “friends.” We spoke often & he told me how miserable he was. Our mutual friends told me the same. We got back together, & married a few months later. I knew that although he was acting better, I shouldn’t marry him but I did. He made me feel like I owed it to him. In fact, when he proposed again, he said, “I’m not letting you go this time.” We separated a bit over 4 years later.
The other one was my mother. In 2001, I had enough, & finally cut ties with my mother. In 2007, my father told me that she needed heart surgery. I said I’d pray for her. Once she got home, she called me to thank me for praying for her. I honestly believed at that the change in her personality was from facing a near death experience. The more time passed, the more she regressed into the abusive person she’d always been, which is why when I went no contact in 2016, I determined this time, it’s forever.
My stories are very typical, Dear Reader. I told them because you need to know that if you have doubts about being no contact, they need to be ignored. Take care of yourself. Your mental health is very important! Resuming a toxic relationship does no good to you or the toxic person in question. It simply enables their awful behavior while you sacrifice yourself. There is NOTHING good about that!
Psalm 101:5 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”
This verse has come to my attention quite a few times recently. It find it VERY interesting. Don’t you think that it describes some aspects of narcissistic behavior? Narcissists have NO trouble slandering others. They also have the haughty look & an arrogant heart. What is even more interesting to me than the description of these behaviors is that God has no tolerance for them.
Yet, narcissists’ evil minions, also known as flying monkeys, love to tell victims of narcissistic abuse that we are being cruel, unloving, & even ungodly if we set boundaries with the narcissist in our lives. They tell us invalidating & horrible things like, “You only get one set of parents!” “He won’t be around forever yanno!” “But that’s your MOTHER!!!” & more. If the flying monkey claims to be a Christian, they also like to throw in their version of Scripture to prove that your behavior is terrible, such as you aren’t honoring your parents or “God hates divorce” if your narcissist is your spouse.
Awful statements like these can make a victim feel ashamed for not tolerating the abuse or even feel enough guilt to resume the dysfunctional, abusive relationship as it was & abandon all attempts of self protection.
This should not be!!!
If you have been subjected to the inane ramblings of flying monkeys, you need to know some things.
First, the people saying these things are abusive. Invalidation is abusive. Encouraging someone to return to an abusive situation is also abusive. Attempting to force someone to do something is controlling & abusive. You have every right to protect yourself from these awful people.
Second, I’ve come to realize that many flying monkeys are simply covert narcissists. Narcissists only care about what is best for them, no one else. Why would you take the advice of someone like that?!
Third, you also have the right to protect yourself from any abusive person, which includes your narcissistic parent(s) or significant other. There is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse. Anyone who thinks there is has some seriously warped beliefs, & obviously they know nothing of God or His ways.
Fourth, the Bible says in Matthew 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (NIV) One duty all Christians have is to become like God. While we can’t be just like God, of course, we can love as He loves, & treat people as He does. So, keeping this in mind, if God does not tolerate certain things, like narcissistic behavior, this means we shouldn’t tolerate it either.
And lastly, as I said, there is nothing holy, good or loving about tolerating abuse. Doing so encourages a person to behave poorly. It keeps them indulging in sinful behavior, hurting other people & even themselves. How can this be good for anyone?! It’s impossible!
On the opposite side of that coin, refusing to tolerate abuse is a good & loving thing to do. It sets boundaries that give consequences for a person’s bad behavior. If they wish to avoid those consequences, they will behave better. (While no one can force another person to change, boundaries at least create circumstances that can make a person want to change. ) Helping a person to be the best version of themselves that they can be is a loving thing to do.
Refusing to tolerate abusive treatment also removes the opportunity for the abusive person to sin, at least where you’re concerned, & that is a good thing. Tolerating abuse not only allows the abuser to sin but practically encourages it. After all, why should the abuser stop being abusive when they don’t have any reason to? And no, for narcissists, knowing they’re hurting someone else isn’t enough of a reason to stop abusing.
Dear Reader, the next time someone criticizes you for not tolerating abuse from the narcissists in your life, please remember what I’ve said. There is absolutely nothing good about tolerating abuse for you or the abuser. You have every right to protect yourself however you see fit, whether it’s by setting boundaries or even ending the relationship. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise! xoxo
At the end of July, my husband & I had a disagreement. Not even really a fight, just a disagreement. During the course of working things out, we began talking about our relationship in general. We realized that when stressed, we both tend to withdraw into ourselves. Both being major introverts (he’s INTJ, I’m INFJ), it’s hardly a surprise. It’s also not good for our marriage, because when he withdraws it triggers me to withdraw from him & when I withdraw, it triggers him to withdraw from me also. We tried to figure out ways to cope with this when we came up with a good solution, & I believe it’s beneficial for any marriage.
We now have daily time to talk with each other, minus tv & computer. Maybe music but that is iffy. In fact, we have the Amazon Echo Dot, & I have a daily reminder on there for her to tell us to talk so we are sure not to forget this time.
Every evening at 9, our Dot tells us “This is your daily reminder. It’s talk time.” At that time, we turn off the tv & computers, ignore the phone & talk. The topics vary daily. Sometimes he talks more than me, sometimes I talk more than him. We also don’t have a set time we must talk, so sometimes it’s only 10 minutes, sometimes an hour or more. There are also times we do it earlier in the day because maybe there’s a tv show we want to watch coming on at 9 or we’re really tired & want to get some extra sleep. We also had an evening where one of our cats got sick & had to go to the emergency vet about 9pm, so talk time obviously was postponed that day & rescheduled for the next few days while he was in there to adapt to our spending time at the hospital. There are no rules & there is absolutely NO pressure about talk time other than spend time together.
This ritual has been super beneficial for our marriage! I’ve noticed we are withdrawing much less & being a lot more open about everything. My husband used to hold a lot in about his difficulties at work but now he is talking about them. Even when it isn’t “talk time,” he’s opening up about work more often. He used to hold his frustrations in so this is a very good thing! So much healthier!
We also are closer than we once were. Focusing on each other daily has increased the intimacy in our marriage. We are more open with each other & know we can talk to each other about anything. I’ve felt safer to bring up topics that could start arguments because both of us are more patient, considerate & understand with each other since we started with our daily talk time. It seems like we slow down & really think about things more during talk time.
I think we also have begun to have even more in common than we once did. By focusing so much on each other during our talk time, it seems to have enabled us to see things from each other’s perspectives more than we once did. We used to butt heads about how money should be spent, as one example, but now we agree on it. Granted that area improved the longer we’ve been together, but since we started this ritual, we’ve gotten to be a lot more on the same page. We rarely disagree on financial things anymore.
I wanted to share this discovery with you, Dear Reader, because I think this talk time ritual can help any marriage. I know, life can be so busy, but like I said, it doesn’t have to take long. Even just a few minutes each day where you & your spouse focus on each other can be a good thing. If you opt to try this in your marriage, then please do as we have done & keep it as low key as possible. I really think pressure would make it into a burden rather than something to look forward to each day. Schedule a time that works for you but be flexible enough to change it if circumstances dictate. Don’t worry about having a time limit either or specific topics. Just hang out with your spouse & talk about whatever topics come up. The point is to have fun, relax or work through a problem. Just go with the flow & see if your marriage doesn’t improve like mine did.
Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (KJV)
Most people have at least heard of Genesis 2:24, but I wonder how many people truly understand it. Since tomorrow is my 20th wedding anniversary, this Scripture has popped into my mind & I figured the timing to discuss it was good.
Being close is one thing, but being enmeshed is very bad. No doubt many of my readers know about enmeshed families. Narcissistic families often have enmeshment down to an art form, since their families are very cult-like. When one member gets married, this often means trouble for the new in-law.
When my husband & I first met, it didn’t take me long to learn he was very involved with his family. Enmeshed, really, although I didn’t know the term at the time. Coming from my own dysfunctional past, I thought at first that it was good they were so “close.”
My mother in-law hated me from the day we met, which was before my husband & I started dating. Once we started dating, it got a lot worse & it was worse after our marriage. Because she felt this way, her two daughters did as well, although one hid it for a few years. Over the years, they subjected me to many cruel comments & actions letting me know I was not good enough to be a part of their family. Yet, at the same time, I was told that I would be there on special days like Christmas & there was no acceptable excuse not to be in attendance. They also had ideas of the type of person I should be & look like, which became incredibly annoying to me since I’m not anything like they wanted me to be. This all created a tremendous amount of stress in my marriage which lead to me considering divorce many times.
And sadly, I felt completely alone. I honestly thought no other woman went through what I was going through. How wrong I was! As I began to write about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I learned a LOT of other people had almost identical experiences with their in-laws. It seems this must be common with narcissistic families, to treat the in-law more like an outlaw, make demands of them & have unrealistic expectations of them & causing problems in the marriage.
I firmly believe situations like this are why God wrote Genesis 2:24. When a couple is married, whether they’ve been married 2 weeks or 40 years, they need to be a COUPLE, not have others involved in their marriage. Even if the people in question are good people, it’s just inappropriate & causes problems in a marriage to have the intrusion of other people. Feelings will get hurt, someone will feel put upon or left out, arguments will happen.. it’s just not good! Couples needs to keep their marriage their top priority after God, & not pay attention to what other people’s opinions are.
It’s also very inappropriate for a married person to discuss the intimate details of their marriage with their parent or child. They don’t need to be privy to that information. All it will do is cause tension between the partner being discussed & the other person, plus if a child knows such information about their parent, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the child. Children often take things personally, even things that shouldn’t be taken personally. The child may feel to blame for the parent’s bad behavior or the marital problems. The child may even feel it’s his or her duty to fix the problem when clearly nothing could be further from the truth!
If you’re in the situation of someone else being involved in your marriage, please talk to your partner! Remind him or her of Genesis 2:24. Ask God to give you the right words to say so your partner will understand the importance of this issue. Suggest marriage counseling, perhaps. It’ll be very challenging but you can get through this!
Since I’m working on a book about narcissistic in-laws, it’s certainly gotten me to thinking about them. Not exactly a fun topic since I’ve been through a LOT at the hands of narcissistic in-laws, but it’s also a topic that needs to be addressed. I’ll share a blog post when it’s published as well as add the link to my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com
One thing that recently has come to mind about these dreadful people is how they are with exes. I’ve heard of & read so many stories of narcissistic in-laws who keep in touch with their son’s or brother’s ex, even after he has moved on to another woman & there were no children created in the relationship. They may even have the ex’s picture hanging up in their home or a picture of him with her when they were together. They may invite her to family functions, whether or not the new lady is present.
I’ve been down this road. A woman my husband broke up with in 1991 is still a bigger part of my in-law’s family than I ever have been. In 1997 at an in-law family party, my two sisters in-law spoke a LOT about her (when it was just the three of us together, no witnesses, of course), talking about what a great person she was & how they should hang out with her soon. They never wanted to hang out with me, mind you. Not long after we were married in 1998, my mother in-law told me how disappointed she & my father in-law were that my husband married me instead of this person. Over the years, I learned that at least one of the sisters in-law not only kept in close contact with this ex, but kept my husband abreast of what was going on in her life. Then, when we ran into her in a store two months to the day after my husband’s father died, I saw how comfortable & friendly she was with my husband. It was painfully obvious she’d seen him recently, so I later asked what was going on with her. Turns out not only had she been to my father in-law’s funeral, but also my mother in-law’s & took one of her sons to visit my mother in-law in the hospital. She also lives only a few miles from my late in-laws’ home & attends the church they attended.
As if all of this isn’t awful enough, I also realized when we saw this woman that she obviously is still very attracted to my husband.
This whole situation got me to thinking about these types of situations. If you’re in it, you’re going to need a lot of wisdom on how to cope with it.
I’m not saying all friendships between people & their exes or even their family & their exes are bad. Sometimes they work out just fine or are necessary because of children or other ties to each other such as owning a business together. When narcissistic in-laws are involved though, it’s a whole different situation. This relationship isn’t because these people were genuinely fond of each other. Like everything else, there is a self-serving purpose in it. Never ever doubt that! Your spouse may think his family’s behavior is normal but it isn’t!
If you wonder, watch how this relationship is handled. Your feelings should be considered. Your in-laws should not flaunt this person to you. This person shouldn’t be frequently discussed fondly in front of you or her picture shouldn’t be in a predominant space in the in-law home (especially if it also includes your spouse).
How do they handle this relationship regarding your spouse? Do they keep your spouse up to date on his ex’s life? If your spouse wants no parts of the details of that ex, do they force him to listen anyway? Do they forward her emails to him so he not only knows but has her email address as well?
These behaviors are all red flags, & you are going to need a lot of wisdom on how to handle this situation.
As always, I recommend prayer as the best place to start. Luke 12:12 says, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (KJV) & James 1:5 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV) Seems to me prayer is the best place you can start!
Also never give your spouse an ultimatum. People who do this almost always end up losing because no one wants to feel controlled or manipulated.
Stay calm when you must discuss the situation. If you act angry or hurt, chances are your spouse will discuss the conversation with someone in his family. From there, it would be very easy for your in-laws to convince your spouse that you’re unreasonable, paranoid, even crazy. And, no doubt if he sees his ex, she is on good behavior. She will look even better to him & you even worse. So stay calm during the discussion for the sake of your marriage!
Do NOT tell him what you think his family is up to. Coming from a narcissistic family does quite the number on a person’s psyche as most people know. One thing I’ve noticed is men in these situations have a lot more trouble facing the truth about their family than women. (No guys, I don’t hate you or think you’re stupid. It’s just an observation.) If you’re in this position with your spouse, I know it can be frustrating. You see the truth so clearly but your spouse doesn’t. Don’t work hard trying to convince him of the truth. You telling the truth will come across to him as you criticizing his family, which in turn will make him very protective of them & angry at you. It will drive a huge wedge between you two.
You can, however, gently, let your spouse know that you are very uncomfortable with this situation. Tell him how you feel, & don’t be afraid of being vulnerable. Better for your spouse to see that side of you than the angry side, because it won’t make him defensive. He will be more willing to listen to you & relate to your perspective if you aren’t angry.
Also, what about the ex? Is she obviously still attracted to your husband? This is tough, I know. I really feel your pain. The best I know to do with this is to focus on your spouse. Make sure you don’t stop doing things that he loves or finds attractive about you. Do nice little gestures for him to show him you love him, like slipping love notes into his lunch box, sock drawer, coat pocket or even taping them to his steering wheel while he’s in the shower. If you tell him what a terrible person his ex is instead, you’re only making him defensive of her & angry at you. Yes, I know this one is HARD. After seeing my husband’s ex, every fiber in me wanted to say exactly what I think of her & his family. But, I knew that he wouldn’t believe what I said & would end up passionately defending them while simultaneously being very angry with me.
Lastly remember, all of this isn’t about you. It’s about some pretty dysfunctional people doing what dysfunctional people do. If the ex is still interested, well, she should have tried harder to keep him & is being foolish for not giving up. He moved on & she should too. As for your in-laws, they are getting something out of this relationship. They probably want to split you & your spouse up or at the very least cause trouble between you two. Maybe they think because she’s wealthy or in some sort of position in society, she makes them look good. Who knows? But you can be sure of one thing… whatever sick mess is happening in this relationship, it has nothing to do with you.
I wish you the absolute best in this situation! xoxo
I have published my most recent book! It’s called, “When Love Hurts: Loving A Narcissist”. This one is about being romantically involved with a narcissist. It teaches the reader how to determine if his or her partner is a narcissist, about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the best ways to cope with a narcissistic partner, how to help your children & more. I pray it will bless everyone who reads it.
Want to know something interesting? This book came to be because of a dream I had last spring. Strange, huh? Three ideas came to me in that one dream- a book about covert narcissists (which I wrote last year), another about narcissistic in-laws (I got a start on it & I think it will be my next book to publish) & this one about being romantically involved with narcissists. It was one more confirmation to me that dreams are important- we need to pay attention to them! You never know what God may show you in your dreams!
If you’re interested in this book, it is available in both print & ebook versions on my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com
Financial abuse is a little known type of abuse that narcissists often use on their victims. It is a very effective way to keep someone under control, after all.
For convenience sake, we’ll assume in this article the financial abuser is male, victim female.
While dating, a financial abuser obviously can’t have the deep level of control that a married financial abuser can have. However, he still can exert some control. It probably will start small, like him asking to borrow $20 until payday. Most people experience this at some point, so it’s no red flag, Plus, it’s only $20. Then he needs more & more, $50 or $100. Or maybe he asks to use your credit card, claiming he’ll pay it off soon. The problem is he never pays that money back. And, if you say anything, he gets extremely angry. You learn quickly it’s easiest just to give him money & not expect it to be repaid. I went through this when dating my ex husband. Even though he knew perfectly well how tight money was for me when we first got together, he still asked to “borrow” money often, & never paid it back. By the time we got married a bit over 2 years later, I figured he’d taken well over $400 from me.
Sometimes an abuser controls his or her victim’s finances completely. The victim has no access to bank accounts or credit cards. Receipts are demanded so every penny can be tracked. My mother did this to my father. He got a small “allowance” while she paid all the bills, saved money, etc. True, she was very good with money & maybe because of that should have been in charge of their finances to a degree. But, he had literally no say in where money was spent & didn’t know how much was saved either. My husband & I have a similar arrangement, but the healthy version. I tell him where every penny I spend goes (even though he doesn’t ask) & he doesn’t get an “allowance.” He has full access to all accounts, too, just like I do.
Sometimes financial abusers prevent their victim from working. They may tell their victim outright that she isn’t allowed to work. Or, they may sabotage her job somehow, such as by forcing her to call out often or making her run late so often that she gets fired.
Another trick of financial abusers is to ruin their victim’s credit. If the victim has her own income & wants to leave, one way to prevent that is by ruining her credit. How could she rent an apartment or buy a home when her credit score is 450 & her credit report is full of charged off bad debt? It’s impossible. He can ruin her credit by charging up her credit cards or taking out loans in her name, then refusing to pay the bills.
Some male financial abusers also keep their wives pregnant. They may sabotage birth control so she gets pregnant. If she has babies often, no matter how employable she may be, financially it just makes more sense for her to stay home rather than pay for expensive day care for several children. These abusers get what they want in many ways by doing this- they have more children to abuse/gain narcissistic supply from, their wife stays home as they want, they take away her independence & they feel powerful & in control.
There is hope for victims though, especially if you’re creative.
Ask safe friends & family for any help or advice they may have. They may help you financially or give you some advice you hadn’t thought of.
Local churches or domestic violence hotlines can help as well. Also, look into requirements for getting food stamps & public assistance. No, no one wants to do this, but they can help you until you get on your feet.
Skim any little bit of money you can. Every little bit will help you!
If at all possible, get some sort of job in secret. Babysit while he’s at work or walk dogs.
If your credit is bad, get a secured credit card to help you reestablish your credit. A secured card is one you send money to, then use it to pay for things instead of the other way around. Since there is no risk of customers not paying their debt, companies give these cards out freely, even to people with less than stellar credit.
Most of all, never forget to pray. God will help you to find ways to escape this insidiously abusive situation.
After years of being in all kinds of relationships with narcissists (family, friendship & romantic), I realize I’m different than your average woman. This happens to victims of narcissists. Even once we realize what has happened to us, we’re different because of the experience. Trauma has a way of changing a person.
Those changes can be for the better, such as when we are able to recognize abusive people quickly & set boundaries with them. The changes also can be for the worse. Sometimes dealing with those closest to us, especially our spouses, can be difficult even when it shouldn’t be simply because of our past experiences. I am hoping this post will help victims & their partners to understand what is happening so they can work through the problems together.
Victims are taught not to have needs & feelings & if they express any, narcissists shame them for having them. This can make it incredibly difficult to open up to anyone, even someone we love who isn’t a narcissist. First, a victim feels wrong & ashamed for feeling or needing whatever they do. Then that person is terrified of being shamed or invalidated for having them. Even if someone has been nothing but kind to a victim, the victim still can fear that person’s disapproval or rejection. If your partner is that way, please don’t take it personally. It isn’t your fault! It’s a side effect of narcissistic abuse. Please just be patient. Listen without offering advice unless you are asked for it. If you don’t understand something, ask questions without sounding judgmental.
Being overly negative happens sometimes too. Partner, it’s not your fault! Healing from narcissistic abuse is a long, arduous, painful journey. Sometimes it gets to be too much. It feels like everything is bad, even when it truly isn’t. It can be very easy for a victim to get mired down in negativity. Please do NOT tell this person to cheer up, others have it worse or get mad. That will only add to the negative mindset. Maybe suggest going out to dinner or to the park- some small gesture to distract the victim could be helpful. Make your loved one feel loved & safe. Let her know she can talk to you if she wants to, but doesn’t need to if she doesn’t want to.
Along the lines of being very negative is making small things a big deal. When you feel overwhelmed in trying to heal, or if you have C-PTSD or PTSD like so many victims of narcissistic abuse, sometimes you feel you can’t handle one more thing. Then when that one more thing comes along, it’s too much & you blow up. Even something as simple as misplacing a pen can push you over the edge & you snap at your spouse who had nothing to do with the missing pen. If this is happening, try suggesting some down time to your spouse. Suggest lunch out with a good friend, or you both go somewhere you enjoy like the movies. Even a brief reprieve can be helpful in regaining a better perspective.
Many victims project the image of not needing their partner. People who grew up with narcissistic parents had to be very self reliant. It became a way of life. Even if a victim has shed that behavior, if there is any issue in the victim’s marriage, self preservation kicks in & this behavior comes to the surface. As the person who sees this behavior, let it be a sign to you that something is wrong in your marriage. Try to figure it out. Ask your spouse if everything is OK & be reassuring of your love.
Emotional withdraw is common too. Suddenly, those little nice things your mate did for you stop or seem to be a burden to do. Maybe your mate is too tired for sex when that was never an issue before. This is a sign something is wrong. Try doing nice gestures like bringing home your partner’s favorite coffee or a new book, CD or DVD. Little gestures like that can be reassuring & may make your spouse feel more willing to open up to you.
Being married to someone who has survived narcissistic abuse can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. A little love, compassion & understanding can go a long way.
When a person cuts a narcissist out of their life, no matter if the relationship is romantic, a relative, a parent or a friend, many times, that narcissist will harass or stalk that victim for months or even years. They relentlessly call, text, email, drive past the victim’s house, stalk the victim online, & send flying monkeys to pressure the victim into resuming the relationship. While this may not sound all that bad, I can tell you from personal experience, it is REALLY bad.
When you are constantly bombarded by someone who is trying to get you to talk to them & you don’t want to, or told how horrible you are for not talking to them, it’s painful. It’s also scary because you don’t know where the person will come from next. This creates a state of hyper vigilance. Each day when you wake up, you wonder what the person has planned for you on that day. Will this person fill your inbox with angry emails? Will you have to change your phone number yet again? Will that person kill you? That may sound like a big leap, but I can tell you that when someone inundates you with abuse, you really wonder how far away that person is from killing you.
And, when the abuse stops, you don’t trust it. You wonder how long before it starts up again? When will the other shoe drop? Did that person hear about something that happened in your life & will they resume harassing you because of it? To date, I’ve been harassed since 2013 by a narcissist. I haven’t heard anything from her since October, 2017 when she used the opportunity of my father dying as an excuse to email me to tell me I was a narcissist. Yet, even though here we are, over four months later & I don’t believe that was the last I’ll hear of this person. She may read this post, realize I’m talking about her & start up again for all I know. It’s happened before.
I am far from the only person that this sort of thing has happened to. Many others have experienced long term stalking & harassment by their narcissist after they initiated no contact. One thing we all have in common is wondering why has this happened?
I firmly believe the reason that narcissists react this way boils down to narcissistic injury. It’s painful for anyone when another person ends a relationship with them, but that pain is greatly intensified when the person is a narcissist. Narcissists rely on others to make them feel good about themselves so they can gain narcissistic supply. Any little thing can make them feel smart, strong or attractive. If someone says, “That’s a good idea” to a narcissist, they take that as they are exceptionally smart whereas the average person would thank the person for saying it & simply go on with their day.
On the opposite side of the same coin though, any little thing can make them feel badly about themselves, or cause a narcissistic injury. If a narcissist’s friend was recently dumped by a new love interest, & while upset, is short with the narcissist, the narcissist takes it personally. The narcissist may even end that friendship. Most people wouldn’t respond that way. They would realize the friend isn’t attacking or being abusive- the friend is upset & spoke out of that upset. If a small thing like that can cause a narcissistic injury, then doesn’t it just make sense that ending a relationship would cause a much greater injury & naturally much greater reaction to it?
Also, narcissists want to be the ones in control, including being the ones who end relationships. If you end the relationship, this takes away their control. Now you have someone who has lost control AND a relationship that they weren’t ready to end.
In addition, most victims have been in the relationship for at least a little while. Narcissists expect their victims to continue tolerating abuse indefinitely. It seems to shock them when that doesn’t happen, & a victim stands up for him or her self.
All of these things combine for a perfect storm of rage inside the narcissist. Once that rage kicks in, nothing can stop it & whoever they feel is to blame for that rage must pay.
If you find yourself in the unenviable position of being on the receiving end of a narcissist’s stalking & harassment, you must protect yourself! Never, ever underestimate one of these raging narcissists. Don’t make the mistake of brushing off their awful behavior & thinking it’s no big deal. Maybe it isn’t a big deal & maybe they’ll leave you alone soon, but maybe it’ll become a bigger deal & they won’t leave you alone.
Look into the stalking & harassment laws in your state. Get familiar with them, so you know when you can get the police involved if need be.
Document EVERYTHING. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you saved it. Even if the narcissist’s behavior wasn’t always illegal, just mean spirited, that still can work in your favor with law enforcement, because it shows a history of bad behavior. Save screen shots, texts, emails, etc on cloud storage or email them to yourself, saving them on your email provider. Phones & computers die, so saving things elsewhere means they are there forever.
Do NOT interact with the narcissist. This is tough, because you want to just rip that person apart & tell them exactly what you think of them for all they have done to you. That would be a horrible mistake though! Do you realize how much narcissistic supply that would give this person? The narcissist would then be the victim, in her mind, & you the abuser. She could tell people how mean you were & for no good reason. Or, if you said anything to the narcissist in front of others, it would just prove her case that you are the real problem, the abuser, or even crazy. Plus, since the narcissist could get this reaction out of you, she would do whatever she could to get it again & again, to gain more supply. As difficult as it is, deprive them of the supply. Give them absolutely NO reaction or response unless it is through the police. If you decide to get the police involved, pray & seriously consider it before you do.
I know it’s hard, Dear Reader but you will get through this! xoxo
Kinda along the lines of my last post about marital rape…
Another way narcissists can abuse their partners is by withholding intimacy. Although this is commonly thought to be something only women do, men do it as well.
Withholding sex can be as emotionally damaging as forcing it, but in different ways. Withholding can make a person question & doubt herself. She thinks things like she isn’t attractive or desirable or even thinks she is disgusting in some way, which is why her partner refuses to make love to her. This particularly cruel type of rejection is devastating to the self-esteem, & a person with low self-esteem is easy for an abuser to control. Low self-esteem means a person will tolerate a lot of abuse from her partner, & for a long time. She does not think anyone else would have her, so why leave?
Sex also can be used as manipulation. An abuser may promise sex if his partner does something else he wants, & the partner, wanting sex, will do whatever the abuser asks.
It also can be used as a punishment. For example, if you do something your partner didn’t want you to do, he may refuse to have sex with you for weeks or even months
If you are experiencing these things with your spouse, they are abusive! Don’t doubt that for a moment!
Also don’t doubt yourself. I know it’s hard, but the way you feel is wrong! You aren’t unworthy of your partner’s love- your partner is being abusive, & that is no reflection on you whatsoever. Talk to God about how you feel, & ask Him to tell you the truth about who you are. I also have some affirmations on my website that may help you. They are available at the following link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
**Obviously this post is about a sensitive topic. If you have been sexually assaulted, this may be triggering for you.**
A topic rarely discussed yet is a huge problem is marital rape. It’s certainly an ugly topic, & it definitely makes people uncomfortable. Many people don’t even believe it’s a real thing, because they wrongly think if you’re married, your spouse can’t rape you. Unfortunately marital rape also is a common phenomenon, especially among those married to narcissists.
Narcissists are the ultimate in selfishness, as anyone with any experience with one knows. They expect everything to be their way, including sex. Some narcissists use physical threats & violence to take what they want, others use guilt or shaming.
When a narcissistic spouse uses guilt or shaming to fulfill his sexual desires, this often goes unrecognized as abusive by the victim. The problem is, it’s still as abusive as if he’d held a gun to your head. It doesn’t matter if he’s your husband- no one should force you to have sex through either physical force or by using mind games!
The legal definition of rape means forced sexual contact against someone’s will. It doesn’t say it only happens between strangers or only when a lethal weapon is used. Rape can happen between married people, & does every day. Rape often happens because the weapon of choice was a husband telling his wife, “If you loved me you would do this for me” even knowing it will cause her physical &/or emotional pain, yet not caring about that. I have been in that position as well as having certain activities forced on me & both are incredibly difficult to cope with.
Some folks may even quote the Bible regarding this topic, but often it is taken completely out of context. The first part of 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, ” The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband…” (NIV) The verse actually doesn’t end there, however. And, the first 7 verses of this chapter in the Amplified translation clearly explain the point the apostle Paul was making: “Now as to the matters of which you wrote: It is good (beneficial, advantageous) for a man not to touch a woman [outside marriage]. 2 But because of [the temptation to participate in] sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 The husband must fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife [with good will and kindness], and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have [exclusive] authority over her own body, but the husband shares with her; and likewise the husband does not have [exclusive] authority over his body, but the wife shares with him. 5 Do not deprive each other [of marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves [unhindered] to prayer, but come together again so that Satan will not tempt you [to sin] because of your lack of self-control. 6 But I am saying this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all the people were as I am; but each person has his own gift from God, one of this kind and one of that.” (AMP) Obviously, rape is NOT God’s will. These verses prove sex is God’s will to be a part in a loving marriage.
Sex isn’t supposed to hurt either physically or emotionally. It isn’t supposed to be one sided or forced or something that forces someone to compromise one’s values. It’s supposed to be two people who love each other giving & receiving pleasure & joy. If only one person is enjoying it while the other person is miserable, that is wrong & abusive!
If you’re married to a narcissist, & this is happening to you, I’m sorry. Rape is a horrible, horrible thing. When done to you by someone who is supposed to love, cherish & protect you, it may be even worse than when done by a stranger because now you also have to deal with the feelings of betrayal.
If at all possible, please, PLEASE get away from your abusive spouse! (If you’ve read my writing for any length of time, you know I don’t like to tell people “just go no contact” since I believe it’s an individual’s choice. So, if I’m recommending getting away from a narcissist, it’s because I firmly believe it’s the wisest thing to do for your own safety!) Look into marital rape laws in your area & press charges.
Hello, Dear Readers!
If you want to check them out, you can click on the links in the last paragraph, or go to my website at: http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com
Narcissists are the most superficial bunch of people you can imagine. Everything about them is a charade, right down to their apologies.
On the rare occasion they do apologize, there isn’t one sincere thing about it. Maybe they say the right words, but I can assure you, there is nothing sincere about apologies coming from a narcissist.
If you’re wondering how you can be sure whether or not the narcissist in your life truly means their apology, I am going to list some differences below between a sincere apology & a narcissistic apology.
Dear Reader, please keep these actions in mind when you must deal with a narcissist. Remembering them will help you not to buy their insincere apology. You don’t need that aggravation! If you fall for their apology, they’ll see you as someone they can manipulate & do so more & more. Who needs that?! You don’t! And, you deserve to be treated better than that.
Tomorrow is hubby’s & my 19th anniversary. It’s been quite the adventure, being married for this amount of time. It’s taught me a lot too.
One very important thing I’ve learned is the importance of having fun together.
My husband has a very good sense of humor, but he’s also very logic driven & hard working. (If you know anything about the Myers Briggs personality test, he’s a very typical INTJ.) Although I’m pretty hard working, I like to have fun. Yet, when my C-PTSD flares up, depression sets in or symptoms from the carbon monoxide poisoning I survived in 2015 kick in, I lose the desire to have fun. Also, sometimes things happen that distract us from having fun- bills pile up, someone gets sick, etc. As a result, we sometimes do like many married couples- slip into a routine & not really do anything fun together.
Don’t do that, Dear Reader! If you want to be each other’s best friend, you need to have fun with your spouse & do it often. There is something about playing together that keeps that spark alive in your marriage. Not sure why it works that way but it really does.
Do fun stuff with your spouse. Play silly pranks on each other (nothing mean or hurtful of course). A while back, I crocheted a clown that resembles Pennywise from Stephen King’s “IT”- a super scary movie & book, & one of my favorites. We hide Pennywise around the house to scare each other. I’ve put him in my husband’s lunch cooler, hanging out on the steering wheel of his truck & even taped him to the underside of the toilet lid (I can’t take credit for that- a friend of mine came up with that stroke of evil genius…lol). He’s put Pennywise under the covers on my side of the bed, by my shampoo & on this little decoration in my bedroom. I also crocheted a little Freddie Mercury (remember the late singer from Queen?) & sometimes Pennywise & Freddie have adventures together. Silly? Sure, but it makes us laugh when we find Pennywise &/or Freddie unexpectedly.
Play games together- video games, card games, board games- whatever you like. My husband & I love the old video games we grew up with in the 70s & 80s. Locally, there’s an arcade full of them that we frequent. For $5, we can enjoy a couple of hours of fun together. We also have a Wii & some board games we play at home.
There are plenty of things you & your spouse can do together that are lots of fun & that don’t cost a lot of money, if that’s an issue. You can even find things on Craigslist or other sales sites, like ping pong or pool tables for cheap or even free. All you really need is some creativity!
I hope you & your spouse start having fun together, if you aren’t already. It really can help bring some fun into your marriage. During the hard times, don’t forget to have some fun. Those are the times you need that joy the most.
Tomorrow is the 22nd anniversary of hubby’s & my first date. Hard to believe! Time sure flies!
Ever since the first anniversary of this special day, we have done a little something to commemorate the day. It can be as simple as sharing some wine, cheese & crackers when he gets home from work, talking by a fire, playing a board game or it can be a bit bigger such as going out to dinner, taking a day trip or recreating that special day. Whatever we do though, we enjoy ourselves & reminisce.
We used to do something similar after we first got married. We got married on September 24, 1998, so on the 24th of every month, we would celebrate a little. (not sure why we stopped that, come to think of it..). Interestingly when I mentioned it to my granddad, he said he & my grandmom used to do that too, for many years.
I’ve found these little celebrations are really nice! They give you something to look forward to. They also encourage intimacy. They foster closeness. They also help you to slow down & enjoy each other in a world that tends to be just too busy.
I’ve expanded this celebrating thing a bit, too. I include my best friend in celebrations too. We met in August, 1988 (although the day has escaped me) & each August I remind her of that & tell her how grateful I am for her friendship for so many years.
Remembering & celebrating things like this helps those in your life to feel loved & special. It also is fun for you when you can make those you love feel that way. It helps to add more joy into both your life & that of your loved one. Why not give it a try? Celebrate special events with those you love!
Since tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary, I thought I would share something I have learned about marriage.
Over the years, I have been criticized pretty harshly by a few people because I do not share a couple of my husband’s interests. He likes football, fishing (catch & release) & camping in a tent. Personally I would rather have a root canal than participate in or watch any of those. I really tried to like fishing. I’ve gone fishing a couple of times & found it boring, although being in nature was nice. After badly injuring the only fish I ever caught, I quickly decided I absolutely hate fishing. As for football? Nope. Never could stand any sport involving a ball. And tent camping?! Hahahahaha. No.
This left me feeling quite guilty for a long time. I felt like I was being a lousy wife for not finding some way to like these things or sucking it & up & participating no matter how miserable it would’ve made me. Then one day, some thoughts popped into my mind that set me free from that faulty thinking, & I’d like to share them with you.
I firmly believe successful couples share interests. My husband & I enjoy classic cars, drag racing, demo derbies, late model dirt track racing, antiques, Oktoberfests, pow wows, movies & much of the same music. These things are all fun for us to do together. We have plenty of interests to share, but we also have a few interests that don’t involve each other. I believe that is also important. A couple needs to be close of course, but they do not need to be so close that they lose themselves in the relationship! You should still maintain your individuality when you’re married. I enjoy crocheting, writing & photography but my husband couldn’t care less about them if he tried. This doesn’t offend me at all! If he’d like to try them, I’d be glad to help him get started of course, but I doubt that day will happen. There is nothing wrong with that.
I also think if your significant other has an interest that you never tried, you should at least give it a whirl unless you are 110% certain you won’t like it. My husband was deep into Nascar when we first got together. I wasn’t. I started watching races with him & quickly developed an interest in it. As it has changed after one of our favorite drivers died, we both lost interest in it, but there were many Sundays we spent watching races together & having fun.
If you would like to share a common interest but one of you is not thrilled with the interest, see if you can find a compromise. Since I refuse to sleep in a tent, I have suggested we get a camper or RV one day when we can afford it. Hubby can sleep in a tent if he likes, but I’ll be inside a nice, clean camper with plumbing & electric, the way I believe God intended me to live. lol Or, if he wants me to go fishing with him, don’t expect me to fish. Let me take a crochet project along & just enjoy being outside & talking with him while he fishes. There are plenty of ways to compromise things if you think about it.
I was just listening to T.D Jakes’ “Sacred Love Songs” cd. In case you don’t know it, it’s songs based on his wonderful book, “The Lady, Her Lover & Her Lord.” One of the songs on the cd is called, “You Are My Ministry.” You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuJq1Uuvyj8 It’s a beautiful song, as you can hear.
The song also made a good point- your ministry isn’t only in the pulpit or serving others somehow. Your spouse is also your ministry!
When you’re serving others, it can be easy to get caught up in that ministry. It feels good to help others. It’s very rewarding! But, don’t neglect that wonderful man or woman you married! That person should be your top priority, after God of course.
Listening to that song convicted me. I haven’t been praying for my husband as much as I should. I’ve been too focused on praying for my readers, my facebook group & writing blog posts. Not that these things are bad, of course, but my world needs to expand a bit, & I need to pray more for my husband. His job is pretty stressful, his elderly father can be very demanding & we need a lot done around our home. He definitely needs covered in prayer on a regular basis.
What about you? Are you praying for your spouse enough? If not, maybe it’s time to ask God to burden your heart to remember to pray for him more often & show you how to pray for him. I am doing that myself, once this post is finished. I also may listen to that song more frequently- it’s not only a beautiful song but a great reminder, too.
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. 🙂