Tag Archives: identity

Getting To Know The Real You

As someone who has been through a lot of narcissistic abuse, like many others, I have had to get to know the real me.  My parents told me who I was my entire life until our relationship ended, & sadly, I believed them for far too long.  I assumed they were right- I was stupid, ugly, fat, a horrible disappointment, wasn’t allowed to have any boundaries, was responsible for fixing other people’s problems, was the reason for any problem in any relationship I had, the world’s worst pet parent & more.

 

In the last few years, I have gotten very serious about dumping their cruel ideas & getting to know who God made me to be.  I hadn’t realized it until today, but in that process, I haven’t forgotten who my parents told me to be.  Instead, I still remember it, but I no longer believe it.  I choose to believe what God says about me rather than their cruel & abusive words.

 

I think remembering what they say is important, at least it is for me, so I’m going to guess it may be for some of you as well.  It’s a good reminder just how abusive & dysfunctional my parents truly are.  That helps me to stay no contact even when the flying monkeys come out.  It also reminds me of how long I tolerated such abuse, how I refuse to tolerate that anymore & how much healing I’ve done in the last few years.

 

Remembering their words also helps me to realize how little they actually knew me.  Typical of narcissists, my parents never took the time to get to know me.   I am absolutely nothing like what they say I am & never have been.  One example is when I was 17 & my mother accused me of having sex with my entire high school football team.  I’ve always seen sex as something to be shared with someone special, & never was promiscuous.  For her to think I was capable of something like that is absolutely insane.  Just more proof of how little she knew me to believe I was capable of something like that.  And, if someone knows me so little, then why should I take their opinions of me seriously?  You only listen to the opinions of someone who knows something about a matter, right?  Would you ask an artist how to fix that pinging sound your engine makes?  No- you’d ask a mechanic.  So why would you give any credence to the words of someone who knows nothing about you?

 

Also, criticisms from a narcissist are often nothing but projection.  They have nothing to do with you & everything to do with the narcissist.  By accusing you of doing things that she actually does, it allows her to be upset about that flaw, to vent her anger or disgust, while accepting no personal responsibility about it or making appropriate changes.  If those criticisms aren’t about you, why would you hold onto them, & think they are?

 

If you think it may help you to remember what your narcissistic parent has said about you as it has me, then give it a try.  Think about what they said about you.  Or maybe write them down since writing often brings clarity that speaking doesn’t.  Chances are, you’ll see how incredibly foolish what was said about you was.  Of course it hurt, but it was also foolish.  You’ll also see how untrue it was.  And, once you realize those were all lies, you can stop believing them & get to know yourself as the wonderful person God made you to be.   xoxo

 

 

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How Much Do You Know About Your Personality?

A couple of years ago, two of my wonderful readers told me about the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (aka MBTI) personality test.  Since, I’ve become utterly fascinated with it!

 

This test gives you a four letter description of your personality.  I found it to be incredibly accurate for myself & my husband.  Here is the link if you want to try it: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

 

While I realize not everyone is as fascinated with psychology & what makes people “tick” as I am, I still recommend taking the test & learning as much as you can about your personality.  This is especially important to survivors of narcissistic abuse, I believe.

 

Whether the narcissist in your life was a parent, sibling or spouse, narcissists do a tremendous amount of damage, as you no doubt know all too well.  One thing they all try their best to do to their victims is to turn the victim into what they want that person to be.  Narcissists want victims to lose their natural, God given personality & become someone pleasing to the narcissist.  Before you realize that is happening, chances are you lost a lot of yourself thanks to the narcissist.

 

Learning about your personality type can help you to regain the part of you that was lost.  It also can help you to learn about things you never understood about yourself.  For example, I always thought I was weird.  I’ve been told it often enough!  I constantly try to understand people’s motivations & solutions to problems, when many people don’t bother with such things.  My mother used to criticize me as a child for “always thinking” because of this.  I took that to mean that something was wrong with me.  Once I learned of my personality type, I learned that there isn’t something wrong with me.  It’s just my natural personality, which happens to be the rarest one.

 

Another benefit of learning about personality types can happen when you learn the types of those in your life.  Since I learned my husband’s type, I understand him even better now than I did before he took the test.  And, as a bonus- he got interested in learning about his type as well so he’s developed a better understanding of himself.

 

Dear Reader, I hope you will take the test & learn about your personality & those of your loved ones as well.  The test only takes a few minutes & is free, but it can be very beneficial.

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What’s In A Name?

I’ve met a great deal of adult daughters of narcissistic mothers who have changed their names.  Some have legally changed it to something completely different while others, like me, have only tweaked the name they already have.  One thing all of us share in common though is no matter how it was changed, it felt so freeing!!

My mother always called me Cindy.  It always felt wrong somehow.  So about 15 years ago, it finally occurred to me that it is my name, & I can do with it whatever I like.  I began asking people to call me Cynthia, as that feels more comfortable for me.  Oddly, I was met with a great deal of protest from so-called friends who said I’d always be Cindy to them & they refused to make the change.  (Happily for me, all of them are out of my life now for various reasons.)  Since then, when meeting people, even introducing myself as Cynthia, some still call me Cindy, so I decided on a compromise- spell it Cyndi, which is the correct spelling anyway.

It feels so good to have made this change, as little as it is.  I feel this way- Cindy is the person my mother made.  The dysfunctional one who had no purpose in life other than to try to please her narcissistic parents.  Cindy is now dead.  Cynthia is much more functional, in spite of the C-PTSD & has her own mind, likes/dislikes & boundaries.  I feel like changing my name has helped to detach me from the dysfunctional, awful person I once was.

Something rather funny on this topic- when we adopted our little cat, Minnie Rose, her name was Baby.  She didn’t answer to it at all.  She was also extremely timid.  It took me a few days to come up with a name that seemed appropriate for her, & once I started calling her Minnie Rose, her entire demeanor changed.  She became much more confident & happy.  She likes the name so much, that she will get mad if I call her Baby even just as a term of endearment.  lol

This may sound odd to you, but I’m telling you, it does make you feel different & better to change your name after surviving narcissistic abuse.  Name changes have happened since the beginning of time, too, & God Himself changed some folks’ names.  Remember, Abraham was once Abram, Sarah once Sarai, Israel was Jacob.  When God changed people’s names in the Bible, the people changed accordingly.  God changed their names when he brought them into a better place than they had been in.  He did the same for me- I have healed so much since changing my name.

If you haven’t done so, why not consider making a change with your name?  Even if it’s just going by a nickname, it will change how you feel about yourself.  You have the right to make that change if you are so inclined, so why not exercise it?

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Toxic Shame Resulting From Narcissistic Abuse- There Is A Way Out!

As of yesterday, it’s been one month since I got sick with carbon monoxide poisoning & a concussion.  It’s been quite an interesting month, too.

My recovery is a slow one, but at least it is giving me a much needed break from life.  It’s also given me more time to think & pray.  

Shortly after returning home from the hospital, God showed me that I had a big problem with toxic shame, which stems from emotional neglect & criticisms in childhood.  (it’s why I felt I didn’t deserve any help from the ER staff, even though that is their job, & my husband shouldn’t help me recover- I should do it all on my own.  That’s pretty bad, especially considering the severity of my illnesses!)  I believe this is a very common problem for adult children of narcissistic parents, so I thought I would share a bit about this past month’s journey with you.

When God first revealed this to me, I was happy & sad.  Happy because I finally understood what was wrong, why I felt I deserved nothing.  Also sad because, well, let’s face it- this is pretty depressing realizing I was made to feel so poorly about myself.  I also had no idea how to cope with this problem, & had to ask God to show me.  He gave me some really good  ideas, which I shared in the post I originally wrote on this topic.  Please read that post at this link.  I’ve been trying to do the things I mentioned in that post. I also have been doing other things, such as paying more attention to my dreams, which have been revealing a great deal to me about how much I need to take care of myself.  (Almost nightly, I’m having dreams that show me that, so obviously God thinks it’s important!)

I also told God I want to change this problem- I want to be rid of this toxic shame once & for all, & I want to learn to take care of myself too instead of only everyone else.  Was that a powerful prayer!  He has been helping me tremendously!!

About a week after I got sick, I got an email from a jewelry company.  They had a lovely ring on sale that reminded me of one my paternal grandmother had when I was a kid.  This wasn’t a real diamond like hers, but it was still beautiful.  I felt that instead of thinking it’s pretty & ignoring it, I should ask hubby if we could get it.  That took a lot of guts for me- I hate asking him for anything, let alone something frivolous.  He said sure, go ahead & get  it.  When I got on the website to order it, I saw they had an identical ring with a much larger stone that I liked even more.  I ordered it, even though it cost a bit more.  For once, probably the first time in my life, I realized I deserved something special & felt no guilt about it.   Getting myself that prize was a big step towards shedding the “I don’t deserve…” mindset of toxic shame.  Now the company has failed to fulfill my order, but I’m not giving up- I will just get that ring from another company .  🙂

Also, I’ve had trouble with my recovery.  I need to relax, avoid any strenuous physical activity & stress until I am healthy again.  This means hubby gets to do the bulk of housework.  It’s been hard just laying around while he works, then comes home & does laundry & cleans.  Every time the guilt comes up, God reminds me to relax.  I need to recover- I’ve been poisoned by carbon monoxide & have a nasty head injury.  Anyone in that situation would need to relax & recover so stop beating myself up!  Besides, hubby has never really had to take care of anyone before, so this is good for him, having to prioritize another person’s needs.

Although I haven’t told my parents about my illnesses, I’ve spoken with them a few times during my recovery.  Instead of the usual feelings of guilt, hurt or anger when they play their head games, God has reminded that they have problems.  For example, my father recently said I should call if I need anything or just want to talk.  I felt guilty for not calling more often, like a bad daughter, but only for  a second.  Almost immediately, I realized he only wants more contact with me to receive his narcissistic supply, not to spend time with me.  The guilt was alleviated immediately.  I realized I’m not a bad daughter, but instead am someone who doesn’t wish to be used.  Life is too short to be someone’s narcissistic supply!

Something else interesting just happened that made me realize what progress I’m making. I just had a good, long cry.  You see, when some of my pets have died, God has comforted me by telling me shortly after their death that a certain song reminds my recently departed of me- the song then becomes our song.  Aerosmith’s 1988 hit “Angel” just came on. That’s my lovely snowshoe Siamese cat Jasmine’s & my song.  When I heard the song, I started to cry.  I miss Jasmine so badly, & maybe because I’m very sensitive due to my illnesses, the magnitude of missing her hit me very hard.  As the tears finally came to a stop, I realized something- I felt no shame for them!  As much as I love my animals, because my grief at losing them has been so severely invalidated repeatedly, I’ve often felt shame for crying because of them & did my best to ignore my pain.  Especially years later, when I “should be over it”, according to many people. Today was different.  It was the first time I can say I honestly felt no shame, & was able to cry without holding back.  It was actually a very good feeling.  Jasmine was a very brave, amazing & special cat. She survived 4 strokes before she passed away in 2011 & fought hard to come back from each one.  She deserved the love & respect of being grieved properly, yanno?

I’m sharing these things with you today in the hopes of encouraging you.  If you too suffer with toxic shame, God can help you to heal as He is helping me.  He is breaking the hold of toxic shame in my life & will do the same thing for you!  Living with toxic shame is no way to live!  You deserve so much better than that, as do I.  God wants us to be happy & healthy- two things no one living with toxic shame can be.

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More About Discovering Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

I never felt comfortable sharing this information until now.  Maybe it’s finally the right timing, God’s timing?  In any case, I hope this helps you.  xoxo

A few years ago, I finally decided to start to get to know the real me.  Not the dysfunctional person my narcissistic mother tried to make me into, not my narcissistic ex husband, not even friends. The real me, the person God created me to be.  When asking Him to help me do this one day, He told me to study the personality of the wolf- that is what I am really like.  I did this & found it fascinating.  Granted, not all wolves have the same personality, but they all seem to share some basic qualities in common.  Many of those traits were also shared by my husky/wolf, Danya, who passed away in ’09.  He was the one of our three dogs we’ve had that I got along best with, because we understood each other very well.  Now I understand why we got along so well.

I assume God used this information about wolves because I’m an avid animal lover, & I am ever glad He did.  It’s been very interesting for me & comforting too, finally knowing who I really am.  It’s also given me a new fascination with wolves.  They are truly amazing animals!  In fact, as I write this, I’m also watching a show on the Nat Geo channel called, “She Wolf” about a rare alpha female wolf (usually alphas are male).  She was absolutely incredible!  Strong, brave, determined, a natural leader, a wonderful mama to her pups, playful & gentle.  It amazes me God sees me as similar to such an amazing creature as She Wolf!

Have you ever asked God to show you who He made you to be?  If not, I strongly urge you to do so!  I don’t know if He’ll compare you to an animal or not like He did with me, but be prepared to be amazed whether He does or not.  I certainly was- I never would I have thought I would share such character traits with the majestic, strong wolf!

God created you to be someone special.  I know, that is hard to believe when you grew up with a narcissistic mother treating you as if you were merely a tool to be used as she wanted, but it’s true!  Today I challenge you to throw off what you think you should be, to get rid of the dysfunctional beliefs that were put on you so unfairly.  Instead, talk to God about becoming who He wants you to be, who He made you to be!  The person He made you to be will feel so much more natural & right.  Granted, the change won’t happen immediately, but as you learn to rely on God to help you, the new you will develop.

I’ve noticed something else too- as I’ve changed, my narcissistic mother isn’t happy about it, but at the same time, she is respecting my boundaries (albeit grudgingly) for the first time!  I think she realizes that I now have a strength I didn’t before, & also realizes that strength means I won’t put up with her games like I once did.  Your narcissistic mother may respond the same way.  I hope she does!

Oh, & just in case you’re wondering about the personality traits of a wolf, here is what I found.  Wolves are generally..

  • Friendly (friendly with other adults, amiable with pups).
  • Strongest personality trait is that they make strong emotional attachments to others.
  • Natural aversion to fighting. Will do much to avoid conflicts/fighting.
  • Kind
  • Agreeable
  • Non-violent personality.
  • Although gentle, they will fight when necessary.
  • Highly intelligent, able to learn & remember events.
  • High degree of adaptability.
  • Gentle
  • Confident
  • Natural leaders.
  • Wildly playful.

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Discovering Who You Are After Narcissistic Abuse

I had a rough night last night, full of strange & upsetting dreams.  This happens often, & although I’m accustomed to it, it still is very difficult.

 

One of last night’s dreams was about being at a gigantic shopping mall with someone (I know a female, but no clue who she was or even what she looked like).  We were in a Books A Million bookstore, & for some reason, I needed to go elsewhere in the mall.  I went to where I needed to go, then couldn’t find my way back to Books A Million.  I realized I’d left my cell phone with her, & was getting more & more panicky because I couldn’t even call her.  Being agoraphobic, I also was very uncomfortable being around so many people & in a public place, especially one with which I wasn’t familiar.  Plus, the mall was full of very upscale stores like Neiman Marcus & Lord & Taylor.  I’m not comfortable in such stores, even though I appreciate their quality merchandise.  I walked all over this huge mall & was very tired.  I went into several stores because I remembered Books A Million was behind a big department store, but couldn’t find them.  I woke up eventually & was very anxious.  Eventually I went back to sleep, & had an almost identical dream, which meant waking up again very anxious.

 

According to dreammoods.com, dreaming of a mall means you are trying to establish your sense of self.  Interesting, because I’ve been trying to do just that for several years, & have had similar mall dreams for several years.

 

I think many adult children of narcissistic mothers are on  the same boat as me.  We grow up learning that our sole purpose is to please Mother, to do whatever she wants, to behave as she wants us to behave, to like or dislike whatever she likes or dislikes.  This kind of treatment means we grow up as a rather empty shell, with no real awareness of who we are.

 

Do you know who you are?  Are you very aware of things you like & don’t like?  How certain things make you feel?  Your dreams, needs & wants?

 

If not, maybe today is the day you need to decide to get you back, & lose the person your narcissistic mother made you to be.

 

How do you do this??  To start with, start listening to yourself!  Pay attention to how things make you feel.  Anything!  You will learn pretty quickly what you do & don’t like, what qualities you like & don’t like in  other people, & even what things you may be interested in trying that you’ve never tried before.  As God to help you to be aware of these things.  It can be awkward at first since your narcissistic mother did her best to make sure you never paid attention to your feelings, needs, etc., so God’s help is vital!

 

Also step out of your comfort zone a bit.  For example, I’m normally very feminine, but I’ve learned I do enjoy fixing my car if I can- not exactly the most feminine activity a lady can do.  It was rather uncomfortable for me to poke around under my hood the first couple of times I did it, but even so, I kind of liked it.  And, as time passed, I’ve gotten more & more comfortable fixing my car as well as gained a lot of knowledge.  You can do the same thing- try painting a picture if you’ve never done it before, or read a completely different genre of book than you normally do, or go somewhere you normally don’t go such as a museum of modern art.  Step out & you’ll soon find out more about yourself.  If you aren’t sure what to do, ask God for creative ideas.

 

And, accept those things that you discover about yourself without judgement.  That can be very hard to do, especially when you are so accustomed to being judged constantly by your narcissistic mother.  But truly- so long as what you do & enjoy makes you happy & isn’t hurting anyone, what is wrong with that?!  My mother & mother in-law, both narcissists, hate the fact I work on my car & have ridiculed me for it.  But you know something?  I realized that my mother in-law is jealous, because not only doesn’t she know the first thing about cars, she doesn’t even drive.  She also is very dependent on her husband, where I’m not.  As for my mother, she is more concerned with appearances than anything else, & her daughter working on a car, doing a “man’s” job embarrasses her.  In both cases, THEY are the ones with the problem, not me.  I’m sure you will find the same thing once you start stepping out & getting to know yourself better. Those who are judging you are the ones with the problem, not you.

 

Something else I’ve learned- many of us adult children of narcissistic mothers are kind of quirky.  Once we start getting to know ourselves, it turns out we don’t usually follow the crowd.  We like unique things.  Accept the quirkiness!  How boring would the world be if everyone liked the same things?  Enjoy & appreciate your differences!  Those differences make you the unique & special  person  that God created you to be.

 

Learning who God made you to be isn’t an overnight process. I’ve been doing it off & on for several years now, & I still learn little things about myself periodically.  But, it’s been fun & it’s given me so much more peace.  I am much more aware of what I like & don’t like, what I’m willing or unwilling to do & my needs. In fact, I’m also becoming much more accepting of having C-PTSD than I once was.  While most people who haven’t been through narcissistic abuse don’t understand C-PTSD & will judge or even ridicule those of us with it, I am accepting the fact that this awful disorder isn’t a sign of flaws in me- it is a sign that I have been through some really bad things.  I have survived, although with some scars.  It feels good to accept that fact instead of beating myself up for having this awful disorder.

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You Matter!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

The other night, I had a very strange dream.  I was with a small group of people.  I got my wallet out of my purse, & found a nice little amount of money in there I didn’t know I had- I think it was around $65.  I quickly stuffed it back in my wallet.  I then went to get something from my car’s glove compartment, & found an envelope with more money in it.  I think around the same amount but I’m not sure.  I quickly hid it back in the glove compartment, nervous the other people around me would know I had it, then woke up.  The dream was baffling, so naturally I prayed about it as well as looked up the symbolism of money on that dream interpretation site I like so much.  It said money represents self worth, values & self confidence.  Finding it symbolizes your quest for love or power.  This didn’t clarify anything for me.  lol

This morning as I was waking up, immediately God showed me what the dream meant.  I have been accepting the opinions of others that I don’t matter lately, & I need to stop allowing their false beliefs into my heart.  I need to guard my heart & my self-esteem as I hid the money in that dream.   As an example, as I’ve mentioned here, I told my parents my bad knees don’t like me going up & down their basement steps to do their laundry.  Either we need to move their washer & dryer upstairs (as my mother said she’s wanted to do for years) or get some help.  My father agreed with me.  My mother however?  Ignored every word I said.  This gave me the message what I want & feel isn’t important- I don’t matter.  Unfortunately I am so accustomed to this kind of thing happening I reacted automatically as I always have- by assuming I’m not important.  In fact, I was considering dropping the topic with her, & putting up with my own pain rather than pushing the issue.  Not now, though!  Thanks to God revealing what this dream meant, I realized what was happening & just how bad it’s gotten.  I usually try to take care of my skin, hair & nails often as these things make me feel pretty.  I haven’t been doing anything really good for me.  As a result, my skin & hair are dry & nails are short.  Not feeling so pretty right now!  I haven’t done well with self-care this week either, & it shows.  The C-PTSD is flaring up big time- my anxiety levels have been crazy high, depression terrible, my concentration is almost non-existent & sleep problems are even worse than usual.

Anyway, I think this is a common problem for adult children of narcissistic parents, feeling as if we don’t matter.  Everyone else is more important, because we were raised from day 1 to take care of the needs of the narcissist.  Your job is to make sure that your narcissistic mother is happy, that you are doing whatever you are told, that you don’t make any waves or else you may face a dreaded narcissistic rage.

Sound familiar??  I bet it does if you were raised by a narcissistic mother like I was.

So what to do about this?  It’s time to study what God has to say about His children.  Years ago, I did just this, then put what I found in one of my books.  I since put it in another couple of books & on my website.  Here is the link:

Affirmations

I strongly recommend you read over this page, & let what God says about you get deep into your heart.  This is all what He said, I only put these things together.  Let God’s word heal your heart.  There is truly healing power when He speaks, whether it is in the form of the written word (such as in the Bible) or if you are fortunate enough to hear His voice speaking to you.  God’s word always heals.

If you’re reading this & suffering with this same problem of feeling as if you don’t matter, I’m praying for you.  No one should feel this way!  You matter!  God loves you, & made you for a purpose.  ❤

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Yesterday..

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I just thought I’d share something…

As I’ve mentioned lately, I’ve been feeling really bad. It just seemed as if nothing was going right, & it’s been taking a toll on me. Thankfully, things changed yesterday…

To start with, the previous day, my mother called, wanting a favor from me. I told her I’d call back to let her know if I could do it. After some prayer & thought, I realized I couldn’t do it. Even at 43 years old, it takes a lot of courage to say NO to my mother sometimes.. especially without offering her any explanation (I didn’t want to hear any criticisms of my reasons for not being there for her). I called my parents yesterday morning, & thankfully was able to talk to my father instead- he accepted my no without question. No problems. Saying no helped me feel stronger than I had- it reminded me I had a right to say no, to have boundaries & to have my life as a priority.

Although leaving home made me extremely anxious as it always does, I still enjoyed my time out with my husband last night. I bought a couple of little things at a store without telling myself I don’t deserve them or we shouldn’t spend money on me. We then went to a car show, & on the way home stopped by a local car dealer where we’d seen a 1969 Dodge Charger. It was a replica of the General Lee from the old tv show, “The Dukes Of Hazzard,” one of my favorite tv shows as a kid & my favorite car ever. I wanted to snap a quick picture of it before we went home. We pulled into the lot just as someone was moving it, & as I snapped a ton of pictures of this car, he told my husband & I the story behind the car- it was one of only 17 remaining cars from the tv series & movies! I never thought when we left home yesterday afternoon that before we got back home, I would’ve seen a real General Lee!!!

Yesterday was such a blessing to me. Not only did I have fun, got a couple of nice little prizes, & get to see my favorite movie/tv car, but something else happened. If you recall, I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I’ve mentioned how God has shown me I need to get the real me back.. to stop being “Eric’s wife” & be “Cynthia” again. Well, the real me came out yesterday, out of the blue. God is enabling me to be who He intended me to be, & it feels good! It’s also affected my husband. God once told me that if I get me back, not only will I be happier, but my marriage will improve. From what I saw yesterday, this is very true. My husband seemed more relaxed than he has in quite some time & we enjoyed each other’s company more. It’s strange- I thought I needed to change to please him, which is why I lost myself in the first place, yet instead, it caused us to lose much of the closeness we had when we first got together.

I’m sure that this change is something I will have to continue to focus on maintaining, but it is a good start. It gave me the kick in the butt I needed. I’ve been too afraid of rejection to even start focusing on getting myself back. Yesterday showed me it’s a good thing, & gave me courage.

I guess the point of telling you all this isn’t only to share in my good news, but to encourage you. Trust in God, even during the darkest times. He has a plan, & He will help you however you need. It may not be as fast as you want or how you expect it to happen, but it will happen. And, when it does happen, you will be blown away by His goodness & love. ❤

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What Is Your Name?

Your name is important.  It is your identity, after all.  In Biblical times, people took great care in naming their children, much more than today.  Names also were changed to show important changes in life, such as in the case of Abraham & Sarah in Genesis 17.

These days, that seldom happens, however I believe it can be beneficial to do in many cases of surviving abuse.  I have read some stories of survivors changing their names recently.  I haven’t legally changed mine, but the changes feel good anyway!

Although my parents named me Cynthia, they always have called me Cindy.  My mother claims this is the correct spelling, & makes fun of those who spell the name another way, such as Cindi, Cyndi, etc.

I’ve never liked Cindy.  To me, that name represents the person my mother created- someone dysfunctional, with no self esteem, my mother’s puppet.  I don’t like her at all!  Cynthia, however, I like much more.  I created her- she is strong, independent & not my mother’s puppet.

Asking others to call me Cynthia changed my life.  When I started going by Cynthia, I started growing stronger.  It felt much more comfortable, & enabled me to separate completely from my narcissistic mother.  I finally started to become the person God wants me to be rather than my mother’s puppet.  On a funny note, I even developed a slight Southern accent, like my dad & his family.  It highly annoys my Northern born mother.

What about you?  Does hearing your name or a nickname make you cringe because of the bad memories attached to it?  If so, that name is yours!  Change it if you want to!  It is your right!  Ask God what to do if you’re unsure.

If you do decide to change your name in any way, some people won’t understand or like it.  I had an old friend & some relatives flatly refuse to call me Cynthia.  Interestingly, those relationships ended shortly after.  I realized healthy people had no problem with my request, they just wanted me to be happy.

Also, I opted not to tell my parents.  I really didn’t want to hear the nasty comments or fight about my name.  You too will have to decide if you can handle your parents’ negative reaction.

Lastly, if you opt to change your name legally, talk to a lawyer or research the laws in your state.  It is often an easy process, but many details will follow.  You’ll have to change your driver’s license, mortgage or lease, social security card, medical records & much more.

Changing your name is a big decision, but one well worth considering.

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

Who Are You?

Yesterday, I had another flashback.  I remembered being in my late teens, & my mother screaming at me because (her words here), “You only care about the underdog!  You just want to help them!” as if this is a bad thing.  Usually when these flashbacks happen, I come out of it in or near tears.  Not this time though- I was absolutely LIVID.  How dare my own mother scream at me so much!  How dare she scream at me for being a good person!  & besides, she groomed me to take care of others & ignore myself- she was screaming at me for being how she made me to be!  HOW DARE SHE!

This anger set off an interesting train of thought.. time for me to make some changes!

If you too have been around a narcissist, whether raised by one or in a relationship with one, you know that they want you to be what THEY want you to be, not what you want to be or the person that God made you to be.  You carry this “I have to change to please you” mindset into other relationships, like it or not, & often without even realizing it.  I have done this.  Not only did I become the person I thought my mother wanted me to be as a child, as an adult, I tried to become the wife I thought my husband wanted me to be.  As a result, I lost myself somewhere along the way.  In fact, an old friend of mine once scolded me, saying I had become “Eric’s wife” instead of “Cynthia.”  Yes, he was right, much as I hate to admit that!  Since that friend opened my eyes about six years ago, I have been trying to get myself back, but with very little luck.  I had all but given up until yesterday. 

Oddly, the anger I felt after that flashback gave me quite a kick in the butt to get myself back. I got angry not only at my mother for screaming at me so much as a child, but for trying to destroy the person God made me to be.  I also got angry at others in my life who have tried so hard to change me into someone I’m not.  God made everyone the way we are for a reason!  Every single person has a purpose!  No one has the right to destroy your personhood, to destroy what God has made!  I decided it’s time to get that person I lost back, & started to think of ways to accomplish this.  I hope these ideas help you, too!

  • God will tell you who He made you to be- so ask Him.  Not only the things you are to accomplish in life, but also He will tell you about your personality.  Ask Him!  I have done this, & God gave me an interesting answer.  He told me to look up the personality traits of the wolf- they are like who He created me to be.  Do you know something?  I learned they are fascinating animals!  They are highly intelligent, gentle, devoted, loving, confident, non-violent personalities & will do much to avoid conflict, yet won’t back down when it is necessary.  That is what God sees when He sees me!  I believe He used wolves because He knows I love animals so much, including the husky/wolf dog I had who I was so close to.  God will speak to you in a way that speaks the clearest to you, too.  Why don’t you ask God to tell you who He made you to be?  
  • Realize, really have a firm grasp on the fact that you are valuable.  You are just as valuable as any other person.  In spite of what you have been taught, you have a purpose & value.  And treat yourself accordingly!  Do nice gestures for yourself, not just other people- it will help you see yourself as valuable.  I started last night by pampering myself some.  I make my own beauty products, but I don’t use them as often as I should.  I decided heck with that last night!  I exfoliated my skin, head to toe, then used a wonderful moisturizer I make after so my skin felt like silk. I also gave myself a manicure & pedicure.  I relaxed for the evening- watching tv, playing Tetris on my tablet, & talking to the hubby.  
  • Do things that make you feel good.  Do you have a hobby you enjoy yet have abandoned?  Get back at it!  Try drawing, painting, writing poetry, cross stitching, knitting or whatever you have done again.  If you never really had a hobby, find one.  Try something you have always wanted to try.  You can learn how to do about anything online!  Indulging in something other than things that are necessary (work, caring for your kids or elderly parents, etc) is very healthy- it helps you to relax & have a clear focus.  It also helps you to feel pampered & loved.  Everyone needs loving gestures, especially from themselves.
  • Get angry!  I know, as a Christian, that can feel very awkward, especially if you were raised with a narcissistic parent who didn’t allow you to express any negative emotions.  However anger does have a purpose- it motivates change.  And, remember, Jesus got angry, too.  Remember him overturning the tables of the money changers?  (Matthew 21:12-13).  While anger can be dangerous, & forgiveness is absolutely vital to having peace with God, our fellow man & ourselves, that doesn’t mean anger can’t be used as a tool sometimes.  Ephesians 4:26 says we can be angry, but do not sin in that anger.  Using that anger to motivate chance isn’t a sin- in fact, that is a good thing!  And I have learned when doing this that once you forgive, the motivation to change is still there.
  • Stop listening to other people when they try to change you, no matter who it is!  Admittedly, this is difficult if it’s something you have been doing your whole life, or if the person is someone close to you such as a spouse or parent.  But remember- if someone wants to change you, it says they have the problem, not you.  Normal, healthy people want what is best for other people, not to change them into someone they aren’t.  

And please always remember- just because someone didn’t appreciate the person you are doesn’t mean they are right.  You are special because God made you to be!  Deuteronomy 14:2 says, “For you are a holy people [set apart] to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people to Himself, above all the nations on the earth.” (AMP)  God loves you & made you perfectly!  

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