Tag Archives: illness

Doing Something New

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to abandon making YouTube videos in favor of podcasts since they are much easier for me to make. And thankfully, they have been well received!

Because they have been doing well, I decided to expand where they can be accessed. My podcasts now be found on many platforms. Those links are below. I hope you will check them out!

So far, I’m still figuring this all out as I go. Not entirely sure what I’m doing at the moment, so please just bear with me! Plus, writing is my top priority & has been since God told me many years ago it was my purpose. This means podcasts aren’t going to get as much of my attention. I don’t have any particular schedule with them, so I won’t release new ones faithfully every day, week or even month. I release them a few at a time periodically. I have been pretty lazy about doing this over the last year or so, & I apologize for that. It’s changing, I promise! I just had so much happening in my life in the recent past, my work has fallen too far behind.

So anyway, here is the list of where my podcasts can be found. I hope you find a platform that you like, & will listen to them. Thank you as always for reading & supporting my work! I hope it blesses you as much as you bless me!

Amazon Music:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/636257ca-b20e-4c80-b0c4-76c6da81d4b6/cynthia-bailey-rug

Anchor By Spotify:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cynthia-bailey-rug/id1632080095

Castbox:

https://castbox.fm/channel/id3103069?utm_source=podcaster&utm_medium=dlink&utm_campaign=c_3103069&utm_content=Cynthia%20Bailey-Rug-CastBox_FM

Google Podcasts:

https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yNWViYmY5OC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

Overcast:

https://overcast.fm/itunes1519449931/cynthia-bailey-rug

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

RadioPublic:

https://radiopublic.com/cynthia-baileyrug-6BonBp

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/show/5aY76eAGa3xOfVMimiQMai

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/cynthia-baileyrug

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

Reminders For Those Who Have Experienced Trauma

Many of us who have experienced trauma have been very deeply affected by it.  We not only develop mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD, but we also develop some very skewed beliefs.  In this post, I’d like to address some of them & hopefully help you to realize a healthier way to think.

It’s ok to have bad days!  Mental illness is no joke.  It’s incredibly difficult to live with & very serious!  Not all days are going to be days where you can cope well & manage your symptoms.  Some days, you’re going to want to cry all day long, have panic attacks, wake up exhausted from having several nightmares in a row & barely be able to function.  Some days you won’t function at all.  These scenarios, horrible as they are, are also normal.  It doesn’t make you unlovable or unworthy!  It doesn’t mean you have no faith in God or are a phony Christian either!  It means you are struggling with a mental illness.

You’re not a burden, even on your worst days.  I don’t care if all you could do was get out of bed long enough to make a sandwich today, that doesn’t make you a burden.  Would you consider someone a burden that is suffering from cancer & could do virtually nothing?  No?  Then why would you be a burden when you have days you can barely function?

You’re ok.  It seems all of us with mental illness have experienced the same thing- someone thinking we’re weak or attention seeking.  After all, they went through trauma & are fine! (Or so they say..).   It can make you feel as if something is wrong with you for developing the mental illness, but nothing could be further from the truth!  Every situation is different & every person in every situation is different.  There is no indicator who will or won’t develop ongoing mental illness as a result of their trauma.  Those of us who do however, aren’t “less than” those who don’t.  We’re simply different, & different does NOT equal bad!

Nothing that happened was your fault.  Narcissists do love to blame their victims, don’t they?  “You made me do it” is a common gaslighting phrase.  As if that isn’t bad enough, their flying monkeys reinforce this by saying stupid things like, “You should’ve just stayed out of his way when he was in a bad mood.”  “What did you do to make her so angry?”  While such behaviors can make it easy to believe the trauma was your fault, it truly wasn’t.  The only fault in the situation is that of the narcissist for choosing to be abusive!

It’s ok to talk about the trauma.  Narcissists love secrecy & depend on their victims never discussing the abuse.  Talking about it may feel impossible or as if you’re betraying the narcissist somehow.  I get it!  Truly!  Until my parents were gone, I was terrified they’d somehow find out what I wrote about even though I knew it was highly unlikely.  I also felt guilty for betraying them by “outing” them, so to speak by discussing the things they did to me.  The truth though is that I was wrong to feel that way.  When people abuse you, it’s not your job to stay quiet.  You have every right to divulge what they have done to you to whoever you wish.  It’s your life too, not just theirs.  If you want to discuss your situation either with a close friend or therapist or even write books as I have, that is your right!

Your feelings are valid.  I know, narcissists will say otherwise but truly, your feelings are valid!  You are entitled to them!

You owe no one an explanation.  Your life is just that.  Yours.  You owe no one any explanation for how you choose to live it, how you choose to heal, who you choose to have in your life or who you choose to eliminate from it.  What you do is up to you.  So long as you aren’t deliberately hurting others, what business is it of anyone’s how you live your life?

Please remember these points, Dear Reader.  You deserve to take care of yourself, to love yourself, to be treated well & to be respected! xoxo

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

Lacking A Healthy Perspective About Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been abused by a narcissist (or several!), you are going to have ongoing issues as a result of their abuse.  This is likely to continue for many years, even long after the abuse has ended or even after the abuser dies.  Today we’ll be discussing one of the lesser discussed yet potentially devastating issues: lacking a healthy perspective about yourself.

Not long ago, in emailing with a friend, I mentioned something traumatic that my mother did to me when I was in my teens.  She was floored, then told me how horrible it was & how badly she felt for me.  I was stunned by her reaction.  Yes I knew it was traumatic but somehow I didn’t think it was all that bad.  This same scenario happened a few times.  Then a few weeks after that first email conversation, during a phone call to a different friend, the scenario happened yet again.  I mentioned a past traumatic experience, & she too was flabbergasted.  And again, I was stunned since I didn’t think of the experience was all that terrible.

Being prone to over thinking everything, these experiences got me thinking.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t think these experiences were so bad, yet other people did.  It isn’t like they haven’t been through the same & worse experiences, & I recognized theirs were pretty terrible. 

Then, I learned something interesting that at first I thought was unrelated.  I’m always tired, & I assumed it was because I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep without medication, & have constant nightmares.  Not long ago I got a smart watch that monitors all kinds of health processes including sleep.  It showed me that I get virtually no deep sleep.  That explained why I’m always tired, but not why I don’t get deep sleep.  I researched this & found PTSD & C-PTSD cause a person not to get the deep sleep they need.  Upon learning this, my first thought was, “wow, I really DO have C-PTSD!”  My second thought was wondering what is wrong with me?!  I’ve had symptoms of it for my entire life!  How could I doubt it?  Suddenly, things began to make sense when I thought not only of this but my interactions with my friends a few weeks prior. 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they dictate everything about that relationship as well as about you.  They do this through gaslighting.  After being exposed to this toxic behavior long enough, a person takes on the narcissist’s narrative.  If the narcissist claims you’re stupid enough, you believe you are in spite of having an above average IQ.  They claim you’re fat?  Absolutely believable, even if the scale says you only weigh 110 pounds.  This gaslighting goes much deeper than those superficial issues however.  Narcissists all convince their victims that what they’re doing isn’t so bad, clearly it’s not abusive, it never happened, or if it did then it’s their victim’s fault. 

This gaslighting also branches into the realm of health conditions too.  Narcissists are the only ones who have any sort of health problems, at least according to them.  Also, narcissists aren’t above faking an injury or illness or even making themselves sick, they assume everyone does it.  These two things mean that narcissists don’t care when their victims have any problems.  They assume their victims are just faking as they would do.  Or, if there is undeniable proof of a problem, they minimize it so they don’t have to pretend to care or to help the victim.

This gaslighting is why I was shocked my friends not only saw the events in my life as traumatic, but validated me & cared how I was affected as well.  It also explains why I felt surprised to find proof I really do have C-PTSD, in spite of having the symptoms for so long. 

If this sounds familiar to you, my heart goes out to you.  I wish I could help you fix this right now, but I can’t.  I can tell you some things that I’m finding out that help me though & I think they’ll help you too. 

Prayer certainly helps!  I have asked God to help me have a healthier perspective on myself & talk to Him regularly about this.  Also, when I recognize any minimizing behavior in myself, I tell myself the truth about the situation instead.  Progress has been slow going with me, but it’s still progress & that counts!   

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

People Who Say Those Who End Relationships Hate Or Are Unforgiving

Something I have come to learn about people is many times, when you end a relationship with someone, other people assume it’s because you hate that person.  I was reminded of this not long ago when someone made a comment on one of my old YouTube videos.  The video was made when I first learned my father was dying, & I mentioned how I wasn’t going to see him at the hospital.  The commenter said that I shouldn’t hate him, I should forgive him.  This frustrated me because I have heard similar comments before so many times, mostly from my intensely dysfunctional family.  In talking with people who read my work, I’ve learned this happens all the time.

Anyone who jumps to the conclusion that those of us who have ended relationships do so out of hatred & unforgiveness needs to know some things.

There are people who end relationships out of hatred & unforgiveness of course, but the vast majority of people have other valid reasons for ending relationships, even with their own family members. 

People change, & sometimes those changes mean people grow apart.  It’s natural.  Not every single relationship was meant to be a lifelong commitment. 

Sometimes people think someone is a certain way when the relationship begins, but as time passes, they realize that person is not like they thought.  Most people are on their best behavior at the beginning of any relationship, & as time passes, they stop trying so hard.  That can mean there are some ways people are incompatible that weren’t evident at the beginning, or it can mean that someone is dysfunctional or even abusive.  There is nothing wrong with ending such relationships.

While family should be a lifelong relationship, it isn’t always possible.  Sometimes family members seem to be good people until something happens that changes them.  Maybe the patriarch or matriarch of the family dies, & suddenly people change.  That happened in my family.  Once my grandparents died, people changed a great deal, & not necessarily for the better.  The patriarch & matriarch of a family often can keep the bad behavior to a minimum.  Once they pass away, the bad behavior is no longer restrained, & people feel free to behave however they like, including very badly.  When the bad behavior is toxic or even abusive, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ending those relationships.

People who are so quick to judge & criticize others who end relationships should consider such things before passing judgment.  There are other things they also should consider.

People who have been abused almost never exaggerate their experience.  If anything, they leave out plenty of details & even minimize it.  If someone claims another person abused them, chances are excellent it was much worse than what they said.

Abusers are excellent actors who portray themselves as good people to anyone who is not their victim.  Just because someone is nice to you doesn’t mean they are incapable of being abusive. 

Along those same lines, just because someone is active in their church, volunteers, is a teacher, doctor or in another helping type profession doesn’t mean they can’t be abusive.  Abusers can be found in all walks of life.  They exist in all religions, races, genders & careers.

Enduring toxic & abusive relationships doesn’t make you a good, Godly person.  It isn’t the “good Christian” thing to do.  There are plenty of Scriptures throughout the Bible where people are told to have nothing more to do with other people.  In Genesis 12:1, God told Abraham to leave his family.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 talks about people God wants His children to have nothing to do with.  Titus 3:10 warns to have nothing to do with divisive people.  Ephesians 5:6-7 says we are to have nothing to do with those who are deceptive.  Clearly this is a topic on which God has plenty to say, & people would be wise to take that seriously rather than judge those who end certain relationships.

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

Some Lesser Known Signs Of Trauma

When you have experienced trauma in your lifetime, in particular repeated trauma, it’s going to affect you. Some expected signs of trauma in a person are things like depression & anxiety. There are a host of other, lesser known signs that can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life.


Hyper-vigilance may be the most common sign of trauma in a person’s life. It happens often in a person who has lived with their abuser, such as the child or spouse of the abuser. Living with an abusive person means you must be on your guard at all times, so you don’t do anything that upsets the abuser. That hyper-vigilant behavior often stays with a person long after they have ended the relationship with their abuser. It also leads to a host of other problems.


Physical pain in victims of abuse is often a sign not of an injury or illness, but of having experienced trauma. In particular, this pain often manifests in the neck & back. This is due to living in a hyper-vigilant state for an extended period of time. Hyper-vigilance causes your body to be in a state of not only emotional but physical stress, & that can cause physical pain in spite of there being no injury.


An extreme startle response is also caused by having to be in a state of hyper-vigilance. It manifests as being drastically more startled than you would expect to be in a specific situation. This startle response often cause anger or even tears in the startled person.


Sleep disturbances is another common sign of trauma in a person’s life. Nightmares that either relive the trauma or trigger emotions similar to those experienced during traumatic episodes happen often. Waking up often during the night or struggling to fall asleep in spite of doing things to help even including taking sleep aids are also common. Some people can wake up throwing punches, because they are so accustomed to protecting themselves. This happens quite often with those suffering from PTSD who have served in the military or those in law enforcement.


Being too busy is a trauma response that many people employ. These people will keep themselves as busy as possible during their waking hours. They work long shifts, participate in many activities & rarely take time to just rest, even when they’re sick. They do this as a way to avoid facing their pain. If they don’t have time to think, they also don’t have time to think about their pain.


Similar to being too busy is losing yourself in activities. Staring at social media or watching tv for hours is another way to escape facing pain by focusing attention elsewhere. While neither is bad, doing so for hours on end is unhealthy, especially if the one doing so is unable to stop.


Eating disorders can be another sign of unresolved trauma. They can be a way for someone to regain some control in their life when a person feels like they have no control otherwise.


Avoiding places & people that remind a victim of past trauma are more trauma responses. No one wants to face reminders of pain, of course, but those who have been through extreme trauma will go to great lengths to avoid it.


Avoiding conflict
is very common in those with traumatic pasts. When abuse happens during conflict instead of dialog designed to work things out, it instills fear in a person about conflict with anyone, not only the abuser.


If you recognize yourself in some or even all of these symptoms, hope is not lost! The more you deal with the trauma in your life, the more these unhealthy patterns will break. Not overnight, but they will happen. Keep working on your healing however works for you. Pray, write in a journal, talk to a supportive friend or therapist… whatever you do that helps you, keep on doing it even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress. Healing isn’t a simple thing. Sometimes it looks like nothing is improving, then suddenly you make big progress. Other times, you’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional habits for a brief time. It’s ok! It’s just a part of the healing journey. Don’t give up!

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Ways Narcissistic Abuse Can Make You Feel Crazy

Narcissistic abuse is a horrible thing in so many ways.  It can ruin a person’s faith in God because many narcissists twist God’s word around to justify their abusive ways.  It can ruin a person’s financial stability because narcissists feel entitled to their victim’s money & credit cards.  It can destroy a person’s self-esteem since narcissists are notorious for doing that as a way to gain control over their victims.  Narcissistic abuse also can make a person feel like their crazy, because narcissists love either implying or saying outright that their victims are crazy.

Feeling crazy isn’t only due to the direct abuse inflicted by narcissists however.  It can come as something of an after effect of the abuse, & that is what we’ll be discussing today.

When you have been abused by a narcissist, your emotions are drastically affected.  They can be rather raw due to being so overused by the constant traumatic abuse.  Being oversensitive like this isn’t always a bad thing because it can make you very sensitive to & in tune with other people.  However, it also can leave you feeling ways that are less than pleasant & even make you doubt your sanity.

One such feeling is envy when those close to you are happy.  You don’t think of yourself as being petty, but you get angry at the special people in your life that are experiencing good things happening to them.  You aren’t a mean person or naturally envious, so why does this happen?  It’s normal to feel this way sometimes when going through a hard time, such as after the death of someone you love.  You’re miserable & their joy is a reminder of that.  That being said, doesn’t it seem only logical that when experiencing something as horrid as narcissistic abuse you might feel that same way sometimes?  It does NOT mean you’re crazy!  It means you’ve been through some terrible things & are longing for better times.  Just be sure to stay aware of it & don’t mistreat anyone because of how you feel. 

Closely related is feeling envious of those with loving, healthy relationships.  Growing up with narcissistic parents makes a person feel so many things such as sadness for not having loving parents, grief for their childhood being stolen by their parents & anger for not being safe with those people who were supposed to love them unconditionally to treat them well.  Seeing people with loving, attentive, functional parents is a reminder of what you lacked.  It can trigger envy.  It may make you feel crazy or bad for being so envious, but truly, it’s normal!  The same goes for those romantically involved with a narcissist.  Seeing a happy couple can trigger envy for what you lacked.  That also is very normal! 

Another common issue is being angry & overreacting to the smallest things.  Narcissists are infamous for angering even the calmest, most laid back of people.  They also are infamous for using that justifiable anger to make their victim feel crazy & badly for being angry.  Naturally, victims learn to stuff their anger to hide it.  This works for narcissists because they know their victims will tolerate about anything they do without complaint.  Victims suffer though not only because of the abuse but also because they often lose the ability to show anger in healthy ways.  Instead, they get very angry over inconsequential things.  Something as simple as losing a pen can trigger rage.  Or, someone making an insensitive comment that isn’t even really mean can result in the victim yelling at them.  After the victim calms down, they often feel crazy for getting so angry over something so small.  The victim isn’t crazy though!  They are behaving normally in abnormal circumstances!

If you have experienced feelings like these, please know that there is nothing wrong with you!  You aren’t crazy!  You are a normal person who has experienced abnormal & horrific abuse.  The more you heal, the less you will feel these feelings.  Keep learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & how to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Write in a journal & look back over what you learned often, as it will help you to remember what you learned.  Most importantly, stay close to God.  Let Him help you to heal!

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

Managing Triggers

Anyone who has experienced trauma knows about triggers, whether or not they recognize that is what they are called.  Triggers are things that “trigger” certain memories to come to the forefront of your mind with force & against your will.  They also trigger certain PTSD reactions such as anxiety, fear responses such as fight, flight, freeze or fawn, & even flashbacks.  To put it bluntly, triggers suck!

They are a particularly yukky part of having survived trauma & the worst part is they are unavoidable.  Sure, you can avoid some but avoiding all triggers is impossible.  The best thing you can do for your mental health is learn to manage triggers.

First & foremost, you need to be aware of what triggers are.  Recognizing them for what they are really helps, because it reminds you that as painful as they may be, the triggers can’t hurt you.  You are safe now.  Or, if the trigger was brought about by someone treating you as your past abuser has, now you can handle this situation in a way that protects you.  You can handle this!

Second, I believe in prayer.  The only reason I say prayer should be second instead of first is because lack of awareness can paralyze you.  You need to be aware first, then you can focus enough to pray.  Ask God to help you stay grounded, to keep you safe, to help you to get through this & anything else you can think of.

Third, use grounding techniques to help you to stay focused on the present moment.  Engage your senses to distract your mind from being too swallowed up by the trigger or flashback.  Touch something with a very distinct texture like silk or burlap.  Smell something with a strong scent such as lavender or strong perfume or cologne you like.  Taste something with a strong scent & flavor such as coffee or a strong mint.  Admire something beautiful such as a flower or a painting.  Turn up a song you find empowering & listen to it a few times in a row if it helps.

Fourth, think of what you can do to comfort yourself.  You can wrap yourself in your favorite blanket, snuggle a stuffed animal, indulge in a cup of your favorite tea or coffee, take a warm bath or shower, or hold a precious possession given to you by someone you love dearly.  Lavender is known for its anti-anxiety properties, so keep some essential oil handy for these times.

Fifth, after you have calmed down, make that trigger work for you.  They are unavoidable so why not make them count for something?  Get to the root of this.  If you aren’t sure what that root is, ask God to show you.  Once you know what the root of the problem is, you can heal & this trigger won’t hold such power over you.  It may even disappear entirely.  The key is getting to the root though, & that may mean going way back into childhood.

Sixth, tell yourself the truth & ask God to tell you the truth about that root of the trigger.  Did you deserve that?  Are you as bad as your abuser claims you are?  Was what that person said true?  Questions like that when faced with the truth will show you exactly how wrong & cruel your abuser was. 

Seventh, take some time to rest & be gentle with yourself.  Emotional work is hard.  You will need a little time to recover so take it & don’t be ashamed of it.

Last but not least, celebrate the fact you survived some pretty bad things.  Be proud of yourself!  Be proud of your strength.  Thank God for getting you through those dark, horrid times with your sanity & goodness in tact. 

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Feeling Like You Must Forget Yourself To Focus On Others In Relationships

When I was growing up, I remember feeling like my entire purpose in life was only to serve people no matter any personal cost, never burden anyone, never inconvenience anyone in any way or even cost anyone anything.  This continued into adulthood where it was reinforced by the extremely toxic narcissists I have known. 

The result of this was me believing some pretty dysfunctional things.  One of those things was that if a relationship I was in was to succeed, I “only” had to forget all of my feelings, wants & needs, & focus completely on the other person.

While this may sound utterly impossible to believe, I assure you it is quite true.  I also can assure you that such dysfunctional beliefs are ingrained in many victims of narcissistic abuse. 

If you are someone who has thought this way, I am speaking to you today.

Whatever any narcissist told you that ingrained such beliefs in you is utterly WRONG!  You aren’t responsible for other people.  Of course, doing for others is good but not to the extent you hurt yourself.  By doing too much for other people, you are distracting them from God & focusing their attention on you.  When they have a need, rather than pray, they’ll simply expect you to meet that need, which in a way makes you a god in their life.  This is NOT good!!

It also isn’t healthy to be so completely self reliant.  That is a trauma response that stems from being hurt too much by other people.  I know – I struggle with this myself on a very regular basis, so I have a lot of experience in this area.  God made human beings to need relationships, to need other people.  A relationship with Him should be first & foremost, of course, but also we should have healthy relationships with other people.  Healthy relationships involve two people being there & doing for each other.

There is nothing wrong with accepting help from someone.  Whether the help is someone giving you money, doing something for you or helping you to do something, none of this is bad at all!  As I said, God made people to need relationships. 

You aren’t burdening anyone or even inconveniencing them.  You are NOT a problem in any way!  Don’t believe this lie that the narcissist told you!

In fact, the fact the narcissist has told you this is proof that there is something pretty wonderful about you.  Narcissists don’t choose average or even below average people to abuse.  They choose those who they see as attractive, loving, intelligent, talented or successful.  People who they believe will make them look good, in other words.  The narcissist saw something special in you, which is why he or she chose you to abuse. 

If your parent is the abusive narcissist in your life, you may think that doesn’t apply to you but it still does.  Yes, you were a convenient target, but your parent also thought there was something special about you. 

When you have moments where dysfunctional thoughts like I have mentioned come to mind, then please remind yourself that these thoughts are wrong.  They were planted there by someone who only did so for self serving reasons, not because these things are true.  You have all the same rights that other people have, no more or less.  You are worthy of expecting to be treated with love & respect.  You aren’t a burden to anyone, & anyone who truly loves you appreciates the special person that you are!

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

20% Off ALL Print Books!

My publisher turns 20 this year, & as a way to celebrate, they’re offering 20% off print book purchases until February 11, 2022. All you have to do to take advantage is use code 20FOR20 at checkout.

My books can be found at this link:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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

Year End Sale On ALL Of My Ebooks!

From December 17, 2021 until January 1, 2022, my publisher is offering 25% off all of my ebooks. If you’ve been wanting to read any of them, it’s a great time to buy. Simply go to my author page on my publisher’s site at the link below. The coupon will be applied automatically at checkout.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.), Writing

About Scars

Most people are very uncomfortable around someone with obvious scars.  They stare at the person who has scars from surviving a house fire or they avoid even making simple eye contact with the person.  Some especially rude people ask this person what happened while wearing an expression of sheer disgust on their face.  Experiences like this make the person with the scars feel ashamed of how they look.  This sort of experience also can happen to someone who wears their scars inside as a result of surviving abuse.

So many people who live with ongoing mental health struggles such as Complex PTSD, PTSD, anxiety & depression as a result of being abused are shamed.  Some people mock these mental disorders while others deny their existence, which further contributes to the shame most abuse victims feel on some level for being abused.  This behavior is incredibly cruel but also foolish.

Everyone has scars to some degree.  Those scars shouldn’t be a source of shame.  Scars tell a story of things you have experienced.

Some scars show a woman has birthed healthy children.

Some scars show what happened to a soldier who bravely threw himself in harm’s way to protect his fellow soldiers.

Some scars show that a fireman was injured while rescuing someone from a burning building on the verge of collapse.

Some scars show the vet assistant’s job involves a lot more physical pain than most people think because scared animals scratch & bite.

Some scars even show that a person was abused by someone they thought they could trust, someone they thought loved them & would be good to them.

The one thing all scars have in common is that they tell a story of something that could have destroyed a person yet they didn’t.  They tell a story of survival, strength & bravery. 

If you have survived abuse & feel your story isn’t somehow good or worthy like the people in the examples I provided, I want you to know that you are wrong.  Having a mental disorder or even disorders doesn’t mean you are weak, stupid, or a failure.  Far from it!  It means you survived something that could have destroyed you.  Narcissists do their level best to destroy their victims in every possible way, yet you survived that!  Of course you have some issues as a result of the abuse, because that is only normal.  Rather than be ashamed of those issues, why not be proud of the fact you survived what many people don’t?  Then, as if surviving isn’t enough, here you are, not only coping with those issues but learning, growing, healing & helping others who have experienced what you have.  You should be so proud of yourself for how far you have come!! 

Rather than be ashamed of your scars & try to hide them, I would like to suggest that you to accept them without judgment as reminders of your strength & courage!  Hold your head high & be proud of the person you are!

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Depression During The Holidays

Many people suffer with depression during the holiday season.  November & December are very painful for them.  Yet sadly, this phenomenon is rarely discussed.

Thanksgiving & Christmas can be a very difficult time for many people & for countless reasons. 

Even for those who adore the holidays & circumstances are good in their lives, there is the stress of extra money spent for meals & gifts, so much more to do in preparation such as meal planning & decorating, less time to relax & more.  This stress can ultimately result in anxiety & even depression.

For those who don’t host, holidays still can be very stressful.  There are family demands & expectations.  Many dysfunctional families have very high expectations for the holidays & everyone must meet them or else suffer consequences.  Having been down this road, I can assure you, it doesn’t exactly make a person happy during the holidays!

Often young married couples are pressured to spend holidays with their two families, which is very stressful.  Their holidays are a source of stress & scheduling to make everyone happy or consequences if they don’t.

There are also so many people who have lost a loved one to consider.  This may be their first holiday season without the loved one who enjoyed hosting holiday get togethers.  No longer having those gatherings can create sadness as losing them is what is known as a secondary loss to the primary loss of that special person.  Even years later, that loss still can be painful.  Or, even if that person didn’t make a fuss over holidays, holidays still may be a reminder that someone special is gone.

Many other people have had to sever ties with their abusive families, & the holidays are a painful reminder that they are without a family.  Seeing others happily spending time with their families or talking about how they can’t wait to visit with their relatives are painful reminders of what a person in this situation is missing.

People who are unable to be with their family during the holidays experience similar emotions.  Law enforcement officers, first responders & military personnel are some examples of people in this situation.

I recently read that an estimated six percent of people struggle with depression during the holiday season.  Many of those people don’t experience depression at any other time.  Some of them also have been misdiagnosed as having Seasonal Affective Disorder because they present with similar symptoms & happen at similar times of the year. 

It’s also estimated that 64% of people with a mental illness experience worsening of their symptoms around the holidays.

If you too experience depression during the holidays, you aren’t alone by far!  Many people share your pain.  There are some things you can do that can help.

I always recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to help you however you need.

If you feel alone, try spending time with friends whenever possible.  Go out for coffee or lunch.  Hang out at home & talk.  If they aren’t available, volunteer with a cause near to your heart or visit folks in nursing homes. 

Consider seeing a counselor.  If you aren’t able to or are uncomfortable doing this, at least write in a journal.

Have good boundaries.  Don’t say yes to every invitation.  You don’t need to be constantly busy. 

Create new traditions either just for yourself or with your family.

If you feel you must visit others on the actual date of the holiday, set aside a different day to enjoy the day with those closest to you. My paternal grandparents never celebrated Christmas on December 25.  They celebrated on the weekend between Christmas & New Year’s.  That way, no one felt pressured to be with them on Christmas day.  They could spend the day however they wanted & still enjoy my grandparents’ annual Christmas celebration.

Don’t expect your adult children to spend all day with you, especially if they have a significant other or friends they want to visit.

Keep your expectations realistic.  Don’t expect to lose this depression easily.  One good holiday won’t cure you forever.  It may take several holidays to make progress.  Or, you may not be able to shake the depression completely.  I haven’t been able to.  But, since I know it will come each year, I try to find ways to bring some joy into my life during the season.

Don’t let anyone shame you for how you feel at this time! I’ve experienced this & can’t tell you how maddening it is. People who are quick to judge lack empathy & have no business hurting someone who is already hurting. Ignore them!

I hope these tips help you!

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Some Reasons Why Victims Side With Abusers

If you have survived an abusive relationship & are working on healing from that, the possibility of someone who has been a victim siding with their abuser can seem utterly impossible to comprehend.  Yet sadly it happens more often than you might think.

Many people who have been abused refuse to find some way to come to terms with it.  They won’t accept that someone who was supposed to love them not only didn’t love them but actively tried to hurt them.  This is particularly the case with children abused by their parents.

Being abused by a parent also can make you feel like if your own parent doesn’t love you, then clearly you must be unlovable.  Children naturally seem to have a propensity for accepting blame that isn’t theirs, so when their parent doesn’t love them, they assume it’s because of something they have done wrong or there is something wrong with them.  Instead, they accept this faulty belief as fact, thinking they deserve the abuse.  They often grow up to say things like, “Yea, Dad was hard on me but he made a man out of me!”

Another reason victims of abuse may side with abusers is cognitive dissonance.  That is the feeling that comes with learning the truth that directly clashes with some deeply held belief.  Believing your parents are good people then learning they were anything but creates that painful cognitive dissonance.  It makes a person question everything they thought they believed.  Cognitive dissonance is truly painful, & many people would rather avoid it completely.  If that means siding with their abusive parent, so be it.  They prefer that to facing their pain.

Sometimes adults who survived abusive childhoods see other victims dealing with their pain.  They see the suffering they go through with flashbacks, nightmares, crippling anxiety & depression, maybe even suicidal tendencies & they are afraid that if they face their pain, they will end up going through the exact same pain.  Also, they may be reminded of their own pain that they refuse to face.  Instead of trying to show victims they care, they rush to shut them down.  One way they do this is to side with abusers & try to normalize their behavior.  Not only the abusers of their fellow victims, but theirs as well.

Another reason victims may side with their abusers is to create the illusion of normalcy.  If they can justify their abusive parent’s behavior, then it becomes normal, which in turn means they were treated normally & are normal people.  Thinking this way makes the victims feel normal, & not like a victim or something is wrong with them. It also has another purpose.  Many times, victims of child abuse marry other victims as adults.  In these situations, often one person faces their pain while the other tries their best to avoid it.  If the one facing their pain points out to the one who refuses to that his or her parent is abusive, that causes pain that this person has tried hard to avoid for a long time.  If he or she can make the other person believe they are overreacting, over sensitive or even crazy, the abuse was totally normal, & their parent did nothing wrong, this can stop the healthier person from discussing this topic.  The healthier person will get discouraged in trying to help their partner, & may give up the unhealthy person to their dysfunctional ways.

Rather than deal with painful things, it seems like many victims of abuse think that the easier alternative is to side with the abusive parent.  Pretending all is fine & their abusive parent wasn’t a monster at all but instead a good parent doing their best is truly a dysfunctional coping skill!  It’s a shame it’s also such a common one.

If you have someone in your life who is doing this, I know how incredibly difficult & frustrating it is.  You want the best for him or her, but this person doesn’t see that.  They see you as unreasonable, over sensitive, unkind, or whatever.  If you are to continue this relationship, then please pray.  Ask God to give you wisdom about how to handle things & pay attention to what He says.  He knows this person better than you possibly could.  If you feel God wants you to speak on this subject, then do so gently & humbly.  Remain logical & not emotional because heated emotions only shut this type of person down.  Ask logical questions too, like, “Why do you think it’s OK your father beat you with a belt?  If I told you my father did it, would you still think it’s OK?”

God may also say that you shouldn’t discuss this with your loved one.  Some people are extremely determined to continue in this dysfunction & nothing anyone says can get through to them.  If this is your situation, then do NOT discuss it!!  Have a safe place to vent your frustrations though, because you are going to need it.  Pray, journal, talk to a close friend.. just don’t keep your frustrations inside.  Remember, you don’t have the right to try to force something on another person, even if your intentions are good & it’s a good thing.  Let God deal with this person & show them the truth.  When He does it, there won’t be any doubt it’ll be done the best way possible!

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Print Book Sale!!

From now until October 22, 2021, my publisher is offering a sale on all print books. Simply use code SPOOKY15 at checkout & get 15% off your purchase.

Visit the link below to see my print books:

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How To Enjoy Life With C-PTSD

Electronics are a huge part of daily life.  If we aren’t scrolling through social media or responding to emails, we’re often streaming music or movies to entertain us.  None of these activities are bad by any means.  However, it can be easy to get caught up in them. 

For those of us who have experienced trauma such as narcissistic abuse, electronics can be both a blessing & a curse.

A blessing because they help us manage the C-PTSD.  Calendars & other reminders help so much when we forget things way too easily.  Mostly though, the access to information about the trauma we have experienced, ways to cope with it & meeting others with similar experiences are huge blessings.

Electronics also can be a curse.  They offer a means of escape by mindlessly playing games, scrolling through social media or surfing the net.  While there is nothing wrong with distractions, after trauma, it can be too easy to get caught up in them & avoid dealing with the damage from past trauma.  A common sign of C-PTSD is doing mindless activities like getting lost in social media or tv shows.

Today I want to offer some suggestions to get you started stepping away from electronics while adding some substance & joy in your life.

First, consider what you are doing with your time. Is your electronics time valuable or necessary?  If you are unsure, pray about it.  God will help you to see things clearer. 

If you can cut back on that electronics time, such as not needing it for your job, cut back.  There are other things you can do with your time that are much more mentally healthy & productive. 

Also consider what you are doing online.  Are you wasting time playing games or scrolling mindlessly through social media?  Are you obsessively looking for information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder?  Neither are bad activities but they can be when done too much.  Why are you doing what you are doing?  Are you avoiding something?  Again, pray if you need insight.    

If you feel you have been spending too much time staring at your phone, computer or television, there are so many other good things you can do that can add more joy to your life.

Ban electronics for a set time each day.  Don’t stare mindlessly at the television or your phone while eating.  Instead, have your meal with another person & talk with them.  If you’re eating alone, go out to eat & watch the other people in the restaurant.  Or do some of the following suggestions during your anti-electronics time.

Spend time in nature.  If you enjoy camping, go camping.  If not, wander around a local park.  Sit on your porch & listen to the birds while watching wildlife in your yard.  Sit outside at night & admire the beauty of the stars & planets.

Play.  Play board or card games with your friends & family.  Go bowling.  Play pool or ping pong.  Try crossword puzzles or word find puzzles.  Put a jigsaw puzzle together.  Purchase nice colored pencils & a coloring book that strikes your fancy.

Don’t neglect your hobbies.  What have you been neglecting?  Painting?  Drawing?  Woodworking?  Playing a musical instrument?  Cross stitch?  Crochet or knitting?  Get back in the habit of making time for your hobbies.  If you don’t have any, then it’s time to find a hobby that appeals to you.  A good place to start is by asking yourself what did you enjoy doing when you were a child?  Wandering around a craft store is also a good idea.  There is plenty of inspiration to be had in such stores for both men & women.

As useful & wonderful as electronics can be, it’s important to have balance in your life & not be too dependent on them.

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Lesser Known Signs Of Trauma

When you have experienced trauma in your lifetime, in particular repeated trauma, it’s going to affect you.  Some expected signs of trauma in a person are things like depression & anxiety.  There are a host of other, lesser known signs that can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life.

Hyper-vigilance may be the most common sign of trauma in a person’s life.  It happens often in a person who has lived with their abuser, such as the child or spouse of the abuser.  Living with an abusive person means you must be on your guard at all times, so you don’t do anything that upsets the abuser.  That hyper-vigilant behavior often stays with a person long after they have ended the relationship with their abuser.  It also leads to a host of other problems.

Physical pain in victims of abuse is often a sign not of an injury or illness, but of having experienced trauma.  In particular, this pain often manifests in the neck & back.  This is due to living in a hyper-vigilant state for an extended period of time.   Hyper-vigilance causes your body to be in a state of not only emotional but physical stress, & that can cause physical pain in spite of there being no injury.

An extreme startle response is also caused by having to be in a state of hyper-vigilance.  It manifests as being drastically more startled than you would expect to be in a specific situation.  This startle response often cause anger or even tears in the startled person.

Sleep disturbances is another common sign of trauma in a person’s life.  Nightmares that either relive the trauma or trigger emotions similar to those experienced during traumatic episodes happen often.  Waking up often during the night or struggling to fall asleep in spite of doing things to help even including taking sleep aids are also common.  Some people can wake up throwing punches, because they are so accustomed to protecting themselves.  This happens with those suffering from PTSD who have served in the military or those in law enforcement.

Being too busy is a trauma response that many people employ.  These people will keep themselves as busy as possible during their waking hours.  They work long shifts, participate in many activities & rarely take time to just rest, even when they’re sick.  They do this as a way to avoid facing their pain.  If they don’t have time to think, they also don’t have time to think about their pain.

Similar to being too busy is losing yourself in activities.  Staring at social media or watching tv for hours is another way to escape facing pain by focusing attention elsewhere.  While neither is bad, doing so for hours on end is unhealthy, especially if the one doing so is unable to stop.

Eating disorders can be another sign of unresolved trauma.  It is a way to regain some control when a person feels like they have no control otherwise.

Avoiding places & people that remind a victim of past trauma are more trauma responses.  No one wants to face reminders of pain, of course, but those who have been through extreme trauma will go to great lengths to avoid it.

Avoiding conflict is very common in those with traumatic pasts.  When abuse happens during conflict instead of dialog designed to work things out, it instills fear in a person about conflict with anyone, not only the abuser.

If you recognize yourself in some or even all of these symptoms, hope is not lost!   The more you deal with the trauma in your life, the more these unhealthy patterns will break.  Not overnight, but they will happen.  Keep working on your healing however works for you.  Pray, write in a journal, talk to a supportive friend or therapist… whatever you do that helps you, keep on doing it even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress.  Healing isn’t a simple thing.  Sometimes it looks like nothing is improving, then suddenly you make big progress.  Other times, you’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional habits.  It’s ok!  It’s just a part of the healing journey.  Don’t give up!

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15% Off Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 15% off all of my print books until July 16, 2021. Simply use code SUMMER15 at checkout.

Click the link below to see all of my print books..

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Illness & Injury In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently realized something that I’ve been living with for my entire life is most likely a symptom of narcissistic abuse.  It never occurred to me before, so I started researching it & found absolutely nothing on this topic.  All I can share with you is my personal experience, nothing I learned from anyone or anything else.

Many of you who know my work know I survived Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in 2015.  As a result, I live with symptoms of that & a Traumatic Brain Injury from either the oxygen deprivation to my brain during the poisoning or the concussion I most likely got from hitting my head when the poison made me pass out or a combination of both.  I don’t discuss these symptoms much partly because I don’t want to sound like either my mother or mother in-law who used their health problems to gain attention.  I also doubt my problems in spite of the glaring evidence that something is wrong.  Sometimes I think I’m exaggerating or even faking it in order to get attention like them.  And, I don’t want to “bother” anyone with my trivial problems.

I know how ridiculous this sounds.  How can I think that way when I know better than anyone else just how difficult my life is because of the symptoms?  And for attention?!  I minimize them to everyone, including myself.  As far as burdening anyone, I’m not one to ask for help easily so I of all people should know if I want to ask for help, it’s very necessary.  I know all of this, yet these thoughts are still there.  Why?!

Suddenly it hit me.  These thoughts are there because of narcissistic abuse!

Growing up, my illnesses & injuries were taken as an inconvenience.  My mother could be nice to me when I was sick or hurt.  A part of me looked forward to being sick or hurt for that reason. But, she would remind me even years later how much of a burden it was when I was sick.  The older I got, however, the less likely it was she’d be nice to me when those things happened.  In fact, I never missed a single day of high school even though there were days I really should have stayed home. 

When I was 19, as I’ve mentioned before, my mother & I got into a physical fight & she threw me into a wall. I am reasonably sure she wanted to kill me that night.  I lived with awful back pain for 10 years after that.  No doctors believed I was injured & my mother was convinced I was faking it.  Looking back now, I think the pain was due to the emotional trauma rather than any physical injury, because when I get extremely stressed, my back aches in that same location.  At the time however, I didn’t realize this, & thought if even the doctors think I’m faking it, maybe I am. 

As an adult, other people haven’t believed me when something was wrong or acted as if my pain was nothing but an inconvenience to them.  My ex husband being the worst of them, but there were others too. 

I believe the years of being accused of faking problems led me to doubt myself, & think that I am faking whatever problems I have, unless there is undeniable proof.  I realized this recently when I learned one problem I have is a common symptom of brain injuries.  It should have simply been eye opening but instead it made me happy because here is proof that something is wrong!  I’m not faking it!

I also realized I hide so much from my husband because I don’t want to burden him, & I don’t feel I have the right to expect his help when I need it.  Pretty ridiculous, really.  He should help me if I need it!  That is what spouses do for each other! 

It occurred to me that if I experience this with my own health problems, then others who have endured narcissistic abuse probably do too.  That is why I wanted to share this with you today.  You’re not alone & you’re not crazy!  I totally understand!

Unfortunately as of yet, I don’t know of any ways to change this dysfunctional thinking, but if I come up with anything, I definitely will talk about it in the future.  In the meanwhile, please know I understand & am praying for you!

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Executive Dysfunction After Narcissistic Abuse

Have you ever heard of executive dysfunction?  As the name describes, this is when executive functions don’t work properly.  Executive functions are cognitive & mental abilities that enable us to accomplish things.  They help us by directing & controlling our behavior, planning, prioritizing as well as giving motivation.

Executive functioning is higher level cognitive functioning.  Some examples are:

  • Emotional regulation, such as working through anxiety.
  • Impulse control.
  • Attention, such as directing attention where it is necessary to accomplish things.
  • Planning such as creating & following a schedule.
  • Self assessment, such as making sure you’re taking a reasonable amount of time on the task at hand.
  • Using working memory, such as following directions or reading.

Anyone can experience executive dysfunction periodically, in particular when overly stressed or tired.  That is entirely normal.  It becomes abnormal when executive dysfunction interferes with daily life.  Difficulty with decision making, concentrating, organization & low motivation are some examples.

Executive dysfunction is often caused by brain damage.  Traumatic brain injuries, dementia & Alzheimer’s disease are known causes, but mental illness can cause it as well.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are known to cause it as well. 

PTSD is another mental illness that can cause executive dysfunction, & that is the reason I felt it necessary to discuss executive dysfunction.

May of us who struggle with PTSD or C-PTSD also struggle with executive dysfunction, yet are unaware that was what our problem is.  It doesn’t help that those in our lives call us lazy, tell us we need to get out more often or offer other equally useless & unsolicited advice.  Useless or unsolicited, it still can take a toll on the self esteem especially since it’s already been so damaged thanks to the narcissists in our lives.

Those of you who have been down this road, I want to let you know today that you aren’t lazy!  There is something wrong with you & it’s not your fault that you have this problem!  Your brain has been broken due to the trauma or traumas you have experienced.  Brain damage in any capacity is no joke!  It’s a horrible thing! 

Brain damage is also not something you can fix easily, like a broken bone.  Brain damage may heal completely or it may not heal at all, no matter what you do or don’t do.  The brain is a very unique organ & very unpredictable in how it responds to injury, trauma & even healing.  I’m not telling you this to make you lose hope.  I’m telling you this so you can be realistic in what to expect.

With the symptoms of executive dysfunction, you can learn ways to work with your symptoms. 

Set up a routine & stick to it.  Not so much you become rigid about it because there will be times you need to change it.  Even so, having a set schedule takes some pressure off because you know what you need to do each day.  It becomes a habit, so it’s easy to remember over time, too.

Use a calendar app on your phone to help you remember appointments & tasks that are out of the ordinary.  One with alarms is especially helpful.

Utilize sticky notes & to do lists to help you to stay organized. 

When motivation strikes, use it!  There tend to be more days without it than with, so when it happens, use it to the best of your ability.

Executive dysfunction isn’t easy to live with I know, but you can learn ways to cope!

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Illness Changes Personality & Behavior

When a person faces serious health problems, they change & not only physically.  Their personalities change, too.  That is normal.  Sometimes the personality changes can be very bad.

A dear friend of mine lost her husband some time ago after caring for him for several years.  Not long before he died, she told me some very disturbing things about his behavior.  This once good, kind, loving man was suddenly exhibiting many narcissistic traits.  In particular, he didn’t want his wife to be with other people, including their children.  It was bizarre since narcissism doesn’t suddenly show up, like when you catch a cold.  The more we talked about things, the more I thought of something… 

After I survived Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, the hospital gave me no information & even said my elevated carbon monoxide levels “weren’t so bad.”  They also said I had no brain injury in spite of showing many signs of a concussion from hitting my head when I passed out.  The hospital said I could return to work two days later, but by that time, I still felt just as miserable as I did when I left the hospital.  I was lost, so I started researching my condition.  I also joined a traumatic brain injury group on Facebook.  I noticed immediately most people in the group showed a LOT of narcissistic tendencies & were very insecure.  I left the group quickly, but I realized something.  I was starting to behave much as they were!  I wanted my husband to be with me non stop & was very annoyed he wasn’t.  I knew he had demanding, elderly parents with health problems, plus a full time job which all left him exhausted much of the time, but even so, I was annoyed he didn’t spend more time with me.  Realizing how selfish I was behaving was a real wakeup call!

I told my friend about my experiences plus what I witnessed in that group & in time, we realized what happened with her husband was much like what happened to me.

The reason I’m sharing this is so many people are affected by serious health concerns either in themselves or in those they love.  Whether you are the person with the condition or someone you love is, it’s vital to understand that serious health problems can change someone’s personality drastically.  The condition doesn’t even need to be something that affects one’s brain directly like Alzheimer’s, stroke or traumatic brain injury for this to happen. 

When you become seriously sick or injured, you become scared.  Even if you’re getting the best of care & have a great prognosis, health problems are terrifying. 

Add in that you can’t do things you once took for granted & are forced to rely on other people for help.  That too can make you feel afraid, especially for the person who has always been self reliant, & is a serious blow to the self esteem.

Having to rely on other people also can make you feel like a burden, which unsurprisingly is terrible for one’s self esteem.

Feeling like a burden can make you feel that you need to put your best face forward & not show others just how miserable you feel or how much you’re struggling.  There is a very difficult balance in this situation.  If you act as if your symptoms aren’t as bad as they are, or not happening at all, people often think you’re faking the health crisis.  But, if you are honest about it, people often think you’re exaggerating your symptoms, feeling sorry for yourself or looking for attention.

Feeling insecure & afraid naturally change a person.  Many people get angry.  Many others talk about their illness non stop in an effort to educate people, which often alienates them because people get tired of hearing about this topic.  Most people though seem to become insecure, some even to the point of displaying narcissistic tendencies.

If you are the person who is ill & behaving this way, please work on healing!  You are only hurting yourself & those around you!  I know it’s hard but you can change!  Watch your behavior, & change it accordingly.  Apologize when you mistreat someone or have unfair expectations on them.  Stop expecting people to meet your needs & focus on God to do that. 

If you are the person in a relationship with someone who is behaving this way, remember, you can’t change their behavior.  They have to change themselves.  But, you aren’t helpless.  You need to have good boundaries in place & enforce them.  Talk to this person & explains that their behavior hurts you.  Non-narcissistic people will respond to that!  I know it seems hard to believe if you’ve dealt with a narcissist, but it’s true.  Remind yourself that their behavior isn’t personal.  It’s their illness making them act this way rather than something you are doing wrong.

Whichever position you are in, remember to stay close to God. Nurture that relationship.  That is what will help you more than anything else!

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A Common Way Mental Illness Is Minimized

Most of us have used terms like, “That drives me crazy!”, claimed something gave us a “panic attack” when all it did was startle us, or even described a moody person as being “bipolar” even though that moody person wasn’t diagnosed with the disorder.  Phrases like this have been part of the way people talk for God only knows how long.

I believe there is a problem with using these phrases though.  By using these phrases so freely, they dilute very serious mental health disorders.

Claiming something drives you crazy makes insanity sound like an annoyance rather than a serious mental problem.

Panic attacks are also much more than being startled.  They can feel like you’re having a heart attack.  They are physically & mentally debilitating.  After I have one, I feel very emotionally drained & exhausted for quite some time after.

Saying a moody person is bipolar makes Bipolar Disorder seem much less serious than it is.  Those with Bipolar Disorder aren’t simply moody.  Manic episodes can involve some very risky & even dangerous behavior.  The down side is seriously bad as well.  The depression can be so severe as to include suicidal ideation. 

If you think I am over thinking this situation, then consider this.  As a victim of narcissistic abuse, doesn’t it offend you when someone carelessly describes someone’s selfish behavior as narcissistic?  You have seen narcissistic behavior up close & personal.  You are all too aware that it is extremely different than someone doing something without thought or consideration of other people.  It is more than selfishness.  It is abusive, malicious, cruel & dangerous to your mental & physical health.  Lumping someone who simply was thoughtless in a momentary lapse of judgment in the same category as someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is deeply offensive to anyone who has seen the unmasked narcissist first hand.

I really don’t think most people are being malicious when they say something “drives them crazy” or some other phrase related to mental illness.  These phrases have become so common place, no one really thinks twice when saying or hearing them.  They simply have become an everyday part of our vernacular.  The problem with that is over time, very subtly, they reduce the meaning of real & serious mental disorders.  Sometimes, even make them laughable.  This just should not be the case!

If you realize you use such phrases, please reconsider doing so.  On behalf of my fellow “crazy” people, I ask you to stop it.  I know what I live with having C-PTSD & there is nothing laughable or trivial about it.  Having to fight your own mind to get through the day is serious & an incredibly difficult way to live.  It isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy.  Having my mental health trivialized or turned into the butt of a joke is insulting. 

What makes this situation even worse is mental illness is seldom believed.  If a person wears a cast on their leg, people see this person obviously broke their leg.  They offer that person sympathy.  Mental illness doesn’t have a glaring piece of physical evidence that is undeniable proof of the mental illness.  Those who suffer with it often aren’t taken seriously because they look “normal.”  Living with that then the trivialization of our illness is extraordinarily hard.  Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue has the power of life & death.  Please remember that & choose your words wisely!

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Living With A Spirit Of Fear

2 Timothy 1:7 in the Amplified Bible says, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].”  It can be so hard to remember that God has given us a healthy mind sometimes!  Having lived with many symptoms of C-PTSD for as far back as I can remember then almost all since 2012, there have been more times than not that I have doubted that very Scripture.  Clearly I’m not proud of that but it’s true.  Waking up during panic & anxiety attacks, the way sometimes anxiety runs roughshod over logic & the crippling agoraphobia I lived with for well over 20 years can make that happen.

If you can relate, then you too may be controlled by a spirit of fear as I have been.  There are ways you can identify if this is indeed the problem or not.

Do you have the urge to hide from everyone, even God?  Fear can become a self made prison, creating the urge to avoid everyone.  Most introverts are fine with plenty of alone time but even so, fear can make even the most die hard introvert spend too much time away from other people & become lonely.  It also can make even the most devoted Christian pray less & less.

Is your faith becoming weak?  If so, you may be living with a spirit of fear.  Fear can create a hindrance for believing in what God has to say.  It can make you think irrational thoughts such as all of those promises in the Bible aren’t for you, that God meant them for other people.  It can make you doubt the call on your life to the point of not following through with it.  It also can make you forget what you know the Bible says or what God has spoken to you.

Fear can consume your thoughts.  When fear takes over, all you can think about is the issue that makes you afraid.  You neglect relationships, doing a good job at work, caring for children & pets & more. 

Fear can skew your judgment.  Because fear is so tormenting & miserable, you can become desperate for a way out.  This means you may listen to people you normally wouldn’t listen to for advice. You may consider or actually do things you know you shouldn’t do.

If you can relate to these, then you may be operating under the control of a spirit of fear.  Don’t lose hope though!  You don’t have to live this way any longer!

To start, refocus on God.  Read your Bible more often.  Subscribe to a daily devotional or Bible in a year email.  Listen to Christian music that makes you feel close to God & do it often.  Ask Him for help whenever you feel fear.  And when you don’t, thank Him & ask Him to help you to live with this type of peace more often.

Consider your situation logically.  Ask yourself why this situation makes you so afraid.  Is there a valid reason to feel fear?  Can harm come to you or someone else?  Doing this can help you refocus & accept that there is no real reason to be scared.

Force yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes.  It really will help you to have more self confidence which will in turn reduce the amount of fear you feel.  When my mother died & I learned I was her personal representative, I didn’t think I could do it.  I had no choice though.  I legally couldn’t pawn the duties off on anyone else.  I literally had to force myself to do things that were miles out of my comfort zone.  I did them though.  I tried to reward myself almost every time I did something, too.  It didn’t have to be anything big.  I like driving while listening to good music so I would take a long route home & just enjoy the music.  Sometimes I picked up dinner rather than cook.  Pushing myself out of my comfort zone helped me to gain more & more confidence, & the rewards helped to cement good feelings in my mind.  Try to do the same!  Start small & do bigger, scarier things as you feel able, & don’t forget to reward yourself after for a job well done!

In time, you can stop living with that spirit of fear & start living with the sound mind that God has given you!

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The Four Trauma Responses: Flight

Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences.  Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others. 

Some people favor the flight trauma response over the other three options.  This basically means their instinct during a traumatic event is to do anything they can to avoid the trauma.  If they can run away, they will.  During a traumatic event, someone who favors the flight trauma response but cannot escape will be pretty easy to identify.  They are clearly anxious, which means their breathing is shallow & rapid.  They may be restless, and this shows by tapping their feet or fingers.  Their eyes dart around, looking for a means of escape.

In situations where traumatic experiences are repeated, such as in cases of child abuse, some long term problems develop from using this trauma response over & over again.  Flight is used as a coping mechanism, & it manifests in many ways.  Workaholism, perfectionistic ways, micromanaging others, the need to keep busy constantly, obsession with video games, endlessly surfing through channels or social media, & other avoidance type behaviors can be signs of someone who has experienced the flight trauma response regularly. These behaviors are designed to keep someone from thinking about past trauma.  There are other signs too, such as anxiety disorders, constant worrying, inability to relax, hyper-activity & being overly analytical.

Like other trauma responses, it is understandable a person could react this way to trauma & behave this way after repeated triggers of their flight response.  That doesn’t make the behavior healthy, however.  Being constantly on the go whether it is mentally or physically takes a toll on a person’s mental & physical health.  Changes need to be made & they can be!

As always I recommend prayer to start.  Ask God to guide you, to help you to behave in a healthier way & anything else you can think of.

Look at your life.  What is unhealthy?  Are you constantly working eighty hour workweeks?  Spending every free moment playing video games?  Do you feel as if you must stay busy every waking moment?  These are some examples of red flags.  It also may help to ask those people who are closest to you for their thoughts as well. 

Once you have identified the problem areas in your life, then figure out a plan on how to make appropriate changes.  Cut back on hours spent at work if at all possible, or find another job.  Set times for certain activities & stick to the limits.

Lastly, it will help you tremendously to finally face what you have been avoiding.  I know it’s hard!  I know it’s scary!  I also know that until you do this & focus on healing & becoming healthier, any changes you make most likely will be temporary.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, & if they aren’t dealt with in a healthy way, they will manifest in unhealthy ways.  You’re going to suffer from the pain of the trauma or of the pain of the unhealthy manifestations of your emotions.  Why not make the pain count & focus on your healing?  At least that way, the pain will end & you will be much happier & healthier for it. 

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The Four Trauma Responses: Fight

Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences.  Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others. 

During traumatic experiences, those who exercise the fight response do exactly as you would expect.  They fight.  They are obviously angry, they will cry, ball up their hands into fists, their jaws will be clenched tightly, & they look ready to attack anything that is in reach.  Sometimes they do, usually punching walls or slamming doors. 

Clearly this type of trauma response can be useful.  If someone is afraid of you, they aren’t going to attack or abuse you.  Unfortunately though it can backfire, & in particular with children with narcissistic parents.  When a young child gets angry at their narcissistic parent, that parent won’t tolerate that.  Narcissists want their children to show no emotions whatsoever, & anger at the narcissist’s abusive ways is the least tolerated emotion.  Narcissists expect everyone, in particular their children, to tolerate their abuse indefinitely & without complaint.  Standing up to a narcissist says their behavior is wrong & won’t be tolerated, which creates a narcissistic injury.  In other words, their pride is damaged when they are told their behavior is anything less than perfect.  Often narcissistic parents step up their abuse in these situations.  These children learn not to show anger towards their parents, & often take it out on innocent victims. 

The repeated use of this trauma response can cause many problems that last into adulthood.  Some problems are the inability to handle anger in a healthy way, a quick temper, becoming a bully, becoming controlling & sometimes even becoming narcissistic or showing some narcissistic tendencies while not being a full blown narcissist.  It seems to me these behaviors are all about having some control &/or hurting others before the angry person can be hurt. 

This sort of behavior doesn’t have to be permanent though!  With effort & time, you can develop healthier habits!

As always, I highly recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to help you change, to show you what you need to do & anything else you can think of.

You will need to accept that you don’t have to control or bully others, too.  Remember, even God doesn’t control people.  If anyone has that right, it’s the Creator of the universe!  If He won’t do it, what makes you think you have the right to do so?

It will help to consider other people more often, too, not only yourself.  Consider others when you make decisions, when you make plans, when you speak.  Consider their wants & needs, too.  What do those close to you want & need?  How can you help to meet those needs & wants?

When you feel yourself getting angry, stop.  Take a deep breath & release it slowly.  This will help to calm your body & mind, & that will allow you to think clearly about the situation.  When you think clearly rather than simple react, you may realize the situation isn’t really worth being angry about like you thought it was at first.

Also please know that you are going to need to heal from the events that created this behavior in you in the first place.  I know it’s a scary thing, but you need to face those things in order to heal.  I promise you, it WILL be worth it!

The lasting effects of an overused fight trauma response don’t need to be such a big part of your life.  While it did help you survive for some time, & can be a useful tool, there are clearly many negatives!  You can make healthy changes & live a happier life!

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Another Good Sale On My Print Books!

This time, my publisher is offering 15% off all print books. Simply use code READER15 at checkout until March 26, 2021 to take advantage of the sale. Visit the link below to see my books…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Willful Ignorance

Many people realize the truth will set you free.  They know that even the ugly, painful truth is always better than a pretty lie, & no matter how much it may hurt, always aim for truth in their lives.

Then there are other people who are nothing like that.  They prefer pretty lies any day.  They excuse the bad behavior of others readily & deny those people have done anything wrong.  These people are practicing something called willful ignorance.

Willful ignorance is a legal term which basically means a person has made a poor decision to circumvent information as a way for people to avoid making uncomfortable decisions.  On a more personal note, it is the avoidance of information or evidence that would force a person to face something unpleasant.

One of the best examples of this came from my personal life.  As I’ve written about before, at the time my father was dying, I had been no contact with him for several months.  My family attacked me via any means possible daily, trying to force me to go say goodbye to him.  Every time I would block one means, they’d find another.  I finally asked God why.  One of the things He said was that me staying away meant I was proving that not everything was ok.  If I would have gone, that would have shown them that my father was the great guy they wanted to believe he was.  I was threatening their willful ignorance. 

This also happens in cases where a person is abused by their parent, spouse, in-laws, etc. & other people refuse to believe it rather than get involved & try to protect the victim.

While it is certainly understandable to avoid painful things, willful ignorance is incredibly dysfunctional.  It sets people up for disappointment & unnecessary suffering because they refuse to acknowledge the warning signs most people see.  It hurts those closest to those who engage in this behavior because they are helpless to help the person they love.  These people are so devoted to their dysfunction that they will ignore what the person who loves them says, & will fight with them to protect their denial.

It is so hard being in this situation, whether you are the one practicing willful ignorance or the one who loves someone who practices it.

If you are the one practicing it, please stop!  I know the truth can be scary & painful, but by avoiding facing that, you’re hurting yourself, not helping yourself.  You need to know that God loves you & will help you to face whatever needs facing.  If you have trouble with that due to having an abusive parent figure in your life, He understand that too!  Be honest & tell Him just how you feel.  It’s ok!  I can promise you, He won’t cast you into hell or strike you down with a lightening bolt.  He will gently help you to see you can trust Him which will help you to start facing the painful things you must face.

And, if you are someone who loves a person who is willfully ignorant, I want you to know that God understands your pain & frustration.  Ask Him to show you how to support our loved one in a healthy way.  He will!  Don’t get sucked into the dysfunction either.  Stick to the truth & don’t let this person convince you of their false beliefs.  Keep your boundaries in place & protect yourself from the dysfunction of this situation.  This person has the right to engage in their dysfunction to their heart’s content, but you also have the right to engage in healthier ways.  Part of that means protecting yourself & not getting involved in their dysfunction.

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Another Sale On My Print Books!

This time, my publisher is offering 10% off all print books until March 19, 2021 when you use code SELL10 at checkout.

Check out my print books at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

If you prefer ebooks, those are also availble at the link below…

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Ebook Sale!

My publish is having their “Read An Ebook Week” sale from March 7 until March 13. This means that all of my ebooks will be 25% off! Come check them out!

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Narcissism: Is It Really Mental Illness?

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

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

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

Not necessarily.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Some Life Altering Symptoms Of C-PTSD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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