So many of us raised with narcissistic parents have heard the phrase “just let it go” too many times to count upon mentioning our awful upbringing. People fail to realize that we would love to let it go & not think about it anymore. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple!
Narcissistic abuse is incredibly ubiquitous. It doesn’t simply affect one small part of you- it permeates every area of your mind & even body. All of your thinking stems from the perspective of someone who was abused by a narcissist. Your body may reflect that abuse too, even if the narcissist didn’t attempt to hurt you physically. The constant stress of living with a narcissist can lead to adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, C-PTSD or PTSD (which are both brain injuries resulting from surviving trauma).
Simply put, you can’t “just let go of” such things no matter how much you wish you could. And honestly, why would you? To make some cold hearted, unfeeling person more comfortable in your presence? Life experiences- good, bad or indifferent- made you the person you are. Learn from them all & grow!
There are some things you can let go of, however. You can let go of:
The next time someone tells you to “just let it go,” you can tell them what you have let go, using the above statements as an example. Or, if you really want to throw them for a loop, ask them what exactly do they want you to let go of & how they recommend you go about doing so.
I recently was watching “Dr G: Medical Examiner” on TV. The show fascinates me in a morbid way. She discusses various cases that come into her medical examiner’s office in Florida.
Well, this particular episode had a strange case. A lady had been found lying on the floor of her bedroom by her son. She was badly burned, yet nothing in the house was burned. Suddenly the paramedics came & transported her to the hospital where she died 11 hours later. It turned out she committed suicide.
The lady wanted her fiancee to commit suicide with her. He didn’t take her seriously. They got into an argument & he left. She then grabbed a lighter, drove to a nearby field & lit herself on fire! Apparently she had a change of heart & drove herself home. She called 911 & after she hung up is when her son found her.
The story was heartbreaking to me. I’ve been suicidal in my life & let me tell you, it is a horrendous place to be. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone! It’s torture feeling as if no one cares & the world would be a better place without you.
Many people who are truly suicidal show very subtle or no clues that they are feeling this way. People are often shocked when they die because they say there weren’t any signs. Or, they say something like, “I didn’t think he really meant it when he said he was tired of living.”
Dear Reader, please pay attention to the people in your life. Many people are suicidal, especially if they have mental illness. Did you know there’s a 15-20% suicide rate among those with Bipolar Disorder? PTSD is even higher, estimated to be around 50%.
Even those without diagnosed mental illness can become suicidal. Everyone has a breaking point. Losing loved ones (through death, divorce, moving, etc) can take a huge toll on a person’s level of joy. Losing a pet can trigger suicidal thoughts in many people. Even losing a job can be devastating. Men in particular have a hard time with job loss. Medical problems can trigger depression. The fear of the unknown can be utterly terrifying, especially when it comes to one’s health. Or, sometimes having surgery can trigger depression due to the changes in one’s body.
The point is all kinds of changes, sometimes even positive ones, can trigger depression in a person. Knowing this, it’s a good idea to offer support to those you love if they have faced changes or difficulties. I’m not saying you have to fix their problems for them. I am saying that it is a good idea to be there for someone. A little support or show of your love for them can go a long way. Many suicidal people believe no one cares about them. Letting a person know you care may make all the difference.
If someone wants to talk about a problem, listen to them without offering advice unless they ask. Many times, people just need to vent. They may know how to fix the problem or there may be no solution to it, & they just need to talk about their feelings.
When talking about their problems, sometimes people’s emotions get overwhelming. They may burst into tears or get angry out of the blue. Don’t take that personally! It happens when people are extremely stressed & upset!
Avoid saying things that are going to upset the person further:
Rather than saying something stupid, be honest. Tell the person you don’t know what to say to help other than you’re sorry she’s hurting or sorry that happened to her. Tell her you’re here for her & you love her.
If there is something you can do for the person, do it! Don’t just say, “I’m here for you” then bow out if asked for something. Mean it!
Offer to pray for &/or with the person. Praying with someone often can bring a great deal of peace.
Check in often. Call or text as often as you think the person is OK with. Don’t harass them every 15 minutes of course, but once a day should be good.
If your friend mentions suicide, please think carefully about what to say! Never tell the person she’s being selfish or stupid, or that their child/spouse/parent needs them. Shaming a suicidal person just makes them want to kill themselves even more. Ask why they feel that way, then listen to what they say. Cry with them, hug them, pray for them, tell them you love them.
If you are the suicidal one, Dear Reader, there are people who will listen. There are suicide hotlines. 1-800- SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) is a national one that will direct you to your local hotline.
Although I’m sure you don’t feel this way, there are people in your life who love you. Your family & friends, even your pets, love you more than you realize. And, God loves you so very much. When you hurt, He hurts. Turn to Him, & tell Him how you feel. He will understand!
James 1:5 “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.” (TLB)
As many of you know, I have C-PTSD. It’s badly damaged how I think & my short term memory. Then in 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning which caused me to pass out & hit my head, further damaging my brain. Thanks to these problems, I’m really not as smart as I once was, & it can be simply maddening.
The above Scripture has helped me a great deal with my physical limitations. I lean on God so much more than I used to for giving me wisdom, & He has not disappointed me. I’m not bragging about my intelligence. I am bragging how generous God has been!
So many times in my life, I have been stuck in a painful situation I didn’t want to be in, & God has shown me creative ways to get out of the situation or to cope with it so it isn’t so painful to me. One that comes to mind immediately happened a few years ago. My narcissistic mother told me I was going to take her to & from the doctor who is almost 30 miles away. I had things going on that day & didn’t want to do it, but she refused to reschedule her appointment. This had happened many times & I was tired of it. It also bothered me we’d be taking her car & not mine- I hate being trapped without my own vehicle. I asked God to help me get through the day & I needed a creative way to either get out of this in the future, or for Him to put it on my mother’s heart to be more open to my schedule, not only hers. As we were leaving the doctor’s office, God gave me an idea- drive home like we were on a NASCAR track. There wasn’t much traffic, so I did. I had a lot of fun speeding down the highway, & my mother was especially angry because it was her car I drove that way. That was the last day my mother saw this particular doctor. LOL He wasn’t doing her any good anyway- she just got narcissistic supply from him & his staff because they listened to her. They didn’t help her pain at all.
So many other times in the past few years since developing my physical problems, I have needed wisdom & asked God for it. He has answered those prayers every time. From simple things, like creating a routine for maintaining my home that keeps my place very clean but isn’t hard for me, to more challenging things like how to deal with financial problems, God has helped me every time. He has even helped me to understand my narcissistic parents, which has helped me so much! Understanding them has shown me that I’m not the problem, & they have some serious issues that aren’t my fault. Talk about a blessing! After hearing how I was always the problem, this knowledge has truly comforted me more than I can say.
What areas do you need wisdom in, Dear Reader? Whatever your needs, I encourage you to ask God for wisdom. He will grant you wisdom & creativity far above & beyond anything you can imagine. Whether your situation is like mine where you need more wisdom to handle daily life or it is a one time frustrating situation, be prepared to be amazed when you ask God to give you wisdom.
Those of you who have been reading my work for some time know that on February 27, 2015, I nearly died. My fireplace’s flue had a problem & it caused carbon monoxide to enter my home. It caused me to pass out, hitting my head on the logs beside the fireplace which gave me a concussion. I easily could’ve died that day, but I didn’t. I live with symptoms daily from the experience but my thinking has been especially odd to me.
My emotions & ways of thinking are different now than they were prior to my accident. I have become much more self-centered in my thinking. I firmly believe this is a side effect of the concussion, as many people I’ve seen who have experienced brain injuries become extremely selfish, some even narcissistic. Thankfully I’m aware of it & do my best not to let it get out of hand. I am also triggered VERY easily now. Seeing a happy parent & child together saddens me, for example, because my relationship with my parents is so unhappy & downright toxic. It’s very odd since I never thought that way before. I also don’t lose my temper often, but when I do it is very ugly. Even after 2 years, I’m still getting used to all of this.
I finally recently asked God about what is going on with me. I’m hoping what He said will help some of you as well if you’ve experienced changes after a health scare.
Some health issues can change a person. The chemical or physical changes caused by some illnesses or injuries can cause a person to respond differently than they once did. Traumatic brain injuries & carbon monoxide are known for changing a person, but other illnesses & injuries can as well. Many people experience depression after surgery, for example. The changes you experience due to your physical problems may influence how your brain processes information. In my case, my brain was already injured due to C-PTSD, & the concussion was just one more injury & one more trauma. No wonder I’m triggered more easily now.
Becoming more selfish isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. As long as it’s kept in check, it’s actually a good thing. So many of us raised by narcissists learned early to put other people ahead of ourselves no matter what. We need to become a bit more selfish & start taking care of us & without feeling guilty for it!
Everyone has a point where enough is enough. When a person faces a serious health scare or near death experience, that may push the “enough is enough” point way up. Something about coming close to death makes a person realize just how fleeting life is & how quickly it can end. Often, that realization means patience for abusers vanishes & sometimes that filter that keeps you speaking nice things doesn’t always work. You may not get mean, but you may become more blunt. The realization also can make a person more determined to enjoy every possible moment of their life.
If you come from a narcissistic family, facing health problems means you have an additional complication to your health concerns. Do you tell them? If so, you know they won’t be there to help you if need be.. will they even care? Can you deal with whatever cruelty they dish out to you on top of being sick? Being faced with having to hide your problems or hear from your narcissistic parents about how much worse of *insert name here* has it than you are NOT nice prospects! In fact, they hurt a great deal & they make you angry.
If you’re experiencing changes in your personality after illness or injury, talk to your doctors. If nothing is physically wrong, then maybe you’re experiences are simply similar to mine. Why not try to embrace the changes the best you can? Maybe once you get to know the new you, you’ll think you’re pretty cool! And maybe too, the changes are for the best. Losing patience for abusers is a good thing- you won’t be a doormat anymore! Being more determined to enjoy life is a wonderful thing too. You’ll waste less time on fruitless things & spend more time on the things you enjoy & that are important to you. I know it can be hard to find the good in health problems, but some things like I’ve mentioned in this article can be good. They may be hard to get used to at first, but they really can be a good thing!
Mental illness is very different from physical illness in many ways. One of those ways is the fact most people don’t usually believe someone has a mental illness. If you have diabetes, people can see there’s a problem. They see you testing your glucose or giving yourself an insulin shot. If you have cancer, you have xrays, mri’s & maybe even a visible tumor that people can see. But if you have a mental illness, there isn’t such evidence.
If you have Bipolar disorder, you’re just “moody.”
If you have C-PTSD or PTSD, you’re “dwelling in the past, need to stop thinking about things, need to get over it or you can’t have it because you weren’t in the military.”
If you’re depressed or anxious, “you’re feeling sorry for yourself, stop being sad or anxious, need to get out more or take a pill & get over it.” “Everyone feels sad/anxious” is another common comment.
What people fail to realize is you can’t control the symptoms of mental illness any more than you can physical illness.
As someone who is not only suffering with mental illness but also frustrated with the lack of compassion & understanding many people have about it, you may do like many people, & try to explain & justify your illness. Chances are, this will only frustrate you further.
As someone with mental illness myself, I get it. You want people to understand & not judge. You don’t want to be invalidated either. After years of thinking any problem I had wasn’t important (thanks, Mom & Dad for the invalidation), I assumed my mental health wasn’t important either. It took a long time for me to accept that I have real problems, & being invalidated by subject changes & such stupid statements as “Just take a pill- you’ll be fine” make me feel as I did growing up, like I don’t count. Frankly, I’ve come too far to live with that feeling anymore. I’ve also realized if I continue to explain to certain people who say such invalidating things, it will leave me feeling even more frustrated & angry. They only dig their heels in deeper & become more committed to know nothing of the problem at hand. They don’t want to understand, so nothing I can say will make them understand. It’s not worth my time & energy trying to make them understand
If you are in this situation as well, Dear Reader, I would like to encourage you today. You don’t have to explain your mental illness to anyone. Some people are going to want to know about it, but some won’t. Those people are committed to not knowing or understanding, & it’s not your place to make them understand or know what you live with. You will know if someone is genuinely concerned for you & wants to know what you experience. They won’t try to tell you what to do to “get over” your mental illness. They will offer understanding & support, not judgment. They will offer to help you if they can. People like this are the only ones that deserve your time & any information you wish to share about your illness.
Triggers are things that trigger PTSD or C-PTSD symptoms to flare up. A certain sound that makes you have a flashback or a scent creates a panic attack are triggers.
Unfortunately triggers are everywhere. There is no avoiding them entirely, as wonderful as it would be if that was possible. I have realized there are times when you can be more easily or less easily triggered. Certain dates (an abusive parent’s birthday for example) can make you more sensitive to triggers. Some people also are more or less triggered at various stages of healing.
So what can be done about triggers? Since they can’t be avoided completely, they need to be managed.
Prayer is the best place to start. Ask God for help showing you ways to manage your symptoms during triggers or ways you can avoid them.
Identify your triggers & avoid them when possible. This isn’t always easy, as thinking about your triggers can be upsetting. But, you need to know what upsets you so you can either avoid it or be prepared to deal with it when you can’t.
Triggers can show you what areas you need healing in, so pay close attention to them. For me, hearing someone talk about being sick & having their family care for them is a big trigger for me. I barely saw a doctor growing up, my mother complained when I was sick about having to take care of me or being stuck at home with me. As an adult, my mother doesn’t believe me if I have a health problem, blames me for getting sick or injured or accuses me of faking it. When I hear someone talking about their awesome family who was there for them during a health crisis, I know that I couldn’t experience the same thing, & it hurts me. It also makes me angry at my mother for being incapable of feelings that any normal mother feels for her child, for seeing nothing wrong with her behavior & instead getting upset with me for being rightfully angry with her. All of this shows me I still need healing in this area. The good part about all of this is the more that you do heal in that area, the less power the triggers will have over you.
Also focus on the here & now. Being well aware of your surroundings can help you to stay focused on that rather than get caught up in a panic attack. This also can help you to stay in reality during a flashback. Touch something with an extreme texture- very soft or coarse fabric, maybe hold an ice cube. Smell something with a strong scent, such as lavender (which also has anti-anxiety properties) or that holds good memories for you, such as the perfume your favorite aunt wore when you were a child.
Write in a journal. Writing can be extremely therapeutic. It also can be validating when you see things in writing rather than speaking about them.
Learn what self-soothing techniques work best to relax you. They should involve at least one of your senses. Soak in a bubble bath, wear soft & comfy clothes, stretch, listen to calming music, listen to nature sounds, sing, drink herbal tea or flavored coffee (decaf is best), light a scented candle or incense, smell some flowers, read a book, watch a funny movie or tv show, look at pictures of those you love or that inspire you.
Recently I’ve realized something surprisingly helpful in helping me cope with the abuse I’ve experienced at the hands of my narcissistic parents. Seeing things through their eyes. Granted, that isn’t always an easy things to do since I’m not a narcissist, but it can be oddly helpful.
Seeing things through their eyes has shown me the incredible dysfunction they live with, & how so much of their abuse wasn’t personal (although it sure felt that way), but was solely about them. I was simply collateral damage, an acceptable loss to them.
For example, my mother has criticized my looks as far back as I can remember. Compared her features to mine, telling me how much more attractive hers were than mine. Naturally, I grew up feeling like the ugliest person on the planet. Eventually, I looked at this situation through my mother’s eyes. My mother said when I was born, she figured I’d look like her- brown hair & eyes. I’m a blue eyed blonde, like the Baileys- my father’s family. In fact, I look a lot like my grandmother, who, mind you, was a beauty in her youth. My mother hates all of her in-laws, so if you look at this situation through her narcissistic eyes, I probably betrayed her. I disappointed her by being born not looking like her, & to boot, looking like people she hates. Never mind I had zero control over this, somehow it still comes back to her, & I didn’t do as she wanted. I had to pay. Plus, she probably thought I was prettier than her, so again, I had to pay. She had to tear me down so I didn’t think of myself as pretty. Bonus- tearing me down built her up at the same time.
Realizing these things helped me to stop taking her scathing criticisms so personally. What she said wasn’t true- it was simply a means to make herself feel better & to nurse the “wound” I gave her by being born differently than she wanted me to be. Granted, I’m still trying to believe I’m pretty, but at least I know now what she said is all lies & I’m not some hideous monster like she made me feel like. (Feeling pretty probably will take a long time. Baby steps..)
See what I mean? Seeing things through her eyes helped me to see the truth in the situation, & stop believing her hurtful lies. It can help you as well, & let’s face facts- anyone who has experienced narcissistic abuse needs any help they can get to heal the damage it’s caused.
I would like to encourage you today to try this, Dear Reader. Look at a painful situation through the narcissist’s eyes. I guarantee you will see that you did not deserve what was done to you, that it was more about the narcissist than you & that the narcissist lied to you simply to benefit herself. If you’re having some trouble, ask God to help you if this is something He wants you to do.
People are often less than thrilled with facing unpleasant things, such as emotional healing. It’s quite understandable, really. Emotional work isn’t fun! It’s very hard, very draining work. It’s also very necessary.
I’ve caught myself many times distracting myself from the emotional work at hand. There have been plenty of times I’ve had a flashback at a very inconvenient time, & couldn’t deal with it right then. Times like this, I don’t think distracting yourself for a short time is a bad idea at all. In fact, it may be absolutely necessary, such as when I had a flashback while driving.
There have been plenty of other times when a flashback has happened or a repressed memory pops back into my mind that I distract myself even when I have the time & ability to focus on it. I’m just tired of things that happened 10, 20, or 30 years ago still affecting my life at 45. It’s exhausting & maddening, so sometimes I ignore the flashback or memory & try to avoid thinking about it.
I’ve noticed many others who have survived narcissistic abuse do the same thing.
This isn’t good though! I’ve come to realize that most of these things come to me when I have the time & I believe that is for a reason- so these awful things can be dealt with right then.
Avoiding facing issues only postpones the problem, it doesn’t make it go away. It is best to deal with things as soon as possible. After all, God allowed it to come to mind for a reason. He must know you are able to deal with it & need to do so. He wouldn’t allow this memory to return to your mind if coping with it wasn’t going to help you in some way.
Don’t get me wrong- there are plenty of times we need to distract ourselves from the work of recovery. If you’ve been focusing on narcissism & narcissistic abuse for a long time, it’s time for a break. If you have the awful experience of having a flashback behind the wheel like I did, you definitely don’t need to think about it then- you need to focus on driving! If you write about the topic like I do, frequent distractions are a must to keep your sanity.
I believe the key is using wisdom. I know in my heart when I should focus & when it’s time for a break. Granted, I don’t always pay attention, but I do know. When I ignore those “knowings,” I feel it. The memory that came back won’t leave me alone, I get angry, moodier than usual, tired mentally & physically.
I realize I need to ask God to help me in this area, to do His will. To face things as needed & to take breaks when needed. I would encourage you to do the same, Dear Reader. It will be good for your mental health!
Not many people have a good grasp on how to treat people with mental illness. Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD in particular seem to be targets for those with little to no compassion.
Following are some examples of bad things people often say to people suffering with mental illness. One thing that seems to diffuse people from further insensitive, invalidating comments is a calm, logical response. Some examples of ways to use that logic follow the examples.
“It’s all in your mind.” This one tells me the person saying it thinks you’re crazy & has no patience for you. Not exactly something to make you feel all warm & fuzzy, is it? A good response could be, “Well, yes it is. It’s a mental illness after all. Where else would it be?”
“Think happy thoughts.” Well, gee, why didn’t I think of that?! *facepalm* Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD can come with intrusive thoughts that may be impossible to control. Depression steals your hope, anxiety fills you with often irrational fears, PTSD & C-PTSD steal your hope, fill you with fear in addition to reminding you of all of the horrible, traumatic things you’ve been through. A possible response could be, “You seem to forget- my brain doesn’t work like yours. It’s physically broken. It’s not that easy for me to just think happy thoughts.”
“You should just…” Unasked for advice is never fun. It’s even worse when the person giving it has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. This one really gets under my skin, especially when it’s wrapped in fake concern. “I mean this in love, but you need to get over that…” for example. I’ve responded with, “Thank you but I didn’t ask for your advice on this subject.” The person who did this with me stopped speaking to me for months after saying that, but I don’t know if that is a typical response or not. She’s the only one I said that to so far.
“I know how you feel.” No. No you don’t. You aren’t me. You don’t live with the mental illness that I do. We are two very different people. So no, you don’t know how I feel. <– I believe that is a good response. I admit, I get snarky when told this. My responses aren’t usually this nice. Mine have been “You spent most of your life suicidal too? You have C-PTSD too? Aren’t those flashbacks terrible? Oh, you don’t have them.. then I guess you really don’t know how I feel.” Not nice, but it tends to get people’s attention when nicer comments don’t.
“That doesn’t sound so bad.” I think people forget that we are all different. What doesn’t sound so bad to one person can devastate another. My high school guidance counselor told me this phrase after telling her my mother would scream at me & tell me how horrible I was. It made me feel wrong for being traumatized. I was young & didn’t know about narcissism then, so I didn’t respond. Now? I think I would say something like, “Maybe it doesn’t sound so bad to you, but you weren’t there. You weren’t the one going through the trauma.”
“You can’t have PTSD. You weren’t in the military.” Unfortunately, because there has been attention on PTSD in soldiers, the rest of us with it resulting from non-military trauma have been disregarded. It reminds me of when AIDS was first coming into the public eye in the 80’s, & people thought it was a “gay disease.” AIDS isn’t a “gay disease” & PTSD isn’t a “military problem”. It’s a trauma problem. And, reminding someone who says you can’t have it because you weren’t in the military is a very good response.
Over the years, some of my readers have told me that they believe I’m a warrior for those who have endured narcissistic abuse. That has always stuck in the back of my mind because I knew it was important.
Just recently, their words came to the forefront of my mind & wouldn’t leave. I knew it was important but didn’t know why. Every time I got onto Facebook the other day, I got a hint. I kept finding memes that said things about how victims of abuse need a voice when they can’t speak up, don’t be afraid to speak up against abuse, & other similar topics. I think it was 7 memes I found that spoke such messages to me. I realized what the purpose of all of this was.
I need to be more outspoken against narcissistic abuse, & to help educate people about its devastating effects. People don’t know much, if anything, about such topics unless they have been a victim, & that needs to change. I realize that I alone can’t change the world, but hopefully I can make a difference.
How I need to make a difference, I’m not entirely sure! So far, I think I need to focus on promoting & encouraging people to participate in The Butterfly Project with me, & share what I learn no only here in my blog, but also in my Facebook group & personal page.
I’d like to ask for prayer on this topic from you, Dear Readers. I need to know what to do & how to do it. I also need wisdom & courage to do God’s will.
While I feel peace about this, a part of me is also somewhat nervous.
I feel that God will want me to make some of the posts on my personal Facebook page public, which is something I never do. This also allows people I’m not friends with to see those posts, which makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want strangers peek into my life. This also could include people my parents know who are on Facebook. While I know the things I write about regarding my parents are true & never said in a hateful way, they would be furious if they knew what I write about. I really don’t want to deal with that.
Sharing on my personal Facebook also makes me nervous because when I’ve shared things about narcissism, C-PTSD & (rarely) my own experiences, some people I know have been less than supportive. I’ve been told to get over it, I’m using C-PTSD for attention, I need to figure out how to work things out with my parents, they won’t be around forever & other invalidating, cruel things. While I can handle their ignorance or spitefulness, it’s just not something I care to deal with. I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m simply tired of people who think I’m stupid, unreasonable, etc. or who project their own issues onto me. I try to avoid that as much as possible, & putting things on my personal Facebook page, even just attempting to educate people, could potentially open the door for such people
So as I mentioned, I really could use some prayer to help me do whatever it is God would have me do. Thank you so much, Dear Readers! And, you’re in my prayers as well! xoxo
When a belief becomes an irrefutable fact in your mind, I think of it as being cemented in place. When something is set in cement, it can later be moved, but it’s not easy to move it. It takes a great deal of work to break down cement.
Beliefs are much the same way. And, recently, I learned that while most beliefs are formed in childhood, some can be cemented while others are not.
Growing up, I learned that I didn’t matter other than what I could do for my parents. Part of that meant if I was sick or injured, it wasn’t important- I needed to keep going rather than rest. Even if it was really bad, it wasn’t particularly important. In fact, when I had the chicken pox when I was in the fifth grade, I had a very nasty case. It lasted for about two weeks. My mother was so tired of staying home, & complained because my parents & I hadn’t gone out to dinner in so long. She, my father & I went out to dinner one night, even though I was still covered in sores. As she drove out of the neighborhood, she told me to duck down in the backseat & hide since some neighborhood kids were playing outside. She didn’t want them to see me. She said if anyone at school mentioned seeing me, to tell them she was taking me to the doctor.
Things like this showed me I didn’t matter & that if I was sick or injured, I should keep on going rather than take care of myself, no matter what, & not bother anyone with my “petty” problems. Thankfully I did start fighting against that belief once I became an adult, although it was a struggle.
Then, I married my husband. He is of almost pure German decent. As a result, he’s a hard worker & pretty tough. Very little gets him down, & he expects the same of me.
After getting extremely sick last year from carbon monoxide poisoning, I was unable to do my usual housework. It wasn’t long before my husband was upset about having to do all of the chores. I ended up resuming housework & cooking well before I felt able to do it (recovery from carbon monoxide poisoning can take months, even years, if recovery even happens, that is.). I honestly believed I should stop being so lazy & get back to work.
Recently, I had a nasty flashback. After the worst was over, I pushed myself to do things I needed to do around the house, in spite of feeling physically & emotionally drained. I asked God why do I do this? I know better! I have C-PTSD & have had carbon monoxide poisoning along with a traumatic brain injury- I can’t just keep on going! I need rest & lots of it, especially when something like a flashback happens.
God showed me the answer immediately. My husband’s belief that I shouldn’t “let things get me down” cemented in me the belief that my parents tried to instill in me- I shouldn’t take time to rest/heal, no matter how much I need it, & don’t bother people with my problems. Yes, I had fought against that belief, & even had made some strides in that area. However, loving my husband & caring what he thinks of me puts him in a unique position in my life. I don’t want to disappoint him. Plus, feeling I should keep on going no matter what is such a habit. I slid back into that dysfunctional pattern without thinking about it.
Has this happened to you too? Are you living out dysfunctional patterns that you feel unable to break because they are cemented in your mind?
Dear Reader, don’t lose hope if your answer is yes. God wants to help you as He is helping me. He reminds me that it’s OK to take breaks, to sleep in, & take care of myself as needed. He will do the same for you no matter what the stronghold is! Simply ask Him, “Why am I like this? Please, Father, show me why! Heal me & show me what I need to do on my end to stop this dysfunction in my life.” I know, it sounds simple, but it really makes a huge difference! Once you see the root cause of the bad behavior, you can heal. It’s kind of like gardening. If you want to rid your garden of weeds, you can pluck them, but they’ll come back soon. If you dig them out by the root though, the weeds won’t come back. Seeing the root of your bad behavior is much like digging that weed out. You can see how wrong it was to have the bad belief put on you & let God fill your brain with good beliefs, with the truth.
Mark 6:4 ” But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor (deference, reverence) except in his [own] country and among [his] relatives and in his [own] house.” (AMP)
This Scripture came to mind recently as it reminded me of something..
It seems like so many people have a serious physical or mental health problem, yet their families don’t believe they are as sick as they say, are faking their illness for attention or only to get those ‘good drugs.’ Personally I have been told to get over my past, learn to fix things with my parents, think more positive & just get a pill- that will fix it. I’ve also heard that I am wrong-that my parents aren’t so bad, I need to cut them some slack since they aren’t getting any younger yanno…
I have tried in vain to make other people close to me see the truth of my situation to no avail, & I have seen other people do the same with people close to them. Witnessing this made me realize exactly how fruitless it really can, & that some people, often those closest to you, just do not care. Unfortunately, people are so hungry for validation, that we sometimes keep beating that dead horse.
While it is certainly understandable to want that validation, especially from those closest to us, sometimes it is time to realize it won’t happen. When discussing your symptoms or your condition, sometimes you can tell when the other person is not interested in the subject at hand. They may look bored or try to change the subject repeatedly. They also may say invalidating things such as, “it can’t be that bad,” “It must be nice for you, not having to get up & go to work in the morning,” or defend the person who abused you “Well, I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way,” or “she did the best she could by you.”
If your conversation takes a turn like this, it’s time to make a decision- is it worth continuing to try to convince this person that you have an actual problem or should you just stop?
I have decided to stop wasting my time. It just isn’t worth the frustration on my part or making the other person angry. It hurts, but I have accepted that some people just aren’t capable of the empathy or compassion it takes to be supportive of me.
People who genuinely know & care won’t be invalidating. They will be supportive & not judgmental. They know you well enough to know you aren’t making anything up or exaggerating. People like that are a wonderful blessing!
I am also very blessed with wonderful, wonderful fans who email me often not only to say thank you for something I wrote that helped them, but also sometimes to offer me encouragement. 🙂 It seems strange to me that people I’ve never met care more than some who are closer to me, but apparently it happens. Obviously Jesus understood it well & experienced it firsthand.
Good evening, Dear Readers.
Thank you as always for your patience with me during this difficult time. When I am going through things, I deal with it by hibernating. I’ve always coped alone; it’s an old habit. Suddenly I realize time has passed, & I haven’t blogged in a while. Oops..
Since my last entry, I have been sick. Apparently, all of the very painful events of late along with anxiety over the drive to my aunt’s memorial service took a toll on me. As a result, I couldn’t go to her service. I want to go- my aunt meant a lot to me plus I love seeing my family – so I was very disappointed.
I hadn’t realized this could happen. Usually stress means I get headaches, muscle aches, my back may hurt intensely, even though it isn’t injured or I get a mildly upset stomach. Not this time- I was sure I’d caught a bug. I was very nauseous & unable to eat for a couple of days. I had a slight fever, & every part of my body hurt. I had constant hot & cold flashes. Thankfully it’s all improving, but still..wow. I realized it was anxiety when I was starting to improve, then a person I find stressful emailed me, & my symptoms immediately got worse.
If you have physical reactions to anxiety &/or depression too, know you are not alone! I know first hand how annoying it can be. Missing my aunt’s service & not seeing my family that I love dearly hurt me. It also made me feel hypocritical since my last blog entry, I said I was trusting God to calm my anxiety enough that I could make the hour long drive down home for the service.
Instead of focusing on those things, though, I am trying to remember that it’s OK. My family understands. Also, C-PTSD is a real sickness with real symptoms. This sort of thing happens sometimes. It just means I need to take better care of myself, & be gentler & more understanding with myself. One thing I’ve noticed about many of us with C-PTSD is we do have trouble with those things. Maybe from growing up with the knowledge our needs mattered to no one. It’s a faulty belief- one that we must work on changing so we can take proper care of ourselves. We are worth it! ❤
Good morning, Dear Readers!
While I was lying in bed unable to sleep yet again last night, I realized something.. I haven’t given any updates on Pretty Boy since I asked for prayer for him. I did on my personal fb page but not here. I forgot. I am sorry! Thank you so much to those who have been praying for him! I pray God will bless you abundantly in return for the favor you have done for me!
Pretty Boy’s maintaining pretty well.. lost a little more weight I think, but is in good spirits & about as active as he ever was (which isn’t very..he’s always been the couch potato type. lol). Evidence says that the problems with his liver are indeed a carcinoma, as the vet suspected. She doesn’t expect him to have much time left. However, he is going to enjoy every possible moment of whatever time he has left, & he is getting the best care possible to help him be as healthy as possible until the end. He is surrounded by love, especially from his brother who is constantly close to him these days. He seems quite happy, frequently looking for snuggles from the other animals or my husband or I.
Logically I know my vet knows what she is talking about with our situation. She is an amazing vet, & full of love, compassion & insight. She also knows Pretty Boy really well. However, I also know God is capable of miracles. And, when this type of situation arises, which sadly is inevitable when you have pets, I have learned to lean on Him more than usual, expecting those miracles. I have been asking Him to give Pretty Boy the best possible days, & to help him not to suffer. I also ask God for a complete healing, but if that is not His will, then when Pretty Boy’s time comes, please make it quick for his sake. I have prayed like this for every animal I’ve had, & every single one has not suffered. Even the ones with long standing illnesses were able to take less medications & lived longer than the doctors expected with a good quality of life. God has truly honored my prayers, & I am truly grateful for that.
I never have been comfortable with euthanasia, & do not want to be put in the position again of having to decide whether or not my pet lives or dies. I have been there only one time, & it was horrifying. When my beautiful snowshoe kitty Jasmine had her first stroke, we took her to the vet. He said she had either cancer or pancreatic issues, & wouldn’t live much longer. I should “just put her down.” As I looked into her lovely blue eyes, I just knew in my heart not only was that not right for her, but she didn’t want it. I told the vet no, & he scolded me for being “selfish & inhumane.” I have never seen that vet again, & he left the practice shortly after. I took her home, & within a couple of days, saw Jasmine was recovering rather than getting worse. I then met a friend who is a vet tech who diagnosed Jasmine has having had a stroke, NOT cancer or pancreatic problems! She lived almost exactly 2 more years, healthy & happy, with only a slight sway to her hips the sign of having had a stroke. If I had listened to the vet, she would have died prematurely! We would’ve missed out on 2 years with one of the most amazing cats God’s ever made, & she would’ve missed out on 2 years of love & fun with her family. Also, during that 2 years, Jasmine had 3 more strokes, only her final one 2 days before she passed away being quite severe. The other ones, as soon as possible after the stroke, she would walk the house over & over. That may have saved her life- it made the blood clot move through her body rather than staying in one spot. She was so smart, strong & an inspiration.
I know I’m kinda all over the place with this post..so sorry! Please bear with me- not much sleep has been happening the last couple of nights! Worrying about Pretty Boy & difficult conversations with my mother 2 days in a row have affected my sleep habits.
Good morning, Dear Readers! I hope this post finds you enjoying your Sunday.
I just thought I’d pop in to give an update on Pretty Boy & thank everyone for your prayers. THANK YOU!!!! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your prayers, well-wishes & concern for my little man, as does my husband. 🙂
Today makes the third day since we’ve been to the vet & received his diagnosis. He seems to be doing a bit better. He is a little more active- more cuddly (like his old self) & he even “killed” the ring off a milk jug lid last night & howled proudly to show off his accomplishment. I hope & pray this is a good sign, that the liver problems he’s having are related to the diabetes, because at least that is most likely fixable.
What a journey it is, having a sick pet.. it is like having a sick human baby- they can’t verbalize exactly what they are feeling, so you have to do your best to figure out what the problem is & the best way to treat it. It isn’t easy, that’s for sure! But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.. the constant, unconditional love that my pets give me makes any problems worth the while. 🙂