Tag Archives: invalidation

The Importance Of Validation After Narcissistic Abuse

A recent conversation with my husband gave me an interesting revelation.

 

He said when I talk about the traumatic things I’ve been through, it’s almost always what my parents did rather than how I feel or how things affected me.  He’s right.  I immediately chalked that up to having C-PTSD.  The disorder means sometimes I have to talk things to death to come to some sort of terms with them.  However, I felt there was something I wasn’t realizing about this.  God revealed to me what it is.

 

Surviving growing up with narcissistic parents instills a need for constant validation in a person.  That is why I talk more about the things they did rather than my feelings.  I can handle my feelings just fine on my own.  What I need help with is understanding exactly how bad my parents have been to me.

 

When you’re raised by narcissists, your reality is much different than real reality.  In my case, I learned my mother was always right & should get whatever she wants even if that means hurting me.  I learned my father is very helpless, & couldn’t do anything to take care of me or protect me from my mother’s abuse.  I also learned very early in life that my parents’ emotional needs were my responsibility.  I was to have no needs or feelings of my own since that could be a distraction from them & their needs & feelings.

 

Pretty messed up, huh?

 

Thankfully, as an adult, I’ve learned how wrong, dysfunctional & abusive these things are.  Even so, I still battle them to a degree simply because these beliefs were very deeply instilled in me.  If I tell someone about some awful thing my parents did to me & they get angry & say things like, “That was terrible!  It was wrong to do that to you!” their outrage helps to validate my pain & tear down those false beliefs.  An objective third party seeing that they were wrong & I wasn’t to blame (as I always was with my parents), is a huge help to me!

 

Are you like me?  When you discuss the abuse, do you discuss more about the events than how you feel about them?  Or, do you seek validation frequently by asking people if your perception or feelings are OK?  If so, know there is nothing wrong with you, even though it may feel that way.  It’s just one more thing that narcissistic abuse can cause in a person.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Accept it for what it is, & ask God to help you heal.

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

Are You Setting Yourself Up?

I recently read an article in “Psychology Today” that I found very interesting.  It was about the effects of invalidation in families.

 

A part of the article really hit home with me, & I would bet also with many victims of narcissistic abuse.  It explains that many people who were constantly invalidated as children invite people to invalidate them.  When parents do something so compulsively, children assume it needs to be done, & will give their parents opportunity to do so.  I realize I’ve done this myself.  One example is my mother has always been hyper critical of my weight.  There have been times I lost some weight & told her, & was nearly crushed by her comments.  The worst happened many years ago, when I told her I lost some weight without really trying lately.  I wasn’t hungry so I wasn’t eating as much.  I was much younger & more naive then, & thought since she’s always battled her weight, she’d be happy for me.  How wrong I was!  Her response was, “You probably have cancer & are going to die soon, that’s why you lost weight.”  Then, she changed the subject.

 

I don’t think this refers to only invalidation, however, although that was the topic of the article.  From what I’ve seen, people can do the same with other things.  For example, adult children of very critical parents can do stupid things often to give their parents something to criticize without a clue about what they’re doing.  They’ll shoot themselves in the foot, so to speak, then tell the parents who then criticize their poor choices.  They think they’re the family screw up because of what the parents have always said, & they constantly try to live up to the parents’ expectations (well, it’s more like living down to those expectations, really..).

 

Do scenarios like this describe your behavior?  Ask God to give you show you what you’re doing, if you’re setting the stage for your narcissistic mother to abuse you.  And, if you are doing so, then ask Him to help you make the appropriate changes.

 

You’re going to need to modify your words as well as behavior.  I stopped discussing things with my mother that she is very critical of, which has left us very little to discuss.  It’s sad, but it’s easier than feeling stupid for basically giving her ammunition to use for hurting me.  And stupid is exactly how I felt every time it happened.

 

Also, as always, it’s just a good practice never to show a narcissist you’re upset.  If you slip up & she gets vicious, stay calm & collected.  Do NOT show her that you are angry or hurt- it only provides her the coveted narcissistic supply, which will make her do these things more, so you will become more upset & provide more supply.  Never do this!!!  Instead, stay calm, even cold & unemotional.  If she can’t get a rise out of you, she will give up.  She may try a few things first to be sure she can’t upset you, but she will give up in this area.  That is a victory for you!

 

When you do slip up, as you will at first, don’t beat yourself up about it.  Unfortunately, it happens sometimes.  We all do it.  I still do sometimes, even though I’ve been doing this for years & have gotten much better at showing my narcissistic mother no reaction.  It frustrates her sometimes- I can see it.  lol  But, better her being frustrated than me being devastated!

 

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Invalidation Is Abuse!

 

Invalidation judges, mocks, & rejects a person’s feelings.  It also implies or  says directly that the person is deeply flawed or crazy.

 

Invalidation is an attempt to control another person & their feelings, as well as to distract that person from abusive behavior.  It hinders or even destroys a person’s ability to trust his or her own feelings, perceptions, & intuition.  It is similar to gaslighting in that respect.  It forces a person to believe that his or her beliefs, thoughts, feelings or even physical presence are flawed, difficult or of no value.  It at best damages self-esteem, or at worst destroys it.

Invalidation frequently occurs when an abuser is confronted about her abusive behavior, or the abusive behavior of someone else (for example, a husband may invalidate his wife when she complains about his mother’s bad behavior).   The purpose is to take attention away from one’s flaws or abusive behavior, & to turn the attention onto you and your (real or imagined) flaws instead.

Interestingly, a person can invalidate themselves as well.  Trivializing your own wants, needs, accomplishments, or feelings, is a form of invalidation.  Essentially, you’re telling yourself that you don’t matter, there is something very wrong with you, or your thoughts, feelings, or beliefs are wrong.  This type of behavior is often learned in childhood, but it also can come from being married to a psychologically abusive spouse.  Paying attention to your thoughts & words about yourself can determine if you do this.  If you are, then you can make the appropriate changes.

As you read this, remember: you are worthy! Your feelings, thoughts & needs matter!  You are ok!  You are not crazy!  Treat yourself accordingly, as a man or woman of value, who God loves dearly!

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Why Remembering Childhood Trauma Feels Different As An Adult

I’m going to take a wild guess that I’m not the only victim of narcissistic abuse who has experienced this kind of situation.  I’m hoping sharing it will help those of you who have similar experiences.

 

When I was in either seventh or eighth grade, I experienced the scare of my young life at that time.  My parents & I went to the grocery store one night.  While there, we ran into my friend, her parents & brother.  She & I went off to check out the makeup while our families shopped for groceries.  Shortly after we were separated, a very creepy guy started following us & trying to talk to us.  He scared us both badly.  Thankfully, we found my friend’s parents as we were trying to get away from the creepy guy, & she told her parents what happened.  Her father was a very big, imposing man, which worked nicely in our favor.  As Creepy Guy approached, her father put his arms around us both & told the guy to leave his daughters alone or else!  Creepy Guy left us alone.  My friends father told me to stay with them until we found my parents.  Upon finding my parents a few minutes later, he told my parents what happened.  I don’t remember if they even thanked him for protecting me.  We went to one cash register, my friend & her parents another.  Creepy Guy was outside the store at this point.  He was looking in the window at me, waving & smiling.  My father said & did nothing.  My mother continued putting groceries on the conveyor belt & said to just ignore the guy.  By the time we left the store, Creepy Guy was gone.  That was the end of the situation.  Neither of my parents asked if I was OK or showed any concern for how scared I had been.   I never thought about the incident again until I was around 40 years old.

 

When it came to mind one day, I was suddenly very shaken up.  This guy was just very creepy, I don’t know how else to describe him.  It was painfully obvious his motivations with my friend & I weren’t good.  Yet, my parents didn’t show an ounce of concern, not even after my friend’s parents told them what happened.  These were good, Christian people- they didn’t lie or even exaggerate!  Why wasn’t what they said taken seriously?!  If I had a child & this happened to her, I would’ve called the police & spoken with the store manager, not to mention, tried to comfort my child.

 

In considering this situation, I also realized that not only do my parents still shop at this same grocery store, my mother sent me there to do her shopping a few times before I moved out.  I didn’t feel any anxiety in that store during those times I visited it.  It’s only been as a middle aged woman that I feel horrible anxiety if I’m near that store.  Thankfully I don’t shop at that store or have any reason to go near it very often.

 

I was wondering recently why this is.  Why as a child, was I ok, but now, 30 years after the fact, even a quick trip through the parking lot sends me into a panic attack.  God showed me the answer.

 

As narcissists, these parents demand to be treated as gods, basically.  There is no room for anything except for their reality.  You aren’t allowed to have feelings, needs, etc. with a narcissistic parent because that makes you a “bother.”  All that exists with narcissistic parents is their reality, period, & anything to do with you isn’t important.  If you experience a trauma, they won’t care.  It’s not a big deal to them because it doesn’t affect them.  As a child, you accept their reality as your own.  When something traumatic or even simply painful happens, & your narcissistic parent(s) acts like it’s no big deal, you internalize that.  You accept it wasn’t a big deal & ignore your feelings.

 

Years later as an adult, you see things differently.  If you’ve learned about narcissistic abuse, you definitely see things differently than you did as a child.  You realize how messed up your narcissistic parent(s) is.  You see things differently than you once did.  You no longer blindly accept your parents’ reality but instead accept the real, reality only.  You may even have a child, & see things as a parent rather than only seeing them as an abused child.  You see things through more mature eyes plus with the influence of things you have learned & things you have healed from.  That is why if you look back at something from your childhood you hadn’t thought of in a long time at this point, you realize how messed up it was!  You see your parents lack of protection or concern, & instead of taking it in stride, you get angry or hurt.

 

When this happens, it can be hard at first.  When I first thought about Creepy Guy after all those years, I was angry & very hurt that my parents showed so little concern about a potentially very serious situation.  (I also wished I’d had the chance to thank my friend’s father for protecting me before he died, but that’s another issue).  I was also less than thrilled- yet one more thing to deal with from childhood.  UGH.  I realized something though that helped me.  I realized how far I’ve come.  I was so dysfunctional back then, I accepted that this possible rapist or murder being interested in my friend & I was no big deal.  Now, I see how sick it is my parents ignored the situation.  I realized that my view now is normal & that showed me how much healing I’ve done.  Definitely a good thing!!  So please keep that in mind if you go through this experience, Dear Reader.  Seeing things in a healthy way like I did is proof that you are healing, & that is a huge blessing!

 

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Are You Too Positive Or Too Negative?

I never really thought of myself as a very negative person, but I was told I was my entire life.  My mother, a self proclaimed optimist in spite of her ability to find the negative in any situation, has said this more times than I can count.  My husband even made similar comments over the years about how negative I am.

 

As a result, I have tried to be more positive.  I have been able to see more positive things than I used to in negative situations.  This has been beneficial to a degree.  It has helped me to be a bit happier than I used to be.

 

That being said though, God showed me something this morning about positive thinking that never crossed my mind before.

 

I was getting laundry out of the dryer & praying as I did.  I had a dreadful night last night, barely getting any sleep & what sleep I had was full of nightmares.  I’ve been in a nasty funk for a few days now which wasn’t helped by last night’s “sleep” & was telling God about that too.  Complaining really.  I wasn’t finding any positive in anything, & feeling guilty for that.  I didn’t admit that to God but of course He knew anyway.  And, He said something about that.

 

“Being too positive can invalidate your pain.  It says you don’t have a right to be disappointed, hurt or angry because something good came from the situation.  Being positive is good, but only in balance.  It’s OK to say things just suck sometimes.  This is one of those times.  Feel the pain, & get it out.  Then, & only then, the funk will lift.”

 

So many of us who have been abused have been told by other people we’re too negative if we discuss it.  Some people think it’s a taboo topic not to be discussed.  Sweep it under the rug, pretend that didn’t happen.  Or, if something good came out of the awful situation (such as having kids with the abusive partner), then you shouldn’t be upset about it.  Something good came from it, so you shouldn’t complain or have problems stemming from the abuse.

 

What these people fail to realize is by telling victims to “stop being so negative” or to “think positive”. they are being abusive.  They are invalidating your pain, & invalidation is abuse.  Invalidation says your pain doesn’t matter, & there is something wrong with you for feeling the way you do.  Whether that is the intention or not by saying “think positive” & such statements, that is the result.  The person who is told to think positive feels there is something wrong with them for feeling as they do.

 

Dear Readers, please remember this post when someone tells you to be positive.  Being positive is a wonderful thing.  It helps you to feel good.  But, it also is unrealistic to think you can be positive 100% of the time.  Sometimes things just suck!  There is nothing wrong with admitting that.  There is also nothing wrong with thinking about those things & feeling whatever emotions that the event triggered in you.  Ignoring such things does no good.  Those emotions will come to the surface at some point, & probably not in a good way.  It is better to have a short period of being depressed or angry as you heal than years of emotions manifesting in unhealthy ways such as addictions, self harm or suicidal thoughts & actions.

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“Just Let It Go”

I think all of us who have been abused have heard this invalidating, hurtful phrase at some point.  You say something about your experiences, & the listener tells you to “just let it go.”  They may even say “I mean this in love…” first, as if that will soften the blow of their hurtful words.

 

“Just let it go” can be among the most painful words a victim can hear, & also among the most common ones.  It’s also among the most stupid thing to say.

 

For one thing, if the person saying them says they’re saying these words out of love for you, that is a lie.  The simple fact is that what you have said about your experiences makes the person uncomfortable.  I can say this with confidence, because I believe what the Bible says about love:

 

1 Corinthians 13  1″Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.  (KJV)

 

Nowhere in there does it say love means invalidate others or hurt them.  Love is kind, rejoices in truth & bears all things- sounds to me like real love means you support those in pain instead, even if the topic makes you uncomfortable.

 

“Just let it go” also doesn’t make sense because who we are is a result of what we have experienced in life, good & bad.  You shouldn’t “just let go” of your past as if it didn’t happen because of that.  You can learn a lot about yourself by not only what you have been through, but also by how you responded to things that have happened to you.

 

When you have been through traumatic experiences, there is another problem with “just letting it go”:  you can’t.  Even if you want to, you can’t.  PTSD & C-PTSD mean like it or not, you’re going to live with depression, anxiety, flashbacks, insomnia & more because of the trauma you’ve been through.  I’ve heard it said that PTSD & C-PTSD don’t mean you aren’t letting go of the past, but they’re the past not letting go of you.  It’s VERY true!

 

There are some things that you can & should “just let go” however…

 

  • Believing you are 100% responsible for making relationships work.
  • Believing something is wrong with you or you’re a bad person, because others have mistreated you.
  • Believing that if you would just do *fill in the blank*, the other person would treat you better.
  • Believing you have to “forgive & forget” or else you’re a bad person.
  • Believing you have to be in a relationship with your abuser.  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse from anyone.
  • Hope that the other person will one day apologize to you for everything they’ve done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Validate Yourself

Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is not an easy thing.  You go through the abuse & somehow survive, only to be victimized further by people who invalidate what you have gone through.

I have heard comments such as…

  • “That doesn’t sound so bad…”(from my high school guidance counselor, referring to my mother screaming at me for hours in my teen years)
  • “You just need to understand her better.”
  • “Nobody’s perfect!”
  • “You need to fix things with your parents.  Get into counseling!”
  • “You need to work things out with your parents.  They won’t be around forever yanno!”
  • (from a different counselor after meeting my mother) “I can’t see you anymore- you’re a terrible daughter!”
  • “You need to find things you have in common with your parents!”
  • “You’re too negative!”
  • “I can’t believe they are that bad!”
  • “Are you even sure that happened?  That’s a pretty serious accusation.”
  • Various excuses as to why my narcissistic parents or mother in-law treated me so poorly such as she isn’t intelligent (she isn’t educated- big difference), her mother in-law didn’t like her, etc.
  • Laughing at my story of being abused.

After hearing such things, I felt victimized all over again.

Victim blaming is very common in today’s society, so it’s not surprising these cruel words & more are said to victims of narcissistic abuse daily.

Unfortunately I don’t believe there is any way to avoid them entirely.  All you can do is use wisdom on who you share your story with.  Even when you do this, sometimes people may hurt you by invalidating your pain.

The fact is though that you can validate yourself.  You can heal from narcissistic abuse even if there is no one to support you but God.

To do this, you need to lean on God.  Talk to Him about how you feel.  He can handle it all & wants to be there for you!  Let Him be!

As for you.. you need to trust that what happened was bad.  Admit it to yourself.  No more excuses, no more telling yourself you’re oversensitive or weak.  Narcissistic abuse permeates every part of a person’s being.  It can destroy one’s self-esteem, perception of reality or even sanity.  It is nothing to take lightly!   If you’re having trouble with this, write your story out.  When I wrote my autobiography “Emerging from the Chrysalis” a few years ago, it was hard.  Very hard.  For the first time, I realized just how bad the abuse I have survived really was.  Yet, as hard as it was to see things in black & white, it was very freeing too.  It gave me a new perspective.  I realized I’m a very strong person.  I also realized God must love me a great deal to have gotten me through all of that.  It also helped me to see my parents as they truly are, instead of making excuses for their behavior or thinking I was the one with the problems- I really wasn’t oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into things, etc.  They have some serious problems & one of those problems is NOT me!

Once you are able to accept the truth about what you have gone through, healing will come.  You will grieve, you will be angry, but these are necessary steps to freedom from narcissistic abuse.  And, the more you validate yourself & heal, the less other people’s invalidation will bother you.  I’m not saying it won’t hurt sometimes- it’s only human to be hurt when your pain is trivialized- but it won’t devastate you as it once did.

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Grooming & The Narcissistic Mother

One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.

Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.

Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.

This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.

When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.

When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!

You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.

Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!

If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.

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It’s All About Narcissistic Supply. Always.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about one helpful way to deal with a narcissist is to remind yourself constantly that this person is a narcissist.  While that is helpful, I realized that I forgot to mention one other thing along those lines.

Never forget that narcissists are all about narcissistic supply.  That is all they care about, & will do anything to get it.  Does your narcissistic mother say she wants to spend time with you?  She doesn’t want to spend time with you, enjoying time with her daughter- she wants to spend time getting narcissistic supply from you.  Does she ask how you’re doing?  That isn’t because she cares- it’s because she is looking for something to use against you.  Hurting you or making you angry will provide her this supply.

I live in central Maryland.  When there were riots in Baltimore, I had a feeling my covertly narcissistic father was going to call about it.  I assumed it was going to be to talk politics, since he loves to do that with me.  (Odd since I have zero interest in politics)  I was sort of right- he called a few days after the rioting started.  He said he was concerned about us, & wanted to be sure we were OK.  We live about 30 minutes south of Baltimore, my parents are about 20 minutes away.  I thought it was an odd question at first, but learned quickly why he was “concerned.”  It was all about getting his supply.

To start with, he called at 8:59 at night.  I’ve told my father I don’t answer the phone after 9 p.m.  He was pushing my boundary because I think that provides him some supply.  He can be in control.  He got as close to 9 as he could with calling me.  If I wouldn’t have answered, he would’ve had the right to be mad at me for not taking his call, as far as he is concerned (he thinks I must answer his calls whenever he calls & makes no allowances for me being unavailable).  I answered though, so I let him push that boundary (big mistake on my part), which makes him feel in control.

He immediately said he was concerned about us what with the terrible riots happening in Baltimore.  As soon as I said we’re fine, he immediately went into a rant about the politics of the situation.  He went on for about 10-15 minutes about how he felt about the riots & how he thought things should be fixed & his opinions… He wasn’t concerned about us at all- he wanted an excuse to talk about politics.

I learned from that call how anything & everything with a narcissist is about narcissistic supply.  It showed me how they can twist anything into a supply opportunity.   And, frankly, it hurt.  I briefly thought he actually was concerned about my husband & I.  Finding out no, this was just an opportunity for supply hurt.  At least the hurt was a good reminder about the fact narcissists are only focused on their supply.  You can bet I won’t forget about that need of theirs again any time soon!

And, Dear Reader, you shouldn’t either!  Remembering that with a narcissist, everything is about them gaining narcissistic supply will help you!  Remembering this fact will help you not to be as  hurt when they mistreat you, because you’ll remember this is how narcissists are.  It’s not about you.  Nothing is about you when dealing with a narcissist.  It’s always about them & furthering their agenda.

Nothing they do will surprise you or catch you off guard, because you know they are capable of intensely selfish, evil acts.

Also, you will be prepared for those selfish, evil acts ahead of time because you know they are coming.  Even if you don’t know exactly what they have planned, you know they have something planned.  You know to be ready for anything, you know that you will need to enforce your boundaries.  This enables you to be prepared to deal as effectively as possible with your narcissist.

While dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic parent, is never easy, remembering their desperation for narcissistic supply will help you tremendously.

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Do You Validate Or Invalidate Yourself?

Validation is very hard to come by.  People are very quick to minimize the successes of others & to tell others their pain isn’t so bad.  When others either fail to validate you or directly, deliberately invalidate you, it hurts.  It also leads many people to invalidate themselves, especially when the invalidation starts early in life by their own parents.  Parental invalidation of a child easily can instill a belief in the child that she or he isn’t worth validating.  Accomplishments, dreams, needs, feelings all become trivial, unworthy of any recognition.  I believe invalidating a child helps to instill a root of deep shame in him or her.  The child becomes ashamed of his or her own needs, wants, feelings & even accomplishments.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, this is a very common phenomenon.  In my own life, I have only recently begun to see how badly I have invalidated myself.  I tend to look at what I haven’t done rather than what I have, & berate myself for what I haven’t done rather than be proud of what I have. Or, if I accomplish something good, I just look at it as something anyone can do, or it’s something I should do so why should that be celebrated?  My wants, needs & feelings come after those of others, even if I have a crisis.  While I am getting a bit better at these behaviors, it’s difficult since they are so deeply ingrained in me.  Plus, by behaving this way, I have essentially told others it’s perfectly OK for them to invalidate me, which means others do so on a regular basis.

If this describes you as well, I want to encourage you today to do as I am trying to do myself- begin to validate yourself!  It’s time to recognize that your wants, needs, actions & feelings are just as important as those of other people.  To do this, ask yourself why you believe the way you do.  What makes you think your wants, needs, etc. are less important than those of other people?  If you are unsure, ask God to show you.  Once you realize why you feel the way you do, ask Him to speak truth to you about why you feel this way.  Are your feelings accurate?  Or, are they the result of someone else invalidating you?  How can you change this false belief into the truth?

Also, pay attention to those things you feel, good & bad, & acknowledge them.  Don’t brush things off so easily- feel your feelings.  If someone hurt you, then feel that hurt & be good to yourself by doing nice things that make you feel good.  If you feel good because you accomplished a task that was on the back burner for too long, stop & bask in how good that feels for a few minutes.  Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Maybe even celebrate by giving yourself a gift.

Another thing to think about.  People who invalidate on a regular basis are often toxic.  They can be narcissists (or even just plain self-centered people) who believe they are the only ones worthy of validation, passive/aggressive types who use it as a means of punishing others, or they can simply be the superficial type of people who don’t like to delve into any deeper subject matter.  Superficial people don’t care for anything that requires much thought or effort on their part, & validation requires some of both.  Validation requires one to see things through another’s eyes if you wish to truly understand their feelings, plus you have to consider the right thing to say to properly validate another person.

In any case, the point is an invalidating person is the one with the problem, not you.  People want & need validation.  It’s how God made us, & is completely normal to want it!  I believe it is also abnormal not to wish to bless people by giving it freely.  There is nothing wrong with you for being hurt or disappointed when you are invalidated.  But, since it is becoming a rare thing in today’s society, you can validate yourself.

And, while you’re becoming more aware of the importance of validating yourself, don’t forget to validate others as well!  People are starving for validation- be a blessing, & validate others!  If you are unsure when it’s appropriate, ask God to show you who to validate & when.

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Abandonment & Invalidation For Adult Children Of Narcissists

One thing I have learned in the past few years is that people do NOT like unpleasant subject matters, & will go to great lengths to avoid them.  Many people with terrible health problems know this all too well- they lose friends & even family after receiving a diagnosis of a dreadful disease.  The people who once were closest to them suddenly have no time for them any longer.

This also happens with adult children of narcissistic parents.

It’s happened in my own life.  Once I started learning that my mother was abusive when I was seventeen, & talking to a few people about it, my circle of friends became smaller.  I talked less about it until many years later, once I started learning about narcissism.  Then, I began to talk more & also to write about it.  While my writing career suddenly began to take off, my personal relationships changed, especially when I also admitted to having C-PTSD.  Some of my relationships became closer, especially with those who also survived a narcissistic upbringing, but many did not.  Some people suddenly became very judgmental, telling me how I needed to just get over it, let it go, forgive & forget, stop living in the past, I use having C-PTSD for attention & even how I needed to be the one to fix things in my relationship with my parents.

This hurt & made me so angry!  It’s not fair & it’s not right! I began to feel like I did as a child- everything wrong with my parents’ & my relationship was all my fault, I should fix it & if I didn’t, I was a failure.  Not a nice way to feel at all!

If you too have experienced similar losses & invalidation in your relationships, you are not alone!  I understand your pain & frustration!

Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any way to completely avoid such situations.  The fact is, like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, people don’t like unpleasant subject matters.  They prefer light, fluffy, happy things, as the unpleasant things make them uncomfortable.  Many people also cannot handle discussing unpleasant things about the parent/child relationship.  They may come from a good home, & can’t comprehend that a parent would abuse a child, or they came from a dysfunctional home, & you discussing your own painful experiences trigger feelings they aren’t ready to deal with yet.  Others may feel that you talk too much about your experiences.  (Please see my post on taking breaks– not to make others more comfortable, but for your own mental health!)  Whatever the reason, no one has the right to invalidate your pain!

To deal with the pain when this happens, please try to keep the last paragraph in mind.  Most people aren’t trying to hurt you by what they say or do- they simply have their own issues or are even convinced they’re trying to help you.  In any case, them treating you poorly isn’t about you doing something wrong, it’s about them.

Also, acknowledge your feelings.  Yes, you’re hurt &/or angry, & it’s OK.  Cry, talk to someone safe, journal or pray, but get your feelings out.  Feelings are a natural part of life- respect them, don’t ignore them.  Ignoring them never leads to anything good, only bad things like depression & health problems.

Be aware that part of the reason that what was said upsets you so much is it triggers old feelings that you experienced at the hand of your narcissistic mother.  Narcissists demand their abuse be kept secret, so when someone else wants to silence you years later, that guilt for “telling” may show up.  Or, invalidating your pain makes you feel as you did when your mother did it to you as a child- like you’re not allowed to have feelings because they’re only a nuisance to others.  I’m not saying that these triggers mean you’re overreacting to being invalidated, of course.  I’m simply saying that those triggers may make you less able to realize at first that you aren’t wrong for discussing this topic.

Be good to yourself afterwards.  Once you get a firm grasp on your feelings & triggers, do something nice for yourself.  A bubble bath, read a good book or some other little thing that makes you feel good.

And, ask God to help you let go of the hurt & anger you feel.  You deserve better than to carry around those negative feelings.  Besides, you have too much already to deal with considering you’re recovering from growing up with a narcissistic mother.  That needs your attention much more.

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Share Your Story!

Recently I was talking with someone who made sure I know she believes my writing isn’t important, even knowing that I believe writing is one of my purposes in life.

*sigh*

This sort of thing happens a lot more often than I like.  My writing as well as what I write about are often trivialized.  I also know it happens to so many others who have been abused & share their story, which breaks my heart.  I’ve been dealing with invalidation for so long, that I’m used to it.  It makes me angry, but I know that what I said is valid, & people who invalidate others have issues.  Normal, healthy people respect other people enough not to trivialize their painful experiences, even if they don’t understand them or agree with them. Many others who experience this painful type of invalidation haven’t reached that place yet, & are discouraged or deeply hurt by such cruel words.  This makes me so angry, which is partly why I write about this topic so often.

I read something that explained beautifully why those of us who have been through abuse should continue to tell our story, & I wanted to share it with you today…

“There is nothing safe in sharing your story.  There is nothing safe about turning your own soul inside out with the details that come slowly or quickly, from shallow breaths or deep within, from the light or from the shadows.  There is nothing safe about sharing the images painted within your memories, the language that proves a life has been lived, the details scratched into paper from blood, from skin, from love, & fear.  Nothing protects what is spoken, read or heard.  There are no shields against bitter misunderstanding, jealousy or prejudice- yet we speak.  We sing.  We write in the hopes of changing the world.  We share the truth we have lived & the characters we have loved.  In moments of courage, we give it all away.”  – Mardra Sikora

Please remember this wonderful quote when someone tries to keep you quiet!  You have every right to share your story & to help others by doing so.  In fact, you should celebrate yourself by being brave enough to share your story & caring enough to do it in spite of your own fears!

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“You Just Need To Get Over It!” & Other Pearls Of So-Called Wisdom About Narcissistic Abuse

I read a very interesting quote, & it really hit home with me:

“There is a theme that runs through responses I receive from children of a narcissistic parent(s).  The child is subjected to unbearable levels of ongoing abuse- scalding criticisms, withering humiliations in front of other family members & alone, routine secret physical beatings & other horrendous acts of brutality including psychological & literal abandonment.  When the child lets family members know what is happening to  him, this person is not believed. When the victim of a narcissist tells the truth about his dreadful pathological parent, he is not treated with kindness or understanding.  The family is shocked; the victim is treated with disdain & often told he/she is the sick one or that this is all lies to get attention.”  Linda Martinez-Lewi, PHD

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been treated this way, not only by those close to me (well, not close to me anymore obviously!), but even by therapists.  When I told my high school guidance counselor about my mother spending so much time daily screaming at me, she said, “That doesn’t sound so bad..”  I’ve also been told to let it go, get over it, work things out with my mother- it’s my responsibility, I need therapy, I use C-PTSD to get attention & more.

If you too are the adult child of a narcissist, I’m sure you can relate.

Hearing such cruel, invalidating statements is extremely painful.  You feel abused all over again.  It can be devastating to you & to the relationship you share with that person.  One person I had loved dearly & was once close to said a few comments along the lines of I needed to just get over things.  Her last comment actually destroyed the love I felt for her.  I suddenly no longer cared for her.  Not that I wished her bad- I simply felt nothing at all for her.

So how do you deal with these painful situations?  Avoiding them would be best, but unfortunately, that isn’t always possible.  Sometimes you can, because if you know a person well, you know  that this person isn’t safe to discuss certain topics with.  As a result, you avoid discussing those topics with that person.  Then there are other times when you mention your narcissistic mother to someone who you expect to be supportive, yet they surprise you by invalidating your pain.  Those times are the most painful, because you didn’t expect that response- you expected support & empathy.

When you are told to “get over it”, “you’re only making these things up to get attention,” etc., the first thing to do is to end this conversation before it goes further (hurting you more) however you deem appropriate.  You can simply change the subject, walk away or hang up the phone.  However you set  this boundary, you’ll run the risk of angering the other person, so you need to be prepared for that unfair anger. (The person I mentioned whose comments destroyed my love for her?  When we’d discussed the topic via email the last time, I told her I didn’t mean to be disrespectful, but I wasn’t asking for her opinion on my life.  After that, she didn’t speak to me for several months.)  Hopefully the other person you’re having the problem with will simply respect your boundary instead, as many people do.

Once the conversation is done, as soon as you can, get alone with God.  Tell  Him how it made you feel, & let Him comfort you.  Get your feelings out so they don’t end up pushed down inside of you, festering.  That only hurts you!  If you don’t feel comfortable telling God how you feel, journal about them.  Or, write the person a letter that you never send, telling her off if that helps you feel better.

If you’re suddenly doubting yourself (am I really making too much out of things?  That type of thought) because of what was said to you, ask God to tell you if you are.  He will reassure you that you aren’t, which helps tremendously to give you a healthy perspective on what was said.

You also need to evaluate your relationship with this person.  is she someone you’re close to?  Do you have a good relationship other than her lack of understanding about your abusive mother?  Then it is probably worth saving- just accept that your narcissistic mother isn’t a topic you two can discuss.  Or, does this person criticize or invalidate you in other ways?  (I don’t mean the healthy, constructive criticism we all need sometimes)  Then this relationship may need to end. You’ve been treated badly enough in your life thanks to your narcissistic mother- why continue to tolerate being treated badly?

As I mentioned in this post, I recently realized that when the C-PTSD flares up, it seems like every single nasty, invalidating comment I’ve ever heard comes to mind.  Those times are so painful!  I tried to wait on it to pass when it happens, but that doesn’t always work so well.  Sometimes it seems like the comments play over & over, like an old cassette tape stuck on repeat.  So, what I do during those times is think of a specific comment said to me, for example, “that doesn’t sound so bad.”  Then I think about the event that led the person to make the comment, & remember, it really WAS bad!  It was horrible!  Having someone tell you that you’re a horrible person hurts, but add in the fact that was my mother, & she was screaming it in my face?  Yea, it was pretty bad.. if someone thinks it wasn’t, that person obviously has the problem!

I believe that some people simple aren’t able to grasp the hell that is living with narcissistic abuse.  Maybe they come from loving families, & never had to face any type of abuse.  As a result, they just can’t  wrap their minds around the fact not all families are as good as theirs.  Or, maybe they too came from a narcissistic parent, yet haven’t had the strength to face that, & continue living in the dysfunction instead.  Or, in all honesty, narcissistic abuse sounds so far fetched!  Sometimes the things narcissists do sound completely made up, they just are that “out there.”  If I wouldn’t have seen the things my mother did to me, I’m not sure I would believe anyone was capable of such acts either!  Maybe some people can’t believe another human being is capable of doing such things, especially to her own child.  Whatever the reason, that does not give them the right to invalidate your pain!  Narcissistic abuse is a horrible thing to endure.  Its damage can be lifelong & extremely painful.  Don’t let anyone convince you that it was “no big deal” or that there’s something wrong with you for how you feel after surviving such torture!

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How To Deal With Those Who Invalidate Narcissistic Abuse

My always “fun” narcissistic mother called me the night before last.  She told me that one of the few movies with both like, “Duel” from 1971, was on TV.  I was pleasantly surprised not only because I enjoy the movie, but that my mother thought to let me know it was coming on.  I thought that was oddly not narcissistic & very sweet of her.

Then last evening, she called me again.  She asked if I watched the movie & we ended up having a rather pleasant chat for a while about movies & actors.  I relaxed for once while we spoke (that is a VERY rare occurrence).   Suddenly my mother asked me a favor- she asked me to give her a home perm.

*sigh*

I’ve done it many times, & really never minded it all that much, in spite of her often treating me like the hired help.  Then the arthritis in my hands got worse, & putting those little perm rods in her hair became quite painful for me. I told her this probably 2 years ago by now, maybe longer ago but I’m not sure, & haven’t done a perm for her since.  So last night’s request came as a surprise to me.  For one thing, we were talking just fine, then suddenly, she expects a favor that I’ve told her I can’t do.  UGH!  I had to remind my mother yet again that I have arthritis in my hands, & can’t do this for her.  Her response?  “So you’re saying you can’t give me a perm, huh?”  Really???  All she took from what I said was what directly affected her.  Fantastic.. typical narcissist. *banging head into walls*

I was thinking about this conversation this morning.  It’s things like this that happen over & over, & many people just do not grasp the severity of such incidents.  People who know my mother may think she’s rather eccentric, but not a bad person.  In fact, if I tell them stories like this, they say I’m oversensitive, reading into things, need to shake it off, etc.  These people act like I am the one in  the wrong, not my mother, who treats me as if I’m just here to be used.  They ignore the fact that things like this reinforce the fact my mother thinks I’m just here to serve her, that I’m not allowed to have needs, feelings or anything else.  My sole purpose in life is to be used by my mother, according to her.  So what I have arthritis?  I should suck it up, Buttercup, & do what she wants because she wants it!  Ugh.. & to tell the truth, I think my mother thinks I’m lying about having arthritis just to get out of doing for her.  Never mind it’s a medical fact, on record & I’ve had it for 12 years now…

This kind of behavior is it invalidating, & it’s plain hurtful!  It also has made me wonder why people are so quick to defend a narcissist & blame the victim.

I think many people are afraid of becoming uncomfortable.  Their comfort zone is so important to them that they cannot tolerate anything that doesn’t fit into said comfort zone.  They would rather be invalidating & hurtful to you than forced to believe the narcissist they know is anything less than a good person.  Maybe the narcissist is good to them (for the moment anyway, until the mask slips off..), & they simply do not want to face the fact that she is capable of heinous acts.  Learning someone you care about isn’t a good person is a painful thing, & many people do not want to deal with that pain.

What does this mean to you, the victim of a narcissist?

This means that you are going to need to be aware of people like this, as they are everywhere.  They even can be a close relative or friend.  Chances are, they don’t intend to hurt you- they are simply oblivious to the fact they are abusing you by invalidating you.  However, even intentions that aren’t bad don’t make this behavior hurt any less, or make it acceptable.

Once you’re aware of these people, you need to stop discussing your relationship with your narcissistic mother  (or father,or sibling, or friend, etc.) with this person if you wish to continue this relationship. If you continue to attempt to force this person to see your perspective, they will become resistant, & angry with you for trying to force them to see what they don’t want to see.  They will flatly refuse to see the truth, & it can put a big wedge in your relationship or even cause them to sever ties with you. Did you read my post “Two Good Lessons From One Dream“? If not, please read it now.  In that dream, God showed me clearly that you have to use wisdom on who you discuss narcissistic abuse with.  Don’t frustrate yourself & ruin relationships by discussing it with people who are hell bent on not hearing a word you have to say!  It’s not worth it!

How do you not discuss the cruel things your narcissistic mother is doing to you when people ask you?  By telling them that this topic is not up for discussion…

  • “I’m not going to discuss this topic with you.”
  • “Let’s talk about something else.”
  • “I don’t want to discuss this.”
  • Change the subject as often as necessary & ask the other person something about his/her life.
  • Walk away or hang up the phone if they insist on discussing this topic even though you set appropriate boundaries.

You owe no one any explanation, & an explanation only will start an argument anyway.  If they say anything to you on  the topic, the best way I have found to avoid discussing it is to change the subject.  Eventually, most people will get frustrated & give up trying to discuss the topic they originally wanted to, especially if you ask him/her about his/her life.  Most people, even non-narcissists, will talk readily about themselves.

Protect yourself from people like this, Dear Reader,& use wisdom  when you must deal with them.  You deserve it.  You have been abused enough by your narcissistic mother- you don’t need further invalidating abuse from “friends” or “family” even if they are well-meaning.

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I Realized I Am Grieving

If you missed it, yesterday I posted about my narcissistic mother’s betrayal.  She currently is feigning great concern for my husband’s mother being ill, in spite of knowing the massive amount of abuse the woman has put me through.  And, she is flaunting it in my face- when we saw my parents Saturday, my mother kept bringing up his mother’s health,displaying deep concern for her. The only reason she is doing this is to cause me pain, & it is working.  Those of you who also have a narcissistic mother know that if I had said anything to her Saturday, she would have portrayed herself the innocent victim of her evil daughter.  The worst part is nothing would improve, but most likely it would only get worse.

Since Saturday, I have not been happy at all. I am deeply hurt,& crying easier than usual (normally I cry easily anyway, but this is over the top even for me). The C-PTSD has been flaring up- my head is swimming, anxiety levels are terrible & I had nightmares all night long last night.  I can’t remember many details other than being abandoned in them, which tells me my brain is still trying to process what my mother is doing to me.

I also realized this morning that I am grieving. There are five stages of grief..

  1. Denial- denying this is happening.  it’s a normal defense mechanism.
  2. Anger- when you feel as if this can’t be happening because you aren’t ready for it.  You may be angry at anyone or everyone at this point.
  3. Bargaining- “if only he had seen a doctor sooner!” thoughts invade your mind.  Or, “God if you let him live, i’ll do anything you want!”
  4. Depression- sadness becomes almost overwhelming.
  5. Acceptance- accepting what has happened, & beginning to move on.

These stages of grief not only happen when someone you love dies, but they can happen in other areas of life as well.  I believe they also can happen during especially painful times, such as what I’m experiencing. When someone goes above & beyond to hurt you, that is horribly painful, but when it is your own mother- the one person who is supposed to love you no matter what- the pain is magnified by 1,000.

So this is why I am grieving right now.  When my mother first began her “concern” for my mother in-law, I wasn’t surprised.  She has been sending her Christmas cards ever since the first Christmas after I told my parents how bad my mother in-law treated me.  However, the constant mentioning her, the “I’m praying she gets better soon”, & then the cookies & card for her were over the top, even by my mother’s standards.  It was almost impossible for me to believe she had gone this far at first (stage 1).  Once it started sinking in shortly after leaving my parents’ home Saturday, I got angry (stage 2) & stayed angry all during yesterday.  By last night, I actually began to wonder if I had done something wrong, something to deserve this from my mother or something that made her behave this way (stage 3).  That didn’t last long as anger & then depression (stage 4) kicked in.

Once I thought about this, I realized that I go through this often when my mother pulls some of her antics.  Honestly, most of them I am so used to that I only get angry or disgusted that we are going through it again.  Even so, sometimes, she surprises me & pulls something so especially painful, it catches me off guard.  This is one of those times.

I believe grieving like this to be common, & not only for me, but for all children of a narcissistic parent.  if you share similar feelings to mine after dealing with your narcissistic mother, then please be aware of two things:

First, you are not crazy!  You are not wrong, nor are you at fault for feeling this way.  You are perfectly normal! You are grieving something very painful, & need to be compassionate & gentle with yourself until you have come to terms with the incident. Take care of yourself- pamper yourself, & do things that make you feel good.  If you made a comfort box or bag, get it out & enjoy the special items you put inside.

And second, know you are not alone!  It isn’t “just you”.  Just because your narcissistic mother says nobody else is as bad/crazy/stupid/etc. as you means it is true.  She is lying to justify her abuse.  Ignore her!  She is the one with the problem.  There are others like you who understand your pain & will validate you!  I am only one of them.

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Types Of Invalidation

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

 

If you have been in an abusive relationship of any type- whether the relationship was emotionally, physically, sexually or narcissistic abusive- then you have experienced invalidation.  Invalidation is when your feelings are mocked, judged or rejected.  It is done  to make you feel as if you are wrong, weird, abnormal or extremely flawed.  It is done in order to gain control.  When invalidation is done in childhood, the child grows up not trusting her feelings, & lacking in self confidence.

 

There are many ways to invalidate someone.  Some examples are:

  • Telling someone not to feel the way they do.
  • Calling someone harsh names like oversensitive, drama queen, worry wort, crybaby, etc.
  • Mocking someone for feeling a certain way.
  • Leading one to believe there is something wrong with them for feeling as they do.
  • Telling someone to look differently (example: “Stop looking so sad”).
  • Minimizing another’s feelings.
  • Isolating another, such as saying “No one else would be bothered by this- what’s wrong with you?”
  • Defending those who hurt or abuse you.

 

I believe there are other ways to invalidate someone that are much more subtle & insidious, & they do just as much harm as the more overt types of invalidating.  Unfortunately, they seem to be so commonplace in society that I don’t believe many people even pay them any attention.  Some examples are:

  • Not asking someone “how are you?” during the course of a conversation.  This clearly says, “I really don’t care how you’re doing.”  Granted during times of crisis, many people simply forget to ask another this question due to being caught up in the trying situation.  However, many people do this on a regular basis, no matter what the circumstances are.
  • Talking nonstop about yourself.  This sends the message, “I am much more important than you!  Don’t waste my time talking to me about you!”  In a healthy relationship, there are times where it is one-sided.  One friend is going through a crisis & the other friend is offering a listening ear & support.  That happens sometimes & is completely normal.  What is not normal, however, is when one person only talks about himself or herself & doesn’t care enough to ask the other person questions about his/her life.  This is a red flag for narcissistic personality disorder!
  • Interrupting constantly.  Not only is it rude, but it tells the other person that what you have to say is really much more important, & they need to just stop talking.
  • Changing the topic of conversation frequently when someone else is talking.  Is what you have to say so vitally important that you can’t let the other person finish what he or she is saying?  Does what you have to say need to be said right this moment?  If not, then let the other person have their say.
  • Offering unasked for advice & opinions.  This is a major pet peeve of mine.  It is rude & presumptuous, & it sends the message that the one giving the advice or offering the opinion is much smarter than the person receiving it.  It’s hurtful!  Are your thoughts really so valuable that the other person simply can’t go on living without hearing them?
  • If you don’t agree with someone’s opinion or support them, keep that to yourself or express it in a respectful way when the time is appropriate.  This is something I deal with often with having C-PTSD, & it really is frustrating!  People who don’t understand this disorder or want to learn anything about it often think it means I am dwelling in the past, unforgiving, not thinking positively, etc.  Hearing statements like these hurt me greatly, because not only are people who say such things are trivializing the potentially life-threatening disorder I live with daily & the trauma I have endured, but they are also acting as if I am stupid for not seeing what they believe to be an obvious easy solution to this problem.  This insensitivity doesn’t just pertain to mental disorders, though.  Politics is another topic where I see this happening.  So many people have extremly strong feelings on politics, & believe that if other people don’t share their views, they are stupid, naive, foolish, etc. & don’t mind letting those people know that.  It is ridiculous!  People have different views- what is the problem with that?  Everyone is entitled to their opinion & to have it respected.  If you can’t understand someone’s opinion or painful situation, how about trying to understand it?  Or at least not judge or criticize them if you absolutely can’t understand.

 

I would like to encourage you to please consider your actions.  Don’t invalidate others or tolerate it from other people!  It is painful & frustrating to experience, not to mention invalidation tears away at one’s self-confidence.  When it happens often, it makes you feel as if you don’t matter to anyone, & that your thoughts & feelings are unimportant, wrong or even flawed beyond repair.  No one should experience that pain!

More information regarding invalidation (including a free ebook on the topic) is available at my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Lessons Learned & Question Answered

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I thought I’d share some things with you today…

I am gaining a new appreciation & respect for dreams as of late.  All of my dreams seem to have some valuable message in them these days.  I seldom understand them immediately, so I look up various symbols on my favorite dream interpretation site, http://www.dreammoods.com, jot notes down, ask God what it all means & wait for His answer.  It comes fairly quickly & is always eye opening.  God truly speaks to us via our dreams!  You would be wise to start paying attention to yours as well.

I also learned something valuable Sunday while at my parents’ house.  In typical narcissistic mother fashion, my mother tried to shame me for liking a couple of things she doesn’t like.  Obviously, something is wrong with me because I’m different than her yanno!  lol  As she was making absolutely certain I knew this, a joke I absolutely love popped into my mind…

These 2 proper Southern belles were sitting on a veranda, drinking mint juleps & talking.  The one said to the other,

“You see this diamond necklace?  My husband gave that to me when we got married.”  

The second said, “Well ain’t that nice?”  

“You see this pearl bracelet?  My husband gave that to me when our son was born.”  

“Well ain’t that nice?”

“You see that Jaguar in the driveway?  My husband gave that to me for our anniversary last week.”  

“Well, ain’t that nice?”  

“Speaking of anniversaries, you & your husband had one recently.  What did he get you?”  

“He paid for me to go to charm school.”  

“Charm school?  What on earth did you learn there?”  

“I learned how to say well ain’t that nice instead of who gives a ****?”  

As my mother was finishing up her shaming me because I said I kind of like mincemeat pie & she doesn’t, I simply said, “Well, ain’t that nice?”  My mother is from PA- a northern woman through & through- so she just looked at me funny when I said that, & changed the subject immediately. My father, however, is from VA, & thoroughly Southern.  He knew what that meant even though I’ve never told him that joke, so he snickered a bit.  I realized saying that joke’s punchline worked very well for me.  I was able to tell my mother her opinion means nothing to me in a respectful way, & she stopped that shaming thing that irritates me so badly.  I’m thinking “well, ain’t that nice” is going to be said a LOT in my near future.  You may want to try this one with your narcissistic mother too.  😉

Speaking of my parents, I’ve had several people ask me lately why I’m helping my parents out.  Considering how poorly my mother has treated me as I’ve been helping her plus my own health issues, why even try?  I thought I would answer this question here.  I guess it’s because I’m my parents’ only child.  They don’t have any other family they can rely on besides me.  Yes, they can hire help (which I’m working on getting that going- I can do some, but more help would be very nice), but I want to at least try to help out.  This has been a learning experience for me, too.  I’ve come to realize I was thinking more like their child instead of their daughter, & am changing that.  I’ve gotten stronger with setting/enforcing boundaries.  I’m learning new ways to cope with nastiness & gaslighting (such as the “well ain’t that nice” comment).  I’m also getting better at self-care out of sheer necessity.  I’ve found local resources that may prove to be valuable to them as well, so while they are not in dire need of a lot of help at the moment, if, God forbid, that happens, we will know where to turn.  So, as difficult as things are, at least I’m getting some good from it while providing them with the help they need.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

What A Week…

This past week has been very hard for me.

As I mentioned last week in THIS BLOG POST, I learned that a man I dated a long time ago recently killed his male lover, then himself.  I have been in shock since learning about what happened last Tuesday.  Thankfully, it’s all starting to really sink in, & I’m feeling a bit better.  

I’ve noticed though that some folks who know me & know what happened haven’t been overly understanding.  While I get not everyone understands this situation since most people haven’t been in it, it still triggered an automatic reaction in me that I learned when I was a child- if someone invalidates my feelings, I need to push my feelings aside & not bother anyone with them.

This is completely unhealthy, & I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it contributed to the complex ptsd showing up in the spring of 2012.

I fight this behavior every time it comes up, which is very often.  

Just because other people don’t understand, or try to understand, the pain you are in, doesn’t make it any less painful.  You need to learn to ignore what others say & listen to your own instincts & feelings. If you are hurting or angry, then honor that!  Deal with your pain accordingly.  Just because something might not upset another person doesn’t mean they are right & you are wrong.  You are individuals, & people are affected by things differently.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS!  

In my case, I am finally coming to grips with the fact I once shared my life with a man who used me to cover up his homosexuality, & was a murderer. This isn’t an easy pill to swallow! I don’t understand how anyone could feel otherwise.

If you have someone in your life who frequently tells you things like you’re oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into a situation, etc., that person is invalidating you.  For more information on that topic, please visit this link to my website: Invalidation.  Invalidation isn’t only painful & frustrating, it is abuse.  You don’t have to put up with it!

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February 9, 2013

Hello, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds all of you blessed & happy today!  🙂

I just wanted to let you know I added a new free ebook to my website.  It’s at the following link:

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/free_e-books.htm

The newest ebook is about invalidation- one of the nastiest, most insidious & often most unrecognized forms of psychological abuse.  Statements such as, “You’re overreacting,” or “You’re oversensitive” are just two examples of invalidating behavior.  Invalidation can damage or even destroy one’s self esteem.  I encourage you to check out this ebook for more information.

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December 12, 2012

Good morning, Dear Readers!

While not divulging the details, something called my attention today to invalidation.  Again.  It’s something I have dealt with way too often in my life.  A good article on the topic of invalidation can be found here:

http://outofthefog.net/CommonBehaviors/Invalidation.html

 

In my experiences, I have heard so many comments like, “It could be worse,” “You think that’s bad?  At least you haven’t been through *fill in the blank* like I have!” or “But that’s your MOTHER!”   Today it just hit me just how many times I’ve also been told to “be strong,” “Be the bigger person,” or, “You just need to understand her better.”  Those kind of statements are just as damaging & invalidating!  They basically all say the same thing- that I need to suck it up, Buttercup- take the abuse & stop whining about it!  

No one needs to tolerate abuse.  No one.  

If someone is brave enough to tell you that they are being mistreated or abused, then for the love of all that is good & holy in this world, think about what you say to them!!!  Don’t act like it’s no big deal.  Even if it’s not to you, it obviously is to that person!  That person needs understanding & support, & telling them to “suck it up” or other similar statements is NOT understanding or supportive!  In fact, you will do more harm to that person if you say something so unfeeling, & damage your relationship.

I’m already thinking my book, “Emerging From The Chrysalis” that I finished in October, is going to be elaborated on soon.. a second edition, going into more details. 

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