Tag Archives: joy

Getting Back Your Zest For Life After Narcissistic Abuse

Like so many other victims of narcissistic abuse, I spent most of my life trying to be less me to please other people.  I think of it like I was trying to shrink myself to please other people.  I became less opinionated.  I turned away from things that I liked that they didn’t approve of in favor of things they thought I should.  I tried changing my appearance too, dressing differently, coloring my hair & losing weight. 

Eventually I realized just how ridiculous this was.  Changing to please people who demand you change never works.  The one demanding the changes is never pleased, & the one doing the changing is miserable because they aren’t being true to themselves.  I could see no good reason to continue this behavior, so I stopped it.  I figured let people be mad at me for it.  They would be anyway!  This was a good decision of course, but it also was only half the battle for me.  I knew who I wasn’t, but I didn’t know who I was.

Over the years I did get to know myself, but still something was lacking.  I wasn’t sure what that something was.  It finally hit me.  I lost my passion, my zest for life.  I certainly can’t be the only person in this position, so I thought sharing what I have learned would be a good idea.

After enduring narcissistic abuse, it can be overwhelming to realize just how much damage has been done to you.  Healing is absolutely possible, but it takes a lot of work & time.  Often, I think it’s a life long process.  It can be easy to get caught up in healing work & not even notice you haven’t got that zest for life you once had.  Or maybe you never had it.  Either way, this should change.  You deserve to enjoy life!

As vital as healing is, it’s also a lot of work!  You need to take time frequent breaks.  They are good for your mental health.  Thinking too much about such intense topics can wear you down, & that is never good.  Take times where you flatly refuse to think about the abuse or focus on your healing.  Instead, do things you enjoy. 

Remember times in your life when you had that zest for life.  Think about them in as much detail as you can.  What were you doing?  What was so enjoyable about the situation?  How exactly did you feel?  Meditate on those times.  Remind yourself that this was you!  You were capable of being that person before, so you can be like that again. 

Consider things that ignite your zest for life & indulge in them often.  If it’s reading a certain genre of books, read all you can find.  If it’s a certain type of music, listen to it often & dance around your home.  If it’s supporting a certain cause, give your best to supporting it in every way you can.

Get creative.  I believe creative outlets to be absolutely vital to enjoying life.  Whatever you enjoy doing, make time to do it often.  I have learned if I don’t set aside time in the evenings to knit, crochet or cross stitch, it doesn’t take long before I become anxious & irritable.  Participating in these creative hobbies I love helps me to enjoy life more while helping my mental health.

The most helpful thing I have found though is the value of maintaining a close relationship to God.  Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence is fullness of joy, & this is so true!  Pray often & remember, God isn’t just God but your father as well.  You can talk to Him familiarly.  I know when your earthly father isn’t good it can be hard to relate to God in this way but it is possible.  Ask Him to help you & remember, He is nothing like your earthly father at all.  He is so much better!

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

One Way To Add A Little Joy To Your Daily Life

I recently heard of something I was unaware existed before.  It’s called the errand hang.  Basically it involves spending time with someone while you take care of errands.  Silly as it may sound, I really think this is a great idea in several ways.

Obviously, you being able to get done the errands you need to is a benefit.  It can be easier to accomplish such mundane tasks as going to the grocery store when you know you’ll be spending time with someone you care about however.  My best friend & I have done all kinds of things when together, not just go out to lunch & shopping.  I enjoy those times spent with her just as much as the lunch & shopping dates.

If you don’t have much time for social activities like going to the movies or parties, errand hanging is a way to fit in social time while not losing time you need to accomplish certain tasks. Spending time with a good friend also makes those mundane tasks seem more enjoyable, so that’s another bonus.

Or, if you’re someone who dislikes some traditional social activities like parties, the errand hang is a good way to get some one on one time with your friends rather than trying to talk to them over the noise of loud music & other people at a party.

There is also something about sharing errands with someone that draws you closer together.  Maybe because doing so gives them a look at your day to day life, not only what you want another person to see.  Maybe too because it gives an opportunity to talk with this person without the constant, intrusive distractions of televisions or phones. 

There is also a potential for spontaneity, which is beneficial for those of us who aren’t good with being spontaneous.  I have a friend who is way less rigid than me & quite spontaneous.  When she lived near me, she called pretty often to ask what I was doing that day.  Then she often would talk me into doing my household duties later or maybe sooner than expected so as soon as I was done, we could hang out, often while running errands.  It was good for me to push myself out of my little box sometimes, & I wish she still lived close!  Those times were a lot of fun for me.

I had another friend who used to call & ask what I was doing.  If I needed to go out, he’d ask if he could come along.  Or, if money was tight for me he’d ask if I wanted him to drive so I could save gas.   I would do the same if times were tight for him.  It worked out well – one of us could save a little money when needed & we’d have a ball laughing & listening to the music we grew up with as we drove around.

There is another bonus for the errand hang too.  If you are struggling somehow, say with grief over losing a loved one or depression, the errand hang can help motivate you to get out, do what you need to do & have some fun while doing it.  Or, maybe you have an unpleasant chore you need to do but really don’t want to.  Having someone with you can be good moral support which will help you to accomplish that task.

If you think this errand hang stuff sounds weird, it really doesn’t have to be weird at all.  Just ask!  The next time you need to do some errands, text a friend in advance.  You can tell them this might sound weird, but you need to do these things & would like some company, then ask if he or she is busy when you need to do the errands.  In my experience anyway, most people are fine with asking them to do errands together. 

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Filed under Enjoying Life, Mental Health

Living A Truly Rich Life

The world defines rich with money & things.  The more of those a person has, the richer they are.  While there is nothing wrong with money & possessions, they truly don’t make a person rich.

What makes a person rich has little to do with “things”.  It’s about having a life that is full of what makes you feel alive & happy, no matter how much money & stuff you have.

There are some things you can do to make yourself rich with things that will bring you much more joy than stuff can.

First & foremost is spiritual growth.  Knowing God intimately is the best thing you can do for yourself.  He truly is a loving father, & nurturing that relationship is vital to a person’s well being.  For those who grew up with narcissistic parents in particular, this step is especially vital.  Since people tend to look to God like they do their earthly parents, it can be hard to trust Him & believe that He loves you.  Get to know Him & you will learn that He is trustworthy & He does love you a great deal.  Also, the more you get to know Him, the more He will show you about yourself. 

Creativity is also vital to living a rich life.  Creative outlets are wonderful!  They calm the mind & body, as well as bring joy.  If you are unsure where to begin, consider things you enjoyed doing but have set aside.  Did you like drawing as a child?  Grab some paper & a pencil & try to draw something now.  Or, consider trying something you never have done before but have always wanted to.  Plant that garden, learn to sew, take a class in creative writing.  Don’t let anything hold you back!

Write in a journal.  Spend time writing in a journal about your life.  Even if your only activity was going to the grocery store, write about it.  The more you write, the more you will learn about yourself.  Writing also helps you to process things, which can be truly beneficial.  If you dislike the idea of writing, then don’t discount the journal idea.  Instead of writing, draw pictures or paste pictures from magazines or printed out from the internet that somehow speak to you.

Clean out your stuff.  The less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to maintain & the more time you will have for the things that truly bring you joy.  Decluttering can be a daunting task but it is well worth it!  To avoid feeling overwhelmed, start small.  Clean out a cabinet or even just a drawer as you are able to.  Create boxes for things to give away, things to sell & things to throw away.  Once you start, it gets easier, & before you know it, you will have decluttered your entire home!  Many people find minimalism a fantastic life style.  I’m not one who could live as a full minimalist, but I do like having less stuff. 

Clean out your schedule while you declutter your possessions.  Chances are there are things in your schedule that you can stop doing or do more efficiently.  If your child has practice a few nights a week, why not see if you & another parent whose child participates in the same activity would be willing to share taking your kids to practice.  Maybe switch days or one of you drops off the kids & the other picks them up.  Don’t forget your household duties, too.  Rather than spend your entire Saturday cleaning, why not do a little daily?  You will spend less time cleaning & your house will look clean all of the time, not only on Saturdays.

Simple steps like these can help you to live a much richer & more meaningful life!

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Being A Joy Thief

So many people are quick to squelch the things that bring other people joy.  Granted, narcissists seem to have cornered the market on this behavior, but other people do it as well, & often without even realizing how discouraging their behavior is to others.

Here is one example of joy thief behavior I can give from my life.  Years ago, I shared a picture of some shoes I really liked on Facebook.  I’m not a big fan of shoes like many women, but these were an exception since they were simply gorgeous & unique.  As soon as I did, two of my aunts attacked me for my supposed poor taste.  Immediately, the moment of joy I felt at seeing these lovely shoes was ruined.  Thank God for good friends though, because a wonderful friend of mine came to my defense immediately, which made my aunts back off quickly.

Another way people do this is by showing holier than thou type behavior.  When a person thinks something is an answer to prayer, others can be quick to point out it isn’t exactly what the person asked for or it’s something rather unique, so it probably isn’t really an answer to prayer.  Or maybe you are like me & believe that there is nothing wrong with asking God for signs.  When telling some folks I got a sign, some people have told me, “You know that’s not really from God, right?” or, “Nowhere in the Bible are there any examples to support He would send a sign like that.”  Such comments are so discouraging & can make a person doubt they heard from God properly.  They can even damage a person’s faith, in particular if they are new Christians.

While these events are hardly the most traumatic a person can experience in their life, they still shouldn’t happen.  People deserve to experience their joy without the unnecessary shaming from other people.  There is no good reason to rain on another person’s parade.

What harm could possibly come from someone enjoying something that you dislike?  No harm could come to humanity because one person prefers autumn & another prefers summer, one person dislikes holidays while another listens to Christmas music in July or even one person prefers tea to coffee.  Seriously, issues like this are silly & not worth arguing about.

Even when it comes to someone’s faith, many issues aren’t worth disagreeing over.  Every Christian is at a different place in their walk with God.  While you may be further along than another, you are still well behind yet another person.  You don’t know everything, so why act like you do?  If someone believes something that you disagree with, unless you can back up your belief with Scripture, let it go.    Romans 14:12 & 13 in the Amplified Bible have this to say…  “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.  Then let us not criticize one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block or a source of temptation in another believer’s way.”  

Please consider your behavior & avoid being a joy thief.  It will be good for your relationships as well as for your peace of mind.  Being burdened with trying to change other people only makes both people in this situation miserable.  Why behave that way?  Enjoy your life instead & allow others in your life to enjoy theirs as well.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Enjoying Life, Mental Health

My Newest Venture

If you recall some time back I mentioned I wanted to focus more on enjoying life in my writing & putting that into practice in my own life. I have done something that will let me do just that.

I decided to make & sell homemade beauty products & perfumes. I used to do this years ago, before being an author took precedence in my life, but recently decided to get back into it, along with continuing to write of course.

Making these products is a lot of fun for me & a great creative outlet, but as one person, I can only use so much! That’s why I decided to sell these products. That gives me an excuse to do something I love. Bonus if I make some extra money at it.

The link to my new website is below. Check it out! 🙂

Heaven Scent Creations

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A Wonderful Idea

I use the Nextdoor app to see what is going on in my town.  It’s really an interesting app.  It reminds me a bit of Facebook, but is for people in your town only.  Your neighbors share all kinds of stuff on there!  They sell stuff, share stories of happenings such as flea markets or concerts, they discuss any criminal activity & much more.  It’s a great way to keep up to date on all the interesting stuff in your town.

Recently I was reading Nextdoor & saw an older post on there entitled “What do you need?”  The post asked people to share a need they have for something that they simply can’t afford right now.  Those who could meet those needs were encouraged to reply.  I thought it was a lovely idea.  Reading through the comments was heartwarming.  So many people shared their needs, big & small, & they were met.  Some asked for food for their pets & others offered to drop some food off or order it online & have it sent to their home.  One asked for a recommendation for a physician who uses naturopathic cancer treatments & that person got some recommendations.  Another asked for moving boxes & got that need met.  One person needed new brakes on their car & was given the name & number of a very reliable mechanic as well as coupons for the parts.  Yet another mentioned hosting Thanksgiving dinner & invited anyone who wanted to come.  Some people said they were not in any need & were grateful for what they had.

This post was really a lovely conversation!  It was heartwarming seeing so many people willingly help each other out, & also to see the new friendships that were formed.

While this post was created during the month of November due to being inspired by the holiday season, I think it’d be a lovely idea to create such a post during any time of the year.  People seem to be more generous during the holidays, but we should be generous during the entire year.  It is good for the giver & the receiver when someone is generous & giving.  In the Amplified Bible, Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous man [is a source of blessing and] shall be prosperous and enriched, And he who waters will himself be watered [reaping the generosity he has sown].”  Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.” & 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Now [remember] this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to others] will also reap generously [and be blessed].”

If you are in a difficult season of not having much to spare, don’t worry!  Whatever you give, no matter how little, is just as important & valuable in God’s eyes & no doubt to the recipient of your kindness as well.  2 Corinthians 8:12 says, “For if the eagerness [to give] is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.”  And, Mark 12:41-44 tells the story of Jesus praising a poor widow who only gave a small amount because she was willing to give what little she had. 

I hope you were inspired by the “What do you need” post & will consider doing something similar.  There are so many ways to be a blessing to other people!  Obviously creating this type of post is one way, but you also could donate your time or money to food pantries or soup kitchens, visit those in nursing homes, set up a table with free food such as canned goods or build a small “take one leave one” library of sorts in your yard.  The possibilities are really endless!

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For Those Who Lack Joy During The Holidays & Are Judged For It

Many people struggle through the holiday season for a range of very valid reasons.  Dysfunctional families causing unnecessary drama & misery, suffering loss through failed relationships or deaths of loved ones & financial struggles are some of the most common reasons, but there are many more.  Yet in spite of the validity of these reasons, many people are quick to shame these poor people, making their pain even worse.

My heart goes out to such people.  As I’ve written about plenty of times, I struggle through the holidays as well.  And, as many others have experienced, I’ve been shamed for that as well.  I’ve heard the usual comments like, “Focus on the positive!”  “It’s the most wonderful time of year!”  “Everyone is so happy.  Why can’t you be happy too?”  “Don’t be so negative.  It’s Christmas!!”  It’s no surprise, but comments don’t help. 

What people who make comments like this fail to realize is saying such things doesn’t make a person automatically feel better.  In fact, they only make a person feel worse.  It’s much like how saying, “cheer up” doesn’t cure depression or, “stop worrying!” doesn’t cure anxiety.

When you are faced with these overly judgmental people, it will be upsetting.  There is no avoiding that.  It does help to remember that some people simply aren’t very understanding others.  They either can’t or won’t try to understand the position of another person & unfortunately, they are everywhere.  This is how they are & they have no desire to change that about themselves. It has nothing about you that makes them act this way. 

There is also the fact that so many people have their own issues that they refuse to face.  Some people have come from their own dysfunctional, abusive pasts & rather than admit that fact & face their demons, they prefer to think only of happy things.  Traditionally, holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, so they are a great time to justifiably be focused on only happy things.  Or maybe holidays were the only time of joy they had in their childhood, so as adults, they cling to them to bring them joy as they once did.  Holidays also allow dysfunctional families to gather together & pretend that they are functional & happy.  Those from these families may enjoy this charade because even if only briefly, they can believe that they have a happy family.

One final thing to consider.  Colossians 2:16 in the New Living Translation of the Bible says, “So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.”  Notice that even the Bible even states that people aren’t to judge others for how they celebrate special days.  Celebrating certain ways & certain days is traditional, but it isn’t necessary for anyone, even professing Christians.  God gives people free will to do as they please, & that includes how they celebrate special days.  If He won’t judge you for what you do or don’t do during the holiday season, then there is no reason to accept the judgment of human beings.  Do what makes you comfortable, & ignore the petty criticisms of people who don’t know your situation. 

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10% Off All My Print Books Until October 1, 2021

My publisher is having another sale. 10% off ALL print products, which naturally includes my books. Simply use code BUY10 at checkout. You can see my books at the link below:

lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

If you’re interested in checking out the other great selection of print products my publisher sells, simply visit lulu.com & use code BUY10 at checkout

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

How To Enjoy Life With C-PTSD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showing Appreciation To The People In Your Life

Entitlement runs rampant today.  Granted, narcissists lead the way with their ridiculously overdeveloped sense of entitlement, but even people who aren’t narcissistic can be too entitled sometimes as well.  This can lead to failing to appreciate people in your life, because it can feel like there is no need to show appreciation for something someone is just supposed to do.

Failing to appreciate people in your life can lead to being taken for granted, resentment, anger, depression & ending relationships.  Why let this happen when it is so simple to avoid?

Start by showing people you are grateful for the things they do for you.  When someone does something for you, no matter how small, thank them.  Make that into a habit that you do constantly.  I don’t care if the task was something small like passing the salt at dinner.  Thank the person who did that!  Your husband put gas in your car because he knows you dislike that task?  Thank him for thinking of you & saving you that trip to the gas station.  Did your best friend call to tell you that your favorite movie comes on TV at 9 tonight?  Thank her for remembering that you love that movie & for thinking to let you know about this.  People like being thanked for what they do, even for such small things.  It makes them feel appreciated & like you don’t take them for granted.

While you’re at it, return the favor to people who bless you by being a blessing to them.  Doing thoughtful little gestures for them will make them feel the relationship is balanced, & they aren’t just doing things for you.  If you aren’t sure what to do, pay attention to people.  If someone mentions wanting to read a new book, buy them the book.  If they like coffee, surprise them with a cup of their favorite coffee periodically.  If they complain about having too much to do, then offer to help them complete some tasks or at the least accompany them when they run errands.

Tell those in your life often that you love them.  Say the words often.  Growing up, my wonderful grandparents always ended conversations with, “I love you.”  I don’t remember all of the details of our final conversations before they passed on but I can promise you our last words to each other definitely were, “I love you.” 

Complement people & do it often.  Tell your loved ones how much you admire their intelligence, kind heart, fashion sense.. anything & everything you admire about them!  A sincere complement can make even a very bad day better.

Be a cheerleader!  When someone you love is struggling, encourage them.  Let them know you believe in them & why.  And, when they accomplish the thing that was originally a struggle, celebrate with them for a job well done.

In fact, celebrate whatever accomplishments they do that bring them joy no matter how big or small.  Tell them you’re proud of them or happy for them or whatever is appropriate in the situation.

Don’t just be there in the good times either.  Be there to help them through the tough times.  Listen non-judgmentally to them while sharing a pint of ice cream, offer to clean their home or go to the grocery store for them. 

Normalize showing love to every person in your life that you love.  Normalize making people feel like a priority in your life rather than an afterthought.  Normalize checking in just to say hi & see how someone is doing.  Normalize talking about your dreams & innermost, private thoughts together knowing there won’t be judgment or criticism.  Doing things like this will enrich the relationships in your life immensely & bring both you & the other people in your life great joy.

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A Suggestion To Help You Enjoy Life After Narcissistic Abuse

Some time back, I decided that rather than simply inform those who follow my work of information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & ways to cope, I wanted to branch out a bit into ways to add more joy to their lives.  Today’s post is about that very topic.

A few years ago, I learned of hygge.  It is a Danish word used to describe a lifestyle of coziness, contentment & comfort.  I haven’t done as much as I would like to with what I have learned about this concept but I’m working on it.  I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned with you today.

In order to create a hygge lifestyle, I think it’s wise to start by examining your life.  What activities can be cut back on, eliminated or done more efficiently to give you more free time?  It may help to give you a clearer picture to write out what you do.  Consider these things & eliminate what you can that isn’t productive or that doesn’t add joy & value to your life.  If some things can’t be eliminated then consider how you can reduce your obligation to or time spent on these things.  The more free time you have, the more time you can devote to the things that bring you the most joy in life such as your hobbies & people you love.

Another aspect of creating the comfortable hygge life is examining the relationships in your life.  Most everyone has people in their life in certain mental boxes.  There are the people closest to you such as your spouse, children, & closest friends & relatives.  Slightly further out are people you still care for but not as much as those closest to you.  There also may be people further out such as co-workers & acquaintances.  The farthest out should be the toxic people.  Consider all of these relationships.  What relationships are worth focusing your time on?  Which are the most healthy, loving & even fun?

When it comes to relationships, I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity.  Better to have three awesome people in life than seventy iffy people.  Keeping only the best relationships means you have more time & energy to focus on those wonderful people who deserve your best.  It may be awkward & even hard to do, but eliminating the bad relationships & focusing on the good relationships is a wise move that adds joy to your life.

What is your home like?  Your home should be your sanctuary.  Make your home that way!  I don’t care if your home is a studio apartment or a huge mansion, it can be made into a comfortable safe haven on any budget.  Decluttering is an excellent place to start turning your home into that haven because clutter is a known cause of anxiety.  Also the less stuff you have, the less you have to clean & maintain.  Keep only the things that are useful & that bring you joy.  Decluttering doesn’t have to be overwhelming.  Start with one drawer, then move to another, then a shelf, then a closet.  Add things to dispose of to either a trash bag, box to donate to charity or give to friends & loved ones.  Get rid of the boxes & bags as they fill up.  If you wonder what is worth keeping & what isn’t, ask yourself some questions: if you had to move tomorrow, would this item be worth moving?   Does this item add joy or usefulness to my life?

Keeping your home clean & organized will reduce anxiety.  A little work each day can maintain a clean, organized home with minimal effort.

Invest in small changes such as a new paint color or cozy sheets on your bed.  These changes won’t require much of a financial investment but can make your home feel more inviting & comfortable.  They even can make it feel like a very different place. 

If you lack ideas for changing your home, look at homes in all different styles.  Something will appeal to you, & once that happens, inspiration won’t be far behind!  I love Victorian era homes, & although my home isn’t completely Victorian, I have enough of that influence to make it into a comfortable, cozy sanctuary.

Also, be sure to place pictures that are important to you around your home.  Whether those pictures are of important people in your life, pets, pictures you have taken or artwork isn’t important.  Display those pictures to add to the cozy feel of your home.

Creating a hygge lifestyle may not be the most important step in enjoying life after narcissistic abuse, but it sure does help.  Why not give it a try?

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

Making A Change

I just thought I would let everyone know I’m thinking of making a change in my writing. Instead of only sharing what I learn about NPD, narcissistic abuse, & C-PTSD, I have decided to expand that a bit into ways to add more joy into your life.

Since I turned 50 in April, I guess you could say I’m having a mid life crisis of sorts. (No, I’m not going to divorce my husband, date a guy who’s half my age & buy a Mazda Miata.. lol) I’ve come to realize how little I’ve enjoyed my life. NPD has taken up so much time & space in it! It’s time to make some changes.

You know how the Bible says that the enemy has come to steal, kill & destroy, & is looking for someone he may devour? Well, I firmly believe he does this, but not always in obvious ways. Sometimes those ways are subtle. Being abused by a narcissist is both obvious & subtle in its devastation to one’s life. The abuse itself is obvious of course, especially when it’s someone raging at you like an overt narcissist does or giving you intense guilt trips like a covert narcissist. But the aftermath is much more subtle. It is so easy to get caught up in obsessing over trying to understand what happened & ways to heal, that you can fail to enjoy your life. That has happened to me & I’m tired of it! I would guess that many of you reading this feel the same way.

At the time I’m writing this, I have about 8 months worth of blog posts written & scheduled to publish. You won’t see many posts on enjoying life for a bit because of that. I may rearrange & reschedule as I go to interject some but I’m not sure yet. That depends on what I feel God wants me to do. More of those posts definitely will be published in the future along with my usual educational type of posts though.

Please just bear with me through this. I’m not entirely sure yet how this is going to play out. I’ve felt God putting it on my heart to write more about enjoying life from a Christian perspective as I learn to, but as of the moment, not many details have been forthcoming.

Thank you for your understanding & patience with me, & always being there! I love all of you! xoxo

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

Bringing More Joy Into Your Life

Those of us with C-PTSD are all too aware of the bad triggers.  They remind us of traumatic & painful events, sometimes even to the point of having flashbacks.  They can be a good thing in the sense they show what areas need more healing, but they sure don’t feel so good when they happen!

There is another kind of trigger too, which is much more pleasant & much less talked about.  Good triggers are just as important, yet sadly there isn’t much information available on them.

Good triggers are things that can trigger joy, comfort, pleasant memories or nostalgia.  For me, the smell of Old Spice cologne always reminds me of my Granddad, who I adored.  The song “You’re My Best Friend” by the band Queen always reminds me of my husband since that is our song.  The scent of a fireplace burning on a cool autumn day reminds me of my favorite time of year & triggers a sense of coziness.

Please think about what good triggers you have, & write them down.  If you are unsure, I can offer you some ideas…

  • Some things that can trigger joy might be being kind to someone else, spending time with someone you love, or accomplishing a task you’ve been postponing.
  • Some things that can trigger comfort might be enjoying clean sheets on your bed, wearing an especially soft pair of pajamas or lighting your favorite scented candle.
  • Some things that can trigger pleasant memories or nostalgia could be listening to music you enjoyed at a particularly good time of your life, baking something your favorite relative baked or journaling about some good experience such as when you first fell in love with your spouse. 

Another thing I am in the process of learning about to bring joy into my life is the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).  Hygge is about creating a cozy, comfortable & relaxed lifestyle that leaves you with a feeling of well being & contentment. 

There are no hard & fast rules to living this lifestyle, other than what makes you feel cozy & comfortable.  I have come to realize that less stuff is an important aspect of hygge to me.  Less stuff means less to clean & maintain, & less clutter in my home, all of which help me to be more relaxed.  This also means my home is easier to clean, because of having less stuff which also helps to contribute to a more relaxed state.

Learning about hygge also inspired me to simplify every aspect of my life.  For example, each week I have most of our bills paid automatically by going on a credit card that gives cash back.  I pay this credit card bill weekly, so it doesn’t get out of control, & sometimes I also use the cash back to help pay the balance. 

Focusing on your good triggers, creating new ones as well as living a more relaxed & comfortable lifestyle are all very good for bringing more joy into your life.  I hope you are inspired to make some healthy changes in your life!

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

About Being A New Creation In Christ

2 Corinthians 5:17 says that anyone who is born again is a new creation in Christ. I have learned though that other things can make a person feel almost as if they are reborn, just not quite to that same extreme.

This has happened twice in my life.  The first time was in February, 2015 when I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  The poison made me pass out for about 25 minutes, & from what I understand from a doctor, usually people who are out for 20 minutes from carbon monoxide never wake up.  That was so hard to grasp!  Literally, I should have died but I survived!  Plus, the lack of oxygen that the poisoning creates often does permanent brain damage & I also suffered a concussion (I believe) from hitting my head when I passed out.  Both of these factors changed my personality quite drastically.  It was all a lot to get used to in addition to the long term physical symptoms.

The second time was when my mother died in April, 2019.  As the police told me that she had passed & I had to go to her home immediately to deal with having her remains taken to the funeral home, I felt this sensing that my life as I knew it was over.  That sensing turned out to be right!

Although both of these events were traumatic & very difficult, I came to realize something.  Although I’m not grateful they happened, I’m grateful for the changes they brought.

The changes in my personality from the poisoning mean I have no further tolerance whatsoever for abusive people.  As soon as someone starts showing signs of being controlling or manipulative, I kick them out of my life, usually without a word because people like that won’t realize they were wrong or change their behavior anyway.  I realized there’s no point in wasting my time.

I also got very protective of my husband & our little family.  I know first hand just how quickly life can end & won’t allow any threats to my loved ones.

When my mother died, something in me seemed to die too, but that isn’t a bad thing.  I no longer struggle so much with shame on a daily basis.  I’m also much less anxious in general now, however sometimes when I am anxious, it’s worse than it once was.  Somehow I’m able to cope with it pretty well.

I also learned that my mother is in Heaven, my prayers were answered.  God has seen fit to bless me by sharing some messages from her, which is just incredible.

Somehow along the way, I also lost the need for external validation.  I’ve gotten quite good at validating myself!  Sure, I backslide periodically, but it doesn’t happen often.

What has happened in your life that has made you feel as if you were reborn?  What changed after those moments?  I don’t mean the traumatic moments that changed you or contributed to you having PTSD or C-PTSD.  I mean life altering moments that although they were very hard to get through, eventually worked out well for you like mine did.

Some moments that can lead a person to feel this way include things like coming close to death or losing a loved one like me, but there are other things too.  Moving, ending or beginning a new relationship, changing jobs, changing careers, having a child, having a child leave home, caring for an elderly loved one… there is no end to the things that can alter a person’s life drastically.

If you have experienced the reborn feeling, I would like to urge you to consider the good that has come from the experience.  If you really think about it, I’m sure you can find some good in your situation.  I find great comfort when I learn my suffering had a purpose, & you may experience the same thing, which is why I hope you will do this.  xoxo

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned & Want To Share

Tomorrow marks the five year anniversary (if you can call it that.. anniversary sounds too positive) of the day I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Not really the happiest day of the year for me obviously, but at least it does make me think.  Yes, I remember the awfulness of that day but it also makes me think of the good that’s come from it all.

When I realized I couldn’t tell my parents what happened to me because they would invalidate my near death experience &/or spin it around to how it affected them, that was a big wake-up call.  I realized I needed them out of my life & began to actively pray about making that happen.  I also realized there were other toxic people in my life that needed to go as well.  Those who trivialized my experience or tried to make me think positively about it had to go.  My circle of those close to me has become very small, but they are absolutely wonderful people.  Quality over quantity, as the saying goes, & that is how I like it.  Better to have only a few very close, good friends than a wide circle of acquaintances.

What happened also caused me to realize just how quickly your life can change & change drastically.  The morning of February 27, 2015 appeared to be any other day.  By the end of that day however, I was an entirely different person.  Not only because of the brain damage & other health problems the carbon monoxide caused, but because coming close to death will shake a person up!  Yes, I knew if I died, I would’ve gone to Heaven, so that wasn’t a problem.  What was a problem is that I didn’t expect to die that day!  Coming close when it was unexpected was traumatic, even though I did survive.  Even now, thinking about it still shakes me up!

Coming close also showed me how quickly & unexpectedly a person’s life can end.  That made me realize how important it is to enjoy your life as much as you possibly can.  There are unenjoyable things that we can’t avoid of course, like getting stuck in traffic.  But, there are ways we can sneak enjoyment even into those situations.  Use that stuck in traffic time to listen to some good music or an audio book, for example.

Part of enjoying life for me is I also use my time in the evenings to indulge in hobbies I like.  I’ve come to realize that when I don’t get creative time in, I get irritable & don’t enjoy anything like I normally do.  Creative time is very important for most people, not only me.  It gives freedom to use your imagination.  It also gives down time that we all need in this often overly busy & chaotic life.  If you don’t have a creative outlet, it may be time for you to find one.  Wandering around a craft store can be a great place to start.  They carry items for almost every hobby imaginable!  And guys reading this, they even carry “guy stuff”, not just things for knitting & cross stitch.  Many carry model car & airplane kits, stuff for electric trains, wood working & more.

I hope this post doesn’t sound like I’m looking for pity because of what happened.  I’m not.  I just believe I learned some valuable things from my experience & wanted to share them.  Although I can’t say I’m grateful for what happened on that fateful day, I am grateful for the good that came from it.  The things I shared here definitely changed my life & my attitude for the better!  I hope they can help you too!  ❤

 

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

For Those Who Lack Joy Around Holidays & Birthdays

I truly dislike holidays & birthdays, & have felt this way for years.  The reason I feel this way is also the reason for so much negativity in my life.  It boils down to narcissistic behavior.

For all of my adult life, I’ve had demanding in-laws, both past & present, who expected my husband & I to do only as they wanted on holidays with no concern to anyone’s wishes beyond theirs.  In fact, my current in-laws claimed almost all holidays before they died, not only Thanksgiving & Christmas, but also Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, etc.  I’ve also had husbands who felt they must obey their demanding parents no matter what I felt.  My birthday also has been ruined by narcissists more times than it hasn’t been.  This all has ruined the joy I once felt about holidays.  Seems quite understandable to me that I dislike special days now, but many people can’t seem to grasp this.  In fact, many have been very critical of me for my feelings.

I thought I should write this for those of you who share similar experiences &/or feelings about special days.

You need to understand that if you feel as I do, your feelings are reasonable & valid.  They are there for a reason, so don’t discount them.  I know, most people can’t stand to learn a person doesn’t look forward to special days with a sense of glee, but they don’t understand that sometimes things happen.  Sometimes one truly severe or traumatic thing can happen that instantly destroys your fondness of these days, such as the death of a loved one close to or on a holiday.  How could anyone look forward to a holiday again when it’s a reminder of one of life’s most painful experiences?

Other times, you experience the same special day misery over & over again every single year.  Maybe you’re forced to spend the day with someone who abused you.  You know it’s not going to be pleasant to put it mildly.  There is no way you’re going to happily anticipate holidays knowing what unpleasantness is coming your way.

Even if you haven’t experienced something awful around the holidays, you may have a family that only comes together on holidays, & the phoniness of it bothers you.  That is one thing that rubs me very wrong about many holiday get togethers.  If this group of people only sees each other on a holiday, why are they seeing each other at all?  Why don’t they call each other or hang out together other times?  To me, that feels incredibly fake, & it gets under my skin badly.  I want no part of such get togethers because of the phoniness of it all.

Whatever your story, it’s ok to feel as you do.  Accept that about yourself without judgment.  If you’re struggling to do so, then imagine your closest friend came to you sharing their story which is yours.  What would you tell that friend?  Would you shame him or her for feeling that way or would you tell your friend you understand?  Tell yourself whatever you would tell that friend.

Try to deal with your feelings however works best for you.  Pray, journal, talk to someone safe & non judgmental.  Talking through this helps a great deal to release so much pain inside you.  Writing does, too, & it also can help to bring clarity to your situation & validate you.

I’m not going to tell you that you need to try to change your feelings & learn to love the holidays.  That is up to you if you want to try to do that.  I did, but it felt fake to me which is something I just can’t tolerate in myself.  But, maybe it’ll work for you.  If so, create new traditions just for yourself,  Spend the day with special friends.  Or, if you spend the day alone, make it a day just for you by doing something you thoroughly enjoy such as reading, watching good movies or going to a park.

I truly wish you the best in your situation!  It’s not easy feeling like a holiday villain in a society that demands everyone enjoy the holidays.  xoxo

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What’s Been Happening Lately

The past two weeks has been quite overwhelming.

Tuesday, June 12, my husband’s father fell in his home.  Hubby took him to the hospital, & they decided to keep him.  Upsetting of course, but not entirely unusual considering his age.  Saturday, June 16, my husband was told his father only had a couple of days left to live.  Friday, June 22, his father died.

Out of protecting my husband’s & his father’s privacy, I don’t want to reveal more details than that about the situation, so pardon me for being vague.

The situation got me thinking & I decided to share those thoughts.

First & foremost, this situation was just another reminder of how quickly life can change.  When hubby took his father to the emergency room, he had no clue that only 11 days later, his father would die.  Never take anyone you love for granted!  Enjoy every moment you can with them.  Never forget that things can change quickly, so tell them & show them often that you love them.  I make it a point to tell people I love them as the last thing before hanging up the phone or leaving their company.

Don’t forget to enjoy your life as much as possible.  Don’t settle for working a job you hate longer than absolutely necessary or continuing a relationship that is making you miserable.  Do things that make you happy & avoid things that don’t as much as humanly possible.  Travel, dance, write poetry, paint or participate in hobbies you love.  Do whatever benefits your peace & joy.  No one knows how long we have to live so why not enjoy every moment possible?

If you’re an animal lover, rely on your furbabies to help you in tough times.  Animals do love us & want to help if they can.  Just before my husband called to tell me about his dad, I saw two of my cats looking rather adorable & decided to take their pictures.  He called just as I took the last picture.  Later when I put the pictures on my computer, I noticed how sad my cats looked in those pictures, which is highly unusual for them.  I really believe they knew what was going on.  And, when my husband got home, they proved it.  The cats haven’t left him alone since he got home that night.  They’re doing their best to make him feel loved & comforted, & it’s a great help to him!

I also realized that once you’ve lost a narcissistic parent, death can be triggering.   This is the first person we’ve lost since my father died last October.  I feel like emotionally speaking, this situation has sent me back to last year.  It’s an emotional flashback of sorts, I think.  I assume this is happening because my father died not all that long ago & I haven’t been able to heal from that awful time yet.  I’m not telling my husband about this because he doesn’t need any further burdens right now of course, but my word, this is a challenge & one I never expected.

If you too have experienced the death of a narcissistic parent, Dear Reader, I think you need to know this kind of thing can happen to you too.  Even if the person who passes on is someone you aren’t particularly close to or not a person in a parental type role, I think it’s possible it can happen to you too, so just be prepared.

So, that’s what has been happening recently.  I figured I’d let everyone know & I hope the thoughts I had help you.  xoxo

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Miscellaneous

Getting The Most Out Of Your Life

Three years ago today, I suffered the most terrifying trauma of my life. I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. My husband & I didn’t know it that day, but apparently somehow a bunch of debris suddenly gathered behind my chimney’s flue, pushing it slightly closed. Not enough to smoke up the house when the fireplace was lit, but it was just enough to fill it with carbon monoxide after hubby left for work.

As seems to be my new February tradition, I’ve been thinking a great deal about this recently. Coming close to death definitely makes you reevaluate your life. Plus the damage to my brain changed my personality a great deal, which is actually a good thing in some ways. I’ve gotten better at self care & not tolerating abuse among other things, so I’m still getting to know this new me & what I want & need.

One thing that I realized that I need to remind myself of frequently is life can change drastically or even end in an instant. (I certainly didn’t wake up on February 27, 2015 expecting to nearly die that evening or that it was going to be the first day of a new life full of weird health problems & a lot of brain damage.) I think it’s an excellent idea to life life without regrets, because you don’t know when or how your life will change or even end.

I realize living every day like it’s your last isn’t quite possible. You still have a job, housework, budgeting, family obligations & what not to consider of course. But, I think it’s an excellent idea to get in any joy in life where you can, to do things you want to do or try new things as often as possible. Even little things can make a big difference. Go for a drive without a destination in mind & blare your favorite music on the radio. Grab a milkshake once in a while. Buy a new color of nail polish (one of my favorites) or dye your hair a fun, funky color. Tell the people you love how much they mean to you, why you love them & do it often. Make time for a hobby you love or pick up an old hobby you once abandoned. If time is an issue, look over your schedule & streamline it. I have a routine for my housework that helps me to maintain a clean home with spending the minimum amount of time on it. Doing a little almost daily is easier for me than doing a lot a couple of days each week since I run out of energy quickly. It also allows me more time available for writing, hobbies, spending time with friends or whatever I want.

It seems to me that society values being busy, but that just isn’t healthy or conducive to enjoying every moment in life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being productive 24/7! Even God took a day of rest after creating everything, & then told His people to do the same! (see Genesis 2:1-3) He did NOT create people to be non stop busy. He created people to work & also to take time to enjoy their lives. When you get to the end of your life, don’t you want to think about what a well lived life you had & not what a busy one you had?

Another thing society values that I realized isn’t healthy is being overly positive. Yes, positivity is good. It can help you avoid depression. However, being too positive can set you up for disappointment. Did you know many people who commit suicide are known for being optimistic? They became depressed when they were repeatedly disappointed.

Being too positive can set you up for feeling shame, too. If you’re very positive yet end up feeling negatively or unable to find good in a situation, it can make you feel terrible shame. That’s not good! If you know very positive people, you also know you can’t tell them you’re sad or disappointed, because they’ll make you feel ashamed of yourself. They’re not people you can be real & honest with, & that’s not good either!

I’ve found I have much more peace & less stressful being realistic. Sure, I look for the good, but I’m also not ashamed for getting depressed, angry or disappointed sometimes. I’m also not ashamed to say sometimes, things just stink & I can’t find anything positive in the situation.

Another thing to consider… your relationships. While soul searching after my awful experience, I also took the time to evaluate the relationships in my life. When I realized that through the complete delirium of the poisoning, I still had the sense to tell my husband as soon as I saw him never tell my parents about this, it was a huge wake up call for me. I knew anyone who wouldn’t care that I nearly died couldn’t be a part of my life, & they wouldn’t have cared. I also realized some friends weren’t good for me or at least they weren’t what I wanted in a relationship. The relationships were too one sided & some didn’t even care about what I experienced. Saying, “You’ll be fine”, “But you didn’t die!” or “Glad you’re ok.. so anyway *subject change*” after such an experience showed me how cold & uncaring these people were.

What about your relationships? If, God forbid, something terrible happened to you, could you count on the people in your life being there for you? Would they be care about your pain & suffering or would they brush you off? If they wouldn’t be there for you, then it might be time to consider whether or not you really want them in your life. You deserve good, loving people with whom you can have an equal & loving relationship. There is nothing wrong with refusing to settle for less than that!

John 10:10 is beautifully said in the Amplified translation: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus died not only so we could spend eternity with Him & have a relationship with God the Father, but also so we can enjoy life while we’re alive here on this planet. There is no good excuse not to enjoy your life! You deserve it! Jesus obviously thought so too! So why not start thinking about ways you can add more joy to your daily life?

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Miscellaneous

Sharing Some Beauty

I have a thing about beauty.. I love it in all forms & surround myself with it as much as possible.  There is something so peaceful, comforting & calming about it to me, especially when it comes to beauty in nature.

 

A few days after my father died, I looked out my kitchen window.  I saw a couple of beautiful butterflies on the marigold plants in our backyard!  They not only brought me comfort due to their special meaning in my life, but they also were so beautiful they brought some peace & joy.

 

I thought I’d make today’s post a bit different than usual, & share the beauty with you, Dear Reader.  As I’ve said many times, we can’t focus on narcissism all the time- it’s too depressing.  Consider this a break from that depressing topic & take in the beauty that God has created.  🙂

 

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

Having Fun In Your Marriage

Tomorrow is hubby’s & my 19th anniversary.  It’s been quite the adventure, being married for this amount of time.   It’s taught me a lot too.

 

One very important thing I’ve learned is the importance of having fun together.

 

My husband has a very good sense of humor, but he’s also very logic driven & hard working.  (If you know anything about the Myers Briggs personality test, he’s a very typical INTJ.)  Although I’m pretty hard working, I like to have fun.  Yet, when my C-PTSD flares up, depression sets in or symptoms from the carbon monoxide poisoning I survived in 2015 kick in, I lose the desire to have fun.  Also, sometimes things happen that distract us from having fun- bills pile up, someone gets sick, etc.  As a result, we sometimes do like many married couples- slip into a routine & not really do anything fun together.

 

Don’t do that, Dear Reader!  If you want to be each other’s best friend, you need to have fun with your spouse & do it often.  There is something about playing together that keeps that spark alive in your marriage.  Not sure why it works that way but it really does.

 

Do fun stuff with your spouse.  Play silly pranks on each other (nothing mean or hurtful of course).  A while back, I crocheted a clown that resembles Pennywise from Stephen King’s “IT”- a super scary movie & book, & one of my favorites.  We hide Pennywise around the house to scare each other.  I’ve put him in my husband’s lunch cooler, hanging out on the steering wheel of his truck & even taped him to the underside of the toilet lid (I can’t take credit for that- a friend of mine came up with that stroke of evil genius…lol).  He’s put Pennywise under the covers on my side of the bed, by my shampoo & on this little decoration in my bedroom.   I also crocheted a little Freddie Mercury (remember the late singer from Queen?) & sometimes Pennywise & Freddie have adventures together.  Silly?  Sure, but it makes us laugh when we find Pennywise &/or Freddie unexpectedly.

 

Play games together- video games, card games, board games- whatever you like.  My husband & I love the old video games we grew up with in the 70s & 80s.  Locally, there’s an arcade full of them that we frequent.  For $5, we can enjoy a couple of hours of fun together.  We also have a Wii & some board games we play at home.

 

There are plenty of things you & your spouse can do together that are lots of fun & that don’t cost a lot of money, if that’s an issue.  You can even find things on Craigslist or other sales sites, like ping pong or pool tables for cheap or even free.  All you really need is some creativity!

 

I hope you & your spouse start having fun together, if you aren’t already.  It really can help bring some fun into your marriage.  During the hard times, don’t forget to have some fun.  Those are the times you need that joy the most.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

What Comforts You?

The older I get, the more I value comfort.  The cozy feel of freshly washed bed linens, the warmth of raspberry or lemon herbal tea on a cold day, the look of a fresh manicure & pedicure are some things that come to my mind that bring me comfort.  I spend a lot of time in my bedroom because it’s very comfortable & cozy, which always feels good to me.

 

Indulging in comforting things is one way to care for yourself.  It makes you feel safe & secure- something most of us raised by narcissistic parents are very unfamiliar with feeling, & we need to become familiar with.

 

It also helps you to feel loved, when you are shown love.  Even when that act of love comes from yourself, it still feels good.

 

What makes you feel comforted?  Below are some possibilities if you need help coming up with ideas.

 

  • gardening
  • going for a walk in the woods
  • doing something creative- draw, paint, crochet, make something with clay, etc.
  • listening to music
  • watching reruns of an old TV show or movie
  • reading
  • writing
  • baking
  • drinking herbal teas
  • getting a manicure &/or pedicure

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

Little Things Don’t Have To Become Big Things

Song of Solomon 2:15  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  (KJV)

The little things in life can add up to big things  very quickly.

Neglecting to work through the smaller things can build resentment in a relationship, even leading to drastic measures such as divorce.

Neglecting to appreciate the small things can lead to a negative attitude & lack of appreciation, which makes a person utterly miserable.

Never forget, Dear Reader, that there really isn’t such a thing as “small foxes” in life.  Little things can contain a great deal of power.  They need to be dealt with wisely.

One day a few months ago, I’d had a frustrating day.  One of those days when nothing seemed to go right.  I finally had enough & wanted to relax in bed, watching tv for a bit before falling asleep.  I showered, got into my comfiest pajamas, & pulled back the covers to get into bed when I found one of my cats peed on my bed.  I didn’t even remember the last time this happened.  It’s incredibly rare!  At first I wanted to cry out of sheer frustration.  I began to whine to God, when I felt His calm come over me.  Instead of frustration, I felt I needed to take a deep breath.  I did & the reality of my situation sunk in rather than frustration.  I’d planned on changing my bed linens the following morning- I was simply doing it a little earlier than expected.  And, I have a waterbed.  Basically, it’s a big vinyl bag of water, so the pee didn’t absorb into the mattress like it would with a traditional mattress.  It wasn’t a huge deal.

When frustrations happen, I urge you to do the same thing I did.  Stop.  Talk to God.  Take a deep breath to relax.  Then think about your situation realistically.  Is it really a big deal the thing happened?  If not?  Don’t worry about it.  If so?  Work through it.  Talk to God.  Confront someone if need be, in a gentle manner of course.  Not sure how to do that?  Ask God to show you what to do & how to do it.  He will!

I know that frustrating things can feel like a huge deal, especially after a bad day or if you have anxiety, depression, PTSD or C-PTSD.  They don’t always have to be a huge deal though, Dear Reader.  God can help you to have a healthy perspective, so let Him!

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Adding Beauty Into Your Daily Life

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized something.  I need beauty in my daily life in some way, shape or form.  It helps to calm me, & bring me peace.  It also makes me feel closer to God.

 

I save beautiful pictures, in particular fall or winter scenes, animal scenes & rain day scenes on my tablet, & regularly look at them.

 

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, so what makes me feel this way may not do the same for you.  Maybe instead of snowy mountain views, beach views bring you peace.  Then I urge you to start collecting such images.  Or, if you have a favorite artist, then save images of his or her artwork.  I absolutely love Claude Monet’s & Vincent VanGogh’s paintings.  I have saved pictures of their artwork as well.  The serene images help to bring me peace of mind.

 

Beauty should be an important part of your life, too, Dear Reader.  Surround yourself with whatever you find beautiful in your home.  Paint your walls colors that you love.  Hang pictures on your walls not to merely fill a blank space, but because you love seeing them daily.  Replace old pictures with new & more beautiful, meaningful ones.  Invest in a pretty headboard & linens for your bed.  Don’t just collect any old knick-knacks.  Instead collect beautiful things that have a special meaning to you.

 

Start to surround yourself with the beauty God has placed on the Earth!  It will improve your mood.  🙂

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Celebrating Special Days

Tomorrow is the 22nd anniversary of hubby’s & my first date.  Hard to believe!  Time sure flies!

 

Ever since the first anniversary of this special day, we have done a little something to commemorate the day.  It can be as simple as sharing some wine, cheese & crackers when he gets home from work, talking by a fire, playing a board game or it can be a bit bigger such as going out to dinner, taking a day trip or recreating that special day.  Whatever we do though, we enjoy ourselves & reminisce.

 

We used to do something similar after we first got married.  We got married on September 24, 1998, so on the 24th of every month, we would celebrate a little.  (not sure why we stopped that, come to think of it..).  Interestingly when I mentioned it to my granddad, he said he & my grandmom used to do that too, for many years.

 

I’ve found these little celebrations are really nice!  They give you something to look forward to.  They also encourage intimacy.  They foster closeness.  They also help you to slow down & enjoy each other in a world that tends to be just too busy.

 

I’ve expanded this celebrating thing a bit, too.  I include my best friend in celebrations too.  We met in August, 1988 (although the day has escaped me) & each August I remind her of that & tell her how grateful I am for her friendship for so many years.

 

Remembering & celebrating things like this helps those in your life to feel loved & special.  It also is fun for you when you can make those you love feel that way.  It helps to add more joy into both your life & that of your loved one.  Why not give it a try?  Celebrate special events with those you love!

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Adding More Gratitude, Peace & Joy To Your Daily Life

One way I have learned to add more gratitude, peace & joy to my life is by focusing on beauty.  It’s quite easy to do, too, since beauty is all around us!  I have folders of beautiful images on my tablet.  Flowers, beautiful homes, art, or anything that strikes my fancy.  Looking at these lovely images helps me to feel more peaceful & happy.  My anxiety levels go down, too.  I even become more appreciative.

 

Why beauty has such a profound effect, I’m not sure, but I thoroughly enjoy it!  Why don’t you give it a try as well?  Start noticing the beauty around you.  Look at the flowers in your garden.  Really study them.  Focus on the lovely colors & graceful curve of the leaves & petals.  Animals are beautiful too- watch the graceful way a lion moves as he walks or listen to the haunting but beautiful sound of a wolf howl.

 

 

Museums are a wonderful place to take in some beauty.  I’ve noticed that after seeing some stunning paintings by Claude Monet (my favorite painter) at the museum, I started appreciating other beautiful things more.  I’ve never  been a fan of modern art, but even so, after enjoying Monet’s paintings, I could see a beauty in it that I never saw before.  It seems to me that once you start really appreciating beauty, you start to see it everywhere.  At least I did.

 

 

One interesting place to find beauty is also old cemeteries.  I absolutely love them!  They are so full of history if you read the headstones, but there is also much beauty there as well.  Old headstones are often much more elaborate than modern day ones.  Westminster cemetery in Baltimore where Edgar Allan Poe is buried is an amazing place!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creativity Is A Wonderful Thing

For whatever reason, lately I’ve been feeling creative.  I decorated a wreath for my front door.  I knitted some scatter rugs.  I want to make some valances for my enclosed porch windows (been wanting to do this since 2001 when we bought this house, but for some reason finally have motivation to work on this project).  I have a few other little projects in mind to create or repair around the house.

 

I’ve realized just how good it feels to be creative!  Not only do I feel productive, I feel free by making things I enjoy making, & doing them however I want to do them.

 

Creativity is a gift from God.  Not only does it help humans survive by giving us new & creative ways to deal with abuse or survive when finances are tight, but it gives us a way to feel good & enjoy life.  There is something very fun & rewarding about seeing a new, functional & creative way to do something.

 

Do you give yourself time to enjoy this creative part of you?  Or, are you like so many people- too busy to be creative?

 

If you’re too busy or have another reason for not indulging in your natural creativity, then I urge you to make time to be creative.  Is there some fun project you can do around your home to make it more appealing?  Paint a room a fun color, or even just an accent wall in a bold color or wallpaper.  Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean going big or spending a small fortune.  My wreath cost me all of about $5.  I had the wreath (I may have paid $.50 at a yard sale for it- I don’t remember for sure) & bought pretty flowers & butterflies for it at a local dollar store.  My scatter rugs?  The knitting needles were a gift from a good friend & I found the yarn on a buy one skein, get one 50% off deal.  I used one skein (half a skein per rug) & have another left over.

 

Have you heard, like me, that your ideas are stupid, a waste of time, etc.?  My narcissistic mother said those things & more to me.  I eventually realized she was jealous- I can do some things she can’t (like knit) so she envies me for having that skill she never was able to develop.  Also, our tastes are very different.  That doesn’t mean my taste is wrong!  The same is true for you!  If someone says you have bad taste, that doesn’t mean it’s true.  Chances are, your taste is just different than that person’s.  Different doesn’t equal bad.  So why not take a chance?  Go out on a limb & do something creative that feels good to you.

 

If you’re lacking ideas for expressing your creativity, that isn’t a hard problem to tackle.  Wander a craft store.  Guys, craft stores aren’t just for ladies- there is plenty of inspiration for you there as well!  Model kits, slot cars, scale trains, woodworking- chances are you can find something to enjoy.  Ladies, there are crafts for everyone at a craft store, so just go- something will strike your fancy.  And, many big craft stores offer plenty of good coupons on their website so you can try a new craft cheaply.

 

Drawing, painting, needlepoint, crocheting, model building, radio control cars, decorating your house or apartment… there are so many ways you can express yourself in a creative way.  So many ways can be productive as well.  Why not try being more creative?

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

Do You Enjoy Your Life As Much As You Should?

One year ago today, I nearly died.

February 27, 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning from my fireplace, causing me to pass out for over twenty minutes & get a concussion by hitting my head on the adjacent log holder.

It’s been a long year.  I’ve had to learn to live with some pretty yukky symptoms that are most likely permanent.  Some are embarrassing, too- my brain doesn’t function so well anymore & I feel stupid often now.  Yet, even so, some good has come from this experience.  I’m very grateful for the good things!

I’ve realized that life truly can change in an instant.  It’s not just a cliche!  In only one day, I became a different person.  Knowing how suddenly things can change or your life can end has given me a new perspective.

I want to enjoy whatever time I have left in my life as much as possible.  I love doing little things that bring me joy such as drinking herbal tea more often or lighting candles.

I  don’t want to take anyone for granted- that is an extremely hurtful thing to do to someone & it can steal your joy.

Neither do I want to take anything for granted.  I’m enjoying things more now than I used to.  I’m wearing my favorite expensive perfume often even if my plans are only watching a movie at home.  I wear the most comfortable & cutest pajamas I can find since they make me feel good, & spend plenty of time in them (yes, even in the afternoon if the mood strikes!).

I have gained a better perspective & sweat the small stuff much less than I once did.  Little things really aren’t worth the energy & stealing of joy.

I listen to my favorite music more, too- not only is it good for brain health, but it is good for the mood.

I’m working on being more open with people by paying complements more freely.  I’ve always been quiet so it’s not easy to talk more sometimes, but it’s worth it to see other people happy to hear some kind words.

I’m avoiding people I’m not as comfortable with & setting firmer boundaries with them.  I’ve lost friendships, too, which although it may sound sad, really isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I only want real, caring people in my life now.  I have zero patience for those who only talk about themselves & never ask how I’m doing.

I also try to push myself out of my comfort zone more often.  Granted, with C-PTSD, that isn’t an easy task, but I at least try.  Even if I fail, it makes me feel accomplished knowing I tried.  I recently went out alone to the grocery store, car wash & a craft store one afternoon.  Having agoraphobia, this is a real challenge.  I was in a panic by the time I was done my final stop, but at least I did it!

I’m trying new things, or even old things I long ago gave up.  I loved drawing as a child, & started doing it again right after I got sick & was recovering.  I’m not that great at it, but it’s fun to do.  I also have started tinkering with photography, since one of my best friends ever gave me a wonderful camera.

Best of all, I also talk with God much more than I once did.  Constantly, in fact.  Rarely any semblance of an elaborate prayer, just normal conversation, like a daughter talking with her Father.  Our relationship is much closer than it once was, & the things that have come out of it are amazing.  God has given me many dreams that show me helpful information on my life.  He’s also given me answers to questions I’ve had for a long time.  He’s even taught me a lot about narcissism, which obviously helps my writing.  He has also helped to show me areas where I need to heal, & helped me to do so.

There is a point to all of this.  Please don’t be foolish like I’ve been.  Although I’ve always known you never know when your life will end, I never had the much better perspective I have now.  I guess I’m a slow learner & it took a traumatic, life altering (nearly life ending) experience to wake me up.  Please learn from me, & make similar changes to your life that I have, so you can enjoy your life more.  Life can be short, & you don’t want to die with regrets.  Use your good china.  Burn that special scented candle you were saving for a special occasion.  Tell the special people in your life you love them  & why, & do it often.  Crank up music you love & dance around your house like crazy.  Life truly can change or even end in an instant.  Make a decision today to enjoy whatever time you have to the fullest!  xoxo

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Narcissists & Envy/Jealousy

I’ve been listening to music today.. a CD my father recently gave me of Conway Twitty’s songs from early in his career.  I remember hearing some of these songs when I was a little girl riding in my father’s car, which is now my car, & they make me smile.

(A little background- I have my granddad’s 1969 Plymouth Fury.  He gave it to my father when his car was stolen in 1975.  My father sold it to a guy who owned a local junkyard in 1979.  In 2005, I went to a flea market & saw a gorgeous ’69 Fury & fell in love.  I assumed it was simply a twin to Granddad’s.  Hubby suggested I leave a note on the car saying I’d love to buy it if the owner wanted to sell.  He did!  After some trouble with our mortgage refinance that had our money tied up briefly, we finally were able to get the car.  The first time my father saw it, he said “That’s my car!  That’s not a twin!”  He soon brought me the VIN from his old records.  We compared it to my car’s VIN & found it to be the same car he owned 30 years before!)

Back to my story…

To this day, my mother does NOT believe that is the same car.  She also will trash my car at every opportunity.  My “favorite” was when she told me, “I would NEVER own a car your granddad owned!  HARUMPH!!!”  I was too angry at the time to think of it, but I wish I’d thought to remind her that she did own a car Granddad owned- this same Fury, for about 4 years.  Also, my father has told me she has told him I’m lying- that isn’t Granddads’s Plymouth.  The VIN doesn’t lie- it’s put on at the factory.  My father couldn’t have known it to recreate it- it’s somewhat hard to read & he never looked at that before bringing me his old car records to compare his VIN to mine.

So why the nastiness?  It’s only a car.  Not like my driving this beautiful old critter affects her in any way, right?  When I thought about it, I realized how cruel my mother can be about other things.  She criticizes my writing viciously, which is one reason I don’t discuss it with her anymore.  She has said it’s “trash no one wants to read” & “a waste of time.”  When I’ve done editing work, “anyone can do that!”  She also viciously insulted my furkids for years, knowing how much I love them.  Why?  I assume because they are very friendly, loving & well behaved.  Her cat?  Hides when people come over & is very skittish.  (I love her cat, but she is very different than mine)

Narcissists are extremely competitive.  They have to be the best, the most talented, the prettiest, the most special.  If you are better, more talented, etc. than them in any way, no matter how trivial, you can count on being criticized.

Does this sound familiar to you?  Is your narcissistic mother this way too?

At first, I know it can be hard to accept.  Normal, loving mothers want what is best for their child, no matter the child’s age.  They want her happy, healthy & successful, even if that means the child does better than the mother.  Narcissistic mothers, as usual, go completely against the norm, making their behavior hard to accept.  Often, their daughters feel they should make their performance “less than” or give up completely in order to please their mothers.

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to enjoy your successes, in spite of your wicked narcissistic mother!  Her jealousy is HER problem not yours!  Enjoy the blessings & talents God has seen fit to bless you with as much as possible.  God wants you to enjoy such things.  That is why He gave them to you!  You must deserve them, too, otherwise He wouldn’t have seen fit to give them to you.

 

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Don’t Live With Regrets

Yesterday, my husband & I received some sad news.  A former coworker of my husband’s & a friend of ours died after a battle with cancer.

 

Giovanni was a sweet guy with a ready smile & a great sense of humor.  Unfortunately we had mostly lost touch once my husband left that job about 14 years ago, but once I saw him on facebook a few years back, we connected & spoke periodically.  Even simply chatting online, his wonderful personality always shone through.  We spoke a few months ago about us getting together with him & his girlfriend, yet we never did.  He was in & out of the hospital & undergoing chemo, plus my husband works some rather long hours sometimes & has pretty demanding elderly parents- we just never could find the right time.  And now, it’s too late.  This is one of many regrets I have.

 

The reason I’m writing this is to remind you, Dear Reader, & myself that life is fragile.  It can end at a moment’s notice, & often, there’s no warning.  So many people die with regrets- you don’t want to be one of them!  Focus on spending time with those you love & who love you.  Buy the pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on but refused to buy because they’re too expensive.  Splurge on that milkshake you’ve had a craving for even if you’re watching your figure.  Trade in your sensible mini van for that sexy truck you’ve had your eye on, if you can afford it.  Take a painting course.  Learn a new hobby.  Do that thing that is outside of your comfort zone, but you’ve always wanted to try.

 

Life can be short, Dear Reader.  I encourage you to make the most out of whatever time you have & have no regrets.  You deserve it!  xoxo

 

 

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Enjoying Life

I keep getting a message lately in various forms. so it’s safe to assume it’s very important….

 

Enjoy your life.  Enjoy the little things like an unexpected hug or getting caught in a spring rain.  Thank God for allowing you to wake up this morning.  Spend time just sitting in His presence, thanking Him for whatever you are grateful for & allowing Him to love you.  Complement freely- not only does it bless the person you’re complementing, but it also blesses you when you make them feel good.  Take care of yourself, physically & emotionally.  You’re no good to anyone (including yourself) if you’re sick or depressed.  Play a game or resume a hobby you enjoyed as a child.  Have fun, don’t just work from the time you wake up until the time you fall asleep.

Too many people are miserable.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity in life- Lord knows there is plenty of it everywhere!  Just turn on the news & you can be overwhelmed with negativity in record time.  And, if you’re like the bulk of my readers & have experienced narcissistic abuse, that certainly can make you negative & miserable.  It’s hard to find good in the tremendous amount of pain it causes.  Even so, there is still good to be found.  You can celebrate the fact you survived the abuse that was meant to destroy you.  You are strong- you got out alive & sane!  I’m seeing more & more how tough I am to survive what I’ve been through, & I thank God for helping me get through it even though I didn’t believe in Him at the time.  It’s a miracle to survive narcissistic abuse- never forget that!  Embrace the fact you’re a walking, talking miracle for surviving something so heinous!

 

Whatever you do, just please, Dear Reader, enjoy your life as much as you can.  After all, Jesus came so you can enjoy your life.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)  So why not get to enjoying your life?  You’ll be glad you did!

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