Tag Archives: love
Some time ago, I wrote about the miraculous events that surrounded my father’s death last October. (If you missed that post, I’d really like to urge you to read it now. It’s quite a story!)
Recently I’ve been thinking about those events a lot. One aspect of it in particular that is on my mind is how God told my friend to tell me never stop praying for my mother.
Looking at the situation now, her salvation seems utterly impossible. She’s a narcissist. We all know how they are- they know best about everything. This makes them very closed off to listening to anyone tell them about salvation through Jesus, & my mother is no exception. In fact, my mother has told me she has a “direct line” to God & “when she prays, God listens!”
This can be very discouraging. On a positive note though, I also know what happened with my father which eliminates my discouragement. While I know God is the One who did all the work to save my father, I prayed & asked many other people to pray for him as well. Not trying to take any credit from God of course, but I do know that my prayers & those of others made a big difference for my father. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (KJV, emphasis added)
As my prayers & those of my friends made a big difference with my father, so can yours with the narcissist in your life.
I know, praying for someone who has hurt you is a very, very hard thing to do. Like it or not though, as Christians, we are commanded to do so….
Matthew 5:43-48 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV)
I would guess these verses aren’t anyone’s favorites… lol They certainly weren’t mine for a long time. Then a few years ago, I felt that God wanted me to start to pray for some people who have been abusive to me. Much as I didn’t want to, I did it anyway, even when I didn’t mean it because I was still angry with them. As time passed though, it got easier. Then I felt He wanted me to pray for more people who had abused me, then more. At the current time, I am praying daily for a lot of people who have treated me terribly every single morning. And you know something? It’s not hard to do anymore. In fact, I have an alarm set on my cell phone to ring each morning to remind me to pray, but even with my terrible short term memory, I usually remember to pray long before the alarm goes off. Often even before I get out of bed in the morning.
Praying for these people is something I look forward to now. Since I began to do so, I have felt closer to God than ever. Even if I am angry at them at the time I pray for whatever reason, I know God appreciates the fact I’m trying to do as He wants in spite of how I feel.
It also has helped to release the anger I felt towards these people. I can’t explain how it works, but somehow it does work! Of course, if something new happens, I may get angry- that’s just normal- but at least I’m not walking around full of unforgiveness & bitterness anymore. (For the record, this also doesn’t mean some people will be allowed back in my life- forgiveness does NOT equal reconciliation. It means I released the anger I felt at them, period. Trusting them again would be foolish unless their actions changed dramatically.)
I’ve also realized that maybe no one else prays for them. Have you ever considered that about the narcissist in your life? I thought about this after my ex husband’s mother passed away in 2010. She was a devoted Christian, but I am unsure if any other of his relatives are. Since he said he didn’t believe in God, it’s safe to assume he didn’t seek out Christian friends. There is an excellent chance he has no one praying for him aside from me! That to me is heartbreaking! And, if it could happen with him, it could happen with others as well. So many narcissists claim to be atheists & have no patience for Christians so they don’t exactly surround themselves with them. You may be the only person who prays for that narcissist in your life! I tell you this not to make you feel obligated or guilty somehow- it’s just a simple fact & it may be possible in your situation.
I know it’s hard to pray for someone who has hurt you so deeply as only a narcissist can, but please, Dear Reader, try it. Hopefully you’ll see the results of your prayers in that person’s life. If you don’t, however, you can rest easy knowing you did the right thing, you can enjoy the new closeness to God & feel better with less anger inside of you!
One thing all daughters of narcissistic mothers have wondered at some point or another is why can’t their mothers love them. It’s a completely normal thing for any child to wonder when raised by a narcissistic mother. Unfortunately, it’s also damaging to a child, even into adulthood.
Most children, even adult children, will try to please their narcissistic mother in order to earn her love. They try to be sweet, get better grades, participate in whatever activities Mom wants them to participate in & more trying to earn her love. It doesn’t help that others encourage this behavior. If they know your relationship has problems, often people will encourage you to try to fix it. They often say the stupidest things such as, “You only get one mother so you need to find ways to get along with her.” “Of course she loves you! She’s your mother!” “She did the best she could!” “She just doesn’t know how to show love very well, but she does love you!” Statements like this only leave a person feeling worse because now they feel even more guilt & shame for not being able to make their mother love them.
I understand how this feels. I felt awful for years because I knew my mother didn’t love me. I figured something must be terribly wrong with me if my own mother couldn’t love me. Thank God that He has set me free from this thinking!
I thank God for teaching me about who I am in Him. This has been vital! The Bible has so many wonderful things to say about who we are as children of God. I wrote out a list of these things on my website. Check it out at : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
Anther thing God did to help me be free from wondering why my mother doesn’t love me was to teach me about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Learning about it has helped me tremendously! I finally learned that my mother is incapable of loving anyone- it’s not just me she can’t love. She can’t truly love anyone because of NPD. It has been incredibly freeing learning that! I no longer feel I am a terrible person because my mother can’t love me because I know it’s about her inability to love, not my lovableness.
This is true for you as well, Dear Reader! Just because your mother didn’t love you, that doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of love- it means something is wrong with her, not you! Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Reread the information a few times if it helps- I do! I read about it often, & some things I reread often. It really does help to remind yourself often that she has problems, because when you really know that, you will stop blaming yourself & thinking you’re a bad, unlovable person because your mother doesn’t love you.
Narcissistic parents might like to think they’re the best parents ever, but they are so far from it. They instill the worst possible beliefs in their children that often follow (well, maybe more like haunt) those children for the rest of their lives. Below is a list of a few of them.
- “You need to be able to do anything & everything I tell you to, no matter what! Not because you’re talented or capable, so don’t think that! But because I want you to do those things!” Narcissistic parents are a confusing group. One way they are confusing is treating their children like they should be able to do anything, yet also making sure they know they aren’t smart, talented or capable. As an example, my parents were very parentalizing. In other words, they wanted me to take care of them rather than them taking care of me. Even as a young child, they’d come to me with complaints about their marriage & sometimes, they’d expect me to fix whatever disagreement it was that they had. I was just supposed to know how to fix things for them, but at the same time, both let me know they didn’t think I was smart. This type of behavior can lead to an adult who is terrible at self care. The adult may not recover as long as necessary from surgery, may go back to work immediately after giving birth or experiencing a trauma such as the death of a loved one. They don’t take care of themselves because they believe they don’t deserve to.
- “If you want to be loved, you have to earn it.” Narcissists actually have no real grasp on what it means to truly love someone. What they call love is conditional love at best. They will abuse their children & only stop it when the children do things that please them. This makes children of narcissists work so hard to please their parents. They are so starved for love, they’ll do about anything for their parents in order to earn some “love.” This can lead to adult children of narcissists who are frequently used & abused. They try to earn love from others. Abusers seek this out in a victim, because it means that victim will put up with anything.
- “Your worth depends on what you do only.” Related to #2, this means that you only have value when you please the narcissist. If you discovered the cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s & heart disease, & made it free & readily available to every human being on the planet, if your narcissistic parent didn’t have a vested interest in these cures, your parent would still see you as worthless. Yet, if you bought a pen for your parent you knew she liked, it would gain more approval than inventing those cures. She would see you as more worthy for getting her that pen than when you invented the cures for diseases that plague humanity.
- “Your emotions aren’t important. In fact, you aren’t allowed to have them!” The only person that really matters to a narcissist is that narcissist. No one else is even human, merely a tool to be used. Don’t “bother” a narcissistic parent with your feelings. After all, tools don’t have feelings, so you shouldn’t either. Besides, their emotions are the only important ones! Adult children of narcissists have become professionals at stifling their emotions. As a result, they end up miserable or sick (high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, anxiety, etc.).
All of these false beliefs are just that- FALSE! They have no basis in reality. Their basis is in the narcissist’s reality which is a world full of insanity. If you grew up learning such nonsense, then Dear Reader, it’s time to get rid of those false beliefs. Ask God to tell you the truth. Are you worthy? Are you deserving of love or does it depend on what you do? Any questions you can think of, ask Him & listen to what He has to say. You will find out quickly that these beliefs are not true. God thinks so much more of you than your narcissistic parent did. Let Him show you what He thinks of you. It’ll heal you & bring you joy.
**Obviously this post is about a sensitive topic. If you have been sexually assaulted, this may be triggering for you.**
A topic rarely discussed yet is a huge problem is marital rape. It’s certainly an ugly topic, & it definitely makes people uncomfortable. Many people don’t even believe it’s a real thing, because they wrongly think if you’re married, your spouse can’t rape you. Unfortunately marital rape also is a common phenomenon, especially among those married to narcissists.
Narcissists are the ultimate in selfishness, as anyone with any experience with one knows. They expect everything to be their way, including sex. Some narcissists use physical threats & violence to take what they want, others use guilt or shaming.
When a narcissistic spouse uses guilt or shaming to fulfill his sexual desires, this often goes unrecognized as abusive by the victim. The problem is, it’s still as abusive as if he’d held a gun to your head. It doesn’t matter if he’s your husband- no one should force you to have sex through either physical force or by using mind games!
The legal definition of rape means forced sexual contact against someone’s will. It doesn’t say it only happens between strangers or only when a lethal weapon is used. Rape can happen between married people, & does every day. Rape often happens because the weapon of choice was a husband telling his wife, “If you loved me you would do this for me” even knowing it will cause her physical &/or emotional pain, yet not caring about that. I have been in that position as well as having certain activities forced on me & both are incredibly difficult to cope with.
Some folks may even quote the Bible regarding this topic, but often it is taken completely out of context. The first part of 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, ” The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband…” (NIV) The verse actually doesn’t end there, however. And, the first 7 verses of this chapter in the Amplified translation clearly explain the point the apostle Paul was making: “Now as to the matters of which you wrote: It is good (beneficial, advantageous) for a man not to touch a woman [outside marriage]. 2 But because of [the temptation to participate in] sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. 3 The husband must fulfill his [marital] duty to his wife [with good will and kindness], and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have [exclusive] authority over her own body, but the husband shares with her; and likewise the husband does not have [exclusive] authority over his body, but the wife shares with him. 5 Do not deprive each other [of marital rights], except perhaps by mutual consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves [unhindered] to prayer, but come together again so that Satan will not tempt you [to sin] because of your lack of self-control. 6 But I am saying this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all the people were as I am; but each person has his own gift from God, one of this kind and one of that.” (AMP) Obviously, rape is NOT God’s will. These verses prove sex is God’s will to be a part in a loving marriage.
Sex isn’t supposed to hurt either physically or emotionally. It isn’t supposed to be one sided or forced or something that forces someone to compromise one’s values. It’s supposed to be two people who love each other giving & receiving pleasure & joy. If only one person is enjoying it while the other person is miserable, that is wrong & abusive!
If you’re married to a narcissist, & this is happening to you, I’m sorry. Rape is a horrible, horrible thing. When done to you by someone who is supposed to love, cherish & protect you, it may be even worse than when done by a stranger because now you also have to deal with the feelings of betrayal.
If at all possible, please, PLEASE get away from your abusive spouse! (If you’ve read my writing for any length of time, you know I don’t like to tell people “just go no contact” since I believe it’s an individual’s choice. So, if I’m recommending getting away from a narcissist, it’s because I firmly believe it’s the wisest thing to do for your own safety!) Look into marital rape laws in your area & press charges.
Hosea 2:20 “I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.” (KJV)
Growing up with narcissistic parents takes a toll on your self-esteem. Often, it completely obliterates it. This causes so much needless suffering! Aside from feeling miserable, it makes you make mistakes, by giving you the belief that you can’t do anything right. This in turn solidifies that belief that you can’t do anything right, & makes you feel even worse. It’s an ugly, vicious cycle.
One way to help yourself to regain the self esteem that was stolen from you is to talk to God.
As a child of God, there is PLENTY in the Bible that states what God thinks of you. And, Dear Reader, He thinks a great deal of wonderful things about you! He loves you so much, & wants you to know that. One way He shows it is by talking about you in the Bible. I created a list of these Scriptures & added them to my website. Feel free to check it out at this link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php
Also, ask God what He thinks of you, & to help you to be more aware of His love. You will be surprised! You may notice more people saying & doing nice things for you. Blessings may come your way that you weren’t expecting. Maybe both! In any case, you will be blessed.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for]your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (AMP)
When it comes to loving narcissists, it feels like an impossible task. They aren’t easy people to love, because of all the cruel & horrible things they do to their victims. How can you feel all warm & fuzzy towards someone who deliberately hurts you?!
You can’t. But, the good news is God’s kind of love isn’t always about the warm & fuzzy feelings. Reread the above Scripture again if you don’t believe me. It says that “love is unselfishly seeking the best or higher good for someone.” You can do that without feeling warm, fuzzy feelings.
Probably about two years ago by now, God put it on my heart to pray for some people who have hurt me a great deal in my life. Then, He kept wanting me to add to the list. Daily I pray for many abusive people who have been in my life, including my narcissistic parents. Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle for me to pray for such mean people at first, but it’s gotten much easier as I’ve gotten in the habit of praying for them each morning. I even set a reminder on my cell phone to remind me to pray each morning.
It has helped me too, to realize it’s possible to love someone without liking them. We are called to love people, not like them, & there is a big difference. Loving someone means you want the best for them while liking someone can be more about the “fuzzy” feelings.
You may not believe it, but it’s possible to love narcissists God’s way. Simply wanting the best for them is Godly love. You may not be able to stand the sight of someone, yet love them God’s way.
In fact, there are loving behaviors that most likely narcissists won’t think are loving, but they truly are. Setting boundaries, for example. Boundaries not only protect you, but they encourage the other person to behave in a healthy way. Sometimes even ending a relationship can be a loving thing to do if you think about it. Just being in the presence of a narcissist can stir up strife. Removing yourself from their life means you are also removing one person for them to abuse. It can be a very loving thing to go no contact for yourself as well as a narcissist.
Remembering these things has been helpful to me. Aside from enabling me to pray for them, & God wants us to pray for our enemies, it’s given me peace. I’ve been accused of hating narcissists that I have ended relationships with, which left me feeling shame. Thankfully God showed me the truth though, & that truth is that I do love them, I just don’t like them. That is important to know because it eliminates guilt & shame that have no place in your heart.
As someone who has been through a lot of narcissistic abuse, like many others, I have had to get to know the real me. My parents told me who I was my entire life until our relationship ended, & sadly, I believed them for far too long. I assumed they were right- I was stupid, ugly, fat, a horrible disappointment, wasn’t allowed to have any boundaries, was responsible for fixing other people’s problems, was the reason for any problem in any relationship I had, the world’s worst pet parent & more.
In the last few years, I have gotten very serious about dumping their cruel ideas & getting to know who God made me to be. I hadn’t realized it until today, but in that process, I haven’t forgotten who my parents told me to be. Instead, I still remember it, but I no longer believe it. I choose to believe what God says about me rather than their cruel & abusive words.
I think remembering what they say is important, at least it is for me, so I’m going to guess it may be for some of you as well. It’s a good reminder just how abusive & dysfunctional my parents truly are. That helps me to stay no contact even when the flying monkeys come out. It also reminds me of how long I tolerated such abuse, how I refuse to tolerate that anymore & how much healing I’ve done in the last few years.
Remembering their words also helps me to realize how little they actually knew me. Typical of narcissists, my parents never took the time to get to know me. I am absolutely nothing like what they say I am & never have been. One example is when I was 17 & my mother accused me of having sex with my entire high school football team. I’ve always seen sex as something to be shared with someone special, & never was promiscuous. For her to think I was capable of something like that is absolutely insane. Just more proof of how little she knew me to believe I was capable of something like that. And, if someone knows me so little, then why should I take their opinions of me seriously? You only listen to the opinions of someone who knows something about a matter, right? Would you ask an artist how to fix that pinging sound your engine makes? No- you’d ask a mechanic. So why would you give any credence to the words of someone who knows nothing about you?
Also, criticisms from a narcissist are often nothing but projection. They have nothing to do with you & everything to do with the narcissist. By accusing you of doing things that she actually does, it allows her to be upset about that flaw, to vent her anger or disgust, while accepting no personal responsibility about it or making appropriate changes. If those criticisms aren’t about you, why would you hold onto them, & think they are?
If you think it may help you to remember what your narcissistic parent has said about you as it has me, then give it a try. Think about what they said about you. Or maybe write them down since writing often brings clarity that speaking doesn’t. Chances are, you’ll see how incredibly foolish what was said about you was. Of course it hurt, but it was also foolish. You’ll also see how untrue it was. And, once you realize those were all lies, you can stop believing them & get to know yourself as the wonderful person God made you to be. xoxo
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.
I feel a degree of pity for narcissists, even the ones who have tried to destroy me. It’s so sad to me that they felt they had to resort to behaving so horribly to cope with the pain in their lives or their insecurities. It’s sad how afraid so many are & everything they do is out of that fear. It’s sad that they waste their entire lives being angry, bitter, hateful & pushing away those closest to them. Many are even full of anger, bitterness & hate on their death beds. These people live pathetic lives not knowing what it is like to love, really love. What lonely, empty, superficial lives they live.
This being said, it certainly doesn’t mean I think narcissists deserve a free pass to abuse. Being abused is NOT an excuse to abuse others! Being abusive is a choice, not a consequence of experiencing abuse! If you don’t believe me, consider this example: your narcissistic mother ignores your requests to change her behavior so she doesn’t hurt you. She clearly is opting to continue abusing you, isn’t she?
The pain in their pasts also doesn’t negate your pain. Please never tell yourself that it’s OK- the narcissist had a hard life too or they had it harder than you did. It’s not OK! Never invalidate your own pain! You don’t deserve that! You were no doubt invalidated enough by your narcissistic parent- don’t do it to yourself too! Invalidation is abuse, no matter who does it, even when you do it to yourself. It has the potential for causing a victim all kinds of problems- bad coping skills, low self-esteem, guilt, shame, placing the needs of others before yourself even when you are in crisis, & even Borderline Personality Disorder. Don’t do this to yourself! It is very possible to feel sorry for your narcissistic parent while not trivializing or invalidating your pain.
Why pity narcissists? They are horrible people, right? Honestly, I don’t think it’s necessary to pity narcissists to heal. Some people think it’s foolishness, in fact. And this works fine for them. There is nothing wrong with that thinking.
For me, however, feeling that degree of pity that I do for narcissists enables me to pray for them.
The Bible tells us to pray for our enemies…
Matthew 5:43-48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, [a]love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. 46 For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God’s blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? 48 You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (AMP)
Praying for those who hurt you isn’t an option if you wish to live a holy, Christian life. It also isn’t easy. In fact, praying for someone who hurt you is hard enough, but praying for someone who tried to destroy you is a thousand times harder.
God dealt with me a couple of years ago about praying for my parents & in-laws. I didn’t feel able to do it. My parents & mother in-law were incredibly cruel to me, & frankly I didn’t much care about any of them. Once I started thinking about them, I felt some pity for them. My mother was abused by her mother, which is why she turned narcissistic I believe. My father wasn’t abused, but had a terrible traumatic brain injury at only 15 that I believe may be at the root of his narcissism. His behavior changed after it. That TBI has given him many health problems. My mother in-law had a very sad upbringing & many difficult years married to my father in-law. Thinking about such things plus the other things I have mentioned above their behavior has caused stirred up pity in me for them. I now pray for my parents & in-laws daily, & even set up reminders on my cell phone so I don’t forget. Not knowing what they need specifically, I simply ask God to save them, meet all of their needs & bless them. Praying this way I hope has been a blessing to them, but at the very least, it feels good to me. It shows me that try as they might, they haven’t destroyed my good heart.
Feeling pity for narcissists isn’t always necessary & certainly isn’t easy. However, it can benefit you by enabling you to pray for them.
True forgiveness has been very warped by people. So many thing it means “forgive & forget” & if you can’t do that, you’re no Christian & a terrible person. I really don’t believe that however.
Yes, the Bible states that we are to forgive those who have trespassed against us (Matthew 6:12, 15; 18:21; Luke 7:47, 11:4, 17:3; John 20:23; 2 Corinthians 2:10). But, nowhere in the Bible does it state, “Forgive & forget. Let abusive people continue to abuse you with zero consequences!” Quite honestly, I believe that is just stupid to do when a person shows no remorse for their actions! If you don’t remember what they did to you, you open the door for them to abuse you over & over.
A good friend recently showed me what forgiveness really means, & this “forgive & forget” thing people preach isn’t it.
If you forgive someone, it means they no longer owe you a debt. For example, if you lend someone $100, but they can’t repay it, you can opt to forgive their debt to you by telling them they no longer need to repay you that $100. You act as if they never borrowed that money from you, you don’t bring it up again. However, you may decide never to lend them money again since they didn’t repay you the first time.
If someone hurts or abuses you, they should “repay” you by apologizing & making things right if at all possible. Chances are slim that will happen if you’re dealing with a narcissist or even if that person is simply selfish &, well, a jerk.
This situation leaves you with 2 choices- wait for that apology or forgive them the debt of owing you that apology. Personally, I opt to forgive, & quickly.
The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down on your wrath,” (KJV). Nowhere in this Scripture does it say doing this will make you feel warm & fuzzy! God basically says you just need to release the need for that person to make it up to you for what they did. Once you realize this, you also realize that in time your emotions will catch up, that you won’t feel angry any longer.
I think there is also a common misconception that when your emotions catch up, even thinking about what happened will no longer upset you. However, I don’t believe that is quite the case.
It isn’t a sign of unforgiveness if what they did to you stirs up some emotion.
I don’t think or talk about my late mother in-law very often. She passed away last year & prior to that, I hadn’t spoken to her in 14 years. She was a very skilled covert narcissist, & after tolerating her abuse for the first 8 years of my relationship with my husband, I simply couldn’t take anymore.
Yesterday, I was working on a book I’ve been writing. I mentioned how once in 1999 (I think anyway.. around that time), my mother in-law wanted me to do something for her. I had an appointment that day, so I told her I couldn’t do it. Granted, I probably could have moved some things around & been there for her, but I didn’t want to. She was horrible to me- why would I want to help her? As soon as I said I wasn’t available, my mother in-law tried to find out why. She used guilt, shame, & even demands to find out what was so important that I couldn’t help her. I refused to tell her. Not only was it none of her business but she would have told her daughters what was happening with me (not their business either) & she probably would’ve found some way to use the information I gave her to hurt me at some future date.
Remembering this incident still angers me to a degree. I thought it must be a sign that I haven’t forgiven her. But, once I thought that, God quickly revealed to me that is not the case.
Forgiving someone completely doesn’t necessarily mean you never feel emotions over the awful things they did to you. You can forgive someone completely, yet still feel some anger about the fact that they hurt or used you. If you didn’t feel that way, chances are you would ignore signs that show you are about to be used & hurt that same way again.
So, the next time someone tells you that you need to work on forgiving someone, remember what I said, Dear Reader. Chances are, you have forgiven that person as God wants you to. xoxo
Recently, God began dealing with me about something. I tend to say yes too quickly. I agree to help people or do favors when I’m tired or busy way too often. He put in my heart that just because something is good, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.
This makes a lot of sense to me. There have been plenty of times I decided to focus on my latest book, yet didn’t do it because someone needed something from me. Not that what they needed was anything bad, nor is it bad to help someone, but for me, I should have focused on my writing instead. Other times, I wasn’t feeling well & just needed to rest, yet didn’t because someone said they needed me.
Does this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader? Do you do the same things?
I’d venture to say it’s pretty common with adult children of narcissistic parents. We were trained from birth to put ourselves last, & that training doesn’t stop just because we’re grown up. We’re also told it’s selfish to put ourselves first. Taking care of others above ourselves has become such a habit, often it happens without even thinking. We simply do it automatically. We may do it even when everything in us says, “NOOO!!!” just because it’s what we feel we’re supposed to do.
Today I want to encourage you to have more healthy boundaries & balance. It’s certainly good to put others ahead of yourself sometimes, but only in balance. You deserve to be your priority too! There is no shame in taking care of yourself or your duties. In fact, it’s a must to do so.
Starting to do this can be difficult after a lifetime of being so out of balance, I know. I recommend prayer as the best place to start, as usual. Ask God to help you know what you should say yes to & what you should say no to. He will! That is what I’m doing, & so far, so good. I slipped up by not praying this immediately, as soon as I realized what God wants to teach me, & ended up saying yes to something I probably shouldn’t have. Since, I prayed for God’s help & things are going better.
And remember Dear Reader, just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you. xoxo
When raised by narcissistic parents, we often feel obligated to prioritize not hurting the feelings of other people, primarily our parents. It is so important, in fact, that we will hurt ourselves rather than hurt them or anyone else.
While it’s certainly a good thing to be concerned with the feelings of others, being so concerned over others that you’re willing to hurt yourself too out of balance.
Dear Reader, if you want to move forward with healing after being abused, you have to think about your feelings more than other people’s, in particular, more than your abusers.
I’m not saying turn into a selfish jerk who cares nothing for anyone but themselves, of course. I am saying though, that you need to consider your own feelings. If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parents, you don’t have to go to that big holiday dinner if you don’t feel up to it. Just because your parents want you there doesn’t mean you must do what they want! Or, if you talk publicly about what your narcissistic ex did, there is nothing wrong with that. Sure, it may upset that person, but the story is yours as well- you have nothing to be ashamed of for sharing it, & it may help someone else. As the Anne Lamott quote goes, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
There is another reason to avoid putting the feelings of others above your own. Doing so with abusive people means you are part of the problem. It allows them to continue abusing with no fear of consequences. Doing whatever it takes to avoid upsetting them does nothing to stop them from being abusers. While no one can stop another person from abusing, one can create circumstances by having good boundaries that (hopefully!) will make them uncomfortable enough to want to change. Just because narcissists rarely change doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set those boundaries.
Dear Reader, remember, your feelings are just as important, just as valid, as anyone’s. There is no good reason to think otherwise. The only reason you do think otherwise is because an incredibly dysfunctional, abusive person made you think that way. Today, make a decision to get rid of that awful, flawed belief. Remind yourself that you have value! Ask God to tell you what He thinks of you, then listen for the response. He knows you have great value! After all Jesus died for you- He wouldn’t have done that if you weren’t worth it.
I noticed something interest in the last few hours, & I thought I’d share it with you today, Dear Readers.
As many of you know, in 2015, I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. In spite of all the time that’s passed, like many others who have survived it, I still live with many symptoms. They get better or worse, but they’re still there. All the time. If this post sounds “off”, I apologize- thinking clearly isn’t my strong point at the moment because that’s part of it when symptoms flare up. I just wanted to write this out before I forgot everything I wanted to say.
So, bringing us to what I noticed…
I noticed when I’m way too stressed or going through an exceptionally hard time, something happens to make the symptoms get to the point of me needing to rest, to take time off, because I can’t do anything else.
Lately, I’ve been having a rough time with repressed memories & flashbacks as I mentioned previously. As if that wasn’t tough enough, at the time of me writing this, it was 1 year ago today that I lost one of my kitties & that anniversary is making me sad. I have a knack for remembering dates & dates like this always are very hard for me, even days before.
Yesterday evening, my husband was working on my car. I took a shower while he was doing this. While in there, I began to feel weird (headache, dizzy, couldn’t think clearly, body aches, shaking, etc.), but thought nothing of it. When I got out, I came into the living room & heard my car running. I suddenly knew why I felt so yukky & didn’t think anything of it- carbon monoxide removes my ability to realize if I feel bad, something is wrong. I quickly found my husband & ask him to move my car away from the house while she’s running because the exhaust was sickening me. He did, but the damage was already done. Last night & today, I’ve felt horrible. Today, I’m resting because there’s nothing else I can do. Physically & mentally, I’m a whipped pup.
Since I’m finally thinking a little clearer today, I realized this sort of thing happens during especially difficult times.
My point of all this? I realized that although God didn’t give me my health problems, He has been using them to help me.
My mother has called me lazy ever since I can remember. As a result, I’ve always worked hard. Too hard- I rarely took time to relax. Self-care has been a huge struggle for me, as I feel on some dysfunctional level that it’s selfish & wrong to take care of myself. Since I’ve even ignored God’s promptings that I need to take care of myself & relax sometimes, I firmly believe God allowed getting sick to happen because now, there are times when I have no choice but to relax & rest.
Please, Dear Reader, learn from my mistakes!! I know so many adult children of narcissistic parents who ignore their mental & physical health because they don’t want to feel selfish or lazy by taking care of themselves as I have. This is so wrong!! Even God rests!
Genesis 2:2 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (NIV)
There is absolutely nothing wrong with resting! Self-care is vital to being healthy, physically & mentally, & frequent rest is a part of that. I know shutting off the internal, critical voice calling you lazy or selfish is hard, but please try to do it for your own sake before you end up sick like I have. I should’ve listened to God’s promptings years ago, but I kept ignoring them. As a result, I believe God had no other choice but to allow this to happen to force me to rest before I killed myself by neglecting my needs. I wouldn’t wish this on you, so please, make appropriate changes in your life. You have every right to take care of yourself.
On the day I’m writing this post, it’s been 3 years since losing my precious kitty baby, Georgie. Naturally, he’s been on my mind a lot today. He was quite the character- feisty, liked to tease other kitties mercilessly, highly intelligent, loving, caring & protective of his brother, Pretty Boy, especially after Pretty Boy’s diagnosis of diabetes in 2011.
Georgie died suddenly on April 16, 2014. I still have no clue why.. he obviously passed in his sleep, thankfully, so it was peaceful at least. Yet, no warning anything was wrong made losing him especially hard.
Shortly after his passing, I was still in shock & grieving terribly. As usual when grieving, I talked to God about how badly it hurt. He told me to listen to a certain song & said, “Georgie wants you to know he thinks of you when he hears this song. It’s your & Georgie’s song now.” The song was Steelheart’s “Angel Eyes” from 1990. A song I’ve always loved, but thanks to Georgie love even more since his passing.
I know, this sounds odd.. yet, this type of thing has happened after losing several of my kitties over the years. When Bubba died in 2001, I was sure I was going to die too, when Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Freebird” became our song. Magic’s & my song is Wynonna’s “You Were Loved.” “When Jasmine passed, it was Aerosmith’s “Angel.” Vincent’s & my song is “Someday We’ll Be Together.”
You get the idea.
Since so many of you who read my work are also avid animal lovers, I’m hoping this post offers you comfort. I never knew this type of thing would help me survive losing my precious furkids, but God did. Asking Him for comfort turned into receiving the only thing that could help me, aside from having my furbaby back.
If God did it for me, He can do it for you as well.
Dear Reader, if you’re missing a precious loved one, be they furry or human, I would like to urge you to cry out to God. Ask Him for comfort. He will not disappoint! He may give you songs like He has me, or maybe not. It depends on what comforts you most, I believe. In any case, trust that He wants to help you & then wait for the blessing to come your way. It will greatly surpass your expectations, that I promise you!
This is Georgie (left) & his brother, Pretty Boy in around 2005. My two handsome, wonderful brothers. 🙂 Georgie’s & my song lyrics are below the picture if you’d like to read them.
Angel Eyes, by Steelheart
“Angel eyes, you have angel eyes, such a smile that lights up my life
You’re a dream come true, now I’m holding you
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!
First time I laid my eyes upon you, all my dreams were answered
First time I kissed your tender lips, my love to you I surrendered
I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go
Angel eyes, my heart relies on the love you give to me
You never let me down, you’re always by my side
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!
When my heart starts to crumble and the tears start to fall
You hold me close with tender lovin’, and give me strength to carry on
I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go
I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go
And I’ll never, never let you go.”
Psalm 26:6-7 “I wash my hands to prove my innocence and come before your altar, 7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling about your miracles.” (TLB)
Before I became a Christian, my parents said good people go to Heaven, bad people to Hell. This left me confused wondering what exactly defines good & bad people. Later, I remember people telling me I was going to hell if I didn’t accept Jesus right then & there. Not that they told me how or why to accept Him- they just said I had to do it, period, with no explanation.
Eventually, in spite of all of the nonsense, I did become a Christian. Then I heard more confusing, vague statements such as “God tells us to forgive so I just do it. I don’t know why you’re having any problem forgiving those who abused you.”
Comments like these have done one good thing for me- they have shown me how NOT to treat people.
Whether you are trying to witness about your faith to an unbeliever or trying to comfort a brother or sister in the faith, you need to exercise wisdom in what you say to them. One thing that is often good no matter what the circumstances is bragging about the great things God has done for you, & reminding them that He can do the same & even more for them.
If you’re attempting to help someone see their need for Jesus in their life, they need to see the great things He can do for them. They need to be wooed gently to Him, not told they’re going to rot in hell for eternity! Scaring someone into the faith just doesn’t work. Showing them that God is kind & loving, however, will work much better. If someone sees that God helped you in your times of dire need & that He is willing to do it for them, too, that will get their attention!
Or, if a brother or sister is discouraged, a reminder of how good God is can help to encourage them. Remind them of the things God has done for them in the past or that He has done for you & will do for them also.
By bragging about the good things God does, you are helping people, & blessing yourself as well. Remembering God’s blessings often helps you to stay strong in your faith.
Dear Reader, there is no way you can go wrong talking about the great things God has done for you. Why don’t you try it? Share stories with your friends & family. Write them in your journal, or begin a gratitude journal specifically for recalling all of God’s blessings.
James 1:5 “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.” (TLB)
As many of you know, I have C-PTSD. It’s badly damaged how I think & my short term memory. Then in 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning which caused me to pass out & hit my head, further damaging my brain. Thanks to these problems, I’m really not as smart as I once was, & it can be simply maddening.
The above Scripture has helped me a great deal with my physical limitations. I lean on God so much more than I used to for giving me wisdom, & He has not disappointed me. I’m not bragging about my intelligence. I am bragging how generous God has been!
So many times in my life, I have been stuck in a painful situation I didn’t want to be in, & God has shown me creative ways to get out of the situation or to cope with it so it isn’t so painful to me. One that comes to mind immediately happened a few years ago. My narcissistic mother told me I was going to take her to & from the doctor who is almost 30 miles away. I had things going on that day & didn’t want to do it, but she refused to reschedule her appointment. This had happened many times & I was tired of it. It also bothered me we’d be taking her car & not mine- I hate being trapped without my own vehicle. I asked God to help me get through the day & I needed a creative way to either get out of this in the future, or for Him to put it on my mother’s heart to be more open to my schedule, not only hers. As we were leaving the doctor’s office, God gave me an idea- drive home like we were on a NASCAR track. There wasn’t much traffic, so I did. I had a lot of fun speeding down the highway, & my mother was especially angry because it was her car I drove that way. That was the last day my mother saw this particular doctor. LOL He wasn’t doing her any good anyway- she just got narcissistic supply from him & his staff because they listened to her. They didn’t help her pain at all.
So many other times in the past few years since developing my physical problems, I have needed wisdom & asked God for it. He has answered those prayers every time. From simple things, like creating a routine for maintaining my home that keeps my place very clean but isn’t hard for me, to more challenging things like how to deal with financial problems, God has helped me every time. He has even helped me to understand my narcissistic parents, which has helped me so much! Understanding them has shown me that I’m not the problem, & they have some serious issues that aren’t my fault. Talk about a blessing! After hearing how I was always the problem, this knowledge has truly comforted me more than I can say.
What areas do you need wisdom in, Dear Reader? Whatever your needs, I encourage you to ask God for wisdom. He will grant you wisdom & creativity far above & beyond anything you can imagine. Whether your situation is like mine where you need more wisdom to handle daily life or it is a one time frustrating situation, be prepared to be amazed when you ask God to give you wisdom.
Some time back, I created an android app for my website. In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app. Now, I have. It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think. The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app. If you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.
While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.
I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them. They are totally free. Links are below…
For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :
Yesterday, I went to the doctor. The nurse I saw was new to this office. She seemed very friendly, thorough & pleasant, which was a nice surprise. Many nurses there who came & went over the years were far from any of those things. (Not all were bad of course, but there have been a few rather mean ones.).
While the experience wasn’t terribly unpleasant, one thing really ticked me off. She was judgmental.
I admit, I do need to lose some weight, about 20-25lbs. Not a lot, but my word.. the way this nurse & others I’ve came into contact with at that office act, you’d think I need to be hoisted out of my bed with a crane! She told me how I need to start making healthy choices for a change. Really?? How does she know I don’t? Because of the extra pounds? Just because I carry some extra weight doesn’t mean I live on pizza & burritos. In fact, I had a small amount of cottage cheese this morning & nothing else until I came home from the office after 2. This is pretty typical eating behavior for me.
Also, my blood pressure was unusually high today, & I got a lecture about that & how I need to see a doctor asap. A doctor can give me meds to fix me right up, she said. I told her before she took it that I had a panic attack on the way to the office, so of course it was going to be elevated & my pulse racing. She told me again to see a doctor & take care of this, he’ll give me pills that can fix the C-PTSD, blah blah. And, losing some weight would help my blood pressure too. All I need to do is go window shopping (she said she LOVES window shopping- I hate it), walk around the mall, walk to the stores sometimes instead of driving (I live on a major highway- that’s just dangerous), & put down the chips & dip (she said she loves that- it’s not an issue for me like it sounds like it is for her).
What got me was how she just assumed such things.. assumed I snarf down chips & dip constantly, assumed I can get out with no trouble & assumed that a doctor can give me a pill to fix my C-PTSD. Thankfully I’ve developed a pretty thick skin to judgmental people. I could feel shame starting to kick in, but quickly realized it was wrong. I have nothing to be ashamed of.
Shame is what judging makes a person feel. A deep shame that something is extremely wrong with them or that they are stupid, ugly, fat, disgusting, unworthy, unlovable, etc etc. If you’re judging someone, this is exactly what you are doing to them. You’re making them feel all of those horrible things. It’s not right! Would you want to feel that way?! No? Then why do it to someone else? It’s cruel & there is no good reason for it! God doesn’t want us to judge each other, yet people do it on a daily basis, even Christians. In fact, as an adult child of a narcissistic parent, it can be very easy to be judgmental. We grow up watching our narcissistic parents judge, criticize & ridicule others & imitate that behavior once we grow up.
If you realize you judge people, just stop. It’s not right, it causes people unnecessary pain & there is absolutely no reason to do it! In fact, I’d like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to ask God to show you if you’re judgmental & if so, to help you to stop.
If someone has hurt you repeatedly & deliberately, your good feelings or even love for that person can die. It isn’t a matter of hating that person, or wishing them bad things. It’s a matter of feeling complete indifference towards them. If you hear that person is suffering, you feel nothing- no pity, no desire to help them, no concern.
It sounds strange if you haven’t experienced it, I’m sure, but I would guess it happens more often than people care to admit. After all, saying it makes you sound bad or un-Christian if you don’t care about the pain of another human being. In spite of how it sounds though, I don’t think it’s abnormal to reach this place in certain bad relationships.
People say the opposite of love is hate, but I believe it to be indifference. If you love or hate someone, you have very strong feelings for someone. If you love them, you are glad when good things happen to them or sad when bad things happen. If you hate them, you are sad when good things happen to them & rejoice when bad things happen. If you feel indifferently towards a person though, you literally feel nothing for that person. No joy or sadness at their blessings or trials.
I felt indifference towards my mother in-law, even when she was diagnosed with serious health problems then later died. Does that sound awful to you? I’m sure it does, but consider some background information before judging..
From the moment we met, I knew she didn’t like me. She was civil & even pleasant sometimes in front of others, but when we were alone, she was cruel. She constantly insulted me, my family, my pets, my car, everyone & everything that meant anything at all to me. She talked to me like I was stupid & not good enough to be a part of her family. Not long after we got married, she told me how terribly disappointed she was that Eric married me instead of an ex of his. (A woman who cheated on him & treated him badly, mind you). She told me I needed to get rid of my pets- I had too many. She called my granddad stupid for living on his own at 84 years old, even knowing how important he was to me & never having met him. Upon seeing me replace a burn out turn signal bulb in my car once, she told me I needed to get rid of it- it cost me too much money. (The new bulb cost $.97 & had been in my car for the entire 9 years I had it at that time. It was the only repair my car had needed in a long time.). One evening in 2002, she called to talk to my husband, but he wasn’t home from work yet. She screamed at me for this because she thought he should’ve been home at that time of night. She also yelled at me because his allergies were bothering him. This conversation made me realize she wasn’t someone I could work things out with, no matter what I did. She blamed me for things I had absolutely no control over- how could I work things out with someone like that? Anything I felt for her died then, & I cut ties with her shortly after.
So after reading that story, doesn’t it make sense that in extreme circumstances like this, your feelings for someone can simply die?
If you’ve experienced this, please know you’re not alone & there is nothing wrong with you. This simply means you’re human & have been through some unfair, cruel things. It doesn’t mean you are a bad person or even a bad Christian.
In spite of feeling this way, I started praying for my mother in-law a few months before she died. I didn’t want to, I frankly didn’t care about her salvation or anything else going on with her. However, I felt in my heart God wanted me to & doing so helped me to feel a deep peace. I would recommend you do the same, Dear Reader, for that person you feel nothing for. Praying for them may bless them as well as you. It can be difficult at first, but I promise- it gets easier the more often you do it. I believe it will give you peace in your heart as it did me.
Abusers destroy their victim’s self-esteem. The more completely they can destroy that, the more completely they can rule their victim. Yet in spite of the destruction, many victims reach a point of breaking away from their abuser, whether the person is a spouse, friend or parent.
Unfortunately, that only is the beginning. So much damage is done, especially to the self-esteem. That low self-esteem causes all kinds of problems for a victim, including believing that she is unworthy of care. Abusers make sure their victims know that they don’t matter, which means their pain doesn’t matter either. That false belief can follow a person for years even after the abuse has ended.
So many victims don’t believe they deserve to be cared for or even validated, when nothing could be further from the truth! They are easy to spot too- they are the ones saying their situation “wasn’t so bad,” or, “So & So had it much worse than me,” or even, “It was only mental/sexual abuse.”
Dear Reader, today I want you to know that you *do* matter! Your abuser was absolutely wrong! You deserve to have your pain acknowledged & validated! It doesn’t matter if someone else “had it worse” than you- abuse is painful & destructive, period!
I know it’s hard to really understand that you matter after years of being told you don’t, but it’s the truth! God has a purpose for everyone & everything in this world, which includes you. You matter & God loves you!
If you truly want to heal, you need to start by understanding that you have been through some terrible things. Acknowledge that rather than saying it wasn’t a big deal or someone else had it worse. What was done to you was wrong! You matter, & you didn’t deserve to have those horrible things done to you.
Also, please remember how much God loves you. Healing is the hardest thing you may do in your life- you need His love & support. He truly will help you to cope & even to learn to love yourself.
Romans 8:35-39 “35 Who shall ever separate us from the love of [a]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written and forever remains written, “For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (AMP)
Job 35:11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? (KJV)
One of God’s greatest blessings is animals. I’ve always loved & appreciated animals, but the older I get, the more I love & appreciate them. Animals love deeply & unconditionally, they are fun, they are very intuitive & intelligent. What’s not to love?!
In 2001, my husband & I lost Bubba, a very gentle, sweet, special orange tabby cat I’d had since he was only 4 weeks old. I was absolutely convinced losing Bubba was going to kill me, my grief was so strong. In spite of the pain though, God showed me something interesting at that time- I could communicate with animals.
The day after Bubba died, I let the cats out into the backyard for some supervised fun. I went to Bubba’s freshly dug grave for a moment of grief. I told him how much I loved him & missed him, & always would. A small voice spoke to my heart saying, “It’s OK, Mommy. I feel much better now!” (Bubba suffered with feline AIDS & emphysema for about 4 months before he died) I wasn’t sure I heard this right at all, & quickly came back to the part of the yard where the cats were. Spitfire, the queen of the castle, looked at me with great concern as I came near her & I heard, “Something is wrong with Mommy.” I told my husband what happened, & he said he could believe I could hear them. After all, I was extremely close to all of our cats.
The following day, I turned on some music while I was doing housework. When Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song, “Freebird” came on, I heard what I’d thought was Bubba’s voice again, as I heard it the previous day. “Mommy, this song fits me. Listen to the lyrics.” By this time, I doubted my sanity. Once I was done my chores, I prayed, asking God what was going on. I felt no answer coming, so I opened up my Bible. It came open to the book of Job, & my eyes fell on this Scripture: Job 12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (KJV) Immediately, I knew I heard Bubba & Spitfire. I wasn’t crazy!
Since that time, I’ve gotten better at communicating with animals. I don’t often hear them as clearly as I did Bubba & Spitfire, but I still communicate with them constantly. What’s so interesting is the more I wanted to communicate with them, the more they wanted to communicate with me. Our late chow chow mix, Bear, taught me that when he barked once it meant yes, twice meant no & three times meant I love you. Vincent, my granddad’s cat that we ended up adopting in 2008, told me one day his great great great great grandfather was a purebred Abyssinian cat. He was very proud of his heritage apparently. Minnie Rose, our dilute tortoise shell cat, actually tries to form words with her meows, so there is never much trouble figuring out what message she is trying to get across, especially when she says, “Yea” or, “NOOOO!!”. Punkin is our orange tabby with feline PTSD. He is very vocal & very clear at communicating whatever he wants me to know with certain facial expressions as well as meows.
I’m always impressed by how if you just pay attention to them, animals will make sure you know what they want you to know. You just need to be observant.
Also, not all animals are overly interested in communication with people, so if you try to communicate with some animals, they may have absolutely no interest, no matter how hard you try. Some seem to put up a mental wall.
Be careful reading about communicating with animals. Some who discuss animal communication claim it is some sort of psychic ability instead of a gift from God. They make it sound almost occult in nature. I have asked God to help me to communicate with animals His way, & with whatever animals He wants me to communicate with. I believe keeping God involved keeps anything bad out of what really should be God’s gift to His children.
Several years ago, I wrote my first book on the topic of animals. I even included some about things my animals & I have discussed. If you would like to check out this book, it is called, “Pawprints On Our Hearts”, & is available at this page on my website, simply scroll down : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php
Romans 15:2 “We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.” (GW)
One thing that is important for all Christians to do is share stories of the wonderful things God has done for them, big or small. Doing so encourages others. It’s a good reminder that God still does miracles, big & small, for everyone. That reminder can be a blessing when times are tough & you feel like God doesn’t care.
I think sharing stories of God’s blessings is also good to do with non believers. For one thing, it encourages them that good things do happen even in the worst of times. For another, maybe telling them the story of your blessings will sow a seed in them. They may decide they want to know more about this God of yours. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? In my experience before I was a Christian, I was more responsive to stories of God’s love than the Bible thumping, fire & brimstone types who told me I was going to hell. Stories of His love gently wooed me to God, while the “you’re going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus right now!” conversation pushed me far away. I believe most people are that way as well. Personally, I don’t witness in the traditional sense of that word. I tell people stories of miraculous & beautiful things God has done for me instead, & I find even die-hard atheists will at least listen to me without objection.
Also, sharing your stories encourages you too. It keeps the blessing close to your heart & reminds you that God loves you, even if for some reason you don’t feel His love. You can’t always count on others to encourage you, so you have to encourage yourself. What better way to do so than remembering the wonderful things God has done for you?
Telling such stories also increases your joy & your faith. While you’re blessing others, you’re also blessing yourself. How can you go wrong by sharing stories of your blessings?
A friend & I were talking recently about some of the dumb things people say to someone who is grieving.
- “He’s in a better place.” (And knowing this negates my pain how exactly??)
- “You should be glad she’s not suffering anymore.” (I am glad, but I still miss her!)
- “I know just how you feel.” (No, you don’t. You aren’t me. We feel things differently)
- (in cases of pet loss) “It was just a cat/dog/bird/etc.” (To you, but to me, that was my baby!)
- Or, simply acting like since their loved one has been buried or cremated, they should be ready to on with their lives since it’s “done”. The funeral marks the beginning of learning to leave without your loved one. Personally, I feel “in limbo” until the funeral or cremation is done. Once that happens, my grief really begins.
Comments like these may not sound so bad, but they can be hurtful when you’re in the early stages of grief.
The simple fact is people don’t know what to say in this situation. Nothing sounds “right”, so many people say something unintentionally hurtful rather than saying nothing.
If you know someone who has recently lost someone they love, please think before you speak. What may comfort you may not comfort the other person. Everyone grieves differently. Plus, there are various stages of grief, & what may comfort someone at one stage may not at another stage. For example, knowing I’ll see my loved one again one day does NOT comfort me immediately after losing that person or pet. I call it the selfish phase of grief, where I just want them back with me because I miss them so much. Some time later, knowing we’ll be reunited one day is a great comfort.
It seems to me there are only a few safe things to say to someone who is grieving.
- “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
- “Is there anything I can do for you?”
- “If you want to talk, I’m here for you anytime.”
Please consider your words wisely when someone you know has lost a loved one. You have the ability to help them or hurt them, so please, choose to help them.
Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (KJV)
There are people watching you every single day. Other Christians may be comparing your faith to theirs while unbelievers are judging you to see if you’re the real thing or not. I also personally believe our loved ones who have passed on & are in Heaven now are aware of what is happening in our lives.
Do you think about the kind of image you present?
I’ve learned a couple of very valuable things on this topic since I became a Christian in 1996, & I’d like to share them with you today.
People don’t respond well to the “holier than thou” types- they prefer people who are real. As a new Christian, I quickly learned this one. Those who looked down on me because I didn’t grow up in the church, because I was divorced, because I had once dabbled in the occult or because I was a new Christian really got under my skin. Their “I’m better than you” attitude made me feel insecure & even doubt God’s love for me. But, people who told me things like, “I was a drug addicted prostitute before I met Jesus” or admitted their current struggles encouraged me. They showed me that you don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to love you. And, you can be a Christian & still make mistakes or deal with struggles. Being saved doesn’t mean life is perfect & if it isn’t, something is wrong with you. It means you’re human! Admitting your faults & struggles helps people see you’re like them- flawed, but trying to improve yourself. And, if Jesus can love imperfect you, then just maybe He can love imperfect them as well!
Closely related to being real is letting your behavior witness to others more than your words. People can say anything- it’s their actions that speak volumes about what is inside of them. Let your actions show that you are trying to live a Godly life. If you quote Scripture yet steal, lie, cheat, judge, criticize or hurt people, you’ll be viewed as a hypocrite. This can turn other people away from not only you, but God as well. Unbelievers see you proclaiming your faith yet acting worse than atheists, & will want to run as far from God as they can.
Bragging about the blessings God has given you is a good thing! Whether God healed you from a fatal illness, restored a broken relationship or provided you with something you needed, people are encouraged by these stories. They build the faith of Christians & entice non-believers to learn more about this God of yours. As many of you know, I have my late Granddad’s car thanks to God providing quite a miracle. (The story is here if you care to read it: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/gods-love-for-you/ ) I absolutely love telling the story of how I got it. It’s interesting because you can tell by people’s reactions who is a Christian & who isn’t. Christians praise God & unbelievers look puzzled. Either way, the listener is usually uplifted by such a cool story.
Never be ashamed of your faith. Some Christians are very hesitant to mention their faith. They act embarrassed about it. Why? There’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of! I’m not saying you have to talk about nothing but Jesus, but there is nothing wrong with saying you’re praying for something or bragging about something God has done for you. Your faith is the central focus of your life- why not mention it when you feel it’s appropriate? Just use common sense & speak in balance about it. Unbelievers can be very put off by Christians who speak of nothing but God, their faith, their church, etc. I remember that feeling- I thought those people were crazy. I understood that God was important to them, but I never understood why they didn’t seem to have room for anything else in their lives.
If you’d like more information on this topic, I wrote a free ebook on it. It’s available at this link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/documents/AWitnessOfFaith.pdf
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!
Growing up, I really had no knowledge about God. My mother said if you’re good you go to Heaven, bad you go to Hell. No explanation of what was good or bad, & I had no idea how Jesus fit into the equation.
As things got worse with my mother as I got older, I decided I had absolutely no use for God. Obviously He didn’t care about me since I was going through so much at home. In fact, I believed He couldn’t even exist. How could a loving God exist & let me go through the things I did?
It wasn’t until I was in my twenties I realized how faulty this thinking was. I finally realized God did indeed exist & cared deeply about the pain I went through. That is when my healing began
If you are being or have been abused, I understand it can be very tempting to give up on God, or at least to think He doesn’t care about your pain. The truth though, Dear Reader, is that God hurts when you hurt. He is angry about what has been done to you, too. He knows all too well the unfairness of it all.
That may be hard to believe when you’re hurting, but it’s very true. Please don’t give up on God for not saving you from bad situations. The truth is He doesn’t force people to do anything, even when it’s in their best interest. God is a gentleman, never forcing people to do anything. He may suggest things, show evidence that certain things are a good idea & others bad ideas, but He never forces anything. He leaves the final decision on what to do up to each person & unfortunately many people make bad decisions. They ignore God’s promptings & do whatever they feel like. That is NOT God’s fault- the blame lies squarely on their shoulders. Why get mad at God for people making bad choices since it’s not His fault?
Dear Reader, God is in your corner. He always has been & always will be. If you wonder where He was when you were being abused, He was there, crying over your suffering. He was angry for you. He was distraught that your abuser didn’t pay attention to His promptings not to do these things.
Now that it’s over? God is there by your side, wanting to hug you & make it all better. He wants to help you through your pain. Let Him. Don’t get mad at God & shut Him out. Let Him help you instead. He will show you how to heal & how to make your pain count for something good. I know that sounds impossible, but it’s very true. He has done this for me & will do the same for you, too.
Since tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary, I thought I would share something I have learned about marriage.
Over the years, I have been criticized pretty harshly by a few people because I do not share a couple of my husband’s interests. He likes football, fishing (catch & release) & camping in a tent. Personally I would rather have a root canal than participate in or watch any of those. I really tried to like fishing. I’ve gone fishing a couple of times & found it boring, although being in nature was nice. After badly injuring the only fish I ever caught, I quickly decided I absolutely hate fishing. As for football? Nope. Never could stand any sport involving a ball. And tent camping?! Hahahahaha. No.
This left me feeling quite guilty for a long time. I felt like I was being a lousy wife for not finding some way to like these things or sucking it & up & participating no matter how miserable it would’ve made me. Then one day, some thoughts popped into my mind that set me free from that faulty thinking, & I’d like to share them with you.
I firmly believe successful couples share interests. My husband & I enjoy classic cars, drag racing, demo derbies, late model dirt track racing, antiques, Oktoberfests, pow wows, movies & much of the same music. These things are all fun for us to do together. We have plenty of interests to share, but we also have a few interests that don’t involve each other. I believe that is also important. A couple needs to be close of course, but they do not need to be so close that they lose themselves in the relationship! You should still maintain your individuality when you’re married. I enjoy crocheting, writing & photography but my husband couldn’t care less about them if he tried. This doesn’t offend me at all! If he’d like to try them, I’d be glad to help him get started of course, but I doubt that day will happen. There is nothing wrong with that.
I also think if your significant other has an interest that you never tried, you should at least give it a whirl unless you are 110% certain you won’t like it. My husband was deep into Nascar when we first got together. I wasn’t. I started watching races with him & quickly developed an interest in it. As it has changed after one of our favorite drivers died, we both lost interest in it, but there were many Sundays we spent watching races together & having fun.
If you would like to share a common interest but one of you is not thrilled with the interest, see if you can find a compromise. Since I refuse to sleep in a tent, I have suggested we get a camper or RV one day when we can afford it. Hubby can sleep in a tent if he likes, but I’ll be inside a nice, clean camper with plumbing & electric, the way I believe God intended me to live. lol Or, if he wants me to go fishing with him, don’t expect me to fish. Let me take a crochet project along & just enjoy being outside & talking with him while he fishes. There are plenty of ways to compromise things if you think about it.
Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)
I realize many Christians will disagree with me, stating that humans are much more valuable than animals. I respectfully disagree though. God loves the animals He created. Reread the Scripture I opened this post with: Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV) The Scripture states. “that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,” so obviously God believes humans & animals to be equal.
Other Scriptures speak of the value of animals:
- Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (KJV)
- Job 12:7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)
- Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” (KJV)
- Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (KJV)
- Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (KJV)
- Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (KJV)
Animals are a wonderful blessing to people! They offer us companionship, unconditional love, help us with chores (such as on a farm), & if we pay attention, teach us a great deal. I’ve had pets since shortly after moving out of my parents’ home at age 19, & pray there never will come a time I don’t have any! Mine have blessed me in more ways than I can count! They have made me laugh or comforted me when I was upset, defended me to people who were nasty to me, & taught me many things, including how to be a good mom.
I hope you, Dear Reader, aren’t one who thinks animals are “just dumb animals” like many people do. If so, though, I pray you’ll consider what I’ve written, & reconsider your position!
And, if you’re an animal lover like me, but never thought about such Scriptures, then please, also consider this post. Maybe pay a bit more attention to your furkids- they are wonderful teachers, & you can learn so much from them. Don’t forget to let them know how much you love & appreciate them, too! They appreciate hearing such things just as much as you do! 🙂