Tag Archives: mental abuse

Illness In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Many of us who survived narcissistic abuse have trouble with being sick or injured.  We repeatedly have heard statements like,  “Others have it worse so you should stop complaining!”  “That’s no big deal.  What I have is so much worse!”  “You have a bad back?  It’s nothing compared to mine..”  These kind of things sink in.

As I’ve mentioned here before, last February, I got sick with carbon monoxide poisoning & when I passed out, hit my head, resulting in a concussion.  Since that time, I haven’t fully recovered, & may never do so.  In spite of that knowledge & the symptoms I live with on a daily basis, there have been plenty of times I wonder if I’m faking it.  My husband was floored when I told him that, & he said it’s impossible- I even look different when the symptoms are really bad & I can’t fake that look.

I firmly believe my irrational behavior is a direct result of being raised by a narcissistic mother.

As a child, I rarely saw a doctor or dentist, not even when I experienced anorexia when I was around 10 years old.  Fevers didn’t mean anything, I was fine according to my mother.  She made sure I knew it was hard on her if I had a problem.  Mother’s Day, 1986- I was on crutches & my father had hurt his back.  She has complained since that she had to sacrifice her Mother’s Day waiting on us hand & foot, it was such a hard time for her.  As an adult, any problem I have, she doesn’t believe.  I have had arthritis in my knees since 2002.  I told my father that was why I couldn’t do more to help my parents out sometimes around their home.  He told my mother & her response was to call me later & ask if that was even true.  Have I even seen a doctor?  Did she say I need a knee replacement?  That’s all I need- to get my knees replaced, it’s no big deal.  For 10 years I lived with back pain she caused, yet she accused me of faking.  She would slap me in the back or hand me something heavy every time she saw me.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  If so, please know I understand your pain & frustration & that you are ok!  This is a normal reaction to an abnormal lack of empathy.

I know it is maddening when you are raised this way & as an adult, you don’t even believe yourself that you are sick or injured.  The doctor said you have a problem or you feel the pain, so why do you doubt it?  Then add in feeling that you don’t deserve to take it easy when you need to because someone else has it worse, & you really feel awful.

It’s time to start rejecting what the narcissist says.  Remember, they say nothing to help others- everything they say & do is about themselves.  Your narcissistic mother accuses you of faking your illness?  That’s because she is projecting her bad actions onto you.  She’s faked an illness before.  She says what you’re experiencing is no big deal?  It’s because she doesn’t want to be bothered with your problems, because it doesn’t provide her with the coveted narcissistic supply.

Trust the symptoms are real.  How could you fake them anyway?!  You aren’t doing this for attention or sympathy!  Narcissists do that, not normal, mentally stable people.

Another helpful tip is to read about the disorder or disease you have.  It helps make it more real.  Once I read about Edgar Allan Poe’s experiences with carbon monoxide poisoning, it helped me tremendously!  I realized that someone else felt the exact same way I did, I wasn’t crazy & I wasn’t making anything up!

While you are coming to accept what is happening, also don’t forget to ask God to heal you as well.  He wants you to be happy & healthy!  Allow Him to do that for you!

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

Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is just one of the many things that is stolen by narcissistic abuse.  It can be devastating & causes a great deal of problems in one’s life.  The good news though, is that you can learn to love yourself, & repair the damage the narcissist in your life did to you in this area.

The first step to take is to have a close relationship with God.  Lean on Him & ask Him to help you in this area.  He is a proud father, & has PLENTY of good things to say about you!

Study your Bible.  There is a lot of good information in it regarding who you are as a child of God.  I made a list & put it on my website.  You can see it here:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php

Always remember- when someone criticizes you & it isn’t constructive criticism that is meant to help you, what they say most likely reflects what they feel about themselves, not what they think about you.  Chances are good she is criticizing you in order to make you feel as bad about yourself as she does about herself.

Listen to what people say to you when they complement you.  People don’t complement others just to hear themselves talk.   They complement because they mean it.

Sometimes even an especially unfair incident can make your self esteem kick in.   Last February when I got very sick, only a few people close to me cared.  I lost friends & some that stayed had no desire to hear it if I wasn’t feeling well.  It hurt tremendously, but the unfairness of the situation woke me up.  I realized how wrong this was- I had been there for them repeatedly, yet they couldn’t be bothered with me after facing a life-threatening illness.  It was cruel & unfair.  I realized I deserved better than that, & suddenly my self-esteem was better.  Sometimes being abused, mistreated or taken for granted can work in your favor in that way.  Not that they are good things of course, but sometimes something good can come out of it at least. God really can work good out of bad situations!

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Some Information About Living With Mental Illness

Society has skewed so many mental health issues badly.

  • “I about had a panic attack!” is said when someone was really nervous, with no clue to how awful panic attacks really are.
  • Some people think remembering unpleasant things & flashbacks are the same thing.  They fail to realize that during a flashback, it can be almost impossible, or sometimes it is impossible to tell reality from flashback.  You have to fight with every fiber of your being to stay in reality instead of being lost in the awful flashback.
  • They even joke about something upsetting giving them Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dismissing the fact PTSD is caused by extreme trauma.
  • Saying “I’m so depressed” when the truth is they are just sad.  The person has no idea how debilitating depression can be.

Ignorant comments such as this along with the lack of compassion for people with genuine mental illness has done much to create a terrible stigma about mental illness.  The mentally ill are thought of as weak, wallowing in the past, stupid & more.  Even some in the medical field are not immune to having  these warped views.

Living with mental illness & putting up with this cruel stigma is not easy!  If you too have a mental illness, I applaud you!  As if the disorder isn’t bad enough, putting up with the ignorance of others makes it even harder.  It can create so much shame in you that you shouldn’t be forced to carry!

My hope is that writing about my experiences with C-PTSD helps to show that just because a person has a mental disorder doesn’t mean they are crazy, stupid, drama queens or even “less than.”  I’m a normal person who happens to have an illness, that is all.  It doesn’t mean I am weak- quite the opposite, as I’ve always been strong. The fact I have C-PTSD means that I’ve been through repeated traumatic experiences, not that I’m weak or feeling sorry for myself.

That is what you are too, Dear Reader.  If you battle mental illness as well, don’t tolerate people making you feel badly about yourself.  You are fine- you just have an illness.  Would you be ashamed of your illness if you had diabetes, cancer or heart disease?  Then why be ashamed of having a mental illness?  Why should mental illness be something to be ashamed of when physical illness is not?

If you’re like many who read my work & have PTSD or C-PTSD stemming from narcissistic abuse, I also want you to know that you are not alone.  I know it can feel that way sometimes, but it’s not true!  Unfortunately, many others have survived narcissistic abuse only to develop PTSD or C-PTSD as a result.  Sadly, they are normal results from abnormal circumstances like narcissistic abuse.  No one escapes narcissistic abuse unscathed.  Anyone who says they are completely fine is lying, especially to themselves.

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

The Importance Of Realistic Expectations When Dealing With Narcissists

When dealing with a person who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realistic expectations are extremely important for the sake of your mental health.  They will help you not to be constantly disappointed or hurt.  They also will help you to be prepared for whatever may come, because you understand that this is how the narcissist in your life acts.

For many adult children of narcissistic parents, adjusting their expectations to be realistic is very hard.  It’s hard not to hope that this will be the time things are different, the one time that Mom actually cares about me or doesn’t  insult my husband.  It’s also hard to grasp that normal things- such as treating your child with basic respect- are things that no narcissistic parent wants to do.

If you feel that way about your narcissistic mother, you’re perfectly normal.  However, Dear Reader, I urge you to consider taking care of your mental health, your peace & joy, & lowering your expectations of your narcissistic mother.

Realistic expectations of narcissists are very different than those of other people.  Most people, you are safe in assuming that they will have some level of empathy, think of people other than themselves & not viciously criticize anything they wish to about you.  Not so with narcissists.  Let’s look at some features of a narcissist:

  • They are constantly looking for narcissistic supply- anything that helps boost their self-esteem.
  • They are incredibly entitled- they feel as if they deserve anything they want, even if it means hurting others (yes, even their own family) to get it.
  • They have absolutely no empathy- never will a narcissist genuinely understand or care about your pain.  Never.
  • Narcissists are excellent manipulators- they read people very well to find out their vulnerabilities so they can exploit them for personal gain.
  • Narcissists don’t care how much they hurt you, destroy your self-esteem or even destroy your sanity as long as they get what they want from you.

These few qualities alone mean you cannot deal with any narcissist as you would a normal person if you wish to survive this relationship with your mental health in tact.  Keeping realistic expectations of the narcissist will help you tremendously.

So what are realistic expectations of a narcissist?  Basically, have no expectations.  Never expect to be able to run to your narcissistic mother with your problems without her criticizing or mocking you.  Never expect her to be able to genuinely celebrate your victories either.  She may try to take credit for what you have done, ignore it completely or trivialize it.

What you can expect from most narcissistic mothers-

  • She will criticize everything about you without mercy.  I don’t mean constructive criticism- I mean mocking, insulting, saying cruel things that can bring you to tears.
  • Gaslighting.  Lots & lots of gaslighting & mind games.
  • Conversations will be all about her.  If you try to mention something about yourself, she’ll find a way to bring the conversation back to her.
  • No empathy.  It doesn’t matter if you broke a nail or are getting a divorce- your narcissistic mother will treat any problem you have exactly the same way.  She won’t care.
  • Her trying to destroy any joy you have over something good that has happened to you.
  • Demands or hints rather than requests.  She thinks she deserves your complete obedience.

Of course, each narcissist is a bit different, so I’m sure you can add to this list.

The good thing though is that if you keep in mind that your narcissistic mother is going to do these things, it will help you tremendously.  You won’t be caught off guard by her outrageous behavior.  You also can plan ahead of time how you wish to handle her outrageous behavior.  You  won’t be so hurt because you know it’s coming.

And, if you know what to expect, when your narcissistic mother calls or comes by, you can decide whether or not you can handle her on that particular day before you pick up the phone or answer the door.

Lastly, having these realistic expectations of your narcissistic mother also will help you to remember what kind of person she is, which will help you to remember that she has problems.  You aren’t the terrible person she claims you are!

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Are You Always The Strong One?

There is a saying that is pretty common, but especially here in the South.  “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I believe it to be very true.  The very things that have been meant to kill me, such as narcissistic abuse, have instead strengthened me in the long run.

But, the truth is, in spite of being grateful for the strength I’ve gained, I’m pretty tired!  Tired of the nonsense I’ve lived through, & mostly tired of always being the strong one who carries other people can fall apart.

Many people, especially those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse, are a great deal stronger than we realize.  This doesn’t usually escape the notice of other people, however.  They notice it right away & often, don’t hesitate to use our strength to help themselves out.  Even when they know we’re going through a crisis, they’ll come to us for comfort, advice or to meet some other need, often without even asking how we’re doing.  When faced with a difficult person, we are the one who is always supposed to be understanding or the “bigger person”, & let the offenses go.  People know we’re strong & can handle bad situations, so they assume we never need help, a shoulder to cry on or, well, anything really..

The simple truth is that even the strongest among us need help sometimes.  Being strong can be hard enough, but feeling as if you’re completely alone in your struggles with no one to help, & you have to be strong all of the time for others is incredibly hard.  It’s extremely depressing, because you know you can’t count on anyone else to let you lean on them.  It’s also mentally & physically draining.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you understand this all too well.  I would like to encourage you today to make self-care a priority.  Take breaks as needed from work or from other people (especially the ones who lean on you without reciprocating).  Set & enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself.  Do nice things for yourself often.  What makes you feel good?  Make it a priority to do those things as often as possible.  Participate in your hobbies often.  Express your creativity often.

And, remember- sometimes you need to lean on others as they have leaned on you.  It’s actually a good thing for a relationship- it makes you depend on each other instead of the relationship being one sided.  It also increases intimacy in the relationship, because asking for help makes you vulnerable.  I understand that it is very hard to do, but I encourage you to step out & try it.  Ask God how to do this & who to ask- He won’t guide you wrong!

And, speaking of God, don’t forget to lean on Him as well!  He loves you so much, & wants to help you in every way you need help.  I’ll never forget what happened when I was sick at the end of February.. I was relaxing, just playing a game on my tablet, & I couldn’t get past this one level.  It was frustrating me.  I muttered & asked God to help me get past this stupid level.  Suddenly, I did it!  I started to cry.  Granted, I was super emotional because of the concussion I got only a few days prior, but even so, it was a lovely moment.  I knew God helped me to win that game because He loves me so much that He even cares about something so trivial that means something to me.  He loves you just as much- allow Him to show it.  Trust Him & lean on Him.  He won’t disappoint you.

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

Valuable Lessons About Dealing With A Narcissistic Mother

Recently I had a very strange dream.  When God showed me what it meant,  I knew I had to share  it’s meaning with you.

God showed me the dream meant a few things.

For one  thing, my mother uses the things I love & am passionate about to hurt me.  She wants to destroy my identity.  If she destroys who I am, she can make me into what she wants me to be.  Chances are, your narcissistic mother does exactly the same thing. Does she viciously criticize or trivialize those people or things you love the most?  If she can make you turn against those things, she has destroyed a part of you.  Don’t let her do that!  God gave everyone passions for a reason. They are your purpose in life.  Your narcissistic mother has no right to steal them from you!

Another aspect of the dream showed me the answer to a question I’ve had for many years.  During her worst narcissistic rages, my mother’s eyes would turn black.  It used to terrify me, because I never know what was coming next, but I knew it wasn’t going to be good.  (The night my mother threw me into a wall, her eyes turned black just before she did it.)  Several other adult children of narcissistic parents have told me they experienced the same thing.  Anyway, the dream showed me that the reason this happens is because she has reached the point where she can no longer conceal her hatred for me. That is why the following narcissistic rages are so vicious. Thankfully I haven’t seen her eyes turn black in years, but I now know if they change color, it’s time to leave, & leave quickly!

Lastly, the dream gave me a valuable reminder.  When dealing with your narcissistic mother, always remain calm, & share no  signs of your emotions with her.  Sharing any signs of emotions will trigger a reaction from her.  Anger or hurt feeds a narcissist- she will continue to do whatever it is that is angering or hurting you until she destroys you completely if she can. Joy isn’t good either, because she will destroy that happiness you feel. (She may say things like, “What do you have to be so happy about anyway?”)  She wants you to be as miserable, hurting, angry & empty inside as she feels, & will stop at nothing to make that happen.

I hope what this dream taught me helps you as much as it helped me.

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Black & White Thinking Is Dangerous

Many people who grew up abused tend to have black & white thinking.  For example, you may think you’re a bad employee because you made a mistake at work, or a bad spouse because you forgot your wedding anniversary rather than just thinking you made mistakes.  Most people aren’t so hard on themselves, & are much more forgiving than that.

This type of thinking can damage relationships as well as your self-esteem.  If, as an example, you grew up told by your narcissistic mother that all people who listen to heavy metal music are bad & accepted that belief, then you are either missing out on potentially good relationships, or if you later find out someone you’re close to likes metal, you’ll end that relationship.

Black & white thinking has its roots in childhood, like so many other things.  When you grow up with a parent berating, shaming & criticizing you, you take it to heart!  You tend to continue to do those same behaviors to yourself as an adult.  It’s time to stop doing that to yourself!  You don’t deserve to continue the abuse that was so unfairly done to you!  You deserve better!

Today, I want you to decide to stop with the black & white thinking!

To do this, you’ll need to do several things.  First of all, ask God to help you.  Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth & the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight”.  God wants to help you think better!  Allow Him to do so.

You also need to challenge how you think.  Slow down & pay attention to your thoughts.  When you make a mistake & begin to beat yourself up for it, stop!  Stop right there & remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes.  EVERYONE!  Not only you.  If people didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  Mistakes are a part of life- you need to accept that fact.

If you find yourself thinking something or someone is bad, then again, stop.  Ask yourself why you think this.  If you realize it’s because your narcissistic mother dislikes a quality that person has, then it’s time to challenge her opinion.  Not to her but to yourself.  Did she say why she hates something or someone?  Do her reasons make sense?  If not, discard them & form your own opinion!  You don’t have to share her beliefs or feelings.  You have the right to have your own!

Black & white thinking also can be a hindrance in healing from abuse.  If you’re like me, you tend to frequently tell yourself that you should be better by now, you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for too long, you need to let this go & more unhealthy things. Please, please, please stop it right now!!!  Easier said than done, I know, but please try anyway.  I’ve gotten better at this, although I still slip up sometimes.  When I tell myself these awful things, I remind myself narcissistic abuse is a terrible thing.  Healing from it is a lifelong task.  Narcissistic abuse is insidious & permeates every part of your being.  You can’t heal from that kind of pain & suffering in a month or even a year.  It’s perfectly normal to heal little by little over the course of your life.  It’s also perfectly normal for healing to be an up & down process.  Emotional healing is never strictly an uphill battle. It’s more like an uphill battle with periodic falls into valleys & side trips.

Dear Reader, please be encouraged today to be better to yourself.  Think about what you’re thinking about.  Challenge those things that aren’t beneficial to you, & change how you think into more healthy thoughts.  You deserve it!

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It’s Not Your Job To Tolerate Abuse Or Do All The Work In Your Relationships!

A pretty common phenomenon I’ve noticed about adult children of narcissistic parents is this belief of others that we are always supposed to allow other people to mistreat or even abuse us without complaint.  Also, if something is wrong in a relationship, it’s supposed to be our job to fix everything while the other person does nothing.

My mother in-law treated me like dirt for the first eight years of my husband’s & my relationship, until I finally severed ties with her.  My husband told me constantly that I “needed to understand her better,” I should “be the bigger person & let things go.”  He didn’t believe me when I told him what she had done, or (worst of all) blamed me for her abuse.

My ex husband & I lived with his parents for about a year.  During that time, he & I had a big fight on our third wedding anniversary.  I left the house to cool off for a while.  When I came back, his mother jumped me, blaming me for the fight (which he started, not that she knew this), for making him angry & for him punching a wall in his anger.  She told me I needed to talk to him & smooth things over.

During a very bad time in my marriage, I talked to a good friend of mine about something extremely painful my husband had done.  He tried to make excuses for my husband’s behavior & suggested things I can do to help fix our marriage rather than comfort me or help me.

Do scenarios like this sound familiar to you as well?

If they do, I want to tell you today that it’s not your job, nor your purpose in life, to be used or to do all of the work in your relationships!  Relationships are NOT one sided, at least healthy ones are not.  A healthy relationship has two people working together.  Relationships where only one person does all of the work are extremely dysfunctional & miserable.

It also is not your place to tolerate abuse or make excuses for the abuser!  No one deserves abuse- NO ONE!  There is no excuse to abuse, there is nothing you can do to make someone abuse you & abusive people are sick.  None of this has anything to do with you.

I believe this warped behavior happens because of being raised by narcissistic parents.  You’re raised to be nothing more than a tool to be used as needed, much like say, a screwdriver.  You’re kept in a drawer until needed, pulled out, used, then put away until the next time you can serve some purpose. While you’re “in that drawer,” you need to be completely invisible- you have to stay out of the narcissist’s way! Don’t “bother” her with your trivial needs.  Hers are so very much more important than yours, after all.  As a result, you grow up continuing to act as if other people’s needs are more important, yours mean nothing, & being a people pleaser. People naturally read other people, & abusers in particular are extremely good at it.  Abusers look for people like this to abuse, since they’re easy targets who won’t complain about how they’re treated.  Then there are other people don’t deliberately seek out people they can abuse.  Instead, they see you believe you are: invisible, you deserve to be treated poorly, etc. & they treat you that way.

To help fix this problem in your life, work on your healing.  You will learn to spot the abusers quickly, & avoid them.  You’ll develop & enforce stronger boundaries.  Your self-esteem will improve, making you less willing to tolerate nonsense, including being the only one to work on your relationships.  You also need to really grasp the fact that you are NOT what your narcissistic mother says you are.  You are someone with great worth & value.  God loves you, no matter if your parents don’t.  If you have trouble believing that, ask Him to show you how much He loves you.  Read the Bible- there are countless times in it where God states His love for you!

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Do You Validate Or Invalidate Yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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You Make Me Feel…

So many people say that no one can make you feel a certain way, & imply that you are weak if you “allow” someone to hurt you.  While saying no one can make you feel anything sounds empowering, I find it to be ridiculous, & often a form of victim blaming.

While it is certainly true in some cases, in many cases, people definitely can make you feel certain emotions.  If someone you love tells you that you look beautiful, they will make you feel good.  If that same someone tells you that you look horrible, they will make you feel bad.  If a total stranger said the exact same things, it wouldn’t mean so much to you because you won’t care nearly as much what a stranger thinks of you as you care about what someone you love thinks of you.  In fact, if a stranger said either thing, you may not even care at all.

So often when you have a narcissistic parent, other people don’t understand how, as an adult with your own life, their cruel words can hurt you.  They may say you should just ignore her, stop letting her get to you, you’re letting her make you feel that way, or similar invalidating things.  If it was only so easy!  It’s much easier to ignore a nasty stranger than it is your own mother, the woman you know beyond a shadow of a doubt is saying these things for the sole purpose of hurting you.  How can someone, especially your own mother, wanting to hurt you not affect you?  You would have to have a heart of stone not to be at least a little hurt by such a thing!

I want to encourage you today to have some balance.  Don’t let the ignorance, rudeness or even nastiness of some people bother you when you are able, & deal with the upset feelings when you aren’t able to disregard bad behavior directed at you. If you care even a little about another person, they absolutely can make you feel things, & that is totally normal!  There is nothing wrong with you or abnormal about you for being hurt by your narcissistic mother.  She is your mother- that role gives her a unique position no one else ever had or ever will have in your life, so don’t you think it’s only natural that she has the ability to hurt you or anger you when she is hateful to you??

Telling the victim of narcissistic abuse that no one, including her narcissistic mother, can make her feel a certain way to me is a type of victim blaming, which is sadly very common in today’s society.

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Narcissists & Pawning Off Pain

I read something recently about how narcissists dump their inner pain & torment on others in order to attempt to relieve some of the pain they feel inside.  This makes a great deal of sense when you think about it.  For example, my narcissistic mother has very low self-esteem, & she has done her best to make sure I also have low self-esteem.  She obviously feels a great deal of shame, so she has put that on me as well.  My narcissistic mother in-law never felt good enough for her mother in-law, & from day one, she made sure I knew I was never good enough to be a part of her family.

There are so many (often very subtle) ways a person can try to put their pain on another.  Did your narcissistic mother accuse you of being fat although your weight was normal & hers above average?  Did your narcissistic spouse accuse you of cheating, shaming you greatly, when in fact you were faithful & he was the one sleeping around?

This trying to transfer their pain to another seems to be a pretty normal thing for narcissists to do, but that doesn’t make it right.  Rather than excusing their actions, I wanted to discuss this with you today so that you know when this type of thing happens, it’s not your fault!  Like many narcissistic behaviors, it isn’t even personal even though it feels like a personal attack- it’s simply the narcissist hurting & wanting to make herself feel better.  You getting hurt in the process isn’t important to her, of course, so long as she feels better.

If you can keep the perspective that some abusive behaviors aren’t personal, but about the narcissist, it makes coping a bit easier.  It still hurts of course, & is painful to accept it happened, but it does help some at least.  Any help is better than none, right?  Really grasping that what was done to you was the narcissist’s fault & not yours will help you to avoid the always painful thinking that what happened was your fault, that you made her do that terrible thing, or if you would have only done or not don  *fill in the blank* then she wouldn’t have hurt you.

I urge you today to keep this post in mind when your narcissistic mother says something hurtful to you.  Remember, she is trying to make you feel bad so she doesn’t have to feel bad.  That is why she’s accusing you of whatever awful thing it is she’s accusing you of!  You’re fine, she isn’t.

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Abandonment Relating To Children Of Narcissistic Parents.

Abandonment comes in many forms.  It can come about for the newborn baby left in a dumpster, a child whose parents suddenly die in a car wreck, divorce, or death of a loved one.  There is a form of abandonment that many people seldom discuss- when close friends & relatives leave you.

This type of abandonment is common after divorce, especially if you are the one who initiated it.  I lost all but one friend after mine.  No one saw him as the manipulative narcissist he was, so they rallied to his side, abandoning me.  Abandonment also happens after surviving the death of someone you love.  After her daughter died, a good friend of mine said it seemed like once the funeral was done, people thought she should be over losing her daughter, as if the funeral being over meant her grief should be over. Abandonment also can happen after experiencing a traumatic event, as some people think you should “be over it by now.”

It’s also very common for children of narcissistic parents to be abandoned repeatedly in their lives.

First, we’re abandoned in the sense of not having a real mother (&/or father).  Just because a narcissist has conceived & birthed a child doesn’t make that person a parent by any means.  We also may be abandoned by the other parent, usually a covert narcissist, who throws us under the bus to the overtly narcissistic parent to cover their own butts during an argument, & who fails to protect us.  We’re also abandoned by anyone who sees the abuse yet fails to do anything to help us: teachers, counselors, relatives, friends or their parents.  As we grow up, we tend to attract narcissists & other abusive people into our lives, who will drop us in an instant once we’ve outlived our usefulness to them.  They also are often skilled at turning others against us too, so we not only lose that person, but friends as well at the same time.  Then eventually we learn about narcissism & the damage it causes, & we begin to talk about it.  That is when our closest friends & relatives often claim we just want attention, need to get over it, So & So had it much worse, your narcissist wasn’t so bad or seemed like a good person to them, & more before abandoning us for being too negative, living in the past, etc.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  I’m guessing it sounds all too familiar.

Constant abandonment like this cuts a person to the core.  It also can lead to many problems- low self-esteem, depression, anger, self-destructive habits such as addictions, & even losing your self-identity.

So how do you deal with this pain?  You grieve your losses much like you grieve when someone you love dies.

Some people say there are five stages in grief, others say seven.  I tend to believe more in seven..

  1. Denial.  What happened is too shocking to accept.  You can’t believe it happened.
  2. Guilt.  You feel guilty.  “Maybe if I had done *fill in the blank*, this wouldn’t have happened.
  3. Anger &/or bargaining with God.  This is the time when you ask “Why did this happen to me?  I don’t deserve this!” or, “God, if you bring him back, I’ll never do *fill in the blank* again.”
  4. Depression.  The magnitude of what happened becomes real to you at this stage, & it hurts.  Badly.  This is often the longest lasting stage.
  5. Starting to move on.  The depression starts to lift some & you begin to adjust in small ways to life after what happened.
  6. Moving on.  You really begin healing at this stage.  You read & learn about how to adjust & heal.
  7. Acceptance.  You have accepted what happened.  You start to look forward to things once again.  You may never again be the person you once were, but you are moving forward.

***sometimes when grieving, you may bounce back & forth between steps a few times.  This is normal***

While going through the stages of grief is never a fun process, it is a necessary one when it comes to big losses, & being abandoned, especially repeatedly, is a big loss.

While experiencing each stage, it is important to talk things out.  I encourage you to pray a lot.  Tell God everything you feel, & listen for any wisdom He wants to share with you.  Also, if you’re like me & it helps you to see things in writing, then journal.  Sometimes seeing things in black & white brings a clarity that simply talking about them doesn’t.

Always be patient, non-judgmental & gentle with yourself while experiencing the grief process.  You need such things in your life during this time, & especially from yourself.

Exercise wisdom in who you share your experiences with.  Many people don’t understand grief in any form, & others don’t wish to hear such “negativity”. Don’t discuss your journey with people like that- instead only share with people who are non-judgmental, compassionate & who love you unconditionally.

I know this is not an easy time for you, but you can get through this, & you will be a stronger person too.  Also, you’re not alone!  Many people have experienced this same pain you have, including me.  If you would like to meet others, feel free to check out my facebook group & my forum, links to both are on my website at:  www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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Emotional Neglect & Critical Words

Lately, I’ve been reading some about emotional neglect & criticism, & their detrimental effects, especially on children.  They can cause anxiety & toxic shame, both of which are absolutely horrible to live with.

I’ve been seeing lately how much anxiety & shame I carry, & as I mentioned in this post, now I understand why I have them.  When a parent doesn’t care about their child’s feelings, acts as if the child is a bother &/or is overly critical, seeds get sown in the child.  The child becomes fearful.  She learns early that people will hurt her with their words or actions (or both), & no one will protect her, not even her parents.  She also internalizes the fact no one cares enough to protect her, & becomes deeply ashamed of who she is. After all, if her own parents don’t love her enough to care about & for her, she must be deeply flawed, unlovable, a terrible person.  Or so she believes.

These dysfunctional beliefs carry into adulthood.  It means she settles for dysfunctional or abusive relationships (friendships or romantic relationships), lives with extreme anxiety especially when dealing with other people, has a hard time asking for assistance, & doesn’t believe she is worthy.  Worthy of what?  Pretty much anything!  Anything from setting healthy boundaries to taking care of her health to getting new clothes because her old ones are worn out & more.

It is a miserable way to live, & no one should have to live like this!  If you recognize yourself in this post, then please read my other post I mentioned above.  In it, I offer some ways I think can help you overcome toxic shame.  As it diminishes, the anxiety should follow.  It has for me.

I’m praying for you, Dear Reader.  May God bless you, & help you to overcome the pain of toxic shame & anxiety!  xoxo

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My New Books

I thought I would let you know what’s happening on the book front with me..

I now have two books I’m working on as I can.  Unfortunately I’m still recovering from the carbon monoxide poisoning & the concussion that came with  it, so writing is a challenge for me at the moment. (as if writing with C-PTSD isn’t enough of a challenge sometimes..lol)  But, I’m trying to do a little as often as I can.

My one book is a fictional story I started over a year ago.  I had it about halfway done when the external hard drive it was on crashed, taking my book with it.  (Tears were shed, let me tell ya!)  I decided to start working on  it again, trying to recreate what was lost.  It was inspired by the movie “Gaslight”- the movie from which the term gaslighting was coined.  It takes place here in Maryland in the late 1800’s.  It’s about a young widow who, after her mourning period, is caught up in a whirlwind romance with a man who in truth is only after her money.  In order to have full access to it, he decides to drive his pretty young wife insane.  He enlists the help of the young maid he’s having an affair with by telling her that his wife is really his sister, & he’s trying to help her show symptoms of her “illness” since she usually hides them from the doctor.  She reluctantly agrees.  As they are in the process of driving this woman insane, the wife & maid end up learning the truth, & decide to turn the tables on him, driving him insane instead.

My other book is going to be about recovering from narcissistic abuse.  I’ve read so much about it, but there are plenty of things I haven’t read- I had to experience them & learn about them firsthand instead.  For example, if you read about C-PTSD (very common with survivors or narcissistic abuse), it says many people experience nightmares.  It’s often implied that the nightmares are about re-experiencing the traumatic events.  I have learned that although that happens, it’s more rare, & nightmares are often things that are very upsetting yet symbolic of past trauma instead.

So anyway, these two are my current projects.  I’m not sure when they’ll be released.  Honestly, I don’t even feel comfortable setting a goal on that right now, not until I recover more.  I’ll be sure to share when they will be released as the day comes closer though.

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Take A Break, And Do It Often!

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time writing.  Even these brief blog entries are an issue most days.  It kinda stinks, because I love writing so much.  Having C-PTSD contributes to my difficulties with focus sometimes, but it isn’t always why I have trouble focusing.

I’ve been feeling very burned out lately, & I realized why.  Focusing on one’s healing & mental & emotional health is a very good thing.  It enables you to work through issues, to forgive, to heal.  However, it really is possible to focus too much on such things.  The mind needs breaks from hard work, just as the body does, & focusing on healing is certainly hard work!  The mind also needs a break from negative things as well.  (Please know that I’m not saying be positive about the truly negative things in life, as that isn’t healthy either.)  If you too have C-PTSD I believe these breaks become even more important to your mental health.

When you grew up with a narcissistic mother, it can be hard to be a balanced adult.  Early on, once you first realize that your mother is abusive, you’re angry.  Very angry.  All this time you thought what she did to you was your fault, & you finally learned she lied- it wasn’t you, it was her.  That is a tough pill to swallow!  Then you learn more & more about narcissism, & so many things finally make sense, things about you & about your mother.  It’s very easy to become consumed & focus constantly on your mother’s abuse, on NPD, on the problems you have as an adult that stem from that abuse & more.  However, this is not healthy to do at all!  Like I said, the mind needs breaks sometimes, & it needs balance.

How do you achieve balance?  You make a conscience effort to do these things.  I know it can be hard, especially with the obsessive thoughts that often happen with C-PTSD, but it can be done!  Force yourself to focus on something fun.  Watch a movie.  Play with your kids, furry or human.  Go for a walk in the woods.  Visit a local park. Go for a drive. Buy a coloring book & crayons.  There are many things you can do to bring a little joy into your life & those things needn’t be expensive or require a lot of planning. Be creative, & I’m sure you’ll come up with some fun things to do.

Spend time in God’s presence. Spending time in nature, admiring the beautiful creations He has made is not only good for drawing you closer to the Father, but it’s also very restorative to the soul.  Many people are affected by the weather such as in cases of those with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  If that describes you, I would suggest holding off on the nature time until the weather has a more positive effect on your mood. Fall is my favorite time to do this, so if you catch me wandering around during the summertime instead when the heat & bright sunlight depress me, something is very wrong with me!  lol

Another thing I have found  that helps me is to collect some things that you enjoyed as a child.  I’m a child of the 70’s-80’s, & I think we had some pretty cool toys!  I have Spirograph, Magic 8 Ball & Lite Brite apps on my tablet. I have an atari with quite a few games.  I have a few stuffed animals, my old Merlin handheld game, Rubix cube, Snake & Bowlatronic.  I just saw a hot pink Tonka jeep that I had (& loved!) as a child on ebay, & am considering ordering it.  I also ordered a set of the Crystalite animals- I collected them in first grade. I’ve also purchased a few board games over the years that my husband & I both remember from our childhoods & we enjoy playing. Although my childhood was less than stellar, some of my fun old toys do make me smile to this day.  Having them helps me to remember some positive memories for a change, & it feels good.

Also a nostalgic thing I enjoy is collecting old pictures.  There are a couple of facebook groups I belong to- one is for the area where I grew up & the other is for the area where my family is from in Virginia.  Both are history groups, & share many old pictures of both areas.  I save the more interesting pictures of places I enjoyed growing up. It’s so much fun looking back over the pictures of how those towns were when I was a kid.  It does make me a bit sad how much they’ve changed, but even so, it’s fun remembering how things used to be.

Music is another wonderful way to break away & feel good.  I still love the music I grew up with, & listen to it often.  Some songs take me back to a happy place.  Journey always reminds me of going to dinner with my wonderful paternal grandparents at a tiny local Italian place when I was a kid.  My grandmom gave me change for the jukebox- something my mother always refused to do.  “Who’s Cryin’ Now” was one of the Journey songs  played, so yes, their music takes me back to a fun evening.  Listening to good music that transports you back to a happy time can be very good for your mood & very relaxing.

Pamper yourself.  Also hard to do when you grew up with a narcissistic mother who undoubtedly told you how selfish you were for showing yourself any kindness, but remember- narcissists project their flaws onto other people so they can then get angry about those flaws.  Your mother was wrong- you aren’t selfish!  Doing nice, pampering gestures for yourself aren’t selfish either- they are healthy, & they show you that you care about yourself.  Nothing wrong with that!

I think distractions like these are also very helpful because they empower you.  If you think about what you’ve gone through constantly, it’s as if your mother still has power over you.  She’s still controlling you, by being in your thoughts so much.  If you purposely kick her out of your mind sometimes, you are taking back control of your life, & your thoughts.

Also, distracting yourself sometimes is good for your anxiety & depression levels. The more you focus on the abuse you endured, the more anxious & depressed it can make you.  Focus on healing- get angry, cry, do what you have to do- but take at least the same amount of time to relax & have some fun!  It’s good for you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Long Week In A Life With C-PTSD

It’s been almost three years since almost all of the symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manifested in my life, but I’m still learning about them & how to manage them.  It’s a daily battle.

This past week has been a rough one.  I’m not sure why, but the C-PTSD has been flaring up really badly.  Nothing happened to trigger it, although I did have a flashback a few days into this flare.  I haven’t discussed what’s happening much with anyone, not even my husband.  For one thing, when it flares up, I need to get a grasp on what is happening.  My thinking changes so much, & sometimes it takes a lot for me to recognize it’s the disorder, not me thinking that. For example, I’ve been ashamed of this flare up.  I’ve been feeling weak & angry at myself for being so weak.  Normally, I accept C-PTSD as the reaction to some very bad things that I’ve been through, but flare ups change that in me.

This morning, I was in an especially foul mood, & my husband & I talked about it.  I finally opened up to some of what has been going on with me this week  He suggested that since I’ve promised to keep my blog real, that I write about it, & hopefully someone who reads this will benefit from it.

Reading about the symptoms of C-PTSD on clinical sounding websites & living them are two very different things.  Reading about them, they sound bad enough, but living them?  Yikes.  And, you rarely see detailed descriptions of the more odd symptoms.  I thought I’d share some of the symptoms you don’t read much (if anything) about that I’ve experienced this week, so if you too experience them, you’ll know you aren’t crazy!

Lately, I’ve had more nightmares than usual.  Not even nightmares about traumatic events I’ve been through- nightmares about stupid things, such as an empty school bus parked beside my car catching fire.  I knew I couldn’t move my car for some reason, & was afraid it was going to burn with the bus.  Make any sense to you?  Yea, me neither.. lol  One night, I woke up every 15-30 minutes all night long, mostly from nightmares, most of which I didn’t even remember, but I woke up panicky.  The few I did remember though had absolutely nothing to do with the traumas I’ve experienced.  When I first read about C-PTSD, I assumed when it said nightmares happen, it was nightmares about the traumas.  Not necessarily.. I have them too sometimes, but usually not.  The nightmares are usually odd but disturbing.

My thinking has been extremely negative.  I try to be positive yet realistic, but this week, that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been beating myself up about anything & everything possible.  I’m weak, stupid, cowardly, useless, ugly, nothing but a burden to my husband.. you get the idea.  Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I used to do that all the time, but over the last probably 10-15 years or so, had gotten much better about not doing that.  When the C-PTSD flares up, though, that old habit comes back with a vengeance.

I feel like I’ve remembered every single time someone has told me something invalidating about having C-PTSD & it hurts.  I’ve thought of so many times when people have told me to “get over it,” “stop using C-PTSD to get pity/attention,” “stop living in the past”, “stop being so negative- you need to be more positive.”  or even simply showed they don’t care when the symptoms are bothering me.   Why these stupid comments pop into my mind, I have no idea..

My thinking has been very sluggish.  I haven’t caught on to hubby’s jokes, which is very abnormal for me since we share the same warped sense of humor.  Following a simple TV show or movie has been rather difficult too.  And, I encountered a narcissist, yet failed to recognize the signs I normally wouldn’t have missed.  Once they were pointed out to me is when I caught on.  UGH!

I’ve been getting very angry very easily.  It seems like anything & everything pushes my buttons.  While trying to put fresh sheets on my bed this morning, I got mad at one of my cats for getting in my way.  WHY?!  She does this every single time I change sheets.  It’s nothing new.  But for some reason this morning, this made me so angry.  I didn’t scold her, since this is a normal part of her routine, but I really wanted to for a minute there.

I’ve been extremely depressed.  I’ve always battled depression, & for years, I was fortunate enough to find ways to keep it under control.  I even wrote a book about that, called, “Baptism Of Joy.”  My first book!  Then when the C-PTSD kicked in in May, 2012, that changed.  While I’m not depressed all of the time, I once again spend quite a bit of time depressed, & this time, the usual things that once helped me to feel better don’t work nearly so often.

I’ve also been extremely anxious & unable to pinpoint why exactly.  Above & beyond the normal anxiety & hyper-vigilance that come with C-PTSD, I mean.  I’ve woken up having panic attacks several times lately.  Not a nice way to wake up!

I’ve wondered if I’m going crazy.  Definitely not a nice way to feel, especially since I spent so much time feeling this way when I was growing up  with my mother who often told me “you need help” (implying I was in need of psychological help, yet she wouldn’t take me to a therapist) & with an ex-husband who was very good at gaslighting.

I’m dissociating a lot more than normal.  I feel so spacey most of the time.  This also means I have very little focus.  Writing in this blog has been a very big challenge this week!  Honestly, when I’ve written my entries, I’ve been very unsure about how they sounded, then published them, just praying they made sense.

To try to manage these symptoms,I’ve been spending time listening to music I love, which means many songs I grew up with in the 70’s-80’s, some country & some classic & hard rock.  I’ve also been spending time with God, not even necessarily praying- just sitting in His presence.  It’s very restorative & grounding.

C-PTSD is an absolutely evil, devastating disorder.  If you live with it too, I understand what you’re going through!  You may or may not have the odd symptoms I’ve been experiencing this week (I pray you don’t!), but if you do, please know you’re not alone, nor are you crazy!  In spite of how it feels, you are a normal person who had a normal reaction to an abnormal amount of trauma!  That is what C-PTSD is- a normal response to an abnormal amount of trauma.  It isn’t a sign of weakness, low intelligence, flaws in one’s character, or poor thinking such as living in the past or being negative.

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Depression Isn’t A Sign Of Weakness!

Yesterday was a very hard day for me. I had an especially nasty flashback.  Not long after, my mother called.  I shouldn’t have answered the phone, but I did anyway.  Why is beyond me..this ended up with me feeling awful for the rest of the day, & waking up about every 15-30 minutes all night long.  Sometimes from nightmares, sometimes from anxiety attacks, other times from hot or cold flashes.

This morning I woke up very depressed & very exhausted.  Unfortunately, when I’m this tired, I think bad thoughts.  I ended up feeling so weak.  I was angry at myself for not being stronger, & for having C-PTSD.  Thankfully, my bad thoughts didn’t get too bad before I got online & read this article….

https://traumadissociation.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/ptsd-can-it-come-from-strength-rather-than-a-sign-of-weakness/

It gives a very interesting perspective.  A perspective I’d never heard of before, suggesting that depressive illness (& those of us with PTSD or C-PTSD know depression all too well) is a sign of strength rather than weakness.  Reading the article made perfect sense to me.  It says that people who are strong, responsible, diligent, etc. tend to deal with depression more than those who are weak, irresponsible or lazy.  The reason being, the responsible types get more stressed- they keep pushing & pushing themselves while their irresponsible counterparts give up.  The article explains it much like a blown fuse.  Responsible types push & push themselves, basically like pushing 18 amps through a 13 amp fuse.

Interesting perspective, no?

Please read the above article- I believe it will encourage you as it has me.

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Creativity- The Surprising Gift In Narcissistic Abuse And Mental Illness

The other night, I woke up around 3:45 to the funniest sound.  My youngest cat, Punkin was doing this weird three stage meow thing.. “ROWROWROW!!”.  Doing it very loudly, by the way!  He did it several times in a row too.  Why he was doing it, I have no idea.  I then heard the sound of him knocking something over, & running away from it.  I knew nothing had broken & he was fine, so I eventually went back to sleep.

Punkin has the cat version of PTSD.  Something in his life before coming to my home traumatized him badly.  I am guessing a dog killed either some of or all of his family.  Partly because he showed up alone at someone’s home as a young little guy of only about three months, & partly because although he’s been with me since last April, he still is easily upset by my dog, Dixie. In fact, I’ve seen him have a flashback when she startled him- he attacked her, then quickly caught himself & stopped before he hurt her.  That episode is what led me to research if there was such a thing as Feline PTSD, in fact.  I learned there was & that the symptoms are very similar to human PTSD.

Punkin is doing very well, though.  He hasn’t had another flashback since, & he tries very hard to manage his reactions around Dixie. They’re even on friendly terms now, other than occasionally when she startles him & he about jumps out of his skin..

Anyway, as I was thinking of all this at 4:00 a.m., something came to mind.  Punkin is a very creative, fun boy. He thinks of things to do that I’ve never even heard of other cats doing.  I wonder if having PTSD is why he’s so creative.  Many people with mental illness are very creative individuals.  I’ve noticed it also in talking with those who have survived narcissistic abuse.

Unfortunately I don’t think many people really embrace their creativity, especially those who have survived narcissistic abuse.  We’re so used to hearing that we are freaks, weird, strange, etc., that we stifle the creativity because of the negative connotations connected to it.  I’m guilty of doing this, too- it’s not just you!

But, creativity is a really wonderful thing!  Having it means you can see things in a way that makes other people rethink their perceptions.  It makes you more empathetic too, because you truly can see things from others’ perspectives, even if you disagree with them.  Creativity also means you can make things that improve the lives of other people.  You have the ability to write fascinating or educational stories, build useful things, or even improve things people use in their daily lives.

Narcissists aren’t usually creative, which is why the narcissist you know has tried to squelch your creativity- out of envy that you have something she never can have.  It isn’t because creativity is a bad thing!

Why not embrace your creativity?  It’s a part of who you are, & God gave you the gift- use it!  Enjoy it!  Take a lesson from my fun little kitty, Punkin.  He embraces his creative side.  As I’m typing this, he’s currently hiding behind the living room curtains & trying to stretch up tall enough to look out the window.  The other cats are simply sitting on the back of the sofa, looking outside.  Not Punkin- he wants to go about it a whole new way.  And interestingly, he’s having much more fun than the others.

What can you do to explore your creativity?  Did you like to draw or paint when you were a child?  Then pick up a pencil or paintbrush & give it a try.  Did you try writing poetry when you were a teenager like so many girls?  Find something that inspires you & try writing a poem about it.  Maybe try a creative writing class.  Did you once enjoy cross stitch, crocheting or knitting?  Try it again!  Or, if you’ve never really tried to do anything creative, walk around a craft store or look at a craft store’s website.  You might be surprised the amount of inspiration at those places!  They don’t only sell supplies for yarn crafts- they sell supplies for everything from drawing to dollhouses to model car building. You’re bound to find something you enjoy!

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Changing My Website.. Any Input??

I just thought I’d let you know that I am making some changes to my website.  I’m finally stepping out of the stone ages & no longer using Microsoft Frontpage to make my site (please stop laughing, computer people.. I’m just not good with site creation!  lol).  As I was working on it today, I thought that it would be a good idea not simply to change the appearance of my site a little, but to ask you, Dear Readers, if there is any other information you’d like me to include on my website.  I have quite a bit on there now about narcissistic & abusive mothers, mental health, Christian living & animals (you gotta get off the heavy topics sometimes!), but is there anything else you’d like me to include on my site?  Or, any area I mentioned above that you’d like me to expand on?

I welcome your feedback!  You can either leave a comment on this post or you can email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

Have a wonderful evening!  xoxo

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Brief Update & Another Lesson About Narcissism Learned

This past week since my father has been in the hospital has been interesting to say the least.

On a positive note, he seems to be doing quite a bit better.  He’s still in pain with the compression fracture in his spine, but at least he’s not screaming in pain anymore.  They’ve also cut way back on his pain meds, & I think have eliminated the morphine.  Thank God- he reacted terribly to it!  He’s been hallucinating & acting very bizarre.  Yesterday he was much more coherent though, so I hope this means it’s almost out of his system.

Things with my mother have been very interesting.  Several times, she’s thanked me for all I’m doing to help out, said she doesn’t know what she’d do without me, & said she loves me.

Being the adult child of a narcissistic mother, i had the normal reaction to this.  Hoping this meant changes were coming to our relationship.  I quickly realized this isn’t wise- this is setting myself up for disappointment.  Maybe some narcissists change, but I have never seen it.  My mother is a malignant narcissist, so the chances of her changing for the better & permanently are slim to none.

I had to learn how to handle moments like this very quickly when a similar situation happened last year.  I thought I would share what I have learned with you so hopefully you will be helped when this type of situation arises with your narcissistic mother.

I have learned everything I can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder,  I learned that narcissists approve of you when you are doing what they want or need you to do.  If you say no, you are a horrible person, selfish, ungrateful, etc etc. according to them.  I keep that in mind when my mother says these nice things to me when I’m helping her.

I also had to talk to myself.  I had to tell myself it’s ok to enjoy this pleasant time with her, but it’s not ok to expect it to last.  Chances are very good that as soon as my father is out of the hospital, she’ll be back to her old ways.  I’ve had to remind myself of this a few times lately.  This will help me not to be devastated when she gets mean with me again.

This situation hurts!  It feels like everyone’s mother loves them- why doesn’t my mother love me?  Is there something wrong with me?  Am I unlovable?  While it feels like these are valid questions, the truth is they aren’t.  It’s her- something is wrong with her!  It’s not you!  Narcissism is a horrible thing.  Something made these people turn so self-centered that they refuse to think of anyone else.  To them, other people, including their own children, are simply tools to be used to meet their needs.  No one else has real problems- only they do.  No one else has feelings- only they do.  This has nothing to do with you or some flaws in you.  It truly is all their problem!

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Rejection

Being rejected hurts, & if you too have a narcissistic mother, you know this all too well. They seem to live to let their children know that they constantly disappointed in us, & this doesn’t end with childhood. It carries over into adulthood. Your mother hates your job, the way you dress, your home, your spouse or countless other things about you & reminds you of that constantly. It hurts! No matter how accustomed to this you are, it still hurts.

There is one good thing that can come from rejection though. Rejection causes a hunger for God you may not get any other way. Psalm 119:71 says,  “It was good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes.”. While rejection certainly isn’t pleasant, it can make you want answers, & can turn you to God as nothing else can.

I’ve been a Christian since 1996, & in that time, I can’t even count how many times I’ve cried out to God when my mother has hurt me. Not only has He comforted me in those painful times, He has shown me how He sees me. Knowing God sees me as valuable, precious & someone He is proud of has helped me not to be devastated when my mother is cruel to me.

God can do the same for you. When you’re rejected or hurt in any way by your narcissistic mother, get alone as soon as you can. Then, ask your Heavenly Father to comfort you & to tell you what He thinks of you. You will be amazed! He loves you so much! He also will heal your pain. While your mother’s cruelty certainly always will sting, (she is your mother after all, so her opinion naturally matters!,) God fills you with His healing words, most of the pain will vanish. It’s an amazing, wonderful thing!

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Aging & Narcissists

This morning, I read an interesting article about the final years of Jim Jones.  He was a notorious cult leader who led over 900 of his followers to commit suicide in 1978.  Like all cult leaders, Jones was a narcissist.  His final years were full of more bizarre & controlling behaviors, & the article I read discussed why he was this way.

For years, I’ve wondered why so many narcissists get meaner as they get older, while your average person becomes gentler & kinder.  It began to make some sense to me as I applied what I read in the article to my own narcissistic mother.

As we age, we lose some qualities of youth, such as good looks, health & physical strength.  While most people accept this, narcissists don’t.  At the root of narcissism is an extreme insecurity.  They count on such things to always be there for them, yet those things aren’t.  When they aren’t, this makes the narcissist more insecure & they will lash out at those around them out.  Anything that makes a narcissist feel more insecure or that threatens their illusion of their perfect, false self angers them, & the aging process is no different.

Also, losing such qualities can mean losing control over those the narcissist once controlled easily.  A narcissist who was big, strong & healthy could physically intimidate another person when young, but once that person is older, not so strong or healthy, that ability is gone.  The narcissist must change how she controls her victim.  I have seen the changes with my mother.  When I was a child, it didn’t take much effort for her to control me- the vicious looks & cruel words always scared me easily.  In my late teens, I wasn’t so easily controlled, however.  She began screaming at me, sometimes inches from my face, calling me terrible names & saying horribly cruel things.  Once I moved out of my parents’ home at 19, my mother often said cruel things, but without screaming at me.  She also did other nasty little things.  For example, after she threw me into a wall & hurt my back when I was 19, she would constantly hand me something heavy or slap me on the back where it was injured when I saw her.  Now that she is older & frailer than she once was, her method of attack has changed yet again.  She loves to say cruel things to me quietly while we’re in a public place, such as a restaurant.  That way, either I have to take it quietly, or if I speak up, I’ll draw attention to my “awful” behavior & look like the crazy one.

If they continue to feel they are losing control, narcissistic tactics will get more vicious, as I have shown with my mother’s behavior.  I personally don’t believe this means you have to cater to the narcissist or tolerate the abuse.  Instead, I believe there are 2 options- either sever ties with the narcissist, or if you can’t or are unwilling to do so, strengthen yourself to withstand the abuse.  There are several ways to do this…

First, pray.  A strong relationship with God is vital.  You need to be secure in knowing He loves you, supports you & will show you ways to cope.

Second, you also will need to have strong boundaries.  You need to know what you can & can’t tolerate.  You’ll need to have good, effective ways to enforce those boundaries.  If a topic comes up that you don’t want to discuss with your narcissistic mother, then change the subject, for example.  Change it over & over as necessary- eventually she will get tired of this.

Third, keep your conversations superficial.  Don’t divulge information about your personal life to your narcissistic mother.  That information only becomes ammunition for her to use to hurt you later.

Fourth, remember- you do NOT have to be available 24/7.  Don’t answer the phone every time she calls  Don’t spend a lot of time with her.  Keeping some distance will help you to preserve your mental health.

Lastly, don’t neglect yourself.  Spend time with God & with empathic, caring people who understand what you are going through & won’t judge or criticize you when you get angry.  Get good at being good to yourself.  Get yourself little gifts periodically, treat yourself to bubble baths or manicures regularly, or whatever nourishes your soul.  Taking good care of yourself will help to strengthen you when you have to deal with your narcissistic mother.

Below is a link to the article I read about Jim Jones that inspired this blog post.

http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/?page_id=40230

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse

A while back, an obituary made rounds online.  It was written for an incredibly cruel, abusive mother.  I saw this article about said obituary, explaining why the obit was written:

 

http://jezebel.com/why-i-wrote-the-infamously-scathing-obituary-for-my-mot-1526324856

The story is heartbreaking, & although I’m unsure I could do the same thing, I applaud the daughter for doing what was right for her as well as her siblings, in spite of the harsh judgments & criticisms they have received as a result of doing this.

It also made me think – if my narcissistic, abusive mother dies before me, what would I say in her obituary?  Would I tell the truth about the abusive monster she has been, or would I simply stick to the basic facts such as date of birth & death, details of the viewing & funeral arrangements?

I think I would stick to the basic facts.  Not that I condemn the actions of anyone who would do otherwise, of course, it’s just that I have been working on my healing for a long time.  I don’t see how this would help me to heal any more than anything else I have done.  Plus, most people don’t believe that my mother is capable of monstrous acts, so when they read her obituary, I would simply be invalidated & judged further for “speaking so badly” of my mother (even though I would speak only the truth).  I also have experienced the death of my mother’s narcissistic mother, which I believe gave me a glance into what I can expect to feel when my mother dies.  Chances are, I’ll be sad things weren’t good between us, & relieved it’s all over, just as I was when my grandmother died.  It’s doubtful feelings such as those would leave me feeling the need to expose her abusive ways.

What would you do if you had to write your narcissistic mother’s obituary?  Maybe the thought is rather morbid, but it’s still an interesting question, don’t you think?

Being an author, obviously I’m a fan of writing for many reasons.  Writing anything.  One of those reasons is that writing can be therapeutic.  I have an online journal, plus I have written many letters to my mother that I’ve never sent her.  Something about getting out my feelings & seeing them in writing has been extremely helpful to me.  It purges a lot of the anger.  I think it is also partly why I won’t be writing such an obituary for my mother.  I don’t harbor anger at her any longer.  I get angry when she acts up, but I also let it go pretty quickly.

Have you tried writing about your feelings & experiences during healing from the narcissistic abuse you have experienced?  If not, I strongly encourage you to do so!  Let it all out when you write to experience the full benefits.  If you are concerned someone may find out what you’ve written, then once you’ve written things out, burn the letter or diary.  That act in itself can be quite cathartic, watching what you wrote going up in smoke.  For me, it’s as if the smoke dissipating into the air takes some of my anger with it.

A couple of years ago, I wrote my autobiography, “Emerging From The Chrysalis.”  It was a very difficult task, but also a very rewarding one.  Seeing many of the horrific events in my life in black & white made things even more real to me.  It showed me  how strong I really am – I have survived some rough, terrible things!

Writing your own autobiography or creating a blog about your experiences may do the same thing for you.  If you prefer privacy, nothing says you have to publish your writing – just keep it for yourself.  But, if you decide to speak publicly via a blog or publishing your autobiography, your story will help & inspire many people!  That can help you to heal as well, because others will validate your pain & your strength to survive such things.

If you do decide to write publicly, I strongly recommend that you pray long & hard before doing so.  Having survived narcissistic abuse, you are all too aware of the importance of secrecy.  Narcissists love secrecy, & demand it from their victims in order to protect their abusive ways.  When this happens to a child, the child grows into an adult who still feels that fear from  childhood at the thought of exposing the abuse.  As a result, talking publically about the abuse can be very hard to do.  It may be so hard in fact that you refuse to speak out, even when you know in your heart it will help you or it’s what God wants you to do.

I understand this fear all too well!  As much as I’ve written in the last couple of years about my own experiences, sometimes it still scares me a little.  I wonder what will happen if & when my mother finds out what I write about.  Thankfully she doesn’t have a computer, which works in my favor.  She also never asks how my writing is going or what I write about, as she thinks it’s all a “waste of time” & “trash no one wants to read.”  Yet even so, there is still a chance she could find out.  She has friends & relatives who have computers, & would be glad to look up my work to tell her what I write.  I often feel like I’m waiting for that call when she tells me I am spewing lies or whatever else she would say about my writing.

To give me the courage to write about what I know God wants me to write about, I remember a few things.  These can help you as well.

First, I know in my heart that it is God’s will I write about these topics.  He won’t give me a task that I can’t handle.  He loves me & He protects me, just as He loves & protects you!

Second, I ask myself what can my mother really do that can hurt me anymore?  She is 75 years old, & physically no longer a threat.  She still can scream & rage if she is so inclined, & call me terrible names.  However, I’m so used to that, nothing she says can phase me anymore.  She also once threatened to call my landlord & report me for having more cats than the landlord allowed.  Now I am a homeowner & have no landlord to answer to.  Plus, I have a legal amount of pets in this county.  She really can’t harm me anymore!  So what is the worst that can happen to you for telling your story?

Third, there is a very good quote that strengthened me enough to get through writing my autobiography.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember who wrote it, but the quote says something similar to this, “Tell your story.  If others wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have treated you better!”

And lastly, I always tell the truth.  I try to avoid telling only what happened to me- if I did something wrong, I admit it.  I also try to tell stories objectively, minus any name calling or accusations.  I stick to the facts only, so no one can accuse me of exaggerating or embellishing my story.  Do the same if you talk about your story.

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Do Narcissists Really Know What They Are Doing?

The answer is a resounding YES!!!

 

Narcisissts are absolutely aware of what they are doing & the damage they cause.  And, they are well able to control their actions.

 

Anyone who has spent time around a narcissist knows that they act entirely differently around people they want to impress versus people they don’t care about impressing.  That is painfull obvious.  The fact is though that they also are very aware when they have gone too far over the top in their actions.

 

Recently, I posted about my narcissistic mother’s fake concern, get well card & cookies for my (also narcissistic) mother in-law, even though she knows perfectly well that I haven’t spoken to the woman since 2002 due to her abusive ways.  (I posted about that here).  This betrayal by my mother & her flaunting it in my face hurt me more than it usually does when she feigns concern for my mother in-law’s failing health.  It made me physically sick for over a week.  I also ignored the phone several times since then when my mother called, which I normally don’t do. (periodically yes, but not several in a row).  Apparently, she noticed, & this made an impression…

 

I finally took my mother’s call yesterday.  She tried to be pleasant. Even attempted to give me a complement.  She also mentioned something hurtful her mother told her once.  The call was quite odd to say the least.  I was thinking about it & I think it was to “apologize” to me for her behavior regarding my mother in-law.  She is very aware of when her behavior is too over the top, like most narcissists.  Besides, I realized I’ve seen this kind of thing before with my father.  At one point, when I didn’t answer his call, he called my cousin who lives 450 miles away & my father in-law looking for me.  I was livid & let him know that.  After, he began being gentler & kinder with me, & even mirroring me in an attempt to regain my trust.

 

This is very typical of narcissistic behavior.  They know when they have gone just too far, & rather than take responsibility for their behavior & apologize (like normal people), they engage in various behaviors.

 

  • Mirroring: People naturally feel most comfortable with those who share many similiarities. Narcissists will mirror your behavior & likes/dislikes in order to regain your trust.  (“See how much alike we are?  How can you be mad at me??”)
  • Minimizing or temporarily foregoing the criticisms:  In order to get you to forgive & forget their bad behavior, they will stifle their nastiness temporarily until they believe you have forgiven them.  (“See what I nice person I am?  You can’t be mad at me- I’m too nice!”)
  • Feigning thoughtfulness:  The narcissist will call you to let you know a movie you like is coming on TV shortly, for example.  They will perform small acts of showing they were thinking of you to prove how nice they are.
  • Giving you distance, respecting your space: For the narcissist who insists on constant attention such as an engulfing narcissistic mother, this is the hardest thing for her to do.  However, she will do it if it will get her back in your good graces.  If she calls you daily or near daily, she will skip calling for a few days after the incident, then call you, acting much meeker than usual.  She will employ one of the above tactics during that conversation.  If she believes that you have forgiven/forgotten her, this is the last pleasant conversation you will have with the narcissist.  If she believes you’re still upset, the routine will happen repeatedly until she believes you are over what she has done to you.

 

Always remember- the narcissist in your life upsets you, remember- do NOT tell her!  Explaining your hurt feelings to a narcissist only gives them ammunition to hurt you further.  However, if you become angry & the narcissist picks up on your feelings, be aware- the games will begin!  Remember these things & you can be prepared for what to expect.

 

 

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How To Deal With Those Who Invalidate Narcissistic Abuse

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

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

*sigh*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recovering From Narcissistic Abuse- My Next Book’s Topic

Good morning, Dear Readers!

 

I have decided on my next book’s topic.  What it’s like to recover from narcissistic abuse.  The weird things you may not accociate with it such as odd nightmares as well as details about living with C-PTSD, low self-esteem, constant self doubt & anything else I can think of to add to the book.

 

If there is any topic you’d like added to this book, please feel free to suggest it.  I’m open to suggestions!  You can either email me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com, or you can contact me via this form:

 

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Types Of Invalidation

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

You Are Not Alone!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

Every morning, I receive an email with a Scripture in it from a Christian website.  It’s a nice way to start my day.  Today’s Scripture was 1 Peter 5:8-9:

Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.Resist him, standing firm in the faith. Do so in the knowledge that your fellow believers are enduring the same suffering throughout the world.” (CEB)

The last sentence is exactly why i write about some of the topics I write about- to let people know thy aren’t alone.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, although I knew nothing of narcissism until a few years ago, I knew something was different.  My experiences were vastly different than my friends’.  I didn’t know anyone else who acted like her or treated their children like my mother treated me.  Once I started talking to a school counselor then a couple of therapists when my mother’s abuse peaked when I was 17, I was invalidated.  The school counselor said “That doesn’t sound so bad to me” when I told her my mother would scream at me, lecturing me about what a terrible person I was.  One therapist, after meeting my mother said she could no longer see me because I was such a “terrible daughter.”  My friends couldn’t understand my suffering, obviously, as narcissistic abuse is nearly impossible to understand even when you have experienced it firsthand.

Then in 2012, I developed all of the symptoms of C-PTSD.  Suddenly, I became a different person.  I was no longer able to hide depression & anxiety as I had previously.  I started with flashbacks & more frequent nightmares.  My sleep became worse than ever- trouble falling asleep & staying asleep.  In discussing some of my symptoms, i learned a lot of people simply don’t care about them.  People close to me, not strangers.  One person even said I used C-PTSD as a “poor me” card.  I told my father that I have this awful disorder twice, & twice he changed the subject.

All of these things have meant I have felt completely alone my entire life.  it’s a terrible feeling.

Once I started writing about my experiences though, I learned that I’m not alone.  There are many, many other victims of a narcissistic mother out there!  The funny part is we all grew up thinking it was just us, that no one understood or experienced the same things.

Many of these people also have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, & many of them feel alone as well due to people close to them not caring.

it is truly tragic how many people feel as if they are completely alone!  While I know I can’t change the world, I want to use my writing as a way to reach people, to let them know they aren’t alone. I pray this blog, my website & books do just that, because the truth is, you are not alone!  So many other people understand your pain & have been through similar experiences!

I also have 2 forums available.  Both are safe places where you can talk about anything you like, gain support, be prayed for or pray for others, learn valuable information & make new friends.

Below is a link to the first forum.  It requires registration to read or post.  If you’re worried about privacy, create a fake user name rather than using your real name. I only recently started this one, so it is a bit slow as it is just starting.  Feel free to start talking though- I will respond, & I believe if a few people start talking, others will join & there will be a snowball effect.

http://cynthiasforum.boards.net/

This link is a link to my fan group on facebook.  I gave up my fan page for two reasons: one person used it as a means to harass me & privacy for my fans.  This group is a closed group, which means that only other members can see what you posted in the group.  No one else.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/

I want to stress, both groups are private & safe. I hope to see you there soon!

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

Distractions

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I was just thinking about something.

I was thinking of some of the reasons I have to be grateful.  It’s a practice I think everyone needs to do often.  Yes, it can be hard, especially when, like me, you have C-PTSD & your brain is already so “full” (anxiety, hyper-vigilence, flashbacks..) it can feel as if one more thing won’t fit in there.  However, that is exactly why it is good to distract yourself from the bad things sometimes, & think of positive things.

Also, if you focus on negative things such as the events that caused the C-PTSD, your symptoms or even learning about why your abuser did what she did to you, it can consume you.  I learned this when I was writing my last book, “It’s All About ME!  The Facts About Maternal Narcissism.”  While writing a book, I pretty much become obsessed for a while.  I think about what I’m writing non-stop, so I can put my best into it when working on a book.  This book was no exception, however the topic of the book was a very challenging one.  I learned so much about Narcissistic Personality Disorder while writing the book!  I felt as if God opened my eyes & I was seeing so much more about it than I ever could’ve imagined.  While that was great & I think it gave me a very good book, it became overwhelming often.  I took frequent breaks, but I don’t think frequent enough or pampering enough.  I saw things in a new light with my own mother & father too.  I had more nightmares than usual.  My sleep was terrible.  I lived & breathed NPD.  By the time the book was finished, I was deeply relieved.  That was in September, & I haven’t even thought about what book to focus on next as I still feel like I’m recovering from that time.

Learn from my mistake!!

If you are going through a hard time or have C-PTSD like me, distract yourself often.  If you care for someone who is ill or elderly, again, distract yourself often.  Fun distractions will help you tremendously!  They will help you to keep a more positive attitude & not become overwhelmed with negative things.  They also will help you to rest better at night, & be more relaxed during the day. Basically, they will help you to be the best “you” that you can be, which benefits you as well as the other people in your life.  You won’t be of any good to anyone if you are tired, depressed, anxious & negative.

And, if you have C-PTSD, then you are well aware how common suicidal thoughts are.  This is especially important for you!  It can be hard to fend off such terrible thoughts even when you know it’s just the disorder talking rather than what you really want.  I have found that distracting yourself during those times to be especially important.  If thinking of the good things in your life isn’t powerful enough, do something else.  Go shopping & get yourself a little something special.  Go to a museum or the zoo.  Take yourself out for a nice meal, or go with someone you love.  If agoraphobia is an issue, go for a drive in the country or near the water, alone & enjoy the beautiful scenery.

What ways do you have that you can distract yourself during hard times?  What things are you grateful for in your life that you can focus on today?

To help get you started, here are some things that I thought of earlier that I am grateful for..

  • I’m grateful for my family.  My mother wouldn’t let me be close to anyone in my dad’s family when I was a kid, so I have been getting to know some of my relatives for the last almost 15 years.  I am very grateful for the new relationships/friendships I have.
  • Along those lines, I’m grateful for the nice long talk I had with one of my cousins last night.  He’s a great guy, & I’m glad to finally be able to get to know him.
  • I’m grateful for my furkids.  My babies are incredibly sweet & loving.  They are awesome as well as cute as can be.
  • I’m grateful God sent my cat, Punkin to me.  The poor little fellow has PTSD (I saw him have a flashback  once – WOW!), so we are able to help each other when the symptoms get bad.  We understand each other so well since I learned what was happening with him.
  • I’m grateful for this time of year.  Fall is my favorite season.  I am LOVING the beautiful colors of the leaves & the nice temperatures.
  • I’m grateful for having some amazing friends.  They’re supportive & caring.
  • I’m grateful for the old friends I’d lost touch with, but then caught up with on facebook in recent years.  They are wonderful, & most haven’t been scared off by me having C-PTSD.  Instead, they have been non-judgmental & supportive.

I also have some plans for nice distractions for this weekend…

  • It’s the Halloween season, which means scary movies I love are on TV!!  I basically plan to be a couch potato until November 1 & enjoy the movies!
  • My husband’s birthday is on Sunday.  Since he’s working that day, we are celebrating later today.  We’re going to a local car show we both enjoy, probably getting dinner out, & after that, maybe playing some video games or watching more scary movies (he enjoys them too) & having some birthday cake that I made him.  We may even go for a drive to enjoy the fall scenery (which he also loves).

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