Tag Archives: mental abuse

Helping Someone With C-PTSD

Helping someone with C-PTSD isn’t easy for either you or her.  The symptoms are so frustrating, & can be embarrassing.  Mood swings, extremely high anxiety levels & muddied thinking are not fun to live with or manage, nor are they fun for someone to witness.

If you live with a partner who has C-PTSD, your life isn’t easy either.  You are living with someone who just wants to be “normal” but can’t be due to this disorder.  You are affected, too, by the awful symptoms.  Watching someone you love suffer yet not knowing how to help is a terrible & helpless feeling.

Below are some ways that you can help your loved one who has C-PTSD.

  1. Research this disorder.  Learn all you can about the symptoms & treatments.
  2. Ask your loved one questions.  Just be sensitive in how you ask questions.  Avoid sounding judgmental or critical.
  3. Show her that you are interested.  If she complains of nightmares, ask what they were about.  If she says she doesn’t feel well, ask why.  She needs to know that she can talk to you about her battle with C-PTSD without fear of you judging her.
  4. Don’t expect her to control symptoms 100% of the time.  As much as she may want to, she can’t hide all of her symptoms all of the time.
  5. Don’t pressure them in the recovery process.  There’s no time schedule. And remember, most people with C-PTSD or PTSD never recover, they only learn to manage their symptoms.
  6. Help her to feel loved, without expecting loving gestures in return.  She probably will offer them often, but there are times she won’t feel able to do so.  It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you- it means she has C-PTSD.
  7. Try to be helpful & supportive.  Do what she asks promptly, & try to anticipate needs.  Be observant.
  8. Offer distractions.  Suggest going out to dinner, or going to a movie, or some other activity she enjoys.  Focusing on this disorder constantly is simply depressing!  Distractions help both of you from becoming too depressed.
  9. Try not to smother her.  Be there, but if she wants to be alone, leave her alone.
  10. Find support for yourself, too.  Talk to a counselor or friend you can confide in.
  11. Take breaks.  You need to take care of yourself so you will stay healthy (physically & emotionally) & so you can be strong for her.

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

“To Thine Own Self, Be True” (from Shakespear’s “Hamlet”)

I had the most incredible dream last night, & I wanted to share the valuable lesson learned from it.  🙂

I dreamed that I saw my car parked in front of my parents’ home.  I was a few feet away.  My car is a lovely dark green with a matching vinyl top, but in the dream, she was painted (very poorly I might add!) white on the sides & yellow on the top, hood & trunk.  Somehow I knew my mother had done this.  I was horrified upon seeing this, wondering how was I going to afford the high price of having her repainted green.  I simply said, “God, what am I going to do?”  It suddenly started to rain a bit.  A nice steady rain.  The paint started washing off my car!!  Most of it came off easily but there were a few spots that I had to scrape at with my thumbnail.  Before I knew it, there was my ’69 Plymouth, all beautiful & green again!  In fact, she looked better than ever, now that I think of it…

I woke from this dream a bit shaken, since my car means the world to me.  She once was my Granddad’s car, then my dad’s.  Dad sold her in 1979 to a junkyard, & in 2005, I found her!  Wasn’t looking, but apparently God decided I needed a big blessing, & being a car lover, blessed me with my favorite car of my Granddad’s.  So anyway, dreams where this car is messed with in any way shake me up pretty badly.

Later, I decided to figure out what this dream meant, so I asked God & immediately, He gave me my answer.

Cars represent your life in dreams.  White & yellow are colors representing purity,  innocence, joy, positivity.  Rain represents cleansing.  In the context of this dream, this all translates to this:  growing up with a narcissistic mother, she did her level best to change me into what she wanted me to be.  In fact, still tries to do this even though I am now 43 years old.  My mother likes to present herself as a wholesome, wonderful person.  She wants me to act more like her, like what she likes, dislike what she dislikes, etc.  That is why in the dream she painted my car those particular colors, to make me more like her.  The rain was a result of me allowing God to wash away what others have done to make me into what they think I should be (my mother isn’t the only one who has tried to change me, but she is where the problem started).  Me scraping off the little bits of paint that remained represented me doing my part, cooperating with God, to get the person He made me to be back.

Isn’t that fascinating?

Since many of you who read my blog, website & books are also children of narcissistic mothers, I pray this encourages you as it has me.

Narcissists try to change their children, friends, relatives & basically anyone into what they think that person should be.  I believe it is especially painful for children, because as children, we are so starved for our parents’ love & approval, we’ll do anything they want us to do.  This also sets the stage early in life for you to believe you must please other people, even at the expense of losing yourself- changing your likes, dislikes, beliefs, how you dress, how you act & more.  It’s not right!  No one should have to change so much of themselves just to be in a relationship with another person!  If you do feel you have to change to be in a relationship with someone, maybe  it is time to reconsider being in that relationship.  At the very least, it’s time to consider getting you back & being the person God made you to be!

How do you get “you” back??

  1. To start with, stop listening right now to what others say you should do, like, how you should feel or think.  Their opinions really aren’t important!  Of course you want those you love to have good opinions of you, but if they disagree with some things about you, that is perfectly ok!  No one can be pleased 100% of the time.  If they try to make you feel bad for not pleasing them, that is a big red flag saying this person isn’t safe.
  2. Ask God to help you.  Ask Him to show you who He made you to be, to have the courage to become that person & to help you shed the person you became only to please others.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone.  Try things that pique your interest that you never had the nerve or opportunity to try before.  You may discover a new passion, or at the least, will start to learn what you like & don’t like for yourself rather than what others have told you that you should like or not like.
  4. Try different clothing.  I know this sounds silly, but your clothing affects your mood.  Buy clothes that make you feel good when you’re wearing them.  Better to have 2 outfits you like than 10 you hate because someone else wants you to wear them!

At first, these things can feel kind of weird & hard to do, but I can tell you, they get easier with practice.  I’m trying them myself, & have off & on for a few years now.  From my experience, the hardest thing to do is stay focused on doing things for yourself like this.  It’s so easy to slip back into the old, dysfunctional habits!  That is what happened to me- this dream made me realize that.  To avoid conflict with my husband, I’ve even gone as far as hiding the symptoms of my C-PTSD from him no matter how hard it is on me.  This dream made me really see how bad it’s been, & how it has to stop right now.

Be good & true to yourself, Dear Readers!  You are so worth it!  I pray that God will help you if you are struggling in this area.  ❤

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

Responding vs. Reacting

Good morning, Dear Readers!

As I mentioned in my last post, last Friday, my mother called, & as she so often does, attempted to push my buttons.  A part of me wanted to just jump through the phone & smack her.  I mean really- trying to shame me by acting like I’m the only person in the entire world who likes Stephen King’s writing just because she doesn’t like scary stories?  Sheesh..  how stupid!  Anyway, I refused to show her I was angry, because that only pleases her & makes her meaner.  Instead I either pretend I didn’t notice the snide comments, or respond calmly albeit a bit sarcastically.  With the Stephen King comments, for example, She ended her tirade with “I don’t know where you get your taste in books!  I don’t like anything scary!”  (she likes fluffy, light stories only) In a somewhat cheerful tone, I simply said, “You obviously don’t know any of us Baileys then.  There is not one Bailey I know of who doesn’t like scary stories.  Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker- you know, the GOOD authors.”  My mother responded by changing the subject.  HA!  She wasn’t amused that I didn’t respond in anger & I made a valid point.

My point of telling you this is that there is a very big difference in responding & reacting, & if you have a narcissist in your life, then you need to learn the difference!

What I did in the above story is respond.  I know this is a topic that comes up often (it’s an attempt to shame me for being different than her), so I have learned to prepare my responses ahead of time.  I maintain an air of calmness, even though inside I may not feel so calm, & speak my peace.

Reacting is much different.  Reacting is what you do when you don’t think or prepare ahead of timem.  When someone pushes your buttons, you react by yelling at them.  This is what narcissists want you to do- they feed off of the fact that they have so much control/power over you, they can make you so angry or even lose control.  If they can make you look crazy by yelling at them while they stay calm, all the better for them.  They get that power, plus they make you doubt your own sanity.

See the difference??

If you too have a narcissist in your life, then you need to master the art of responding & lose your reaction for your own mental health.  In order to do this, you need to know your narcissist.  What topics does she frequently bring up to hurt you with?  Does she use the same method with several topics?  How does she expect you to react to her antics- with anger?  Tears?

Once you know what to expect, that is half the battle!  From there, you can prepare various ways to respond.  I do this by asking God for help.  Help me to stay calm in her presence & help me to say creative things to let her know her game isn’t working- I’m not ashamed of myself for being different or feeling guilty because I don’t agree with her or whatever her evil goal is.  It’s worked wonderfully too!  Usually things just happen & I haven’t prepared myself other than to pray before seeing her.  My recent response to my mother’s nasty comments because I like Stephen King’s work was one of those incidents.  A few days prior, as I wrote about in this blog entry the other day, I learned that saying, “well ain’t that nice” was also effective, & it was also a spontaneous event.

Learning to respond rather than react has been very beneficial for me.  It has eliminated many topics that my mother used to use to try to hurt or invalidate me with.  It can do the same for you!  I doubt there is ever a way to completely eliminate all of a narcissist’s weapons of verbal destruction, but this one will eliminate plenty of them! I encourage you to give it a try.  What do you have to lose??

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

You Matter!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

The other night, I had a very strange dream.  I was with a small group of people.  I got my wallet out of my purse, & found a nice little amount of money in there I didn’t know I had- I think it was around $65.  I quickly stuffed it back in my wallet.  I then went to get something from my car’s glove compartment, & found an envelope with more money in it.  I think around the same amount but I’m not sure.  I quickly hid it back in the glove compartment, nervous the other people around me would know I had it, then woke up.  The dream was baffling, so naturally I prayed about it as well as looked up the symbolism of money on that dream interpretation site I like so much.  It said money represents self worth, values & self confidence.  Finding it symbolizes your quest for love or power.  This didn’t clarify anything for me.  lol

This morning as I was waking up, immediately God showed me what the dream meant.  I have been accepting the opinions of others that I don’t matter lately, & I need to stop allowing their false beliefs into my heart.  I need to guard my heart & my self-esteem as I hid the money in that dream.   As an example, as I’ve mentioned here, I told my parents my bad knees don’t like me going up & down their basement steps to do their laundry.  Either we need to move their washer & dryer upstairs (as my mother said she’s wanted to do for years) or get some help.  My father agreed with me.  My mother however?  Ignored every word I said.  This gave me the message what I want & feel isn’t important- I don’t matter.  Unfortunately I am so accustomed to this kind of thing happening I reacted automatically as I always have- by assuming I’m not important.  In fact, I was considering dropping the topic with her, & putting up with my own pain rather than pushing the issue.  Not now, though!  Thanks to God revealing what this dream meant, I realized what was happening & just how bad it’s gotten.  I usually try to take care of my skin, hair & nails often as these things make me feel pretty.  I haven’t been doing anything really good for me.  As a result, my skin & hair are dry & nails are short.  Not feeling so pretty right now!  I haven’t done well with self-care this week either, & it shows.  The C-PTSD is flaring up big time- my anxiety levels have been crazy high, depression terrible, my concentration is almost non-existent & sleep problems are even worse than usual.

Anyway, I think this is a common problem for adult children of narcissistic parents, feeling as if we don’t matter.  Everyone else is more important, because we were raised from day 1 to take care of the needs of the narcissist.  Your job is to make sure that your narcissistic mother is happy, that you are doing whatever you are told, that you don’t make any waves or else you may face a dreaded narcissistic rage.

Sound familiar??  I bet it does if you were raised by a narcissistic mother like I was.

So what to do about this?  It’s time to study what God has to say about His children.  Years ago, I did just this, then put what I found in one of my books.  I since put it in another couple of books & on my website.  Here is the link:

Affirmations

I strongly recommend you read over this page, & let what God says about you get deep into your heart.  This is all what He said, I only put these things together.  Let God’s word heal your heart.  There is truly healing power when He speaks, whether it is in the form of the written word (such as in the Bible) or if you are fortunate enough to hear His voice speaking to you.  God’s word always heals.

If you’re reading this & suffering with this same problem of feeling as if you don’t matter, I’m praying for you.  No one should feel this way!  You matter!  God loves you, & made you for a purpose.  ❤

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

Narcissists Are Amazing..

and I don’t mean that in a good way!

I was telling a dear friend of mine earlier about my mother’s horrible phone call last night. She said so many evil, hurtful things to me. The worst part of all was that I could tell she was smiling as she said those things. You know how someone sounds a little different when they smile as they speak? That is what I heard in her voice. The crueler her words, the bigger the smile was, too. It absolutely blew my mind. Although I don’t have children (well, human ones anyway- furkids only), I can’t imagine hurting my child like this, & thoroughly enjoying myself while doing it! I wouldn’t hurt anyone deliberately, let alone find the things that are the most important to them, & use those things to cause the maximum amount of pain possible. I can’t understand how anyone can do that. I know a lot about narcissism, but that doesn’t mean I understand everything about it. I don’t think I ever will.

And the worst part? I really messed up. I got so angry that I cussed at my mother. I am not proud of this at all, & prayed later, asking God to forgive me. I didn’t ask my mother to, because she acted as if I speak to her this way every day. She knew she was pushing my buttons hard, & she got the bad reaction out of me she wanted. Now she can tell people how terribly I speak to her, & she knows what to do to hurt me more than usual. Fantastic… this is going to bite me & bite me hard in the future, I’m sure. It always does when I get angry with my mother, although normally cussing isn’t part of my response.

In case you’re wondering what horrible sin I committed to deserve this treatment, here you go: my mother is mad because my father is coming by to visit me tomorrow. She is mad that I invited him & not her. The irony of this? I didn’t invite him, either. He decided he wants to come by. There was no invitation, & there never is an invitation from me to either him or my mother to come into my home. So there you have it-the reason I deserved to be treated like crap to the point of tears of hurt & frustration.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Dear Readers, please pray for me. I am beyond frustrated on how to deal with my parents. I’m praying for you as well, because I know that many of you understand this awful feeling completely. ❤

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

A Sad Legacy – The Death Of A Narcissist

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I’m sorry for being missing in action. It’s been a crazy week, but I think all is settling down now & I can get back to writing. At least I sure hope so!

My husband & I were out this past Saturday, & at the last minute decided to stop by a local cemetery. His brother is buried there, as are a former classmate of mine & my mother’s mother. We visited his brother first. It was a painful few minutes- my husband was close to his brother, & his death from AIDS was a painful thing to witness. Then we visited my former classmate, Scott, who died only 4 years after graduation in a car accident. Scott & I weren’t close, but even so, his death was very sad. He was a good person, & died so young. Then we went over to my grandmother’s grave. I felt nothing as I stood there, looking at her bare gravestone- a basic metal plaque with only her name & dates on it. She had no flowers on her grave, nor did I have any desire to put any on there, although I did wish I’d taken some to my late brother in-law & classmate.

I got to thinking after we left. Hubby’s brother has a basic marker- his parents are the very no frills type, so this makes sense. Yet even so, it says “beloved son” on the marker along with his name & dates, & flowers were put on his grave recently. Scott’s family went above & beyond- they got him a huge marble plaque that covers his grave. A lovely poem is on it, Scripture & a picture taken not long before his death along with his name & dates. There are always flowers on his grave, even though he’s been gone since 1993. I even thought about my paternal grandparents. Grandmom died in 1996, Granddad in 2003, yet there is always evidence of someone having been at their graves. They also have a lovely, ornate joint headstone.

And then, there is my mother’s mother.

A basic plaque with only name & dates on it marks my grandmother’s grave. No “beloved mother” or any Scriptures. She didn’t even have flowers in the vase. It made me a bit sad thinking that no one showed love for my grandmother, including me, which made me feel rather guilty. Then I got to thinking about some of the things she did to me. My grandmother was a narcissist, which is obviously where my mother learned her narcissistic ways. She was an evil, cruel woman who cared nothing for anyone, not even her own family, other than what they could do for her. I also remembered how she once saw one of my cousins crying, saying how much our grandmother hurt he, & she turned away from my cousin, indifferent to her suffering. Countless times, I saw my grandmother hurt my mother with her cruel words & try to start trouble between my mother & father. When my grandmother died, I was upset, but not because I missed her. It was because our relationship was such a waste- she hated me & didn’t mind letting me know that. I was actually relieved when she died, not sad. She had stopped speaking to me a year before, never telling me why. I always waited thinking she would suddenly call, acting like nothing happened, & wanting something from me. When she died, I felt relief knowing that couldn’t happen.

Thinking about all of those things, it makes sense that there is no love shown to my grandmother by putting pretty flowers on her grave. It also looked as if no one has been to her grave in a while as the grass around her grave marker was somewhat overgrown. I didn’t go to her funeral, but from what I heard, there weren’t a lot of people there, nor was there a get together after.

How very sad that few people can be affected by someone’s death. What a legacy to leave! It also reminded me of the Scripture in the Bible that says, “what a man sows, that also shall he reap.” My grandmother sowed a life of discord & heartache, & she is still reaping a harvest of indifference.

I decided to write this out for those of you whose narcissistic mothers have already passed on, are elderly, or if you are thinking about what may happen when your narcissistic mother passes away. My prayer is when that time comes, you don’t feel guilty for not wanting to take flowers to their grave weekly or even for being relieved they are gone. You reap what you sow in life. No one is immune to that law, including narcissistic mothers. After years of abuse at her hand, do you really think you will feel sad for losing her? It is truly a sad legacy, leaving behind a child or grandchild that is glad you’re gone, but it is also a natural occurrence in abuse cases such as with narcissistic mothers.

Also remember when that time comes, you aren’t alone. I dare say most adult children of narcissists feel the same way, but are afraid to admit it to anyone for fear of being judged. If you have someone safe to talk to, then by all means, please talk to them about how you feel. If not, then write it out. I wrote my grandmother a letter after she died, & left it under her grave marker. No one knew I did it at the time. It helped me tremendously, getting out my feelings, even though I knew she obviously never would read it.

Pray about what you’re experiencing too. God can handle hearing it, & knows what you’re feeling & thinking anyway. You can’t shock Him. And, He will comfort you & heal your pain. ❤

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

Writing And Book Stuff

I read a wonderful article on writing this morning. It consists of advice from the Master of Horror himself, Stephen King!!

http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-king-on-how-to-write-2014-7? utm_content=buffer61d3f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Whether you like his writing or not, if you wish to be an author of any genre, I strongly advise reading this article. The advice just makes sense! These tips are from his book, “On Writing- A Memoir Of The Craft,” which I also highly recommend. I love that book-it’s written very to the point, & it’s easy to understand, too. It’s also entertaining to read- it feels as if Mr. King is talking to you over a cup of coffee- & is chock full of wonderful advice.

And speaking of writing….

My current book about maternal narcissism is getting very close to completion. I hope you readers won’t be disappointed. It’s a bit shorter than I’d anticipated, but I believe it is full of tons of good information for daughters and sons of a narcissistic mother. I also believe the information is good for adult children of a narcissistic father as well.

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

Ahhh…the joy that is a narcissistic mother

My mother has ended her silent treatment. I had a good run of a couple of months of silence this time, but it’s over now. She called me this morning & acted as if we’d just spoken yesterday. It’s like nothing happened- no silent treatment, no trashing me to my father, nothing bad…

In case I haven’t said it lately, I absolutely freaking HATE head games!!!

It was a typical conversation with my narcissistic mother. The exact same conversation that happens every time she stops speaking to me then eventually resumes talking to me. It’s also why I love it when she gives me the silent treatment & dread when she ends it.

She called under the guise of looking for my father- as he often does, he vanished for hours. Without a cell, she has no means of reaching him when he is away from home. Then there was the complaining about him, & that morphed into “did I tell you about my latest back problem?” Side note: I have no sympathy for her back problems, because, as many of you know, when I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall so hard, I was in constant pain for 10 years. I quit working outside the home a few months later. Then there was the usual guilt trip because my husband works long hours (my parents seem to believe I have some evil powers that make him work long hours against his will while I live like I’m on vacation..), & telling me again about a man who recently died who my mother is glad is dead. I must admit, that last part had me laughing. Not because the man has passed away of course or even her coldness about his passing (that was just disconcerting!), but because my mother claims he is a terrible person because he liked to present himself as such a great person when he really wasn’t. According to her, this man even wrote his own obituary & “it sure made him sound like a great guy!” Yes, you read that right. A narcissist is complaining about another person’s narcissistic behavior. Can you wrap your head around that one? I’m still working on it..

Is it any wonder I’ve had a headache all day? As if starting out my day that way thanks to anxiety & nightmares waking me last night wasn’t quite enough…throw in a Mom call & my head is not happy with me..

My mother’s call has skewed my day. I was ok considering I had a rough start to the day. Now? I feel shaken up. Anxious, angry, depressed, dissociating a lot, head achy, & exhausted. It is ridiculous things are this way, however, it is the norm for those times that I have to deal with my mother.

There was also a small part of me that was feeling guilty earlier today for not calling my parents or suggesting lunch together or something similar. Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm for children of narcissistic parents- always at least some guilt in there somewhere for something, some perceived slight against the parents or failure to measure up to their unrealistic expectations.

I think the reasoning is because we are raised by narcissistic parents to feel guilty because we never quite measure up. We don’t get good enough grades in school, or study the right subjects. We always fail because we aren’t whatever they think we should be. We don’t choose the career they want us to work, or marry the person they think we should marry, or drive the right car, or we disappoint them with some other life choices. We are conditioned to feel guilty & the frequency in our lives of knowing how often we disappoint our narcissistic mothers is so painful. That isn’t always easy to shake off, even when we are adults & know better.

But yanno something?? When we “fail” our narcissistic parents, we are simply living life according to our rules as we should. We are following God’s plan for our lives rather than their plans, which is obviously way more important! As Shakespeare said in “Hamlet”, “To thine own self be true.” What wise advice! Living for someone, anyone, else is a guaranteed way to make yourself utterly miserable!

And, as for feeling guilty for not spending time with your narcissistic parents, I’ll share something that God has shown me many times. My parents are reaping what they’ve sown with me. I don’t want to spend time with them because of the sorry way they have treated me for my entire life. Who wants to spend time with anyone who mistreats or abuses them?! If you are battling guilt for setting boundaries on your interaction with your narcissistic parents, please remember that- they are reaping what they have sown. People who sow bad seeds (being abusive, neglectful, hurtful, manipulative) will sow an unpleasant harvest (being ignored, strong boundaries that are enforced, not tolerating abuse) in return. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with you- it means you are a normal person!!

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off for some well needed self care. Music, relaxing, snuggling furkids & a shower…

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

What’s Happening-June 22,2014

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you well.
 
I am making progress on my new book about narcissistic mothers.  As of today, it’s at 38,500 words (needs to be 40-60,000).  Gettin’ there!  And thank God for that, because this is one very hard book to write!  I’m very surprised at just how challenging it is.  After writing my autobiography, “Emerging From The Chrysalis,” I was sure everything else I’d ever write would be a walk in the park.  Seeing the traumatic events of my life written out in black & white was very hard for me, yet validating at the same time.  This book is not the same..not even close!
 
Devoting an entire book to the topic of maternal narcissism has been a daunting task.  I know a lot on the topic, but I was unsure if I had enough to fill up a whole book.  I have asked God to help me out- make sure I leave nothing out of this book, & please teach me what I didn’t know that He wanted to be included.  He has answered those prayers.  I have been learning a lot!  Things to include about the book as well as things in my personal life that I never thought of as abusive before. 
 
For example, today I was writing about isolation being the favorite tool of all abusers, why they do it, & how engulfing narcissitic mothers (like mine) excel at isolating their children from others.  After writing some on the topic, I decided to research it online, to see if there was anything I forgot.  What I read slapped me in the face.  Hard.  Here is a portion of it:

“The abuser may “assign” the victim numerous domestic duties designed to keep her at home. “

(see the full article here:  http://www.abigails.org/Saul&David/control%20&%20isolation.htm
Wow.  I never thought of this as abusive behavior!  My ex-husband’s mother used to do this to me during the brief time we lived with his parents.  I never understood why I had to work so much for her.  I was responsible for all housework, balancing her checkbook, & maintaining paperwork & records for my ex’s father’s trucking business.  Other miscellaneous tasks were assigned to me as well.  There were three other adults in the house- why was so much on me?  I now wonder if was because my ex was very much into isolating me, & if she was “helping” him by keeping me so busy.  They were a very dysfunctional family, so that is a distinct possibility.  Also the only answer I can come up with at the moment. 
 
Thinking back, she also didn’t like me spending time with friends or having them over to our house.  Another isolating behavior.  
 
Whatever the reasoning behind this behavior, this new realization hurts.  I loved his mother a great deal- she & I were good friends, & often had a lot of fun together, in spite of the frequent problems in our relationship during the time of living together. 
 
*sigh*
 
Something else to process.  Yay for me.. not. 
 
Sometimes it seems like healing is the most frustrating, never-ending thing in the world, & sometimes I get so tired of new revelations that show me just how abused I have been in my life.  Honestly, it gets depressing!  I don’t like feeling sorry for myself, but it is hard to avoid 100% of the time.  I know it can be healthy to indulge in a bit of self-pity sometimes, but even so, it doesn’t feel nice.  Learning these things also makes me wonder what is it about me that makes people think it’s ok to abuse me?!  Do I behave in a certain way that says “Go ahead- hurt me.  Treat me like dirt.  It’s fine!”  UGH!
 
In spite of my lousy mood, though, I’m still glad that God is helping me to heal, learn & grow.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, it can be frustrating.  However, it also is helping me understand behaviors & people a lot better.  It’s answering some questions, like why do I get angry or hurt when people behave a certain way.  Like with my ex- mother in-law.  Her list of “duties” for me to do every day used to really make me angry at the unfairness of the amount of duties I had to contend with compared to everyone else in the house.  But, I never knew why until today.  Now, I understand, & feel validated.  Angry, but validated, & at least the anger won’t last long- I am usually pretty quick to forgive.
 
This really lousy mood is telling me that it’s time to relax.  Maybe stop working on the book for a little while, too.  Relax, turn on some good music or watch a good movie or tv show, do some nurturing behavior that makes me feel good like crafting or snuggling the furkids.  & no cooking- hubby is either taking me out tonight or we will have something delivered.

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Today’s Random Thoughts

For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot today…

One of those things that crossed my mind was how incredibly damaged my thinking has been. I learned early in life to do as I was told without question, to take care of other people before myself & not to trust my own feelings/perceptions/instincts. As a result, I have done many stupid things & tolerated way more from people than I should have.

One thing that shows how damaged my thinking was is my first marriage. While I was engaged to my ex, I broke up with him for a few months when I was 19, & started dating other men. During that time, he called me often, making me feel guilty for breaking up with him, & making him miserable. I had many good reasons to break up with him, but they seemed less & less important as I listened to him. Only a few months later, I married him, then divorced him after a short marriage.

In spite of the guilt messages he (& his friends) gave me during that time, I still assume full responsibility for my actions. My thinking was so damaged, I disregarded my reasons for breaking up with him & my feelings & marry him, because he told me to.

During the breakup, I also began dating another man, 9 years my senior, for two reasons- he was pushy, insisting I go out with him, & my friend told me I should date him. While granted, he seemed much more mature than my ex husband, & was financially stable, he had his own issues. I didn’t know how bad off he was until recently when found out that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself…

Looking back at these situations, it amazes me at myself, & not in a good way! I’ve asked myself so many times how I could’ve been so stupid. But, rather than dwell on that, I focus instead on thanking God for coming into my life & teaching me so very much! Of course I don’t know everything or have all of the answers, but I am much more emotionally healthy than I ever have been. I’ve also learned to listen to God & listen to my instincts, thanks to having a relationship with Him. It amazes me how much He cares about every aspect of my life.

I’d like to encourage you to do the same things- listen to God & your instincts as well. These things are often difficult to do at first to those who also survived narcissistic abuse- they were for me too!-but they get easier the more you do them. And, before you know it, you will be surprised at how much healthier your thinking is! ❤

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Narcissists Are All Around

Yesterday while talking to a dear friend, she mentioned how I have only written about narcissistic mothers, yet narcissists exist in other relationships & all walks of life. She’s right. I feel that God wants me to focus on maternal narcissism, but also that a little side trip would be beneficial to my readers…

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, is in people of every financial status, race, religion, etc. It truly knows no bounds. Dealing with a narcissistic mother is a bit different than dealing with a narcissistic spouse, family member or coworker, though, simply due to the different natures of the relationships. NPD is a spectrum disorder (meaning many people with the disorder act differently, because they’re at different areas on the spectrum). Some narcissists are at the malignant end of the spectrum- they are the bold ones, all “in your face” with their abuse. Others are what I think of as the sneaky narcissists. They feign innocence, naivete, & helplessness. They had no idea their actions would hurt anyone, or so they claim. How could you be mad at her when she simply didn’t know better?? This innocent act means if you get angry, you look like the unreasonable & cruel person.

In spite of the differences, there are some qualities all narcissists share…

Narcissists believe they never should be questioned. What they say is the gospel truth, according to them. This means they don’t tolerate questioning, no matter how outrageous the actions or words.
Narcissists are control freaks. And, if you end that relationship, thus ending their control over you, prepare to pay for your “crime.” How will you pay? It depends on the narcissist. (see below about narcissistic rage)
All narcissists demand supply. Narcissistic supply is praise, listening whenever they want to talk, & other actions & words showing the narcissist he/she is valuable. Anyone who doesn’t provide narcissistic supply is worthless, according to the narcissist.
When narcissistic supply is cut off, no matter the reason, narcissists will go into a narcissistic rage. Anything that threatens a narcissist’s self esteem is what is known as a narcissistic injury, & triggers rage. That rage can be simple, like giving the “offender” the silent treatment or talking badly about her behind her back. Or, it can be more serious behaviors such as screaming obscenities, physical violence, harassment/stalking.
Narcissists lack empathy. When you have a conversation with a narcissist, one giveaway you’re dealing with a narcissist is that any mention of you, your family, your job, your problems, or anything about you is disregarded & the conversation turns back to the narcissist. They are the important one, after all- you & your life mean nothing..
Most narcissists also have “minions”, “lemmings” or “flying monkeys.” That is people who believe the narcissist without question, & when you disagree with the narcissist, these minions will try to “talk sense” into you under the guise of concern for your poor judgment in disagreeing with or even ending the relationship with the narcissist.
And, narcissists love mind games. Anything that they can say or do to make their victim feel crazy, guilty, stupid or other terrible things makes them happy. They won’t hesitate to use any weapon to accomplish their goals, no matter how much damage it causes the victim. They’ll also use whatever your greatest (real or perceived) weakness is, too, such as your religious beliefs. Currently, the narcissist who is harassing me is doing exactly that, claiming I am not a good Christian for not tolerating her abuse. (I guess she believes Jesus thinks tolerating abuse is a good idea?? Doesn’t sound like the Jesus I know!)

Narcissists can be very dangerous people to those without the knowledge on coping with them. Dangerous to their victim’s self-esteem, sanity or relationships. One of the things that makes them so dangerous is that people often underestimate them. Narcissists are often described as selfish or eccentric, when the truth is they are so very much more.

If you’re dealing with a narcissist, be careful! You need to listen to your gut feelings. If something feels wrong, listen to that feeling- never brush it off! Don’t listen to others telling you that she didn’t know what she said or did would hurt you-narcissists are always VERY aware of what they’re doing & what the results will be. Also, trust your memory. If the narcissist says things happened differently than you remember, trust your memory over her words. Keep a diary if need be, so you have written evidence of the truth. Limit your exposure to the narcissist if you must deal with her, or sever ties if you feel that is the right thing to do. And, never, ever underestimate a narcissist. Not all are physically dangerous, but many are. When I was 19, my mother went into a terrible narcissistic rage, & threw me into a wall so hard, not only was there a big hole in the wall, my back was injured badly enough I had to quit working. I lived with pain for 10 years. I never expected her to do that, so I was unable to protect myself from her. Anyway if you feel you are in any danger, never hesitate to contact the police!! I never would hesitate to call them, personally, & you shouldn’t either! You don’t deserve to be abused by anyone! You have the right to be safe!

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Ignoring Narcissists

Do you know the one thing that makes a narcissist’s head practically explode?
 
Ignore her.  It’s that simple.
 
Love her or hate her, either is fine- both mean you are giving her some attention, & as long as the narcissist gets attention, that is all that matters.  Positive or negative attention isn’t important- only that she is receiving attention.  But ignore her as if she doesn’t even exist?  Pay her no attention at all no matter what her games?  She simply can’t handle it.  She will ignore the other person at best, or will do her level best to discredit the ignoring person or take revenge at worst.  (It can be quite the show!)  
 
The reason for her outrageous behavior is what is called narcissistic injury.  Anything (real or perceived) that threatens a narcissist’s self-esteem is what is known as a narcissistic injury.  And, rejecting a narcissist, even when it is done simply to protect yourself from her harmful behavior rather than to be mean, is a threat to her self-esteem.  She won’t care why you don’t want to speak to her- she only cares that you are rejecting her.
 
There is a possible result a narcissistic injury that anyone dealing with a narcissist should be aware of, & that is what is known as a narcissistic rage.  Narcissistic rage ranges anywhere from refusing to speak to the one who inflicted the narcissistic injury, hurling cruel insults, slander, screaming, sending others to “talk sense into” the offender or even physical violence.  Remember, with narcissists, the only thing that matters to them, is them.  You, your feelings, desires, life, friends or family mean absolutely nothing to them.  They will do anything to take care of themselves, & if that means hurting you in any way to do that, so be it.
 
I’ve been the object of narcissistic rages many times in my life, & I have noticed that ignoring the narcissist is what creates the worst rages.  I’ve also noticed that the more “valuable” you are to the narcissist (you listen when they want to talk, do what they want you to do, etc), the more potential for an especially nasty rage.  The less “valuable” you are to the narcissist, the more likely the rage won’t be bad, or they may even walk away quietly.
 

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Who Are You?

Yesterday, I had another flashback.  I remembered being in my late teens, & my mother screaming at me because (her words here), “You only care about the underdog!  You just want to help them!” as if this is a bad thing.  Usually when these flashbacks happen, I come out of it in or near tears.  Not this time though- I was absolutely LIVID.  How dare my own mother scream at me so much!  How dare she scream at me for being a good person!  & besides, she groomed me to take care of others & ignore myself- she was screaming at me for being how she made me to be!  HOW DARE SHE!

This anger set off an interesting train of thought.. time for me to make some changes!

If you too have been around a narcissist, whether raised by one or in a relationship with one, you know that they want you to be what THEY want you to be, not what you want to be or the person that God made you to be.  You carry this “I have to change to please you” mindset into other relationships, like it or not, & often without even realizing it.  I have done this.  Not only did I become the person I thought my mother wanted me to be as a child, as an adult, I tried to become the wife I thought my husband wanted me to be.  As a result, I lost myself somewhere along the way.  In fact, an old friend of mine once scolded me, saying I had become “Eric’s wife” instead of “Cynthia.”  Yes, he was right, much as I hate to admit that!  Since that friend opened my eyes about six years ago, I have been trying to get myself back, but with very little luck.  I had all but given up until yesterday. 

Oddly, the anger I felt after that flashback gave me quite a kick in the butt to get myself back. I got angry not only at my mother for screaming at me so much as a child, but for trying to destroy the person God made me to be.  I also got angry at others in my life who have tried so hard to change me into someone I’m not.  God made everyone the way we are for a reason!  Every single person has a purpose!  No one has the right to destroy your personhood, to destroy what God has made!  I decided it’s time to get that person I lost back, & started to think of ways to accomplish this.  I hope these ideas help you, too!

  • God will tell you who He made you to be- so ask Him.  Not only the things you are to accomplish in life, but also He will tell you about your personality.  Ask Him!  I have done this, & God gave me an interesting answer.  He told me to look up the personality traits of the wolf- they are like who He created me to be.  Do you know something?  I learned they are fascinating animals!  They are highly intelligent, gentle, devoted, loving, confident, non-violent personalities & will do much to avoid conflict, yet won’t back down when it is necessary.  That is what God sees when He sees me!  I believe He used wolves because He knows I love animals so much, including the husky/wolf dog I had who I was so close to.  God will speak to you in a way that speaks the clearest to you, too.  Why don’t you ask God to tell you who He made you to be?  
  • Realize, really have a firm grasp on the fact that you are valuable.  You are just as valuable as any other person.  In spite of what you have been taught, you have a purpose & value.  And treat yourself accordingly!  Do nice gestures for yourself, not just other people- it will help you see yourself as valuable.  I started last night by pampering myself some.  I make my own beauty products, but I don’t use them as often as I should.  I decided heck with that last night!  I exfoliated my skin, head to toe, then used a wonderful moisturizer I make after so my skin felt like silk. I also gave myself a manicure & pedicure.  I relaxed for the evening- watching tv, playing Tetris on my tablet, & talking to the hubby.  
  • Do things that make you feel good.  Do you have a hobby you enjoy yet have abandoned?  Get back at it!  Try drawing, painting, writing poetry, cross stitching, knitting or whatever you have done again.  If you never really had a hobby, find one.  Try something you have always wanted to try.  You can learn how to do about anything online!  Indulging in something other than things that are necessary (work, caring for your kids or elderly parents, etc) is very healthy- it helps you to relax & have a clear focus.  It also helps you to feel pampered & loved.  Everyone needs loving gestures, especially from themselves.
  • Get angry!  I know, as a Christian, that can feel very awkward, especially if you were raised with a narcissistic parent who didn’t allow you to express any negative emotions.  However anger does have a purpose- it motivates change.  And, remember, Jesus got angry, too.  Remember him overturning the tables of the money changers?  (Matthew 21:12-13).  While anger can be dangerous, & forgiveness is absolutely vital to having peace with God, our fellow man & ourselves, that doesn’t mean anger can’t be used as a tool sometimes.  Ephesians 4:26 says we can be angry, but do not sin in that anger.  Using that anger to motivate chance isn’t a sin- in fact, that is a good thing!  And I have learned when doing this that once you forgive, the motivation to change is still there.
  • Stop listening to other people when they try to change you, no matter who it is!  Admittedly, this is difficult if it’s something you have been doing your whole life, or if the person is someone close to you such as a spouse or parent.  But remember- if someone wants to change you, it says they have the problem, not you.  Normal, healthy people want what is best for other people, not to change them into someone they aren’t.  

And please always remember- just because someone didn’t appreciate the person you are doesn’t mean they are right.  You are special because God made you to be!  Deuteronomy 14:2 says, “For you are a holy people [set apart] to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people to Himself, above all the nations on the earth.” (AMP)  God loves you & made you perfectly!  

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Complex PTSD Bill Of Rights

I think I am pretty typical of a daughter raised by a narcissistic mother.  Like many children of narcissists, I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which means I fight depression, anxiety, insomnia & agoraphobia every day.  I am constantly over-aware of the emotions of people around me, on the guard against potentially being hurt (hypervigilance) & have flashbacks & nightmares.  I also have a list of insecurities a mile long, I don’t trust people easily, & I expect nothing less than perfection from myself, partly so as not to be a burden anyone.  

Because of that feeling of I should be perfect, it has made the C-PTSD even more difficult than it already is.  My own husband doesn’t even know how hard it is sometimes, because I don’t tell him much.  I can’t burden him with my petty problems, after all.  *sighs*  I also never have had anyone take care of me, so I have become so accustomed to taking care of myself & my own problems.  Leaning on him is almost completely impossible for me.  This also means I even have trouble talking to God about it, & asking for His help.  

Anyway, I was thinking recently about this & I have no doubt I’m not the only person with C-PTSD like this.  I decided to write up a 
C-PTSD Bill Of Rights- something I could look at to remind myself I don’t have to be perfect all the time.  I thought I would share it here.. I hope it helps you too!  ❤

 

C-PTSD Bill Of Rights

 

  1. I have the right to talk to God about my struggles and my pain.  He understands, and will help me as no one else can.  He is not angry with me or disappointed in me for having C-PTSD.  He loves me no matter what.
  2. I have the right to have a bad day sometimes.  When living with this disorder and working on healing, there will be very good and very bad days- that is completely normal.
  3. I have the right to talk about my pain and frustrations with supportive, loving, caring people.
  4. I have the right to accept my limits.  Sometimes my best may not be very good no matter how hard I try.  (Remember- PTSD causes physical changes in your brain.  You are going to forget things sometimes or have difficulty regulating your moods or even finding the right words.  This doesn’t mean you are crazy or stupid- it means you have C-PTSD.)
  5. I have the right to say no.
  6. I have the right to ask for help.
  7. I have the right to walk my own individual walk with this disorder.  My journey will not be like everyone else’s.  That does not make me right or wrong- it makes me an individual.
  8. I have the right to remember painful events from the past.  I can learn from the past, and it has made me who I am today.  (Remembering the past is NOT the same as dwelling on the past, not letting things go, etc.!)
  9. I have the right to give myself the gift of forgiveness.  Not to erase the horrible things done to me, but because I deserve better than carrying around anger and bitterness inside of me.  I also need to understand that forgiving my abuser(s) does not mean I will be healed completely- there is some damage that must be worked on, even when complete forgiveness has happened.  I also must forgive myself for any wrongs I have committed.
  10. I have the right to take care of myself.  I must not only take care of my body but my mind as well.  That may mean reducing daily activities or taking more time off.  Self-care is vital to my mental health.  I must do this for myself as well as those who love me.  They deserve the best me I can give them.
  11. I have the right to reject unnecessary negativity and drama in my life, in all its forms, as much as possible to protect my mental health.
  12. I have the right to be who I am, the person God created me to be, no matter who approves or disapproves of me.  Just because I have a mental health issue does not mean I am not still a valuable member of society.
  13. Other people have the right not to understand what I am experiencing.  That does not give them the right to mistreat me, however, and I have the right not to tolerate their mistreatment of me.
  14. Other people have the right to ask me questions about C-PTSD.  I have the right to answer those questions or not, depending on my ability to answer them, and depending on how I feel God wants me to respond. 
  15. I have the obligation to make my pain count for something.  God is not into waste, and I am not either!  I have the obligation to ask God how to use this pain for His glory.  He may call me to raise awareness of C-PTSD, help create stricter laws against child abusers, write books or something entirely different.  Whatever He asks of me, I always have the right to say no to- He will not love me any less.  However, doing what God asks of me will not only bless others, but me as well.  God will reward my faithfulness.

 

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Sale on my books!!!!

Good news! My publisher is offering 40% off all print versions of my books until November 4th!! Just enter code FALLSALE40 at checkout. All of my books are available for sale in print & ebook forms at the link below..

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books%20For%20Sale.htm

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February 9, 2013

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

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

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

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

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