Tag Archives: mental

About Coercive Control

Narcissists clearly are experts in the area of controlling.  One lesser known tactic they use is called coercive control.  It is most commonly known to happen in romantic relationships, but it also can happen in parent/child relationships.

Coercive control doesn’t always involve physical violence, yet victims wonder if they don’t obey the narcissist, will it turn violent one day?  Fear is a great weapon, & those who use coercive control are well aware of that fact.  Often without so much as touching their victim, they instill a deep fear in them.

There are other signs of coercive control that people need to be aware of abusers using.

Intimidation is a big red flag.  Towards the end of my first marriage, my ex was trying to intimidate me by punching things other than me.  After, he would tell me how lucky I was he was hitting the walls instead of me.  Other forms of intimidation can include showing weapons, blocking you from leaving the room or standing over you in a way as to make themselves look much bigger than you.

“Minor” violent acts.  I hate to use the word minor with violent acts because it sounds like it’s trivializing violence.  That isn’t my intention.  What I mean is acts like pushing, holding you in place or even pinching hard.  These are so called minor violent acts.

Using threats to control.  Threatening to leave you, to commit suicide or hurt your child or pet in order to get what they want fall into the category of coercive control.

Micromanaging a victim.  When someone controls things like how you dress or how you wash the dishes, it makes you easy to control because in time, you feel as if you must ask your partner for permission to do everything.   Some parents continue treating their adult child as if they were young children in need of their guidance well into adulthood.  This is known as infantilization.

Financial abuse.  An abusive partner will keep their mate in the relationship by destroying their credit, spending all of their paychecks or refusing them all access to the couple’s finances.

Isolation is another form of coercive control.  It’s no secret that abusers isolate their victims.  Isolation makes victims easy to control by limiting the information & support they can receive from outside sources.  Abusers may claim their victims’ friends or family aren’t good for them as one way to isolate their victims.

Sex is a very commonly used method of coercive control.  Abusers may violently rape their victims of course, but that isn’t always the case.  Many use shame, saying things like, “Any other woman in the world would do this one little thing for me…” or, “If you loved me, you would do this for me.”  They also may be very good lovers at first to get you hooked on sex with them, then in time, they suddenly lose interest in having sex with you.  When you practically beg them is when they have power over you.  They use the opportunity to tell you what they want from you that will make them regain interest in sex.

When things like this happen, it’s not easy to identify these behaviors as abusive at first.  Abusers get worse gradually, to build a victim’s tolerance to abuse.  This is probably why so many victims stay… it happened so gradually, they didn’t even realize it was happening.  By the time they did, they felt unable to escape.

If this describes you or someone you know, please get out NOW!!!  These behaviors are all signs of a potentially violent person!  Protect yourself & stay safe!  xoxo

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About False Strength

 

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When To Speak Up &When Not To Speak Up To Narcissists

A very difficult subject is when should you speak up & when shouldn’t you speak up with a narcissist.

Anyone with any experience with a narcissist knows that most of the time, it’s easiest just to stay quiet.  Speaking up can trigger a narcissistic rage or a victim act (“How can you be so mean to me!?  I was just trying to help!”).  Or, if you’re angry when you confront the narcissist, there is narcissistic supply, because he or she feels powerful because of upsetting you so much.  And, since whatever they did upset you, they know to do it again & again to keep procuring their precious supply.  This kind of nonsense can make anyone want to avoid confronting a narcissist, no matter what they do.

Yet, failing to confront a narcissist indefinitely only makes you miserable while they get away with their outrageous, abusive behavior.  Talk about a no win situation!

The best thing I have learned to know when to confront a narcissist & when not to is by maintaining a close relationship with God.  He enabled me to know when & what to say to my narcissistic parents, & when to say nothing.  Sounds simple, I know, but it’s true.

When I knew I was going to see my parents, or they would call & I’d see their number on the caller ID, I would ask God to give me the words I needed & to help me get through the conversation.  That’s it.  And it worked every time!

There were plenty of times when my parents would say something hurtful & I knew in my heart that this was not the time to speak up.  Knowing that helped me to stay quiet & pretend I didn’t notice the abusive comment.

When I did need to speak up, though, God gave me exactly the right words I needed & the courage to say them.  The last time I spoke to my mother was May 5, 2016, which was also one of the last times I spoke to my father.  As I have mentioned before in this blog, we got into a huge argument that night, first my father & I argued, then my mother & I.  I went into the conversation having a fairly good idea it wasn’t going to be pleasant, but I had no idea I’d end up telling my parents off!  God knew though!  Later when I prayed & apologized to Him for my behavior, He said, “Your parents needed to see that.  They needed to know that their actions could make their normally calm & reasonable daughter would act that way.”

That close relationship with God has been a true lifesaver for me in knowing when to confront, & when not to confront, but, I realize not everyone reading this shares my faith.  For those of you in that position, I recommend learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & your narcissist.  If you study this person, I would guarantee you’ll find that he or she only has a few moves in their repertoire.  Most narcissists are that way.  While most narcissists are quite intelligent, they also aren’t overly creative.  They have a few weapons that get them what they want & use them over & over.  Learning what those weapons are will help you a great deal in that you will be prepared for what they most likely will do in most any situation.  It’ll also help you to know whether or not to confront this person & what most likely will happen if you do.  Preparation is a wonderful thing!

I know the tips in this post are pretty simple, but they really can be of a great help.  I wish you the best in your situation!

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Subtle Abuse

Many people think  abuse is something loud & cruel, such as screaming obscenities at another person.  This certainly is one type of verbal abuse, but for the most part, it is much quieter & more subtle.

Ignoring someone is abusive.  It can create anxiety or avoidance when it happens enough, especially when it happens to children.  It makes someone feel insignificant or even invisible to be ignored, especially by someone important such as by a parent or spouse.

Normalizing abuse is also abusive.  Everyone needs to know that abuse is NOT ok.  When someone doesn’t know that, they tolerate abuse because they don’t know it’s wrong.  This is one reason abusers try to make their victims think the victims are the problem, rather than the abuse being the problem.

Constant criticism is abusive.  While everyone needs constructive criticism from time to time, no one needs abusive criticism, in particular when it is non stop.  The difference is constructive criticism is meant to help a person be better, while abusive criticism is meant to manipulate, control & destroy a person’s self esteem.

Failure to give someone praise & support is abusive.  While people are drastically affected by constant criticism, they also can be affected by a lack of praise & support even without the constant criticism.  My mother used to brag to me about how one time in my entire childhood, she told me she thought I was “kinda pretty.”  That along with her constant criticisms made me incredibly insecure about my looks for my entire life.

Shaming someone is abusive.  To make someone feel shame doesn’t always have to involve saying things like, “What is your problem?!”  “You need some therapy!”  It also can involve laughing at someone, rolling your eyes at them or making them the butt of jokes.  Toxic shame makes a person feel there is something wrong with every single thing about them, which destroys self esteem & makes a person easy to control.

Criticizing someone harshly claiming that it was done, “for your own good” is abusive.  My mother was hyper critical of every single thing about me when I was growing up.  Whenever I would say something about how critical she was, she told me it was for my own good.  I needed to know my faults so I could change them.  I couldn’t argue with that logic as a child.  As an adult however, although I do agree that everyone needs to be aware of their faults, they also need to be equally aware of their good qualities too.  Only being aware of their faults can destroy one’s self esteem.

Similarly, saying or doing cruel & saying it’s “tough love” is abusive.  When my mother’s abuse hit its peak, she said everything she was doing to me was tough love, because I wouldn’t learn any other way.  This made me feel like something was wrong with me, I was the problem in our relationship & I made her abuse me.  A victim in such a situation usually believes the way I did.

Last but not least, gaslighting is extremely abusive.  Gaslighting is when an abuser subtly makes a victim doubt their perceptions of reality.  It isn’t hard to gaslight children in particular, but anyone can be a victim.  An abuser doesn’t have to raise their voice to accomplish it.  All they have to do is convince their victim that what happened didn’t happen the way the victim believes it did or didn’t happen at all.  That can be accomplished easily by instilling doubt in a victim & stating the lies with extreme confidence.  An abuser may even feign concern for a victim for being so confused as to think things happened the way they did instead of the way the abuser says things happened.

Abuse comes in many different forms.  Many of those forms can be hard to recognize at first.  I hope this post will help you to be very aware of them so you don’t fall prey to an abusive person who behaves this way!

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Comparing Your Situation To Others That Have Been Abused

I was talking with someone recently who obviously looks down on me for having C-PTSD.  It seems to me that she thinks I’m weak for having it & my childhood was much easier than hers.

The truth of the matter is we both had terrible childhoods, just in different ways.  While she was more physically abused, I was more mentally abused.  Both types of abuse are horrible, just different.  Physical abuse leaves scars people can see & often lifelong health or mobility issues.  Emotional abuse leaves scars that aren’t visible, such as PTSD or C-PTSD.  Both are equally bad in the fact they cause a great deal of pain & suffering.

Truth be told, all abuse is horrible but different.  There’s no point in comparing your situation with someone else’s.  All it does is make you miserable.

Everyone who has been abused had it worse than some folks & better than others.  Only children didn’t have it better than those with siblings.  Children with siblings had brothers & sisters abusing them along with their parents, while only children were the only focus of their parents’ abuse & rage.  How is one of those situations better than the other?  People who were “only” emotionally abused don’t have it better than those who were physically or sexually abused.  At least with physical & sexual abuse, there is no doubt to the evilness of the abuser & victims are more likely to receive support.  With emotional abusers, there are no scars & no visible evidence of their evil deeds, so many doubt the validity of the claims of emotional abuse.  Without irrefutable evidence, many people don’t believe the claims of people who were abused.

See what I mean?  All abuse is terrible, period.  There is really no point in comparing your story to someone else’s.

Everyone who has been abused has suffered.  Everyone processes things differently too, which is why some people have a harder time coping than others.  And, no one is weak for having C-PTSD.  It is a sign of having experienced great trauma that was great enough to damage the brain.  That is NOT a sign of weakness!

Dear Reader, please never compare your experiences to another person’s.  If you do, you’ll end up doing one of two things, neither of which are good.  You’ll end up either thinking you’re overreacting because you believe your situation wasn’t as bad as someone else’s, or you’ll look down on the other person because you think their situation wasn’t as bad as yours.  Neither option does you any good at all!  Someone will end up hurt & feeling invalidated either way..

Instead, stop judging.  You have to accept that your situation was bad, as was the situation of the person in question.  Your situations may have been similar or vastly different, but they were both bad.  Period.

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Feeling Your Feelings Is Vital To Good Mental Health

Narcissistic parents teach their children that they are to have no wants, needs & even feelings.  As a result, those children grow up out of touch with their emotions, with anger issues, their emotions can manifest in dysfunctional ways such as in picking abusive romantic partners, or they even can have physical ailments such as high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammatory disorders, diabetes, kidney or digestive problems.

Add in that dysfunctional & cruel people tell adult children of narcissistic parents things like, “Get over it.”  “Forgive & forget.”  “You aren’t honoring your parents by talking about such things.  After all, the Bible says love covers a multitude of sins!” & it’s pretty much a guarantee that the adult child of a narcissist will suffer with mental & physical illness.

A person who hasn’t felt their feelings needs to learn that there is nothing wrong with emotions!  They’re from God, & the Bible says in James 1:17 that all good things are from God.   I know, many Christians say negative emotions are sinful, but I disagree.  Even negative emotions have their place.  Anger & sadness show you that something is wrong.  If you’re going to fix something, you need to know it’s wrong, which tells me these negative emotions serve a very good purpose.  How can that possibly be bad?

My best friend has a saying.  “You gotta feel your feels.”  Obviously, she’s very wise.  It’s so true!  If you want to be mentally, emotionally & even physically healthy, you need to feel your feelings.  As hard as it can be at first to feel painful emotions, it is much easier than working to keep your feelings stuffed down.  One thing I’ve noticed is the older I get, the more my feelings demand to be acknowledged.  If I’m going to control my emotions rather than them control me, I find it best to deal with them as soon as possible.

Dealing with a lifetime of emotions for the first time can sound overwhelming, but it isn’t.  When I first began my healing journey, I naively thought I would forgive my parents for everything they ever did to me at once, & all would be right in my world.  That isn’t even close, & thank God because that was truly overwhelming!

Instead, I have found that God helps me to deal with only what I can handle at a time, nothing more.  I think about an incident & focus on that, then another & another.  Rather than focusing on everything at once, it’s easier to focus on incidents one at a time.

When something comes to mind I must deal with, I try to remember every detail about it.  My surroundings, scents, sounds, & every awful thing that was said or done to me.  Doing that stirs up emotions & from there I can pray, journal, cry, yell.. whatever helps me to cope.  If the incident was especially painful, it may take a long time or I may need to repeat this process a few times but the pain associated with that incident will subside.  I can promise you that!

This process really helps you to heal.  It benefits your mental health greatly!  You’re validating yourself by feeling your emotions.  Basically, you’re saying, “That was wrong!  That person shouldn’t have done that to me!  I deserve better than to be treated that way!”

You’re also releasing emotions that have been stuffed inside you for years or even decades.  That helps your physical health by releasing the stress & effort of stuffing down those emotions.

You also gain a great deal of peace, because you’re no longer haunted by the terrible experiences.  They lose their power over you.  You won’t feel such intense pain or devastation when you think of those things.  You’ll know you’re healing when that no longer happens & instead you feel more like you’re remembering a bad dream.  Yes, it’s unpleasant but nothing you can’t handle.

Also, your self esteem will improve which will benefit you in so many ways!  You’ll have no more trouble setting boundaries & you’ll know yourself much better.

I want to encourage you today to “feel your feels.”  It truly will help you!  xoxo

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When Scapegoats Escape Their Narcissistic Parent

Being the scapegoat child raised by a narcissistic parent is a terrible thing.  Not only do you have an abusive parent, but other members of the family feel it is their right to abuse you as well.  Maybe they believe the lies of the narcissistic parent about what a terrible person the victim is.  Maybe they assume because a parent is abusive to the child, it’s ok to abuse this person.  Or, maybe they are so blinded by the narcissist’s false persona that they will protect their delusions of this person at all costs, including abusing the victim in an attempt to keep this person from divulging the truth about the narcissist.

In any case, chances are good that the scapegoated child will become fed up & walk away.  Setting  healthy boundaries didn’t work.  Confrontation didn’t work.  In fact, most likely such actions only made things worse.  Deciding to walk away is the only thing left to do.

What is truly the saddest part of this scenario is the scapegoat is abandoned by their family when they need love & support the most.  Rather than receive kindness, most scapegoats only receive tormenting, a vicious smear campaign & abandonment.   Some will reach out to the victim only to tell them that they shouldn’t abandon their narcissistic parent because “your parents are getting older..” or “you only get one mother/father”.  Some folks also claim the victim needs to fix this or isn’t a good Christian because they aren’t “honoring” their parent.  Meanwhile, their narcissistic parent receives kindness, understanding & compassion.

As the scapegoat, you can survive this terrible situation!  I know it seems impossible, but it is possible to survive & even with your dignity in tact.

One fantastic way to start is by staying close to God.  Psalm 68:5 says, “A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows, Is God in His holy habitation.”  (AMP)  He will be there for you, to comfort & protect you, & you will need that at this time.

Also, as painful as it is when your family turns against you, try to think of it this way.  You aren’t losing good, loving people.  If they truly were good or loving, they wouldn’t blindly believe the lies of the narcissist, nor would they try to encourage you to stay in an abusive relationship.  Talking about your experiences with a narcissistic parent is a very effective way to find out who your true friends are!

Don’t defend yourself against the smear campaign.  I know this is hard!  I’ve been there, & I so wanted to tell people off for the cruel things they said.  However, doing so only throws gas on that fire.  They will think what you say only proves the narcissist is right & you are crazy, angry, abusive, & they will behave even worse towards you.  Don’t defend yourself.  Let them think whatever they want.  Their opinion isn’t important anyway.

Some flying monkeys harass & stalk the scapegoat after going no contact to punish him or her or to try to bully the scapegoat into returning to the relationship.  Block every means of contact these people have with you.  Block phone numbers, emails, social media accounts.  If you are in a situation where you can’t do this, refuse to discuss the narcissist with them.  Tell them you have nothing to say on the matter, then change the subject.  Do it repeatedly.  Be rude about it if you must.  But do NOT discuss the narcissist with this person!  It only will hurt you to do so!

If someone is stalking or harassing you, they may change their email or call from a number you don’t recognize as ways to try to force you to talk to them.  If this happens, block that access too.  You do NOT have to talk to anyone who wants to force you back into an abusive relationship.

And, document everything!  This information may be useful at some point, especially if you need to get the law involved, so save every single thing you can.  Voicemail messages, texts, emails, etc.  Save everything either on cloud storage or email it to yourself so even if your phone or computer crashes, you won’t lose your documentation.

There are some things you can expect to happen after going no contact that you need to be prepared to face.

While no contact is incredibly helpful, it doesn’t fix everything.  After functioning in survival mode for so long, you will have to adjust to life not in survival mode.  It can be difficult.  As you feel safer, your mind seems to think now is the time to start dealing with things you couldn’t deal with while trying to survive the abuse.  You may find yourself having more nightmares &/or flashbacks.  You might be very sensitive & moody, crying or getting angry easier than usual.  This is a normal part of the healing process.  You aren’t going crazy, even though you probably feel that way at this point.  Try to use these things in your favor.  Figure out the root of the behavior, nightmare or flashback, & deal with that however works best for you.

You’ll start to question things.  Years of gaslighting take a toll on a person!  No one can undo that damage & the warped beliefs over night.  It takes time & lots of questioning yourself.  Get in the habit of asking yourself “Why do I think that way?  What evidence is there that this is right?” when you realize dysfunctional beliefs & thoughts are coming to mind.

Along those lines.. most people have a last straw moment that makes them decide no contact is their best option.  For many of us, that last straw moment isn’t even the worst thing that the narcissistic parent ever has done.  It’s just their average abusive, hateful behavior.  For some reason though, something in us snaps & we are done.  That can make a person wonder why was this the last straw when so many other things were worse?  Well, maybe it wasn’t the worst thing ever done, but after a lifetime of so many bad things, enough was enough.  This just happened to be the thing that told you now is the time for no contact.

You’re going to grieve, so accept that.  It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.  It means you’re a normal human being!  Just because your parent was abusive doesn’t mean you don’t care about your parent.   You’ll probably discover though that you aren’t missing your parent per se, but the parent you wish you could have had.

Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel without judgement.  Losing a parent in any capacity isn’t easy, but in particular when that parent in question is a narcissist.  You’ll feel all kinds of emotions.  It’s ok & even normal.  Allow yourself to feel all of those emotions without judging or criticizing the feelings or yourself.

If your narcissistic parent is elderly or frail, you are going to feel a tremendous amount of guilt for going no contact.  It’s normal.  I did the same thing.  There is one thing that you need to consider though.  People reap what they sow.  A person who is kind & good to others won’t be abandoned in their time of need, because they sowed good seeds.  The abusive person won’t experience that same harvest because they sowed bad seeds.  Everyone has a limit on abuse, so it’s only natural that a victim will walk away at some point.

One beautiful thing you can expect is in time, the fog of abuse will lift, & you will see everything with so much more clarity!  You’ll see why your narcissistic parent & other relatives were so cruel to you, & you’ll clearly see that they were wrong.  You didn’t make them act that way.  That was all on them, in spite of what they told you.  You’ll see them as the pathetic & wicked people that they are.  You’ll also see that you’re not whatever they said you were, but instead you’re a wonderfully made child of God, made in His image & to do great things in your life!

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Reinventing The Past

Anyone who has experienced a relationship with a narcissist knows that they love to reinvent the past.  In their version of events, they weren’t abusive.  They were just trying to help.

Narcissists aren’t the only ones who are able to reinvent the past, however.  Sometimes their victims do as well.   I have a very good example of this phenomenon.

I know of someone who was what I refer to as a holiday Nazi.  She demanded her adult children, their spouses & grandchildren spend holidays with her, & they had to celebrate on the exact day.  There was no acceptable reason not to do this, it seemed.

One Christmas season, her adult children decided they wanted to spend the day with their respective families rather than their parents.  Apparently, Mom didn’t approve.  She stopped taking her insulin a few days before Christmas & ended up in the hospital either Christmas day or within a couple of days after, I can’t remember which.  She told her adult children that she did it because she was too busy baking Christmas cookies that she didn’t have time to take her insulin.

Some time after this fiasco, her son who had heard what she said & even repeated it said that never happened.  It was during the time when she was having trouble regulating her insulin dosage.

Rather than admit how manipulative his mother was, & how she would risk her own health just for some attention, he convinced himself that was not the case.  He convinced himself that this happened because the doctors hadn’t regulated her insulin need at that time.

If you have done something similar, you’re not alone.  There is no need to be ashamed of yourself for doing it.  There is, however a need to change that behavior.

Reinventing the past only gives the narcissist power, because their actions are being excused rather than holding them accountable for their actions.  Narcissists realize they can do anything, & you’ll pretend they didn’t.  In fact, you may even end up blaming yourself for what they did.  You won’t punish them for their actions, so this makes them believe they can do anything without fear of consequences.  There is no reason to limit their abusive actions.

It also makes the victim feel like they have to tolerate the abuse.  They convince themselves that what happened was ok by pretending it didn’t happen as it actually did.  This means victims will tolerate a LOT of abuse.

You can change your behavior into something much healthier!

Writing is an incredibly useful tool.  I don’t mean writing a book or blogging about your experiences.  I mean writing in a journal or writing letters you don’t send.  Seeing your experiences in writing helps to make them more real somehow.  It’s very validating!  Writing also gives you an outlet for getting your emotions out with no fear of anyone judging you, which can be incredibly helpful.  It can show you, too, just how much you’ve grown & healed, which is very encouraging.  And regarding changing this habit of reinventing the past, writing also gives you a written record of events, so you can’t reinvent anything.  If you wrote something down, you can revisit that knowing that is what happened rather than this different scenario you started to form in your mind.

Dealing with the traumatic event also will help you to stop reinventing the past.  Reinventing things happens as a way to avoid pain.  If you face that pain & deal with it. you automatically won’t try to reinvent the scenario.  I know that seems terrifying, but truly it will help you a great deal if you face it.  It’ll hurt for a while but not forever.  You’ll heal & that situation won’t have power to devastate you anymore.  At most it may sting a bit when you think of it.  Wouldn’t you prefer that to being devastated?

And as always, never forget to turn to God & trust Him to help you to do what you need to in order to release that unhealthy habit of reinventing the past.  xoxo

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Songs About Narcissistic Abuse

I’m really into music, mostly classic & hard rock/metal.  I find music to be very good for one’s mental health.  A song can transport you back to a special memory such as your first slow dance or maybe the day you met your spouse.  It also has a way of putting your feelings & experiences into words when you lack that ability.

Recently I realized something as I was listening to some hard rock & heavy metal music.  I think some artists have experience with narcissists & have made songs about it.  I found their songs oddly validating, & hope you will too.

Below are the songs that made me come to this realization.  The titles are links to the song’s video on YouTube if you want to check it out.  If not though, I understand.  Not everyone is a fan of this kind of music.  I included links to pages that contain just the lyrics for my readers who don’t share my musical tastes.

Thorn In My Side, from the 1992 album “Force Of Habit” by Exodus. Here is the link to the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/exodus/thorninmyside.html  In particular, notice the chorus.  If this doesn’t describe what it’s like growing up with a narcissistic parent, I don’t know what does.  The video also tells the story well.  It nearly brought me to tears the first time I saw it.

You are a thorn in my side,
all my life you never left me alone
Thorn in my side, in your mind you wish I never were born
Thorn in my side, through it all I think you pushed me to fail
Thorn in my side, it’s about time you’re recognized
for your lies and your worthless alibis

Soul Sucker from the 2010 album “Scream” by Ozzy Osbourne.  Here are the lyrics:  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ozzyosbourne/soulsucker.html  The chorus on this song in particular struck me as being very interesting.  It describes very well what it’s like being in a relationship with a narcissist, don’t you think?  Whether the narcissist is a parent or romantic partner, this describes very well how it feels.

Stop talking to me
Just like I don’t even bleed
This cross is heavy when
You’re my soul sucker

Get out of my face
The past is running in place
The slivers cut me as you
Suck the soul right out of me

Soul sucker

Holier Than Thou from the 1991 album “Metallica” (or The Black Album) by Metallica.  Here are the lyrics: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/metallica/holierthanthou.html  To me, the lyrics sound like they’re describing a narcissist.  So many use God & religion to abuse their victims, & definitely display that “holier than thou” behavior.  My mother did it.  When I was in my teens, she told me she was going to Heaven because she was such a good person, but being such a bad person, I was bound for Hell.  Anyway, I found this part of the song in particular especially interesting:

Before you judge me take a look at you
Can’t you find something better to do
Point the finger, slow to understand
Arrogance and ignorance go hand in hand

These songs have made me wonder what other songs out there of any genre also came to be due to narcissistic abuse.  Do you know of any?  Do you find listening to them validating?

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When Places Or Items Trigger Traumatic Memories

This post is going to sound a bit odd to many of you, I’m sure, but I hope you’ll read it anyway as I believe it can be beneficial to those in similar situations.

I saw a quote on Facebook that got me to thinking.  It was long, so I’ll summarize.  It suggested that you talk to nature.  Before cutting a tree or plant, tell it what you have in mind to do, & talk to animals with respect.  That sort of thing.

Having some Native American Indian heritage in me, I tend to do this.  It just seems to be in my blood.  I never thought much about it though until reading the quote.

I’ve always talked to my pets as if they were people, & treated them with love & respect.  Many people including many at their vet’s office have commented how well behaved, smart & loving they are.

After my mother died, I took over some of her house plants.  I’ve never been particularly good with plants, but decided to try with some of them anyway.  I started talking to them when I decided to bring them home.  I told them I was taking them home soon & I’ll do my best to take good care of them.  They’re doing surprisingly well!

Before reading this Facebook post though, I began doing this more, & that even includes talking to inanimate objects.  Reading the post only confirmed to me that I was onto something.

When my mother died, & I learned I was to be her personal representative, I was less than thrilled to put it mildly.  I hated going into her house for years, I even hated the house itself, because of all the awful memories it held.  It seemed every room had some bad memories attached.  Knowing I’d have to spend a great deal of time there triggered horrible anxiety & even anger in me.  I had no idea how to deal with this, so I asked God for help.  He told me, “Talk to the house.”  I thought I must be imagining things… then my very logical husband said the same unusual thing a day or two later, even though I told him nothing about God saying that.

One day when I went to my parents’ house, I started talking to it.  Obviously, I felt strange, talking to this inanimate object, but I did it anyway.  I told the house I realized I was wrong for being upset with it for things that people who lived in it did to me. It wasn’t fair to blame the house for the actions of people, & I was sorry.  Let’s get to know each other better.  Suddenly I began to feel a lot more comfortable in the house.  I’m not angry at the house & I don’t cringe every time I see a location in it where something bad happened anymore.

I also did this with my mother’s car, which is now mine.  There were a lot of pretty bad memories of times with her in that car, so I dreaded dealing with the car.  The first couple of times I got behind the wheel, I talked to the car much like I did with the house.  And you know something?  I don’t mind driving that car now.  I’m comfortable with the car now.

Like many of us in our family, my mother named her car.  Her name is Peaches, so when I take her out I often say things like, “Hey, Peaches.. ready to go for a drive?”  I also told her she was getting new tires recently.  I do the same for the house, saying hi & good bye, or telling the house what I’ll be doing today in what room.

I firmly believe a lot of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse have similar feelings.  Some things & places can offer reminders of awful situations, or even trigger flashbacks.  I suggest talking to the item in question.  It really can help you!  I know it sounds crazy, but isn’t it worth a try?  Whatever helps you to remove some pain is a good thing.  So please, give it a try.. what do you have to lose?

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

Another Way To Help Anxiety

There is a lot of talk lately about being a minimalist.  In other words, not having tons of stuff.  Some people even give away of most of their belongings & moving into a tiny house or tiny house trailer.

By their definition, I’m not a minimalist.  I need a slightly larger house than that!  However, I’ve always been of the mindset I don’t need a lot & regularly clean out some of my belongings.

Since I periodically help my husband with the unpleasant task of emptying his late parents’ home & am in the process of doing the same to my late parents’ home, I’ve realized this minimalist thing needs to be taken up a notch in my life.  No, I won’t sell my home & replace it with a 300 square foot tiny house, but I am cleaning out.

I’ve found a great deal of pleasure in downsizing.  Recently I went through our entire CD collection.  Somehow it grew to just over 300 CDs! Since I’d ripped most of them & safely stored those mp3 files on online storage, I figured this is ridiculous.  They take up a lot of space in my small house & I’d like my space back.  I made sure everything was ripped & got rid of all but 31 CDs that have some sort of sentimental value.  They now fit in a storage box that’s slightly larger than a shoe box!  I can’t tell you how good it feels not to have that big collection anymore!

I realized that my paternal grandmother was right.  Too much stuff is just more to maintain & clean, which takes up precious time that could be put to more pleasant uses.  Some of those uses are hobbies, hanging out with people you love, volunteering…  I’d love more time for those things, wouldn’t you?

Too much stuff also can create anxiety.  Something about living in a cluttered space makes me VERY anxious, as no doubt it does many other people.  Since those of us who survived narcissistic abuse usually deal with a lot of anxiety, that is what made me think writing about this topic may be a good idea.

If you’re considering downsizing, I have some tips to help you get started.

When considering getting rid of an item, ask yourself what function it has in your life.  Does it make your life easier?  Does it bring you joy?  If the answers are no, it may be time to let that go.

When was the last time you used/wore the item in question?  If it’s been a while, it may be time to let it go.  But, if it’s something you do use, just only maybe once or twice a year, that may be an item to keep.  As an example, not everyone needs a deviled egg plate daily, but sometimes it can be useful.

Consider what your life would be like without the item in question.  Do you think you would feel better or worse without it?  If better, send it to a new home!

If you’re going through items like books, scrapbooks, pictures, movies or music, do you enjoy the hard copy or could you be content with digital only versions?  Digital versions don’t take up space like hard copies do & can be right at your finger tips, so they have a big advantage like that.  However, some things are irreplaceable, so it would be very hard & even depressing to get rid of them.  Use wisdom & balance in these situations.  I have a ton of pictures stored online, but I also have quite a few printed pictures from years ago.  Also, if you opt to keep digital versions, remember – phones, computers, & external hard drives crash.  I recommend using a reputable cloud storage for such things to be sure nothing gets lost.  I like Dropbox but there are also Google Drive & other online storage options.

Is the item a one of a kind item?  That can make it trickier to give away.  If the item has sentimental value because it once belonged to someone you love that has passed on, I recommend keeping it if you can.  If you don’t feel peace about that though, find someone special to pass it along to that you know will love it as you have.

I firmly believe in downsizing, balance is the key.  Clean out!  Give away things that don’t serve you well, but keep things that do serve you & bring you joy.  You may be surprised how much less anxious you are when you realize you have a lot less stuff in your home than you once did.

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Are You Trying To Be Stronger Than You Are?

Society values the strangest things anymore.  For example, being busy is admired these days.  Strange thing to admire since being too busy is unhealthy physically & mentally.

It also seems to me a false strength is admired.  What I mean by false strength is when a person feels unable to continue doing something, but goes on anyway.  Like when a loved one dies, the surviving people are expected to just go on like nothing happened.  People seem to think once the funeral is over, their grief should be too.  It’s time to go on with life at that point.  They don’t realize that for most people, that is when their grief really begins.  Or, if a person is physically ill or disabled yet pushes him or herself to the point of extreme pain &/or fatigue, that is admired.

Another type of false strength that seems to be admired in society is going on as if nothing happened after being abused.  “It’s in the past,” “let it go,” “stop wallowing in the past,” “get over it” & other heartless comments are commonly made to abuse survivors.  What many people fail to realize is we want to let it go & get over it, but we can’t.  We have to process things fully before we can truly let things go.

The simple fact is childhood is an extremely important time in a person’s life.  All things, good, bad or indifferent that happen to children make a very deep imprint on them.  Much deeper than on an adult.  When bad things happen to a child, that child carries that into adulthood, possibly even for their entire life.

Many people who suffered child abuse also have PTSD or C-PTSD.  These are disorders where the victim has experienced so much trauma, their brain has physically changed, broken even.  Neither disorder is something that can be shaken off, & they should be taken seriously.  Many, many people with PTSD or C-PTSD have committed suicide & many consider suicide on a regular basis – these are potentially life threatening disorders!

If you too suffer with PTSD or C-PTSD, then I am particularly writing to you, however, I think this article can benefit most anyone.

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I was told constantly how lazy I was.  This has stuck with me – I still battle feeling lazy constantly even though I’m in my 40’s.  Many other adult children of narcissistic parents I’ve spoken with share similar stories with similar results.  I believe for many of us, this is at the root of this “I always have to be strong & productive” behavior.  As a result, we continue pushing ourselves beyond our physical & mental limits constantly rather than be “lazy” like Mom always said we were.

No matter what the reason, continuing to push yourself beyond your limits isn’t being strong- it’s unwise, because you’re putting your physical & mental health at risk!!

I hope to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to learn to take better care of yourself.  The fact you have made it this far shows you are strong- you have nothing to prove to anyone.  Listen to your body & mind.  If they feel stressed, then it’s time to rest.  There is no shame in resting your body & mind.  Even God rested.  Genesis 2:2 states, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”  (KJV)  In fact, there are also several accounts in the Bible where Jesus took off to be by Himself.  There is NOTHING wrong with rest.  It helps you to renew your strength.  In fact, if you incorporate rest into your life as you need it, you will be stronger.  In 2000 when I was one of my grandmother’s caregivers, she ran me ragged.  Once I stopped being at her beck & call constantly, & started making time to rest & take care of myself, I was better able to take care of her.  (And, with her being a narcissist, I needed every advantage I could get too!  lol)

If you truly want to be strong, practice self care & abandon pushing yourself too hard!  It really does make a difference!

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God Truly Works All Things Out To Good

My husband & I were talking last night about the relationship with my parents, & I thought I’d share a bit of that talk with you…

I was quickly reaching a point probably about 10 years ago where I wanted no further contact with my parents.  I prayed about it, & knew God was leaving that decision up to me, & would support me either way.  I wasn’t sure what to do, so I maintained the relationship.

As many of you know, in 2015 I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  While I was in the emergency room & still very delirious, I told my husband not to tell our parents about this at any costs, because if he did, I would kill him.  In spite of being totally in my own delirious world at that time, I still have some vague memories of thinking of how my parents would respond to my situation & knew there was NO way I could handle their lack of concern.

While recovering, I remembered this, & it hit me… my word!!  I can’t even expect comfort from my parents when I nearly died!  How messed up is this?!  That revelation threw me for a loop.  I was incredibly sad & angry about it at the same time.  That was when I told God, enough is enough.  I want these people out of my life!  I’m done!  Yet oddly, this time I felt He was saying, “No.  Wait.  I’ll show you when the time is right.”

Well, I waited & kept saying, “Now?!  Please?!”  “Wait.”  *sigh*  Ok…

Then May 5, 2016, I had a big fight with my parents.  I knew that night my mother wouldn’t speak to me for quite a while, then she’d call like nothing ever happened.  That is how she always operated.  I also knew my father would demand to me to try to smooth over this fiasco.  What I figured would happen, happened.  Over the next few months, I made the decision that I was officially done with my mother, then later decided I was also done with my father.  I felt God was saying the timing was right, so I blocked my parents’ phone numbers.

For a while, I wondered why that timing was right & why I felt God didn’t want me to end contact for that period of time.  Eventually it hit me.  I learned a LOT in the final couple of years of my relationship with my parents.  I learned a lot more in that short time than in the other years.  I started to understand what makes narcissists tick & figured out some pretty effective ways to cope with them.  This gave me a LOT of good information to write about & to share with my readers.

I am so glad to be able to help people, in particular ones for whom no contact isn’t an option.  That is such an awful place to be!  I am grateful I learned what I did during that time, in spite of how incredibly miserable that time was.

I’m telling you this so that you hopefully will be inspired to think the same way about your situation.  I’m not saying be grateful for the abuse you endured of course.  Who could be?!  But, chances are there is some good that came of it.  Being abused gives people a deep empathy & caring for other people, because they understand suffering so well.  That is a blessing.  Learning how to spot abusive people & how to deal with the ones you can’t avoid is another blessing.  Learning about how to set & enforce healthy boundaries is still another.

Like I said, I’m not saying you should be grateful you were abused.  That would be weird & I’d think very unhealthy to boot.  However, if you can find some good in it all, it can help you a great deal, because you know that your pain wasn’t pointless.  It had some purpose.  What others meant to destroy you, not only didn’t accomplish that, but it gave you some blessings as well.  God wastes absolutely nothing, & He was able to glean something good out of anything, even something so awful.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” (AMP)

So when you consider the awful experiences you have been through, please try to remember that some good things did come out of them!  Of course, it would’ve been nice if they came another way, but at least they did come to you.  Your pain wasn’t in vain!

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

Isolation

Narcissists love keeping victims to themselves, & will go to any means necessary to accomplish it.  Isolating a victim gives an abuser plenty of advantages…

The victim with no support system without caring friends & family, which often makes a victim easier to control.  Supportive friends & family give a person strength & help to raise their self-esteem, which are two qualities no abuser wants in a victim.

If a victim doesn’t even realize the situation he or she is in is abusive, caring people in his or her life will recognize it.  They will call the victim’s attention to it & convince the victim that he or she deserves better.  They also will do their level best to help the victim to escape.  Certainly no narcissist wants this scenario!

Lacking that support system also can lead to depression.  Depressed people are much easier to control than happy people.  They simply don’t care as much about anything, including themselves, so they may go along with all kinds of things.  They also won’t talk back or question an abuser like a healthy person would.  They don’t think they deserve any better, so they are easy to manipulate which works out very well for abusers.

Also with isolation, this severely limits the information available to a victim.  This means a victim is less likely to realize how wrong the abuse is & more likely to tolerate the abuse without question.  Isolation also means an abuser can control what information the victim is privy to, which is extremely advantageous to abusers.

Isolation can be accomplished by several different means, & abusers will use any or all of these tactics to get their way.

If a victim already has friends &/or relatives they are close to when the abusive relationship begins, most abusers will sow seeds of doubt in their victims’ minds about those relationships.  My ex husband did this.  We met just before I turned 17, & even then, he was starting to work on isolating me.  It got worse after we were married, though.  He began telling me that my best friend wasn’t really a good friend.  At the time, her now ex husband was doing the same thing regarding me.  As a result, our friendship ended.  (Thankfully we got back in touch after our divorces & are now inseparable.)  My ex also told me that my grandparents, who I adored, hated me & didn’t believe me that my mother was abusive, so I shouldn’t talk to them anymore.  He did it enough that I did sever ties with them for years.

If an abuser isn’t successful at making a victim doubt a person, they have other ways to destroy the relationship.  If their victim is with someone, they can call  constantly, interrupting that time together & generally being highly annoying.  Before getting together with someone, the abuser can create some crisis, forcing the victim to cancel their plans.  Bonus for them is if they can make the victim not tell the person they had plans with, to just stand them up, because certainly that person will be angry.  Abusers also may keep victims so busy, they simply have no time to spend with anyone but the abuser.

Another way to isolate victims is for an abuser to show their disgust with the victim’s friends or family.  Constantly talking about how bad the people the victim cares about are can erode the love the victim feels for them.  The victim may begin to see these people as the narcissist does, & the victim ends those relationships voluntarily.

If the victim grows up with an abusive parent, that abuser has a big advantage that a romantic partner lacks.  The abusive parent can control the child from birth, & refuse to allow that child to befriend anyone of whom the parent doesn’t approve.  The parent can keep the child so close that the child has no opportunity to make friends.  A parent can even home school the child or refuse to allow the child to spend time with extended family, & the child must do as he or she is told.

If you’re involved with someone, anyone, who undermines your relationships or tries to separate you from others, it’s a HUGE red flag!  If at all possible, don’t let this person isolate you!  Maintain your healthy relationships!  They are truly invaluable!

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Ways Narcissists Use Shame To Abuse

Shame is a powerful weapon in the hands of an abuser.  It can cause a person to rely on their abuser for pretty much any information & make them easy to control by causing them to think they need someone smarter to tell them what to do.  Narcissists know this, & they have fine tuned many very effective ways to use shame to abuse their victims.

Narcissists will destroy a person’s self esteem in order to create toxic shame in a victim.  They point out a person’s flaws (real or imagined) constantly & tell embarrassing stories about them.  This keeps a victim on their toes, trying to be better, to please the narcissist, & to avoid doing embarrassing things that the narcissist will use to embarrass the victim with at any given time.

Narcissists also will invalidate a victim.  If they tell an embarrassing story, for example, & the victim becomes rightly upset, the narcissist will say things like, “I was just joking.”  “You can’t even take a joke!”  My narcissistic mother did this one constantly, & when I got upset, would tell me, “There’s something wrong with you.  You shouldn’t feel that way!  That was funny!”

Narcissists also love to reinvent the past.  They claim to be responsible for their victim’s successes, claim the successes weren’t all that great or even deny they happened.  Regarding their abuse, they will claim the abuse never happened or if it did, it wasn’t as bad as the victim claims or the victim made the narcissist do it.

Narcissists will twist a situation around to make themselves look like the victim rather than the abuser.  They do this in two ways.  They will tell others about how angry their victim is, how he or she yells at them, while leaving out the things they did that got the victim to that state.  They also will use a victim’s own valid reactions to their abuse to prove to the victim that the victim is abusive &/or is mentally unstable.

Narcissists never speak to their victims as if the victim is their equal.  Sometimes they will talk down to their victim, in particular if the victim in question is their child.  They want to maintain that adult/child relationship in order to make their child feel inferior to them, therefore making them easier to control.

Other narcissists will talk in circles, use big words, speak with authority & basically try to talk above their victim, which makes even the most intelligent victim feel stupid.  They may change their body language or physical position so they literally can look down at their victim.

If the narcissist’s victim has any sort of religious faith, the narcissist will not hesitate to use their beliefs to shame the victim.  Many tell their victims things like they are going to hell because of how they treat the narcissist, or they aren’t honoring their parent.  They let their victims know they are a total failure in every way, including their religious beliefs.

Narcissists view everything as a competition, & they will use comparisons to shame their victims.  If a narcissist & their victim have something in common, you can guarantee the narcissist will make sure the victim knows the narcissist does it better or has a better one or is more successful at it.  Whatever “it” is, the narcissist is the master, the victim the failure, according to the narcissist.

When a narcissist behaves in these ways towards you, keep in mind what is really happening!  You have no reason to be ashamed of yourself, no matter what the narcissist is saying.  He or she is only trying  to make you feel that way in order to abuse & manipulate you.  Like everything when it comes to narcissists, it’s all about the narcissist, & has nothing to do with you.  Never forget that!

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An Unhealthy Trauma Based Coping Skill

In today’s society, keeping busy, even too busy, is seen as admirable.  When people haven’t seen you for a while, & ask how have you been or what have you been up to, “Been busy” is an answer that always seems to get approval.  Saying, “Not much” on the other hand gets looks of disapproval.

I don’t subscribe to the admiration of busyness.  While I’m not advocating for being lazy & unproductive, I don’t think being too busy is wise in many ways.  The stress of it can cause physical & mental exhaustion.  That stress also can cause health problems such has high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease & heart problems.  Most people are aware that these things can happen.

What I don’t think most people are aware of is that making yourself too busy also can be an unhealthy way to cope with trauma.

After experiencing trauma, some people cope with it however works for them.  They do what they can to heal & they move on as best they can.  On the other hand though are people who have been through so much pain, they feel they can’t take anymore.  They don’t see that facing their pain is going to help them, or they’re afraid of the pain.  Maybe they think that it’ll take over & or they can’t recover from it, so they decide to hide from it.  Many in this position turn to addictions such as drugs, alcohol, sex or even shopping.  Making their lives too busy is a much lesser known addiction, but it is just as dangerous as the others.

A person who is too busy has no time or energy to devote to healing.  This enables the person to avoid their pain very well by removing the opportunity even to think about it.  Stuffing pain inside is unhealthy!  Doing so can cause big physical & emotional problems.  Emotions demand to be felt, & if they are ignored, they’ll find other ways to manifest, & chances are that manifestation isn’t going to be a healthy one.

It is much better to face your pain than to ignore it.  Yes, it’s painful, but it is much less painful than living with dysfunctional ways of trying so hard to ignore it.  Think of it like draining an infected wound.  Sure, the draining process is painful & well, pretty gross.  Once it’s done though, the wound heals much quickly & may not even leave a scar.  Ignoring the wound means it’ll take much longer to heal, if it does heal, & an ugly scar will be left behind.

Traumatic events are like the poison in an infected wound.  You can drain your traumatic wound by dealing with that pain.  Face the trauma, admit it happened, admit it was terrible, admit you never deserved it, admit you didn’t make anyone abuse you & feel those feelings attached to it.  Doing these things will help you so much to heal!

If you’re too busy, however, you can’t do this so easily.  You’re going to need to make some life changes first.  To begin, I strongly recommend prayer.  Ask God to guide & help you in this situation.

Also consider all of the things that are taking up your time.  How necessary is each activity?  What is your motivation for participating in each activity?  Which activities bring you joy?  Which ones do you dislike?

Once you know which activities you need to eliminate & which to continue, think about creating more efficient ways to do these things.  Let your dirty dishes soak while you run the vacuum so you spend less time scrubbing dishes.  Take turns with another parent of a child on your child’s sports team driving your kids to practice.  Common sense little time savers like these may not seem important, but they really can add up quickly, giving you more time to relax, enjoy your life do what you really need to do, including working on your emotional healing.

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

About Ruminating Thoughts

Ruminating thoughts are very common after someone has experienced trauma, in particular in cases of PTSD & C-PTSD.  They are when a person can’t stop thinking about their awful experiences.

Like many people, I experienced them once C-PTSD developed, but I still had a slight degree of control over them.  Sometimes, I could force them to stop & think of something else.  After surviving carbon monoxide poisoning though, my brain was damaged.  Part of that damage was no longer having the ability to control those ruminating thoughts.  I had to learn new & effective ways to cope with them.

After my mother’s sudden death in April, my ruminating thoughts got really, really bad!  At first it was incredibly hard to handle them on top of everything else about the situation.  With God’s help, after a few months of this, I’ve gotten a much better grip on the awful ruminating thoughts.

When they happen, I’ve learned it’s best if at all possible to get alone & sit with the thoughts.  I let them run their course, reminding me of whatever awful thing they are about.  I also allow myself  to feel the emotions that the thoughts trigger.  Whatever it is, be it anger, sadness, hurt, I feel them.  No, this isn’t easy.  In fact it’s incredibly difficult, but it is also well worth it.  The more I do this, the less frequent the ruminating thoughts on that particular topic are.

Immediately following my mother’s death, I kept having ruminating thoughts about the night the police came to give me the news of her passing.  It was hardly a pleasant experience to say the least.  I would relive their visit over & over in my mind.  At first, I did my best to ignore these thoughts.  I didn’t see it could do me any good to think about that night.

As time went on though & the thoughts were still frequent, I realized something had to give.  I started allowing myself to think about that awful night, & to feel the emotions that I remember feeling that night.  I leaned on God to help me but even with Him, it was still quite painful.  However, the more I did this when they happened, the less painful remembering that night became.  As an added bonus, the less frequently the ruminating thoughts about that night became.  I still remember that night pretty frequently & it still hurts to be honest, but now I think it’s on a much more normal level.  After all, it’s only been just under 4 months since my mother died.  That isn’t a long time at all, so it’s totally normal considering the length of time, our lack of relationship & the rest of the odd situation that I’d still be very upset about her death.

If you suffer with ruminating thoughts, I recommend that you do the same things I have.  Get alone with the thoughts as soon as you can.  Let them run their course & feel your feelings.  Let God help you to get through them, too.  Tell Him what you feel & allow Him to validate & comfort you.  It’s going to hurt at first, but I promise, it gets easier as you do it!  I also promise it’s well worth the pain you feel at first when those ruminating thoughts come less frequently or even disappear in time.  It’s kind of like lancing a boil.  That doesn’t even sound pleasant & must be awful to experience, but it must be done in order to release the infection so the body can heal.  You’re doing the same basic thing – you’re going through the discomfort of facing these ugly things head on so your mind can heal.

Ruminating thoughts are a miserable thing, I know.  They don’t have to cause you unnecessary suffering anymore, however!  You can make these miserable things work in your favor.  You can use them as a tool towards healing!

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

Narcissists & Life Altering Events

When your average person experiences something that could be drastically life altering or even life ending, they are shaken up badly by the entire experience.  Your average person may use the terrifying ordeal as a motivation to make positive changes in their life, such as working less hours or spending more time with their loved ones.  They look at life differently.   They become more appreciative of people & tell them how much they are appreciated.

This doesn’t happen with narcissists.

Narcissists think so differently than mentally healthy people, it makes sense that they also won’t respond in a normal way to such events.

A narcissist diagnosed with a deadly disease, for example, may complain a lot about it. They may feel sorry for themselves a great deal.  They will look for pity from others.

A narcissist who survived a potentially deadly accident or terrible health scare often fails to see that they were blessed to survive & have this second chance at life.  Instead, they may act like they are too good to have died in that way.

In an elderly narcissist who is getting more frail, the entitlement attitude becomes even more obvious than ever.  Elderly narcissists often expect their spouses & adult children to take care of them 24/7, even doing things that the narcissists are still able to do.  They use their failing health as an excuse to get out of doing things & a way to manipulate their families.  Some have been known to take too many or too few medications to make themselves sick in order to gain attention.

In situations like these, narcissists may feel similar fear & terror everyone would feel.  The difference is they don’t admit to these feelings.  Instead, their sense of entitlement & grandiosity comes into play.  They feel entitled to have their families, neighbors & doctors swarm around them to take good care of them.

And, if the narcissist in question recovers from a serious illness or survives a potentially deadly accident, don’t count on him or her changing.  Narcissists don’t process things like healthy people do, as I mentioned earlier in this post.  They won’t be inspired to make good, positive & healthy changes in their lives.  In fact, some narcissists seem disappointed that their health problem has improved since it means they no longer are able to be the center of attention.

Witnessing such behaviors can be shocking, even when you know quite a bit about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It’s impossible for a normal, functional person to grasp fully narcissistic behaviors.  They’re so drastically opposed to functional behaviors, it’s often impossible for a non-narcissist to wrap their mind around such things.  If you feel this way upon witnessing a narcissist act in their totally dysfunctional way after a crisis, you’re not alone!  My mother has had heart surgery twice in her life.  The first time she seemed to have changed, but it didn’t last long.  She was back to her overt narcissist ways in no time.  The second time, there wasn’t any change, not even for a day.  Witnessing both times was very difficult for me because it made no sense.  Then having my own brush with death in 2015, it became even more mind boggling.

While I often suggest trying to understand what makes narcissists tick as a way to help victims protect themselves from accepting the blame for the problems in the relationship & predicting what the narcissist will do, in this area, I say give up.  There’s no way to understand this bizarre behavior.  Chalk it up to one more extremely dysfunctional way of thinking on the narcissist’s part.

Lastly, if you experience some sort of health scare, bad medical diagnosis or close call of some sort, I don’t recommend telling the narcissist in your life if you can help it.  The vast amount of concern the narcissist has for herself won’t be showed to you. If the narcissist has experienced the same thing or knows someone who has, she WILL invalidate you.  They had it worse, you just need to suck it up or take a pill.  This sort of thing is why I never told my parents about my brush with death.  When in such a situation, you don’t need their toxicity.  You need compassion & gentleness, which are 2 things narcissists lack.

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Some Reasons People Try To Stop You From Talking About Narcissistic Abuse

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About Feelings & The Adult Child Of Narcissistic Parents

People who grew up with narcissistic parents learned early in their life that their feelings didn’t matter & in fact, they weren’t even allowed to have feelings.  The only feelings that are important to any narcissist are the feelings of that narcissist, after all.  Growing up in such an environment, it’s very common for children to learn to ignore their feelings or on the off chance they feel something, to stuff that emotion deep down inside & ignore it.

This is  very unhealthy behavior!!  Feelings don’t just disappear or die.  They remain, even when ignored & neglected.  Sure, you can ignore or even numb them successfully for a time, but they will demand attention at some point.

Feelings are actually a wonderful thing, in spite of what our narcissistic parents taught us.  They let us know when things are good or bad.  They warn us when something harmful is happening & give us a release when too many bad things are happening at once.  Sharing your feelings also can create intimacy with someone by making you vulnerable with that person.  That really is a good thing, provided you share with a safe, loving person.

After a lifetime of ignoring your feelings though, where do you begin?

First, start paying attention to yourself.  Notice how you really feel about things.  Do some things make you happy?  Sad?  Angry?  Pay attention to what those things are & how they make you feel.  This will help you to get to know yourself better as well as how you honestly feel about things.  You can journal about your discoveries, too, as having a written record to look back on can be very helpful.

Also, never judge yourself for what you feel.  Feelings just are, they just happen, even the strange ones.  You aren’t wrong if vanilla ice cream makes you angry.  Chances are that if you get angry when you see vanilla ice cream that there is some trauma in your past connected to vanilla ice cream, & that is why you feel that way.  Figure out what that trauma is & face it head on.  Sure, that sounds odd, but things like that can happen.  I believe God lets us face only what we can at a time which is why some repressed memories start as unusual things like the ice cream example.  That first strange little thing is a stepping stone to a larger thing that needs your attention.

Don’t forget to talk to safe, good people about your feelings.  It helps to have caring people validate your feelings.  There is nothing wrong with you for what you feel, but it can feel that way at first.  Having someone you can trust tell you that you’re OK, & there is nothing wrong with you for what you feel can be incredibly helpful!

Most of all, don’t forget to pray & pray often.  God will help you however you need the help, so let Him!  Tell him whatever you think & feel, ask for whatever you need & listen to His voice as He speaks to you.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Ways Narcissists Gain Attention

Narcissists love attention, & many must be the focal point of everyone’s attention at all times.  Overt narcissists are naturally more brazen in how they command attention than their covert counterparts, but covert narcissists love attention too.  There are countless things they can do to draw all attention to themselves, but this post addresses some of the more commonly used tactics.

Narcissists have no manners whatsoever.  Add that in with their insatiable desire to have everyone’s attention, & you have a person who WILL interrupt whoever is talking.  When a person interrupts, they naturally become the center of attention, so it’s a useful & very commonly used tactic for narcissists.

Overt narcissists can be loud in how they interrupt people.  They usually will talk over people.  Covert narcissists, as usual, are more subtle.  They will try to have the final word in any conversation.  There is also a trick my covertly narcissistic father used.  As I would start to speak, he’d act like he was going to speak.  Naturally, I’d apologize & let him talk.  Eventually I realized that was his goal.  He didn’t want to hear what I had to say.  He wanted to shut me up so he could talk, & knowing I hate bad manners, I’d be polite & let him talk.

And, if a narcissist is hard of hearing, interrupting becomes easier yet.  Many have what I call selective hearing.  While they may indeed have diminished hearing, they also use the excuse of not hearing a person when it fits them.  If they want someone else to stop talking so they can talk, they can just start talking & claim they didn’t hear the other person talking.

Another way narcissists gain attention is by turning a conversation back to themselves.  After all, if people are talking about something that isn’t the narcissist, that means the narcissist isn’t the center of attention.  They will spin the conversation around to themselves in such a way that no one will have a clue how that happened.

Narcissists also gain attention by telling stories about you to other people, preferably in a group of which you also are a part.  Not good stories like how you got that big promotion at work or were your high school valedictorian, only stories that embarrass you.  This tactic is especially popular with narcissistic parents, but spouses also may use it, especially if the narcissist is older than the victim.  Telling embarrassing stories makes a person feel shamed & foolish, which makes a person easier to control, so that is an added bonus to the attention the stories gain.  And, the narcissist may spin the story so it looks like he or she rescued you somehow.

If the narcissist has some sort of pain like back pain, arthritis, or even a short term problem such as a broken leg, the problem will be used to his or her advantage.  You can expect this person to claim unbearable pain when not receiving all attention.  A similar scenario can happen if the narcissist has an illness or disease.  If this narcissist isn’t the center of attention, suddenly he or she will claim symptoms are flaring up, or maybe that he or she must lay down or go home immediately.  In either scenario, most people will focus on the narcissist & try to help, returning him or her to the center of attention.

Shock value is another favorite way narcissists gain attention.  My mother literally crashed my late father in-law’s funeral in 2018 to get her precious attention.  She drove to the graveside as the funeral was just starting & wouldn’t get out of her car.  People were shocked, & staring.  It worked as she wanted.  Other shock value tactics may include things like burping or passing gas loudly, or saying something totally outrageous such as gory details of how someone was murdered.  Shock value naturally stuns people, & they focus all attention on the narcissist, as was the goal.

When the narcissist in your life behaves this way, deprive them of that attention.  If they interrupt you, talk over them or talk to someone else.  If they change the topic back to themselves, change it back to the original topic.  If they use embarrassing stories, pain or shock value, ignore them.  Depriving a narcissist of attention means that action won’t be used again because it doesn’t work.

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Thinking About Your Past- Good Or Bad?

I caught a brief video on Facebook recently & in it, the gentleman said, “if you hold onto your history, you do so at the expense of your destiny.”  This sounds so inspiring doesn’t it?  But then I paused to think about it for a second.. & it hit me wrong.

Your history can be a very good thing, even when it’s full of awful, negative things &  trauma.

As you live life, you learn.  Good, bad & indifferent, you’re constantly learning things.  If you let go of your past, you’re also letting go of things you’ve learned.  As an example, say you were once married to a narcissist.  It was a horrible & traumatic time.  Then you got away from that person.  As you healed from the experience, you learned a lot.  You learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, ways to identify narcissists & ways that you could heal from the abuse you endured.  If as you heal, you try to forget what that marriage was like, you put yourself in a dangerous position.  Even though you learned how to identify a narcissist, you may not do it.  You may meet another narcissist who wants to date you & even though you recognize the signs, you may think “I’ve learned & grown so much.  I can handle it.  Narcissism isn’t that big of a deal!”  You easily could end up dating or married to this person & suffering another abusive, miserable marriage.  However, if you remember just how awful it was being married to that first narcissist, you won’t even give this one the time of day, let alone become romantically involved.

Another thing to consider… if you wish to heal completely from any emotional trauma or abuse, you have to delve into your past to do so.  To truly heal, you have to get to the root of the dysfunctional behavior that lets you know something is wrong.  If you want to get rid of a weed in your garden, you can pluck it or dig it out by the root.  Only by digging out the root can you truly get rid of the weed.  If you simply pluck the flower part, the root is still there, which means that weed will return over & over again until you get rid of the root.  That is how emotional healing is.  Sure, you can stop drinking, using drugs, or whatever other unhealthy coping skill you’re using, but unless you find the root of what drove you to that behavior in the first place, the behavior may return or another dysfunctional one will show up in its place.

While I agree that we should do our best not to let our pasts control us or define us, I think our pasts can be very valuable teaching tools for the present.

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Having A Healthy Perspective

If you have survived narcissistic abuse, then you know how badly it can mess with your mind.  One thing it does is it can skew a person’s perspective in all kinds of ways.  It can leave a person feeling badly about themselves, such as believing they are ugly or stupid when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also can make a person overly pessimistic, because he or she has had so many bad things happen to them.  Or, it can turn a person overly optimistic, because either he or she has decided not to be so negative like the narcissist who abused them or he or she is  trying so hard to distance from the abuse in every possible way.

In any case, neither being too pessimistic or optimistic is good.  Pessimists are often depressed because they only see the bad things in life & expect only bad things to happen.  Optimists are often depressed, too, because they constantly expect good things to happen.  When something happens that isn’t so good, they are shocked & saddened.

Being realistic yet slightly optimistic seems to be the healthiest way to think, in my opinion anyway.  You accept things as they are, whether good or bad, & if there is a way to glean good from it, you do it.

It can be tricky to get your thinking more balanced after being so out of balance for a long time, but it is still possible.  It takes time, patience, understanding with yourself, focus & help from God.

Prayer truly is the best place to start.  Ask God for whatever it is you need, such as helping you to be more aware of unhealthy thoughts so you can change them.

I recommend too, focusing on God.  If your relationship with Him isn’t particularly close, then work on it.  Drawing close to your Heavenly Father really helps to bring comfort, peace & joy.

Also try to focus on what you think about.  Many times, people just think things & don’t even realize what they are thinking about.  Slow your thoughts down & pay attention to the things that cross your mind.  Acknowledge them & accept them without judgment.

Question those thoughts, too.  Is it possible that your expectations of this person/situation are unrealistic?  Ok, so this situation is pretty bad.. is there something good that you can take away from it?

If you tend to think too emotionally, then try to interject some logic into your thoughts.  If you have trouble doing this, try imagining your situation not as yours, but as that of a friend who has come to you with this situation, looking for advice or comfort.  How would you feel about it as an outsider?  What would you think of your friend’s feelings?  Thinking this way can help to detach you some emotionally so you can look at situations more objectively.

Although it may take some time, you can learn to have a healthier perspective on life.  It will be well worth your time & energy when you are a happier & more peaceful person.

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Hyper Vigilance

Hyper vigilance is a term used to describe when a person feels an extreme awareness of one’s surroundings.  It’s so much more than simply noticing obvious things, such as if a new person entered the room or if someone else left the room.  It’s being aware that & much more.  It can be an awareness of things most people don’t even notice, such as if someone had a fleeting expression of anger or someone’s tone of voice changing ever so slightly.  It also can include an extremely exaggerated startle response, increased heart rate & fast, shallow breathing, feelings of anxiety & even panic.

Hyper vigilance is a natural part of C-PTSD & is extremely common among those who have survived narcissistic abuse.

When you are in the midst of narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that in order to avoid the narcissist’s rage, you have to be perfect.  In order to be perfect, you must be aware of whatever the narcissist thinks, feels, wants or needs at any given time.  To be aware of such things, you have to notice even the slightest change in the narcissist.  Even such very subtle things as a slightly raised eyebrow or a transient half smile can clue you in to whatever the narcissist may want from you or is thinking.  Hyper vigilance becomes a very useful survival skill with narcissists, because it can protect you from the narcissist’s rage & abuse.  Unfortunately though, once the relationship with a narcissist has ended, the hyper vigilance often remains even though there is no longer a need for it.

There are some ways you can cope with hyper vigilance in this situation.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be very helpful.  Talking about your feelings & experiences is helpful, because when you bring problems out into the open, they often lose their control & power over you.  You also begin to see the flaws in the thinking that causes your problems in ways you never did before which means you can correct these things.  Even if you opt not to partake in therapy, just talking about your feelings & experiences can help, if you talk with only safe, non judgmental & understanding people.  Best of all, if you can find someone who has experienced situations similar to yours because that person can understand you as others cannot.

When you feel anxious, stop & take a deep breath.  Release it slowly.  This simple action enables you to take a moment to stop & regain your focus, plus the act of breathing helps to calm your body.

Remind yourself that you are safe.  There is no danger & no need to be hyper vigilant in this situation.  Look around at your surroundings & take in what you see.  If you’re with someone, ask them for help if you need it.

Acknowledge what you feel.  Question it.  Does it make sense in this situation?  Why or why not?  Logic helps to calm emotions, especially emotions that are disproportionate to the situation at hand.  Use that to your favor by questioning what you feel.

Medication may be helpful, so talk to your doctor or therapist if you are interested in trying it.  Anti-anxiety & anti-depressant medications can be quite helpful.  There are many to choose from, so it may take some time to find what works best for you.  Also, don’t forget to ask your doctor about possible side effects before you agree to take a medication.  There are also herbal alternatives, such as Valerian Root, lemon balm & kava kava that may help to calm your anxiety, & St. John’s Wort & Sam-E for depression.

Hyper vigilance is a nuisance, I know, but it can be managed!  Be as patient, understanding & gentle with yourself as possible, & you will see positive results in time.  xoxo

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How A Narcissist’s Projection Can Work For You

Most of us who have survived narcissistic abuse know at least some about projection.  Projection is when a narcissist accuses a victim of something that the victim doesn’t do, but the narcissist does.  As one example, my narcissistic mother accused me of lying more times than I can count.  Although in all fairness I lied some to her, I didn’t lie to her often, & when I did, it was out of self preservation.  She, however, has lied to & about me more times than I can count.

Projection is a very effective weapon for a narcissist.  It allows the narcissist to get upset about the flaw they are accusing another person of while simultaneously accepting no responsibility whatsoever for it or making appropriate changes in their behavior.  It also means that unless the victim is aware of the phenomenon of projection, the victim will listen to the narcissist & make whatever changes they need to in order to please the narcissist.  This means plenty of narcissistic supply to any narcissist.  Controlling a victim?  Turning a situation around so the victim feels responsible while absolving oneself of responsibility at the same time?!  This is a big narcissistic supply win!

Victims need to be aware of projection so not only do they refuse to accept this burden & blame any longer, but also so the narcissist in their life is deprived of getting their narcissistic supply.  Depriving a narcissist of supply is VERY important to help you maintain your sanity while in a relationship with any narcissist.

Another reason to know about projection is because it can help you to learn about the narcissist.  Remember what projection is- a narcissist accusing a victim of things that they are doing, not the victim.  A narcissistic wife who accuses her husband of cheating is most likely cheating or at the very least, has chosen someone she wants to have an affair with.  The narcissistic boss who accuses an employee of stealing from the company probably has stolen quite a bit.  A narcissistic parent who accuses their adult child of lying is most likely a liar.

If you pay attention to what the narcissist in your life accuses you of doing, you can learn what they are up to.  This knowledge can help you to figure out ways to deal with the narcissist because now you know just what you’re dealing with.

The next time the narcissist in your life accuses you of some outrageous behavior, Dear Reader, I urge you to listen to it.  Not because they are right, but because it can help you to understand what they are up to.

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My Ebooks Are On Sale For The Entire Month Of July

My ebook publisher is having a sale on my books for the entire month of July.  25% off!  Check it out at the link below

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Why Do Narcissists Doubt Those Who Say They’re Sick?

If you have a narcissist in your life, no doubt that you have had the unpleasant experience of telling that person that you are sick only to have them not believe you.  I certainly have.  I can’t count how many times my mother didn’t believe me that I had the flu or some sickness.  She didn’t even believe I was injured when clearly I was limping or bruised.  In fact, after she threw me into a wall when I was 19 & I had back pain for the next 10 years, she deliberately would hand me heavy items, smack me in the back & tell people I was faking the injury.

Does any part of my story sound familiar to you?  I would guess it does.  It’s so upsetting & frustrating, isn’t it?  Even if you don’t care what this person thinks of you, it’s hurtful knowing they actually think you’d be capable of lying, let alone about something as serious as your health.  It also can be difficult because if the narcissist is talented enough at gaslighting, you may start to doubt yourself & believe what the narcissist says.  I know, it sounds hard to believe, but it can happen.  I had plenty of times where I wondered if my mother was right, & I really was faking my back injury.

I used to wonder why this happens.  Why don’t narcissists believe people when they say they’re sick or injured?  Eventually, I think I figured it out.

As anyone who knows anything about narcissism knows, narcissists lack empathy.  If another person is sick or injured, they simply couldn’t care less.  So what if someone is suffering?  It doesn’t affect the narcissist, so it doesn’t matter to the narcissist.  If they can convince a person that they truly aren’t sick or injured, maybe the person will stop “bothering” the narcissist with their complaints & problems.

There is also the attention factor.  Narcissists expect to be the center of attention at all times.  If someone is sick or injured, other people will care.  Their attention will be on the patient, not the narcissist.  This is a problem for any narcissist.  If they can convince others that the patient isn’t really sick or injured, they may be able to divert all attention back to themselves.

Along the lines of getting attention is the fact that many narcissists will exaggerate or even outright fake illness or injury for attention.  Not long before the last time I spoke to my mother, she had a trip to the emergency room.  Suddenly she was violently sick to her stomach one day, & my father called an ambulance.  It turned out simply to be vertigo.  Highly annoying, yes, but not serious.  A few hours at the emergency room, & she was home again.  When I spoke to her that last time, she mentioned how she “was in the hospital.”  That comment made it sound much more serious than it actually was, didn’t it?

There are also those who will make themselves sick or hurt themselves in order to gain attention from their loved ones & from medical staff.  Munchausen Syndrome is what that is called.

I believe that because some narcissists will fake or exaggerate their own health issues or even harm themselves, they believe other people do the same.  Narcissists tend to see everyone as alike.  They expect other people to do the exact same things that they do, so if they will fake problems, it’s only natural to them to assume that other people will do the same. They can’t seem to comprehend that other people don’t act like they do.

The next time the narcissist in your life doesn’t believe you about being sick or injured, I hope you will remember this post.  Their lack of belief is their problem, & it has nothing to do with you at all.

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Recovering From A Smear Campaign

After escaping abuse at the hands of a narcissist, many victims find their narcissist has created a smear campaign against them.  In other words, they trash the victim’s reputation to anyone & everyone who will listen.  They also turn friends & family against the victim, including people the victim never expected could be turned against them.  This on top of all of the horrors of the abuse can be utterly devastating.

When a narcissist creates a smear campaign, you first need to remember what it is.  It’s an abusive tactic designed to isolate you, to leave you without support & love by making people think terribly of you.

A smear campaign is also done to remove your credibility, so if you tell others what the narcissist did to you, you won’t be believed.  It is a way for a narcissist to protect his or her reputation by removing the believability of the claims of their abusive ways & focus from their behavior while making a victim look bad at the same time.

This may be the hardest part of a smear campaign, but it is also very true.  People who blindly believe the lies don’t truly love you.  If they did, they would know you well enough to recognize the lies rather than believe them.  They also would defend you to the person spreading such lies.  As painful as this realization is, it’s also very important.  You need to know who truly loves you & who doesn’t.  This is the one good thing about a smear campaign, how it shows you who loves you & who doesn’t.

You also need to remember that ultimately, this smear campaign isn’t about you.  It’s about the narcissist who started it.  The narcissist wouldn’t have started it if you wouldn’t have seen the ugliness behind the mask.  Because you did though, he or she has determined it’s best to destroy your reputation & your credibility so their secret will remain safe.  As an added bonus, the narcissist gets narcissistic supply by hurting you & feeling powerful by destroying your reputation.

Those who support & help to spread the lies of the smear campaign aren’t innocent either.  They are also gaining something from what they are doing.  Maybe they have gained favor with the narcissist, maybe the narcissist is giving them money or gifts, or maybe they’re just getting narcissistic supply by looking like they care while they’re abusing you by slandering your good name.  There is also the possibility that they are in denial about what the narcissist is, so they are trying to shut you down so their denial won’t be threatened.

When a smear campaign happens, the best thing you can do is to ignore it.  Ignore everything that is being said about you & don’t defend yourself.  Anything you say to defend yourself may be taken as proof that the narcissist is right about you, that you really are crazy, angry or whatever other nonsense the narcissist says.  The best thing you can do is to live your life.  Let your good character shine & it will prove the smear campaign to be wrong.  Anyone who cares about the truth will see that your behavior doesn’t line up with what is being said about you, & question what they have heard.

If anyone tries to tell you what the narcissist is saying about you, if at all possible, end the conversation.  Change the subject.  Walk away.  Do not engage in it.  You don’t need to hear the lies that are being spread about you.

And never ever forget that this smear campaign isn’t about you nor is it a reflection on who you are.  It’s about the narcissist who started it & the mindless minions who help to spread it.

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Phrases To Shut Down Narcissists

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About Victim Blaming

Victim blaming is a common phenomenon in society today.  The woman who was abused by her husband is to blame for not leaving him sooner.  The victim of rape is blamed for being drunk or high.  The victim of theft is blamed for not locking his door.

This awful phenomenon invalidates the pain of the victim.  It can make a victim feel as if she wouldn’t have done what she did, then the traumatic event wouldn’t have happened.  How could she possibly have the right to be upset?  It’s an absolutely awful thing to do to someone, making them feel this way!  No one deserves traumatic, terrible things to happen to them.  What victims do deserve is kindness, understanding & support.

Whether the person blaming the victim is the cause for the victim’s pain or not, blaming her also enables that person to distance himself from the victim & her pain.  If the victim is the cause of her own suffering, then he need not feel sorry for her or try to help her.  If the victim caused her own suffering, then the abuser need not feel bad for doing whatever it was he did to her.

Narcissists love victim blaming.  It serves them very well.  I lost track of how many times my mother told me I was the reason she “had” to abuse me.  She even called it “tough love” instead of what it really was, abuse.  She claimed if I didn’t do whatever it was I had done (or she thought I had done in most cases), she wouldn’t have been forced to scream at me, destroy my things, etc. etc.

If you have been on the receiving end of victim blaming, please do not allow that trash to get inside you!  You did NOT deserve what was done to you!  You are not to blame, the abuser is!  You have every right to be angry, hurt, & yes, even traumatized!  Don’t believe those fools who tell you that you deserved it.  Anyone who blames an innocent victim has serious emotional problems.

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