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Tag Archives: mental
Narcissists are notorious for their scathing criticisms & verbal abuse. Overt narcissists in particular love telling their victims how fat, skinny, ugly, stupid, useless they are & more. They have no problem spelling out their victims’ supposed flaws very clearly.
When the narcissist in question is a parent, this is often the norm. That child probably doesn’t remember any time where their narcissistic parent wasn’t obviously cruel with their words. Other relationships with narcissists are different, however. No one would get involved with a narcissist if they saw upon meeting them how cruel they were. Possessing the ability to be creative in ways to abuse, they have found a fantastic tool that allows them to abuse while not appearing to be abusive. Covert narcissists use this tool constantly, while overts usually only use it at the beginning of relationships. This tool is called negging.
Negging subtly tears down a person’s self esteem while not appearing to be abusive. Negging is done by offering complements that aren’t really complements but insults disguised as complements or constructive criticism. The comments also can involve comparing a victim to someone else, “one upping” or brushed off as “just joking”. Some examples are:
- It’s ok you didn’t get a good grade in that class. The course was too hard for you, so I didn’t expect you to get a good grade.
- That’s amazing you got such a good grade on that test! Who helped you study?
- I like what you’ve done with your makeup. Did you learn how to do that from your sister?
- You’ve lost so much weight! I really see it in your face!
- You really don’t care what other people think of you at all, do you?
- Congratulations on your promotion! I just got engaged!
- I was just kidding!
- Wow, you sure are easily offended! Seems like I can’t say anything without you getting upset.
Negging is also commonly used when a narcissist is trying to start up a romantic relationship. They may say comments such as:
- You’re normally not my type, but I’d like to go out with you sometime.
- You remind me of my mom/dad/brother/sister.
If someone you just meet says things like this, these could be red flags of narcissism. Your best bet is not to engage this person in any relationship.
If someone you are already in a relationship does this, there are ways to cope. Show no emotional reaction, remember you have the right to protect yourself with healthy boundaries such as refusing to discuss certain topics with this person, don’t insult the other person back as they can use it to prove how unstable or mean you are.
Negging can be difficult to recognize at first due to its subtle nature. If you are unsure if someone in your life is treating you this way, write down what happens. Sometimes seeing things in front of you can help you to see situations more clearly. Or, talk to someone you know who is supportive & emotionally healthy. They will give you a good perspective. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to you about this, contact a domestic violence center near you or the National Domestic Abuse hotline. Examine your life & how it has changed since this person came into your life. Is this person isolating you from your friends & family, for example? Isolation is a very big red flag of abusers. Even if this person isn’t obviously trying to keep you from others, does this person insult those you love? That is a very subtle way of isolating someone.
I wish you the best in your situation!
It’s a simple fact of life that some family members abuse other family members. Every single person I have spoken with who reads my work has been abused by at least one relative. I have been too. And one thing the majority of us have in common is that we have severed ties with these monsters to protect ourselves.
So many people have experienced the same thing I have, people coming out of the woodwork to tell us we have done something terrible by severing ties. They seem to think since you’re related, that relationship is somehow sacred, & there is never any reason to end it. Many people even bring God into their warped views, saying you have to “forgive & forget” or “honor your parent” by tolerating whatever they do to you.
I want you to know today that is completely wrong!
Titus 3:10 says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,” (ESV) And, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says,“3 But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) (Emphasis added)
Did you notice something in there about how this applies to anyone but family? Me neither. Probably because it’s not there!
So many of you reading this post today have ended relationships with your abusive family members, & are struggling with guilt & doubt. I totally understand. I’ve been in this same position. After I stopped speaking to my parents, I had a LOT of both guilt & doubt. Shortly after, I learned my father had leukemia, which added even more guilt & doubt. I also had relatives constantly telling me how awful I was & doing their best to shame & even bully me into resuming the relationship with my parents. The only reason I survived all of that with my sanity in tact is God.
When times got tough & people were being so cruel to me about being no contact, I depended on God to help me get through. Help me He did too! God would remind me that I did what was right, at the time it was right, & I did nothing wrong. They didn’t see that because of their own issues, not because I had done something bad. He even stopped me from making things worse by enabling me not to respond to their vicious attacks. He kept reminding me that if I responded, things would get worse, so ignore them. Save their emails, messages, etc. in case I need them one day, but don’t read them or respond to them.
Everything God did for me during the flying monkey attacks was exactly what I needed in my situation. He will do the same for you!
If you have come to the point of having no contact with some of your family, please rest assured God understands! Contrary to what some people think, He is ok with you removing toxic, abusive people from your life, even if they are family. When you’re struggling with your decision, talk to Him & ask His help. He won’t let you down! Let Him help! He can get you through anything, even this!
Lately, I’ve been busy. Not writing the usual books but taking a bit of a breather from that to create some cross stitch patterns. Since I’m not the only one who needs a break from the draining topic of narcissism, I thought I’d share the link to them here.
I also have some crochet patterns available on my site as well. They are on this link.
I hope those of you reading this will like them. I also hope that even if you aren’t into crafts, you’ll remember that mental health breaks are very important. PLEASE take some time where you deliberately do NOT think about narcissism or your healing from narcissistic abuse. Such a draining topic requires plenty of rest & distraction to prevent you from burning out.
Many people wonder if a narcissist is capable of being genuinely sorry. They certainly don’t act sorry or show signs of remorse like changing their behavior, but does that mean they truly aren’t sorry?
Yes & no.
Narcissists lack empathy, which means they won’t feel sorry as a normal, functional person will. They won’t be sorry for causing pain & suffering. They won’t feel sorry for disappointing someone who loves them. They certainly won’t feel sorry for the fact that their abusive ways have come close to destroying other human beings. In fact, not only will they not be sorry for what they have done, but usually they will blame someone or something else for their behavior, for “making” them do whatever it is they have done.
Narcissists are also incredibly self centered. All that matters to any narcissist is that narcissist. No one else’s wants or needs matter to a narcissist, so why feel sorry for failing to meet another person’s wants or needs? Clearly they aren’t important, so there is certainly no reason to feel sorry.
This doesn’t mean narcissists don’t feel sorry sometimes, however. They just don’t feel sorry for the things that the average person feels sorry for.
Sometimes, narcissists are sorry for things they have done. Those things are usually especially egregious. While the fact they have done something horrible should make a narcissist feel sorry for their actions, that isn’t why they are sorry. They are sorry for what they did because if anyone finds out about it, that person may think poorly of the narcissist. To eliminate that possibility, they often do things like scare a victim into not telling anyone with threats of violence or revealing the victim’s secrets. They also will reinvent the situation in an attempt to gaslight a victim into believing their version of the situation rather than his or her own memories.
Narcissists are sorry when their victim figures out what they are up to. This means they are losing control of their victim. Of course they are sorry for this! It wasn’t in their plans & now they must come up with some solution to this problem! It’s so inconvenient!
Narcissists are sorry when confronted about their abusive behavior. Narcissists seem to believe no one ever could catch on to what they are doing, let alone would have the unmitigated gall to confront them about it. When it happens, they are shocked & horrified. They are also sorry. Not because they have hurt someone of course, but they are sorry they were caught. Being caught makes the narcissist look less than perfect, which is something that no narcissist can handle.
Narcissists are very sorry when their victims end the relationship with them. It seems to me that every single narcissist fails to realize that every person has a breaking point. They expect their victims to tolerate the horrific abuse indefinitely & even with a smile. It never seems to cross a narcissist’s mind that there is a very good possibility that their victim will get fed up with the abuse & abandon them at some point. When it happens, narcissists are always shocked & very sorry. They aren’t sorry for pushing their victim to this point, of course. Instead, they are sorry they have no one left to abuse. They’re sorry they have to seek out another victim & train that person to be a victim. That’s a lot of work! They’re also sorry they’re left alone, because narcissists cannot handle solitude & the possibility of seeing who they truly are. They’re especially sorry that they have lost their precious narcissistic supply.
To sum it up, yes, narcissists do feel sorry sometimes.. just sadly, not in the same capacity a healthy person feels sorry.
Some time back, I decided to change my online diary to another website. Unfortunately I can’t export the old one & import it to the new. I have to copy & paste old entries manually. I considered starting from scratch but quickly abandoned the idea. It’s helpful to be able to read over old entries.
One thing I realized in reading those old entries was how helpful anger has been to me. Many of you may remember in 2016, I had a big argument with my parents that led to no contact. It was a very hard time for me, & I was full of a great deal of anger.
I don’t like feeling anger. In fact, I really hate it. When someone wrongs me, no matter how badly, I do my best to release that anger as quickly as possible. Yet after the argument with my parents, not only could I not release it, it got worse for a while. At the time it felt horrible & I was miserable. I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did. Looking back though, I realize how valuable that anger was.
The anger I felt then helped me to stay no contact with my parents. I felt incredibly guilty for going no contact because they were in failing health. That anger helped me to maintain my distance. And, I later learned that maintaining no contact was what God wanted from me at the time. In fact, it led to my father’s Salvation at the very end of his life. (That incredible story is on my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug if you’d like to read it.)
That anger also helped me to maintain boundaries when people insisted I should speak to my parents. We all know that flying monkeys think they know best what victims should do to please their narcissist. This behavior really goes over the top when a victim boots a narcissist out of their life. I experienced this in 2016 & 2017. The anger I felt at my parents helped me to keep a good perspective on the relationship I’d had with my parents, & not to cave when people tried to force me to resume it.
The anger I felt also helped me to think logically. That was very helpful, too! If I started to think the flying monkeys might be right, almost immediately I would ask myself what would it benefit anyone for me to return to the abusive relationship? What makes people think they have the right to suggest that to me? Logical thoughts like that are fantastic for giving a healthy perspective.
I know in Christian circles, talk like this is often very frowned upon. So many quote Colossians 3:13 that says we should be quick to forgive or they say anger is a sin. While I agree that forgiveness is a good thing, people shouldn’t be labeled sinful for feeling anger! Anger isn’t a sin. It’s simply an emotion. What a person does with anger can be sinful, but isn’t that true with pretty much anything? Owning a knife isn’t a sin either, but if that knife is used to kill someone, that becomes a tool to sin.
Rather than looking at anger as some black & white issue, I think it’s good to look at it more objectively. Consider the reason you’re angry & pray about it. Maybe you can learn something from the anger or the situation. Maybe it will help motivate you to change. Few things are as good a motivator as anger, after all.
While I’m not saying act carelessly out of anger, let it help you. Don’t let it be a waste. Let your anger teach or help you in whatever way it can. It can be uncomfortable to experience but it also can be a very good teacher & helper.
Many people talk about forgiveness as if it means you resume a relationship as if nothing happened. You also no longer feel any anger or hurt. It’s as if a magic wand has wiped away all evidence that the painful event happened! And, if this isn’t the case in your situation, clearly something is very wrong with you.
Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth! Believing these lies has done a lot of emotional damage to victims of narcissistic abuse. I want to share the truth about forgiveness in this post.
Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily equal reconciliation. Some relationships have run their course & need to end for various reasons. One example is when one person in the relationship is abusive & shows no interest in changing their ways. Staying in a relationship with someone who abuses you simply makes no sense! Even if the abuser is a spouse or family member, it’s best to leave the abuser behind.
Forgiveness also doesn’t mean that a relationship needs to continue exactly as it was. When someone does something very bad to someone else, that bad behavior needs to stop. Continuing the abusive behavior over & over is terrible for the victim & also the abuser. The abuser learns that their behavior is perfectly acceptable. Clearly this is NOT good for either party!
Forgiving someone is much like forgiving a debt. If you lend someone money & they can’t pay you back, you can “forgive” their debt. In other words, you don’t expect them to repay you & you don’t mention that they owe you. That debt is a done deal. When someone wrongs you, you can do something similar by not expecting them to try to make it up to you for what they have done. Doing this really lifts a great deal of weight & stress from you!
Forgiveness also doesn’t necessarily mean that you never feel anger or hurt about the incident again. If you forgive someone as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, that does open the door to your anger & hurt diminishing or even disappearing in time. Some abusive actions are so egregious though, that there may always be a degree of hurt or anger attached to the memory. That doesn’t mean that you haven’t forgiven the person who hurt you. It means that the action was really terrible. Remember me sharing the story of when my mother threw me into a wall when I was 19? I honestly have forgiven her for that. Remembering the incident, however, still makes me cringe. Sometimes it even makes my back hurt in the location she injured it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t forgiven her, am holding onto bitterness or am not a good Christian. It means that was a really bad action!
When it comes to the business of forgiving, I do my best immediately to decided to forgive. Most likely there is nothing the person can do anyway to completely make it up to me for what they have done, so I mentally release them from that “debt” of sorts.
I also have found praying to be VERY helpful. I ask God to help me forgive naturally, but also tell Him how I feel. I say it was wrong of them to do or say whatever they did. I cry or rant to get my feelings out & that helps so much. He is never surprised or offended either. He lets me say whatever I need to.
Journaling is also helpful. I’ve learned that writing things down helps bring clarity to situations that speaking about them doesn’t. There is something so helpful about seeing things in writing!
If you don’t journal, you still can get the benefits of writing. Write letters you never send to the person who has hurt or abused you. Let it all out in them, too. Once you’re done, you can save the letter somewhere well hidden or you can dispose of it. I used to burn mine. It was like the anger & hurt went up in flames with the paper. Strange, I know, but still very helpful.
You don’t have to live up to the impossibly high standards some folks have of forgiveness. It’s unrealistic & unhealthy! Remember these truths about forgiveness.. I believe they will help you!
Toxic shame can be one of the most damaging aspects of narcissistic abuse. It tells a victim that something is deeply wrong with them, unlike guilt which tells a person that they did something wrong. This shame obliterates self esteem & makes a victim easier to control. This is why shame is such a common weapon of narcissists. It’s extremely effective.
Narcissists instill toxic shame in their victims in various ways. They let their victim know that their feelings, thoughts, & beliefs are wrong. The victims likes & dislikes are also harshly judged & criticized. In fact, everything about the victim is harshly judged & criticized. His or her looks, actions, hopes, dreams & more. Even if a victim tries to be what the narcissist wants, the narcissist will let the victim know it isn’t good enough. In fact, nothing the victim does is good enough. Instead of the victim seeing this as the narcissist is impossible to please, most victims take it as them being a failure for not pleasing their narcissist, which adds to their toxic shame.
Shame also forces victims to keep the abuse secret. The victim is too embarrassed to admit that they tolerate such cruelty in some cases. In others, the victim is ashamed of feeling angry or hurt by the abuse because the narcissist has convinced the victim that the victim is the reason for the abusive behavior or that it really isn’t abuse, the victim is being oversensitive. Either way, the abuse being kept a secret is another benefit for the narcissist. They can continue the abuse without fear of the victim exposing their heinous acts.
Even once a victim ends the relationship with a narcissist, toxic shame is still a part of that victim’s life until he or she realizes it & works on healing. Adults with toxic shame end up in abusive relationships, whether they be romantic, friendships or coworkers. They are depressed & seldom realize why. They often have tremendous anxiety as well. They live to please other people, & feel as though they fail even when told they have done a great job. They have no self esteem. They’re simply miserable!
One of the best ways to start to combat toxic shame is by talking about the abuse. Being open about your experiences is a very effective way to release the power they have over you. I’ve thought of it like this… if you remember anything about the old legends of vampires, when they were in the dark, they were incredibly powerful. Nothing could stop them. Yet, in the sunlight, they were powerless in the short time before they were destroyed. Talking about the effects of the abuse is the same. Being open about it releases the power it has over you. In fact, it enables you to take back your power! By talking about it, you’re basically telling your abuser, “This is my story too & I have every right to talk about it. You can’t stop me anymore!”
By talking about the abuse, I’m not saying you need to talk about it non stop to everyone, write books or have a blog like mine. You have to do whatever feels right to you. It’s usually best to start out by praying about it. Also, you can write in a journal. From there, you can talk to a safe person such as a close friend or counselor. Take baby steps, since talking about it can be pretty scary at first. As you get more comfortable discussing it, maybe one day you will feel like creating a blog or writing a book about your story. Only God knows what the best plan for you is. Until such time as that plan is revealed though, start talking. It will help you destroy that toxic shame & live a happier life!
Aside from the hours of thinking & talking about NPD I do daily, there has been a LOT going on in my life the last few years. This exacerbates my mental & physical health problems. I realized recently this is ridiculous… I need a break!
I have blog posts & YouTube videos scheduled well ahead of time so I can take time off from those things. But I needed to do more. This brought me to the idea of spending more time crafting since it relaxes me so much. Working on a crafty project also takes my focus so I don’t think about NPD at all.
The crafting thought gave me another idea… add some craft patterns on my website!
Clearly I’m not the only person who needs frequent breaks. Anyone who is healing from narcissistic abuse naturally spends a lot of time reading & thinking about it, which can take a mental & physical toll. If you aren’t doing that, then please start! Whatever helps you to relax & think about something more pleasant than narcissism isn’t important, so long as you do it.
If you’re not sure what to do, why not try something creative? Guys, you need to do this too. There are all kinds of creative ideas out there! I focus on knitting, crochet & cross stitch, but there are about a zillion other things you can do. Draw, paint, woodworking, model building, RC cars or airplanes, sculpting… possibilities are endless!
If you’re interested in knitting, crochet or cross stitch like me, then please check out the patterns I’ve made & put on my website. I’ll be adding more over time, but there are a few patterns on there already that I hope you’ll like. The link directly to those patterns is below:
I’ve been toying with the idea of creating some mini books for a while now. Each book being much shorter than the average, & focusing only on one topic at a time. I thought it could be a good idea since narcissism is a pretty overwhelming topic. These books help readers by not inundating them with too much information per book which makes them easier to read & absorb the subject matter. Plus, being shorter books, people can get exactly the information they want at a cheaper price than buying a larger book.
Mini books also are much easier for me to write. It’s almost six years to the day after I survived carbon monoxide poisoning & my brain is still not in a really happy place. I can write obviously, but it’s a much greater struggle now than it once was. I think it’s time to make my life easier in general, including with writing.
I just published the first three, & they’re available at this link on my website: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/books-for-sale/mini-books/
Currently, all are available in only ebook format, but I am considering making them available in print as well. It’s so hard to know what to do like this anymore! People have very definite feelings of print vs ebook format, & those who prefer one over the other change like the wind!
Anyway I hope you like the new ebooks. More will be coming in the future. As I mentioned recently, I’ll be getting rid of my free ebooks by the end of this month. I plan to add more information to them & charge a little for them. Not much, since they’ll still be rather short little ebooks.
Thank you to everyone for being supportive & wonderful! May God bless you! 💖💖
My husband & I were watching a true crime TV show not long ago, as we often do. On it, a man shot & killed another. At the time, he was very high on drugs & paranoid. He mistook a simple comment made by the victim as insulting & disrespectful, which infuriated him enough to shoot this man.
I thought about how ridiculous this is. Even if the man had been insulting, who cares?! That was no reason to kill the guy!
Growing up with narcissistic parents, people often go one way or another. Some turn out like what the comedian Christopher Titus referred to as an insult Navy seal. After your parent has said unimaginably cruel things to you & called you dreadful names, no one else’s insults can hurt you. You’ve built up a high tolerance to insults, & it takes a LOT to upset you. Then there are many other people who have gone the other direction. They have a thin skin when it comes to insults, & are easily devastated. You are the folks I am writing this post for.
Nobody likes to be insulted. Pretty sure that is just a given. That doesn’t mean insults need to be devastating though. For one thing, no one can please everyone. You can be a beautiful person, inside & out, highly intelligent, successful in every area of your life, & someone still will have something negative to say no matter how perfect you are simply because no one can please every single person.
For another thing, emotionally healthy people aren’t judgmental or critical. They are usually way too focused on managing themselves, learning, growing & being good people to worry about picking someone else apart. This tells me that the majority of critical people aren’t emotionally healthy, like critical narcissists. Do you really care about the opinion of someone like that?
Many insults are said out of jealousy. For an example, a person struggling in college may be very critical of their friend who appears to be sailing through without any problems.
There is also something called morbid envy. Narcissists are quite prone to this. They envy someone so much that they are excessively cruel to that person. They can be extremely nit picky towards the subject of their envy too, such as criticizing small things like a woman having a broken nail or a man’s hair being slightly disheveled. Another common sign of morbid envy is when a person receives a complement & the narcissist immediately insults either the receiver or giver of the complement or even both. In any case, morbid envy makes a person very insulting towards others!
And don’t forget.. there is a big difference in someone being insulting & offering constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is worded to offer help & be as not offensive as possible. Insults aren’t said to help, but only to hurt.
My point in sharing these thoughts with you is to help you realize that when someone is insulting to you, Dear Reader, it’s not about you. It’s truly about that person.
What they say also has no basis in reality, only in that person’s dysfunction. An insulting person is trying to hurt or control you by any means possible. That doesn’t mean that what they say is true. In fact, most likely it isn’t even close.
If you can remember these points when you come across someone who is insulting & mean to you, it really will help you to avoid being upset by that person’s nastiness. A different perspective can be a truly helpful thing sometimes, in particular when it comes to dealing with very dysfunctional, hateful people.
I just got a email from one of the publishers I use. They will be making some changes that will affect my free ebooks, which has gotten me to do some thinking….
I’ve been considering retiring all of them & republishing with the other publisher I use to gain more exposure. Due to the changes, I plan to do just this.
Since I need to redo the ebooks anyway, I’m going to add more to them & they’ll no longer be free. Probably I’ll only ask a little for them, like maybe $.99 since I don’t plan to add a lot to them.
While these books won’t be free, my website, this blog, my YouTube channel & podcasts all still will be. There is plenty of information on these sources. While I’m glad to share all of the information I can, I need some more balance. I need to start charging for some of it. Helping people is great & I love it, but it also doesn’t pay the bills either!
I’ll retire my free ebooks by January 31, 2021. In the meantime, you can find them at this link:
You can find all of the other links I’ve mentioned on my website at this link:
Thank you for understanding! God bless you!
A common feeling many people experience after narcissistic abuse is grief. It makes sense since there is a great deal to grieve! If the narcissist in question was a parent, you grieve the loss of your childhood, the pain of having a parent who didn’t treat you right or love you, the years wasted trying to please your impossible to please parent, the parent you wish you had & more. If the narcissist was a spouse, there is grief too, because that person married you not out of love, but out of wanting to use & abuse you. There is also time wasted with this person that could have been spent in much better ways. You also may grieve the loss of the person you thought the narcissist was at first. If you passed up a good person to marry the narcissist, there is regret & grief over losing that good person. If you had children together, no doubt there is also a great deal of guilt over giving your children this terrible person as a parent.
Whatever your situation, if you’re grieving after escaping narcissistic abuse, please know you are normal! It’s awful to experience but it’s also very normal. Grief isn’t only something to be experienced after someone dies. It comes after all kinds of losses.
You need to experience & process your grief after narcissistic abuse just as you would after losing someone you love. It is healing to cry & be angry about the unfairness of it all. Ignoring it, pretending it isn’t happening or even shaming yourself as if something is wrong with you for feeling this way isn’t healthy at all!
Rather than do those unhealthy things, why not try accepting your feelings without judgment? They’re not abnormal, they’re not wrong & you aren’t crazy for feeling the way you do. Stop criticizing them. Accept them for what they are- your feelings that are completely valid.
As you accept them, sit with them for a while. Cry or yell if you need to. I know this can be difficult for those of us shamed for having feelings by our narcissistic parent, so if those are too much, then try writing things out. If you don’t have a journal, it may be an excellent time to start one. If you want to be certain no one ever reads it, there are online journals that are private & password protected. I use Penzu’s free version, but there are plenty of others as well if it doesn’t meet your needs.
I’ve also found writing letters to the narcissist very helpful. I wrote out everything I thought & felt about what they did, not censoring myself. The especially important part of this is I never sent the letters. I wrote them to purge myself of the awful things I felt because of the actions of a narcissist, not to tell the narcissist how they made me feel or to try to make them see the errors of their ways. Doing such things is a complete waste of time & energy with a narcissist. In fact, if you do them, chances are you’ll only feel worse after instead of better because the narcissist will try to convince you that you’re oversensitive, overreacting or even crazy. Instead, I’ve found ripping the letters up & throwing them away or burning them to be very helpful.
If you have a safe friend, relative or even counselor, talking about your grief or praying with them can be very helpful as well.
You also need to be aware that grief doesn’t have time limits. You can’t expect to get over the trauma in a set time. In fact, a part of you most likely always will grieve to some degree, just like when someone you love dies. It does get easier in time though. You also learn to rebuild yourself & adapt to your new life without suffering narcissistic abuse. Whatever you choose to do to cope isn’t important. What matters is that you deal with your grief & accept it as a natural part of the healing process.
One thing that has always baffled me is how people talk about how wonderful that person who died was, even though you know very well that person was an absolute jerk. As if death somehow turned that sinner into a saint.
A few years back, a former friend of mine lost her mother. Her mother had abused her terribly for her entire life. Yet, when this woman died, my friend constantly posted on Facebook how much she missed her mother, she loved her & what a beautiful, wonderful person her mother was. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore… I had to ask her why she was saying these things after all the terrible things her mother did to her. She said it helped her to cope with the emotions if she pretended her mother was a good mother. Not a healthy coping skill by any means, but she was content with it.
I think many people probably have the same reason for their similar behavior. Losing someone you love, even someone abusive, is incredibly difficult & painful.
After my mother died, I caught myself remembering the good things about her. Those few times we got along well, when we could laugh & have fun together. The time she taught me to crochet when I was 5. Little things like that. I also prayed a lot during this time & knew that not only was she in Heaven, but she also was no longer the abusive & cruel person she was before she died. I realized that I was starting to do somewhat like my former friend did when her abusive mother died, focusing on only the good about my mother. While she was fine coping in that way, I wasn’t. It didn’t feel right or healthy to me. I got in prayer about it & learned some things.
When you love someone dies, you’re going to miss them. If that person was abusive, you’re going to miss the few good things about them, if there were any. If not, you’ll miss the person you wish they had been. Part of grieving is letting go. You are naturally going to have a harder time letting go of the good things than the bad, or even the good things you wish would have been.
Remembering the good things brings some normalcy to a very abnormal situation. There is absolutely nothing normal about coping with the death of a narcissistic parent. You can feel as if you’re completely alone, you’re crazy or unreasonable. You also most likely will feel that not one single person on the face of the earth understands what you’re feeling, because what you feel isn’t what most people feel when their parent dies. Focusing on the good, remembering the good things makes you feel more normal. It’s normal & socially acceptable to miss the good things about your parent. In most situations, it’s not normal or socially acceptable to feel glad your parent is gone or relief he or she can’t abuse you any longer. Unfortunately with narcissistic parents, both of those feelings are totally normal, they just don’t feel that way.
It’s incredibly difficult to mourn the death of a narcissistic parent. It’s easier in a sense to grieve the normal aspects of your parent, whether they were real or what you wish your parent had been like. Grieving the death of a narcissistic parent can be complex, confusing, infuriating, sad, devastating & so much more. When you grieve someone you love, basically it boils down to you miss that person. Of course that’s painful but it isn’t really convoluted. You don’t have to deal with all the intricacies & complexities that go along with mourning the death of a narcissistic parent. If you can make your parent more “normal”, it makes the grief process easier by making it less complex.
I don’t think remembering the positive things about your narcissistic parent is a bad thing in general. However, if you’re in this situation & remember only the good, that should be a red flag that you aren’t coping with your parents’ passing in a healthy way. It’s ok to remember the awful times & the abuse, & even to be angry about them. It’s ok to admit to yourself & others that your parent wasn’t exactly parent of the year. It’s also ok to be glad your parent is gone & you’re finally free. These things don’t mean you’re a terrible person. They mean you’re HUMAN!
I’ve been getting tired of writing the same type of book so I’ve been considering other options. One of them is this book. It’s a journal created to help the reader help themselves heal from the damage of narcissistic abuse.
Each month in the journal will focus on one traumatic event, & each week, one aspect of the event. It also schedules time to relax so the healing work doesn’t become overwhelming.
In the future, I may create other similar journals on different topics, but honestly I’m not positive yet. We’ll see where God leads me.
The journal is available only in print, unlike many of my other books. It can be found at this link:
Some time back, I saw a quote. I don’t recall the name of the author but anyway the quote said something like, “What didn’t kill me made me stronger. It also gave me a dark & twisted sense of humor.” Immediately I felt a bit embarrassed because I know that’s me. My sense of humor can be very dark & twisted. Quickly though I remembered something.
In my late teen years, I had a good friend a couple of years younger than me. His mother was also abusive, & his sense of humor could be very dark & twisted like mine. One day, we were laughing about something & he said, “Yanno, I’m so glad to have a sense of humor. I really believe that’s helped so much to get me through everything.”
I believe that former friend was right. His relationship with his mother never really got better after we grew up. He had very limited contact with her well before I even knew that “low contact” & “no contact” were healthy options, but kept his sense of humor through it all. One day we went to a yard sale. He found a pot for houseplants he liked. He commented how it looked like a spittoon from the old west & I agreed. He paid for it then looked at me & said, “Now when Mom comes over, she’ll have a place to spit her chewing tobacco!” She didn’t chew, but the mental picture of this made me laugh.
I’ve laughed at some things regarding my mother too. In high school she accused me of having sex with the entire football team. I’ve never been promiscuous & was a virgin at the time, so the accusation was ridiculous & hurtful. Eventually I found humor in it. My husband has too. Once in a while, he says something about it & we laugh at the stupidity of the comment.
Sometimes, even in the midst of dark times, humor can be a blessing. My husband’s favorite ring tone is Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor, which happens to be the well known theme song from the old scary movie, “Tales From The Crypt.” It’s very morbid sounding yet beautiful. Anyway, while in the ER with his father one night, one of his sisters called, triggering that ring tone. In spite of the serious situation, he & a few nurses laughed at the ring tone which helped lighten everyone’s mood. Also, the night we received the death notification about my mother, the funeral home called my husband’s cell as we were talking with a police officer. Again, Bach’s song played when his phone rang. The poor policeman looked horrified, but it made me laugh. Inappropriate? Sure, but I was so shaken up, that laugh helped to calm me a bit so I could focus on the task at hand.
I know when times are painful, it can feel impossible to laugh. It may even feel disrespectful to find humor in such a somber situation. But if at all possible, I want to encourage you to try to find some humor in the situation. It often can be done. It also can be an incredibly helpful coping mechanism, so why not use it?
Rather than be offended & hurt by the lies the narcissist accuses you of, try to find the humor in it. Often their lies are so incredibly outrageous, they’re funny! Really! Look at my mother’s lies about me with the entire high school football team. I was in her presence constantly & had no time for that even if I had the inclination. It was an outrageous & stupid thing to say. No doubt the narcissist in your life has also said outrageous & stupid things about you.
I also hope you find a reason to laugh every day. Find a comedian you like & listen to his or her routines often. Watch funny movies or tv shows. Spend time with your friends who make you laugh. Doing these things will improve your mental health. You’ll be happier & enjoy life more.
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I saw a comment on one of my old YouTube videos I thought was rather interesting. The comment said that this person took care of her elderly abusive mother until the end of her life. She suffered health problems that didn’t run in her family as a result of dealing with their “complicated” relationship, but she is glad she didn’t abandon her like I did my parents. She went on to say that although she didn’t like my video, she said she’s glad she watched it anyway because she realized maybe she wasn’t such a terrible daughter like me after all.
Rather than simply delete the stupid comment, I left it up. It’s sort of a lesson within a lesson. The original lesson being my video, & the secondary lesson is how to deal with people like this.
This sort of comment happens all the time with adult children of narcissistic parents. The smug ignoramuses of the world think they have the right to judge how we treated our parents while they truly know nothing of our experiences. We need to be aware that this can happen & how to handle it.
To start with, I believe it’s very important to realize this is a trigger, which is why your reaction may be exceptionally emotional. Mine certainly was. I immediately felt rage & wanted to tell this person exactly what I thought of her judgmental words. I took a few moments to calm down because I recognized my strong reaction was a trigger. It reminded me of things my own family has said. If a comment like this is said to you in person or on the phone, you don’t have the luxury of taking a few minutes to calm yourself before responding as I did. Instead, take a deep breath & let it out slowly. This will calm your mind & body long enough for you to formulate a good response rather than react. Reactions in situations like this only cause more problems. You need to have a calm & calculated response instead.
It’s also important to recognize that a person saying this sort of drivel has some ulterior motive. Often they are flying monkeys, saying such idiocy to hurt you on behalf of the narcissist. They may even know the truth but say this anyway simply to hurt you because you hurt the narcissist that they idolize. In my case, I don’t know this person nor does this person know my parents. Flying monkey obviously can’t be the case. I have another idea of what her problem is though…
The commenter in my situation is, I believe, a covert narcissist or at the very least, has narcissistic tendencies. Covert narcissists will do anything they can to get the word out that they are wonderful, caring, & even martyr like. That is what this person did with me. She came across as a loving, devoted daughter who was willing to sacrifice herself & even her health for her abusive mother. She shamed me for not being a “good daughter” like she obviously was while at the same time building up her martyr image. I’m glad this person was so obvious in displaying those narcissistic tendencies because that enabled me to know how to handle the situation immediately: provide no narcissistic supply. I debated deleting the comment, but that would’ve validated to this person how mean & unreasonable I am. It also would’ve enabled her to look like the victim of my meanness, & provided narcissistic supply. Instead, I figured it best to respond simply, without emotion. I said that everyone has to do what they feel is right in their situation. I did in mine just as she did in hers. I’m not judging her so please don’t judge mine & if she can’t refrain from that, please stay off my page. Simple, to the point & calm.
Whether the person in question in these situations is a narcissist, flying monkey or just some poorly informed person with good intentions, it’s never wise to defend your actions. Somehow, that always seems to make things worse, so don’t do it! If you must say something for whatever reason, keep your comments unemotional & logical. State only the facts, not how you felt. And, ask logical questions like, “I don’t understand how you think me doing what you think I should makes any sense. Why should I subject myself to being treated so poorly?”
Lastly, always remember that God is there for you. If you don’t know what to do, ask Him for help. Even a prayer as simple as “Please help me!” can work wonders! As the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you need to know how to handle yourself when these situations arise & unfortunately, they will arise. I hope my situation has given you ideas on how to do that when the time comes.
I recently watched a show about cults, & this episode featured the Heaven’s Gate cult. The entire story is interesting, but something said during an interview with an anti-cult lawyer really got my attention.
He was talking about how in cults, many people are forced to change their name to something very different, & Heaven’s Gate was no exception. He said something to the effect that many cult leaders require this of anyone who wishes to join them. It is a way to shed their old identity & take up a new one. Interesting, no?
It made me think of something. Many of us who have suffered narcissistic abuse have changed our names. I’ve done it. My parents always referred to me as “Cindy”. Now I ask no one call me that, & call me “Cynthia” instead. Other people may take this to a more extreme place & legally change their name to something entirely different, sometimes even changing their last name as well.
In any case, I think this is a good idea however it’s done.
When narcissists are involved with something, that thing can be tainted somehow. As an example, if you dated a narcissist who loved the same restaurant you love, after breaking up, you probably won’t want to visit that restaurant anymore. The same kind of thing can happen with your name. My parents never, ever called me Cynthia. My mother always said she loved the name Cindy, & C-I-N-D-Y is the only correct way to spell the name. As a result, Cindy feels nothing like the person I am, but the dysfunctional mess that I used to be. The person my parents created. By choosing to go by Cynthia, I took their power away by essentially killing off Cindy. As far as I’m concerned, that person no longer exists & will NOT be resurrected under any circumstances. Cynthia is the person that I’ve created, & the narcissists who have been in my life have absolutely no part in her.
If you’re reading this today, I hope you’ll consider what I’ve said. Whether you opt to alter your given name slightly, change its spelling or legally change it to something entirely different, it really can be a healing move. It empowers you by giving you control over something you should have control over. At the same time, it also helps you to shed the person that the narcissist in your life tried to turn you into. I can tell you, after years of being Cynthia, when I look at old things with Cindy on it, such as papers from when I was in school, it feels very different. When I look at my old name, even in my handwriting, it feels as if that is someone else I once knew & quite frankly, never really liked.
One final thought.. if you do opt to do this, if possible, I really don’t recommend telling the narcissist what you have done. If he or she is still in your life, then they will ruin it for you, & you’ll be right back to square one. You making a change to your name in any way will offend the narcissist, because it’s something you decided to do & followed through doing all on your own, without his or her input. Because of this, that will gain disapproval & anger. It’s better not to let the narcissist know this. My parents died without knowing I asked people to call me Cynthia. I did once tell my mother I preferred Cynthia, which shocked her, but I always signed cards to my parents Cindy, as she preferred. I knew who I was, in spite of them, so it wasn’t a big deal. It was a small price to pay to keep the peace in that area.
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Gaslighting is an especially insidious form of abuse that makes a victim doubt their memories, perceptions, reality & sometimes even their sanity. Narcissists love to use it due to the fact that people who live with frequent gaslighting are easy to control. After all, if a person doesn’t trust themselves, they will look elsewhere for whatever information they need, even to an abusive person who is the reason they no longer trust themselves.
Gaslighting can be very subtle, which means it can be difficult to identify. Below are some commonly used phrases narcissists use to gaslight their victims.
“You’re crazy.” Either said outright or implied with phrases like, “You need help.” This phrase can make a person doubt their sanity when repeated often enough & with certainty.
“You’re over sensitive or overreacting.” Another common gaslighting phrase. This is said to make a victim feel shame for being upset at what the abuser has said or done. Few things will shut a person down faster than shame, & when they are shut down, they won’t complain about the abuse.
“I was just kidding!” This phrase is closely related to “You’re oversensitive.” It is designed to create doubt. The victim is supposed to think they overreacted or are too sensitive or stupid to realize the comment was just a joke. The truth is however that it was nothing of the sort.
“You need to get over it!” This phrase basically tells a victim that they are wrong for still being upset about whatever the abuser did that upset them. Narcissists want their victims to tolerate abuse indefinitely & without complaint. If they can make their victim feel badly about themselves or even ashamed for being upset, then they have an excellent chance of getting the victim to continue to tolerate abuse.
“It didn’t happen that way!” This phrase can be used in a couple of ways. The first & most obvious of course is to make a victim doubt their perception & believe the narcissists’s version of events. The other use may be the narcissist’s lack of coping skills coming into play. The narcissist may be ashamed of something they said or did, not because it hurt the victim, but because it may make the narcissist look bad if the victim tells others about what happened. In order to avoid that, the narcissist may try to convince themselves & the victim that it didn’t happen that way, it happened this very different way instead. This way will involve the narcissist not acting badly or the victim doing something to provoke the narcissist to do what they did.
“That never happened!” Denial is a very commonly used tool with narcissists. If they can get their victim to believe that something never happened, that person won’t tell others what the narcissist has done.
“No one else would feel that way./ You’re the only person in the world who would feel that way.” This phrase is another way for narcissists to shame victims by making them feel they are weird, wrong, broken. If they can shame a victim enough, the victim will stop complaining about the abuse & tolerate it quietly.
“I’m only doing this because I love you.” My mother used to justify abusing me by telling me it was “tough love” she was using on me & I deserved it because of my terrible behavior. That is all this phrase is – a way for a narcissist to justify being abusive.
“No one will ever love you like I do.” My ex husband told me this once, & I thank God he was right about that! The phrase is said to make a victim feel that they are lucky to have the narcissist’s love, because no one else ever could or would care about them.
When the narcissist in your life says such things to gaslight you, keep in mind that is exactly what these phrases are, gaslighting. That means there isn’t an ounce of truth in them at all. If you have doubts, ask yourself why do you think the narcissist is right. Or better yet, ask God to tell you the truth in this situation.
Keep a journal. If you haven’t done this before, do it now. Write down what the narcissist says. Seeing things in writing can bring about a great deal of clarity. Often, it makes things clearer than simply talking or thinking about them.
Always remember, the narcissist says these things to manipulate you & to keep you down. Don’t give the narcissist that satisfaction!
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that anyone who is born again is a new creation in Christ. I have learned though that other things can make a person feel almost as if they are reborn, just not quite to that same extreme.
This has happened twice in my life. The first time was in February, 2015 when I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. The poison made me pass out for about 25 minutes, & from what I understand from a doctor, usually people who are out for 20 minutes from carbon monoxide never wake up. That was so hard to grasp! Literally, I should have died but I survived! Plus, the lack of oxygen that the poisoning creates often does permanent brain damage & I also suffered a concussion (I believe) from hitting my head when I passed out. Both of these factors changed my personality quite drastically. It was all a lot to get used to in addition to the long term physical symptoms.
The second time was when my mother died in April, 2019. As the police told me that she had passed & I had to go to her home immediately to deal with having her remains taken to the funeral home, I felt this sensing that my life as I knew it was over. That sensing turned out to be right!
Although both of these events were traumatic & very difficult, I came to realize something. Although I’m not grateful they happened, I’m grateful for the changes they brought.
The changes in my personality from the poisoning mean I have no further tolerance whatsoever for abusive people. As soon as someone starts showing signs of being controlling or manipulative, I kick them out of my life, usually without a word because people like that won’t realize they were wrong or change their behavior anyway. I realized there’s no point in wasting my time.
I also got very protective of my husband & our little family. I know first hand just how quickly life can end & won’t allow any threats to my loved ones.
When my mother died, something in me seemed to die too, but that isn’t a bad thing. I no longer struggle so much with shame on a daily basis. I’m also much less anxious in general now, however sometimes when I am anxious, it’s worse than it once was. Somehow I’m able to cope with it pretty well.
I also learned that my mother is in Heaven, my prayers were answered. God has seen fit to bless me by sharing some messages from her, which is just incredible.
Somehow along the way, I also lost the need for external validation. I’ve gotten quite good at validating myself! Sure, I backslide periodically, but it doesn’t happen often.
What has happened in your life that has made you feel as if you were reborn? What changed after those moments? I don’t mean the traumatic moments that changed you or contributed to you having PTSD or C-PTSD. I mean life altering moments that although they were very hard to get through, eventually worked out well for you like mine did.
Some moments that can lead a person to feel this way include things like coming close to death or losing a loved one like me, but there are other things too. Moving, ending or beginning a new relationship, changing jobs, changing careers, having a child, having a child leave home, caring for an elderly loved one… there is no end to the things that can alter a person’s life drastically.
If you have experienced the reborn feeling, I would like to urge you to consider the good that has come from the experience. If you really think about it, I’m sure you can find some good in your situation. I find great comfort when I learn my suffering had a purpose, & you may experience the same thing, which is why I hope you will do this. xoxo