Tag Archives: mind games

Passive/Aggressive Behavior

Do you know someone who is passive/aggressive?  Passive/aggressive behavior is when someone is upset with you, but rather than try to work it out, they deny being upset.  Instead, they do things to hurt or anger you.

 

Over a year ago when my parents came to my home, my mother wanted me to do something for her.  As usual, she ordered me to do it, rather than asked.  For the first time in my life, it ticked me off.  I’m her daughter, not the hired help & I don’t like being treated as such.  So, I responded with “since you asked me so nicely, of course I’ll do it.”  She didn’t say anything, but apparently it sank in.
A few days later, my mother called me, wanting me to look something up on my computer for her.  Rather than her usual demand, she asked me nicely, so I looked it up.  Small victory for me!  I quickly realized though that she wasn’t happy about asking rather than demanding, because she became passive/aggressive.  Her hearing isn’t the best, but she also uses that when it benefits her to do so.  While I was on the phone with her yesterday, about every other sentence at first was “What did you say?  I can’t hear you Honey!”  (Interestingly she only calls me Honey when she is playing deaf, which is how I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what she is up to.)  I was practically screaming into the phone before she suddenly heard me.  However, as the conversation went on, her hearing suddenly became better.  I could speak fairly quietly & she heard me.  Why?  I think partly because I let her ramble on- she gained her narcissistic supply, which pleased her- & partly because she felt that she had satisfactorily let me know she wasn’t pleased with being forced to ask me to do something rather than demand it.

 

During the conversation, my mother also slipped in snide comments about how much she hates scary movies/books.  She doesn’t understand how anyone can like such awful things!  Why was this mentioned out of the blue?  No doubt because she knows I love scary movies & stories.  This is a way to scold me for my “poor choices” without directly doing so.  A way to say I’m wrong without using those exact words.

 

There are other ways a person can exhibit passive/aggressive behavior, such as:

 

  • being sarcastic.
  • withholding praise, affection or intimacy.
  • giving the silent treatment.
  • running late.
  • either not getting around to doing something asked of him/her, or doing it very poorly so you are forced to do it yourself if you want it done right.

 

Does any of this behavior sound familiar to you?

 

A lot of people are passive/aggressive.  It’s a very common phenomenon with narcissists, but I think with non-narcissistic people as well.  It’s a very immature type of behavior, & since there are a great deal of immature people in the world, it’s no wonder it’s quite common.

 

So how do you deal with a person who behaves this way?

 

First, you need to be able to recognize it.  If you don’t recognize passive/aggressive behavior, you’ll end up enabling it.  You’ll ask the person what is wrong, try to make them happy, do what they seem unable or unwilling to do.

 

Next, refuse to play along.  If the person wants to behave badly, that is his/her choice.  If someone is constantly late when you are supposed to get together, tell the person that the next time they are late, you will do whatever you are supposed to do together without that person.  Then follow through on it.  Or, if the person is obviously upset, ask what is wrong.  If she says nothing is wrong, let it go.  Don’t try to pry it out of her- she is an adult & can behave as such if she wants to resolve the issue.

 

Be happy.  Pretend not to notice the other person sulking.  Go on with your day in peace.  It will annoy the other person that her behavior isn’t working as she wanted it to, so she may give up on it.

 

Passive/aggressive behavior is very common on social media.  Vague posts about how “some people” behave or think just after you had a disagreement on that topic, or posting things showing a person is for something you aren’t or vice versa are all too common.  Social media is great, but it can be a useful tool for narcissists & passive/aggressives.  When these things happen, ignore them.  Obviously the person posting what they have wants to make a point without discussing it with you in an adult manner.  Opting to try to discuss it with them would most likely only frustrate you.  Just ignore them.  Unfollow or unfriend them.

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Being Positive Doesn’t Fix Everything

I’ve been seeing so much lately about thinking positive, how a positive outlook can fix any problem in life.  It sounds great, but I disagree.

Thinking positive is certainly a good thing.  It can help you not to be discouraged or depressed.  In fact, I even have what I call “Positive Monday” every week in my facebook group, where I share something good in my life & encourage others to do the same.  That being said though, sometimes you have to be real.  There is nothing wrong with being upset when something bad happens.  It’s ok to grieve & be negative for a while after losing a loved one, being unfairly fired, finding out your spouse cheated on you or being mistreated.

Also, being realistic rather than optimistic helps you to avoid being constantly disappointed.  Optimists are constantly disappointed, because they naively expect everything to turn out well.  Unfortunately for them, that isn’t realistic!  Sometimes life is great & things turn out well, but not always.  I am a firm believer in hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.  For example, last February when I got carbon monoxide poisoning & a concussion when I passed out from it, I did a lot of research on both.  I learned that recovery is very long & slow, & in many cases, a person never fully recovers from carbon monoxide poisoning or a brain injury, even a so called mild one like a concussion.  While I hoped to be one of the few to fully or nearly fully recover, I accepted the fact it may never happen.  My symptoms have not improved in a long time, & I accept that.  I’m disappointed, sure, but not devastated because I knew it was possible, which I believe is about as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

Positive thinking also won’t heal you from the effects of abuse.  What will help you is to face what happened head on, talking about it, praying about it, getting angry about it then forgiving the person who hurt you.  Ignoring it or making excuses for the abuser (“he was abused as a child”, for example) does not benefit anyone, least of all you.

I just wanted to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to have some balance in your thinking.   There is no shame in being realistic rather than optimistic.  There is no shame when positive thinking doesn’t fix everything for you.

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Narcissists Want Everyone, Including You, To Believe That You Are The Problem

A very common tactic of narcissistic parents is to make the child & everyone else believe that the child is the problem behind the family’s dysfunction.  This tactic of discrediting & blaming the child serves a twofold purpose.

Purpose #1 is to be sure that all attention is focused on the child so the narcissistic parent can abuse her child unnoticed.  People are so busy looking at the child’s bad behavior, they don’t notice what the parent does to the child to make the child act out.  They also won’t believe the child if she says anything about what the parent does to her.  After all, the narcissistic mother has everyone convinced the child is a liar, disobedient, rebellious, etc. so why would anyone believe what that child has to say?

Purpose #2 is to create so much doubt in the child, that she doesn’t have time to focus on what is being done to her.  She spends so much time thinking about what her narcissistic mother says she is doing wrong, how she can change, what she can do to please her narcissistic mother & more, that she doesn’t question the abuse that is being done to her.

I went through this with my mother as a teenager.  Her friends who once liked me suddenly wouldn’t even make eye contact with me anymore.  One so-called friend of my mother’s even gave me a lecture one day on how lucky I was to have a mother who loved me so much.  I needed to start behaving myself for a change & stop making her life so hard.  (Interestingly, just before that call, my mother had been screaming at me, accusing me of terrible things that I didn’t do.  I sure didn’t feel so lucky!)  I knew I couldn’t say anything to any of them about what my mother was doing to me, because they believed her.

At the time, it hurt me badly.  I liked some of my mother’s friends, & was hurt when they no longer liked me.  In time though, I realized that although it hurt, it wasn’t a bad thing to lose such people.  Normal, intelligent people wouldn’t blindly have believed my mother.  I’d always been a well-behaved, quiet child, so why didn’t anyone question my mother when she said I was doing such outrageous things as taking drugs or having sex with the entire high school football team?  Such things were completely out of character for me- you would think someone would have said so to her, or maybe questioned me.  Neither happened however.  Losing people who so readily believed the worst of me really wasn’t a big loss.

If this has happened to you, please think about what I said in the previous paragraph.  I know it can hurt when people assume you are the problem, but truly, losing people like that isn’t always a bad thing.  You need & deserve people in your life who love you, not people who blindly believe something bad about you then judge & criticize you.  In a way, your narcissistic mother did you a favor.  She helped you to weed out the unsafe people in your life.  Looking at the situation that way can help to take a great deal of the hurt out of the situation.

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The Narcissistic Apology

Narcissists rarely apologize for anything, but when they do, you can be certain it isn’t a genuine apology.

A genuine apology doesn’t include excuses. Someone who is genuinely sorry for their actions won’t say you made them act that way. That person also will try to change their ways as they don’t want to hurt you like that again.

All of these are foreign concepts to the narcissist.

Narcissists hate to admit they are wrong, & will go to great lengths to avoid it. They will offer excuses as to why what they did was not their fault, or even blame you for making them do what they did. They love to offer the passive/aggressive type of apology- “I’m sorry you feel that way.” “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong/unfair/hurtful.” All of these actions show that the narcissist is not genuinely sorry for what she did. Most likely, she doesn’t care that she hurt you & only cares that she accomplished whatever it was she wanted to accomplish.

I also realized recently another trick of the narcissistic apology. My father has done this one many times & it wasn’t until recently I caught onto it. He recently apologized to me for not being there enough for me in my life. I was touched- there was no blame or excuses so I assumed it was a genuine apology.  He apologized for missing my fifth birthday because he had to travel for work. I told him it’s fine- not a big deal, it was just a birthday. He went on to say how terrible it was of him, he shouldn’t have gone on that trip. Again I said it was no big deal. I pointed out how many other birthdays he was there for. It was only one birthday. Plus he did other things for me. By the end of the conversation, he was happy.

While there are times I am more than willing to reassure someone who hurt me, this was not one of those times that was a good option. If someone accidentally hurt me once, fine. Bad things happen sometimes. But this was different. My reassurance would have been providing narcissistic supply.  Unfortunately, I realized this after the conversation, & then I felt conned into telling him he was a good father.

Whenever you hear a narcissist apologize to you, remember- it is NOT a genuine apology! Don’t get your hopes up thinking they might finally see the error of their ways & change. The narcissist’s apology is like every other thing they do- it’s only about narcissistic supply.

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Inner Faultfinder

Everyone has an inner voice.  That sense of pride when you do a job well is a part of it, as is that other voice that criticizes you when you make a mistake.  For most of us who suffered narcissistic abuse, that inner voice turns into the harshest, cruelest critic you can imagine.

Have you ever done something simple, like spill your drink, & then tell yourself how clumsy you are for doing so?  Or, did you show up late due to circumstances beyond your control such as a flat tire then berate yourself for being so unreliable?  Did your company let you go due to cutbacks, no fault of your own, yet you still told yourself you were a failure?  That is your inner voice turned inner faultfinder.

That voice isn’t naturally cruel.  It turns cruel because of your narcissistic mother.  Her constant put downs & judgments eventually turn inward, & you began to tell yourself the same things she did.  Maybe you use her words, or maybe not, but you become as abusive towards yourself as she is towards you.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a natural event for children of narcissistic mothers.  I wonder if it is because that inner voice stays stuck as a child.  It doesn’t grow up, but instead stays an abused child, wanting to please the impossible to please narcissistic mother.  When you fail  to please her (by making a mistake, spilling something, doing something she wouldn’t approve of, etc.), that inner voice simply repeats what your mother has said (or implied).  I’ve heard that some people who experience trauma at an early age never emotionally grow past that point.  They get stuck at the age of their traumatic experience.  Maybe for some of us who didn’t do that, our inner voice did instead.  It just got stuck in an abusive childhood, & wants so desperately to please the narcissistic mother, it will imitate her actions in an attempt to make it happen.

I have been this way my entire life- extremely critical of myself.  If I forget something, I tell myself how stupid I am.  If I’m feeling under the weather & my husband helps me with or worse yet, does all of the housework, I’m useless & a burden.  If I stub my toe, I’m stupid, clumsy & should’ve known better.  It’s not a pretty inner dialog.  Frankly, it’s gotten old.  I’ve heard enough unfair criticisms in my life to last ten lifetimes, & not only from the narcissists- from myself as well.  I’ve decided it’s time to change.  God has shown me some ways to change this, & I’ll share with you in the hopes they help you as well..

  • Ask for God’s help on the matter.  He will show you creative ways to handle it as He has me.
  • Tell that critic to shut up.  I’m going to say “shut up!” to that awful faultfinding, hyper-critical voice inside every time it says something hateful, then switch my thinking to something else.  Anything to take my mind off what it said.
  • Remind yourself the critic is only an echo of your narcissistic mother, & it’s wrong.  Just like your narcissistic mother, this voice has her best interests at heart, not yours.  Its opinions won’t benefit you.  Ignore it as you do your narcissistic mother’s useless opinions on your life.
  • Years ago, I saw Robb Thompson, a preacher on TV, give a wonderful visual for controlling bad thoughts.  He said they were from the devil, so when bad thoughts came to you, imagine taking the devil by the hand, walking him over to God & saying to the devil, “Ok, now tell Him what you just told me.”  Naturally the devil would be too afraid to say anything so cruel to one of His children in front of God & would back down.

I believe it will take time to make that cruel inner voice less cruel but I think it can be done.  After all, it was trained to be so negative- why can’t it be retrained to be less abusive?

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Do People Tell You That You’re Crazy, Stupid Or Other Bad Things?

Narcissists love to accuse their victims of awful things.  Crazy, stupid, selfish & more- there is no end to the hateful things a narcissist will call you.  And, like everything else they do, there is a motive behind doing this.

Calling you these awful names doesn’t mean they actually believe you are crazy, stupid or selfish- instead, it gives them power & control.

How, you ask?  Because if you are told you are selfish, for example, you are going to work hard to prove that you are not selfish.  This gives the narcissist power over you because by saying what she did, she made you work harder for her.  She feels better about herself at this point because you working hard to please her shows she has power.  Plus, when she sees that she is able to make you do things, that makes her feel better about herself.

When someone tells you awful things about yourself, you need to think about it.  Constructive criticism is said gently & to help you.  Narcissists however, don’t say things nicely or to help.   They say things cruelly or they imply things rather than say them outright, so if you confront them, they can say something like “I never said you were *fill in the blank*”  “You read too much into things!”  “You have such a vivid imagination!”

The person saying these things.. do they often criticize you?  Do they often try to control you?

If you are having trouble determining what is really happening, ask God for discernment on the matter.

You do not deserve to be mistreated!  If someone is telling you terrible things about yourself that you know are untrue, always remember that it says more about her than you.  Normal people don’t tear down other people, but encourage & empower them instead.

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“My” Truth vs. The Truth

Have you ever heard the phrase “my truth”?  I heard it again recently.  That phrase is said to describe what you believe.  Whether it is really true or not, however, is inconsequential.

This phrase is perfect for describing what narcissists believe.  Their truth rarely resembles the real truth.

I think it is used when someone is trying to convince themselves of something that they know is not true, which narcissists love to do frequently.  If they say something is their truth, it implies the thing is true, so it’s OK to believe.  As an example, my mother believes she was a good, loving, caring mother to me.  That is her truth.  She has convinced herself of it.  It’s how she copes with her guilty conscious.  She knows what she did to me was wrong & rather than accept responsibility for it, she reinvents the past & creates her own truth.  She has convinced others of her truth as well.

I know just how frustrating this is when you know the real truth & others insist that lies are the truth.  Never forget- their truth is just that, theirs.  It isn’t yours.  So long as you know what the real truth is, that is what matters.  Don’t let anyone sway you from what you know to be true.  If you have any doubts, ask God to help you to see what the truth really is.  He will do so!

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Narcissists Are Murderers

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that narcissists are murderers. Maybe not in the typical sense of the word as in they don’t try to shoot you, stab you or run you over with their cars but they are murderers nonetheless. They try to kill the person you are & recreate you into the person they want you to be- blindly obedient, enabling, having no needs, wants or feelings of your own. Basically, a robot here only to do their twisted will.

Once you escape the abuse, a part of your healing should be discovering the person God has created you to be. After all, He made you the way He did for a specific reason which is infinitely more valuable & important than the narcissist’s reasons for trying to turn you into a robot.

God made you to have a special place in this world, blessing others & enjoying being who you are. The narcissist’s only reason for trying to destroy that & remold you into what she wants is selfish- to enable her dysfunctional & abusive behavior. Isn’t it worth shedding the narcissist’s image of you & embracing the person God made you to be?

Rediscovering yourself, or discovering yourself for the first time, is not easy when you are accustomed to being the narcissist’s robot, but it is worth the effort. It also is fun, learning about yourself. Just start paying more attention to your feelings on things- do you like that or not? Are you drawn to things you never were allowed to pay attention to before? Then why not explore those things now? What do you have to lose?

Last February when I got very sick, it really caused me to re-evaluate my life. In my thirties, I tried to discover myself. I made some progress, but I abandoned the effort many times though, slipping back into old, dysfunctional habits. While recovering though, I realized I didn’t want to die knowing I had wasted my life being the person the narcissists in my life had tried to make me into. I didn’t like that person at all. So, I started exploring things that sounded appealing to me. I bought some clay & tried making various items. I tried felting. I also got back into drawing- something I loved to do as a child, but got away from. I feel much more peaceful & more confident doing things just for myself for the first time. I have become more self-confident, even when dealing with my narcissistic parents- I speak up to them more often now when I didn’t used to do so at all. (Using wisdom of course, as many times speaking back to narcissists only causes more problems since they can’t handle criticism or confrontation). I have also begun to take better care of myself & be more understanding & forgiving with myself.

Unfortunately, I also have been slipping back into the old, dysfunctional habits! It’s so frustrating! Like all emotional healing, it’s not a straight uphill path, but a windy one with a few big potholes. One thing helped me a lot, & that was a video I saw on facebook. It’s of Trace Adkins in the movie “Moms Night Out” talking to a lady about her feelings of not being good enough. Watching this brief video was eye opening to me, & I will be watching it over & over again to help keep me on track. I hope it blesses & helps you as it did me, Dear Reader. xoxo

http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/18335687-trace-adkins-in-moms-night-out-scene-god-s-love-for-moms-watch?a=vl&var=GodsLoveForMoms-DUCKYEAH

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“They Did The Best They Could!”

The phrase, “They did the best they could” used to make me feel so guilty.  I felt shame for being hurt or angry about the abuse I went through at the hands of my parents & ex husband.  After all, my mother had a terrible childhood, abused by her narcissistic, evil mother & no contact with her father- how could she know how to be a good mother?  My father was in a near fatal car wreck at 15, & has had problems stemming from the brain damage since, so that must be why he never felt able to intervene with my mother abusing me.  As for the ex?  Not like his parents modeled a healthy marriage- no wonder he didn’t know how to be a husband.

I’m sure if you’ve been the victim of abuse, you have heard the same tired phrase, & had the same kind of thoughts that I had.  I think it’s only natural to think things like that under the circumstances.  Today though I want to challenge that phrase regarding how it relates to your situation.

If someone is really doing the best they can, naturally they are going to make mistakes just like anyone does.  They will apologize & try to make the wrongs right somehow if possible.  They won’t repeat that mistake over & over again, make excuses or blame you for making them do what they did.

Someone who is truly doing their best won’t hide their actions or demand someone not to tell anyone what they are doing.

They also won’t be one way behind closed doors & totally different when in public situations.

They won’t criticize your every word, thought or deed.

People who truly are doing their best don’t try to gaslight others, making people doubt their own sanity.

They will try to build you up, encouraging you to be your own person who exercises whatever talents you have, rather than deliberately tear you down, discouraging you to be the person God made you to be.

They will care about others, not only themselves, & especially their children & spouse.

Now, think about the narcissist in your life.  Does this sound like her?  If not, then you need to keep in mind that she really didn’t do the best she could!  Even if she had been abused or through hard times, that does NOT give an excuse to abuse!  If being abused made the victim become an abuser, you would be abusive.  If you think she does not know what she’s doing, then think about this- does she hide the abuse from other people, only raging at you in private?  That is a sign she knows what she is doing is wrong.

Rather than feel guilty because your narcissistic mother “did the best she could”, instead, I encourage you to have a more realistic view of her situation.  In mine for example, with my mother- yes she was abused terribly as a child.  Her mother continued abusing her as an adult.  She’s been miserable married to my father for 46 years.  I do feel sorry for her for those reasons.  However, those reasons were NOT my fault or a reason to take her frustrations, anger & hurt out on me, to expect to be able to live the life she actually wanted through me.  As her daughter, it was never my job to make her happy, although she expected that.  She also knew then & still knows how she treats me is wrong.  I know this because she always worked hard to hide her actions from everyone, including my father.

Looking at my situation logically like this has helped me to no longer feel guilty when someone says that she did the best she could.  It will help you as well.  There is no good reason for you to feel bad when some insensitive, naive person says that obnoxious phrase to you!  Don’t accept their delusion as your reality!

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Narcissists Lie, Especially To Themselves

One of the most intriguing things I’ve noticed about narcissists is watching one lie in order to convince herself as well as others that something is the truth.

There was a show on TV a few years ago called, “Lie To Me” that I just loved.  It was about a deception expert- basically a human lie detector.  He would work with the police or military or whoever to help solve mysteries, because he was more able to detect lies than an actual lie detector.  The show was fascinating not only because the stories were interesting, but also because it was really educational.  It taught me about micro expressions- the fleeting expressions people make without being aware of them.  It also would show examples of various faces of people expressing various emotions.  Cool stuff if you’re interested in psychology like I am.  This show taught me a lot about how to detect the truth about people.  Body language & facial expressions are much more reliable than the words they speak.

A few years ago, after watching a marathon of “Lie To Me” on netflix, my husband & I went to dinner with my parents.  While my father was away from the table, my mother was telling my husband & I that my father had just recently gotten rid of his cell phone- gave it to a neighbor lady.  She said she had no idea why he did that, what was wrong with him?   She even paused for a moment after she said that, as if allowing it to sink in.  I quickly realized what was going on…

I’d given my father a cheap cell phone a few months prior, because he complained that my mother spent so much time on the phone, he couldn’t use it often.  She has a cell, but keeps it in her purse.  I thought a simple, cheap cell phone might work for him- it’d eliminate the conflict & it was only about $15/month to maintain.  From day one, my mother was mad he had this phone.  She griped at him & I both about how he didn’t need a cell phone, how it’s a waste of money, he’s ALWAYS buying minutes for it (yea, once a month..),  he spends too much time on the phone & other nonsense.  He finally was so tired of her complaints, he gave it away to get her off his back.  My mother was glad he got rid of the cell phone, but did not want to be to blame for him doing so.  Her solution was to lie & try to convince herself, my father, my husband & I she had no idea why he got rid of it.  To admit she nagged him into doing so would make her look bad, & no narcissist can handle looking bad in any way.  Lying this way was the best way to handle it, in her mind.  Eventually it worked- she is currently convinced she has no idea why he got rid of his cell phone.

My mother isn’t the only person I’ve seen do this. (Her display was only the most obvious one.)  In fact, I think it’s a pretty common thing among narcissists. After all, they’ll do anything to prevent them from looking bad.  My mother also will talk about what a great, loving mother she was to me.  She also has bragged about how upon meeting her, my one parakeet loved her very much (that didn’t happen) & how much my furkids love her (they don’t even like her).  She has even said that she can’t keep rescuing me because if she does, I’ll never learn (my mother has not one time “rescued” me in my entire life).  She is again trying to convince herself that her lies are the truth.

Unfortunately, I think this phenomenon is a coping skill that narcissists use when the truth is too ugly for them to bear.  They simply cannot bear to look anything less than perfect.  They especially can’t handle admitting the truth that they were horrible & abusive to their own child.  I wonder if the reality of how much damage they have caused would cause them to emotionally & mentally collapse.  I find narcissists to be rather weak people, & believe that is a very distinct possibility.

When these situations happen, I know they can be frustrating & hurtful.  It especially hurts when your narcissistic mother brags about how much she’s done for you.  When this happens though, please do your best to remember, this is how she chooses to cope.  Yes, it’s hurtful to you & yes it’s dysfunctional, but it’s her choice.  Unfortunately, she has the right to exercise this ridiculous behavior.  However, that doesn’t mean that you have to condone it.

When my mother brags about how good she’s been to me, I refuse to give her the validation she is seeking.  I won’t say a lie is the truth just to support her dysfunctional coping skills.  However, I also don’t tell her she is wrong.  She can have her delusions if she wants to, just don’t expect me to agree with them.  I get around validating her by saying things like:

  • “I don’t remember that.”
  • “Uh huh” (shows I’m listening but it’s non-committal)
  • changing the subject

Unfortunately this coping mechanism of hers still hurts sometimes, but I have noticed that it hurts much less than it once did.  Once I realized that my mother’s bragging about her fantastic mothering skills is all about how she copes with abusing me, it took much of the sting out of what she said.  I think this is because I realized although she is refusing to invalidating me & refusing to accept responsibility for it, she knows what she has done.  What she did bothers her enough that she feels the need to deal with it, & this just happens to be her way to cope, dysfunctional as it is.

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Logic vs. Narcissistic Games

Recently I realized an effective way to put an end to narcissistic games: ask logical questions. I realize that sounds silly, but I’m telling you, it works!

When the narcissist in your life starts their games, whether it is gaslighting or simply being hateful, immediately start asking logical questions, & watch the narcissist become confused & stop what they are doing.

Some good questions you can ask are:

  • “How is that supposed to help?”
  • “What exactly do you mean?”
  • “I don’t understand..explain that?”
  • “What are you trying to say?”

Once you ask your question, wait for an answer.  The narcissist won’t know what to do!  They may ignore your question totally, but you can be sure of two things: 1- she heard what you said, & 2- she will stop what she was doing.

I have done this recently, & have found it to be not only effective, but funny as well.  It’s funny watching someone who is usually so confident in their talents in manipulation & cruelty suddenly become flustered.  They are so shocked when someone doesn’t just blindly let them get away with what usually works, especially when it’s the person who usually does let them get away with things.

Doing this also helps you to take back some power, while taking away some from the narcissist.  When she realizes her games or cruelty aren’t working, that takes power from her. The bonus is at the same time, it gives you power & confidence.

The next time you’re dealing with a narcissist, I would encourage you to try asking questions.  You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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Projection & Narcissists

Have you ever heard the term projection regarding to how it relates to narcissists? Projection means that whatever they are doing, they project onto another person, accusing them of doing. For example, narcissists are know liars. Often they accuse others of lying to them while defending how honest & trustworthy they are.

Narcissistic mothers are no exception. They love to project, especially onto their children. The child of a narcissist isn’t viewed as the child of a normal, healthy person is. Most people view their children as separate human beings, with their own wants, emotions, personality & more. Narcissists, however, view their children as tools to be used in any way they see fit, not allowed to have their own wants, emotions or personality. Their children are not allowed to have boundaries. A narcissistic mother has no problem reading her child’s diary or snooping through her personal belongings. Nothing is off limits to the narcissistic mother, so why would projecting her flaws be?

I think another part of projection is also when a narcissist criticizes something about you that she wishes she had or could do. My mother is quick to criticize long hair on women, no matter how beautiful it is, yet has always complained that she can wear her thin, fine hair in only one, short style. She also has ruthlessly criticized my furkids, I think because they don’t like her & are very devoted to me.

Projection doesn’t stop just because a child of a narcissistic mother reaches adulthood. I haven’t heard of one narcissistic mother yet who has given up projection just because she is older or her child has grown up. My mother still gets on me about my weight, as she has my entire life, even though she is a lot heavier than I’ve ever been.

So how do you deal with this frustrating thing called projection?

The best way I’ve found is to remember what projection really is- a dysfunctional coping tool for a narcissist to use to deal with her own shortcomings. Remembering this helps to take some of the sting out of her cruel words, because you know it isn’t a personal attack- it is simply her own dysfunction. It still will hurt or anger you though, as it should, because it is unfair of her to use you in such a way.

Once I learned about projection & realized it was about her dysfunction rather than me, I’ve felt pity several times for my mother when I have caught her doing her projecting. She does it so often, she must truly feel awful about herself. It’s sad when you think of it. However, feeling pity doesn’t mean that I should try to make her feel better about herself. With a narcissist, attempting that puts you in the position of being responsible for her self-esteem, iffy as it may be, & she will use you up in order to gain the coveted narcissistic supply that improves her self-esteem. Please remember that if you too feel any pity.

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Grooming & The Narcissistic Mother

One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.

Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.

Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.

This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.

When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.

When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!

You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.

Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!

If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.

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Dealing With The Flying Monkeys

Usually when I write, I focus on healing from narcissistic abuse or narcissism. Today I would like to take a side trip & discuss the narcissist’s flying monkeys.

I’m not entirely sure who invented that phrase, but I think it was Dr. Karyl McBride, author of the wonderful book for daughters of narcissistic mothers, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” Anyway, the line was taken from the movie, “The Wizard Of Oz.” Remember the wicked witch who sent her flying monkeys out to do her dirty work? I think it is the perfect way to describe these people!

Flying monkeys are those who side with the narcissist. They think she is a great person, & you obviously have the problem if you can’t appreciate her. If you have a disagreement with your narcissistic mother, this person will come out of the woodwork, & tell you things like how great she is, how hard she tries so hard with you, & how you need to do (fill in the blank) for her because it’s the least you can do for your own mother. My mother has a flying monkey who isn’t quite so bold, but occasionally during one of my mother’s silent treatments, will email me with some lame excuse attempting to make me call or see my mother.

Simply put, flying monkeys are the evil minions of narcissists, &, much like their “wicked witch,” their behavior is also abusive.

Invalidation is abuse, & this is what flying monkeys do best- invalidate your pain, invalidate your boundaries, & invalidate anything you have to say. They also think they know best, & you should blindly listen to them, ignoring your own thoughts & feelings. (Sounds like a narcissist, doesn’t it?) In fact, they remind me of a dream I had a few months ago. I wrote about it in this post. Flying monkeys often will do anything, no matter how ridiculous they look or how much damage they do to the relationship with you to make their feelings & views known to you. They are just like that little sedan in my dream.

While I honestly believe many flying monkeys do what they do out of ignorance, probably even with good intentions, that doesn’t make their behavior any less abusive. They are narcissistic enablers, paving the way for the narcissist to wreak havoc.

If you are able & willing, cutting them out of your life may be your best option.

If you are unable or unwilling to cut the flying monkey out of your life, you need to have some very strong boundaries in place. They need to know that discussing your narcissistic mother is not an option. There are plenty of other things you can discuss- shared interests, current events, the weather, sports.. find other things to talk about- it’s pretty easy to do. If the flying monkey can’t handle this, then leave their presence or hang up the phone.

If the flying monkey is a part of your life on social media, don’t discuss your narcissistic mother on social media. Or, if you do, block the flying monkey from seeing those posts along with people that also know the flying monkey. I have a list of “acquaintances” on facebook. Generally when I post, or this blog posts to my facebook page, it posts to “Friends except acquaintances”. The acquaintances have no idea what they are not seeing or that they are blocked from seeing certain things.

Most importantly, don’t let yourself be swayed by the flying monkey! They can be very convincing sometimes, I know, but only do what you know to be right for you. My mother’s flying monkey told me once that my mother said how proud of me she is. Something I never once heard from my mother, & frankly would love to hear. No doubt my mother knows this which is why she told the flying monkey that. Or, the flying monkey knew it & lied to me about my mother saying it. In any case it was hard not to be swayed & want to work on our relationship after hearing that. I knew in my heart though that things wouldn’t improve with my mother no matter what I do since she’s a narcissist, & besides- I’ve always been the one to work on this relationship. It’s not fair & I’m very tired of being the one who does all the work! If she isn’t willing to put forth some effort, our relationship never will change. (I’ve been blamed for it being so bad by flying monkeys who fail to realize these points, by the way). Anyway if I had allowed myself to believe the flying monkey, can you imagine the huge amount of, well, crap that would have followed? My mother would’ve known the flying monkey was an effective weapon, so she would’ve been used more often. She also would’ve enjoyed the control she had over me, knowing she made me start working on our relationship. And, me working on things would have proven to her that she is right, & can treat me any way she sees fit. When your flying monkeys sweet talk you, then please keep my story in mind. Think about the scenarios that could follow if you went along with their wishes. Is anything worth going through what would happen if you obeyed the flying monkeys?

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Confronting Narcissists

Have you ever tried to confront  your narcissistic parent on their abuse?  If so, you know the frustration.  Nothing changes & you walk away feeling completely confused.  You even may have ended up apologizing too, when the fact is you didn’t do anything that warranted an apology!

Confronting narcissists is never an easy thing.  They employ so many tactics to avoid the attention being on their bad behaviors.  It often gets so frustrating, you prefer just to let the offense go rather than deal with the games & gaslighting.

Some narcissists will accuse their chilld/adult child of various things to deflect the attention off of them.  They may say their child is ungrateful, a smart mouth, mean, cold, spoiled, a brat, or other awful things.  They also may claim to be doing things for the child’s benefit.  My mother used to claim since I was such an awful child, she had to use tough love on me.

My mother in-law likes to pretend to be the victim when she is confronted.  My father too.  This is a very common tool of the covert narcissist, since they so love the “poor me” or martyr role.  When my father was due to come by my home a few weeks ago, alone, my mother came with him.  He made it to the door first.  Without even saying “hi,” he immediately went into explaining how he had no control over her coming along- it wasn’t his fault.  Really?  She was driving- he voluntarily got into her car!

Overt narcissists may not play the victim so quietly, but they will play the victim.  They will accuse you of being SOOO mean to them!  “After all I do for you, this is the thanks I get?”  “You don’t appreciate all I do for you!”

Some more overt narcissists will meet your confrontation with rage.  When I was a kid, my mother would meet my confrontations with screams &/or accusations &/or trying to hurt me.  When I was probably about 12, she & I were coming home from  her mother’s home.  She was mad at her mother & yelling as she was talking about other things in the car so loud, there was a slight echo.  It made my ears ring.  I asked her if she could talk a little quieter, & she screamed even louder & mocked me for complaining about my ringing ears until I was in tears.

Many narcissists refuse to apologize at all, but the ones who do often employ the passive/aggressive type of apology.  “I’m sorry you got upset.”  “I’m sorry if your feelings got hurt.”  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  While the words “I’m sorry” are said, the fact they believe you’re at fault is clearly implied.  If you mention that, you will be on the receiving end of either tears or rage, because they did say they were sorry after all!  Nothing they do is good enough for you!

Still other narcissists will talk non stop, making excuses for their outlandish behavior or talking in circles until you are completely confused.  They also may use gaslighting at this point- “That isn’t how that happened!”  “That never happened!”  “I never said that!”

Until you are very accustomed to these tactics, chances are you’ll be confused, angry & unsure exactly why or even apologetic to  the narcissist for their bad behavior.  Being aware of such tactics will help you when you have to confront your narcissist.  You will be aware of what they are doing, & can deal with it accordingly.

The best way I know to deal with these things is to avoid them as much as possible.  Not always a good solution because narcissists are already allowed to get away with too much.  Most people instinctively placate them rather than deal with these kinds of situations.

Unfortunately though, there will be times when avoiding a confrontation isn’t wise.  Before confronting her, pray.  Pray a lot, asking God for wisdom & the right words to say.  During those times, remember these tactics.  When the narcissist begins to talk in circles, bring the focus back to the original topic.  Same for if she plays the victim or gets angry.  You can say things like “I understand, but the fact is, I won’t put up with that behavior.  If you do it again….”  Keep firm boundaries in place, primarily staying on topic.  Stay calm- any sign of you being upset will only serve to fuel the narcissist.  She’ll see she can upset you & push to do it more.

Most importantly though, besides prayer of course, is to work on your own emotional healing.  The healthier you are, the stronger you are & the more self-confident you are.  When you are self-confident, narcissists know they don’t have much of a chance at winning with you & either give up easily or fight so hard, they look ridiculous, realize it & then give up.

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It’s All About Narcissistic Supply. Always.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about one helpful way to deal with a narcissist is to remind yourself constantly that this person is a narcissist.  While that is helpful, I realized that I forgot to mention one other thing along those lines.

Never forget that narcissists are all about narcissistic supply.  That is all they care about, & will do anything to get it.  Does your narcissistic mother say she wants to spend time with you?  She doesn’t want to spend time with you, enjoying time with her daughter- she wants to spend time getting narcissistic supply from you.  Does she ask how you’re doing?  That isn’t because she cares- it’s because she is looking for something to use against you.  Hurting you or making you angry will provide her this supply.

I live in central Maryland.  When there were riots in Baltimore, I had a feeling my covertly narcissistic father was going to call about it.  I assumed it was going to be to talk politics, since he loves to do that with me.  (Odd since I have zero interest in politics)  I was sort of right- he called a few days after the rioting started.  He said he was concerned about us, & wanted to be sure we were OK.  We live about 30 minutes south of Baltimore, my parents are about 20 minutes away.  I thought it was an odd question at first, but learned quickly why he was “concerned.”  It was all about getting his supply.

To start with, he called at 8:59 at night.  I’ve told my father I don’t answer the phone after 9 p.m.  He was pushing my boundary because I think that provides him some supply.  He can be in control.  He got as close to 9 as he could with calling me.  If I wouldn’t have answered, he would’ve had the right to be mad at me for not taking his call, as far as he is concerned (he thinks I must answer his calls whenever he calls & makes no allowances for me being unavailable).  I answered though, so I let him push that boundary (big mistake on my part), which makes him feel in control.

He immediately said he was concerned about us what with the terrible riots happening in Baltimore.  As soon as I said we’re fine, he immediately went into a rant about the politics of the situation.  He went on for about 10-15 minutes about how he felt about the riots & how he thought things should be fixed & his opinions… He wasn’t concerned about us at all- he wanted an excuse to talk about politics.

I learned from that call how anything & everything with a narcissist is about narcissistic supply.  It showed me how they can twist anything into a supply opportunity.   And, frankly, it hurt.  I briefly thought he actually was concerned about my husband & I.  Finding out no, this was just an opportunity for supply hurt.  At least the hurt was a good reminder about the fact narcissists are only focused on their supply.  You can bet I won’t forget about that need of theirs again any time soon!

And, Dear Reader, you shouldn’t either!  Remembering that with a narcissist, everything is about them gaining narcissistic supply will help you!  Remembering this fact will help you not to be as  hurt when they mistreat you, because you’ll remember this is how narcissists are.  It’s not about you.  Nothing is about you when dealing with a narcissist.  It’s always about them & furthering their agenda.

Nothing they do will surprise you or catch you off guard, because you know they are capable of intensely selfish, evil acts.

Also, you will be prepared for those selfish, evil acts ahead of time because you know they are coming.  Even if you don’t know exactly what they have planned, you know they have something planned.  You know to be ready for anything, you know that you will need to enforce your boundaries.  This enables you to be prepared to deal as effectively as possible with your narcissist.

While dealing with a narcissist, especially a narcissistic parent, is never easy, remembering their desperation for narcissistic supply will help you tremendously.

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

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

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

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

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

Do scenarios like this sound familiar to you as well?

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

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

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

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

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A Different Facet Of Triangulation

Triangulation is a commonly known tactic of narcissists.  It involves the narcissist having a third party try to talk to you about what is bothering her.  For example, if you have set limits on the time you are willing to spend with your narcissistic mother, she may have your father talk to you about how you should spend more time with your parents.

I realized recently that there is another kind of triangulation that is often used with covert narcissists.  It is where the covert narcissist tells you about the terrible things someone else has said about you, & tells them terrible things you have said about them. The things they share aren’t necessarily true.

If you have two narcissistic parents- one overt, one covert- then chances are you are aware of this, even if you haven’t thought about it before. I have experienced this firsthand.  My father, a covert narcissist, tells me anything bad that my overtly narcissistic mother says about me (I’m not sure how much is true of what he has said).  He also has told my mother I’ve said bad things about her when I hadn’t.  For example, he has told me many times my mother has said someone should report me for having too many pets (I have a legal amount of pets & I own my home rather than rent, so no one would do anything if I was reported, by the way).  He also has told my mother that I said she isn’t allowed in my home when I said no such thing.  The truth is I told him I was sick of her insulting my furkids & if she couldn’t be civil to them, she doesn’t need to come into my home ever again.

I’ve heard of other covertly narcissistic parents doing similar things, & I’ve wondered why.  After praying about it, I think I understand.

Telling their child such things, be they true or false, means the child will pull away from the overtly narcissistic parent & be closer to the covertly narcissistic parent.  This means more narcissistic supply for the covert narcissist.

This dysfunctional behavior also causes the child to think poorly of the overt narcissist, & it makes the covert narcissist look good by comparison.  After all, the covert narcissist comes across as concerned for the child (“I thought you should know what your mother said about you..”), unlike the overt narcissist who has said such hurtful things. And, the covert narcissist isn’t the one who said the hurtful things- he only relayed what he has heard, supposedly because you need to know these things.

This form of triangulation is also a type of deflection, because it takes attention off of the covert narcissist & his bad behaviors.  You become angry with the overt narcissist for saying such terrible things, & automatically don’t pay as much attention to the covert narcissist’s bad behaviors since your focus is elsewhere.

Covert narcissists love looking like a martyr, & this type of triangulation helps them to do that as well.  See what terrible things he has to put up with?  He has to listen to his mean wife talk trash about his child!  How horrible for him!  He is often so focused on making whatever was said (or he wants you to believe was said) that it stirs you up so much, you fail to realize at first that he didn’t defend you.  In fact, if you aren’t aware of this tactic, you may even feel sorry for him that he had to be exposed to this.

So how do you deal with this type of hurtful, dysfunctional behavior?

Obviously, setting boundaries in a normal way with any narcissist is futile.  Do not admit that it hurts you to hear these things, or the covert narcissist will realize the effectiveness of this weapon to hurt you, using it constantly.

Instead, show no reaction.  Pretend whatever is said doesn’t affect you in the least.   He may keep pushing the issue trying to get a reaction.  If he does & gets flustered at your calmness, & says something like “Aren’t you upset?” use logic in your response.  I’ve said things like, “Why would I be?  I know she hates everything about me.  This is hardly a surprise.  Besides, I just don’t care what she thinks about me anymore.”  Then I changed the subject as that information sank in.

Change the subject.  Repeatedly.  As often as needed.  Without saying anything along the lines of “On another matter..” or “Let’s talk about something different”, just bluntly change the subject.  Narcissists, overt or covert, don’t like subject changes- they want to be in charge of the conversation.  It will annoy him, but at least he’ll be off the topic.

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The Silent Treatment

I visited a very good friend of mine yesterday.  Like me, her mother was a narcissist.  A much more malignant narcissist than mine.  While we were talking, she mentioned that her mother never gave her the silent treatment.  In fact, instead she would fake illness brought on by the stress my friend caused by either disagreeing with her or disobeying her.

I told her what she was missing out on!  The silent treatment can be a wonderful thing!  It gives you a break from your narcissistic mother’s drama, cruelty, mind games & more.  At first, it may not feel good, but after a while, it really feels like a gift from God.  Yes, that sounds awful, I know, but it’s the truth!

Many daughters of narcissistic mothers have faced the silent treatment at some point.  As young children, it can be devastating!  It certainly was for me. I couldn’t understand why my mother wouldn’t speak to me.  I would try anything to gain her attention.  I even asked what was wrong, & was met with among the most ridiculous responses ever: “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you.”  At first this made me try harder, but I quickly realized that was why she said it, & stopped trying so hard.

As I grew older, I learned some more things about the silent treatment, & I’d like to share them with you to (hopefully!) help you.

  • The silent treatment is about control.  It is supposed to force you to ask, “What’s wrong?” so your narcissistic mother can tell you exactly what is wrong with you to upset her so much, she had to withdraw from you.
  • The silent treatment is also to make you feel inadequate, flawed, wrong, crazy.  The more messed up you believe you are, the less likely it is you’ll stand up to your narcissistic mother.  You will be easier for her to control.
  • The silent treatment really has nothing to do with what you did.  Whatever you did was just an excuse to give you the silent treatment.  Didn’t do anything?  That’s fine too- narcissists aren’t above lying to get what they want.
  • Normal, healthy people do NOT use the silent treatment!!  Normal people get angry, & may even want a little space from you if you said or did something hurtful, but that space doesn’t last long.  It’s only a little time to cool off, & not to punish you.
  • The silent treatment shows the person giving it is very immature, selfish, childish..  If your narcissistic mother can’t approach you like an adult to work things out, using the silent treatment instead, she’s behaving like a spoiled rotten little child.

So how does one deal with being on the receiving end of the silent treatment??

  • Keep the above list in mind.  This will help you to remember that this silent treatment speaks more about your narcissistic mother’s problems than something being wrong with you.  Like I said, normal, healthy people don’t use the silent treatment!  They speak to the person who hurt them & work things out like mature adults.
  • Never, ever ask, “What’s wrong?”  If you do, you most likely will open up her narcissistic rage arsenal of weapons.  “What’s wrong?” seems to translate to “Now I can really abuse her!!” in the mind of a narcissist.  If your narcissistic mother won’t try to work this out, then that is her problem.  How are you supposed to repair whatever you did wrong if you don’t even know what you did wrong?
  • Remember, refusing to play your narcissistic mother’s games is honorable!  Honoring your mother as the Bible commands doesn’t mean play into her manipulation.  To truly honor someone means you want the best for them, & the best is for your mother to be a healthy person.  Granted, to become mentally healthy, she has to want to become healthy- you can’t make her want that, nor can you make her healthy.  However, you can gently push her in that direction by refusing to engage in her games.
  • Think of this time without your narcissistic mother as a break.  In all honesty, probably you aren’t getting the silent treatment because you did something bad.  Probably, you dared to have your own opinion, didn’t praise your mother enough, didn’t jump through some ridiculous hoops that she wanted you to jump through.  Why beat yourself up over something so stupid?  Instead, just think of this silent treatment as a reprieve.  Enjoy the peace & quiet for however long it lasts!  Besides, most likely your mother will contact you soon anyway, as soon as she needs something from you.
  • Take care of yourself.  Refuse to think about “What did I do wrong?” or feel guilty.  Instead, do nice things for yourself. Get a mani/pedi.  Get yourself a new book you’ve been wanting.  Spend a day relaxing with herbal tea & good movies.

It probably will take you some time to stop feeling guilty & to start enjoying the silent treatment.  And then, you may feel somewhat guilty for enjoying it.  I know I did at first.  But, that doesn’t last long once you realize how peaceful your life has become!

I have realized that the last few times my mother has given me the silent treatment, it took me a while to realize it was happening!  Weeks would go by, when suddenly I realized she hadn’t called me.  Quite an improvement over fretting about how to get her to start speaking to me again & feeling guilty for being such a terrible daughter, don’t you think?

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Do Narcissists Really Know What They Are Doing?

The answer is a resounding YES!!!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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Gifts & Narcissists

Giving gifts can be a wonderful thing.  It makes the receiver feel loved because someone would listen closely enough to know what gift would make the receiver happy, then spend the time to pick out this gift, spend the time to wrap  it up pretty & all this shows that they cared enough to want to do these things.  The giver is also blessed because there is a great joy in seeing someone’s face light up when they get a special gift that you are responsible for picking out.

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, this isn’t the case.

 

For one thing, narcissists are notoriously terrible at giving gifts.  To give a good gift, you have to look beyond yourself.  You have to listen to what the receiver says about their needs & wants.  You have to know things about them, such as their favorite color, the size clothing they wear, styles they like, their favorite author or singer.  Narcissists can’t be bothered with such “trivial” matters, so they will choose what they like or what they think you need instead.

 

Narcissists also give you gifts in order to try to make you more like what they think you should be.  Clothing in a color or style that they think you should wear instead of clothing you like, or a CD from a band they like instead of from a band you like.  Probably fifteen years ago or so, during a conversation with my mother in-law that took place not long before Christmas, I mentioned the fact I don’t like to cook.  I do it of course, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.  For Christmas that year, she & both of my sisters in-law gave me a lot of cooking paraphernalia.  I got spoons, spatulas, cook books, food & the largest, ugliest pasta dish I have ever seen in my life (I did find a good use for it eventually.  When the roof leaked, in the short time before it was fixed, I used that ugly dish to catch the rain water that leaked into the attic ..lol)

 

And of course, in true narcissistic fashion, when they give gifts, the purpose is self-serving.  Giving makes them feel like they are good people.  See how caring they are?  They gave someone a gift!  Yay for the narcissist!!  My mother gives me things constantly, often things she has gotten as gifts but didn’t like, clothes she wants rid of, clothes she will buy for me because she likes the color/style (not that I like them), or things she has received in return for donating to a charity.  For the longest time, I felt like I should hold onto these things, I think because on some level, I thought these gifts meant she actually cared for me.  Once I realized that she was giving me things not to bless me, but to serve her own agenda or clean out her own junk, I didn’t feel that need any longer to hold onto her gifts.  Some, yes, but not many.

 

There also may be another motive when receiving gifts from a narcissist.  They may want something from you.  They may want you to do something for them, so when they ask for you to do that favor, they can say, “How can you say no after I gave you that great gift?”  My in-laws are like that.  Gifts come with strings attached.  They give my husband birthday & Christmas cards with money, & in return, he is to help them with whatever needs they have, no matter how ridiculous.  (Not that he shouldn’t help out his aging parents of course, but when they call him to take one of them to the emergency room rather than 911 in an emergency, something is very wrong!)  Have they ever spelled this out?  No.  It is an unspoken rule, as many narcissistic families have.

 

Some narcissists also give to others in the hopes of making themselves appear to be the martyr, taken advantage of by ungrateful people.  This often makes the recipient of the gifts feel as if they are taking advantage of the giver, & they offer to repay the “generous” narcissist somehow.

 

If you receive a gift from a narcissist, just be forewarned- the gift probably has some pretty hefty strings attached to it!

 

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Wet Blankets!

Good evening, Dear Readers!

I had an interesting experience a while ago…

My mother called me under the guise of telling me about a Stephen King movie coming on TV tonight.  I knew about it already, what with him being my favorite fictional author, as many of you know.  Plus it’s a new one based on a story in his book “Full Dark, No Stars” which I really enjoyed.

Anyway she took this opportunity to remind me (as she has probably thousands of times before) that she doesn’t understand what is wrong with me- why do I like scary stories?  She certainly doesn’t like them & has no idea where I got my taste in such things!  And did I know she saw the movie “Psycho” at the drive in when it came out, & it terrified her?  Have I ever seen it?  Yes, & it’s among my favorite movies.  “GASP!!  I just don’t understand what’s wrong with you!”

Same speech, different day.  As usual, it annoyed me.

I finally thought to ask God why did she feel the need to do this?  More attempting to shame me for liking an author she doesn’t approve of (even though he’s been my favorite since I was 8 & read “Night Shift” for the first time)??  He showed me that the motivation is to spoil my fun in watching this movie.  Often her comments are made to shame me, yes, but when she calls to let me know one of his movies is coming on TV soon, it’s to spoil my fun in the hopes that I’ll give up liking this “horrible” author’s works & start liking the more happy, light & fluffy authors she likes.

*sigh*  Yea, that ain’t happening.  lol

Suddenly I realized she’s done this wet blanket thing so many times, as has my narcissistic mother in-law.  When I got my first car, a cute little Buick Skyhawk, my parents took me to the dealer.  Since I only had my learner’s permit at the time, my mother rode home with me, & complained the entire way (about 10 miles).  “This car is too small!”  “There’s no leg room!”  & other untrue & snarky comments.  It spoiled my very first drive in my first car.  When my husband & I first started dating, his mother suggested she & I go to lunch & shopping.  I said fine, when?  Her response?  “You WILL be taking Eric’s car instead of yours, right?”  I was surprised & said “No, I’ll be driving mine.”  (she doesn’t drive).  She said “Oh.” & changed the subject.  This exact conversation happened a total of 3 times before she gave up since I wasn’t taking his car & insisted on taking my own.  It also set the stage for 8 long years of nasty comments about how awful my Oldsmobile was, how expensive it was to maintain & how I should just junk it, all because it simply needs a paintjob..

There were many other similar incidents with both of them, but I’m sure you get the point.

Amazing isn’t it?  Amazing how narcissists think they know best what you should like.  And, they can’t accept the fact that you might like something they don’t or vice versa.  They act like it’s a crime, or a direct attack on them if you are different than they are, or have an interest they don’t.  And, by golly, you better straighten yourself up & only be interested in what THEY deem worthy!

It’s amazing to me that any human being can be so insecure that they will hurt, anger & try to mold another person into liking/not liking the things that they do.  How is it a threat to them if you like something they don’t?!  Who cares?!  Everybody is different, it’s a simple fact of life, so why does this even affect a narcissist?!

They are simply that insecure.

While narcissists may appear overly self-confident, the truth is that behavior is to convince not only other people but also themselves that they are wonderful, special people, & not the lowly, unworthy person they really feel like they are deep down on the inside.  So, if you don’t like something they do, then they take that as you don’t approve of them.  On the opposite side of the same coin, if you like something they don’t, they also take that as you not approving of them or you thinking you are better than they are.

Narcissists simply can’t see this situation as 2 different people having different tastes.

Remind yourself of this next time the narcissist in your life insults you for not liking something she likes, or for liking something she doesn’t.  As always, her behavior speaks volumes about her, not about you!  ❤

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Narcissists Are All Around

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Ignoring Narcissists

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

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December 18, 2012

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you doing well today.

I was wondering something.  I’ve begun a new book, & the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking maybe it’s too old fashioned or since there’s nothing really “inspirational” or Christian about it, it may be a turn off to some readers.  Tell me what you think…

It takes place in the Victorian era in Annapolis, MD.  It’s about a recently married couple.  The husband tries to drive his wife insane, & recruits the help of the pretty young maid he’s having an affair with.  He’s told the maid this is his sister, not his wife.  The wife discovers he’s having an affair by talking to the maid, who is very upset at learning this is his wife.  The maid tells the wife he wants to drive her insane so he can have her locked away & have access to her money.  Together, the women decide to drive him insane instead.

What do you think?  Would you read this book??  Thank you for your input!  🙂

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