Tag Archives: mind
Lately I’ve noticed something. So many people are just over the top positive. They can find something good in every single situation, no matter what. While that may sound good, I really don’t think it’s entirely good for a person’s mental health.
If you’re very positive, you expect nothing but good things to happen. Since life isn’t always perfect, bad things do happen, & when they do, overly positive people can be devastated. A realistic person hopes for the best, but also prepares for the worst. When something bad happens, they aren’t usually overwhelmed, because they knew it was possible something bad might happen.
Very positive people also can unintentionally invalidate others, which damages their relationships. Look at these typical scenarios:
- You’re recovering from a potentially life threatening illness. The overly positive person says, “At least you’re still alive!” Well, yes, but that comment makes you feel like you don’t have the right to be upset about the fact that you could have died, when in fact you most certainly have that right!
- A soldier with PTSD saved his friends’ lives by killing an enemy soldier who was running at them, guns blazing. A positive person might say something like, “You did a brave thing! Look at the lives you saved!” While that’s true, how about asking how he feels about the incident, or offering him comfort because he had to kill another human being & is having difficulties coming to terms with it?
- You tell the overly positive person of trauma in your life such as your parents’ abusing you, being the victim of a mugging or maybe being in a terrible car wreck. The overly positive person says, “Other people have been through much worse!” Or, even worse, they don’t so much as acknowledge what you said.
- You were adopted as a baby. As an adult, you’re frustrated because you don’t know your family’s history, how many siblings you may or may not have, why you were given up for adoption or even what name your biological mother wanted to give you. Or, maybe your adoptive parents abused you. An overly positive person might tell you how lucky you were & how grateful you should be to be adopted, making you feel guilty for not feeling so lucky or grateful.
I’m not trying to say being positive is all bad. It certainly has its place. It can help you in tough times to focus on the good, such as remembering the good times with your loved one after he or she has passed away. I do believe though that there must be balance.
Being too positive means a person doesn’t deal with their emotions in a healthy way. They ignore the anger, hurt or sadness & put on a happy face. That is never a healthy thing to do! Emotions demand to be felt, so if they aren’t felt in a healthy way, they’ll find a way to manifest in an unhealthy way. This can lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure as well as angry outbursts or depression.
It also can lead to deep insecurity. If a person feels bad about themselves for feeling a negative emotion, chances are, that person will shame themselves for what they feel. Their self talk will be awful. They’ll tell themselves things like, “You’re so stupid for being mad/sad about that!” Negative self talk can damage self-esteem, which is never a good thing.
You can be positive yet realistic at the same time, Dear Reader. If something bad happened, there is nothing wrong with admitting that event was bad. As I’ve mentioned before, in 2015, I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Good has come from it- my personality changes have worked well for me. I’m happy to say I no longer have patience for abusive people, I’m better with self care than ever before & I finally will stand up for myself. But, at the same time, I don’t like the fact I get tired so easily, I have constant head, neck & body pain, sometimes my moods swing like crazy, & my memory & comprehension are seriously damaged. See what I mean? I have found the positive, but at the same time, I admit the negative. You can do this too, & I firmly believe when you do, you will be much happier than if you are overly positive.
One weapon narcissists use is to tell their victims “I know you better than you know yourself.” While it may sound rather innocuous, that phrase, especially when said by a parent to a child, can be devastating to the self esteem.
My mother said this to me my entire childhood. I ended up feeling like I was stupid (how can a person not know themselves after all?!) & like I had to look to her to know what I liked & didn’t like, my opinions on things, what I should & shouldn’t do. I was so insecure, & partly because of that stupid phrase! Even now, in my mid 40’s, I have issues sometimes with figuring out what I really like & don’t like.
Have you heard this insidious phrase from your narcissistic parent too? If so, you’re not alone!
The key to letting go of the insecurity caused by hearing this phrase is to pay attention to yourself. Get to know you. The real you, the person God made you to be & not the person your narcissistic parent tried to make you into. Notice how you truly feel about everything.
Chances are, when you first start to do this, you’ll feel some guilt, like you’re going against your narcissistic parent’s wishes. That is normal. Just remind yourself that you are allowed to be an individual. God created you to be an individual. You were made to be you, not some cheap imitation of you & certainly not some lump of clay molded by a narcissistic parent only concerned with their wishes.
As you begin to know yourself, your narcissistic parent will disapprove. Don’t let that disapproval discourage you. The disapproval doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad person at all! It means the narcissist is disappointed in you for not continuing to allow her to control you. If your narcissistic parent attempts to make you feel bad, wrong, guilty or ashamed because you’ve changed, pretend you don’t notice. Ignore the comments! You do what is best for you, NOT the narcissist!
The human body is an amazing creation. It is capable of a myriad of incredible things. It can heal from even serious injuries. The brain can even create ways to cope to get us through even unimaginable trauma.
When the brain does this, it needs to deal with that trauma at a later date, once the event is over. If it doesn’t the body may rebel.
Years ago, I spoke with a lady who worked on a prayer hotline. She mentioned that she believed many health problems were indeed caused by emotional ones. People who repress anger often have kidney problems, & women with menstrual or fertility problems often had mothers who criticized their femininity. It’s also a common thing for those with PTSD to have lower back pain without a physical cause.
I firmly believe this is the case, although I hadn’t thought of it in years. I only thought of it because something happened to me.
(Sorry in advance for too much information.) I’ve been on birth control for a long time, & it prevents me from getting a monthly period. Suddenly out of the blue, I got a period. Interestingly, it started on May 5, which was the 1 year “anniversary” of the big fight I had with my parents. I felt really bad, so I didn’t even notice this until 2 days later. Once I did, I asked God for help, please show me what’s going on! He reminded me of how things were when I was growing up. My periods were very painful, yet my mother said it was no big deal & refused to take me to a doctor. For that matter, she wouldn’t even let me have so much as an asprin to help with the pain. I also thought about how I rarely saw a doctor & saw the dentist I believe twice in my entire upbringing. In fact, when I had the chicken pox, I had a very bad case that lasted 2 weeks. My mother complained about having cabin fever the whole time. About halfway into it, she insisted my parents & I go out to dinner, even though I felt horrible. And, my father said & did nothing about any of this.
As I thought about this, it made me angry for the first time. Growing up, this was simply my normal, so it didn’t make me angry. My illnesses & injuries were treated as an inconvenience to my parents, not as a source of concern. I prayed a lot & wrote in my journal to cope with this new anger. Both were tremendously helpful not only to my emotional health but physical too. As soon as God showed me what was happening & I worked with Him to heal, the period immediately stopped & I felt a thousand times better!
It’s not easy for me to write about such personal things, but I felt it was important to share this with you, Dear Reader. If you are suffering with a physical problem, there may be an emotional reason for it. I encourage you to pray. Ask God to show you what is the root of this problem? Is it due to past trauma or abuse? What is the truth in this situation? And, don’t forget to ask Him to help you to deal with it. Facing ugly things isn’t easy, & you need God’s help doing so if you’re going to heal.
The mind/body connection is very real, Dear Reader. Don’t underestimate it!
Many people who grew up abused tend to have black & white thinking. For example, you may think you’re a bad employee because you made a mistake at work, or a bad spouse because you forgot your wedding anniversary rather than just thinking you made mistakes. Most people aren’t so hard on themselves, & are much more forgiving than that.
This type of thinking can damage relationships as well as your self-esteem. If, as an example, you grew up told by your narcissistic mother that all people who listen to heavy metal music are bad & accepted that belief, then you are either missing out on potentially good relationships, or if you later find out someone you’re close to likes metal, you’ll end that relationship.
Black & white thinking has its roots in childhood, like so many other things. When you grow up with a parent berating, shaming & criticizing you, you take it to heart! You tend to continue to do those same behaviors to yourself as an adult. It’s time to stop doing that to yourself! You don’t deserve to continue the abuse that was so unfairly done to you! You deserve better!
Today, I want you to decide to stop with the black & white thinking!
To do this, you’ll need to do several things. First of all, ask God to help you. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth & the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight”. God wants to help you think better! Allow Him to do so.
You also need to challenge how you think. Slow down & pay attention to your thoughts. When you make a mistake & begin to beat yourself up for it, stop! Stop right there & remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes. EVERYONE! Not only you. If people didn’t make mistakes, we wouldn’t need Jesus. Mistakes are a part of life- you need to accept that fact.
If you find yourself thinking something or someone is bad, then again, stop. Ask yourself why you think this. If you realize it’s because your narcissistic mother dislikes a quality that person has, then it’s time to challenge her opinion. Not to her but to yourself. Did she say why she hates something or someone? Do her reasons make sense? If not, discard them & form your own opinion! You don’t have to share her beliefs or feelings. You have the right to have your own!
Black & white thinking also can be a hindrance in healing from abuse. If you’re like me, you tend to frequently tell yourself that you should be better by now, you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself for too long, you need to let this go & more unhealthy things. Please, please, please stop it right now!!! Easier said than done, I know, but please try anyway. I’ve gotten better at this, although I still slip up sometimes. When I tell myself these awful things, I remind myself narcissistic abuse is a terrible thing. Healing from it is a lifelong task. Narcissistic abuse is insidious & permeates every part of your being. You can’t heal from that kind of pain & suffering in a month or even a year. It’s perfectly normal to heal little by little over the course of your life. It’s also perfectly normal for healing to be an up & down process. Emotional healing is never strictly an uphill battle. It’s more like an uphill battle with periodic falls into valleys & side trips.
Dear Reader, please be encouraged today to be better to yourself. Think about what you’re thinking about. Challenge those things that aren’t beneficial to you, & change how you think into more healthy thoughts. You deserve it!
Thanks to a recent discussion with two of my wonderful fans, I learned about a fascinating personality test based on Carl Jung & Isabelle Briggs Meyers’ approaches to personality.
The test will result in a 4 letter description of your personality & explanation of what it means.
I would really like to recommend you take this test & learn what your personality is. Truly, it is a very eye opening, enlightening experience.
I learned I’m an INFJ personality, which means Introverted, INtuitive, Feeling, Judging. This happens to be the rarest personality type (which I think is pretty cool!). Reading about INFJs has answered a lot of questions I had about myself. I always thought I was weird, but in fact, I’m not- I’m simply a typical INFJ personality.
On a whim, I also took the test for my narcissistic mother, answering the questions to the best of my ability, & she turned out to be an ESTP. The description sounded a great deal like her. No wonder we clash so badly- our personalities are entirely opposite.
In any case, learning about your personality type is very helpful. It will teach you why you are the way you are. It’s also very validating. As I said, I always thought I was weird & have come to realize I’m not. It also can teach you about yourself. Learning about my personality showed me exactly why I hated certain jobs but loved others, why people (even strangers) have come to me for advice, why I can be so obsessed with details & more. I feel like I’ve learned more about myself in the short time I’ve been reading about the INFJ personality than in the rest of my life.
I hope you’ll consider doing the same. Learning who you are, learning about your personality is not only fascinating but so helpful. And, if you’ve grown up with at least one narcissistic parent, then you never had much of an opportunity to get to know who you truly are. You learned who that parent said you were. Why not finally learn about the special person God made you to be?
Here is the test: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp
Are you often told you’re too sensitive? Criticized for crying easily or wearing your heart on your sleeve?
Many of us who grew up with narcissistic parents have heard those things & much more, especially from our narcissistic parents. It doesn’t help that most people these days think you shouldn’t show emotion. They often get extremely uncomfortable when someone shows emotion, & try to shame them into being silent. Have you ever survived losing a loved one or survived a traumatic event, then shortly after been told you need to “get over it already”? That is a prime example of what I mean by trying to shame someone into being silent about their emotions.
I don’t believe this is at all healthy! God has given us emotions so we can comfort another person who is suffering, know when to end a relationship or start a new one, when we need to make changes, when we are being mistreated or to appreciate when we are being treated well & much more. Why shouldn’t we feel these things??
Also, I believe being sensitive isn’t a bad thing. I believe it shows that you have a good, caring heart when things touch you so easily. Many people who were raised by narcissists turn out calloused & uncaring, but there are also a great deal of us who turned out sensitive & loving. We know what pain is like, & we don’t like seeing others in pain! We want to help them if possible, even if it’s only to make them laugh a little or know there is someone who cares.
So few people are comfortable showing their sensitivity for fear of criticism, but I would like to encourage you today to show that part of you to the world! The more of us who do, the more willing others will be to show their sensitivity too. It gives others courage to see people who share a quality being so open & unashamed about it. And, let’s face it- the world is not a nice place! It could use a lot more niceness, compassion & sensitivity. If you let a hurting person know you understand, that they aren’t alone, you’re there if they need you, or even cry with the person, that truly can comfort that person more than most anything else can. You may inspire a turning point in this person’s life- they may begin to heal because of you or use surviving their painful experiences to inspire others. They even may be inspired to stop contemplating suicide! You never know- you may save someone’s life or inspire them in a way no one else can!
The Bible is full of stories of people who dreamed powerful dreams full of deep & personal meaning. Abraham, Job, Ezekiel, & Daniel just to name a few.
Although many years have passed since those men dreamed their dreams, dreams are still a very important part of life today. Acts 2:17 says, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (KJV) I believe this is happening today, & is partly why so many people are having more dreams & more memorable dreams than they once had.
I’ve always had very vivid dreams, but especially since developing C-PTSD. Now, if I dream of being at the beach, I wake up with tired legs that feel like I’ve walked through sand. If I dream of running, I wake up out of breath. It’s very strange! Plus, my dreams are often very odd. Common dreams people have include the ability to fly or being naked in a public place. I have no such dreams- they are always something much more unusual. So unusual in fact, that I asked God what was going on with these weird dreams of mine. He had some very interesting things to say..
For one thing, people who have experienced trauma have nightmares. From what I read, I assumed that meant nightmares about the traumatic incident(s). However, this is not necessarily the case. Sometimes that happens, but usually the nightmares are about other things that the dreamer would be upset about. For example, cars symbolize your life in dreams. I also happen to have three classics & adore classic cars, so cars are often a part of my dreams. Fairly often, I dream that my ’69 Plymouth has been vandalized or totaled somehow. Usually, that dream happens when I feel someone is trying to control or change me.
The brain is constantly trying to process trauma. Even when you’re asleep, the brain is still trying to process what happened. Even if you aren’t dreaming about a traumatic episode, or even if you dream isn’t upsetting only odd, it still may be your brain trying to process trauma.
There will be many dreams you don’t remember. If you don’t remember some dreams, you’re normal! The brain works every moment of every day, which means it is still trying to understand or process some things (not necessarily even traumatic things) while you’re asleep. If you don’t remember some dreams, it means you don’t need to remember them. I think of those dreams much like those programs that run quietly in the background of your computer. They’re necessary to function, but not necessary to know all the details about.
The brain knows what you need, even if you aren’t aware of it, & can try to tell you that via your dreams. If you’re working too hard, you may dream about being on a vacation, then wake up with a strong desire to take a trip. That was your brain’s way of saying it’s time for a break.
Sometimes, God speaks to us through our dreams. Daniel 2:19 says, “Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” (AMP) God spoke directly to Daniel & others via their dreams sometimes. I believe God spoke to me via one of my recent dreams. I had a dream about being in a hospital emergency room where I was treated (rather uncaringly) by a doctor. While there, I realized I had a big sewing needle stuck in my heel! There was a lot of blood & no one even noticed. After looking up the symbols I remembered, I realized the dream showed me that I need to be more spontaneous, & have more fun without relying on others to have fun with. I believe God gave me this message in that odd dream.
If you haven’t paid much (or any) attention to your dreams, I really would like to encourage you to start doing so! Dreams can be a very valuable tool in life.
Interpreting dreams doesn’t have to be terribly hard either. I have no natural gift in that area, so I look up symbols online. www.DreamMoods.com is my favorite website. I usually write down the dream, then under that every symbol I can think of from the dream. I look up each symbol’s meaning on that website. Once I’m done, I look it over & ask God to help me understand what it all meant. Works every time..
I noticed an unsettling trend today in things I was reading: extreme thinking with no balance. For example, one thing I read said we need to feel compassion for narcissistic people because they are so wounded. Yet, other things say we need to offer them no pity- just cut them out of our lives the moment we see even one narcissistic trait.
Neither solution is good, in my opinion. If you have only compassion for a narcissist, she will play on that, & use & hurt you constantly because you give no consequences for these actions. However, if you quickly deduce someone is a narcissist & cut them out of your life, that isn’t necessarily the right solution either. What if you judged this person wrong & they were only having a really bad day? Or, what if God has plans to use you to change that person? Some narcissists who are low on the spectrum can change, after all- maybe God wants to use you to change her heart somehow. In either case, you could be making a mistake by eliminating this person from your life too quickly.
I believe in order to be a mentally healthy person with an empathetic heart, you need to be balanced & avoid such extreme thinking. To understand that yes, someone who has abused or bullied you was deeply wounded, which is why he or she did those awful things to you, yet also understand that does not give this person a free pass to abuse.
Many victims of abuse in particular seem to think this way, without balance. Most commonly, I think, feel compassion & pity for their abuser or make excuses for the behavior. Often, they even accept the blame for the abuse. How many wives whose husbands beat them have you heard say, “It wasn’t his fault! He was drunk/If only I had done what he asked, he wouldn’t have done this!”? They don’t realize that while yes, it was terrible what happened to their abuser, that doesn’t give him or her the right to abuse anyone!
This extreme thinking & balance also fits judging the situations other people are in. How many people have very definite opinions on something so controversial as medical marijuana? Many people think it’s horrible- there is no excuse to use it! Others claim it is extremely helpful in alieviating pain when nothing else does. There don’t appear to be many people with more balanced thinking such as, “I’ve never tried it, & I doubt I ever would, however I understand that person is in such pain constantly, that he is desperate enough to want to try it.”
If you tend to think more extreme, then I would like to encourage you today to try to open your mind a bit more. Try to see things from other people’s perspectives. Imagine yourself in that person’s position. Ask God to give you a more caring, compassionate heart & perspective. Out of balance, extreme type thinking isn’t beneficial for anyone, but understanding, compassionate thinking will benefit everyone.
Last night, I was watching Jesse Duplantis preach on the TBN channel. I love his preaching- not only is he fun, his preaching isn’t “fluffy” like some other preachers. He touches on deeper issues than how to be blessed, how to be healed, how to prosper financially, etc. such as holy living.
So anyway, last night’s topic was very interesting. It came from his sermon series “Gospel Casino” (available at http://www.JDM.org if you’re interested). He mentioned how when he was first saved, & first going to church, there were so many traditions & ways the church he went to did things. Their traditions were extremely important to them. Rev. Duplantis said something in his heart felt wrong so he started looking up what the Bible had to say about certain things. The first thing he found was Mark 7:13 ” Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” He realized his church’s traditions were more important to them than God’s word! Upon reading this, he started researching what God says about all kinds of things in the Bible. As a result, he has become an absolutely wonderful, inspiring preacher!
I got to thinking a bit after listening to this sermon.. how many people do this very thing- put their own traditions, habits, whatever ahead of God’s word? This is a very common behavior especially for us daughters of narcissistic mothers. We grew up knowing our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, even instincts were all flawed-Mom knows what’s right, not us. So, we often continue dysfunctional behaviors into adulthood because it is what we were told to do- it became habit.
In my last entry, I mentioned how when I got together with my husband, I quickly lost “Cynthia” & became “Eric’s wife.” This is a good example of what I’m talking about- I grew up thinking I was such a terrible person, no wonder I became what I thought my husband wanted instead of hanging onto my real self! I carried my old, dysfunctional beliefs into adulthood just because it was what was normal to me. Thank God He’s been pestering me for years about getting myself back! Only recently have I had the inner strength to begin doing just that, & I am grateful He is helping me do it!
I want you to think about your life. What do you do because Mom always did it? What do you do a certain way because that’s how it was always done in your family? Do you go to a specific church because Grandma went there, then Mom & it’s expected for you to go too? Did you get into a certain line of work because that was expected of you?
Whatever you are doing, I encourage you to pray about it. Ask God what He would have you do, then make changes as necessary. Once you begin doing that, you will feel such indescribable joy! There is an amazing satisfaction & peace knowing you are doing God’s will for your life.
I know I’m hardly the most famous author in the world. Even so, I love what I do! I get an incredible satisfaction from writing in this blog & writing my books. And, when people tell me they were inspired from something I’ve written or learned something from it, I am thrilled! 🙂
My mind wanders…a lot. Today, it wandered to something I’ve wondered about off & on for years.
Why is it that when a narcissist hurts someone, most people close to the narcissist & her victim are quick to defend the narcissist rather than the victim? Have you noticed this? People say you need to understand your narcissistic mother, be more patient with her, realize she was abused as a child, don’t forget- she’s the only mother you’ll ever have & she won’t be around forever, or a plethora of other reasons you should give her a free pass to abuse you. In fact, when I was seventeen & my mother’s abuse of me was at its peak, one of her friends (a school principal, by the way!) scolded me for giving my mother so much trouble, & for not appreciating how much my mother loved me. She claimed my mother did everything she did out of love for me. And, it isn’t just with a narcissistic mother this type of thing happens – I went through this with my narcissistic mother in-law as well, like so very many other frustrated daughters in-law. When my husband’s mother told me how ‘stupid’ my grandfather was (she never met him), or would criticize me, my family, my pets, my car, etc., my husband told me I needed to understand her, or that she simply didn’t know any better. His sisters have not once in the almost twenty years of our relationship acknowledged their mother mistreated me. They, too, don’t believe how devious their mother can be, instead believing her to be only sweet & naive.
Why does this happen? Are people afraid of a narcissistic rage if they disagree with the narcissist? Do survival instincts kick in, & people look to placate the more dangerous person for their own protection, while ignoring the fact the safer person has been mistreated? Or, is it something about the victim that says, “Sure, it’s ok- I don’t matter. It’s fine to treat me any old way you like!” After all, when you’ve been the victim of a narcissist, you are accustomed to being mistreated. Maybe some people unconsciously pick up on that, & assume you don’t object to how you’re being treated. Or, could they see you as the stronger, healthier person, more able to be the mature one in this situation? Whatever the reason or reasons, it is so wrong! God doesn’t defend abuse, & neither should anyone else! True, Godly love wants what is best for people, & abuse isn’t in anyone’s best interest! Not the innocent victim, nor the abusive person, determined to inflict pain. What is best for everyone is to treat each other with gentleness, love, understanding, wisdom & patience
Psychology fascinates me, so I can’t help wondering about this. What do you think? I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this topic.