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Encouragement For Those Who Pray For The Narcissists In Their Lives

Praying for people you love is easy & comes naturally as a Christian.  Praying for people who have done bad things to you is much harder.  Praying for a narcissistic parent who tried to destroy you is about a hundred times harder.  If you have taken it upon yourself to pray for your narcissistic parent, I want you to know that I truly get how hard it is.  I want to offer you some encouragement today to keep doing it, even when you don’t want to.

For many years after I became a Christian, I prayed for the salvation of my narcissistic parents.  Matthew 5:44 says we are to pray for our enemies, so I started praying for them out of obedience to God.  Honestly, my heart wasn’t really in it though.  Even before learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I realized their behavior was that of people who didn’t think they needed God in their lives in spite of saying they prayed & loved God.  Praying for them seemed pointless.  Not because God was unable to reach them, but because they clearly turned their backs on Him.  No matter what He did, if they didn’t want to hear or acknowledge His voice, they wouldn’t.  I got more lax in my prayers for them for a while.

As they got older & their health began failing, I stepped up my prayers more.  It was obvious they weren’t going to be around for a long time, so in spite of my lack of hope, I prayed for them daily.

The day my father died, a former friend of mine got a vision from God about my father.  The story is readily available on a link on the menu at the top of my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you would like to read it.  Rather than repeat it here, suffice it to say that my father turned to God at the very end of his life.

Almost exactly eighteen months later, my mother died.  During the conversation with the funeral director, he asked my husband & I about our religious views.  Turned out he too was a Christian.  As we were discussing the final arrangements, he suddenly stopped.  He said God told him to tell me that my mother was with Him in Heaven!  A short time later, I found a tiny Bible in my mother’s house.  Apparently it was a gift to her when she was only 9 years old.  Printed towards the end was the Sinner’s prayer.  My mother signed it!  I believe that was proof that the funeral director was correct with the message he told me!

The reason I’m sharing these stories with you today is to encourage anyone who struggles with praying for the narcissist in their life.  I know it’s hard.  I also know that if you can do it, often you feel like a hypocrite because your heart isn’t in it.  There were plenty of times when I prayed for my parents I told God, “I don’t want to do this.  I don’t even care anymore what happens to them.  I’m only doing this because You want me to.”  Terrible, isn’t it?  Yet, not once did He make me ashamed of how I felt.  In fact, He understood that & was glad that I was praying for them in spite of not wanting to.  Clearly, He honored even those awful sounding prayers!

I also realize that it can be so disheartening to pray & see no improvement or hope that things will change.  Even so, please keep praying anyway!  All things truly are possible with God.  Just look at what happened with my parents.  And, just because you haven’t seen any change yet doesn’t mean that change won’t happen.

Please remember too, that you may never see the results of your prayers.  I didn’t.  When my father died, I hadn’t spoken to him in months.  When my mother died, it was just under 3 years since we spoke.  Just because I didn’t get to see the results of the prayers in this lifetime didn’t mean they didn’t happen!  Clearly, they did!

Lastly, if it seems as if God is taking too long answering your prayers, I know that can be frustrating!  Please don’t give up though!  Some people are very stubborn & close their hearts to God.  It can take a long time or something drastic to happen to break through that.  An answer delayed doesn’t necessarily mean an answer is denied.  2 Peter 3:9 in the Amplified Bible says,  “The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

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

How Narcissists Instill Toxic Shame In Their Children

Instilling a root of toxic shame in children is something narcissistic parents do amazingly well.  And they really have to if they wish their child to be compliant & easily manipulated.  A person who is ashamed of everything about themselves is very easy to control, because they assume someone else always knows better than they do.  When that someone else is a person in a position of authority like a parent & the victim is a young child who naturally looks to that parent for everything, it can be very easy for that parent to plant the seeds of toxic shame in that child.

On first glance, it may be somewhat hard to recognize exactly how a parent accomplishes this goal.  That is why we’re talking about it today, to help you recognize how your narcissistic parent created this root of toxic shame in you.

Narcissistic parents primarily instill toxic shame in their children by destroying their child’s self confidence.  This is done by telling the child they can’t do anything right, by doing things for the child & claiming it’s because that child can’t do tasks right, telling embarrassing stories about them that may or may not be true, exaggerating any faults the child has or once had, or reminding the child of the many times that parent rescued the child from his or her bad decisions even though those times may not have even happened.  Such actions can destroy a child’s self confidence & leave them to think they are so incapable that they need their parent to take care of them, even as adults.

When a narcissistic parent says, “I was just joking,” you can count on that being a way to instill shame in their child.  No, they weren’t just joking.  They were deliberately saying something cruel to their child as a way to build that toxic shame.  When the child showed hurt feelings, the parent said they were “just joking” as a way to make that child feel ashamed of being upset at the parent.  If the parent can convince the child that he or she was just joking & the child was wrong to be upset, the child will tolerate the cruel words said in this instance & in the future.  Sometimes the child in this situation will defend themselves to their parent.  Their parent uses their normal reaction to prove to the child how unstable the child is.  Narcissistic parents can use either reaction to create toxic shame in their child.

Blame shifting is another effective way to instill toxic shame in children.  I remember when my mother would say the most unimaginably cruel things to me, usually screaming them at me when we were alone, & blame me for making her say those things.  I felt terrible for making her behave so awfully.  That is typical.  Blame shifting enables narcissists to abuse their child without accountability.  The child learns to tolerate abuse because they are to blame.  If they would just act right, the parent wouldn’t be abusive.  What the child fails to realize is nothing they could do would make that happen, so when their parent is abusive repeatedly, they accept that it is their fault, which results in feeling toxic shame.

Narcissistic parents who play the victim instill toxic shame in their children.  Covert narcissistic parents in particular love the victim act, but overts aren’t above using it either.  Narcissistic parents will infuriate their children then use their children’s reaction to prove to the child just how mean & horrible that child is to their parent.  This naturally makes the child in this situation feel ashamed of themselves for being so terrible to their parent for no good reason.

Talking above or below the child’s level instills toxic shame.  Talking above a child makes the child feel stupid for not understanding what their parent is talking about.  Never mind that parent may not be as intelligent as the child & is talking in circles with confidence in their words to confuse the child.  Talking down to a child by treating a child or adult child as if they are still very young makes the child feel as if their parent is superior to them. 

If you have experienced these things from your narcissistic parent, hope is not lost.  You can heal!  It will take time & effort, but you can do it.  You need to identify your parent’s shaming voice & what it tells you, then counteract that voice with the truth.  Write things down if it helps you.  If you struggle with this, asking God to help you can do wonders to shut down the shaming voice & help you to see the truth! 

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Dysfunctional Thinking – Expecting A Romantic Partner To Make Your Life Perfect

Many of us raised by narcissistic parents didn’t realize something was terribly wrong with our upbringing.  We did, however, realize that we were lonely because we felt so different or even weird. 

To cope, whether or not we realized what we were doing, we created these fantasies of one day finding the perfect romantic partner.  We were certain we would find that one person that would love us unconditionally & take away all of the loneliness & pain we felt.  Certainly there was someone out there who could make everything better, with whom we could live happily ever after.  We would never argue or even disagree.  We would be perfectly compatible, like something out of a cheap romance novel.

Then one day, we meet someone who is interested in us & we put all of our unrealistic expectations on that person.  Often, that person is another narcissist, yet we fail to recognize those similarities between this person & our narcissistic parent.  Instead, we see their flaws but excuse them away, waiting on them to turn into that perfect romantic partner who will make our lives happy.  Or, we may not become involved with another person who is a narcissist, yet we still put our unrealistic expectations on that person, expecting them somehow to make our lives complete.  Yet sadly, these people don’t make us happy.  Instead, we suffer with the cognitive dissonance of our situation, wondering what is wrong, why can’t this person make me happy?!

It takes time to realize what is really happening.  It takes learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to understand that we have been through some very serious & life altering cruelty that has skewed our views of ourselves as well as of our fellow humans.  We must learn that many times, children of narcissistic parents fall in love with narcissists.  It’s normal, but dysfunctional. 

The good news though is that we can change.  We can become healthier & recognize the utter dysfunction of this situation.  We also can see our romantic partner for who they are.  If they are also narcissists, we can abandon the relationship.  If they aren’t, we can accept their normal human limitations & stop expecting them to make everything better for us.  To do this, we must be open to learning, changing & growing.

If you’re just starting to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & recognize yourself in this post, please know that there is hope for your situation!  Things will get better!  Be patient with yourself.  Keep reading, keep watching YouTube videos & listening to podcasts.  Keep talking with safe people who won’t judge your situation.  Join online support forums.  The more you do these things, the healthier you will become & the better your life will be.  You also naturally will develop healthier boundaries & relationships, which includes having healthier expectations of any relationships in your life, romantic & otherwise.  Please just keep doing these things because although it’s hard work, the rewards are amazing & you deserve nothing less!

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When Narcissistic Parents Try To Keep Their Children, Children Forever

One subtle way narcissistic parents abuse their children as adults is called infantilization.  This means that the parents continue treating them like they’re much younger than they are.  While this may not sound so bad, it truly is because of the damage it causes.  It often creates severe anxiety, insecurity & lack of faith in one’s abilities to the point they can be debilitating.  It sets a child up for failure as an adult by making sure that child can’t do what they need to.  Even if that adult child has the ability to do something, they honestly believe they can’t.  This means that adult child settles for relationships that are at best mediocre or at worst abusive because they don’t believe they can attract good people.  Even worse, they don’t believe they deserve to be in relationships with good people.  They settle for dead end jobs or careers they hate because they don’t believe they’re smart or talented enough for anything better.  They settle for much less than they deserve in all areas.

Possibly the saddest part of this is that this particular type of abuse is rarely acknowledged.  Parents who behave this way are seen as overprotective or maybe even a bit eccentric, but not as the vicious predators that they are.  The adult child often suffers alone & their feelings are invalidated.

Narcissistic parents accomplish this subtle & sinister form of abuse in many ways. 

Starting in childhood, these narcissistic parents don’t let their child do much.  They may start to do something but their parent takes over because they say the child is doing it wrong.  Rather than let the child learn from their mistake or simply do the activity a different way to get the same result, the parent clearly sends the child the message, “I have to do things for you because you aren’t capable.”

Normal age appropriate activities are discouraged.  Attending school activities, attending sleepovers or even simply spending time with friends are frowned upon or simply not allowed.  As children get older, narcissistic parents often discourage them from working, getting a driver’s license, going to college or even moving out. 

Narcissistic parents trying to infantilize their adult children will tell their children how they feel about things.  A prime example I witnessed was when my mother did this to my father.  At a restaurant one evening, he wanted to try something different for a change of pace.  My mother told him he didn’t want that, & to order what he usually ordered.  They were both over 60 years old at that time.

Another thing they do is discuss things with the adult child that they liked when they were children & act as if they still are into those things.  They don’t acknowledge that their child is now an adult with adult interests.

Telling embarrassing stories about their adult children is another tactic designed to keep the adult child childish.  It is designed to humiliate that adult child.  When the adult child speaks up about their feelings, their narcissistic parent will shame them for not having a sense of humor or being too sensitive.

Remember how in Genesis chapter 3 how the serpent spoke to Eve to manipulate her into disobeying God?  He instilled doubt in her by saying, “Did God really say that?”  That is much like how narcissistic parents make their children feel incapable of doing things even as adults.  They often say things like, “Do you really think you can handle doing that?”  “Aren’t you a little young to do that?”  The underlying message is “You’re too stupid to do that.”  The questions are asked to make you doubt yourself & look to your parent for answers.  The more someone relies on another for answers, the more that someone can control the one looking for answers.

If you are in this situation, you need to remember what is happening.  Your parent is trying to control you.  Whatever your parent says isn’t true- it’s said for manipulation only.  You are capable!  You are smart!  You are talented! 

I also found it helpful to ask God for creative & effective ways to handle the situation.  He definitely will provide them! 

Lastly remember, never let your narcissistic parent see how they hurt you.  If they do, they’ll only do that thing again & again.  Don’t let them have that opportunity!  Act as if their words don’t affect you in the slightest bit while you are in their presence.  Later when you’re alone, you can deal with the emotions however works for you.

I wish you the best in your situation! 

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When Narcissists Claim They Don’t Know Why Their Adult Children Went No Contact

I would like to make one small disclaimer on this post.  I am writing it from the perspective of those in a position like mine, the adult child who severed ties with their parent for valid reasons.  This doesn’t mean I always side with the adult children in these situations & assume all parents to be guilty until proven innocent.  I absolutely do NOT believe in blindly siding with any specific person or even group. 

Many times when an adult child severs ties with their parent, that parent claims to have no idea why their child did this.  They say this happened without warning, totally out of the blue.  My parents did this.  I severed ties with them after a huge argument in May, 2016.  During the fight, I felt all knowledge I have of narcissism went out the window because I was so hurt.  I cried, I used bad language & I told my parents exactly why I was so upset with them rather than remain calm & set boundaries as I usually did.  Oddly, they acted like I did this every day, & weren’t affected in the slightest by my behavior.  It was the last time I spoke with my mother before her death, & one of the last times I spoke to my father before his.  He tried to apologize a few months after the argument, but it was obvious from what he said, he had no idea why I was so upset.  When cleaning out their home after my mother’s passing, I read some things she wrote & she was clearly just as oblivious. 

This is very typical of abusive parents.  My story is only one of many similar ones.  This makes it so hard for the adult child in this situation, because you feel like your parent didn’t even care enough to listen to anything you said, let alone try to make things better.  It’s so painful thinking they’re so unaware & uncaring.  If you’re in this position, you know that hurt all too well.

I’ve come to realize something though.  Whether or not they know, it truly has nothing to do with you & everything to do with them.

Normal human beings recognize when they have said or done something bad.  They apologize & try to make amends.  As anyone who has even a fleeting knowledge of people with narcissistic personality disorder knows, that isn’t how narcissists work.  Apologizing & making amends are beneath them, so that won’t happen.

Also to apologize, they need to recognize they did something wrong. Narcissists lack the basic human empathy to see anything from another’s perspective, even when that problem is glaringly obvious to about anyone else in the world. 

In many cases like this, however, the narcissists do know that they were wrong.  They won’t admit it, but they know.  You’re probably thinking I am wrong on this, but I really don’t think I am.  If you pay attention to what a narcissistic parent in this situation says, there are hints that show they know they messed up. 

They may talk only about their child going no contact with them or how angry that child has been with them.  They talk about how this affects them.  But they leave out things that led up to their child being so angry or making this decision.  They may say things like their child says they are a terrible person or says cruel things to them, but where are the details?  Those are left out.  Sure, this could be a narcissist’s way to keep all focus on them & off their adult child, but I believe in many cases, it’s a way to make them look like the innocent victim & hide their awful behavior.  The listener is supposed to be so distracted by what was done to the narcissist that it never occurs to them to ask what else happened.

If your narcissistic parent has told people they have no idea why you severed ties with them, I know you’ll feel hurt, maybe even unimportant because your own parent doesn’t care about why you opted for no contact.  That is a natural way to feel but that doesn’t mean it is right!  Whether or not your parent truly knows, their behavior is all about them, & is no reflection on you.  Please remember that! 

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When People Minimize Or Dismiss Good Things About Scapegoats

Most of us who have experienced narcissistic abuse know about the scapegoat.  Scapegoats are often labeled the problem child, spoiled, selfish, disrespectful, rebellious, trouble maker, outcast & more.  They are blamed for all problems in the family, even when they have nothing to do with those problems. 

One other very common way scapegoats are abused is by minimizing or dismissing anything good about the scapegoat.  If you’re the scapegoat, no doubt you have been in this situation.  You were excited about getting a promotion at work, winning a contest, or even getting pregnant.  In the joy of the moment, you told someone in your family who immediately changed the subject, totally ignored you or compared your situation unfavorably to someone else in a similar one.

Here is one example from my life.  Before becoming an author, I did some editing work.  I got a job for a local author & was excited.  Foolishly, I mentioned the new job to my mother since I didn’t know about narcissism at this time.  She changed the subject quickly.  A short time later when we were talking she said she was thinking of getting into editing.  After all, it’s easy work.  Obviously anyone can do it. 

It isn’t only accomplishments that are minimized or dismissed.  It also can be a talent.  If the family scapegoat is a talented cook, others will not praise any food he or she makes, offer suggestions they can do to make the dish better next time or compare the dish unfavorably to someone else’s version of the same dish. 

Appearance is another sore spot for those who abuse the family scapegoat.  If that scapegoat is attractive in any way, the family will be sure to let that person know how ugly they think the scapegoat is.  They will criticize anything & everything about the person’s appearance.  If the scapegoat is sensitive about something, that something will be the main source of the family’s criticism.  I’ve noticed when the scapegoat is female, weight is often the main source of criticism, no matter the actual figure of the scapegoat.

Along these lines, scapegoating family members also can’t handle when the scapegoat is praised or complemented in their presence.  If this happens, the scapegoat WILL be treated especially poorly for quite some time after the complement.  I went through this with my mother & her mother, my grandmother.  Any time I received a complement in their presence, I cringed because I knew for the remainder of that visit at the very least, they were going to say the most hurtful things they could think of to say to me.

The reasons that scapegoating family members are this way depend on the individuals.  Obviously they could be narcissists.  Narcissists can’t handle anyone appearing better than them in any way, but especially someone they have deemed so unworthy as the lowly scapegoat.

Another possible reason is any person who engages in scapegoating behavior has absolutely no healthy coping skills.  This is why they have a scapegoat in the first place.  They refuse to face the truth.  They prefer to blame all problems on one convenient target instead.  That way, they can be angry at the scapegoat instead of doing the much harder work of handling things in a healthy way.

To make blaming the scapegoat acceptable, they must have a specific image of the scapegoat in mind.  It is perfectly acceptable in their minds to scapegoat someone they believe is stupid, a bad person, incompetent & even ugly.  To keep that narrative alive, they reject anything good about the scapegoat.  As an added bonus, doing so also damages the scapegoat’s self-esteem, which makes him or hear easier to control.

If you’re in this position, please recognize what is going on.  What these people are saying or how they are treating you has nothing to do with you.  They are trying to make you feel badly so they can make themselves feel better either by gaining narcissistic supply or proving to themselves that you deserve anything said or done to you.  They clearly have problems & that is no reflection on you!

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Long Term Anger About Abuse Is Normal!

When you’re healing from abuse, many people act like you should get to the point that nothing about what your abuser did bothers you in the slightest.  They say that’s a sign of healing.  I say that is completely wrong.

To start with, how can any human being not be bothered in the slighted by any life altering event, whether the event is good or bad?  Anything that drastically affects a person is going to affect them forever to some degree.  In my experience I have found the best I can hope for regarding such life altering & traumatic things is to get to the point where remembering them feels much like remembering a bad dream.  It feels somewhat upsetting but not devastating.  One example is this: Some of you who have read my work for a while may remember when I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning in 2015.  That was a terrifying event that has left me with life altering physical & mental struggles.  Yet, it also brought me some really good changes in my personality as a result of the brain damage & even drew me closer to God.  As grateful as I am for those positive changes, that doesn’t negate the fact that thinking about how close to death I came that day still shakes me up to some degree even all these years later.  I believe most people are similar to me in this feeling like they’re remembering a bad dream is as good as it gets for healing from the most extreme traumas & situations.

To be totally unaffected by abuse also makes abuse not so bad.  It minimizes it & even normalizes it.  After all, when someone does something normal, you don’t think twice about it or feel any sort of emotions connected to that normal thing.  Do you feel any emotion when your friend says they bought a loaf of bread while at the grocery store?  No, because that is normal.  If a person feels that way same way about abuse, then abuse becomes just as acceptable as buying a loaf of bread. 

There should always be anger about abuse!  It’s called righteous indignation & is mentioned in the Bible.

Righteous indignation means to be angry about injustice, malice & even abuse.  It is anger felt about something that offends your morals.  Consider the story of Jesus overturning the tables of the moneychangers in the temple in Matthew 21:12-13.  He was angry that the temple was no longer a house of prayer but a den of robbers thanks to the behavior of these people.  That anger was hardly sinful!  It was correct!  It motivated Jesus to get their attention & make changes.  And, he did so without hurting anyone!

When feeling angry, consider your anger.  Most likely, you aren’t only angry at your abuser for hurting you, but at the wrongness & unfairness of the abuse.  There is nothing wrong with that anger at all!  You can use that anger to motivate you to make positive changes in your life, such as end the relationship with the abuser.  You can use it to raise awareness of what you have endured.  This righteous indignation is a very good thing provided you use it constructively rather than destructively.

If you have been in this situation & feel badly for still feeling some degree of anger about the abuse you have endured, please consider what I have said.  It is good to release the anger at the perpetrator as you are able to do so.  Carrying around anger & unforgiveness is unhealthy in the long term.  However, maintaining that righteous indignation about the painful & abusive acts committed on you is perfectly normal & yes, even Godly.  Don’t let other people convince you otherwise!

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Love Isn’t Always Warm & Fuzzy

When most people hear the word love, they think of how they feel around someone they love dearly.  Whether that person is a love interest, parent, child, other relative or friend, the person thinking of them will feel warm, affectionate, caring feelings.  But, love isn’t always about those nice feelings.

Sometimes, love feels nothing like the nice feelings I described earlier.  Sometimes love is not enabling behavior the other person enjoys but is unhealthy.  Sometimes love is not allowing the other person to use you.  Sometimes love involves arguments.  Sometimes, love even involves ending relationships.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize these things, & think love is only about the good feelings, giving in, & even tolerating abuse.

The last few months of my father’s life, I learned that is exactly what my family thought.   They clearly thought I hated him & my mother because I hadn’t spoken to them for several months at that time.  They obviously believed that I was living my life with no thought of them whatsoever.

What my family didn’t know & never would believe anyway is no contact with my parents was incredibly hard on me.  Reaching the decision to end those relationships was gut wrenching.  I took a lot of time to consider it, & said a lot of prayers.  I prayed daily for wisdom for probably a couple of years before going no contact with them, & after, I prayed daily for God to take care of them & to save them.

In John 15:17 in the Amplified translation, the Bible states, “This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.”  There is no mention in there about the warm, fuzzy feelings, because sometimes, there simply aren’t any.  Consider what I just told you about my situation with my parents.  There wasn’t a single warm fuzzy feeling for them for many years, & many less at the end of their lives.  But, that didn’t mean I didn’t love them.  The difference is I loved them God’s way, by doing what it says in John 15:17, seeking the best for them.  It was incredibly hard severing ties with them, but I knew in my heart it was necessary for my mental health & for them.  And, as it turns out, my father finally turned to God at the very end of his life because I wouldn’t go see him.  I’m not sure if my mother’s motivations were the same or not, but she also turned to God at the very end of her life.  When you love people as God wants, it’s not always easy but it is for the best.

If you have been told that you aren’t loving abusive people right because you have started to set boundaries or even gone no contact, or even if not but you feel like you’re being unloving for such things, this post is for you today.   You need to know that there is nothing good or Godly about letting people use & abuse you.  In fact, it goes against God’s wishes!

Remember, if you truly love someone, you may not feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings for them.  Sometimes love is best done from a distance, & praying quietly behind the scenes.  And sometimes those prayers include saying things like, “Father God, I’m sorry my heart isn’t in this.  I’m only praying for her because I know You want me to!”  If that is all you can manage to do, there is nothing wrong with that!  God truly honors those prayers, the ones you’re only praying because you know He wants you to pray.  He applauds your effort & obedience while also dealing with that other person in ways you may not know about.

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Mother’s Day

I just wanted to share a little something for those of you with narcissistic mothers who struggle on & around Mother’s Day…

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About Body Dysmorphia & Narcissistic Abuse During Childhood

Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder in which a person obsesses over flaws in their appearance.  The flaws may be real or not.  A person with body dysmorphia also often avoids other people because of feeling such embarrassment & even shame over their flaws.  They also may seek surgery or other ways of fixing these supposed flaws in their appearance.  The solutions may only provide temporary relief, but often the anxiety over the flaws returns.

Body dysmorphia can result from abnormalities or injuries to the brain.  A family history of the disorder also can lead to a person being prone to developing it.  I believe it also can be the result of narcissistic abuse.

Negative comments about something can be hurtful.  If they are negative enough, they can make a person feel very self conscience.  Narcissists don’t simply say a few random negative comments periodically, however.  They frequently say the most scathing, cruel, vicious criticisms they can come up with in order to annihilate their victim’s self esteem, because a person with no self esteem is easy to control.  One area narcissists often focus on is someone’s appearance.

Naturally when a parent says such things to their child, the likelihood of that child accepting the criticisms as truth is greater than if those same words were spoken to an adult by a stranger.  Parents have a tremendous influence over their children, & children naturally accept what their parents say as true, even when it isn’t.  Children’s brains are still forming too, which also makes it easier for them to accept their parents’ words as truth rather than question them.

When a child of a narcissistic parent grows up, it’s very likely that they will marry a narcissist.  It’s also likely that the narcissist they marry will repeat certain patterns that their parents employed.  Insulting the adult child of narcissistic parents in the area of their appearance is a common phenomenon.

When I was growing up, my mother was extremely critical of how I looked.  While she never said the word “fat”, she implied I was extremely fat more times than I can count.  Looking back at pictures of me as a child now though I realize I wasn’t fat at all, I was a normal weight.

Later when I married my ex husband, he continued her abuse in this area.  He also never told me I was fat, but constantly implied that I needed to lose weight.  I eventually lost weight & was too thin, yet I still wasn’t thin enough for his liking.

My situation is far from abnormal among adult children of narcissistic parents.

If you have experienced this as well, know that you are far from alone!  Many people who have suffered with Body Dysmorphia after experiencing narcissistic abuse.

I never went to therapy about this because I didn’t realize it was something treatable through therapy, plus after bad experiences in therapy, I lacked trust in the mental health system.  This caused me to look for my own ways to conquer Body Dysmorphia.  While therapy is most likely the most effective way, I thought I would share my ideas anyway in case anyone reading this prefers to handle the situation on their own as I did.

During the time I was going through the worst of the Body Dysmorphia, I didn’t believe in God.  Prayer wasn’t going to happen.  I wish I had because no doubt God would have helped me so much more than anything I did without Him!  Please learn from my mistake & pray. 

Also, listen to what other people tell you.  I spent my entire life dismissing complements rather than accepting them with a simple “thank you.”  People don’t give complements easily.  Listen to what they say because they mean them!

Look at yourself objectively.  Ask yourself if what the narcissist said makes any sense.  Most likely, it won’t. 

When you hear the narcissist telling you about all of your flaws, question those things. 

Doing these things won’t make Body Dysmorphia disappear overnight.  Sometimes I wonder if it’ll ever vanish entirely since even years later, I still am quite insecure about my looks.  But, at the very least they will help you to feel much less insecure, & that isn’t a bad worst case scenario!

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15% Off My Print Books Until May 7, 2021

If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.

My print books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Good Can Happen After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

April 19, 2019 was a strange night for me.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was the night the police came to my home to tell me that not only had my mother passed away, but being her only child, dealing with the situation was my responsibility.  As soon as they told me she was gone, I immediately knew that my life as I knew it was over.  At that moment, it felt incredibly daunting & terrible, but as time passed, I realized it wasn’t a bad thing. 

I want to share some my story for those of you who are in the position of having recently lost a narcissistic parent or are losing a dying narcissistic parent.

In the time since my mother died, I have run through the entire gamut of emotions.  Her death made me angry, sad, hurt, happy, relieved, guilty & more.  I also had to deal with things far out of my comfort zone, such as making her burial arrangements, dealing with a huge error the cemetery made when burying my father 18 months prior, & dealing with my mother’s estate.  My parents had told me that not only would I never get any inheritance, but they had chosen a neighbor to be the personal representative of their estate.  You can imagine my surprise finding out those were all lies.

Anyway, there was good that came from all of this, & that is the point of this post. 

Without my parents, so much healing has happened!  The crippling agoraphobia I lived with since 1996 has all but vanished.  I still get anxious in stores sometimes & try to avoid crowded times, but compared to what it once was, this is fantastic! I can go out alone now!

My self esteem has improved greatly too.  I can’t say 100% healthy but I can say a lot closer to that than it once was.  As a result, I am setting healthier boundaries now & have even less tolerance of abusive behavior.

There is also a sense of freedom I have never felt in my life.  For the first time, I know I can leave home & not run the risk of running into my parents around town.  I know when my phone rings, it won’t be either of them dumping all of their complaints about their marriage on me with no respect to how uncomfortable & painful that was for me. 

Best of all, yet also the most mysterious of all, is how the level of shame I once felt has decreased drastically.  I truly don’t understand the connection but when my mother died, it was as if the toxic shame I once felt vanished.  Naturally I’m still not proud of things I have done in my life, but I no longer feel intense shame about them or the person I am.  It’s wonderful!

I am telling you this to encourage you.  If your narcissistic parent is dying or has died, it is going to be a very hard time for you.  You may feel relieved they are gone & then guilt for feeling that relief.  You may grieve the parent you never had.  You may feel all the years of anger rear their ugly head at once.  You may feel numb.  You may feel something entirely different.  It’s impossible to say what you will feel.  There seems to be no way to predict what you will feel other than guilty since that seems to be a constant among others who have lost a narcissistic parent.  If you are losing your second narcissistic parent, it may be entirely different for you than when your first one passed. When my father died, I was shocked I felt so numb. I barely shed any tears after his death, probably because I had grieved him so long while he was alive.  When my mother died almost exactly 18 months later, I felt devastated.  Losing a narcissistic parent is a strange thing to put it mildly.  That being said though, it also can open doors to some very good things.  When you feel able, look for the good.  The good things really can carry you through all of the bad.  You will be shocked at just how much good came from it! 

Also, I’m not saying only look at the good & ignore the bad.  That is unhealthy.  Feel the bad feelings.  Sit with them.  Acknowledge them.  Accept that they are there & do so without judgment.  Pray about them.  Write about them in your journal.  Talk about them with a safe friend, therapist or pastor.  Have balance & be gentle with yourself during this very trying time.

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When Narcissistic Parents Sever Ties With Their Adult Children

When someone goes no contact with their parent, it usually comes about after a lot of thought, sometimes even over a period of years.  It also comes after preparation for full no contact.  What I mean is often the adult child has tried setting boundaries & limiting contact with their parent.  Often, they start small & work up to more boundaries & less contact before full no contact is initiated.  I did this myself.  I contemplated no contact for a long time before deciding it was what I needed to do.  I knew I wasn’t ready & also that timing wasn’t right, however.  I leaned on God for guidance & also for strength.  He showed me small boundaries I could set.  That strengthened me to set larger boundaries & limit my contact with my parents.  In time, I knew the time was right for no contact, & I also had the ability to do it.

This isn’t the case when narcissistic parents cut ties with their children.

Narcissistic parents don’t go no contact as a way to protect themselves from abusive people. They inatead use the silent treatment as a way to punish & manipulate, although they may claim they are setting a healthy boundary with an abusive person.

This behavior can be incredibly hurtful to the adult child of a narcissist! It also leaves them questioning what they did wrong & what they could’ve done better. Sometimes they even question what they did because they have no idea. My mother stopped speaking to me for 18 months once, & I never learned why.

If you’re in this situation & struggling with these feelings, you’re normal! It can feel otherwise, but I promise, you’re normal!

Please keep in mind your parent is manipulating you. That’s just what narcissistic parents do. It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. In fact, you probably did something right. If you set a healthy boundary, no doubt your parent is angry & punishing you for it. Maybe you had some personal success. That could have stirred up envy in your parent & he or she wants to hurt you for looking better than them. Whatever the case, your parent is clearly the one with the problem, not you. If you remember that, it will help you not to be as upset about your parent’s behavior. In fact, it may help you to enjoy the repreive from the abusive, awful behavior.

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For Adult Children Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

This post is for those of you who have made the bold, painful step of going no contact with your narcissistic parents.

All of us who have gone no contact with our narcissistic parents know that in such situations, the relationship had become utterly intolerable & that pushed us to the desperation of no contact.  The constant control, vindictive criticisms & abuse became too much from the overtly narcissistic parent.  The constant shaming, manipulation, childish behavior & abuses so subtle most people didn’t see them from the covertly narcissistic parent also were too much.  Who can live with this indefinitely?!  No one with any normal human emotions could!

Upon ending the relationship, the shock of the flying monkeys & their despicable abuse was next.  The constant comments of, “But that’s your mother or father!”  “You only get one set of parents!”  “They’re getting up in years.  How do you think you’ll feel when they die?” & other venom comes from their mouths.  When guilt & shame don’t work, they attack your character.  They call you ungrateful, spoiled, a brat, evil & more.  If you’re a Christian, your faith will be attacked, too.  As they like to claim, by severing ties with your abusive parents, you obviously have no idea what it means to honor your parents.  You must be a hypocrite!   

Trauma doesn’t end with no contact.  Thanks to flying monkeys, it often continues for quite some time until they find a new target.

The time immediately after no contact is a very difficult time.  The guilt, the doubts & the abuse from flying monkeys are all incredibly hard to deal with!  Also many times, C-PTSD goes into overdrive after no contact.  No longer needing to function in survival mode seems to make the brain think that since you’re safe now, it’s time to deal with all those old issues you put on the back burner for so long.  All of these things can make you wonder if you did the right thing by going no contact.  Sometimes it seems easier to remain in the relationship just to keep the peace, but it truly isn’t easier.

Once you are no contact, you’re finally free.  Free from the barrage of abuse from your narcissistic parent.  Free from your parent trying to make you into whatever they want you to be.  Free to do what you want without your parent trying to tell you how wrong you are & shaming you for your so called bad decisions.  Free to be the wonderful person God made you to be.  You’re finally free!!

From day one, narcissistic parents try to make their children into whatever sick fantasy they have.  They don’t care one iota about the child’s talents, interests or anything like that.  They are narcissists, after all, so all that matters to them is what they want.  Growing up like this, finally experiencing freedom can be scary.  The assaults of the flying monkeys & often the harassment from the narcissistic parents can add to the fear.  You know something though?  Going through the fear is totally worth it.  On the other side of that fear are peace, joy & bravery like you have never known! 

And, you don’t have to walk through that fear alone.  God will be right by your side!  Remember, Psalm 23 says that He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.  I have experienced that first hand, & I can tell you that as painful as those times were, especially after going no contact with my parents, it was all worth it.  I ended up closer to God than ever, & He enabled me to do the unimaginable.  He will do the same for you if you allow Him to.  Dear Reader, as hard as no contact with narcissistic parents can be, don’t give up.  Don’t go back.  Don’t listen to the absurd ramblings of those who don’t know your situation like you do.  Lean on God.  Let Him support & guide you through this process.  xoxo

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Marrying Into A Narcissistic Family

In families with narcissistic parents, the person who marries into this family is in for quite the adventure.  I learned this from my own experience, but apparently a lot of stories are very similar to mine.  Parents decide immediately whether or not they like the person their son brings home.  That decision is often based on simply ridiculous, trivial things such as what kind of work does she do or where she grew up.  It can be even more ridiculous such as something about her appearance being a problem.  If she is too pretty, if she is over or under weight or maybe she is tall when their family is short.  It also could be simply a matter of differences in personality.  Rather than be polite for the sake of their son, they hate this new woman in his life.  They also demand she respect them while not returning respect to her.  And, their definition of respect is that she be seen & not heard, only doing what benefits the family.  Her needs & wants mean nothing to this family. 

In these situations, the family functions as one unit in an “it’s us against her!” manner.  As I have said before, they remind me of the Borg from “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.  They all function as one, focused only on what the Collective dictates.  In this case, the Collective is usually a narcissistic mother pulling everyone’s strings to make them act according to her whim.  One whim the “Collective” usually has is to tell the son & have others in the family tell him as well what a terrible person this new woman is.  She isn’t good enough, she stole him from their family, she keeps him from them & similar lies are the most common, but some also will say more drastic things she is unfaithful, steals, uses drugs & more.

It never seems to cross their collective mind that this man could get fed up & walk away.  And really, why would it?  No doubt he has tolerated all manners of maltreatment & even abuse at the hands of his family.  They place demands on him like giving them money or otherwise bailing them out of their problems with no thought to how this could affect him, & he does as he is told.  Why wouldn’t he?  This is what he has done his entire life.  Often siblings in these situations call this one mean spirited nicknames his entire life, even as an adult, as an attempt to let him know that he is still a child in their eyes.

Families like this are entitled beyond belief.  They honestly think they are entitled to treat this poor man any way they like.  By default, they believe they are also entitled to treat his significant other just as badly.  They have groomed this man to take any abuse they dish out without complaint, & expect the same behavior from his wife.  If she complains, all hell can break loose. 

At this point, families like this don’t consider anything that led up to the complaints.  They only see the problem at hand, which is someone is setting boundaries on their abuse.  The horrors!!

Sadly, the son in this situation doesn’t often realize how disrespectful & insulting his family is to him. 

His family has no respect or love for him if they won’t at least try to be civil to the woman he loves.  If they did, they would manage basic civility, unless of course that woman was abusive to him.

Clearly his family also thinks he’s stupid.  After all, they expect him not to think for himself, but instead to blindly listen to them regarding his life.  As if he doesn’t know what is best for him or isn’t smart enough to choose a good woman to marry!  How insulting is that?!

It’s a truly sad situation!  If you are in this situation, my heart goes out to you!  I pray you & your spouse can work together to set healthy boundaries with this Borg-like family.  Being clearly a team is the best thing you can do as a couple in this situation.

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Your Feelings After No Contact With Your Narcissistic Parent Are Valid

It seems that many people have some very black & white opinions when it comes to those of us raised by abusive parents.  No doubt you have experienced some of that thinking first hand.  Hasn’t at least one person told you that parents always love their children, you’re not honoring your parent by setting boundaries, your parent didn’t abuse you because they never hit you or other similar comments? 

There is another example of black & white thinking & it comes with going no contact with your abusive parent.  Many people assume that eliminating your parent from your life means you hate that parent.  Not long after my mother died, I ran into an acquaintance.  He said, “I’d say I’m sorry to hear about your mom, but I know you’re glad she’s gone.”  I thought later that no doubt many people think exactly the same thing.

What people who think this don’t realize is the children of abusive parents don’t always hate their parents.  Some do, yes, but not all.  In fact, I would guess that most love their parents.  It’s their behavior they hate. 

These folks also fail to realize that because we don’t hate our abusive parents, we end up with a lot of confusing & mixed feelings about our parents.  Those feelings are seldom validated, even by some who have survived similar situations to ours.  Some I’ve spoken with actually got angry at me for not hating my parents like they did.  Some also said I needed to accept that they’re just evil & forget about them.  People can be very cruel sometimes!

For those who are in the position of having gone no contact with their abusive parent(s), I just want you to know that whatever you feel, your feelings are valid!

If you hate your parent(s), that is valid.  It’s understandable to feel that way after someone inflicts horrific abuse on you!

If you love your parent(s), that too is valid.  We all only get two parents & that gives them a very unique position in our lives.  It’s understandable to love them even if they have hurt you terribly.

If deciding to go no contact was an easy decision for you, that is valid as well.  You knew what you needed to do & followed through with it.  That is great you were able to do that!

If deciding to go no contact was a tough decision for you, that is valid too.  It’s a big decision, & not always an easy one to make.  Some people naturally struggle with that decision more than others. 

I also want you to know that protecting yourself is ok!  It’s a good thing to do, even if you are forced to protect yourself from your parents.  Not all parents are capable of loving their children or being good parents.  It isn’t your job or duty to tolerate their abuse just because they’re your parents. 

Protecting yourself from them also doesn’t make you a bad person, heartless, spoiled or a fake Christian.  It doesn’t mean you’re dishonoring your abusive parents, either.  It means you are putting your mental & emotional health above your parents’ sick need to abuse you, & there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Having chosen no contact with my parents, my heart truly goes out to others in that situation, because I remember the struggles, the guilt, the doubt, the intense anxiety & the useless & even cruel input of others at that time.  Many people have been in this situation other than you & I.  You’re not alone!  If you need support, there are plenty of online options.  There are counselors & pastors that can help as well.  Mostly, there is a loving God who wants to help you.  Let Him.  You won’t be sorry!

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Sale On My Print Books!

My publisher is offering a sale on all of my print books. Use code ORDER15 at checkout.

My books can be found at the link below:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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25% Off Sale On My Ebooks Starts Tomorrow!

Don’t forget…

My publish is having their “Read An Ebook Week” sale from March 7 until March 13. This means that all of my ebooks will be 25% off!

Ebooks are the most affordable way to buy my books. Why not take advantage of the extra 25% off?

Come check them out!

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

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About Low Contact

Low contact is exactly as it sounds, when a person has low contact with another.  It isn’t discussed a lot in the circles that discuss narcissistic abuse, which is really a shame. 

If you are in the position of not being able to go full no contact, such as in the situation of having joint custody of children together, low contact is an excellent alternative.  Or, if you want to go no contact but don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet, low contact can help you get to that point.  Low contact is different than no contact in that it doesn’t need to be done all at once.  It can be done little by little, & each little step you take increases your confidence in your ability to set boundaries with the narcissist.  Or, if the narcissist in your life is low on the spectrum, you may find that low contact makes the relationship much more tolerable & decide not to go full no contact.  In any case, low contact really can be a very helpful tool!

Whatever your situation with the narcissist, if you are considering low contact, I’m sure it’s for a very valid reason.  At their absolute best, narcissists are VERY difficult to deal with & at their worst, impossible to deal with, even dangerous to one’s physical & mental health.  Be proud of yourself for taking care of yourself!

If you think low contact is a good option for you, you are probably wondering where to start.  I’ll tell you how I did low contact with my parents, & you can decide if this would work for you or not.  I started by not answering the phone every time my parents narcissist called.  That boundary was clearly a shock to them, but although they were angry, they realized they couldn’t rage without appearing foolish.  Rather than rage, they made some snide comments like, “You didn’t answer the phone yesterday.. I thought you were mad at me.”  Naturally those comments hurt at first but I realized that was the intent behind them.  My parents were simply upset that I was setting a perfectly reasonable boundary.

I also started setting limits on how long we were on the phone together for the first time.  My parents always determined how long our calls lasted, so this was a little trickier.  Saying, “I have to go” didn’t work so I needed to get creative.  I also don’t like to lie, so that also made this really tricky.  I sometimes rang my doorbell so my dogs would bark & say, “Doorbell rang.  Dixie’s barking, you hear that?  I need to go.”  Other times I used another phone to trigger the call waiting on the phone I was using so they’d hear the beep & they’d let me go so I could respond to the beep. 

My parents lived not far from me, & my father in particular wanted to visit often.  He often invited himself to visit my home.  Thankfully he would call a few days prior at least rather than just showing up.  When he called saying he wanted to visit soon, I would say things like, “Tuesday isn’t good.. how about Thursday instead?”  It didn’t take long for him to want to come by less often.  Clearly, he didn’t like me taking some control back.

The more boundaries I set, the more confident I became in my ability to set boundaries & eventually go no contact.  This is normal!  Each small step you take creates not only more space between you & the narcissist, but also builds your confidence.  You see you can do one thing, then gain the confidence to do something a little bolder, then a little bolder yet & so forth.  Before you know it, you’re ready to implement no contact, if that is your goal. 

And something else happened – the more boundaries I set & the more comfortable I was setting them, the less my parents wanted to do with me!  They began avoiding me.  Their phone calls & visits became much less frequent.  Also, their calls & visits became much shorter in duration, too.  This also is normal!  Narcissists naturally have an aversion to boundaries & to healthy people.  Low contact truly is a wonderful thing!  It helps victims reclaim some of their power & confidence while repelling narcissists.  I want to encourage you to give it a try!  I believe you will be very pleased by the results!

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When People Don’t Agree With Removing Family From Your Life

It’s a simple fact of life that some family members abuse other family members.  Every single person I have spoken with who reads my work has been abused by at least one relative.  I have been too.  And one thing the majority of us have in common is that we have severed ties with these monsters to protect ourselves.

So many people have experienced the same thing I have, people coming out of the woodwork to tell us we have done something terrible by severing ties.  They seem to think since you’re related, that relationship is somehow sacred, & there is never any reason to end it.  Many people even bring God into their warped views, saying you have to “forgive & forget” or “honor your parent” by tolerating whatever they do to you.

I want you to know today that is completely wrong!

Titus 3:10 says, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,” (ESV)  And, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says,“3 But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them.” (AMP) (Emphasis added)

Did you notice something in there about how this applies to anyone but family?  Me neither.  Probably because it’s not there!

So many of you reading this post today have ended relationships with your abusive family members, & are struggling with guilt & doubt.  I totally understand.  I’ve been in this same position.  After I stopped speaking to my parents, I had a LOT of both guilt & doubt.  Shortly after, I learned my father had leukemia, which added even more guilt & doubt.  I also had relatives constantly telling me how awful I was & doing their best to shame & even bully me into resuming the relationship with my parents.  The only reason I survived all of that with my sanity in tact is God.

When times got tough & people were being so cruel to me about being no contact, I depended on God to help me get through.  Help me He did too!  God would remind me that I did what was right, at the time it was right, & I did nothing wrong.  They didn’t see that because of their own issues, not because I had done something bad.  He even stopped me from making things worse by enabling me not to respond to their vicious attacks.  He kept reminding me that if I responded, things would get worse, so ignore them.  Save their emails, messages, etc. in case I need them one day, but don’t read them or respond to them. 

Everything God did for me during the flying monkey attacks was exactly what I needed in my situation.  He will do the same for you!  

If you have come to the point of having no contact with some of your family, please rest assured God understands!  Contrary to what some people think, He is ok with you removing toxic, abusive people from your life, even if they are family.  When you’re struggling with your decision, talk to Him & ask His help.  He won’t let you down!  Let Him help!  He can get you through anything, even this!

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An Update About My Books

I’ve been toying with the idea of creating some mini books for a while now. Each book being much shorter than the average, & focusing only on one topic at a time. I thought it could be a good idea since narcissism is a pretty overwhelming topic. These books help readers by not inundating them with too much information per book which makes them easier to read & absorb the subject matter. Plus, being shorter books, people can get exactly the information they want at a cheaper price than buying a larger book.

Mini books also are much easier for me to write. It’s almost six years to the day after I survived carbon monoxide poisoning & my brain is still not in a really happy place. I can write obviously, but it’s a much greater struggle now than it once was. I think it’s time to make my life easier in general, including with writing.

I just published the first three, & they’re available at this link on my website: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/books-for-sale/mini-books/

Currently, all are available in only ebook format, but I am considering making them available in print as well. It’s so hard to know what to do like this anymore! People have very definite feelings of print vs ebook format, & those who prefer one over the other change like the wind!

Anyway I hope you like the new ebooks. More will be coming in the future. As I mentioned recently, I’ll be getting rid of my free ebooks by the end of this month. I plan to add more information to them & charge a little for them. Not much, since they’ll still be rather short little ebooks.

Thank you to everyone for being supportive & wonderful! May God bless you! 💖💖

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Encouragement For People Still In A Relationship With A Narcissist

January 12, 2018, I had an odd experience. It was my father’s birthday, the first birthday after his death. I was thinking about that when I felt strongly that he wanted God to send me a message.. “Encourage the weak, like me.”  I immediately knew in my heart what that meant.

At that point, it was just over 2 months since my father died, & in that short time, God showed me a great deal about him, including why he didn’t protect me from my mother. One of those things was that he felt trapped in their marriage, unable to escape. I believe that was what he meant by “the weak”, other people who also feel trapped in their situation.

Every January around his birthday, I try to encourage those who are still in relationships with narcissists as a result of that message.

If you’re still in a relationship with the narcissist in your life, I don’t think you’re weak at all.  I think my father used that word because he felt weak for not protecting me & wanted me to know others in similar situations also felt weak.  I get that, but I still don’t think you’re weak.  If you were, I doubt highly that you would have any interest in reading this post or anything else about narcissism.

Maybe you’re forced to stay because of financial reasons.  Narcissists abuse in every way, including financially.  Many narcissistic parents & partners steal money from their victim, ruin their credit, get them fired from their jobs or even forbid them to work. 

Many victims feel a sense of obligation to the narcissist.  My ex husband made me feel as if I owed it to him to be with him, even when I was miserable with him.  He hardly the only one who has done that to a victim.

Many stay because they mistakenly feel as Christians, it’s dishonoring their parents to go no contact or it’s a sin to divorce an abusive partner.  Sadly, many victims are encouraged to think this way either by narcissists & their flying monkeys or by those who don’t understand the Bible very well. 

Another possibility is that you can leave, but feel so beaten down, you don’t think you can leave.  You don’t trust in yourself to make it on your own without the narcissist telling you what to do, how to think, how to feel, what to wear, & on & on.  You don’t think you have any marketable skills to earn a living that could support you & maybe also children. 

Staying in a relationship with a narcissist takes a great deal of inner strength.  Fighting to keep your sanity in a completely insane situation day after day isn’t easy!  It takes a TON of courage & strength.

In spite of what many people say, no contact isn’t an easy solution that fixes all of your problems.  If that is your goal, know being prepared for it won’t happen overnight.  It takes time to build up the courage to do it, & courage to face the aftermath.  The narcissist most likely will create a smear campaign against you & send the flying monkeys.  Mentally preparing for all of that takes time, learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & boundaries, a great deal of prayer & leaning on God to show you what do to, when to do it & how to do it. 

No, Dear Reader.. you aren’t weak.  You are strong.  The fact that you are looking for solutions to your situation shows you have strength.  Know that you will survive this with your sanity & dignity in tact.  Until you know what you need to do, always practice the Gray Rock method, keep & enforce healthy boundaries & focus on your healing.  You can get through this!!

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Experiencing Grief After Narcissistic Abuse

A common feeling many people experience after narcissistic abuse is grief.  It makes sense since there is a great deal to grieve!  If the narcissist in question was a parent, you grieve the loss of your childhood, the pain of having a parent who didn’t treat you right or love you, the years wasted trying to please your impossible to please parent, the parent you wish you had & more.  If the narcissist was a spouse, there is grief too, because that person married you not out of love, but out of wanting to use & abuse you.  There is also time wasted with this person that could have been spent in much better ways.  You also may grieve the loss of the person you thought the narcissist was at first.   If you passed up a good person to marry the narcissist, there is regret & grief over losing that good person.  If you had children together, no doubt there is also a great deal of guilt over giving your children this terrible person as a parent. 

Whatever your situation, if you’re grieving after escaping narcissistic abuse, please know you are normal!  It’s awful to experience but it’s also very normal.  Grief isn’t only something to be experienced after someone dies.  It comes after all kinds of losses.

You need to experience & process your grief after narcissistic abuse just as you would after losing someone you love.  It is healing to cry & be angry about the unfairness of it all.  Ignoring it, pretending it isn’t happening or even shaming yourself as if something is wrong with you for feeling this way isn’t healthy at all!

Rather than do those unhealthy things, why not try accepting your feelings without judgment?  They’re not abnormal, they’re not wrong & you aren’t crazy for feeling the way you do.  Stop criticizing them.  Accept them for what they are- your feelings that are completely valid.

As you accept them, sit with them for a while.  Cry or yell if you need to.  I know this can be difficult for those of us shamed for having feelings by our narcissistic parent, so if those are too much, then try writing things out.  If you don’t have a journal, it may be an excellent time to start one.  If you want to be certain no one ever reads it, there are online journals that are private & password protected.  I use Penzu’s free version, but there are plenty of others as well if it doesn’t meet your needs.

I’ve also found writing letters to the narcissist very helpful.  I wrote out everything I thought & felt about what they did, not censoring myself.  The especially important part of this is I never sent the letters.  I wrote them to purge myself of the awful things I felt because of the actions of a narcissist, not to tell the narcissist how they made me feel or to try to make them see the errors of their ways.  Doing such things is a complete waste of time & energy with a narcissist.  In fact, if you do them, chances are you’ll only feel worse after instead of better because the narcissist will try to convince you that you’re oversensitive, overreacting or even crazy.  Instead, I’ve found ripping the letters up & throwing them away or burning them to be very helpful.

If you have a safe friend, relative or even counselor, talking about your grief or praying with them can be very helpful as well. 

You also need to be aware that grief doesn’t have time limits.  You can’t expect to get over the trauma in a set time.  In fact, a part of you most likely always will grieve to some degree, just like when someone you love dies.  It does get easier in time though.  You also learn to rebuild yourself & adapt to your new life without suffering narcissistic abuse. Whatever you choose to do to cope isn’t important.  What matters is that you deal with your grief & accept it as a natural part of the healing process.

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Dysfunctional Family Holiday Gatherings

During the holiday season, many families get together.  They share a good meal & enjoy each other’s company.  There is no pressure about these gatherings & everyone genuinely looks forward to them.

Then there are the dysfunctional family gatherings.  They are something very different.

On first glance, dysfunctional family gatherings may look the same as their functional counterparts.  Family members get together & share a big meal.  But, that is often where the similarities end.

With dysfunctional families, the stress is terrible.  There is usually intense pressure to show up at the get together no matter what.  Sick?  Who cares?  You aren’t so sick you can’t attend!  Car trouble?  So what?  Figure out how to get there!  You would prefer to spend the day at home or with some friends?  Clearly something is very wrong with you!  No one is as worthy of your time as the dysfunctional family, & the holiday dictator will be highly offended if you even consider spending time with anyone else.  You need to attend this gathering & act like you are happy when you’re there, even if you are miserable.  Your misery means nothing, after all.  This gathering is all about appearances, not about having a good time.

There’s also the dysfunctional clique action.  Some people are going to shun other people or at the very least talk badly about them.  Maybe the other people didn’t bring a large enough casserole.  Maybe their gifts didn’t cost as much as the shunning people think they should have cost.  Maybe the other people weren’t wearing the appropriate holiday attire.  In any case, something will be found to criticize even when there isn’t anything to criticize.

The truth is that very few people genuinely enjoy this get together.  They may dread it but feel no other option is available but to attend & pretend to have a wonderful time. 

So why participate in this gathering at all?  Wouldn’t it just make more sense to do whatever you enjoy on the holidays & forego the dysfunctional family nightmare hoopla?  It would, but few will do that.  There are several reasons why.

One reason is no one wants to anger the holiday dictator.  Doing so can result in guilt trips, anger, &/or shaming.  No one wants this.  Many people think it is simply easier to sacrifice a holiday than to deal with the guilt, anger or shaming.

Another reason is that by participating in these get togethers, it gives the delusion that this family actually is a big, happy, functional family.  They can pretend that everyone gets along & is a “normal” family because after all, they got together for this holiday gathering.  That is a perfectly normal thing to do, so it must prove they are all normal.

When you are aren’t someone who is capable of blindly going along with people’s delusions & denial, these gatherings can be described as nothing less than excruciating.  The fakeness of it all is exhausting & repulsive to those who believe in facing the truth.

When you are faced with these dysfunctional family gatherings, you can cope.  You have choices.

You can choose not to attend.  This decision is a tough one, because those who are in favor of this get together will judge & criticize you harshly for not attending.  Even so, it may be worth it.

You can attend, but with strict boundaries in place.  You can avoid the critics as much as possible.  You also can set a specific time to give to this gathering then leave at the allotted time.

If you attend & the critics start their nastiness, you also can simply say, “Well, isn’t that nice” & walk away.  In the southern part of the United States, that comment is known to be a polite way of saying, “I really don’t care.”   I have said it many times then walked away.  It feels good!  It also tells the critics their opinion means nothing to you. Believe it or not, you do have options during the holiday season.  Exercise them!  It is your right!

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When People Disagree With You For Removing Toxic Relatives From Your Life

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Protecting Your Spouse From Your Narcissistic Family

If you are in a long term relationship or are married to someone & at least one of you has narcissistic parents or family members, there is something you should know.  Standing up for your partner to your narcissistic parents is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.

When a couple makes a commitment to each other, a big part of that commitment is taking care of each other.  Part of that involves not tolerating anyone hurting your partner.  If you stand up to someone on behalf of your partner, you show your partner that this person’s well being & safety are extremely important to you.  You prove that you love that person & will do your best to keep them safe.  This is incredibly good for your relationship! 

Not tolerating someone hurting your partner also shows the abusive person that you are well aware of their actions, & there are consequences for their behavior.  Not doing so only proves to an abuser that they can do anything they want without consequences.  This means that they will continue what they have been doing & in time, their behavior will get even worse.  And, your partner will be left feeling abandoned & alone, which is potentially relationship ending.  No one in a committed relationship should feel that way!

If you struggle with defending your partner to your abusive family members, then please consider a couple of things.

If it is your family that mistreats your partner, this means they are your problem!  It is NOT your partner’s job to deal with your family.  If your partner confronts your family rather than you, your family will be highly upset.  That happens in many families, but especially in narcissistic ones.  Chances are they will tell you what a terrible person your partner is, how he or she isn’t good enough to be in your life or other nonsense as a way to deflect your attention from their terrible behavior.  If you are the one to confront them, they still may try to deflect & criticize your partner, but there is a better chance of them listening to you than your partner!

Also if anyone in your family mistreats your partner, they have absolutely no love or respect for you.  If they had any respect or love for you, they would manage to be civil to your partner no matter how much they disliked this person.  If your partner is abusive to you, any children you share or your family, that is a different scenario.  They should civilly address their concerns with you, be loyal to you & care more about your safety than civility.  However, if the reason they dislike your partner is because of simple differences in personality, your family should manage basic civility at the very least to this person out of love for you.  When you love someone, it’s not that hard to be polite to someone they care about even if you can’t stand that person.  I have done it & while it can be hard to be polite to someone you really dislike, reminding yourself of the person you care about can make this much easier.

Dear Reader, if you are in this position of having someone in your family mistreat or even abuse someone you love, then please consider what I have said.  Protect your loved one!  It will protect their mental & physical safety but also help your relationship!  In fact, protecting your loved one will increase the bond you both share.

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How To Handle People Who Shame Adult Children Of Narcissists For How They Treat Their Parents

I saw a comment on one of my old YouTube videos I thought was rather interesting.  The comment said that this person took care of her elderly abusive mother until the end of her life.  She suffered health problems that didn’t run in her family as a result of dealing with their “complicated” relationship, but she is glad she didn’t abandon her like I did my parents.  She went on to say that although she didn’t like my video, she said she’s glad she watched it anyway because she realized maybe she wasn’t such a terrible daughter like me after all. 

Rather than simply delete the stupid comment, I left it up.  It’s sort of a lesson within a lesson.  The original lesson being my video, & the secondary lesson is how to deal with people like this.

This sort of comment happens all the time with adult children of narcissistic parents.  The smug ignoramuses of the world think they have the right to judge how we treated our parents while they truly know nothing of our experiences. We need to be aware that this can happen & how to handle it.

To start with, I believe it’s very important to realize this is a trigger, which is why your reaction may be exceptionally emotional.  Mine certainly was.  I immediately felt rage & wanted to tell this person exactly what I thought of her judgmental words.  I took a few moments to calm down because I recognized my strong reaction was a trigger.  It reminded me of things my own family has said.  If a comment like this is said to you in person or on the phone, you don’t have the luxury of taking a few minutes to calm yourself before responding as I did.  Instead, take a deep breath & let it out slowly.  This will calm your mind & body long enough for you to formulate a good response rather than react.  Reactions in situations like this only cause more problems.  You need to have a calm & calculated response instead.

It’s also important to recognize that a person saying this sort of drivel has some ulterior motive.  Often they are flying monkeys, saying such idiocy to hurt you on behalf of the narcissist.  They may even know the truth but say this anyway simply to hurt you because you hurt the narcissist that they idolize.  In my case, I don’t know this person nor does this person know my parents.  Flying monkey obviously can’t be the case.  I have another idea of what her problem is though…

The commenter in my situation is, I believe, a covert narcissist or at the very least, has narcissistic tendencies.  Covert narcissists will do anything they can to get the word out that they are wonderful, caring, & even martyr like.  That is what this person did with me.  She came across as a loving, devoted daughter who was willing to sacrifice herself & even her health for her abusive mother.  She shamed me for not being a “good daughter” like she obviously was while at the same time building up her martyr image.  I’m glad this person was so obvious in displaying those narcissistic tendencies because that enabled me to know how to handle the situation immediately: provide no narcissistic supply.  I debated deleting the comment, but that would’ve validated to this person how mean & unreasonable I am.  It also would’ve enabled her to look like the victim of my meanness, & provided narcissistic supply.  Instead, I figured it best to respond simply, without emotion.  I said that everyone has to do what they feel is right in their situation.  I did in mine just as she did in hers.  I’m not judging her so please don’t judge mine & if she can’t refrain from that, please stay off my page.  Simple, to the point & calm. 

Whether the person in question in these situations is a narcissist, flying monkey or just some poorly informed person with good intentions, it’s never wise to defend your actions.  Somehow, that always seems to make things worse, so don’t do it!  If you must say something for whatever reason, keep your comments unemotional & logical.  State only the facts, not how you felt.  And, ask logical questions like, “I don’t understand how you think me doing what you think I should makes any sense.  Why should I subject myself to being treated so poorly?”

Lastly, always remember that God is there for you.  If you don’t know what to do, ask Him for help.  Even a prayer as simple as “Please help me!” can work wonders! As the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you need to know how to handle yourself when these situations arise & unfortunately, they will arise.  I hope my situation has given you ideas on how to do that when the time comes. 

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When Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents Marry

Often, two people who were raised by narcissistic parents marry each other when they grow up.  Ideally, they understand each other’s past, offer support & help each other cope if their parents are still a part of their lives.  Sadly though, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes when two adult children of narcissistic parents marry, they learn each person is on a very different page.  One is trying to be healthy while the other remains in denial of just how toxic his or her parents are.  This is hardly an easy position to be in for either person.

If you are in this painful situation, I hope this post can help you today!

To start with, you need to pray.  Ask God for any help you need to cope with the situation, whether it be patience, understanding, wisdom or anything.  Prayer is always the best place to start in any difficult situation, & situations don’t get much more difficult than this one!

Next, you need to accept that you & your partner are in a different place.  Your spouse may never see the truth about their parents.  They also may never see the truth about yours, for that matter.  You can’t change this, so you need to accept that painful truth.

You also need to accept that you can’t change your partner.  As much as you’d like to, you can’t make him or her see the truth.  We all have to face the truth as we are able.  Forcing someone to see the truth before they’re ready isn’t good for their mental health. 

You may need to stop discussing anything about your parents with each other to avoid conflict.  I know this is incredibly frustrating because you should be able to discuss any topic with your spouse.  In an ideal world, that is how things are.  Unfortunately though, when dealing with two fallible human beings, that isn’t always feasible.  If discussing anything about parents causes strife, it may be best to find someone else with which to discuss the problems.  A close friend or relative, your pastor or even a counselor may be a much better option for you. 

If you have issues with your spouse’s narcissistic parent, unfortunately, you can’t expect support from your spouse if he or she doesn’t see that parent is narcissistic.  Don’t expect it from him or her.  I realize this goes against what is natural & is very painful & hard to accept, but you need to do it anyway.  Accepting this painful truth is hard, but it is easier than to be disappointed in your spouse repeatedly.

You also will need to find ways to deal with your narcissistic in-laws on your own, & chances are slim your spouse will approve of how you deal with them.  This is tricky.  There is no way to avoid your spouse’s anger in this situation.  The best you can do is to remain calm when dealing with your awful in-laws & your spouse.  Also be logical when your spouse gets angry.  If he or she says you’re hurting the narcissistic parent, for example, you can say that parent has hurt you too.  Why was that acceptable behavior but you setting a reasonable boundary to protect yourself wasn’t? 

Never forget to take care of yourself & your mental health.  A spouse in denial can be very good at making the healthier spouse feel as if they are wrong, over sensitive or even crazy.  Don’t buy into this gaslighting!  You are doing what is right by facing the truth about your narcissistic parents & in-laws.  Don’t let anyone, including your spouse, convince you otherwise!

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People Can Say Cruel Things When A Narcissistic Parent Is Dying Or Has Died

Three years ago on the 23rd of this month, my father died.  Naturally the date gets me thinking of that terrible time.  I thought I would share some thoughts that might help others who have been or will be in a similar situation.

When a narcissistic parent dies, it’s highly likely that you are NOT going to be prepared for what you feel.  I certainly wasn’t.  When my father died in October, 2017, I was sad, but I felt that I’d grieved him enough while he was alive that there wasn’t much left.  Yet, when my mother died just shy of eighteen months later, I was utterly devastated.  I have spoken with other adult children of narcissistic parents who felt nothing when their parents died or only felt relief.  I also have met others whose reactions lay somewhere in the middle of devastated & numb.  All reactions are normal in such an abnormal situation.

What makes this difficult time even more difficult is other people.  The death or even pending death of a narcissistic parent seems to make most people think they need to share their opinions on your situation with you, whether or not you want to hear it.

As narcissistic parents age, their adult children often hear things like, “Your parent is getting old.. you shouldn’t be so hard on him or her.” or, “You haven’t spoken to your parent in how long?!  How do you think you’re going to feel when your parent dies?”  Yet, no one ever asks narcissistic parents anything like this.  They should ask these people not to be so hard on their children or how they think they will feel if they die without trying to make amends with their children.  This never happens though.

This baffles me.  Why do abusive parents get a free pass?  Why is it supposedly the job of their victims, their own children, to make them feel that it’s ok they were abusive jerks?  Everything is supposed to be the responsibility of their children all their lives, including at the time of the parents’ death.  Why is that anyway?  In fact, when my father was dying, one of my cousins told me I needed to say good bye to him so he could die in peace.  Such unadulterated gall isn’t it?  Not only because she barely knew me (& him too for that matter), but to try to put such a big burden on me that wasn’t even my burden to bear!

Such thoughtless & rude comments make the time surrounding a narcissistic parent’s death even more difficult than it already is.  When you’re in a difficult place, your emotions are more sensitive & even raw than usual.  Dealing with comments like these can be rough at this particular time, even if you could ignore them any other time.

When in such a situation, you need to remember that you are in a bad situation.  It’s normal to feel upset by stupid, insensitive & cruel comments but it’s especially normal to feel overly upset considering the circumstances you’re in at the time.  Remind yourself of that.  You’re ok!  Really!

Also remind yourself that what these people say isn’t necessarily true or accurate at all.  Everyone has their own opinions & see things through the lens of their own experiences.  They see things differently than you, so their opinions may not be valuable to you.  There are also people in the world who are evil, & are more than happy to hurt others.  Many of those people are flying monkeys who blindly support even the most malignant narcissists.  Whichever the case, don’t blindly accept what other’s say!  Consider what they say before accepting their words as true or false.

Lastly, cling to God.  You are going to need Him more than ever during this time.  He is the only reason I’ve gotten through the deaths of my parents with any sanity in tact, let alone thrived.  What He did for me, He will do for you as well.  xoxo

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Emotions After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

When a narcissistic parent dies, many who write about this topic assume all victims have the same experience when their narcissistic parent dies.  This is incredibly WRONG!

Many who lose a narcissistic parent are relieved that their parent is gone.  They are finally free from the abuse, & the joy over that overrides any other emotion.

Others who lose a narcissistic parent are devastated.  Their parent’s death symbolizes the loss of all hope for things to be better.  Even if they accepted there was no hope for the relationship, death finalizes that.  It squashes any potential, no matter how small, for things to be better.  That can be devastating.

Still others experience numbness when their narcissistic parent dies.  They have grieved for their parent so much while he or she was alive that when that parent dies, they have nothing left to give emotionally. 

Having lost both of my narcissistic parents as well as spoken to many others who lost theirs, I have learned something valuable that I believe can help anyone in this position.

Anything is normal after a narcissistic parent dies. 

Whether you miss your parent or not.  Whether you are overwhelmed or not.  Even if you go totally numb to the loss.  It’s all normal!  There’s no one size fits all way for people to grieve such a death.  Everyone processes this situation differently.  In fact, even if you have two narcissistic parents, you may grieve them both differently.  I did.  When my father died in October, 2017, I barely shed a tear for him even to this day.  I had grieved a lot for him while he was still alive, so I really had very little left to feel when he died. 

Almost exactly eighteen months later in April, 2019, my mother died.  Her death devastated me.  It truly shook me to my core.  I was in shock for quite some time after her passing.  When the shock began to wear off, I experienced the gamut of emotions.  There was a lot of anger, sadness, confusion & relief. 

And you know something?  Even though I experienced vastly different emotions after each parent died, what I experienced was normal!

The relationship a person has with each of their parents is unique.  Even if both parents are narcissists, they are still unique individuals which means the relationship with each parent is also unique.

Not to mention, in most cases when two narcissists marry, one is an overt narcissist while the other is covert.  That simple fact alone changes the dynamic of any relationship due to how each type of narcissist treats their victim.

If you have lost a narcissistic parent or even two narcissistic parents, chances are you will feel like you’re going crazy.  You aren’t!  Whatever you feel is normal.  Yes, it feels otherwise but the situation is abnormal.  You can’t expect to feel normal in an abnormal situation.  Accept your feelings without judgment, & process them however works best for you.  Journal, cry, write angry letters, talk to a non-judgmental friend or therapist. 

If someone you know has lost a narcissistic parent or two, don’t make any assumptions.  Even if you have been in a similar situation, your friend may not feel as you do. 

Also, don’t assume someone misses their parents or hates their parent.  Remember, everyone is different.  Make no assumptions.  Just listen to your friend without judgment & with an open mind.  Make sure this person knows you are there, you love them, you won’t criticize whatever they are feeling & you are willing to help them if at all possible.

Whether you are in the position of having lost a narcissistic parent or are supporting someone who has, the best thing you can do is to pray.  Let God guide you in how to cope or how to help.  You need this from Him & He will be glad to help!

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