Tag Archives: mother

A Little About Boundaries

People who don’t understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, flying monkeys in particular, seem to all think that setting boundaries & limits on a narcissist’s abusive behavior is a terrible thing to do.  If the victim is a Christian, these people often add in that those limits are “ungodly”, “unloving” & even “not honoring your parents.”  If a victim wants to divorce a narcissistic spouse, people are quick to point out the Scripture that says, “God hates divorce!” or “wives submit to your husbands” while leaving out anything else that can elaborate on these verses.

The fact however, is that these people are entirely wrong.  Boundaries are loving, Godly & honorable.

You can’t change anyone’s behavior of course, but boundaries set the stage to encourage a person to behave in a better way.  Good boundaries also show people how to treat others in a healthy way by displaying clearly what a person will & will not tolerate.

Consequences when someone disregards another’s boundaries also give a person a choice.  They can change their behavior for the better & receive a better, healthier relationship in return for their efforts.  Or, they can continue their bad behavior & suffer the negative consequences, such as someone terminating the relationship with them.

It is a loving thing to do to help people behave in a more Godly & loving way.

What is not a loving thing to do is enabling bad behavior.  Tolerating abuse is far from loving.  How could it be a loving thing to do to encourage someone to participate in bad, abusive & yes even sinful behavior?  It isn’t loving at all nor is it Godly!  Yet it seems like so many people think this is the case, & will twist Scripture around in an attempt to convince other people this is true.

And, on the opposite side of that same coin, how is it loving to tolerate things that cause pain?  How does that sort of behavior benefit anyone?  It only hurts victims & tells abusers that their awful behavior is fine.

I know this post is a very brief & basic one today, Dear Reader, but I felt the need to put it out there anyway.  I feel someone needs this simple reminder, so here it is.  Keep your boundaries in place & keep enforcing them!  Anyone who doesn’t respect them is the one with the problem, not you.  You aren’t a bad Christian or unloving spouse or adult child for having boundaries.  You are simply giving someone the natural consequences of their behavior, as things should be.  People reap what they so, as the Scripture says…..

Galatians 6:7-8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reap.  8 For the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (AMP)

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

When Your “Good” Parent Is A Covert Narcissist

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Parentalization, aka Parentification, aka Emotional Or Covert Incest

Many adult children of narcissistic parents treat their children more like partners than their children.  These parents expect their children to take care of all of their emotional needs, but some also add in their physical needs (such as cooking or doing housework well beyond what they should be doing at their age) & even sexual needs.  This phenomenon is known as emotional incest, parentalizing or parentification.  For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call it emotional incest in this article.

Narcissists often turn to their children for support rather than their partner for various reasons.  Narcissistic supply can be one reason.  People see the narcissist’s relationship with her child as very close, not realizing it’s actually very sick, & praise this “wonderful relationship” which provides narcissistic supply.  Or, maybe the narcissist is simply unhappy with her spouse or single status, & since the child is convenient, she turns to her child with matters that should be discussed with her spouse or a close friend.

No matter the reason, emotional incest has a devastating effect on a child.  The child subjected to this abusive behavior feels a tremendous amount of responsibility for the parent’s emotional state, as well as possibly also the parent’s physical or sexual needs too.  This child grows up with a tremendously overdeveloped sense of responsibility not only for the abusive parent, but everyone in her life.  This can lead to codependency, depression, anger, anxiety & more.

The child who is abused also feels guilty for growing up, leaving home & wanting to have her own life.  When I was 19, I moved out of my parents’ home & my mother was livid.  She made her disapproval painfully obvious, & even told me I’d never survive on my own.

Emotional incest also can lead to a child having very unhealthy romantic relationships as an adult.  The child is taught from an early age that the parent’s needs come first, no matter what.  A person married to an adult child of an emotionally incestuous environment is going to be a lower priority to that adult child than that child’s parents.  Whatever the parent wants will be more important than the spouse.  If the parent wants holidays spent together, that is what will happen even if the spouse doesn’t want to be a part of them.  If the parent has a need (either real or imagined) on their adult child’s wedding anniversary, the adult child will deal with it rather than the anniversary.

If you are in this dysfunctional situation, then you need to break free of it!  It won’t be easy but it will be possible.

As always, the first step should be prayer. Ask God to show you what to do to help break the cycle.  And, ask Him to help you to have the strength & courage to do it.

Also, start changing the subject with your narcissistic parent.  Both of my parents indulged in emotionally incestuous behavior for my entire life, until I ended the relationship with them, & the best way I found to end it was simple subject changes.  Asking them about something else related to themselves worked best.  Since narcissists enjoy talking about themselves more than any other topic, it makes sense that is their favorite subject change.

Sometimes subject changes don’t work & the narcissistic parent keeps changing the subject back to the topic.  If at all possible, end the conversation.  If you’re in their home or they are in yours, it can be challenging.  Try to have a friend on call, so to speak.  Have the phone number of someone you can trust ready so you can dial the number quickly & discreetly or take your phone with you to the bathroom if need be.  Tell that person ahead of time that if you call their number & it only rings a couple of times & you hang up, that means they need to call you & say they need you to come to them immediately.  Or, if you’re on the phone with your parent & want to end the conversation, ring your doorbell or knock on your door.  You can then say, “The doorbell rang.. I have to go.”  If you have a dog who barks when they hear the doorbell, this is an added bonus- your parent will hear the dog & know that your doorbell rang.  You also can use your cell to call your house phone or vice versa & then you can tell your parent that the call waiting beeped & you need to go.  Sneaky?  Yes, but not dishonest.  Your doorbell rang, your call waiting beeped & you do need to go!

I also learned that saying, “It hurts me when you talk to me about Mom/Dad like that” was a recipe for disaster.  Not only did it not stop their behavior, since they knew it hurt me, they did it even more.  This is typical of narcissists, so learn from my mistake- DO NOT ADMIT IT HURTS YOU!!!

Always remember, the problems your parent is telling you about are NOT your responsibility.  You have no obligation to fix them.  Tune your parent’s words out if it helps you.

Lastly, limit your contact as much as possible with your narcissistic parent.  If you aren’t so available, they may feel forced to find someone else to listen to their woes & you need the reprieve.

Emotional incest is a very painful thing to deal with, but you can handle it!

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

A Message For My Younger Followers

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

My Ebooks Are On Sale!

Just a friendly reminder that all of my ebooks are still 25% off until July 31, 2020. They can be found at this link:

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

2 Comments

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

Things Adult Children Of Narcissists Wish People Wouldn’t Say

Growing up with narcissistic parents is a horrific experience.  Neglect & abuse abound, resulting in a child who grows up with little or even no self-esteem, doubts about their sanity, no real identity beyond what their parents told them they were & other horrible traumas that often result in Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD.

In addition to this trauma, many of these children are met with disbelief & even blame for the way their parents treated them.  Sadly, this treatment comes mostly from family members.  Even as adults, this invalidation often continues & can be even more heartless & painful.

You may find some of these phrases I mention in this post sound familiar to you.  If you do, & if you think they will help the person who said them to you see the error of their ways, feel free to show this to them.  However, know many people who invalidate victims of narcissistic abuse are also narcissists, which means they only will use the information to hurt you further.  You need to use your best judgment on this.

“Why not just talk to your parents.  Tell them how you feel.”  Normally, this isn’t bad advice.  Two functional people often can create solutions to problems by discussing them.  This is impossible with narcissists, however.  They lack empathy & feel entitled to do or say anything they want.  The way people feel about their words & actions, in particular their children, mean nothing to them.  Unless they feel they can gain something by impressing someone by caring about their feelings, no one’s emotions mean anything to them.  Narcissistic parents often view their children’s feelings as selfish, unreasonable, stupid, or trivial.. that is if they even notice their feelings at all.  Many narcissistic parents don’t even notice their children’s feelings no matter how upset they are.  They also are highly likely to use their children’s emotions against them to humiliate, shame or manipulate them. 

“You need to find a way to fix this relationship!”  My aunt once told me how I needed to get into therapy to find a way to fix things with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!”  I thank God I was far along in my healing journey at the time she said this, because such words could’ve been devastating if I wasn’t!  I tried to do as she said when I was 17, & even saw a few therapists.  No matter how much therapy I got, no matter what I did, I couldn’t fix the relationship with my parents.  While one person can destroy a relationship, one person can never fix a relationship.  It takes two to make a relationship work.  Putting the burden of fixing it on a victim is simply cruel & stupid. 

“How do you think your behavior makes your parent feel?”  After setting boundaries or going no contact, the flying monkeys love to slither out of the wood work & tell victims how wrong, evil, selfish, & stupid they are along with them being terrible sons or daughters for acting the way they are.  They make these adult children sound like spoiled rotten little brats who are throwing a hissy fit because they don’t want to eat their vegetables at dinner.  People who say this fail to realize that child of a narcissistic parent or two spend their entire lives are spent considering their parents’ feelings!  Every single little thing is about the parent & nothing has to do with them.  No wonder the parent is upset about that child setting a boundary or even going no contact.  The parent probably never expected this to happen.  That doesn’t mean boundaries or no contact are wrong, however!

“Have you ever thought about how you make your parents feel by talking about this?”  They may add 1 Peter 4:8 that in part says “love covers a multitude of sins” to make it sound as if God Himself is ashamed of the victim for discussing the abuse.  This is incredibly shaming & cruel!  Narcissistic parents instill in their children a very large dose of fear about discussing the abuse.  Being open about it is incredibly difficult & brave.  If those parents wanted their child to discuss them in a positive light, they shouldn’t have been abusive. 

“Parents always love their children.. it’s a shame children don’t always love their parents.”  This is an utter LIE.  There are plenty of parents who lack the ability to love their children.  Narcissists may love the narcissistic supply their children provide but truly loving their children in a healthy, Godly way is beyond their abilities.  Not to mention, there are plenty of children of narcissistic parents who love them.  In fact, almost every adult child of narcissistic parents I have spoken with loved their parent a great deal.  It’s the parent’s behavior they hated.  I’m the same way.  I love my parents, I just couldn’t tolerate the abuse, which is why I went no contact.  It wasn’t done out of hatred for them.

“You kids always blame your mother & don’t take any responsibility for yourself.”  The fact is children naturally deny bad parts about their parents or find a way why their parent’s bad behavior is their fault.  It’s probably a survival skill.  If the child can deny the parent doesn’t love them or is abusive, they stand greater chances of receiving care from their parents.  These children work harder & harder to please their abusive parents, so the parent will give them some care at least.

“You need to get over it.  That’s in the past.”  When you have C-PTSD as a result of being raised by a narcissistic parent or two, the past is always a part of your present.  Flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts are triggered very easily & they don’t go away simply because we want them to.  If only it was that easy!  Even medication can’t stop such things.  It takes time & dealing with each event as it comes up to get any semblance of control over it interfering with the present, & even then, it may not go away entirely.  I still have flashbacks & nightmares once in a while about events I have dealt with to the best of my ability.  It’s rare, but it still happens.

“Your parents have always been so nice to me!”  Narcissists work hard to create an image of perfection to those who aren’t their victims.  It’s not uncommon for narcissists to have a friendly & pleasant conversation with someone, then once the person is out of their presence or they hang up the phone, they attack their victim.  People who haven’t seen behind the narcissist’s mask often have a hard time believing that the person you claim was an abusive parent is anything but the good person they see. 

To help those who suffered at the hand of a narcissistic parent or two, if you don’t know about narcissistic abuse, you will need to learn about it.  You also will need to remember not everyone has a functional family, & accept that some families are extremely complex & dysfunctional.

If you’re a victim of narcissistic parents & someone says comments like this to you, please remember what they say is wrong.  It comes from their own dysfunctional beliefs, not reality.  Try your best not to take their words to heart.

2 Comments

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

“Super Powers” In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I recently saw the most interesting conversation on television!  In this particular scene, a younger lady was talking with an older lady.  The younger lady was deaf, & discussing how things went when she began to lose her hearing in her teens.  She said she was afraid & angry, naturally, but her older sister told her being deaf was her super power.  She learned how to adapt to this new life which obviously wasn’t easy.  She also mentioned how people in their community were learning sign language, & that it was all because of her.

Immediately I began to think of those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse.  We have super powers too!

We survived some pretty horrific stuff!  Simply surviving narcissistic abuse definitely fits into the super power category!  Many people don’t.  They end up committing suicide, & quite honestly, who can blame them?  Like many others, I sure considered it plenty when I was going through it.

We also not only survived, but we did so with our sanity & humanity in tact.  Narcissists pull out all the stops when they abuse their victims in an attempt to utterly destroy them.  Surviving that without becoming angry or bitter or continuing their abuse is really impressive!  Many people who survive narcissistic parents simply don’t have the strength or courage to break the cycle of abuse, & they abuse their children.

Many of us go on to talk openly about our painful experiences, & by doing so, help other people.  We create awareness of narcissistic abuse, which is desperately needed.  And, we help other victims to learn what is happening with them when we discuss our experiences.  I’m sure you remember how it was prior to learning about narcissistic abuse.  You felt like you were going crazy, maybe the narcissist was right & you were causing all of the problems in the relationship & more.  Learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is incredibly freeing because you learn the narcissist is the problem, not you like the narcissist said.  By discussing your experiences openly, you’re helping other people obtain that freedom!  Also, by discussing narcissistic abuse, we are able to show others what does & doesn’t work with not only dealing with narcissists but the healing process as well.

If you have C-PTSD as a result of the narcissistic abuse, you aren’t exempt from having the super powers.  I know many who have it consider themselves weak or seriously flawed, but that isn’t the case at all!  You simply have a scar that shows yourself & others you survived some pretty horrific stuff.  I know C-PTSD is horrible, I live with it too.  But living with something so painful & challenging is a super power!

And you know something else?  By being open & honest about your struggles with C-PTSD, you’re helping others.  You may help some people who may not yet realize they too have the disorder.  They may hear of your struggles & realize this is what’s been happening with them.  While naturally no one wants to be diagnosed with any illness, mental or physical, if you’re suffering with symptoms & have no clue why, learning what is happening is incredibly helpful!  Having answers means you know what you’re dealing with & can find the proper treatment.

Also, by discussing your symptoms openly & how you cope with those symptoms, you help others find ways to manage their symptoms.  It can be so hard to come up with ideas to help yourself, especially when symptoms are flaring up, which means learning what works & doesn’t work for others can be extremely helpful!

Please never forget, Dear Reader, that you have super powers.  You survived some of the cruelest abuse a human can survive & are going on to help others.  Those are some impressive super powers!  That is amazing & you should be very proud of yourself!

9 Comments

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

Childish Behavior In Narcissistic Parents

Many covert narcissists tend to behave like children in some ways.  I believe this is because they want to be coddled & taken care of like little kids.  Not that everyone doesn’t have that urge to be cared for sometimes but they really take it over the top.

Do you know if the covert narcissist in your life is behaving childishly?  Here are some ways to identify their childish behavior.

Childish adults don’t control their emotions normally.   Healthy adults have a good perspective.  Sure they get angry or sad sometimes, but it’s proportionate to the situation at hand.  Childish adults aren’t this way.  They get angry easily or cry at the drop of a hat, & their reactions are very disproportionate to the situation.

They lie.  Granted, all narcissists lie.  Childish ones however will lie even easier than their more mature counterparts.  If they’re in a situation where they are uncomfortable, childish narcissists will lie to get out of it.  Maybe they don’t want to attend their child’s Christmas play at school, so they say they have a headache in order to get out of it.

Blameshifting/blaming.  Another thing all narcissists love to do is shift the blame to their victim rather than accept responsibility.  Again though, childish ones do it even faster.

Excuses.  When a normal adult is confronted about something, they accept responsibility without making excuses.  Childish narcissists don’t do this.  They make up excuses, often really lame ones.  As one example, my late mother in-law was a covert & childish narcissist.  She used to snoop through my purse if I left her alone with it in her home for more than a moment, like if I went to the bathroom.  At one point, she left $40 in it.  I told my husband this isn’t her trying to bless me- it’s hush money so I’ll let her keep snooping.  As I listened from around the corner, he talked to her about staying out of my purse.  She whined about having “alllllll this cash just lying around” & said she had to get rid of it.  She didn’t mean any harm- she was just trying to get rid of some of that extra cash.  Lame excuse, no?

They feign incompetence.  Any adult who wants to be treated like a child will pretend they don’t know how to do things.  They may try to do something & do it really badly or break something, so the people in their lives get frustrated & just do the task for them.

Everything is a crisis.  Not every problem is a crisis, but childish narcissists act like they are.  If they have a crisis, then they can call on someone (usually their adult children) to run to their side to fix the problem.

Parentification.  Narcissistic parents are often very good at parentification.   This is when a parent treats a child more as a partner than a child.  The child is supposed to listen to the parent’s problems, often about such inappropriate topics as the parent’s marriage or sex life.  The child is supposed to take care of the parent’s emotional needs (cheer the parent when she’s sad, calm her down when angry, etc) & sometimes physical ones as well (such as cooking for or doing the laundry).  If both parents are narcissists, often the covert narcissistic parent will also expect the child to protect that parent from the overt one.  The child ends up very protective of that parent, not only with the other parent, but in general.  When that child grows up & gets married, if his new spouse has any complaint about the childish parent, the adult child will defend that parent to the spouse, often to the spouse’s surprise.  Excuses are made, the spouse is shamed for daring to be upset with the parent & more.

To deal with these childish behaviors in your narcissistic parent, don’t indulge them.  If your parent wants you to do something you know she can handle on her own, let her.  Tell her you aren’t able to take care of it but you know she can handle it just fine.

If she calls, complaining about  a crisis & you know it’s not really a crisis, put it in perspective for her.  Use cold logic.  Let’s say she’s upset because her mail hasn’t been delivered yet & it’s 2:00.  It usually arrives by 10, so she is upset it’s not there.  You can (calmly) say things like, “Mom, it’s still early in the day.  It’s the Christmas season & the post office is really busy this time of year.  They get behind sometimes.  If it doesn’t arrive by 6, contact the post office in the morning.”  Logic is a wonderful tool with narcissists.  They can’t say anything when the facts are completely clear before them.

Use logic when she lies, makes excuses or blames, too.  You can say things like, “I really don’t see how Susan doing that could make you behave that way.  It doesn’t make any sense.  Besides, I’ve known Susan for 10 years, & I’ve never known of her to do anything even remotely like that before.”  When you use logic, always stay calm & state the facts clearly.

If your narcissistic behavior acts childish with emotions, such as having a temper tantrum for not getting her way, treat her like the bratty child she’s acting like!  Tell her you aren’t going to talk to her until she calms down.  If you’re on the phone, tell her you have to go.  Use another phone to trigger your call waiting, so that way you can tell her your call waiting went off- you have to go.  (it’s not technically lying- your call waiting did beep!)

Regarding parentification behaviors… this is a tough one.  I honestly never found a way to stop my parents from doing it.  Saying, “It hurts me when you talk about Mom/Dad like this” doesn’t work with narcissists.  The one thing I found to be the most effective was to change the subject, especially back to my narcissistic parent.  Since narcissists love to talk about themselves, let that work in your favor.  Granted, you may not want to hear the latest gossip spoken about during her last bridge club but it sure beats hearing about 1,000 reasons she thinks your dad is a jerk!

There are ways to cope with childish behavior in narcissistic parents.  These suggestions are the best ones I’ve found.  Also don’t forget to pray.  Asking God for help is the smartest thing you can do.

26 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Enmeshment

14 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Tips For Healing From Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a terrible thing.  It forms so much of who we become as adults, good & bad.  Unfortunately usually there is much more bad than good.

The way to help minimize the bad is to heal.  To do this, you have to face the trauma, & that involves facing the emotions connected to it.  I know, this isn’t exactly fun but it’s quite necessary for healing.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, so not doing so will result in them manifesting in such toxic ways.  They will negatively affect your mental & physical health.  They can draw you to unhealthy relationships & circumstances.  That’s why it’s so much healthier to face trauma than to avoid doing so.

An effective way to do this that I have found is loosely based on Craig Hill’s “The Ancient Paths” book & seminars.  Start by looking at your life.  What areas are you consistently struggling with?  From there, you can ask God to show you what the root of the problem is.  When I have done this, God has shown me a memory, & usually it’s from childhood.  I focus on that memory, remembering everything about it that I can – what happened, where it happened, who was there, even more insignificant things like scents, sounds, who wore what clothing.  Remembering as much as possible makes it more real, which triggers many emotions.  Once I feel the emotions I tell God that in that situation I felt a certain way, like helpless, ashamed, stupid, ugly.  Then I ask Him to tell me if what I felt was right.  Was I right to feel the things I did?  I then listen for His response.  There really is healing & life in God’s word!  When He has spoken to me, I end up feeling so much better!  So much of the pain just disappears.

There is still a bit of work to do after this, however.  You will need to feel your feelings.  I mean really feel them.  Cry, get angry, yell… do whatever helps you to feel those emotions so you can get them out of you.  I often tell God just what I’m feeling.  He really can handle that & offer comfort during these painful times.  You may need to do this a few times to purge yourself completely of the emotions.  That depends on the trauma & how you as an individual feel about the situation.

When I first learned about all of this, I naively thought doing it once or twice would heal me completely.  Unfortunately healing from trauma is an ongoing process.  You have to heal from one incident at a time instead of all at once.  I can’t tell you it’s ever easy, but I can say that the more you do it, the easier it gets.  You get stronger as you heal, which enables you to face things better.  You also grow closer to God, because facing trauma in this manner makes you depend on Him for help.  It naturally strengthens your relationship.  It also helps you see God as He is, your Heavenly Father, rather than how you view your earthly parents.  So many abused children grow up seeing God as unreliable & untrustworthy as their earthly parents.  It’s natural, unfortunately.  Working on your healing in this way naturally changes your perspective on Him, & draws you closer to Him.

Also remember that doing this can be very emotionally draining.  It’s only natural that dealing with such negative & strong emotions would leave you feeling drained & a bit raw emotionally after.  When this happens, take good care of yourself.  Rest, be sure to eat healthy & relax as much as you can.

I know this all sounds intimidating, but truly, you can do it & you’ll be very glad you did!

6 Comments

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

Some Victim Shaming Comments

2 Comments

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

Some Thoughts About No Contact With Narcissistic Parents

As I write this post, it’s May 5.  To many people it’s no special day.  To others, it’s Cinco De Mayo.  To me, it’s a reminder of a very strange day.

In 2016, my mother in-law died on April 30.  Two days later, our oldest kitty died suddenly.  Three days after that was our dog, Dixie’s birthday & we really did try to celebrate her special day as usual.  Not easy with the sadness we both felt, but we tried & I think Dixie was ok with that since she was a very sweet, sensitive & smart little pup.

Then “it” happened.  May 5, 2016, I had a huge fight with my parents.  It wasn’t entirely unexpected, as you can tell if you read the original post in the link above.

Today, as I was driving home, the date hit me.  I had thought of it earlier remembering my sweet Dixie on her birthday (she passed in 2017), but I hadn’t thought about it relating to the argument with my parents.  I also realized I hadn’t thought of it last year, either, but in all fairness, my mother had just passed & I was still in shock at that time.  I wasn’t functioning very well.

Anyway, when I thought of the date relating to the argument with my parents, guilt about overwhelmed me.  I am so NOT proud of my behavior that evening.  That argument also was what led to me being no contact with my parents, & that led to them dying without me in their lives in any capacity.  It was my final straw.  Yet, I know what I did was the right thing.  It seems so unfair to be wracked with guilt even knowing I did the right thing, yet, it also makes sense in a strange way.

Going no contact with your family, in particular your parents, is incredibly hard.  Many people have no idea just how hard, but those of us who have done it or are contemplating doing it know.  It’s brutal.  It goes against nature, stepping away from your own blood!  Yet sadly, it also is necessary sometimes.

If you’re contemplating going no contact with your narcissistic parent or parents, my heart goes out to you.  It’s incredibly difficult!  Having been in your position, I can give you some advice though…

Seriously consider your choice.  No contact needs to be permanent, not permanent until you need your parent or miss them.  Only do it when you are certain you can make it permanent, no matter what.

Don’t do it on a whim or because you’re angry.  My story may sound like I did that but it’s not the case.  I’d been considering no contact for a while at that time, yet felt the timing wasn’t right until that argument with my parents.  It felt as if God said, “Now”.   Timing is important.  Trust His timing & ask Him to help you figure out when the time is right.

Know that going no contact can lead to tremendous guilt, even when you know there was no other choice.  I know, it seems wrong but it’s a simple fact.  As I type this, I still feel guilty about going no contact with my parents even knowing it was God’s will for me to do it.  The one thing that helps the guilt is leaning on God for reassurance.  At first, it was constant.. especially when my father was dying in 2017.  It has lightened up a great deal, but even now, sometimes guilt still kicks in.. like today.

Never, ever stop praying for your parent.  I know many people say narcissists aren’t worth praying for, they’re a lost cause, nothing can save them, etc. but you never know.  Both of my parents are in Heaven!!  When my mother died, a stranger, the funeral director who took care of her, told me that he felt God wanted him to tell me she was in Heaven.  In 2017, a former friend told me that God spoke to her about my father being in Heaven.  I realize not everyone wants to be saved & God honors the choices of each person.  That being said though… never stop praying for your narcissistic parents!  The worst case scenario is that parent doesn’t accept Jesus, which of course is terrible, but there is at least some comfort in knowing you did all you can do.  God heard your prayers.  He won’t forget you praying for your parents.  He knows you did all you could do.  Your conscience is clear, & that is a good thing.

2 Comments

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

Why Narcissistic Parents Defend Their Child’s Abuser

 

8 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

My Newest Book Is Now Available!

I have just published my newest book, “When A Narcissistic Parent Dies: Expanded Version.”

I originally wrote this book after my father died in 2017.  When my mother died last year, I learned a lot more about what it’s like to lose a narcissistic parent.  Rather than write an entirely new book on the topic, I decided simply to expand on what I had already written.

The print version is available at this link.  The ebook is available at this link.

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Losing A Narcissistic Parent

April 19, 2019 started quite the roller coaster for me.  It was the day the police knocked on my door at 10 p.m. to tell me that my mother was found deceased in her home.  I had no idea that this event would turn my life into something barely recognizable.

A couple of days later, I found my mother’s will, which is when I learned she not only left everything to me, but I also was to be her personal representative.  I can’t express the shock I felt at learning this completely unexpected turn of events!  I never expected to get any inheritance from her, let alone be her PR.  Oddly though, it has done me a lot of good.

Personal representatives have a lot of responsibility & many details to attend to.  As someone with a brain injury & C-PTSD which has given me crippling anxiety, I didn’t think I could do any of this, even with the help of my attorney.  But you know what?  I have!  In fact, I’ve done a pretty good job at everything, including dealing with unexpected problems.

The emotional aspect has been incredibly difficult, too.  Losing a parent is terrible for anyone, but add in the narcissistic element & it’s also complicated & confusing.  I went into shock the night the police gave me the death notification, & it lasted for several months.  Most of the time, I haven’t known what I felt.  My moods would swing drastically & I had no clue why.

In spite of these very challenging things, not only have I survived, I’ve thrived.  I believe it is all because of God.

The night of the death notification, I prayed probably the shortest prayer I’ve ever prayed.  I simply asked God to help me & has He ever!

While making funeral arrangements, the funeral director mentioned he too is a Christian.  He said he felt strongly that God wanted me to know that my mother is with Him, & everything is going to be ok, just trust Him.  I know beyond any doubt that those things are true, too.

Since her passing, God has told me things that she wanted me to know.  One thing was especially interesting.  A few years before my mother’s death, she gave me a wind chime with dragonflies on it, saying she thought I would like it.  It’s very pretty so yes I do!  While visiting her grave shortly after her death, there were a lot of dragonflies buzzing around me.  I suddenly got this strong feeling that my mother wanted me to think about what dragonflies symbolize when I see them & be comforted by that.  I began to ask God if that was right, please give me a sign.  About halfway through that prayer, the biggest one yet flew right in front of me!  I researched the symbolism of dragonflies when I got home.  Common thoughts are they symbolize hope, maturity, change, love, prosperity, & peace.  Seeing them now does give me comfort, & I see them at unusual times, not only during the spring & summer months.

Also, I’d decided almost immediately to give my mother’s car to a friend’s son who was going to get his drivers license in a few months.  Shortly after, I began to have second thoughts.  When praying about it one day, God told me very clearly, “Your mother wants you to have & enjoy her car.”  This car is definitely not my usual taste at all, but I have come to enjoy driving it.  And, my friend’s son?  He said he didn’t want me to have to hang onto the car waiting on him, so I should keep it.

Among all these rather strange events, I am happy to report that my anxiety levels are MUCH better than they were prior to my mother’s death.  It still is there, but not in the crippling capacity it once was.

My point of sharing all of this with you, Dear Reader?  I want to encourage you.  If your narcissistic parent dies before you, it’ll be tough.  But, with God, you’ll be able to get through it.  You’ll come out so much stronger & be so much closer to God than ever.  It may be the most difficult time of your life, but it will be worth it in the end if you just stay close to the Father.  ❤

18 Comments

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

When You Love Your Narcissistic Mother

Recently, I was watching an episode of “The Walking Dead.”  I’m not sure if any of you who follow my work are also fans, but if not, you still might find this interesting.

In this particular episode, Neegan was talking to the daughter of a woman he had killed.  Alpha was a horrible woman & was basically a cult leader in my opinion.  Anyway, the daughter was calm at first, realizing he killed her because it was necessary.  He kept saying she needed to get her feelings out though.  It wasn’t healthy to hold them in.  The girl insisted she was ok.  Eventually, the young woman broke down though.  When she did, she said something interesting.  “I want to hate her but I can’t!”

This really hit home with me.  I think many of us with narcissistic mothers feel the same way.  I realize not everyone does.  Some dislike or even hate their narcissistic mother.  I truly hope this post doesn’t make you feel something is wrong with you.  Everyone is different!  I’m simply writing this to help those who feel like I do.

It’s a very strange feeling when you know your mother did the most horrific & unspeakable things to you, destroyed your self esteem, destroyed your identity even, yet on some level, you still love her.  It makes no sense at all to the logical mind to feel that way.  If anyone else did these things to you, chances are excellent you wouldn’t feel any love for this person at all.  Why feel differently towards your mother?  She’s the one person in the world that never should intentionally hurt you, yet she did.  Over & over again in fact.

The one year anniversary of my mother’s death is fast approaching & I’m realizing I feel the same way.  I want to hate my mother, but I can’t.  I’ve been thinking about this & this episode of “The Walking Dead” got me thinking about it more.  I thought I’d share some thoughts as to why this happens sometimes.

Many children of narcissistic parents are naturally loving & kind.  They aren’t people who hate easily & often not at all.

Many narcissistic mothers were the engulfing type.  Children grow up feeling as if she is the only safe place for them because their mothers make them feel that way.  Hating that safety net of sorts feels impossible.

Often, there were some good times, too, not only bad.  Very few abusers are abusive 100% of the time.  They are nice & loving periodically to bond their victim to them.  This trauma bond can be extremely confusing!  You want to hate the abuser, but you also know that they can be very kind & loving at the same time.  It feels impossible to hate someone kind & loving even when you know that they are capable of unimaginable cruelty.

The nature of relationship is another factor.  You only get one mother.  You shared her body with her for nine months.  This can’t be said of any other human being on the planet.  This naturally makes a child share a unique & exceptionally close bond with her mother, no matter what kind of mother she was.  Hating one’s mother is unnatural.  Of course it is possible & many people do feel that way, but not everyone is capable of hating their mother.

If you feel like there is something wrong with you because in spite of it all, you still love your narcissistic mother, please know there is nothing wrong with you.  When it comes to surviving narcissistic abuse, there are no one size fits all solutions.  Everyone is different.  Everyone processes emotions differently.  Everyone also had different experiences.  I really don’t think there is anything wrong with how anyone feels who survived a narcissistic mother.  The only wrong that I’m aware of is when someone repeats the pattern with their own children, & continues the cycle.

11 Comments

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

About Guilt After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

2 Comments

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

What It’s Like To Go No Contact With Parents

People often don’t understand what it’s like sever ties with  parents.  It’s easy to understand how shocking it can be to some people.  I want people who don’t understand to understand, & I hope to help them to do that with this post.

Looking from the outside in, most people don’t see an abusive family scenario.  They see attentive parents & well behaved children.  They see parents who are successful at their chosen careers, kids getting good grades in school, active in sports or other after school activities & their parents supporting such things.

They don’t see what happens behind the scenes, though.  Screaming, raging, sometimes even physical assaults.  Then there are the scathing criticisms said so often that it destroys the child’s self esteem.  There also is the fact that narcissistic parents do their level best to destroy their child’s identity & recreate the child into whatever it is they want.  The child’s personality, likes, feelings & even morals mean nothing to that parent, only what the parent wants is what matters.  While this may not sound so bad to someone who hasn’t experienced it, I can tell you from my own experience & that of others I have spoken to in similar situations, a child in this situation often considers suicide as it feels like the only means of escape.

When the child in this situation grows up, often, that child who is now an adult learns that their upbringing wasn’t normal.  They witnessed other people with kind & loving parents.  They have friends whose parents bought them their first car when they got their drivers’ license instead of fighting them getting a license & car.  Their friends’ parents celebrated when they graduated from high school or college rather than ignoring the accomplishments or finding some way to trivialize them.

Things like this often make this adult child look for answers.  Frequently many abused adult children learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at this time.

Suddenly, so many things make sense!  The abuse, the belittling, the manipulation, the control.  Then they learn there is almost no hope whatsoever of changing a narcissist.  Explaining that their actions hurt only encourages them to do those things more.

After attempting every tactic they can to make the toxic relationship healthier yet failing, the adult child realizes no contact is the only option.  Even after the realization, it often takes a long time to work up the inner strength to go through with actually ending the relationship with the toxic parent.

Eventually, they do sever ties though.  Suddenly people they know, or barely know, come out of the woodwork to tell them how terrible they are, how they need to fix the relationship, how badly they’re hurting their parents, how selfish they are & more.  The guilt is horrific & people like this make it even worse.

There is also the devastation of betrayal, because most of these people are people you never expected to side with anyone who abused you.  Actually society in general often sides with parents in these situations rather than the children they abused.

People assume estranged children hate their parents, & treat them accordingly when nothing could be further from the truth.  People don’t realize the pain behind going no contact.  They don’t realize the intense guilt or the cognitive dissonance because of doing something so extremely abnormal either.  They don’t recognize the loneliness because not only did you lose your parents but also most of your family & even friends by choosing to protect your mental health.

This is what happens when someone goes no contact with their parents.  This was my experience as well as that of so many others I’ve talked to.  If anyone thinks no contact is easy or taking a cowardly way out, they are utterly mistaken.  It’s the hardest decision I ever made, yet also the best one.

37 Comments

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

For My Younger Readers Living With Abusive Parents

Those of you young men & women who are still living at home with your abusive parent (or parents), this post is for you today.

You are in a rough place, as you well know.  I’ve been there too, & I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.  Until you can move out, no doubt you could use some advice to help you cope.

I hope those of you reading this share my faith.  Knowing God has been the most important part of my life, including helping me to survive the abuse.  When I was living with my parents, however, I didn’t believe in God because of the abuse.  No doubt many of you feel the same way & your parents also have misused religion as an excuse to abuse you.  Please know that God is nothing like what abusive parents say He is!  He is loving & kind, & will gladly help you through this!  If you’d like to learn more, click this link: https://cynthiabaileyrug.com/home/salvation-through-jesus-christ/

Learn everything you possibly can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The more you understand it, the more it will help you to figure out ways to cope with your parent’s behavior.  It also will help you to remember that you are NOT the problem, your narcissistic parent is.  While that may seem obvious when you first learn about NPD, narcissists can be very manipulative.  Even to the point of making others believe they are the real problem in the relationship.  That happened to me with both my parents & my ex husband.  I honestly believed I was the problem in spite of them clearly being the abusers.  Not only did I feel awful but they used that as another way to control me.  Since I thought I was so awful, I trusted them to tell me how to be better.  Learn from my mistake!  Abusers are always the problem!

When dealing with your parent, try to show as little emotion as possible.  The reason being narcissists use people’s emotions against them.  Are you happy?  The narcissist will try to make you sad.  Are you sad or angry?  The narcissist will try to make you sadder or angrier, then tell you that you’re crazy because of how you feel.  Always remain unemotional around your parent.

Save up money as best you can.  Be frugal with your money & save as much as you can, because you are going to need quite a bit to get a car & to move out.  Also, stash your money somewhere where your parent can’t get to it.  Many narcissistic parents steal from their children, so you need to be careful about where you hide your money.

Move out to somewhere safe as soon as possible.  A roommate helps financially, so that may be an option.  You’ll need someone who has a steady job & is responsible, as well as someone you get along well with.  Some folks rent out rooms in their home, too.  Or, maybe a friend or relative would let you move in with them.  Consider your options & make plans as best you can.  Don’t share your plans with anyone that might tell your parent about them, however.

If at all possible, buy what you can to prepare for moving out.  If you plan to live with a relative or rent a room, you probably won’t need much.  A bedroom set, toiletries, towels.. things like this.  If you have a friend or relative that knows your situation, they might be willing to hold these items for you until you need them so your parent doesn’t find out about your plans.

I know all of this must seem overwhelming, but really you got this!  You have survived so much up to this point which shows you are strong!  You can do it!!

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

When Parents Abuse Their Adult Children

Growing up with abusive parents, most kids think that once they turn 18 &/or move out, all their problems will be over.  Many victims marry very young trying to rush this process along, & who can blame them?

The problem is though, this mindset is wrong.  The abuse merely changes, it doesn’t stop.

In my experience, I left home at 19 after my first nervous breakdown.  Although I didn’t know exactly what had happened to me at that time, I knew in my heart that I had to leave or lose my sanity.  I moved back in 6 months later for only four days.  On the last day, my mother & I got into an argument which escalated quickly into a physical fight, & she slammed me into a wall.  I believe she wanted to kill me that night.  I also believed that since I determined never to live in that house again, the abuse was a thing of the past. My mother never laid another hand on me again after that night, November 28, 1990.  That didn’t mean she never abused me again, however.

After that horrible night, my mother continued to verbally abuse me.  Everything about me was subject to her harsh judgement &  criticisms, just as it had been when I was living with her.  When I had to quit work a few months later due to my back pain from her assault, my mother made it clear she was convinced I was faking the pain because I was too lazy to work.  She never said those words exactly, but she would slap me in the back where my pain was, hand me heavy items or tell me I needed to help her move something heavy.

As my parents got older & frailer, my mother expected me to help them.  When I did help, my parents were cruel, especially my mother.  She gave me a diet soda one day when I was there.  The cruelty was the artificial sweetener in it was known to cause a laxative effect in some people.  She waited until I emptied the bottle to tell me this & how it negatively affected my father.  For the remainder of the visit, she & my father continually asked me how my stomach felt or did I need to use the bathroom.

My mother had irritable bowel syndrome.  After having an issue, she called to tell me I had to wash her clothes the next day because “I owed it to her since she took care of me as a baby.”  The next day I took rubber gloves along in case I had to touch any laundry since I’m not good with body functions.  My mother watched me take off those gloves, then told me to hold out my hands.  With a smile, she put her nasty clothes in my bare hands & said “I forgot, these need to go in the washer too.”

The point of these stories is this: narcissistic parents don’t stop abusing their children when they become adults.  They merely change the ways in which they abuse them.

As narcissists age, they can’t be the physically intimidating presence to their child anymore.  And, their child has grown up, so even if they were able to magically stay the same, their child probably wouldn’t be intimidated like they once were.  Also, threats of punishment from a parent don’t work on an adult as they would on a child.  Due to losing so many of their once successful ways of abusing their child, narcissists have to come up with new ways to abuse.

Some of those new ways may involve financial abuse, guilt trips to make their child think they owe the parent, misusing their medications to make themselves ill, or even threatening suicide.

If such things are happening to you, you’re not alone!  You also have nothing to feel ashamed of!  The shame lies with your parent, not you!  Do what you need to in order to protect yourself.  You do NOT deserve to be abused!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Narcissism

One Way Abuse Victims Process Emotions

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge true crime buff.  Pretty sure my poor husband is sick of it since when I turn the TV on, that’s usually what I end up watching.

I’ve also never been a big fan of stories with happy endings.  If it suits the story, that’s fine but if it seems forced, I’m not a fan of that.  I prefer real endings, even if they aren’t happy ones.

Growing up, my mother always said how negative & pessimistic I was.  She made me feel abnormal for liking such “negative” things instead light, fluffy things like she did.  I assumed she was right & something was wrong with me.  Yet, nothing changed even into adulthood.  I still dislike fluffy stories.

I finally came to a realization about my so called negativity, & I think it may help some of you as well.

So many people I’ve spoken to who were raised by narcissistic parents also dislike light, fluffy stories.  They prefer something real even if it is sad.  Many also share my interest in true crime.

Many who were abused by narcissistic parents also share some similarities.  We often are introverts, very down to earth & interested in the deeper things in life over the superficial, in particular what makes people tick.  Knowing these traits, it only makes sense that we prefer what we do.

Another thing I realized is these things allow us to feel the emotions we never were allowed to feel growing up.  Narcissistic parents deny their children the right to have emotions, in particular anger or hurt over the abuse.  This often carries into adulthood.  We grow up not comfortable showing or sharing certain emotions, & aren’t sure how to deal with them.  Feeling anything about the abuse perpetrated on us by our own parents is especially not OK, so those emotions are ignored.  Since those emotions aren’t felt, they need an outlet.  Watching sad movies or true crime, reading sad or unjust stories or even listening to sad songs provides that outlet.  They enable you to feel the sadness or anger without feeling it as it relates to the abuse.

Something else narcissistic parents can’t tolerate is their child feeling sorry for themselves.  This, too, carries into adulthood, & many struggle with feeling compassion for ourselves because of that dysfunctional teaching.  Being able to feel the emotions because of songs, stories or whatever also help you to feel them while not feeling sorry for yourself.  If you watch a story of a young woman who was abused & murdered by her parents, as an adult woman who was abused by her parents, you’re going to be able to relate to her story.  Your heart will go out to her, & you’ll feel pity, sadness, anger at the injustice.  You should be feeling such emotions for yourself, but can’t.  Instead it’s redirected.

If you realize that you too behave in this manner, all hope isn’t lost!  At least you’re feeling the emotions you need to.  That is good.  Emotions demand to be felt, so if you don’t feel them in a healthy way, they will find another outlet.  This outlet isn’t as destructive as it could be, so that is a definite plus.

Some people think about themselves as a child.. if that child was in front of you, what would you tell him or her now?  Wouldn’t you want that child to be open about their feelings & heal?  If it helps, talk to that child.  Write letters to him or her.  It may help you tremendously.

Most of all, never ever forget to talk to God.  He truly understands even when we don’t.  He wants to help & comfort you, so why not let Him?

6 Comments

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

Lies Victims Of Childhood Emotional Neglect Tell Themselves

When a child’s emotional health is neglected, they grow up dysfunctional in many ways.  One of those ways is they learn no healthy coping skills.  As a result, lying to themselves becomes a common way for them to cope.

Lying about what?  Anything & everything!  I remember years ago, I got my father a cell phone & my mother was angry about it.  Eventually he was tired of her complaints & got rid of it.  When she told me about it, she said she had no idea why he did that.  I could see that she was trying to convince herself of that, but she knew the real reason.  Remember, my mother’s mother was a narcissist, & extremely cruel to my mother her entire life, including neglecting her emotional health.

That is just one example, of course, but there are many other lies victims of childhood emotional neglect tell themselves.

Another lie is “I don’t matter.”  Of course you matter!  Everyone matters!  The lie stems from being raised by parents who act like you don’t matter.  It’s easier for a child to believe they don’t matter than to believe their parent is incapable of treating them as if they do matter.  Any problem in a relationship between a child & his parents usually means the child assume he is to blame.

“I’m not good enough” is another lie stemming from childhood emotional neglect.  When children are treated by their parents as if they aren’t good enough, they assume it’s because something is wrong with them rather than their parents.  That, however is a big lie!

“I’m unworthy to ask for help.”  Childhood emotional neglect teaches children that they are undeserving of “bothering” others by asking for help, especially from their parents.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Another common lie is, “I should be happy.  I have no reason not to be happy.”  When a child’s emotional health is neglected, they very easily can become depressed, yet may not know why, even into adulthood.  They fail to realize they have been abused which is a valid reason for depression.

“I don’t need anything.”  is a common lie, too.  Of course you need something.  Every person has needs.  Sadly, being emotionally neglected in childhood trains children to believe that their wants & needs aren’t important, so they learn to ignore them.  Years of ignoring them means they aren’t in touch with their needs at all.

Another common lie is, “I’m ok.”  When someone is mistreated, it’s normal to be angry or hurt.  When the child of emotional neglect is mistreated, although they may feel some anger or hurt, they’re disconnected from their feelings enough that they may not realize that.  Or, they may recognize the anger & hurt, but believe they aren’t allowed to feel that way so they say, “I’m ok” instead.

“Anything you want is fine with me.”  When a child survives emotional neglect, they learn early on it’s easiest just to go with what their parents want so they don’t get in trouble.  After a lifetime of this, it becomes such a habit, that these children act this way with everyone about everything.

If you realize you have said these same lies, you are not alone!  Start paying attention to what you say more so you become aware of ways you lie to yourself.  Ask God to help you to help you recognize those lies.   Once you recognize the ways you’re lying to yourself, then you can deal with them.  My favorite way is to ask God to tell me the truth.  Am I right to feel as I do?  Please tell me the truth, Your truth.  He does & it really helps me to see things more clearly.  Writing about how & why I feel as I do is also helpful because seeing things in writing gives great clarity.

I wish you the best in defeating these lies & living a healthier, happier life!  xoxo

15 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Holiday Stress

The holiday season is officially upon us, which means those of us with narcissistic parents &/or in-laws are filled with dread.  We know the narcissists in our lives have unrealistic expectations of us every day of the year, but holidays often seem to up those expectations.

My late mother in-law would tell me when I was to be where on which holiday.  She never said the exact words, but it was clear there was no excuse for me not to be there.  The same with my ex mother in-law.  Not obeying meant facing their anger.  It also meant spending the day without my husband & being angry with him for choosing his family over me.  Obeying meant spending the day surrounded by people who disliked me, & me resenting them.  Since many others with narcissistic parents or in-laws face this same scenario, I thought I would share some thoughts on the holidays.

Remember, you are an adult.  You do NOT have to blindly obey your parents or in-laws when they demand you spend a holiday with them.  When you disobey their orders, chances are good they will be upset.  They will try to guilt trip you for not wanting to spend time with “family”, or show their disapproval in some other way such as with criticisms or even the silent treatment (if you’re lucky…).  Remind yourself as often as necessary that you have nothing to feel guilty about.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to spend a holiday with those you love, such as good friends rather than abusive & mean people

Also, if you want to spend a holiday with someone other than your narcissistic parents or in-laws, you can offer a compromise.  My paternal grandparents always had a big Christmas gathering on the weekend after Christmas.  That way, everyone could spend the day with whoever they wished, yet there was still a family Christmas party.  Why not do the same thing?  Does it really matter what day the day is celebrated, so long as it is celebrated?  Celebrating on a weekend also means many people don’t need to be at work the following day so they can relax more & enjoy themselves.  Since narcissists do things more willingly when they can see it benefits themselves, why not approach it from this angle?  “You won’t have to get up early the next day for work if we celebrate on Saturday instead of Tuesday.  That means you can relax/enjoy the holiday/spend more time with your family & friends.”  I know, many narcissists demand holidays be celebrated only on the exact day.  My late & ex mothers in-law were that way.  But if you approach your suggestion in a way that clearly benefits them, you stand a chance of getting your way.  This isn’t a perfect solution since you’ll still be spending a holiday with narcissists, but it does at least free up the actual holiday to spend however you like.  It’s a pretty reasonable compromise!

If celebrating a holiday on another day is not an option, set a time limit.  Determine ahead of time you’ll only spend 2 hours with them, or whatever time seems reasonable to you, then leave at the end of that time.  Tell the narcissist ahead of time that you only have a short window of time to spend with them, so you must leave by 2:00 or whenever.  No, they won’t like it, but don’t back down!  Stick to what you said, & leave at the set time.

If the demanding narcissist in question is an in-law & your spouse wants to spend the day with the narcissist, so be it.  You can’t make him change his mind.  You can, however, refuse to go.  You can stay at home & watch Netflix all day.  You can spend the holiday with friends instead.  You can create a new holiday tradition to enjoy when your spouse isn’t with you.  Trying to think of it as a day off to spend in any way you like definitely helps diminish & disappointment you feel.

Most of all, never forget to pray about your situation.  God will show you the best way to handle it & help you to get through this difficult time of year.  xoxo

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

About Enmeshment

Enmeshment is a term used to describe when boundaries are either very weak or non existent in a relationship, most commonly within a family.  Enmeshed families aren’t simply close.  Closeness is healthy, but enmeshment is not.  It can cause  a myriad of problems for the children.

Enmeshed families share very similar traits.  The children are expected to think & act like their parents, to work in the line of work their parents want them to & basically live the life their parents want them to live rather than what they want to.  Children are also usually the only close “friends” of sorts that the parents have.  The parents demand or guilt trip their children spend plenty of time with them rather than create an environment that would make their children want to spend time with them.  Children, no matter their age, aren’t supposed to do things they want, such as spending time with people other than their parents.  In fact, enmeshed parents don’t want their children to leave home.  Many adult children from these families didn’t leave home at an appropriate age.  Instead they lived with their parents well into their 20’s, 30’s or maybe never even moved out.  These children also feel responsible for their parents, starting at a very young age.  This can cause them to put their parents’ needs & wants over their own, & later also over their spouse’s needs & wants.  It creates a tremendous amount of stress in a marriage.

Children in enmeshed families frequently grow up feeling out of place when they aren’t with their families.  They also lack a real identity beyond who their parents tell them they are.  Their self esteem is usually quite low as well.  Other common problems include a lack of relationship skills & lack of understanding of healthy boundaries.   They also tend to be very distrustful of people who aren’t related to them, yet tolerate any abuse their family members heap on them.  Many of these adult children seek out romantic partners who need caring for, which is a pattern they learned in childhood from their needy parents.

In order to end this dysfunctional behavior, the child of enmeshed parents needs first to recognize just how dysfunctional & harmful enmeshment is.  It can be very hard to do this after a lifetime of believing the lie that the enmeshment means their family is closer & healthier t han others, but it still must be done.

Next, some distance must be set between parent & child.  This is also very hard, I know, especially since most likely the parent will shame the child for wanting some space, but it can be done.  Start small, such as not answering their call sometimes.  If your parent complains, just say you were busy (which you were.. taking care of yourself) & couldn’t get to the phone.  Also don’t spend as much time with your parent as you have.  Pull away a bit.  Don’t be so readily available to your parent.  If they need your help, unless it’s a true emergency, tell them you can’t do what they need now but you can in a few days.  These small ways to start setting boundaries will strengthen you & enable you to set bigger & better boundaries in the future.

Learn who you are, too.  Pay attention to what you truly want, like, think, feel… you may discover you are much different than what your parents always said you were.  Or, you may have some similarities.  Either way, get to know the real you & enjoy who you are.

Recognize the false guilt.  If your parent does their best to make you feel guilty for not taking their call one day or not visiting them, that is ridiculous.  You’re an adult with your own life!  Don’t accept that false guilt!

If you have close friends who understand your situation, discuss it with them.  Let them support you.  And if you don’t, check online for support forums.  No doubt you can find one that helps you.

Mostly, turn to God.  Pray about your situation & let Him help you to heal.  He loves you & will be glad to do that for you!

11 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Things A Mother In-Law Wants From Her Daughter In-Law

I came across this really interesting article about what a mother in-law wants in her daughter in-law.  My curiosity was piqued, so I read it.  It got me to thinking just how different a narcissistic mother in-law is from a functional one.  I thought I’d do a side by side comparison of the two based on the article in case anyone reading this is wondering if their mother in-law is a narcissist.

  1. A woman who will consider her a friend.  A daughter in-law is nothing more than competition to the narcissistic mother in-law.  Friendship is NOT gonna happen!
  2. A woman who makes her son’s life easier.  Seems to me, the narcissistic version of this one is “a woman who has no needs or wants of her own, who waits on her son hand & foot, expects nothing in return & is blindly obedient to the mother in-law.”
  3. A woman who shows how much she loves her husband by the way she talks about him.  Never seen or heard anything of the sort from a narcissistic mother in-law.  Seems to me it’s more about actions, like those I mentioned in the last point.  It also seems that in their eyes, their daughters in-law should be seen & not heard.
  4. A woman who will be a good listener.  A functional mother in-law & a narcissistic one both want this, I believe, but the difference is the functional mother in-law gladly will return the favor.  Narcissists only return the favor when they think they can learn something to use as ammunition against the daughter in-law at some point.
  5. A woman whose faith in Jesus is evident.  I would guess that the only narcissistic mothers in-law who have any interest in their daughter in-law’s faith is those who are concerned about looking good to their church.  And, she won’t hesitate to twist Scripture around to manipulate her daughter in-law.
  6. A woman who forgives her past mistakes.  What narcissist admits to past mistakes?  This obviously isn’t important to the narcissistic mother in-law because she doesn’t make mistakes & if by some chance she did, they were the fault of someone else.
  7. A woman who helps her navigate the technology-driven, social media-frenzied world today.  I can’t really imagine any narcissistic mother in-law who may want to learn more about technology looking for help from her daughter in-law.  Viewing her daughter in-law as beneath her, why would she ask her for help in any area?
  8. A woman who resolves not to see differences of opinions, interference, or interruptions as an intentional dig.  This one may depend on the narcissist.  Some no doubt want blind obedience from their daughters in-law, including never speaking back to them & assuming the best about them.  But there are many others that want their daughters in-law to be angry with them.  That works out very well for the narcissist in question, because she can use this in several ways.  She can use it to prove her daughter in-law is unappreciative, crazy, irrational, or over sensitive.  She also can use this to prove she is the innocent victim of her daughter in-law’s abuse.
  9. A woman who gives her credit for the incredible son she raised.  The one area that functional mothers in-law & narcissistic mothers in-law are alike to some degree.  Who wouldn’t want to hear she did a great job raising her son?  Narcissists take it to the extreme though, pretty much expecting to be worshiped for her amazing mothering skills.
  10. A woman who doesn’t compete for her children’s love.  If you know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you know that narcissistic parents become narcissistic grandparents.  Unlike a nice, normal, functional grandparent, the narcissistic one will expect to be first place in their grandchild’s life.  They also may lie to the grandchild about the child’s parent(s) or tell the child there is no reason to listen to Mom & Dad.  Many even bribe the grandchild with money or gifts to gain that child’s favor.

As you can see, there are many differences between healthy, functional mothers in-law & narcissistic ones.  I hope you aren’t dealing with the narcissistic variety because they are incredibly difficult to deal with at best!

16 Comments

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

No Child’s Job Is To Heal The Parent(s)

Emotional incest, covert incest, parentification & parentalizing.  All describe the same abusive behavior & a topic I’ve written about before.  When a parent treats their child as an equal rather than their child, expecting that child to listen to their woes, tales of marital discord, details of their sex life, &/or expecting their child to care for them in ways such as cooking & cleaning for them well beyond what is age appropriate, it damages the child psychologically.  The child in this situation often grows up anxious, depressed, lacking healthy relationship skills, feels guilt for things they aren’t responsible for & may even have issues with addiction.  Often at the very least, they choose very poorly suited romantic partners.

Sadly, parentalizing is barely discussed in a negative light.  Many people see a child & her parent behaving in this way & praise their “close” or “loving” relationship.  They even tell the child how lucky she is to have a mom who loves her so much, how she has to be strong for her mom or other similar comments.  And, when the child, no matter the age, does something that upsets her parent or *gasp* thinks of herself first, she is labeled unappreciative, selfish, a spoiled brat & more.  This lays even more unnecessary guilt on that child, & it is absolutely unfair!

Let’s get one thing straight.  No one is responsible for anyone else’s emotions.  Yes, someone you love can make you feel happy, sad, angry, etc. sometimes, but that doesn’t mean they are in control of your emotions.  YOU ARE!  This is especially true for children.  Children need to be children, not their parent’s emotional caregiver!

When a parent is abandoned by someone they love, & the only person close to them is their child, it can be understandable they reach out to their child for comfort & companionship.  That doesn’t make it right, though!  Children are growing up – that is enough responsibility on their little shoulders!

Children also didn’t ask to be born.  It’s not their fault if the parents couldn’t maintain a healthy & loving relationship.  Making the child feel that they must step into the role of that other parent is cruel, abusive & unfair!

If you grew up in this sort of situation, my heart goes out to you.  I am so sorry for the pain & suffering you have been through.  Having been there myself I know it is a miserable situation.

If it is still happening, you’re going to have to set some serious boundaries with your parent.  Change the subject as soon as you start to feel uncomfortable.  Tell your parent you’re leaving or hanging up the phone if she insists on talking about your other parent that way, then follow through with your threat if need be.

Whether the abuse is still happening or not, you’re going to need to heal from the damage done.  Pray.  Get angry.  Cry.  Remind yourself what was done to you was unfair & undeserved.  Write in a journal.  Talk to a trusted friend or therapist.  Do whatever helps you to heal!

You can heal from the effects of emotional incest.  It takes time & work, but it can be done.  xoxo

17 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

About Toxic In-Laws, part 2



Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

When Children Of Narcissistic Parents Aren’t Believed

Sadly, many children of narcissistic parents aren’t believed when they first reveal the abuse.  When the children are small, it’s often they are too young to know what they are talking about.  When they are teens, it’s teens are over dramatic & what teenager gets along with their parents anyway?  When the children grow up, it’s “why didn’t you say anything at the time?” or “That’s in the past.. you need to get over it.”

It really doesn’t help that narcissistic parents are such phenomenal actors they can make people believe that not only were they good, loving parents, but that their children are spoiled, mentally unstable or even abusive.  The narcissistic parents end up with supportive people rallying around them & even abusing the victim.

Some time ago, there was a story in the news about Rosie O’Donnell’s daughter, Chelsea, missing.  Ms. O’Donnell said that her daughter ran away because she was mentally unstable & a problem child.  She sounded like she was very concerned about her daughter.  Maybe she was.  I don’t know since I didn’t really follow the story very closely.   However, there is also the possibility she’s abusive & said what she did in order to turn the attention off of her daughter’s claims of abuse & put it on her daughter’s behavior.

After Chelsea was found, she did an interview.  Her claims were very disturbing.  She said she never ran away but moved in with her boyfriend when her mother kicked her out two weeks before she turned 18.  She also said her mother is very different in public than she is in private at home.  In public, she is funny & pleasant.  In private, neglectful & abusive.  Chelsea also has a history of depression & anxiety, which sound quite normal under the circumstances.  These were things she said she wanted to keep private, & was very hurt her mother not only mentioned her mental illness, but made her sound completely crazy.  The public treated this young woman as if she was crazy too.  She was berated for her terrible behavior.

I relate so well to this sad story.  I was 17 when I first began to realize how abusive my mother was.  I naturally started to rebel against the abuse.  My mother must have lied to people about what I was doing, because suddenly her friends who had liked me would no longer even look at me, let alone speak to me unless it was completely unavoidable.  Also, many people I opened up to about the abuse acted like I was behaving like some spoiled brat who was just mad I didn’t get my way, or they would trivialize the abuse saying my mother loved me & was trying to help me.

As a result, if I hear anyone of any age claim they are being abused, I listen.  Of course, they could be lying about it, but I find that to be very rare.

Just because someone claims to be a loving parent, doesn’t mean they are.  If the child claims that supposed loving parent was abusive, listen to them!  Not all parents are capable of loving their children.

Just because a parent claims their child is mentally unstable, doesn’t mean that is true.  Abused children frequently suffer from depression, anxiety & even PTSD or C-PTSD.  That doesn’t make them unstable.

Just because a parent provides food, clothing & shelter for a child, that doesn’t make this person a good parent.  There is much more to being a good parent than meeting a child’s basic needs.

Victims of narcissistic abuse need to be heard, no matter their age!  If someone doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, tell someone else who will hear you.  Or, if someone comes to you with claims of abuse, listen to them!  Be kind & understanding.  Let them talk, cry, yell.. whatever they need to do.  You may be the only person who is willing to do such things for this suffering soul.

18 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

About Toxic In-Laws, part 1

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Why Do Children Abused By Narcissistic Parents Fall For Abusers?

So many children of narcissistic parents end up in many abusive relationships over the course of their lives.  It starts out with abusive parents, then moves on to friends, later adding in co-workers & often eventually marrying a narcissist often from an equally narcissistic family.

As if the additional abuse isn’t bad enough, we also tend to verbally abuse ourselves about the situation.  We beat ourselves up for getting involved with people who are so much like our abusive parents.  We think we’re stupid, hopeless & much more.  We can’t imagine why we would do such a thing.  The aim of this post is to explain some possible reasons why we end up with these abusive people.

One reason is abuse is normal to us.  We’re so accustomed to it, if a person isn’t abusive, we simply don’t know what to think of that sort of behavior.  We choose an abuser over a safe, not abusive person simply because it’s familiar.  There is a degree of comfort in familiarity, even when it is abusive.  Thankfully, the more we heal from childhood, the more abnormal abuse becomes, & we stop attracting & being attracted to abusive people.

Children of narcissists grow up trying to find love, the love we never received as children.  In a romantic relationship, this can give an abusive person a great deal of power & control.  Until you recognize the signs of abuse, their power & control comes across as confidence, which can make you feel safe & loved, even there isn’t anything safe or loving about someone being controlling.

We also don’t really recognize what healthy love looks like.  It’s not like a narcissistic mom & dad could provide good example of that.  We think being loved means being abused, even though nothing could be further from the truth.  When someone comes along & claims to love you, even if that person treats you like dirt, you think that person actually loves you.

Children of narcissists also settle.  My mother told me no man would ever want me, so when my ex husband pursued me when we were in the eleventh grade, I felt like I shouldn’t pass up this opportunity even though he really wasn’t the type of guy I found attractive at all.  After all, no one else would ever want me, I thought.  Even dating other men after high school didn’t change that false belief I had.  Many other adult children of narcissists I’ve spoken with have had similar experiences, & like me, settled for someone they didn’t love & who was abusive.

Gaslighting is your norm.  You are so accustomed to being manipulated that you don’t recognize it as a problem.  Since you don’t recognize this problem, the abuser can manipulate you in any way he or she sees fit.  One common way narcissists keep their victim/spouse down is to make that person think that they are the problem in the relationship.  When a person has low (or no) self-esteem, believing they are the problem will make that person feel as if they have to work hard to please their partner to make up for all of the misery they put that partner through.

If you too have experienced abusive relationships, then please stop beating yourself up!  As you can see, it’s understandable!  What matters is you escaped the abuse & learned from the awful experience.  You’ll also find that the healthier you get & the more you learn, the more narcissists & other abusers will leave you alone.

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism