Tag Archives: narcissist

Doing Another New Thing

Recently as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve decided to get into doing podcasts. I just decided to add them to Instagram. They are the same as my podcasts on YouTube- a picture of my logo with a podcast audio attached, just on a different platform. Lots of people like Instagram, so I figured it’s a good outlet for them.

Not sure what else, if anything I’ll do with Instagram. I may add the memes about NPD I’ve made & any future ones I make. I don’t know just yet. God will show me what to do though, of that I have no doubt.

If you’re on Instagram, & want to check them out, then follow the link below. I only have uploaded 1 so far, but hubby is on vacation so I simply haven’t had the time yet to do more. I will after he goes back to work.

https://www.instagram.com/cynthia_bailey_rug/

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Feeling Burdened By Others After Growing Up With An Emotionally Incestuous/Enmeshed/Parentalizing Parent

Growing up with a parent who treats you more as their romantic partner rather than their child is extremely traumatic.  It is referred to as emotional incest, enmeshment, covert incest, parentalizing & parentification, & it’s a form of sexual abuse whether or not sexual contact is a part of this abuse.  It creates a LOT of serious problems in the lives of victims.  Today, we will focus on only one of those problems – feeling burdened by other people.

The person who grows up with an emotionally incestuous parent has spent their entire life focused on their parent.  Their parent is their top priority in childhood, & even into adulthood until they recognize this is a problem.  They listen to their parent’s woes (in particular about their marriage or relationship), they try to cheer them up when they are sad, fix their problems, protect them if the other parent is abusive, & basically anything else their parent wants them to do no matter the personal cost.  After a lifetime of this dysfunctional caregiving, it is natural to feel burned out on doing for other people.  The problem is that natural or not, it is damaging to other relationships.

No one wants to be in a relationship with another person that is totally one sided.  Whatever type of relationship this is, whether it is romantic, family or friendship, this type of relationship is miserable & dysfunctional.  Doing with receiving nothing in return is fine once in a while, but when it is the norm, it is depressing, will lead to a lot of resentment & most likely the relationship will end.

Similarly, no one wants to be married to someone knowing that their parent always will be more important to them, that the demanding parent’s needs always come first, that they are looked at as an intruder & feeling like anything they want from their spouse is a huge burden while anything the parent wants is done without complaint.  It is a miserable way to live, & the majority of people will divorce a spouse like this.

If you are a victim of emotional incest, please know that by continuing to tolerate this abuse from your parent, this is what you are doing to those people in relationships with you.  I am not telling you this to hurt you, only to open your eyes of the damage being done & the unfairness of it all.  People who love you don’t deserve to feel this way.  It’s not fair to them.  It also is not fair to you for your parent to treat you so badly & for that parent to do so much harm to you that you are damaging relationships with people you love. 

And, if you are still in this situation with your parent, please do your best to put an end to it.  Start setting limits & boundaries on what you will & won’t tolerate from your parent.  It can be intimidating to do this at first so start small.  Don’t take their call or reply to their text right away.  It’s a baby step that helps you to take back some of your power.  Do more & bigger things as you feel able to do them.  It may take some time, but you will become able to stop tolerating their behavior.  The more you do this, the less burdened you will feel in general, which means the more you will be able to give back in your relationships.

Get to know yourself better.  Chances are, you didn’t have much time for that because caring for your parent took up too much of your time.  It’s long overdue.  Get to know the real you, not the person your parent wants you to be.  It’ll help you in many ways, including learning what you are willing & unwilling to tolerate in the relationship with your parent.

Get angry about what your parent has done to you.  You have every reason to be angry, because treating anyone this way is simply cruel & wrong!  You never deserved it!  Allow yourself to feel that anger & vent it in healthy ways like prayer, talking to someone close to you, journaling, or even talking to a therapist.

And never forget that you do have one loving parent.  God is the most loving parent you could hope to have.  Talk to Him about what is going on.  Lean on him to help you heal, figure out the best way to handle this relationship with your abusive parent, & to help heal damaged relationships.  He absolutely will do it.

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Forever The Victim – A Narcissistic Tactic

Some covert narcissists are perpetually a victim.  They are the ones who are always wronged, always the victim of mean people, & never at fault for anything.  Here are some examples.

A narcissist says something cruel, which naturally makes you angry.  She claims she never meant to hurt you, was just trying to help & had no idea that would upset you.  She may even stop speaking to you for a while after this, even if you apologized for being upset with her.

Or, the narcissist tries to manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do.  When you refuse, he claims you don’t love him.  He asks how could you refuse to do this one little thing for him, especially after all he’s done for you?!

Maybe the narcissist is your elderly parent who expects you to come at their beck & call.  You tell your parent you only are available on Tuesdays & Saturdays to do what she needs.  She tells your family how you refused to help, & they attack you for being ungrateful, a spoiled brat & more.

Narcissists who behave this way, those who claim life is unfair to them, that they are mistreated when people confront them on their abusive behavior, those who blame their victims for their abusive behavior & those who complain about their problems yet have no real interest in change are also the perpetual, consummate victims. 

My late father & late mother in-law were both covert narcissists & consummate victims.  I repeatedly asked my father not to call after 9 at night.  I refused to take his call when he called at 10 one evening.  His response was to call my in-laws & a cousin who lives almost 500 miles away.  He told both he was so worried about me because I didn’t answer the phone, & asked them to have me call him immediately.  Regarding my mother in-law, I was angry with my mother in-law once because she had snooped through my purse yet again.  She asked my husband why I was angry.  I listened to their conversation.  He told her why I was angry, & she claimed not to know what she did would be upsetting to me.

Both situations are almost identical.  As a result of my father’s & mother in-law’s actions, my husband & I argued yet again about his mother, & my cousin & I argued about my father.  In typical forever victim fashion, their behavior caused problems for the real victim (me) & made them look good.

 When you must deal with this dreadful behavior, there are some things you can do.  I firmly believe that relying on God is the first & best step you can make.  He will help you to understand what they are doing & come up with ways to most effectively deal with this toxic behavior.

Never ever forget the type of person you’re facing.  No matter what you do or don’t do, they will make the situation look as if you’re being cruel to them.  Expect nothing else because that won’t happen.

Remember there is nothing wrong with you setting boundaries & confronting this person.  Both show you have self respect.  However, also know they may backfire in a sense & make your situation worse.  These narcissists are very talented at recruiting flying monkeys to protect them & also chastise the victim.  When faced with those flying monkeys, ignore what they say.  Don’t discuss the narcissist with them at all. 

Lastly never forget that no one is truly a victim who is angry about anyone setting healthy boundaries with them such as refusing to be manipulated or abused.  Anyone who is angry that someone won’t tolerate their abusive behavior is toxic, period, & not a true victim.

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People Who Believe Their Opinions Are The Only Right Ones

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When People Are Overly Defensive

Sometimes people can be very defensive.  The least little comment can be taken completely out of context, leaving the commenter baffled, wondering what just happened & how what they said could be taken so differently than how it was meant.  Defensiveness obviously is very damaging in relationships, yet it happens all the time.

Defensiveness comes in many forms.  It can appear as avoiding discussing a matter, denying what has been said, verbal attacks, lying or gaslighting.  To sum it up, defensive behaviors send the message that the person confronting is wrong, is the problem, or behaving in an inappropriate manner.

This sort of behavior shows that defensive people have control issues & believe that anyone confronting them is a threat.  They are clearly uncomfortable with emotions, & that means they are uncomfortable not only with their own but those of other people.  This makes them very impulsive & fast with their reactions.  They don’t think things through in a balanced way & they tend to avoid too much emotional closeness with others.

When someone gets defensive, survival instincts can kick in, which is why they behave as they do.  The defensive person is acting this way in the hopes of avoiding accountability & to make the person that is confronting them back down to protect their ego.

Please don’t misunderstand me at this point.  I’m not saying that defending yourself is always wrong or a product of dysfunctional thinking.  Far from it.  It is reasonable to defend yourself sometimes.  What is NOT reasonable is to jump on someone who confronts you the moment they say something you don’t like.  A functional person weighs what is being said & if the other person is right, admits it then makes appropriate changes in their behavior.  Or if the other person is wrong, a functional person defends their behavior.  If the other person is using criticism as a means of control, a functional person may not defend themselves but instead limit or end the relationship.

Back to the original topic..

If you are in a situation with someone who is being overly defensive, if at all possible take a moment to inhale deeply then exhale slowly.  This action calms your mind &

body which allows you to respond rather than react.  It also gives you a moment to pray for guidance on how to handle the situation.  If you feel yourself still feeling unable to handle the situation in a calm manner, then try getting away from this situation for a few moments.  You can say something like, “I need a couple of minutes.  I’ll be right back”.

Also, don’t tell the defensive person that they are being defensive.  This only makes such a person more hot headed, most likely because they have heard this comment before.  Hearing it again triggers their anger at someone who sees through their behavior for what it is.  Remain calm & as emotionless as possible.  Remember the Gray Rock method that helps dealing with narcissists?  That also is appropriate in this situation, whether or not the defensive person is a narcissist.  If you are calm & unemotional, the defensive person may feel less threatened & calm down as well.  If the defensive person is a narcissist, they may become more agitated.  Their reaction will help you to determine the best way to deal with this person & also whether or not to continue this relationship.

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When People Refuse To Acknowledge Your Growth

One common thing that many victims of narcissistic abuse struggle with is how so many people treat them as if they are forever the same person they were during the height of their time as victims of the narcissist in their life.  It can be incredibly frustrating!!  I understand this as I went through it too.  I felt like during my entire adult life, my family & in particular my mother though I never grew up.  It was as if they thought I was perpetually 15 years old, no matter my real age. 

For years, I wondered why this is.  I think I have the answer to this dilemma.  Not just in my situation, but in general.

Obviously narcissists aren’t the only dysfunctional people in the world.  Their flying monkeys & scouts are at least as dysfunctional if not more so.  As a result, they don’t face reality the way healthy people do.  Instead, they try to keep reality as they want it to be.  A part of their so called reality is keeping certain people in a box. 

Doing this means that these people can convince themselves that they are truly the smart, sane, functional people who have their lives all together.  Clearly that must be the case, they think, because just look at how amazing they are compared to that person that they have decided is so weak, stupid, dysfunctional, mean, selfish, horrible, etc.  If they can convince themselves that their person of choice is terrible, by default, they also convince themselves that they are pretty spectacular by comparison.  By pushing another person down, they build themselves up at the same time.

Another reason dysfunctional people try to keep certain people down is so they have power over that person.  While not all dysfunctional people are narcissists, they do want things a certain way in their lives.  If they have control over someone, that can help them to maintain their status quo.  They can push this person around until that person does whatever they want so they can convince themselves that nothing has changed.  This comes in especially handy if their victim has been learning, growing & healing.  Clearly such things threaten the delusions of someone who wants to remain dysfunctional.  If a person like this can be subdued enough to reject their new growth, learning & healing, they will return to the old, dysfunctional patterns & that will help the dysfunctional person maintain their comfort level.  People who are comfortable in their dysfunction have zero desire to move past that place, & they have plenty of desire to return formerly dysfunctional people to their previous unhealthy lifestyle.

Another motivation for such toxic people being able to control others is the high that having that power over others provides.  Whether the person in question is a narcissist or not, chances are they will enjoy feeling that they are powerful enough to control another person

If you are in the position of dealing with someone who wants to keep you as the dysfunctional person you once were, know that you are NOT alone, & this is a typical problem for many victims of narcissistic abuse.

Naturally, the best thing you can do when faced with this situation is to pray.  Ask God to keep you from sliding back into old, toxic habits & to be aware of why people are treating you as they are so you don’t do that.  Praying for those dysfunctional people as well certainly is an excellent idea!  They clearly need prayer, whether or not they realize it.

Also remember, their behavior is absolutely no reflection on you.  It is a reflection on them.  They are comfortable in their dysfunction.  That is their right, of course.  However, you have rights, too & one of those rights is to protect yourself from toxic people.  Keep your distance from such people.  You may need to sever ties with them, & there is nothing wrong with doing that no matter who those people are!  Protect your mental health however is best for you!

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Red Flag: When Someone Says Your Opinions Are Wrong

When you first learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it can seem like you see narcissists everywhere.  I think it’s easy to become hyper alert to any signs of narcissism after suffering so many traumas at the hands of a narcissist. 

While narcissism is quite prevalent in society, not everyone you suspect is a narcissist is really a narcissist.  Thank God for that, am I right?!

There is one red flag though that people need to be aware of.  It can be a sign of narcissism, but isn’t always.  Even so, it’s a sign of a tendency to be controlling.

Whenever you say something about an opinion & the other person disagrees, that is a red flag.  While everyone disagrees sometimes even in close relationships, that shouldn’t be the norm, especially telling you that your opinion is wrong.

An example is someone telling their friend, “I really love that new movie!  It’s the best movie I’ve seen in a long time!”  The other person has seen the movie as well, & responds with, “No, that movie is lame.  That other new movie is way better.”

See what happened?  The second person told the first person their opinion is wrong.  Opinions aren’t right or wrong, they just are.  Telling the first person their opinion is wrong can be a way to appear superior, as if they know better.  It also can be a control tactic by shaming a person into changing their opinion to the other person’s.  Either way, this seems to be a habit with some people, & it’s a habit that can make a person unsafe even if they aren’t a narcissist.

This habit also is often done to people that are viewed as “less than” they are.  Poorer, not as intelligent, not as active in a church, not as successful in their career are some examples of a person who may be viewed by others as “less than.”

The same people who behave this way often get along much better with someone they think is “better than” them, such as someone who is wealthier, smarter, more successful, etc.

While this behavior certainly isn’t the worst form of abuse a person can inflict on another, it still should be considered a red flag.  It’s a form of gaslighting. 

My ex husband behaved this way with me even early in our relationship.  It bothered me but at that time, I was young, in my late teens, & didn’t know anything about red flags back then.  I just remember feeling shame & like he was so much smarter than I, so I should learn from him.  Over time the behavior became much worse.  It got to the point I felt as if I was incredibly stupid, & he was incredibly smart.  I listened less & less to my own feelings & perceptions.  On the rare occasion I spoke up, he made me feel even worse about myself.  

Does this behavior sound familiar to you?  If so, you’re not alone!

First off, never forget to pray!  Ask God to help you to know the truth, ask Him if the other person is right or wrong & why & anything else you can think of.

Also never forget this type of behavior is abnormal.  Someone who behaves like this clearly has issues.  This may be a sign that you need to reconsider being a part of a relationship with someone who behaves this way.

When you have doubts about what they, it say shows you know the real truth, so remember what you know.  Don’t let the other person convince you of anything else.

If you struggle with what they say, document everything.  Writing things down brings a lot of clarity.  It can help you to stay focused on the truth & show you just how bad this person’s behavior really is, which can help you to decide whether or not to continue the relationship.

I wish you the best in your situation!

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The Reality Behind Triggers

Feeling triggered has become more or less a joke in society today.  If someone is at all offended, they are often accused of being triggered & mocked for it.  This has diluted the serious nature of valid triggers.

Triggers are common after trauma.  Something happens that reminds a person of past trauma which triggers their anxiety, anger, hurt or whatever emotions they felt during the traumatic event.  These triggers also can prompt flashbacks, emotional flashbacks, intrusive memories or at the very least extreme duress. 

To help prevent being triggered by this event or a similar one again in the future, it is best to recognize what caused the trigger in the first place.  Once you do that, you can heal, which means that trigger either won’t happen again or if it does, it won’t be nearly as debilitating.

While it can be easy to say something like you were triggered because someone said or did something distressing, the fact is there is more to it.  Triggers have their root in how a person’s actions made you feel, & that feeling was put there by the original trauma.

Some common feelings behind triggers are feeling…

  • Judged
  • Unworthy, not good enough or somehow “less than.”
  • Blamed
  • Disrespected
  • Unloved
  • Unimportant
  • Unheard
  • Invisible
  • Not valuable
  • Controlled or manipulated
  • Betrayed

All of these feelings are important & very painful.  It is vital not to trivialize them or brush them off!  They are serious, & should be treated accordingly.  You need to recognize that they are abusive & you feeling these things isn’t fair!  Get angry about what was done to you that made you feel this way.  In fact, hate what was done to you!  I know for many who have been abused, thinking this way seems wrong.  Abusers do their level best to make sure victims tolerate their abuse in silence, & part of their efforts involve making victims feel unreasonable & shamed for being upset in any way about what the abuser does to them, but you know something?  That is wrong!  You have every right to hate their behavior & be angry for what they have done to you!  And, when something they did still causes you pain well after the event happened, it seems to me being angry & hating that is only normal.  So get angry because when you do, it will help you!  Being angry helps it “click” in your mind that you didn’t deserve the abuse & that whatever the abuser told you, you were not to blame for their treatment.  They clearly were the one with the problem because they think it’s ok to treat someone with such malice & cruelty.

If you were told it’s not Christian to behave this way, I want to offer you one thing to consider.  There are several Scriptures in the Bible that say we are to hate evil.  Amos 5:15 starts out by saying “hate evil & love good.”  Romans 12:9 says we are to hate evil & cling to what is good.   These are only 2 examples, but there are many more.  Clearly, this proves that hating such cruel, evil behavior & being angry about it is NOT ungodly behavior! 

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When People Blame Others For The Trauma They Experience

Extremely dysfunctional people often have a very bad habit.  They find ways to blame the innocent for cruelty or even abuse others inflict on them.  These are the people who ask someone what they said to make their spouse hit them, criticize a woman’s choice of clothing on the day someone raped her, or say things like, “I don’t know why you two just can’t get along” in a shaming tone when someone says their elderly parent is abusive.  They also may minimize the trauma, invalidate the person’s feelings about it or even deny it happened altogether.

This bad habit isn’t simply dysfunctional for the person who behaves this way.  It’s also exceedingly cruel to the people they say such comments to & treat so poorly.  Saying such things is shaming, & it implies someone deserves whatever trauma has happened to them, brought the abuse on themselves & are to blame for not turning an abusive relationship into a good one.  Of course, such words aren’t spoken directly, but the implications are still there.  To someone who has suffered trauma & is in the vulnerable position of admitting that to someone else, this behavior can make a person feel ashamed for suffering, not preventing the trauma or even bringing it on themselves.  Minimizing, invalidating & denying trauma also are cruel, because they make a person feel ashamed of themselves for feeling as they do.  They feel they are wrong, flawed or even crazy when subjected to someone who minimizes, invalidates & denies the trauma. 

When a dysfunctional person treats an innocent person this way, they have their own reasons for doing so, & those reasons are never healthy.

This person may be on good terms with the abuser, & doesn’t want to think they could be so close to someone who is so cruel.  Admitting someone you think highly of is in reality a toxic monster isn’t exactly pleasant of course.  Blaming someone for making the person they care about behave badly is much easier for people like this to handle.

Some are simply cowardly.  To support victims, you have to do things.  You offer them compassion, caring, kindness, & support.  You listen to their horror stories because it helps them to talk about it.  Blaming an innocent person makes what happened to them something they deserved, & in that case, they don’t deserve any of the things that victims deserve.  It’s much easier than supporting someone who has been traumatized.

Some of these extremely dysfunctional people have experienced their own trauma, & you facing your trauma offends them.  It reminds them of pain they want to forget, which makes them extremely uncomfortable.  Or, they see you facing your pain & feel cowardly for not facing their own.  They don’t take this as a sign that it’s time to start facing their pain.  Instead they try to shut down the victim.  That is why they say such cruel things.  Their goal is to stop this person from making them feel things that they have worked very hard to avoid feeling.  Shaming someone is a very quick & effective way to accomplish that.

If you have experienced being treated this way, my heart goes out to you.  It’s not fair or right in any way.  Please never forget though that it has absolutely nothing to do with you.  There is nothing wrong with you for wanting to discuss what happened to you.  There is, however, something very wrong with someone who is willing to treat someone who has been traumatized so poorly.  Don’t let their dysfunction determine how you feel about what happened to you.  You know the truth about the situation.  You were there.  You lived through that & are living with the aftermath of it.  The cruel person who treated you so badly wasn’t.  This means they don’t know nearly as much as they think they do, so why would you seriously consider anything they have to say on the matter?  There is no good reason to!

Rather than taking their cruelty to heart, ignore them.  Focus on taking good care of yourself & your healing, & leave the dysfunctional to their dysfunction.

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How You Can Help Victims Of Abuse

During the 1970’s, a young woman from Texas moved to Pennsylvania to attend college.  While living there, she fell in love.  The man was several years older than her & did not share her & her family’s conservative beliefs.  He convinced her to move in with him, much to the dismay of her family who disapproved of living together before marriage.  Eventually, the boyfriend killed her, stuffed her body in a steamer trunk & put her in a closet in their apartment!  Since the family lived so far from this young woman, they had no idea what happened to her.  The boyfriend was no help obviously, saying she left him, he didn’t know anything.  Eventually, the truth of his deeds was discovered.  

Aside from the obvious horror of this story, something struck me especially interesting.  The victim’s sister said that they had no idea until after her death that the boyfriend abused the victim.  She never told her family anything about his abusive ways, & living so far apart, they never saw her covered in bruises & injured.  The sister said if someone had just said something, this young woman might still be alive.

That is such a valid point!  Speaking up can make all the difference in the world!  Having survived an abusive upbringing & an abusive first marriage, I can tell you, when someone said, “How that person treats you is wrong”, it helped me tremendously.  Finally, I saw that I didn’t deserve what was being done to me.

I’m not saying every single person has to write about abuse like me or even try to change the laws.  I am saying though that if there are signs someone you know is being abused, speak up!  Physical injuries are obvious signs of course, but there are other signs.  If you’ve been a victim of narcissistic abuse, you know those signs all too well.  Low or non-existent self esteem, constantly doubting one’s self, afraid to do anything the narcissist may disapprove of, doing nothing without the approval of the narcissist, depression, anxiety, being hyper-vigilant are some examples. If you see these signs in someone you know, talk to them when you can get them alone.  Ask if how their parent or partner treats them, if they are abusive.  Many victims will say no, yet be unable to explain why they act like they are being abused or excuse their abuser’s behavior.  They may say he is tired from working long hours, or she has been stressed lately so she’s been drinking a lot which explains her behavior, or some other lame excuse.  Many even blame themselves for making the abuser treat them so badly.  It’s so important to let a victim know that there is no excuse to abuse, & the abuser is in the wrong.  Tell them that they don’t deserve to be treated this way, too.  If you’ve been in a similar situation, tell your story.  Sometimes seeing things from a slightly different perspective can be very enlightening.

Whether the victim is trapped in an abusive marriage or the abuser is a parent, offer to help them escape.  Offer to let them stay with you anytime they need to get away.  If the victim is a child, check into what it takes to become an emancipated minor in your area & help them if they want to do that.  Offer to hide money & belongings for the victim until they are able to leave permanently.  Most importantly, pray for the victim.  Leaving an abusive relationship is so hard!  That person is going to need all of the prayers, support, love & help they can get!

If you see someone in need, maybe God put that person in your path so you can be the one to help them.  I know many people don’t want to get involved in these situations but if you don’t, it could cost someone their life, like the young lady I mentioned earlier in this post.

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Thoughts On Confronting Narcissists

When a narcissist has abused you, it is only natural to want to confront this person.  You probably want to tell them what they did was wrong & why it is wrong.  Or maybe you want to tell them that they are a narcissist & show proof of it.  Any normal person would want to do these things, but unfortunately, doing so is a very bad idea.

When confronted, narcissists don’t have “light bulb” moments where they suddenly realize what they have done was wrong, where they realize just how badly they hurt their victim & are upset by it & apologize.  Normal, functional people behave that way & narcissists are far from normal or functional.  They respond in some of the most toxic ways imaginable.

Upon confronting a narcissist, they may deny your accusations completely, or say that you are making up things. 

If you have proof of their awful behavior & denial isn’t an option, chances are very good the narcissist will find a way to blame someone else for their actions, most likely you.  Narcissists love to say, “If you wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have had to do what I did.”

Many times, narcissists also dismiss confrontations.  They do this by claiming that you are too sensitive, overreacting, crazy or other disparaging or even cruel things. 

If the narcissist knows you are discussing their behavior with other people, they will create a smear campaign against you as a way to discredit anything you say about them.  If the narcissist can convince other people that you are the problem in the relationship, no one will believe anything you have to say, in particular about the relationship.

Narcissists universally do their best to convince everyone, including their victims, that the problem isn’t that they are abusive, but instead is the reactions to their abuse. 

This is why confronting narcissists is rarely a good idea.  The best case scenario in confronting a narcissist is that nothing will change, that they won’t acknowledge any wrong doing on their part.  The worst case scenario is that you will end up hurting even more because of their denial, blaming, dismissive-ness or even their smear campaign.

If you are considering confronting the narcissist in your life, please consider these things.  Can you handle such things happening?  Would dealing with them be worth it to get things off your chest to the narcissist?

If you decide that it will be worth it because it will help you somehow, then a confrontation may be a good option for you.  Please keep some things in mind if you choose to do this…

Keep your expectations low, or rather non existent.  Expect nothing good to come from the narcissist.  He or she won’t be happy about your confrontation & most likely will try to hurt you for this somehow. 

Chances are excellent that the narcissist will recruit their flying monkeys to go after you as a way to punish you.  Flying monkeys can be surprisingly hurtful.  If you expect their attacks though, they can hurt much less.  Just remember, true flying monkeys aren’t genuinely fooled by the narcissist & think they are helping.  They are just as cruel & malicious as the original narcissist, if not more so.  Someone who is genuinely fooled will be willing to hear your side of things & not try to force you to do anything like resume a toxic relationship.

Keep in mind the smear campaign is very likely.  If it happens, chances are good you will lose some people you didn’t expect to lose because they will believe the lies.  As painful as that is, let it happen.  Those who truly love you won’t believe lies or help to spread them.  Also remember that defending yourself against it only backfires.  Instead, say nothing.  Live your life as if the smear campaign isn’t happening.  Let your good character shine & prove how wrong the narcissist is.

I wish you the best in your situation, & pray God gives you wisdom!

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

Recognizing & Dealing With Covert Narcissists

Covert narcissists are as the name implies.  Covert.  In other words, these people can abuse others in such a stealthy, sneaky way that the abuse can go unnoticed.  Innocent probably best describes the impression they give.  The victim of a covert narcissist often feels badly after dealing with them, but doesn’t even know why.  They think the covert narcissist is innocent, because whatever they do, they appear innocent.  If the covert narcissist is confronted, they claim they didn’t realize what they said or did would hurt anyone.  They also cry victim & make people feel sorry for them.  Their behavior makes them appear naïve & always innocent.  Yet the truth is, they are cruel & incredibly toxic.

Consider the first narcissist, Satan.  When in the garden of Eden with Adam & Eve as described in Genesis 3, the way he approached Eve reeks of covert narcissism.  Rather than scream & rage, he simply asked questions that sound innocent, but created doubt in Eve’s mind.  He also sounded as though he wanted what was best for her.  Genesis 3:1-5 in the Amplified Bible says, “Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, “Can it really be that God has said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! 5 For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.””

This is how covert narcissists work.  On the surface, they sound like they may be naïve, but they’re good people with good intentions.  They may have started their lives that way, but they no longer are.  They learned somewhere along the way that this type of behavior got them what they wanted, so they have continued using them, even employing new, similar behaviors. 

It is possible to protect yourself from covert narcissists.  First you must acknowledge that their behavior is evil.  Since their behavior is similar to the serpent’s behavior in the Garden of Eden, that alone should be a sign to you that it’s evil. 

You also keep your distance from them.  The Bible says in Proverbs 22:3 & 27:12 that a prudent (in other words, wise or shrewd) person recognizes evil & hides from it while the naïve continue in that way & are punished for it.  There isn’t a lot of repetition in the Bible, so when something is repeated, to me that says it is worth paying extra attention to.   

It is also vital to pray.  Ask God for discernment so you recognize these people quickly, to show you the truth about their behavior, ways to deal with it when it is impossible to avoid & to ruin their efforts to hurt & abuse you.  His guidance & assistance is invaluable & you absolutely use it!

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How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

While most people have a desire to please other people naturally, no one is born a dysfunctional people pleaser.  Crossing into being dysfunctional means that pleasing other people reins supreme in your life, even above pleasing yourself & taking care of yourself.  It results in toxic relationships with abusive people who take advantage of you.  It also can cause many problems in your own life.  Your finances, mental & physical health can be severely damaged or destroyed by being a people pleaser.  Clearly, the life of a people pleaser isn’t a good life in any way!  Breaking free from people pleasing ways isn’t easy but it is possible, & that is what I hope you will learn from this post today.

To start with healing from any dysfunctional behavior, I firmly believe it’s best to heal the dysfunctional thoughts & beliefs that started you on this road.  Doing so will change your behavior naturally as you heal.

Learning how to be a people pleaser often starts early with children whose parents were narcissistic.  These parents don’t have normal expectations for their children, such as wanting them to learn, grow & one day become independent adults.  Instead, they teach their children some very dysfunctional & toxic things, & those children need to unlearn these things.

One thing they teach their children is that their love is conditional.  They are only worthy of love if they please their narcissistic parent in some way.  This belief ends up transferring to other people as well, & these children try hard to earn the love of people in their lives by doing anything they want them to do.  Children who grew up with parents like this need to learn that no matter what they do or don’t do, they deserve to be loved.  And, anyone who insists they do things to earn their love truly doesn’t love them.  Someone who genuinely loves won’t demand anyone earn their love

Another toxic lesson people pleasers learned early is that they only deserve attention when they are accomplishing something that pleases their narcissistic parent.  If these children aren’t doing something that pleases their narcissistic parent at all times, they believe they are unworthy of attention.  The truth however is that is completely wrong!  No one should feel they have to fade into the background just because at a certain moment they aren’t doing something.  Your actions & behaviors alone don’t make you worthy of attention from anyone.

Narcissistic parents teach their children that they are only worthy of praise & kind words when doing as they are told to do.  The more a child ignores their own wants, needs & feelings & focuses on doing whatever their parent wants, the greater chance they will be shown some kindness.  Since that kindness is so rare, children in this situation focus more on their parents & less on themselves.  This is so unhealthy!  Everyone needs to have balance between doing for themselves & other people.  Contrary to what these children learn, it is NOT selfish or wrong to take care of themselves & do things they want to do sometimes.

These sick, twisted beliefs need to be rejected & healthier ones need to take their place.  When you’re in a position of people pleasing, ask yourself why you feel you need to do what you feel you need to.  Is it because you genuinely want to do this for someone or do you feel obligated to?  Are you trying to earn favor with this person?  Answer yourself honestly!  If you are unsure, then pray.  Ask God to show you what your true motives are & to help you get healthier.  He will be glad to if you just ask.

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

Boundaries Are Good For Everyone!

Dysfunctional people, especially narcissists, often believe that giving someone everything they want & doing anything they want is what it means to love & honor someone. They even claim it’s not Godly to say no.

This couldn’t be more wrong though!

Romans 15:2 in the Amplified Bible says, “Let each one of us [make it a practice to] please his neighbor for his good, to build him up spiritually..”

Did you notice what that verse says?  It says we should please our neighbor “for his good.”  That alone proves that not everything that can be done for someone is for their own good.  But, even if you don’t believe the Scripture, simply observing those who have gotten their way about nearly everything shows you that isn’t good.  People who are very accustomed to getting their own way are very arrogant & entitled.  They can be extremely demanding of others & have virtually no respect for the time & needs of others.  Worst of all, they also can be narcissists.  It’s very good for people not to get their own way all of the time. 

It’s also good for people not to do for others all of the time, because those who are catered to will come to expect that.  They can become very entitled & demanding rather than appreciating all someone does for them or returning the favor.

For victims of narcissistic abuse, saying no creates a great deal of shame.  Narcissists train their victims to do whatever they want with no regard to the victim’s own needs, wants or feelings. They also make sure their victims know how selfish & terrible they are if they consider their needs, wants or feelings rather than only the narcissist’s.  After being berated for being so terrible enough times, any normal person in this situation learns to avoid having any boundaries, & simply do whatever the narcissist wants in order to avoid trouble.  It seems to be the easier alternative to being shamed for having boundaries.  

After years or even a lifetime of being forced to go along with whatever the narcissist wants, setting boundaries seems almost impossible, & I don’t mean only with the narcissist.  It can seem impossible to have boundaries with anyone.  It can be done though!

As always, I recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to help you learn how to set & enforce healthy boundaries.  Ask Him for strength & wisdom & anything else you need in this area.

Start small.  Don’t be available every single time someone wants to speak to you.  Let the phone ring sometimes.  Don’t answer that email or text immediately.  If you must get together with someone, suggest a different time or even day than they want.  These tiny steps can help you to gain confidence & set bigger boundaries. 

Remind yourself often that it isn’t your job to please other people.  It is your job to please other people according to what is good for them, according to Romans 15:2.  Sometimes what is good for someone is doing things for them & being a blessing, but other times what is good for someone is saying no or forcing them to handle something without your assistance.

Don’t let other people make you feel as if you’re a terrible person for having boundaries & telling them “no” sometimes!  That is certainly NOT the case!

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My New Shop On Facebook Is Open!

I have just created a shop on Facebook! Most of my books are currently available for purchase in there, & soon all will be. I opened it to make a central location where all of my books can be purchased, & is easy to find. Each link on the books takes you to a universal link, showing you all places where it is available for purchase.

My shop is connected to my business page, The Butterfly Project, which is why my name doesn’t appear on the shop, just FYI.

I hope you like the shop! Come check it out at the link below:

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Save 10% On All My Print Books Until Sept. 2, 2022!

My publisher is having another sale. 10% off all print books until September 2, 2022 when you use code INNOVATION10 at checkout.

My print books can be found at this link:

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

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Narcissists Make Their Victims Feel Stupid

Some obvious forms of abuse are things like threatening, intimidating, accusing, name calling & controlling.  There is absolutely no doubt that the person acting this way is intent on causing harm to someone.  There is also on doubt the abuser is in control of the situation because he or she is making the victim submissive.  A person afraid of another hurting them will naturally become very submissive.

There are other forms of abuse that are just as aggressive & effective, yet not nearly so obvious.  These abusive tactics include things that give the message that the abuser knows best & the victim knows nothing.  Some tactics are disguised as being helpful such as being critical, offering advice that was not asked for or questioning another’s motives.  While there are times such things are done as a sincere yet somewhat awkward attempt to help, that is never the case with narcissists.  Such behaviors from them are done to belittle, shame or control a victim.  The underlying message is “I know better than you.”  Such behaviors make a victim feel incredibly stupid & that they must rely on the narcissist since they clearly know best.  These behaviors create a victim to be very dependent on the narcissist & very easy for the narcissist to control.

This happened to me in my first marriage.  My ex seemed to be convinced he was extremely smart.  The truth though is he was fairly smart, but not nearly as smart as he thought he was.  At the time however, I was unaware of that.  I was also very insecure about my own intelligence.  He used my insecurities to his advantage.  He made me feel as if I was stupid & he always knew best about everything.  I also felt that I had to believe everything he said since he clearly was so much smarter than me.  I honestly never thought of his behavior as abusive at the time.  It was just how he was & I should listen to him, or so I mistakenly thought. 

I think because the worst of the abuse I went through with my parents at that time was at the hands of my overtly narcissistic mother, it was very easy to think this way.  Not so obvious forms of abuse are easy to overlook in situations like mine.  A screaming, raging lunatic is clearly abusive, so when abuse isn’t like that & a victim is accustomed to being abused, subtle abusive behavior can be deemed acceptable.  At least until one learns better, that is.

My point in saying this is to remind you that abuse isn’t always obvious.  It’s often very subtle & even difficult to detect.  If someone you’re in a relationship with makes you feel inferior to them in some way, or as if you are stupid then it’s a sign you need to question this relationship.  It’s only normal that in some areas, others will be smarter than you.  You also will be smarter than them in some ways too.  It’s a balance & in a healthy relationship, no one is upset by it.  Anyone who is clearly is dysfunctional if not abusive.  Don’t let their dysfunction make you feel badly about yourself & don’t let them control you. 

If the person you’re in a relationship with truly is much more intelligent than you, that shouldn’t be a problem.  I’ve had extremely intelligent friends in my life who never made me feel “less than” them because I wasn’t as smart.  That is how it should be.  People should appreciate each other in a relationship, treat each other as equals & accept each other’s differences, not treat each other badly simply because one may be smarter than the other.

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Regarding Snooping Narcissists

Years ago, much like many other authors, I had a Facebook page dedicated to my writing.  It was a typical page.  I shared updates of new books I wrote, links to blog posts, helpful memes & the like.  A good friend of mine has admin privileges on that page.  I had a lot of folks blocked that I didn’t want to unblock anyone to see if they followed my page, so this seemed like a good solution.

Then in 2013, I was on the receiving end of harassment from one of my narcissistic relatives.  Although I blocked this person, somehow she still followed my page as I learned from my fellow admin.  My friend blocked my relative from the page, but somehow she still showed up as someone who liked the page.  She deleted & banned my relative several times with the same results.  I finally unblocked her temporarily then deleted & banned her myself from my page in the hopes that would solve the problem somehow.  Since I had unblocked this relative, I thought it might be wise to unblock others to make sure they too weren’t following my page, & was shocked.  One of my sisters in-law that I hadn’t spoken to since 2002 was following it.  I decided to re-block those I had unblocked, shut down my page & focus on my private group instead since I could control who I allowed in my group easier than page followers.

My relative was determined to follow my page as one more way to harass me, I believe.  I read through & found no comments or “likes” from my sister in-law though.  It was baffling at first, but eventually I think I figured out why she followed my page.  She wanted to snoop. I believe her motive is similar to many other narcissists, so I thought I’d discuss this with you today.

Narcissists will snoop on their victims in the hopes of seeing the person who severed ties with them failing &/or miserable without them.  Nothing would make them happier than to see that person they tried to destroy utterly despondent without them. 

In many cases, some snooping people are narcissists & are flying monkeys for another narcissist.  The reason they snoop is to find out any information that the other narcissist may find useful.  They get something from “helping” out that narcissist.  It may be money, favor or in the case of covert narcissists, simply enjoying what they are doing while looking like a good person just trying to help.

Narcissists are also nosy.  They simply want to know what their former victim is up to just because they think they have the right to know these things.  I suppose that is part of their sense of entitlement – they believe that no matter what they have done to someone, they still have the right to know everything about that person. They couldn’t be more wrong!

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, that last reason is the worst.  It just ticks me off to no end that some person who treated me like dirt & trashed me behind my back would think that they somehow are entitled to know anything about my life.  It astounds me that anyone can think it’s acceptable behavior to want to know things about my life while not having any relationship with me or trying to work on having a relationship with me.  That is seriously messed up!

Unfortunately in this age of technology, completely hiding isn’t an option.  You can block someone from calling or texting you, but they can use another phone.  You can block their email address, but they can reach you by using a different one.  The same goes for social media – they can use or create a different profile to see you after you blocked their original one. 

I figured out some ways to handle the situation that may help you too.

I don’t answer calls from phone numbers I don’t recognize.  If I know someone will call from a number I don’t know, such as a repairman, I’ll ask for their number or at least what time they will call so I can answer the call without worry.

I keep all social media posts not related to my writing private, so only trusted friends can see them. 

I have blocked all narcissists’ phone numbers, emails & on social media, & continue to block them when they find alternative ways to contact me or snoop.  Eventually they do get tired of constantly finding new ways to reach you, although it may take a long time to do so.  My relative I mentioned earlier?  She bothered me for four years, & the last time was only to hurt me because she knew my father was dying at that time. Narcissists do love to kick a person when they’re down.

I stumbled across an alternative to blocking on social media I find to be entertaining. Rather than simply blocking, I share things on public just for the nosy people.  It’s usually educational things about being nosy narcissists or flying monkeys because I honestly hope they recognize how dysfunctional they are. But, I also have some fun & share periodic memes about online stalkers or how people need to mind their own business.  Doing this probably means the in-laws have plenty to say about what an awful person I am, but since their opinions are irrelevant to me, it doesn’t bother me at all. If you feel that same way, you might find this tactic as entertaining as I have. 

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Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Narcissists are angry people.  They believe they are entitled to say, receive & do anything they want.  This includes demanding the blind obedience of their child.  Any time their child dares to set a boundary or say no, narcissistic rage will follow.

Rather than own their anger like your average mature adult, narcissists project it onto their child.  They accuse their child of having a bad temper.  I can’t begin to count the times my mother would see me anywhere from slightly frustrated about something to angry, & in a shaming tone, say, “There’s that Bailey temper!”  I heard it enough that I grew up assuming I had a terrible temper.  This sort of scenario is very common for children of narcissistic parents.

A narcissistic parent also has no tolerance for any of their child’s emotions, good or bad.  In fact, any emotions of the child’s are met with mocking, shaming or even being ignored.  The child learns very early in life not to display any emotions because of this.

This type of environment results in a child who grows up full of anger & toxic shame.

Adult children of narcissistic parents need to know that their feelings of anger & shame are normal under the circumstances.  There is nothing whatsoever wrong with them for their feelings.  They are a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

That being said, however, it doesn’t mean it’s your lot in life to suffer through life with these feelings.  They can be dealt with & healed from with prayer, hard work & time.

My best friend has a saying that I just love, “You have to feel your feels.”  In other words, you have to feel your emotions to process them effectively.  It’s very true.  You do have to feel your feels!  It’s ok to get angry about the things you are dealing with.  In fact, that is the only way I know of to truly heal.  Face those ugly emotions.  Talk about them, with someone safe such as a trusted friend & with God.  Cry.  Write in a journal.  The more you do this, the less power they have over you.  I don’t know if you’re familiar with the old legends of vampires, but part of the legend is that in darkness, a vampire can do anything.  They possess super natural strength & abilities.  Yet, that same vampire in the sunlight will turn to dust.  Emotional issues are much the same way.  If you keep them in the dark by not facing them, they possess a great deal of power.  If you bring them into the sunlight by discussing them, that power dissolves.  

Another very helpful thing I have learned is to question things.  Let’s use the example of my mother accusing me of “that Bailey temper.”  When I first started facing this issue, I asked myself why she would say that?  What times did I show I had a bad temper?  When she’d accuse me of being angry, was I really angry or just frustrated?  If I was really angry, why?  Was I truly overreacting like my mother said I was?  I realized I wasn’t overreacting.  When I was frustrated or angry, it was justifiable.  In fact, I didn’t get angry easily at all.  Later, when I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I also learned about gaslighting & projection, which showed me why my mother said what she did to me.

Doing these things lifted a HUGE weight off my shoulders!  I learned the truth about this particular issue, & was set free of being ashamed of my terrible “Bailey temper”.

I encourage you to do the same things I did, Dear Reader.  You don’t deserve to suffer any longer with the anger & toxic shame.  Use what I did as an example of how to get started, & change things or add to it to help you to heal.  You deserve to experience freedom from such toxicity in your life!  xoxo

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Not Everyone Who Displays Some Narcissistic Traits Is A Narcissist

After narcissistic abuse, we function in high alert mode to bad behavior.  The first hint of selfishness or lack of empathy can make us quick to label someone as narcissistic.  This can be good in a way because it means the likelihood is slim of being abused by another narcissist.  In another way though, this is bad.  Someone having a bad day, in a selfish phase or is just your average jerk becomes labeled as a narcissist unnecessarily, & treated accordingly, when this isn’t a good way to handle that particular situation.

I was talking with my best friend once about someone I know who came across as a know it all, & how much it bothered me.  She pointed out that most likely why the behavior bothered me so much was because my narcissistic ex husband was a know it all.  Later, in thinking about this, I began to consider the situation.  Yes, this person exhibited some narcissistic traits, but was he truly a narcissist?  After prayer & considering what I know about the person, I realized no, he’s not a narcissist.  I believe his personality to be the ISTJ Myers Briggs type, & when they function out of dysfunction or even exhaustion, sometimes they can appear narcissistic even when they truly aren’t.

Realizing that as well as considering what I knew about his life made me realize I needed to treat him differently.  Gray rock & other ways to interact with narcissists wouldn’t work in this situation because he wasn’t a narcissist.  I knew he’d been subjected to a lot of negativity & little encouragement, so I became freer with complements.  I did some small things for him, too, including giving a gift I knew he would like out of the blue.  These behaviors changed how he interacted with me.  He became much more pleasant to be around, even less know it all-ish.  We get along much better now.

I want to encourage you to do the same.  I know all kinds of alarms can go off when someone shows some narcissistic traits.  Those alarms can serve you well, but be sure that the person is indeed a narcissist before treating him or her as such.  Consider what you know about the person.  Is this the first time he has behaved in such a way?  Are there other clear signs of narcissism?  Once you really think about this person, you may realize there aren’t other signs.  For example, maybe this person is behaving in a selfish manner, but also expresses genuine empathy.  This person simply could be going through a hard time privately that is dictating the bad behavior.  Narcissists lack empathy & nothing changes their bad behavior, so the person in this example most likely isn’t a narcissist.

It is a good idea to try expressing gentleness & kindness to this person if you know they truly aren’t narcissistic.  The person in your life could be like the person in mine who was lacking such things, & when exposed to them, changes their behavior in a positive way.  Or, they could be struggling through a hard time & a little gentleness & kindness can provide them with just the encouragement they need, which will make them want to treat you better. 

Just remember, while narcissists are surprisingly common, that doesn’t mean every single selfish or thoughtless person is one.  Consider the person in question & ask God to give you discernment so you can treat the person in question accordingly.

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Another Helpful Tool For Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

Whether you are currently suffering at the hands of a narcissist or have suffered narcissistic abuse in the past, chances are you have questioned yourself.  Whether they are questions like, “Was the narcissist right about me?” or, “How could I have not seen what this person was really like before we got married?!” I will guarantee you have had many questions.  Pretty sure that is just a part of the experience of narcissistic abuse.  After all, narcissists want their victims to question themselves & never the narcissist. 

You can deal with those questions though & in such a way that it helps you to heal.  If you’ve followed my work for long, you know I always recommend starting with prayer.  I’m suggesting an effective addition to prayer, not a replacement for it.  I’m talking about using simple logic.

Whatever your question is, I strongly recommend asking God to help you to see the truth about the situation before you do anything else. Then, consider your question not from any emotional standpoint, but instead one of stone, cold, logic.  For example, let’s say you asked yourself how you could’ve missed the signs pointing to narcissism before you married your narcissistic spouse.  Consider the relationship as if you were watching someone else in this situation rather than yourself.  Are there any tell tale red flags of narcissism?  And, what was known about narcissism at that time?  If nothing, it is perfectly normal not to recognize the red flags.  It is also normal to be swept off your feet by a narcissist.  They are in their best behavior when in the beginning of a relationship.  They can be so skilled at seduction that even one who knows a great deal about narcissism can cast caution to the wind.

This type of thinking is also very useful when it comes to the narcissist’s criticisms.  Don’t think about how it makes you feel.  Instead, ignore any emotions attached to this for a few minutes.  Then, ask yourself what evidence there is that what this person says is true, & look at the situation objectively.  Is there evidence that you are as terrible as the narcissist says you are?

How about when the narcissist tries to convince you that your friends & family want nothing to do with you?  Is there evidence that this is true or is the only so-called evidence what the narcissist has told you?

By taking some time to pray, calm down, consider your situation without emotions to skew your thinking & look at it objectively, you can see the truth in the situation.  The truth is incredibly freeing & healing, which is why that is the goal.

Also, when I say you should ignore your emotions while considering your situation, please keep in mind I only recommend it temporarily.  Ignoring emotions isn’t a healthy thing to do for any length of time as a general rule.  They don’t go away but instead manifest in unhealthy ways.  Ignoring them for a very brief period of time to focus on truth & healing, & then dealing with the emotions once you learn what you need to know, is a healthy thing to do.

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My Podcasts

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to give up making videos & just go with podcasts. I have added them to a bunch of different podcast sites, so I thought I would share them here for those of you who are a fan of podcasts. I hope you decide to check them out sometime! If your favorite podcast site isn’t on this list, then please let me know. I’ll try to add it.

Amazon Music:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/636257ca-b20e-4c80-b0c4-76c6da81d4b6/cynthia-bailey-rug

Anchor By Spotify:

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cynthia-bailey-rug/id1632080095

Castbox:

Google Podcasts:

https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yNWViYmY5OC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

iheartradio:

Overcast:

https://overcast.fm/itunes1519449931/cynthia-bailey-rug

Player fm:

https://player.fm/series/cynthia-bailey-rug

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

Podbean:

https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/32zdh-12d533/Cynthia-Bailey-Rug-Podcast

RadioPublic:

Soundcloud:

Spotify:

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/cynthia-baileyrug

Tune In:

https://tunein.com/podcasts/Religion–Spirituality-Podcas/Cynthia-Bailey-Rug-p1728318/

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

Admitting Your Relationship Is Abusive

People often struggle with admitting a relationship they are in is abusive.  They may say they don’t get along with someone, or that person is difficult, but the word “abusive” may be too hard for them to say. 

Although it may sound strange, I certainly understand it.  Admitting something makes it more real in the mind, & sometimes that thing is so painful, you don’t want it to be real.  When my granddad died, for a year after his death, I couldn’t say the words that he had died.  It hurt too much, & I didn’t want that to be real.  I wanted things as they had been, when we had such a loving & close relationship.  Losing what had been hurt tremendously, & felt like it was too painful to face.  Admitting a relationship you are in is abusive is very similar.  You want things to be like they once were, when things were good.  It hurts so much to admit that now, things aren’t like that anymore & in fact, they are really bad. 

I want you to know today that it’s ok to admit you are in an abusive relationship.  In fact, it is a good thing.  It is your first step to freedom from the abuse.

Being in an abusive relationship or even several abusive relationships doesn’t mean there is something terribly wrong with you.  Many other people have been in abusive relationships in their life.  It’s perfectly ok to admit that someone you love abuses you.  It is not a bad reflection on you!

Abusive people are known for making themselves irresistible to those they lure into romantic relationships.  They can appear charming, kind, & caring.  They can appear to share your beliefs, morals, likes & dislikes.  They claim their chosen victim is the one they’ve been waiting for their entire life, they have never met anyone as wonderful as their victim, & generally sweep their victim off their feet quickly, leaving them little or no time to recognize signs pointing to how toxic they truly are.  They are extremely skilled at just how to make themselves the most appealing to their victims & hiding their true selves.  By the time the abuser reveals his or her true self to the victim, the victim is head over heals in love with the abuser.  The victim doesn’t want to see that horrible true self or admit their abuser is truly abusive rather than the wonderful person he or she was at first.  Feeling that way is completely normal.  It still doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with or bad about admitting this relationship you are in is abusive, though.

Abusers also are extremely skilled at convincing their victims that they are the true problem in the relationship, not the abuser.  Abusers work very hard to get their victims to believe this so they can continue being abusive & their victims won’t protest.  Victims often believe that this is the case, that somehow they make the abuser hurt them.  That is never true however!  No one can force anyone to abuse them.  The choice to abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of abusers, never on victims.  Since you have nothing to be ashamed of, this means it’s perfectly ok to admit your relationship is abusive.

If you are in a bad relationship that you are hesitant to admit is abusive in spite of evidence of abuse, I want you to know it’s ok to admit it is abusive.  I know it will hurt by making that fact seem more real, but it will be worth it.  Once you accept that reality, you can decide what to do about the relationship from there & begin to heal.  The truth really does set us free in so many ways, & this is one of those ways.  Set yourself free & admit that your relationship is abusive. 

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What Complements Are Like For Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I have yet to talk to one victim of narcissistic abuse who doesn’t struggle with receiving complements on some level.  I certainly am one of them.  You may be able to relate to my story.

Growing up, my overtly narcissistic mother was very critical of me.  She said it was for my own good but it really didn’t feel that way.  My self esteem was about non existent. 

Just before I turned 17, I met my ex husband.  At first, he showered me with constant praise.  Eventually that stopped, & he became very critical.  Of course, he denied that because he didn’t say words like, “stupid” or “fat.”  He implied them by saying things like, “I’m surprised you don’t know that” or, “well, you certainly aren’t small…”  By the time that marriage ended, I had no self esteem.

For most of my life, if people complemented me, I would tell them why they were wrong.  Eventually I realized this made people uncomfortable, so I started to smile & say thank you.  I was still cringing inside, & thinking of how wrong they were, but at least they didn’t realize that.  I was more or less satisfied with this arrangement for a long time. 

Eventually though, I decided it was time to consider complements rather than blindly shoot them down.  I realized that people don’t usually say things with an ulterior motive or to hear themselves talk.  When they pay complements, they sincerely believe what they say.  I still struggle with trying to believe them, but knowing this helps.

Then I read about shame & suddenly things made sense!

When a person is subjected to narcissistic abuse, they develop a deep root of shame thanks to the gaslighting.  Being told how terrible, ugly, stupid, flawed, mentally unstable & more they are over & over does this.  So when someone complements this type of person, one of two things may happen..

Cognitive dissonance can happen.  That is the term for the very uncomfortable feeling of receiving new information that clashes with one’s core beliefs.  Being told you are something good after believing that you are nothing but bad creates a very painful cognitive dissonance.  The automatic reaction to cognitive dissonance is often to reject the new information immediately.  That isn’t always wise though.  That new information should be questioned!

Another possibility is the complement triggers shame, because the person feels they have somehow duped this poor person.  They feel shame because they believe they were being deceitful.

If you experience these feelings when someone gives you a complement, I would like to encourage you to challenge this.  I can’t promise you’ll become completely comfortable with complements, but at the very least, you will learn to feel better about them.

Remember what I said – most people don’t have any ulterior motive for paying someone a complement.  They’re simply being nice & sincere. 

Consider the complement.  I would bet the same thing someone praises you for is something the narcissist was quick to criticize about you.  Narcissists are quick to tear down anything good they see in their victims, so that alone should prove that it’s true. 

And never forget to pray.  God will be more than happy to help you to heal in every area!  Let Him do just that!

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When Abused Children Trust People Too Easily

When a child is abused by their parents, that child naturally grows up with plenty of issues.  They lack a healthy foundation as well as good teaching, so this is understandable.

One area in which abused children tend to struggle greatly is when it comes to trusting people.

Many abused children grow up distrustful of others, in particular adults.  Considering the only adults in their lives have caused them pain & suffering, it’s totally understandable.  It’s also a very common occurrence. 

What is less common is when abused children go the exact opposite but equally dysfunctional direction, & they trust people very easily.  The constant gaslighting, being told everything you believe, think & feel is wrong will do this to a person.  The burdens narcissistic parents put on their children of feeling like your purpose in life is to do for others & be responsible for their happiness adds to this problem.  I know, because this is how I grew up.

This abuse convinced me that any instincts I had were wrong.  If I felt someone wasn’t a good person or simply disliked a person, my mother would tell me I was wrong.  On the opposite side of the same coin, if I liked someone she didn’t, I was also wrong because she clearly knew better than me.  If I had a falling out with a friend, she told me, “to have a friend, you have to be one.”  Basically that translated to, “You’re always wrong!  You need to let people treat you however they like without complaint or protest.”  This taught me that my instincts were always wrong, that other people were always right, it was my job to blindly obey them, & tolerate any treatment, even abuse, without complaint.  So as a result, for years, I blindly trusted people. 

One former friend of mine said, upon first meeting, “We’re going to be best friends!”  I accepted that, & we were close for quite some time.  I did like her, but our personalities were very different.  She also was a rather needy friend.  Too needy for my introverted self, but I hung in there for years because I felt obligated to do so.

A few months before marrying my ex husband, I broke up with him.  People told me how miserable he was without me & that I should get back together with him.  He would call me at work & tell me the same thing.  I relented, & married him in spite of not being in love with him, & wanting to marry someone else.

Do my scenarios sound at all similar to situations in your life?  If they do, then I want you to rest assured, there is hope!

Prayer truly is the best place to start. Talk to God about whatever you feel, & ask Him to guide you.  Ask Him for healthy relationships & to spot red flags quickly so you don’t waste time with toxic people.

Start listening to your gut feelings.  If something feels off about someone, pay attention to that!  Observe this person & in time, you will understand what triggered this feeling. 

And, if something feels especially good about someone, the same thing goes.  Observe.  Their actions will tell you why that feeling was there. 

The more you learn to observe others & listen to your instincts, the healthier your relationships will be & the more wise you will be when it comes to trusting people.

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Guilt Or God Working Through You?

Some of you long time readers will remember this story..

In May, 2016, I had a huge argument with my parents.  My mother in-law had just died, & since they read the obituaries in the weekly paper, I knew they would see hers.  I also knew that they wouldn’t acknowledge what I had told them about her that caused me to go no contact with her 14 years prior, but instead would talk about what a great lady she was.  I was mentally prepared for that, so when I saw their number on my caller ID the day after her funeral when the paper came out, I wasn’t surprised.  I asked God to help me get through the call & guide my words.  I thought it was going to be a mostly typical conversation, & I was wrong. 

I was NOT prepared for my parents being angry with me for not telling them about her death so they could attend the funeral.  I also was ill prepared for the intense feeling of betrayal or the rage that I felt.  I ended up yelling at, crying & cussing out my parents.  Not my normal behavior by any means!  When I hung up the phone my first step was to pray.  I told God I was so sorry!  I never should’ve behaved that way.  Somehow I must have missed His guidance & messed up everything.  God spoke to me extremely clearly at that time, & said, “I wanted this to happen.  Your parents needed to see their normally calm & reasonable daughter extremely upset thanks to their behavior.” 

That argument was the last time I spoke to my mother before she died just under three years later.  It was also one of the last times I spoke to my father who died about eighteen months after.  Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I think that argument was a catalyst for no contact for me, which in turn motivated my parents to turn to God at the end of their lives.  It really did have a purpose!

At that time & for quite a while after, however, in spite of knowing my parents needed to see my reaction, I still felt terrible.  The guilt was intense!   

I think this is normal for most children of narcissistic parents.  Our parents train us early in life to please them at all costs, & to feel intense guilt or even shame when we fail.  Even when we are adults, when we do something that we perceive as wrong, we automatically feel that guilt because it’s a reflex built into us by our parents.

The thing is though that sometimes doing something other people think is wrong is a good thing.  Naturally narcissists would disagree with that, but it’s true.  What one person sees as wrong can be right for someone else. 

While the guilt may make you feel as if you’re doing something bad, it may be inappropriate to the situation.  God may be working through you, & sometimes He works through people in rather unusual ways.  Just look at the argument I had with my parents.  It felt awful at the time, but it turned out to be very beneficial for all three of us.

The next time you automatically feel guilt about something, then please, take a moment to ask God if that guilt is justified or if He is working through you somehow.  You may be very pleasantly surprised to find out He is working through you, & there is no valid reason for you to feel any guilt!

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Some Things (& People!) Are Valuable Even Though Narcissists Disagree

Those of you who know me know I love cars, in particular the classics.  My husband, too.  In fact, our newest vehicle is my late mother’s 2002.

As a result, so many people have asked me why I drive old cars.  Some are downright rude & tell me I should get rid of my old cars & get something new, even though there is no valid reason to do so. 

The fact is that aside from preferring old cars, they also can be a good investment.  Many classic cars are well loved.  If you don’t believe me, go to a car show or watch an auto auction on TV.  Those so called worthless old cars can sell for thousands more than they were when new.  And that brings me to my point..

Just because someone fails to see the value doesn’t mean something has no value.

This statement isn’t true only about classic cars, but about people as well. 

Narcissists do their level best to convince their victims that they are worthless human beings, they are ugly, stupid, lack any real talents or skills & much more.  The goal is to destroy their victims’ self esteem to make those victims easier to control, to make the victims willing to tolerate any abuse & to make the victims stay in the relationship because they feel unable to find anyone else who would tolerate them.  Narcissists do NOT say these things because they are true.

If you have been the victim of narcissistic abuse, please remember this!  Whatever the narcissist said about you wasn’t said because it’s true.  They say these things to further their own agenda, period.  What they say has nothing whatsoever to do with the truth.  In fact, chances are excellent that the narcissist in your life recognized something good or even special in you, which is another reason that he or she tried to destroy your self-esteem.  You clearly outshined the narcissist, & no narcissist can tolerate that.

Please remind yourself of this often!  Don’t let the narcissist succeed in making you feel as worthless as many people see beat up old cars.  You deserve so much better than believing those terrible lies!  Instead, remind yourself that you aren’t worthless just because the narcissist said you were.  You’re even more valuable than even the most pristine & beautiful classic car.  God made you in His own image & loves you tremendously!  Try to remember that & forget what the narcissist has said to you about yourself.  Ask God to tell you the truth about yourself & your situation, too.  Then listen.  What He has to say may surprise you & it will bless you greatly!

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Getting Back Your Zest For Life After Narcissistic Abuse

Like so many other victims of narcissistic abuse, I spent most of my life trying to be less me to please other people.  I think of it like I was trying to shrink myself to please other people.  I became less opinionated.  I turned away from things that I liked that they didn’t approve of in favor of things they thought I should.  I tried changing my appearance too, dressing differently, coloring my hair & losing weight. 

Eventually I realized just how ridiculous this was.  Changing to please people who demand you change never works.  The one demanding the changes is never pleased, & the one doing the changing is miserable because they aren’t being true to themselves.  I could see no good reason to continue this behavior, so I stopped it.  I figured let people be mad at me for it.  They would be anyway!  This was a good decision of course, but it also was only half the battle for me.  I knew who I wasn’t, but I didn’t know who I was.

Over the years I did get to know myself, but still something was lacking.  I wasn’t sure what that something was.  It finally hit me.  I lost my passion, my zest for life.  I certainly can’t be the only person in this position, so I thought sharing what I have learned would be a good idea.

After enduring narcissistic abuse, it can be overwhelming to realize just how much damage has been done to you.  Healing is absolutely possible, but it takes a lot of work & time.  Often, I think it’s a life long process.  It can be easy to get caught up in healing work & not even notice you haven’t got that zest for life you once had.  Or maybe you never had it.  Either way, this should change.  You deserve to enjoy life!

As vital as healing is, it’s also a lot of work!  You need to take time frequent breaks.  They are good for your mental health.  Thinking too much about such intense topics can wear you down, & that is never good.  Take times where you flatly refuse to think about the abuse or focus on your healing.  Instead, do things you enjoy. 

Remember times in your life when you had that zest for life.  Think about them in as much detail as you can.  What were you doing?  What was so enjoyable about the situation?  How exactly did you feel?  Meditate on those times.  Remind yourself that this was you!  You were capable of being that person before, so you can be like that again. 

Consider things that ignite your zest for life & indulge in them often.  If it’s reading a certain genre of books, read all you can find.  If it’s a certain type of music, listen to it often & dance around your home.  If it’s supporting a certain cause, give your best to supporting it in every way you can.

Get creative.  I believe creative outlets to be absolutely vital to enjoying life.  Whatever you enjoy doing, make time to do it often.  I have learned if I don’t set aside time in the evenings to knit, crochet or cross stitch, it doesn’t take long before I become anxious & irritable.  Participating in these creative hobbies I love helps me to enjoy life more while helping my mental health.

The most helpful thing I have found though is the value of maintaining a close relationship to God.  Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence is fullness of joy, & this is so true!  Pray often & remember, God isn’t just God but your father as well.  You can talk to Him familiarly.  I know when your earthly father isn’t good it can be hard to relate to God in this way but it is possible.  Ask Him to help you & remember, He is nothing like your earthly father at all.  He is so much better!

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When A Toxic Relationship Shifts

In various relationships with the narcissists in my life, I remember a shift in their attitude with me.  It was always subtle, but I noticed it anyway.

My ex husband & I started dating during the second semester of eleventh grade.  By the end of the first semester of twelfth grade, he had become a bit distant.  We wrote notes often as many kids in the 80’s did, & suddenly his went from at least one or two a day to one every few days before suddenly stopping entirely.

Later in life, when I began pulling away from my parents & setting some boundaries, their attitudes became different.  My mother was obviously furious with me, but didn’t admit to it.  My father became controlling for the first time. 

I met my late mother in-law some months before my husband & I began dating, when we were just friends.  One day I was going to drive him to pick up a car he was buying.  I picked him up at his parents’ home, & although I could tell his mother didn’t particularly like me, she seemed somewhat friendly.  Once she realized we were dating, she became ice cold.  After we got married almost 4 years later, she became extremely vicious with me.

This sort of behavior is very common with narcissists.  No matter the type of relationship, at some point, there is a change in their attitude with the victim.  That change often comes about when the narcissist realizes the victim doesn’t want to lose the narcissist.  It also can happen when the victim starts to set boundaries or the narcissist sees the victim as a threat in some way.  Either way, narcissists want to make sure their victim behaves as they want.  What better way to do this than to abuse that victim?  They may make their victim feel so insecure, as if the relationship is bad & it’s all the victim’s fault.  They also may become controlling & manipulative, trying to make the victim feel as if they need to earn the narcissist’s affections.  They may make the victim feel as if it’s best to do whatever the narcissist wants rather than displease the narcissist & face their wrath.  The type of wrath naturally varies between overt & covert narcissists, but in either case it’s best not to face it, so many victims will do absolutely anything to avoid it.

The really horrible part of this is while this abuse happens behind closed doors, the narcissist continues to wear their mask to convince everyone else they are a wonderful person.  When a victim looks for advice & support, those who also know the narcissist often tell the victim how lucky they are to have such a wonderful person in their life.  That person loves the victim so much!  It must be nice having someone so loving in their life.  They’re lucky to have a parent or significant other care so much about them.  Such responses can leave a victim baffled & feeling as if they are the problem in the relationship. 

The result is the victim often stays in the relationship.  The victim feels utterly alone because no one believes them.  They believe the narcissist’s good guy/good girl act instead.  Victims learn quickly there isn’t any point in discussing the abuse because no one believes them.  Meanwhile, the abuse gets worse & worse.

Have you been in this situation?  Are you in it now?  If so, you’re not alone!  This is typical of relationships with narcissists. 

Don’t beat yourself up for getting yourself into this situation or tolerating too much from the narcissist.  Narcissists are experts at psychological warfare.  They can manipulate even the most brilliant of people because they are just that good at what they do. 

You also need to pray a lot.  God willingly gives wisdom to anyone who asks for it according to James 1:5, so ask for it!  He can help you to cope if you’re still in the situation or find ways to help yourself heal if you have escaped it.

Always remember that the treatment from the narcissist isn’t your fault.  Their actions are 100% their responsibility.  Don’t accept the blame for their behavior.  Don’t carry their shame for their actions.  Learn all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, healing from narcissistic abuse & about how to have healthy boundaries.  Take care of & protect yourself.

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