Tag Archives: narcissistic injury

Distracting Yourself

People are often less than thrilled with facing unpleasant things, such as emotional healing.  It’s quite understandable, really.  Emotional work isn’t fun!  It’s very hard, very draining work.  It’s also very necessary.

 

I’ve caught myself many times distracting myself from the emotional work at hand.  There have been plenty of times I’ve had a flashback at a very inconvenient time, & couldn’t deal with it right then. Times like this, I don’t think distracting yourself for a short time is a bad idea at all.  In fact, it may be absolutely necessary, such as when I had a flashback while driving.

 

There have been plenty of other times when a flashback has happened or a repressed memory pops back into my mind that I distract myself even when I have the time & ability to focus on it.  I’m just tired of things that happened 10, 20, or 30 years ago still affecting my life at 45.  It’s exhausting & maddening, so sometimes I ignore the flashback or memory & try to avoid thinking about it.

 

I’ve noticed many others who have survived narcissistic abuse do the same thing.

 

This isn’t good though!  I’ve come to realize that most of these things come to me when I have the time & I believe that is for a reason- so these awful things can be dealt with right then.

 

Avoiding facing issues only postpones the problem, it doesn’t make it go away.  It is best to deal with things as soon as possible.  After all, God allowed it to come to mind for a reason.  He must know you are able to deal with it & need to do so.  He wouldn’t allow this memory to return to your mind if coping with it wasn’t going to help you in some way.

 

Don’t get me wrong- there are plenty of times we need to distract ourselves from the work of recovery.  If you’ve been focusing on narcissism & narcissistic abuse for a long time, it’s time for a break.  If you have the awful experience of having a flashback behind the wheel like I did, you definitely don’t need to think about it then- you need to focus on driving!  If you write about the topic like I do, frequent distractions are a must to keep your sanity.

 

I believe the key is using wisdom.  I know in my heart when I should focus & when it’s time for a break.  Granted, I don’t always pay attention, but I do know.  When I ignore those “knowings,” I feel it.  The memory that came back won’t leave me alone, I get angry, moodier than usual, tired mentally & physically.

 

I realize I need to ask God to help me in this area, to do His will.  To face things as needed & to take breaks when needed.  I would encourage you to do the same, Dear Reader.  It will be good for your mental health!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

My Narcissistic Mother Fired Me! Setting Boundaries With A Narcissist

Good morning, Dear Readers!

It looks like my caregiving days are over with my parents.  My mother called me the other day & told me how my father’s health has suddenly taken a turn for the better.  He was doing a little light yard work & other things.  She asked him if he could resume doing the laundry (she claims her back is too bad to carry the laundry or maneuver those basement steps).  She told me he said sure, he can do it, so I don’t need to come by on Sundays anymore.

I’ve been fired!  lol

I’m not sure I believe that my father is suddenly doing so much better than he was.  It hasn’t even been one month since he had that mild stroke.  He’s had really bad dizzy spells & weakness since.

I have a theory on his sudden “miraculous healing.”  My mother would rather make him suffer (she knows he won’t disobey her) than respect the boundaries I put up last Sunday.

As I mentioned before, I told my parents last Sunday that I have arthritis in my knees & climbing their basement steps to do their laundry in addition to doing my own thing hurt me.  Going in, I knew it would, but didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was.  This meant I wasn’t sure how reliable I was going to be in my helping them (when dealing with this situation with a narcissist, turn it around to how it affects them!).  My mother has said for years now she wants her washer & dryer moved upstairs, yet has continually dragged her feet on accomplishing this task. I offered to help clear the spot where she wants them, & help get this task done.  She said she couldn’t do it, had (lame) reasons why, & deflected off the topic.  (When my husband spoke to her on the topic, she even brought out the crocodile tears!)  When I said my knees were bad, she shut me out entirely, so I spoke with my father on the topic.  I said if they won’t get the washer & dryer upstairs, then I have a number for the county.  A social worker will come & evaluate their needs, & let them know what sort of help they qualify for.  Even if they don’t qualify, I have more numbers for home health care aides who aren’t very pricey.  My parents don’t need much help, so it wouldn’t cost much at all for a little help.  My father was all for either solution, & since my mother wouldn’t listen to me, he said he would talk to her.  Apparently he did…

When my mother called on Friday, she said my father told her I have bad knees & asked skeptically, “Is that even true?”  WHAT?!  I told her yes, & as I’ve said many times, I’ve had arthritis in my knees since 2002 when I was 31.  She asked if the doctor was talking knee replacement, & I said I haven’t seen a doctor in years about it because I don’t have insurance. She then told me how if I would just lose weight, it’d help.  I was shaking at this point due to an emotional flashback.  Growing up, my mother was so hard on me about being “fat” (even though I wasn’t), I developed anorexia when I was about 10 & it later morphed into bulimia which I lived with into my teens.  At 43 years old, I was shaking with fear & anger just like I did as a child, waiting for her to say the terrible shaming things she used to say to me about how fat & gross I am.  Thankfully, it didn’t happen.  Instead, she went on to tell me how much worse others in her family have it with their knees & how a knee replacement is no big deal (bet she’d feel differently if she had one!).  The rest of the conversation was not any better.  Constant snarky, cruel comments followed, criticizing all kinds of things about me.  The volume of the criticisms was impressive, even by my mother’s legendary standards.

This is my mother’s new narcissistic rage.  Gone are the days of her screaming in my face, calling me awful, degrading names as she did when I was a teenager.  Now that she is older & frailer, & I am stronger than her, she won’t do that.  Instead, she uses the common weapons of narcissists- invalidation, criticism, gaslighting- as often as she possibly can work into the conversation.

Why the rage?  Because I set boundaries.  Rather than seeing them as me taking care of myself while also trying to take care of my parents as any emotionally healthy person would, she saw it more as me being disobedient or disrespectful to her.  She is so accustomed to being blindly obeyed by everyone, that she simply cannot handle someone not obeying her wishes.  I think the plan was for me to continue doing for my parents, & ignoring my own physical pain.  She loves to be waited on, just like her mother, & she believes I owe it to her, as her mother also believed of her children & grandchildren.

Anyone who thinks their narcissistic mother will mellow with age is sadly mistaken.  Yes, it can happen, but it is rarer than the spotted owl.  In my personal experience plus what I have heard talking with other daughters of narcissistic mothers, they get meaner.  Just because they don’t scream in your face anymore doesn’t mean they are nicer!  Getting older only means their tactics change.  They are still as evil & hurtful as they ever were.

On a positive note, I did get an inspiration for another blog post out of that awful phone call that I’ll share tomorrow.  It’s full of good information that can help you in relating to a narcissist.

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

Ignoring Narcissists

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

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