Tag Archives: narcissistic mother

What Is Reverse Projection?

Those of us who have experience with narcissists understand projection.  That is when the narcissist accuses you of doing what she is doing.  She lies regularly, but calls you a liar.  He is critical & judgmental, yet accuses you of the exact same behaviors while denying he is that way.

 

So what is reverse projection?

 

I’m honestly not sure it’s even a known psychological term, but the name does describe the behavior well.  Reverse projection is when the victim tries to project her own good qualities onto her abuser.  She tries to see the good in a bad person so hard, that she says the abuser is the good things that she really is.  She claims her abuser can be very caring & compassionate when the truth is she is the only caring & compassionate one in the relationship.  Or, she believes her abuser is as honest as she is, when the fact is the abuser is a liar.

 

I believe reverse projection may be pretty common in those abused by narcissistic mothers.  Not only have I done it, but have known other victims who have as well.

 

It seems to be a coping skill.  I told myself growing up that my mother was overprotective because she loved me so much rather than face the truth that she was extremely controlling, & not out of love, but because I was there to serve her as she wanted.  If the victim in the throes of abuse can believe the abuser is abusing them out of love or is basically a good person, it makes the abuse more tolerable.  Believing what is done is being done for you own good or out of love makes you willing to tolerate it because it’s a display of the love you’re so starved for.  You also take the blame off of them for abusing you, & accept it onto yourself.  You begin to believe you deserve those terrible things done to you, so in your mind, the abuser is absolved of responsibility.

 

While these things may help you to get through a traumatic situation, it’s not good to hold onto the beliefs!

 

Reverse projection means even if you’re no longer in relationship with your abuser, you may still thing well of her rather than face the truth- she abused you.  Being realistic will help you to accept that yes, you were abused, yes, things were bad & yes, you have been adversely affected by it all.  Once you admit these things, & only then, can you begin to heal.

 

And if reverse projection helped you to accept responsibility for being abused, that will create plenty of problems in itself.  It’s unhealthy to accept responsibility for being abused because you did nothing wrong!  Doing so creates a root of toxic shame inside, & toxic shame creates so many problems.  It destroys your self esteem, it sets you up to be abused by others, it makes you unable to accept help when you need it & more.  You also are carrying the abuser’s shame when it’s not yours to carry.  That shame needs to be laid square on the abuser, never on the victim.  Whether or not the abuser carries her own shame is up to her, but it is never your responsibility to carry it!

 

Accepting responsibility for being abused also takes it off of the abuser.  The abuser is the one who needs to be responsible for her actions, no one else.  Chances are, she won’t accept that responsibility.  She’ll blame you for making her do those things or flatly deny they even happened.  She may even accuse you of making things up just to hurt her, & make herself into a victim.  Even if she does such things, that still doesn’t mean you need to accept responsibility for her actions!

 

Whether or not you’re still in a relationship with your abusive narcissistic mother, I would like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to start looking at her realistically.  Is she really caring?  Honest?  A good person who just has some bad moments?  There is absolutely nothing wrong with looking at someone honestly.  In fact, it will help you a great deal!

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

It’s Not All Your Fault

Like many survivors of any type of abuse, one thing I have struggled with my entire life is thinking that everything is my fault.  It’s very easy to see why this has happened…

  • My mother blamed me for making her abuse me.  She claimed she was “saving me from myself”, if I wasn’t so bad she wouldn’t have to do the “tough love” thing on me, & I was too upset to drive after a fight with her when I was 19 so her solution was to throw me into a wall & hurt my back.
  • On our third anniversary, my ex-husband started a big fight.  I needed time to calm down & think, so I left.  When I came back, his mother (we lived with his parents) chewed me out for making him punch her wall after I left, & told me how I needed to fix this.  I needed to apologize to him & never leave during an argument again.  She also wanted me to apologize to her husband for making my husband so angry.
  • My current in-laws blame me for stealing my husband from them & keeping him from his family, according to my husband’s sister.  They also don’t understand why I have a problem with how my mother in-law has treated me (she’s a very devious  covert narcissist).
  • When talking about problems with my parents, I have been told that I need to make things work with them.  It’s my job to fix things, period.

You simply can’t survive things like this without learning that everything is your fault, and you deserve whatever you get.  It’s your fault for making people act that way.  You need to try harder.  If the relationship is going to work, then you have to be the one who makes it work.

This type of behavior is extremely common among adult children of narcissistic parents.

Can you relate?  If so, read on..

I want to tell you today, Dear Reader, that there is no way that everything is your fault.

It is simply impossible for one person to do every single thing wrong in a relationship while the other does every single thing right.  Even people with the best intentions & good relationship skills will make mistakes sometimes.

It’s also not one person’s responsibility to make a relationship work.  Relationships are not a one way street- they are a two way street.  Both people need to be willing to work on the relationship, no matter what kind of relationship we are talking about.  Whether the relationship is husband & wife,  friends, relatives, co-workers or parent/child, both parties need to work on the relationship if it is to be a successful.  One person simply cannot make it work, no matter how hard they try.  Sure, one person can make the relationship work briefly, but it won’t last long.  The one with all of the responsibility will become resentful quickly at best, or feel like a complete failure when it falls apart.

You need to know today, Dear Reader, that not everything is your fault or your responsibility!  You have your own voice, your own feelings, & your own needs.  Never let anyone convince you otherwise!  You have your own worth & value, no matter what anyone else says.

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Something New

As you may remember, last year, I created The Butterfly Project.  I would send people a small butterfly to remind them that they are much like the butterfly- they’ve been through a dark place (narcissistic abuse) yet emerged into a beautiful new creation in spite of the pain, like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis.

 

I decided to make some changes to The Butterfly Project.  You can see the new website for it here: TheButterflyProject.tripod.com   And, you can check out the new facebook page for it here: The Butterfly Project  (Please feel free to like the page & share it as well as my site!  Thank you!)

 

To summarize, I decided not only to send people butterflies if requested, but also to make them, pray over the recipients of each one, attach a tag to the butterflies to bring people to the above mentioned website & leave these little critters around town in public places where they can be found easily.  My hope is that I won’t be the only one doing so- I’m hoping other people in various areas will do the same.  Information on how to participate can be found here: http://thebutterflyproject.tripod.com/want-to-help.html

 

Please consider joining me in The Butterfly Project.  I think it’s a fun way not only to help offer some inspiration & comfort to victims of narcissistic abuse, but also to help raise awareness.

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Just Because A Narcissist Says You Don’t Matter Doesn’t Mean You Don’t

 

Last week, my husband came down with the flu.  A few days ago, I caught it too.  Yippie..

 

Last night, my mother called.  She said she wanted to know how hubby was feeling, but I could tell the real reason she called was that she was angry with me.  I told her he’s doing better, just not quite over it yet.  A few minutes later, before hanging up, she said, “Glad he’s feeling better.  You didn’t catch it, did you?”  (She had to know I was sick- I sound horrible!)  I admitted I did.  Her response?  “Oh.  I remember the last time I had the flu.  Do you remember that?  You took me to the doctor..”  Not a surprising response, but still hurtful that she cares so little.

 

When writing about the incident in my journal a little while ago, I realized something.  My mother makes comments along these lines often.  If I mention a problem, she changes the subject, tells me about someone who has it way worse than me (at least in her mind) or tells me how she thinks I need to fix it.  She also employs another tactic- she blatantly ignores me, a while later mentions someone with the exact same problem, & how sorry she feels for that person.

 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar to you?

 

I believe comments & actions like this are made to make me feel like I don’t matter.  She is the only important one, in her eyes.

 

Narcissists love to make their victims feel as if they don’t matter.  One reason is the lower the self esteem, the easier the victim is to manipulate.  The victim can see herself as too stupid to know better than the narcissist, or not strong enough to stand up to the narcissist.  Another reason is narcissists feel powerful when they can tear their victims down.  Having such control over someone gives them the illusion that they have power.

 

As much as the narcissist benefits from making the victim believe she doesn’t matter, the victim is hurt.  Feeling this way can contribute to a root of toxic shame, which affects every area of a person’s life.

 

The next time this happens to you, I would like to encourage you to do as I just did a while ago when writing about this incident in my journal.  Not only did I get my feelings out, but I also told myself my narcissistic mother is wrong.  I told myself that I *do* matter.  Just because she thinks I don’t doesn’t mean it’s true.  My mother thinking I don’t matter is only her opinion, not a fact.

 

The same is true for you, too, Dear Reader!  Just because someone treats you as if you don’t matter, even if that someone is your mother, doesn’t mean it’s true!  You matter!  You matter to God, you matter to your significant other, you matter to your kids (furry or human or both) & you matter to everyone in your life who loves you.  Don’t let the sick manipulations of a narcissist convince you otherwise!  You deserve better than that!  Trust that you do matter & if you’re having trouble doing that, ask God to help you.  Ask Him to show you if you matter to Him.  He will do so & gladly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Being Too Responsible

One thing that is very common among those who have experienced narcissistic abuse at the hands of a parent is an extremely overdeveloped sense of responsibility.

Narcissistic parents are extremely demanding of their children.  They expect their child to please them, no matter what. The child must take care of the narcissistic mother emotionally (emotional  incest).  The child must anticipate her narcissistic mother’s every whim, preferably even before she knows she has the whim, & meet it perfectly.  If she doesn’t, the mother believes she has every right to rage at her child.  This scenario makes the child extremely responsible.  Not only for her narcissistic mother, but for anyone in her life.

Thank God for helping me, because I was absolutely terrible in this area.  If someone was upset & I knew it, I thought it was my responsibility to make that person happy.  If the person  had a need or want, it was my responsibility to meet it, even if they could take care of it themselves.  This was an awful way to live.  So much pressure!  I thank God for getting me away from that.

Learning about boundaries is what helped me the most.  Drs. Henry Cloud & John Townsend’s book “Boundaries” literally changed my life.  Boundaries show you where you end & others begin, which helps you to know what you are & are not responsible for.  Once you know that information, you realize it is truly NOT your responsibility to do certain things.  It takes a great deal of the burden off of you.

Leaning on God is a tremendous help too.  Ask Him to show you what to do, then wait for the knowledge that you should or should not help that person & how to go about it.  He truly will guide you & enable you not to feel guilty if He doesn’t want you to help someone for whatever reason.  God does not want you to suffer with feeling you have to fix everyone.

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Narcissists Are Predators

Like true predators, narcissists are very good at knowing when & how to attack their prey in the most efficient way possible.

One of their tactics is waiting until their victim is tired or sick.

If you’re tired or sick, you are less likely to be able to defend yourself properly.  You don’t think as clearly, so your boundaries may be more lax. Unclear thinking also means you may not know how to handle the situation, so you automatically slip back into old, dysfunctional habits.  You may tolerate a lot more than you normally would since you don’t have the physical or mental energy to argue.

When I was sick in bed with the flu a couple of days after losing my cat, Vincent, my mother called.  Knowing that Vincent had been my granddad’s cat before he died, she mentioned this.  She said she heard Vincent died (my father must’ve told her), & he’s better off.  He was so much happier with Granddad than he ever was with me.  He never was happy with me.  Normally, saying such incredibly cruel things would’ve caused me to completely lose my temper & say bad things I would need to repent for later.  Instead, since I was exhausted, feeling horrible & grieving, I just cried.  I couldn’t even speak.  Not only had I lost my beautiful baby, but it was kinda like losing my Granddad again since Vincent not only was his cat, but was a lot like him.  It was devastating, & her words made it more so.  I gave my mother just what she wanted with my reaction- proof she hurt me.

Another time several years ago, my parents came by for a visit.  My anxiety levels were so bad, I kept vomiting.  My mother didn’t care, even when I told her I was sick & needed to rest.  Instead, she treated me like dirt & insulted my furbabies while refusing to leave my home.

These are just two of many, many examples I have.  I bet if you think about it, you can think of several times your narcissistic mother treated you the same way.

So how do you deal with this obnoxious problem?

The best way I’ve found is to avoid your narcissistic mother when you are sick or tired.  Also, don’t forget to prepare- if you know you’re going to see your mother tomorrow, rest up today.  Rest & pamper yourself however you like.

When that is impossible, do your best to set a time limit on your visit or call with your mother.  If you’re having trouble with that, have a friend call you at a prearranged time telling you she needs you now.  Admittedly, this isn’t the best solution, but so you aren’t lying, tell your friend you would like to hang out for a little while or grab some lunch or whatever you feel up to.  Also, have a code word.  For example, if she calls & you say, “My mother is here” she knows it’s time to tell you she needs to see you immediately.  If you say “My mom is here” she knows you’re ok & she doesn’t need to intervene.   It’s a good “in case of emergency” solution if nothing else works.

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Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

One thing I learned in the relationship with the narcissists in my life, in particular my mother, is that I am nothing but a screw up.  My writing was never taken seriously.  In fact, my mother told me once it’s “nothing but a waste of time.”  She told my father that “no one wants to read that trash I write.”  I’ve also heard comments like all I do is play on the computer all day, & even been laughed at when I mention working (as if being an author isn’t a job).  I always heard, too, how I never did enough for anyone, & am too selfish.  My mother used to tell me that to have a friend, I had to be one, & by that she meant do anything for others & let them use me.  I had so-called friends who would get very angry with me if I wasn’t available when they wanted me to be or do whatever they wanted me to do.  These narcissists also always made sure I knew that I was wrong because my personality was very different than theirs, I liked things they didn’t like or I disliked things they liked.  They liked to either say outright or imply that I was crazy for such things.  My mother’s favorite phrase was, “You need help” (implying I was in need of psychiatric help) accompanied by a pitying look.  She even threatened to have me committed many times.  (Interestingly, she never once sought counseling for me, so started counseling on  my own at 17).

All of these things were devastating to my self-esteem.  I’ve wasted so much time thinking I was a complete & utter failure in every possible way- a terrible friend. awful girlfriend then wife, lousy pet mom, & even a lousy author.  Depressing doesn’t describe how this felt.  But, I’m sure I needn’t tell you this if you too have been subjected to narcissistic abuse.  You know all too well how this feels.

There is good news though!  You can be healed from this pain & dysfunctional way of thinking!  Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”  And, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (KJV)

God’s word is very true!  I gave my life to Jesus in February, 1996, & from that moment, I began to change & heal.  God has been healing me from all the abuse in my life since then, & definitely has made me a new person.  The wounded old me who was convinced she was crazy, worthless, stupid, & more is long gone.  Thanks to God, I am healing daily, & have no doubt I’ll never return to that miserable, dysfunctional mess I once was.  I may not be totally free of low self-esteem, but it is now much better than it once was & continues to improve.

God can do the same for you.  All you have to do is trust Him to take care of you, & He will.  He loves you so much & wants to bless you.  He wants you happy & peaceful.  He wants to heal you from the devastating effects of narcissistic abuse.  He certainly has done so for me.  Sure, I still have a long way to go, but I also was extremely damaged.   God, being the gentle, loving Father He is, heals me little by little, as I am able to handle it.  He’ll do that for you as well- only give you what you can handle, as you can handle it.

Are you willing today to claim God’s promises for your healing?

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About No Contact

I think many of us who stay in a relationship with our narcissistic mothers have been asked repeatedly, “Why don’t you go no contact with her?”  Often,  good points follow such as, “You don’t deserve to be treated that way” along with stories of someone else they knew who had a narcissistic mother & has never been happier since she went no contact.  I have been called foolish & accused of trying to be a martyr as well.

This conversation really can make you doubt your decision.

The truth of the matter though, is that ending a relationship, any relationship, is no one else’s business.  Ending a relationship is a very painful decision, but perhaps ending one with your mother is the most painful of all.  Ending a relationship is also a very individual decision.  You are a unique individual with unique feelings & responses to things.  You may be more willing or able to tolerate certain things than another person.  That doesn’t mean you’re wrong & the other person is right or vice versa- it simply means you’re different.

If you’re considering going no contact with your narcissistic mother, then please do NOT let anyone else influence your decision!  This is one that you need to make by yourself, & have absolute peace & certainty with your decision.  You need to be sure that whatever your choice, you will have no regrets.  To do this, I strongly suggest a great deal of prayer.  Ask God to help you make this choice & how to handle it whichever way it goes.  He will not lead you wrong.

If you opt to go no contact, then you need to remember to stick to your decision.  Don’t call your mother up to wish her a happy birthday or ask her advice after telling her you want her out of your life.  This only goes to show you have weak boundaries, & a narcissist naturally will use that against you.  If you & your mother share relationships, then tell those people that you don’t want them to discuss you with your mother or her with you.  It’s just best to keep others out of the situation that should stay between you & your mother so that person doesn’t feel torn between you two.  Also, beware of flying monkeys- the people your mother sends after you to “talk sense” into you.  They will work hard to make sure you know how badly you’ve hurt your mother & what a terrible daughter you are.  Tell these people that the topic of your & your mother’s relationship is not up for discussion.  Don’t try to explain your side or defend yourself or your decision- it will not only fall on deaf ears, it will hurt you to be so invalidated.  Simply do not engage these people.

If you opt to stay in a relationship with your narcissistic mother, there are ways to manage it.  I opted to go limited contact, which means I don’t talk daily to my parents as I once did.  I talk to them & visit them as I feel able, not always on their time schedule like it used to be.  Continue to work on your healing, not only for yourself, but also because it will change the relationship with your narcissistic mother.  The healthier you are, the less interest narcissist will have in you because you are harder to use & abuse.  Focus on setting & enforcing healthy boundaries too.  Most of all though, remember that it won’t be easy.  There will be times you slip up & fall into old, dysfunctional patterns.  Don’t beat yourself up for that.  These times happen.  Just learn from it, try not to let it happen again.

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The Silent Treatment- One Of The Narcissist’s Favorite Weapons

Narcissists have a large variety of weapons in their arsenal, but possibly the most favorite weapon is the silent treatment.

The silent treatment usually plays out in a similar scenario:  You say or do something that offends the narcissist.  Chances are, you’re unaware of it, but she certainly isn’t.  She suddenly refuses to speak to you.  You ask what’s wrong, & she ignores you, sends one of her flying monkeys to “talk some sense into you” in an effort to make you feel guilty, or she says some ridiculous comments to you such as, “you know what you did!”  or (my personal favorite- my mother used this one in my teen years) “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you,”  You are tormented wondering what you did that was so wrong.  You are baffled.   Then eventually, she graciously allows you to apologize.  And, you may never know what your crime was.

I went through this many times with my narcissistic mother when I was growing up.  It used to upset me terribly.  It’s very unsettling. I’m a sensitive person & not knowing what I did that was so bad, it made my mother stop speaking to me was very hard.  it was confusing, & made me feel like a bad person.

As time went on, though, I began to see that this silent treatment was less about what I did, & more about my mother trying to manipulate me into doing what she wanted.  This knowledge was very freeing to me.  Once I realized this, I stopped worrying when my mother would give me the silent treatment & stopped trying to fix it.  I knew that in time, if I left her alone, she would start speaking to me again, & act like nothing ever happened.  This has become her routine.  In fact, I’m getting the silent treatment as I write this.  My mother’s barely spoken to me in months.  Why?  I have no idea.  The last I heard from my father, she was mad because I don’t come to her house to visit.  Interestingly, I haven’t been invited to come over since my father had problems last December & January, so I really don’t understand the logic.

If you deal with a narcissistic mother who gives you the silent treatment, I encourage you to do as I have done.  Stop asking her what is wrong when she gives you the silent treatment!  Let her pout & act like a spoiled child since that is what she wants to do. Instead of asking her what is wrong, ignore her & go on about your life.  Enjoy the break from the drama.

If your narcissistic mother’s flying monkeys come to talk to you (triangulation is another weapon of narcissists), refuse to discuss the topic with them.  Nothing good can come of it, so simply refuse to discuss that topic.  Tell them you won’t discuss this topic & change the subject.  Repeatedly if need be, but stick to your guns.

Your life can be much more peaceful if you do these two things when you’re given the silent treatment.

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Should You Be In A Relationship With Your Narcissistic Mother?

God doesn’t want you to be a martyr & stay in relationship with your narcissistic parent if you feel you can’t do it.  It’s not His will you be miserable, but to be happy.  However, that doesn’t mean going no contact is the only option.

No contact is a very drastic move, & one that should be made only after a great deal of prayer & thought on the matter.  It is also not one that you should let other people tell you to make.  You need to decide on your own whether or not it is the right decision for you, & have absolute certainty in your decision.

In 2001 I went no contact with my mother.  She contacted me in 2007, & I decided to allow her back into my life at that point.  I figured I had learned & grown enough that things would be better.  They are, although sometimes they are still extremely hard & painful.  Those times often make me think about going no contact again.  I have prayed about it many times, but I haven’t done it.  In 2001, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was what I had to do.  Now, I have yet to feel that certainty.  I firmly believe that our instincts are given to us by God, so if my instincts aren’t clearly telling me it’s time, then I won’t do it.

If you too feel no contact is not your answer just now, you are not alone!  I talk to many women who are either unwilling or unable to go no contact with their narcissistic mothers.  There are several things you can to do help you manage this painful relationship.

  • First & foremost, lean on God.  Ask Him to help you to know what you need to do, when you need to do it, & how you need to do it.
  • Keep your expectations of your narcissistic mother realistic.  She’ll never be the caring, loving mother you wish she was.  Accept her where she is.  Don’t try to change her. At the same time, refuse to tolerate her abuse.  Accepting her does NOT mean you need to tolerate being abused!
  • Enjoy whatever positive comes out of the relationship.  My mother has times where she is super pleasant & we get along well.  It started in 2013, lasted for I think two months, & shocked me.  It’s happened a few more times since then, & usually doesn’t last more than a couple of days.  Even so, I decided to enjoy them when they happen, & accept the fact they will end soon or that she may never be so nice ever again.  Acceptance means I am not devastated when the niceness is over.
  • Keep conversations as superficial as possible.  Telling your narcissistic mother about your problems, feelings or opinions is like giving her permission to crush you with her words, so keep conversations light.  If she asks what’s new in your life, you say nothing.  How are you- fine.  Brief, uninformative answers are your friend!
  • Show her NO emotion.  Keep all emotions, good bad or indifferent, in check around her, because if you don’t, she will feed off of them.  She will know what buttons to push to hurt you, & repeatedly push said buttons.  Don’t give her the satisfaction.  Then, once you’re away from her, tell God how you feel, write about it in your journal, or talk to a supportive friend.  Holding in emotions isn’t healthy, unfortunately doing so temporarily is a wise thing to do with any narcissist rather than let them see how you feel.
  • Have time limits.  If you only feel strong enough to deal with your mother for an hour visit once a week, that is fine.  Respect it.  Don’t push yourself to stop by her home every other day or talk to her on the phone daily.  It WILL hurt you physically & emotionally.  You’ll be very depressed & sick as the stress compromises your immune system.
  • Remember to pat yourself on the back when you enforce your boundaries & handle dealing with your narcissistic mother well.  Dealing with a narcissist is never easy, so be proud of your successes!
  • Learn from your mistakes.  There will be times you slip up.  You fall for your narcissistic mother’s manipulation or you show her you are angry when she insulted you.  Those things are inevitable, unfortunately.  Rather than beat yourself up for them, learn from them.  How could you have handled the situation better?  Do that the next time.  And you know there WILL be a next time.  Since she saw it upset you this time, she will do it again & again unless you let her know it doesn’t upset you anymore.
  • Take care of your emotional & physical health.  Dealing with any narcissist can take a toll on you, but perhaps none more than your own mother.  If you know you have to see her on Monday, take time on Sunday to relax, to pray, to strengthen yourself in preparation for the visit the following day.
  • Check your motives for staying in this relationship on a regular basis.  Are you doing so because it feels right in your heart, after much prayer?  Or, are you doing so because you’re afraid she’ll tell people you’re a bad daughter or she’ll start some kind of trouble for you?  If your motives are good for you, then you know you’re doing the right thing, even if it is painful sometimes.

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Being Feminine Or Masculine

Since I’m female as are the majority of my readers, I’ll write this directed mostly at the ladies, but the information is important for you gentlemen as well.

Narcissistic mothers love to destroy everything they can about their children, right down to destroying their femininity or masculinity.

I’ve always liked so many of the stereotypical girly things along with some more masculine things (like cars) & while growing up, my mother criticized me for them.  I wasn’t feminine enough because I preferred cars to baby dolls, but I was too girly for liking soft, feminine clothing.  I wasn’t really allowed to wear anything too feminine either, & my mother had to approve all my clothes until I moved out.

The result was stifled femininity.  It’s only been the last few years I’ve been letting my feminine side come out, & I feel so much more comfortable!

Can you relate?  Did your narcissistic mother try to destroy your femininity too?

If so, Dear Reader, I’d like to encourage you to take back your femininity!  You won’t regret it!

While I realize some women are naturally less “girly” than others, & there is nothing wrong with that, I’d like to encourage you to take back your femininity as well.  Whatever your level of femininity, it’s yours, & you need to be in control of it, not your abusive narcissistic mother!

So how do you take it back?

For me, I started paying attention to how I felt about feminine things.  I realized some things were more attractive to me when I ignored my mother’s views on femininity.  As an example, my mother only thinks clear, soft pink or mauve nail polish is appropriate.  I started experimenting with other colors.  I now wear almost every color except yellow, red or orange & only because they aren’t good colors for me.  Wearing so many different colors is something I enjoy.

I also realized the stereotypical masculine things I like don’t detract from my femininity.  I love classic cars & drag racing.  I also have no trouble fixing my own car when need be.  I don’t think this affects my femininity at all.  There is nothing wrong with being diverse in your interests!  (Besides, knowing how to fix my car means if I have car trouble, I can make it home, which isn’t a bad thing at all.)

Lastly, I thought about what being a woman, especially a feminine woman, means to me which is what I strive to be.  I think a woman is:

  • Caring
  • Nurturing
  • Generous
  • Loving
  • Helpful
  • Empathetic
  • Encouraging
  • Has integrity
  • Open minded
  • Doesn’t compromise her principles
  • Willing to work hard when needed
  • Has the wisdom to know when she needs to help others & when to step back
  • Appreciates softness
  • Appreciates beauty in all forms
  • Takes care of herself & her appearance
  • Maintains a clean, inviting, cozy home
  • Is always there for her husband, children & others in her life that she loves
  • Is self-sufficient but not too proud to ask for help when needed

Now it’s your turn- what does being a woman (or man) mean to you?

I hope this helps you to let the wonderful man or woman inside you come out!  God made you the way you are for a reason, so why shouldn’t you enjoy every aspect of yourself?

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Why Don’t People Care About The Feelings, Needs & Wants Of Children Of Narcissistic Parents?

I’ve realized just recently that all my life, many people have acted like my happiness means absolutely nothing.  It’s like they think I am here to serve, & do so without any feelings or needs of my own.

When I broke up with my ex husband before marrying him a few months later, many people told me I should go back with him because he was miserable without me.  Not one person cared how miserable I was with him, however.

When my father was in the hospital a few years ago, & my mother wouldn’t tell his family or friends, I did via facebook.  (I also provided my parents’ phone number & asked people to tell other relatives what was happening.)  There are a lot of us Baileys, & I don’t have many people’s phone numbers or emails, so facebook was simply the easiest way for me to reach the most people.  One person called my father in the hospital & told him I was a “spoiled little brat” for not calling her personally about this matter.  Other people got upset & chewed me out for using facebook instead of calling them personally.  No one got mad at my mother for failing to tell them anything, even though it was her responsibility to do so.  No one took into consideration the anxiety I was under daily or how exhausted (mentally & physically) I was.

There have been countless times over the years I was going to spend time with a friend & that friend either stood me up or ran very late, without letting me know what was happening, causing me to wait & worry about them.  When I finally did contact them (mind you they didn’t contact me!), no apology was given or any sign that they felt guilty at all for wasting my time or disappointing me.

Do any of these situations sound somewhat familiar to you?

I am reasonably sure that these kinds of situations happen quite a bit to those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents.  The only reason I can come up with is because we are groomed from day one to be subservient.   Our narcissistic parents firmly believe (& instill the belief in us) that we are put on this earth to take care of & please our narcissistic parent with absolutely no regard to our own feelings, wants or needs.  As we grow up, naturally that relationship stays this way, but we extend this dysfunctional role to include others.  Because we believe this is what we are supposed to do, we show others that we believe we deserve to be used & ignore ourselves.  Often even good people will treat us the way we believe we deserve to be treated simply because it’s natural to treat people how you see they expect to be treated, good or bad.

By saying this, please don’t think I’m saying we get what we deserve when people mistreat or use us!  Not by any stretch.  It’s still on an individual to control his/her behavior.  Ultimately, it is the other person’s fault if they are abusive, period.

To deal with this super annoying problem, I have found that getting healthier & increasing my self esteem has done wonders.  I think because I no longer give off that “It’s ok to abuse me” energy.  As I’ve gotten healthier & my self esteem improved, I no longer have any patience for being abused, & I think people pick up on that.

Prayer is extremely helpful as well.  Asking God how to deal appropriately with people who want to abuse me & how to set & enforce healthy boundaries has helped to give me wisdom & strength in bad situations.

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The Narcissistic Apology

Narcissists rarely apologize for anything, but when they do, you can be certain it isn’t a genuine apology.

A genuine apology doesn’t include excuses. Someone who is genuinely sorry for their actions won’t say you made them act that way. That person also will try to change their ways as they don’t want to hurt you like that again.

All of these are foreign concepts to the narcissist.

Narcissists hate to admit they are wrong, & will go to great lengths to avoid it. They will offer excuses as to why what they did was not their fault, or even blame you for making them do what they did. They love to offer the passive/aggressive type of apology- “I’m sorry you feel that way.” “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong/unfair/hurtful.” All of these actions show that the narcissist is not genuinely sorry for what she did. Most likely, she doesn’t care that she hurt you & only cares that she accomplished whatever it was she wanted to accomplish.

I also realized recently another trick of the narcissistic apology. My father has done this one many times & it wasn’t until recently I caught onto it. He recently apologized to me for not being there enough for me in my life. I was touched- there was no blame or excuses so I assumed it was a genuine apology.  He apologized for missing my fifth birthday because he had to travel for work. I told him it’s fine- not a big deal, it was just a birthday. He went on to say how terrible it was of him, he shouldn’t have gone on that trip. Again I said it was no big deal. I pointed out how many other birthdays he was there for. It was only one birthday. Plus he did other things for me. By the end of the conversation, he was happy.

While there are times I am more than willing to reassure someone who hurt me, this was not one of those times that was a good option. If someone accidentally hurt me once, fine. Bad things happen sometimes. But this was different. My reassurance would have been providing narcissistic supply.  Unfortunately, I realized this after the conversation, & then I felt conned into telling him he was a good father.

Whenever you hear a narcissist apologize to you, remember- it is NOT a genuine apology! Don’t get your hopes up thinking they might finally see the error of their ways & change. The narcissist’s apology is like every other thing they do- it’s only about narcissistic supply.

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Validate Yourself

Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is not an easy thing.  You go through the abuse & somehow survive, only to be victimized further by people who invalidate what you have gone through.

I have heard comments such as…

  • “That doesn’t sound so bad…”(from my high school guidance counselor, referring to my mother screaming at me for hours in my teen years)
  • “You just need to understand her better.”
  • “Nobody’s perfect!”
  • “You need to fix things with your parents.  Get into counseling!”
  • “You need to work things out with your parents.  They won’t be around forever yanno!”
  • (from a different counselor after meeting my mother) “I can’t see you anymore- you’re a terrible daughter!”
  • “You need to find things you have in common with your parents!”
  • “You’re too negative!”
  • “I can’t believe they are that bad!”
  • “Are you even sure that happened?  That’s a pretty serious accusation.”
  • Various excuses as to why my narcissistic parents or mother in-law treated me so poorly such as she isn’t intelligent (she isn’t educated- big difference), her mother in-law didn’t like her, etc.
  • Laughing at my story of being abused.

After hearing such things, I felt victimized all over again.

Victim blaming is very common in today’s society, so it’s not surprising these cruel words & more are said to victims of narcissistic abuse daily.

Unfortunately I don’t believe there is any way to avoid them entirely.  All you can do is use wisdom on who you share your story with.  Even when you do this, sometimes people may hurt you by invalidating your pain.

The fact is though that you can validate yourself.  You can heal from narcissistic abuse even if there is no one to support you but God.

To do this, you need to lean on God.  Talk to Him about how you feel.  He can handle it all & wants to be there for you!  Let Him be!

As for you.. you need to trust that what happened was bad.  Admit it to yourself.  No more excuses, no more telling yourself you’re oversensitive or weak.  Narcissistic abuse permeates every part of a person’s being.  It can destroy one’s self-esteem, perception of reality or even sanity.  It is nothing to take lightly!   If you’re having trouble with this, write your story out.  When I wrote my autobiography “Emerging from the Chrysalis” a few years ago, it was hard.  Very hard.  For the first time, I realized just how bad the abuse I have survived really was.  Yet, as hard as it was to see things in black & white, it was very freeing too.  It gave me a new perspective.  I realized I’m a very strong person.  I also realized God must love me a great deal to have gotten me through all of that.  It also helped me to see my parents as they truly are, instead of making excuses for their behavior or thinking I was the one with the problems- I really wasn’t oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into things, etc.  They have some serious problems & one of those problems is NOT me!

Once you are able to accept the truth about what you have gone through, healing will come.  You will grieve, you will be angry, but these are necessary steps to freedom from narcissistic abuse.  And, the more you validate yourself & heal, the less other people’s invalidation will bother you.  I’m not saying it won’t hurt sometimes- it’s only human to be hurt when your pain is trivialized- but it won’t devastate you as it once did.

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Should Narcissistic Parents Reap What They Sow?

Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

Have you ever thought about how this Scripture applies to your narcissistic parents?

It seems to me that many adult children of narcissistic parents try to interrupt this natural event.  Many refuse to discuss the abuse they endured when they should be more concerned about the damage done to them than their parents’ reputations.  Others spend their entire lives trying to please the unpleasable narcissistic parent instead of setting healthy boundaries & ignoring the personal costs to themselves.  Still others will move their elderly narcissistic parent into their home, allow her to upset every member of the household & face no consequences for her actions.

Narcissistic parents train their children very well in many ways, but possibly the most impressive area is when they train them to take care of their parents at any & all costs.  No sacrifice is too big for many children of narcissistic parents. even though the parent acts as if no sacrifice is big enough.

This is not good!  People learn from reaping what they sow, which is why God wants us to reap what we sow.  And yes, even narcissists can learn from consequences.  They need to have consequences if there is to be any hope of them changing.  Giving them consequences is also good for you, because it breaks the unhealthy, dysfunctional patterns you have lived in for so long.

I know it can be hard to unlearn the lifetime of training you received from your narcissistic parent, but it can be done.  First & foremost, ask God for help.  Ask Him to show you what you need to do & how to do it & for the courage to do this.

When situations arise, remind yourself of the truth.  For example, the truth is that it’s not your job to protect your narcissistic mother’s reputation!  If someone asks you something about your mother & the truth isn’t necessarily pretty, tell the truth.  I’m not saying be disrespectful, bashing her, or calling her names of course, but you can tell the truth in a matter of fact way, even if the truth isn’t pretty.

Another situation could be when your narcissistic mother is elderly & in need of care.  The truth is it is up to you whether or not you are her caregiver.  Many adult children of narcissists don’t help their elderly parents & have peace about their decision while others feel the same peace about caring for them full or part time.  It is a very individual choice that only you can make.  (If you opt not to do hands on care, though, I would recommend helping them to find proper help. There are many great resources out there that can offer help through your local Department of Aging.)

Also, I have noticed that feelings are no exception to this rule of reaping what you sow.  My feelings have dwindled greatly for my parents after a lifetime of narcissistic abuse.  I used to beat myself up for this, telling myself I was a terrible person & a terrible daughter.  During prayer one day though, God told me they are reaping what they have sown, & I’m not a terrible person.  They haven’t sown many good, loving seeds with me so they are reaping a harvest of indifference in some ways from me.  It  is completely normal to feel the way I do.  If you feel the same, please know that you are normal!

Dear Reader, I urge you to let your narcissistic parents reap what they sow.  They won’t like it, but if God allows certain things to happen to them, it must be for a reason.   Let Him allow what He knows is best to happen.

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Stop Expecting Perfection From Yourself

I think all adult children of narcissists do is we expect perfection from ourselves, especially where our narcissistic mothers are concerned.

Once we learn about NPD, we become more aware of our narcissistic mother’s tactics.  We seem to think once we are more aware, we should never fall for her tactics again, we shouldn’t slip up or go along with her games.  Now, we know better & that will not happen ever again!

If only!

While that sounds good in theory, there are going to be times we slip up.  We’re only human after all, & we’ll make mistakes.

I’m not immune to this either.  I wish I was.

The last time my parents visited, I tried to distract my mother from some nastiness by showing her a tote I just crocheted.  I created the pattern myself & thought it turned out pretty.  So have others who have seen it. Plus, she loves crocheting- she’d just mentioned it a moment before, which is why I thought of my bag.  All she could say when she saw it was to ask what it’s for.  I said for shopping.  Then she said “I’ve seen women using purses that size- they’re going to regret it when their backs hurt later in life!”  I mentally kicked myself at this point.  How could I be so stupid?!  I designed it & it turned out well- of course she would have something nasty to say & to distract from my project!  I don’t think she’s ever created a pattern, I’ve created several- it’s natural for her as a narcissist to trash what I’ve done.

This happens all too often, & also too often, I beat myself up for failing.  I write about narcissism- I should know better!  People want to read what my experiences are & how I handle things, & it’s embarrassing to admit how often I screw up.  People expect better out of me because of what I write about.  How can they look to me for answers when I make so many mistakes??

I realized a few things though, & I pray sharing them with you will help you to stop beating yourself up like it is helping me.

Learning about narcissism is a fantastic thing.  It really can help you to become aware of what is truly abusive behavior & even ways to avoid it.  The fact is though, that learning about it isn’t a cure all.  If you still have a relationship with your narcissistic mother, there still will be times she hurts you or manipulates or controls you.  Thankfully those times will be less, but they still will happen occasionally.  When they do, you need to NOT beat yourself up over it!

Dealing with a narcissist is never an easy thing.  They are masters of gaslighting.  They are also masters of reading people & abuse.  If they realize one abusive tactic isn’t working, they’ll simply pull another out of their bottomless bag of evil tricks.  There is no end to the evil things they can do.  How can you expect to handle them perfectly when many times, they surprise you with their outrageous & hurtful actions?  Besides, your narcissistic mother has had your entire life to train you to behave as she wants.  You’ve only known about NPD a comparatively short while.  How can your brief time of knowledge compete with a lifetime of training?

You are NOT perfect!  If you were, you wouldn’t need Jesus.  Accept the fact you are going to make mistakes sometimes, even where your mother is concerned.  It’s ok! If you’re having trouble with this, ask God to help you.  He will help you to stop being so hard on yourself.

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If You Don’t Think Narcissistic Abuse Is So Bad, Then Read This

There are so many people who think growing up abused by a narcissistic parent isn’t a big deal, we need to get over it, stop wallowing in the past & feeling sorry for ourselves.  Today’s post is for them.

And, Dear Reader, if this post doesn’t describe you, feel free to show this to those in your life it describes if you think it will help them to understand just how destructive & evil it is.

Below are some of the problems that narcissistic abuse can cause.  If you have not been the victim of narcissistic abuse, I hope you thank God at the end of this list that you don’t have to live with these problems.  I live with every single one, & it is extremely hard.

Constant self doubt.  Narcissists are experts at gaslighting (distorting reality) which leads victims to doubt themselves constantly.  Narcissists state what they say as if it was the gospel truth, & when a person hears something, especially something said so confidently, over & over, they tend to believe it.  Even if it is something they can see clearly & plenty of evidence points to what they see is right, they learn to doubt their perception of reality & believe the narcissist.  Even once away from the narcissist, they tend to believe other people over themselves due to not trusting their own perceptions & feelings.

— Low self-esteem.  Since insecurity is at the root of narcissism, narcissists love to make others feel as badly about themselves as they do.  No matter how beautiful, talented, compassionate or intelligent you are, by the time a narcissist is done with you, you’ll be convinced you are the ugliest, most selfish, useless & stupid person ever to live.  Any shred of self-esteem is destroyed, & done so in such as way as not to be obvious.  Narcissists rarely tell you outright you’re stupid, for example.  Instead they prefer to imply it. ( “A smart person would’ve known that!”)  That way, if you confront them, they can reply with something like, “I never said you were stupid!”
“I don’t know where you get these ideas of yours.” ” You’re reading into things!” or something similar.  Gaslighting at its finest…

Anger.  It’s only natural that after living through narcissistic abuse, you’ll be angry.  It’s unfair, destructive & hurtful.  Then those who you tell often invalidate your pain or don’t believe you, because they are fooled by the narcissist’s “good guy” act.  Anger is very normal under the circumstances.

— Self destructive or self harming behaviors.   Many people who survive abuse do things that are self-destructive.  They can make poor choices such as choosing abusive romantic partners, or they can engage in binge eating or cutting.

— Dissociation.  Dissociation is a survival skill that many people use to get through traumatic events.  Women who were raped often describe it as feeling as if they left their body while the attack was happening.  When you are abused, you often dissociate.  I thought I was just day dreaming all my life, but I later learned I’ve been dissociating all this time.  Sometimes I just get lost in my own mind & emotionally pull away from those around me.  It often happens during traumatic situations, but sometimes it does not.  It just happens out of the blue.

— Depression.  Depression is very common as well.  It’s hard to be happy when you feel like an utter failure, when you are certain everything you do/feel/think is wrong & when all you hear about is your faults.  Sometimes, the depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts.  Yes, it really can be that bad.  I spent much of my life suicidal as a result of narcissistic abuse.

— Guilt.  Even knowing a lot about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there are still times that I feel guilty for disappointing my narcissistic mother.  She is obviously disappointed I’m an author, she hates my house, car & that I haven’t “given her grandchildren”, & is even embarrassed by the fact I don’t speak to my in-laws (narcissistic mother in-law- I can’t deal with her verbal abuse).  In spite of the fact I know these things are all right for me, occasionally, I feel guilty for disappointing my mother.  This is typical.  Children raised by narcissists feel responsible for everything, & that includes the happiness of their narcissistic mother.  If they disappoint her, not only do they face her rage, but also the guilt for “failing”.  Unfortunately this means they carry the guilt into their adult lives, so even when they know better, sometimes they still can feel guilty when they shouldn’t.

— Attracting abusive people.  Once you have been abused, it seems like other abusers seek you out.  Being beaten down so badly by a narcissist is no exception.  Other narcissists will see you as a potential victim.  Thankfully, the more you heal, the less this happens, but it still happens periodically even when you have been focused on your healing for a long time.  You end up being on your guard when meeting new people or else you fall back into old, dysfunctional habits.

— Aches, pains & illnesses.  Have you ever noticed that most narcissists are quite healthy, yet their victims are often sick?  I believe this is because of stress.  Narcissists rarely feel stressed, as they put everything unpleasant on others.  Their victims, however, are under constant stress because they must appease the narcissist & anticipate her needs 24/7 at any personal cost or else face her volatile  rage.  Ongoing extreme stress causes a multitude of health problems such as high blood pressure, heart or kidney disease or even diabetes.  And, depression can cause aches & pains with no physical cause.

— C-PTSD.  Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is very common among victims of narcissistic abuse.  The ongoing, constant trauma of gaslighting, verbal abuse & the rest of the evil that is narcissistic abuse can cause physical changes in the brain which results in C-PTSD.  Basically, this means your body is in a constant state of fear.  Pete Walker, author of “Complex PTSD: From Surviving To Thriving” states that we have a fear reflex of fight, flight, freeze or faun.  Living in a constant state of fear means you will have one of those responses, like it or not, when fear is triggered.  For example, when my mother tries to control me as she did when I was a child, my natural reaction is faun- I do as she says & ignore my own anger at this unfair treatment.  It takes conscious effort on my part not to behave this way.  Plus, C-PTSD includes extreme anxiety, depression, flashbacks, damaged short term memory, sleep problems, nightmares & hyper-vigilance (an extreme awareness of your surroundings & potential danger).  I have had C-PTSD since 2012, & frankly, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Living with the symptoms every day is sheer torture.

I would hope after reading this that your eyes are now opened to the truth about narcissistic abuse.  It *is* a big deal.  It *does* change your life.  It has nothing to do with not getting over things or self-pity.   The symptoms are a normal result to very abnormal circumstances.

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About Control Tactics Of Narcissists

I realized something interesting during a recent visit with my parents that I thought I should share with you, Dear Readers.

My mother has become increasingly controlling lately.  My father wanted to visit me alone recently, & she told him & I both that “his days of doing that are over.”  She comes along, period.  My father has some serious health problems & was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so you might think this is a caring gesture on her part, not to let him drive or be out alone.  However- he goes to his doctor appointments alone, because she claims he won’t let her go with him.  So obviously, this is about control, not concern for his well being.

As she has seen her tactics working with him, she is attempting to be more controlling of me as well.  They day my parents came by my home, she started showing this before they left their house.  She called on their way out to tell me I needed to be waiting outside for her so we could go to lunch.  I needed to watch for her car to drive past then go outside (from their place, you have to drive past my house, go to the next traffic light & make a U turn then drive about 1/4 of a mile to get to me).  I listened to her give me my orders & promptly ignored them.  I’m 44 years old- too old to be bossed around by my mother!  While they were at my house later, she tried little things to let me know she was in charge.  For example, I always sit on my love seat, usually alone or with a couple of cats around me.  She insisted on sitting beside me, crowding me a bit.  She is very fond of stealing my seat- I think it gives her a feeling of power, like if she sits there, it means she’s now in charge in my home.

By the time they left, I was livid.  Livid how she treats my father then complains to me how she doesn’t understand why he thinks she’s “bossy” (Seriously?!).  Livid she thought it was acceptable to treat me more like the hired help than her daughter.  And to be honest, still angry that I can’t tell her about my own health problems I’ve had for six months & expect any empathy or understanding.

Later when speaking with my husband about the visit, I had a thought.  Since my father is now even more under her control, I think it has given her a tremendous amount of confidence, & she thinks she can control me as well.  She fails to realize just because he is weaker now doesn’t mean I am as well.  Looking back over my life, it seems like when she increased her control over one of us, the other one had to suffer with more control as well.  I wish I’d realized this sooner!  I would have been more prepared for her control games on her last visit if I had.  Instead, I was taken by surprise.

I don’t know for sure if other overt narcissists are this way or not, but I would guess some are since so many narcissists use very similar means of abuse.

Pay attention to your narcissistic mother, Dear Reader!  If she is able to control your father (or a sibling or a friend or anyone) more lately, you may be next in line.  Remember to keep & strictly enforce your boundaries!  Don’t give her an inch no matter what, or she’ll take a mile (or ten…).  Protect yourself & never let her control anything about you.  You do not need to be controlled by anyone!

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On “Allowing” Narcissists To Abuse You

Have you ever heard that you allowed someone to abuse you, that you gave that person your power or some similar statement that blames you for being abused?

I don’t understand why people feel the need to say such invalidating, cruel things!

While yes, you can stop some abusive actions, you can’t stop them all, especially when it comes to narcissistic abuse.  It is an exceptionally complex type of abuse.

Narcissists tear down their victims, & often make them believe they are getting what they deserve or the narcissist is doing what she does for the victim’s benefit.  Growing up with my narcissistic mother, she had me convinced that she was a good mother, always doing what was best for me.  When her abuse hit its peak when I was 17, she said she was “exercising tough love on me in order to save me from myself.”  I fought back verbally, protected myself from her physical attacks, told her she was hurting me, & more but nothing improved.  In fact, things got worse.   It was much the same with my ex husband.  The worse our marriage got, the more I tried to please him or stop him from being so hurtful, & the worse things got.  He became meaner & more degrading.

How can anyone think I allowed this, that I gave these people power over me?

Dear Reader, I’m sure your situation is much like mine.  You have been a victim of narcissistic abuse, & certainly not by choice.  Maybe you grew up with a narcissistic parent (or 2) or have been married to a narcissistic spouse & unable to afford to move out.  You probably even tried to please your abuser but nothing helped.

These situations are terrible, but not because you did something wrong.  They are terrible because the actions of narcissistic people are terrible, period.  Never let someone make you feel as if you are to blame for being the victim of a narcissist.  You did nothing to deserve it, it is not your fault for making the narcissist abuse you & no one can stop them  from abusing.  (Setting boundaries & enforcing them definitely helps a great deal, but it won’t stop them entirely.)  Narcissists abuse because it makes them feel better about themselves, providing that narcissistic supply, not because it has something to do with the victim or what the victim does.

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Children- The Possession Of The Narcissistic Parents

To most parents, children are thought of as a blessing.  The parents watch with fascination as their baby grows into a young woman with her own likes, dislikes, talents, beliefs, feelings & calling in her life.  It is a blessing to them when she grows up & leaves home, as difficult as that may be for them at first.  Even though it can be hard, they embrace this new direction their life as a parent is going & enjoy it.

This is not the case with a narcissistic parent.  Not even close.

Narcissistic parents view their children as possessions.  Possessions to be used however the narcissistic parent sees fit.  Many narcissistic mothers tell their child what & when to eat, what courses to take in school, what career to get into once she’s out of school… this leads to a child who is very insecure.  How can she think for herself if she was not even allowed to decide whether or not she’s hungry?  How can she get to know what she wants if she isn’t even able to choose what courses to take in school?

As this child grows up, she feels unable to make decisions.  It’s not like she ever had practice at it growing up like most kids get.  I have been the same way, & it can be frustrating!  Mostly I have gotten over this but still there are times I simply cannot make a decision, even about something silly like what I want for dinner.

This takes time to conquer.  It takes time to heal & to get to know yourself too, which are the things that will help you in this area.  Even so, don’t give up!  Just keep on, keepin’ on.  You can heal from this!

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse?

I have been asked quite a few times how long it takes to recover fully from narcissistic abuse. I believe it to be a lifelong battle, unfortunately. However, I don’t want to discourage you with that, because there is good news. Although it can be a lifelong battle, it does get easier!

You will stumble sometimes, but even so, you are constantly getting stronger as you heal. The more wisdom you gain about NPD & the effects of its abuse, the more strength it gives you. You finally realize it wasn’t your fault, & that you’re suffering the normal effects of abnormal treatment.

The dark times of depression come less frequently & don’t last as long when they come.

There are times you feel stuck, as if you are always going to be depressed, anxious, or feel like you’re going crazy. But, the longer you have been healing, the less frequently those times happen. They, like depression, won’t last as long on the rare occasions when they happen.

Your self-esteem soars. Sure, sometimes you may backslide into feeling like the worthless piece of garbage your narcissistic mother always said you were, but at least that isn’t how you constantly feel anymore. They’re merely fleeting moments. When you realize this dysfunctional thinking is happening, you remind yourself that isn’t true. Healthy self-esteem also stops the dysfunctional people-pleasing at your own expense ways many children of narcissistic parents possess.

You try to practice good self-care rituals- prayer, relaxing activities, participating in fun hobbies. Granted, sometimes you let your schedule get too busy, but the healthier you become, the quicker you are to realize this mistake & make the appropriate changes.

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to change how you think about your recovery. While it may be a lifelong battle with no definite end, try to focus instead on the good that comes during your healing. Focus on each baby step, every bit of progress you make. Your narcissistic mother tried to destroy you, but she didn’t! You are like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Little by little, you are getting healthier & happier. Maybe right now you aren’t where you want to be, & feel like you have a long way to go. How about instead focusing on how far you have come? You are no longer that wounded, dysfunctional little child, but instead are a grown woman who is getting stronger & healthier each day!

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Healing Changes Relationships With Narcissists

Healing from narcissistic abuse is good for you.  You learn & you grow.  You become more peaceful & happier. You become well equipped to deal with abusive & narcissistic people when they cross your path.

I’ve noticed that something else happens- the narcissistic parent doesn’t really know what to do with you.  Narcissists simply have no clue what to do with someone they can’t control.

I was thinking lately about the relationships with various narcissists I’ve had in my life.  The healthier I got, the more they changed.  One dumped me, claiming I lied to her when I hadn’t (in fact, she lied to me many times).  Another suddenly became a victim when I refused to put up with her games, even sending her daughter to verbally attack me.  Even the relationship with my parents has changed drastically.

It used to be that my parents would call me often.  My mother daily, my father a few times a week.  We got together often, usually going to lunch or dinner.  Then I started learning about narcissism & healing from its abuse.  The communication became less & less frequent.  Now, I honestly don’t remember the last time I went out with my parents.  The last time we spent a lot of time together was when my father was in the hospital last December.  They came to my home to visit me in April just before my birthday, but since my mother was behaving so poorly & I felt sick, I made them leave after only a short visit.  As for the phone calls?  My mother called me once asking me to look something up on my computer for her (my parents don’t own one) & couldn’t get off the phone fast enough, then called a second time earlier this week for about half an hour.  My father calls about once every week or two now, & the calls never last more than about 10-15 minutes where they used to last at least 30.

I had decided on going limited contact with my parents quite some time ago, but apparently healing has made this happen anyway.  I think that’s pretty cool!

Healing has been tremendously helpful not only for me, but also in the relationship with my parents.  Not only do I have to deal with them less often now, but they have moments of being civil with me now since I won’t tolerate the nastiness anymore.  As narcissists, I know they’ll never be respectful like most people are, so I think of these moments when they’re civil as progress.  It’s more than I  ever expected.

Granted, there are times when a narcissistic mother will become enraged by her daughter’s healing.  She will lie about her daughter so she can cut her out of her life without anyone questioning it.  However, it doesn’t always happen this way.  Sometimes, what has happened with my parents happens with other narcissistic parents as well.

Dear Reader, I want to encourage you today.  If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic mother, continue to focus on your healing.   It will benefit you immensely & it will change how she relates to you.  It may improve your relationship with her as it has mine.  At the very least, you can be sure she won’t attempt to control you so much, because she knows she can’t.  The interesting part about that is although it will make her angry, she won’t be able to take it out on you.  You’re doing nothing wrong, so she has no reason to rage unless she wants to look foolish, & we all know narcissists will do anything to avoid looking foolish.  She may give you the silent treatment, but that isn’t such a bad scenario- it gives you a break from her drama for a while!

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Disliking Birthdays & Holidays

Recently I was talking with one of my readers about holidays. She mentioned Mother’s Day in particular, & said how much she hates the day. Obviously, she has a narcissistic mother. Anyway, she said she has been working on changing her attitude & focusing on enjoying the day with her children, because she doesn’t like feeling this way about the holiday. It hasn’t gone well. Even after several pleasant Mother’s Days, she still isn’t a fan of the day, & felt guilty about her “failure.”

From my experience, I have seen this as a pretty common scenario for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers. Not just with Mother’s Day, but birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or other special days.

I’m no different. After countless awful birthdays, Christmases, & Thanksgivings, I couldn’t care less about those days. I have tried to enjoy my birthday at least, celebrating with friends each year for the last few years. It has been fun, until this year when I was sick & unable to celebrate. Also, my husband wasn’t able to leave work early like he was supposed to be able to do. We were going to spend the day together. Instead, I wasted my day waiting on him to come home instead of enjoying myself. My old feelings of wanting to ignore my birthday came back with a vengeance as a result, & I realized it may be permanent this time.

While aiming to have a positive attitude about days that have been bad for you is certainly a good thing, I’ve come to realize that sometimes, the best you can do is learn not to hate the day. I don’t mean to sound negative, just realistic.

I’ve heard that it takes ten praises to eliminate the negative effects of one criticism. Honestly, I think it takes more. I also think that bad holidays are much like that- it takes a lot of really pleasant holidays to change your negative feelings. I also think that one negative one thrown in with the good ones can hinder changing how you feel. It can set you back.

The reason I am telling you this, Dear Reader, is so that you won’t feel guilty like the lady I mentioned at the beginning of this post if your attitude isn’t better. Unfortunately this happens sometimes due to bad experiences, & beating yourself up about how you feel won’t help you improve your attitude! If anything, it only makes it worse.

So, Dear Reader, if you are dreading holidays or your birthday, I truly wish you the best with learning to enjoy those special days! I pray you will be able to do so! However, if you are unable to, please don’t beat yourself up over it! Unfortunately it happens sometimes. Just know you are not alone in how you feel. xoxo

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Narcissists Are Murderers

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you learn quickly that narcissists are murderers. Maybe not in the typical sense of the word as in they don’t try to shoot you, stab you or run you over with their cars but they are murderers nonetheless. They try to kill the person you are & recreate you into the person they want you to be- blindly obedient, enabling, having no needs, wants or feelings of your own. Basically, a robot here only to do their twisted will.

Once you escape the abuse, a part of your healing should be discovering the person God has created you to be. After all, He made you the way He did for a specific reason which is infinitely more valuable & important than the narcissist’s reasons for trying to turn you into a robot.

God made you to have a special place in this world, blessing others & enjoying being who you are. The narcissist’s only reason for trying to destroy that & remold you into what she wants is selfish- to enable her dysfunctional & abusive behavior. Isn’t it worth shedding the narcissist’s image of you & embracing the person God made you to be?

Rediscovering yourself, or discovering yourself for the first time, is not easy when you are accustomed to being the narcissist’s robot, but it is worth the effort. It also is fun, learning about yourself. Just start paying more attention to your feelings on things- do you like that or not? Are you drawn to things you never were allowed to pay attention to before? Then why not explore those things now? What do you have to lose?

Last February when I got very sick, it really caused me to re-evaluate my life. In my thirties, I tried to discover myself. I made some progress, but I abandoned the effort many times though, slipping back into old, dysfunctional habits. While recovering though, I realized I didn’t want to die knowing I had wasted my life being the person the narcissists in my life had tried to make me into. I didn’t like that person at all. So, I started exploring things that sounded appealing to me. I bought some clay & tried making various items. I tried felting. I also got back into drawing- something I loved to do as a child, but got away from. I feel much more peaceful & more confident doing things just for myself for the first time. I have become more self-confident, even when dealing with my narcissistic parents- I speak up to them more often now when I didn’t used to do so at all. (Using wisdom of course, as many times speaking back to narcissists only causes more problems since they can’t handle criticism or confrontation). I have also begun to take better care of myself & be more understanding & forgiving with myself.

Unfortunately, I also have been slipping back into the old, dysfunctional habits! It’s so frustrating! Like all emotional healing, it’s not a straight uphill path, but a windy one with a few big potholes. One thing helped me a lot, & that was a video I saw on facebook. It’s of Trace Adkins in the movie “Moms Night Out” talking to a lady about her feelings of not being good enough. Watching this brief video was eye opening to me, & I will be watching it over & over again to help keep me on track. I hope it blesses & helps you as it did me, Dear Reader. xoxo

http://countryrebel.com/blogs/videos/18335687-trace-adkins-in-moms-night-out-scene-god-s-love-for-moms-watch?a=vl&var=GodsLoveForMoms-DUCKYEAH

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It’s All About Them, Not You

The more I learn about narcissism, the more clearly I see one thing- everything is about the narcissist.  Every single little thing can be traced back to benefiting them in some way.

While their victims feel attacked, invalidated & abused (& truly, they are), the fact is that was not the main goal of the narcissist.  Their goal instead was to do something to make them feel better.

Insulting you makes the narcissist feel better.  It builds her up to insult you.

Gaslighting you gives her control, which provides her with narcissistic supply by making her feel powerful.

Seeing you angry or crying also makes her feel powerful.

Although many people think narcissists don’t know they are hurting others, they do.  Sometimes they actually feel guilty about it.  When that happens, & they try to pretend they didn’t do that bad thing, or find ways to justify their  abusive actions, although it hurts you, that was not their goal.  Their goal was to appease their own guilt.  They don’t care that you were hurt, so long as they feel less guilty.

Never ever forget that every single thing a narcissist does is all about her.  Even if she is helping you, it isn’t to be a blessing to you- it is to make her feel good about herself for being so generous & kind.

If you are dealing with a narcissist in your life, you need to remember this fact about them.  It will help you tremendously.  Remembering that what they do isn’t personal will help you not to be as hurt or angry when they do things to you.  Sure, there will be some times that you feel hurt or angry no matter what, you’re human after all, but at least if you keep this in mind, those times won’t be your norm anymore.

Remembering that it’s all about them will help you to keep your focus on how to best deal with this person rather than getting caught up in emotions.  It’s very hard to try to deal with a narcissist when all you want to do is cry or smack them.  If you can keep your emotions in check, it is much easier for logic & wisdom to function.  It’s also easier for you to remember to pray & to hear God’s voice clearly as He guides you in how to deal with this person.

The next time the narcissist in your life hurts you, I encourage you to tell yourself- it’s all about her!  This isn’t personal,even though it feels personal.  It truly will help you!

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Retroactive Justification & Other Dysfunctional Coping Skills Of Narcissists.

My mother recently ended her silent treatment.  She barely spoke to me for several months, & as usual, I don’t know why.

It was an interesting conversation to say the least.  Among things she said, she asked me if my ex husband ever hit me & I said he did, once.  She never asked how badly I was hurt, just said if she would’ve known she would’ve called a lawyer.  (*sigh*  She did know- she saw me all bruised immediately after it happened & made sure I knew she didn’t care in the least.)  Then she said, “His family was really religious though, weren’t they?”  I said no, his mother was.  “So it was his father that was abusive!”  Not really- more neglectful than anything & wasn’t there much since he was an over the road  trucker.  She went on to say no one should be abused, it’s not fair to abuse people, abusers are bad people & other drivel.

Later that night, I’d been thinking of this part of the conversation & wondering why she was trying to justify my ex’s actions.  I couldn’t come up with an answer for that one.  But, I do believe that she was saying he was a bad person to justify why she abused me so badly when I wanted to date him when we were teens.  In her mind, if he was a bad person, she was right in doing the horrible things she did to me in an attempt to keep me away from him.  She used to tell me back then that she was saving me from myself, & probably this could reassure her that it was true.  I thought of this as a sort of retroactive justification for her crazy, abusive behavior

As my narcissistic parents have gotten older, I believe they are trying to cope with their abusive actions.  Normal people would see the error of their ways, & apologize. They may even do something to try to make it up to their victim.  Narcissists however, do nothing of the sort.  They find alternate coping skills, because they refuse to accept the fact that they made mistakes or did cruel, hurtful things.  While you hear plenty about their most common coping skills like projection, there are others you rarely, if ever, hear anything about.

Some of those lesser known dysfunctional coping skills are:

  • Retroactive justification- like my mother just did regarding my ex husband’s abuse.  Finding a reason why they were right to be abusive after the damage is done.
  • Reinventing the past into something nice- things didn’t happen the way you remember, according to the narcissist.  They happened in a much happier, more pleasant way.  My mother loves to talk about what a great mother she has been to me.
  • Denial-  “That never happened!”
  • Selective memories- Only remembering the pleasant things, never the bad.  “I don’t remember that at all…”
  • Creating excuses- “you made me do that!”  “If you wouldn’t have done ____, then I wouldn’t have had to _____”  “You were a very difficult child.”
  • Making themselves the victim-  “I tried to stop your mother from hurting you, but she wouldn’t stop.”  “He’s so much stronger than me.. there was nothing I could do to stop him.”  “It was so hard on me, what she did to you”
  • Feigning incompetence-  “I just didn’t know what to do.”
  • Feigning ignorance when they knew what was happening- “I had no idea she was doing those things to you!”
  • Constant chatter- Both of my parents are  very talkative, but especially with me.  They actually listen to others, but with me, it is pretty much non stop chatter & ignoring anything I say, especially my mother.  I believe having an audience not only provides them with the coveted narcissistic supply, but also means I won’t have a chance to ask questions about why they did the things they did.
  • Looking for comfort from you, the victim- my father is especially good at this one.  When he finds out I’m experiencing a crisis, he wants me to reassure him that I’m ok & all will be fine.  If anything comes up in conversation about abusive things my mother has done to me, it’s the same thing- he wants reassurance that I got through it ok.  Twice I tried to tell him about me having C-PTSD, & twice he changed the subject.
  • Money- my parents never were overly generous with money with me, but in the last few years, they have been very generous.  I’ve never asked my parents for help, but they have volunteered it several times during tight times for me.  I believe it’s to appease their guilt.

So how do you handle these incredibly frustrating coping skills? (And yes, you are going to have to figure this out, because narcissistic parents WILL force you to deal with them at some point.)

In my experience, I decided to let them have their coping skills rather than try to get them to face the truth.  Nothing you can say or do will give them a “light bulb” moment.  They’ll never say “You’re right!  I never should’ve done that to you!  It was wrong & I’m sorry.”  So why try?  It’ll only frustrate & hurt you.  Instead, I’ve found it’s best for me to allow them to have their dysfunction.  Besides, I know in my parents’ case, they aren’t very strong emotionally- I don’t know if they could handle facing the ugly truth about the awful things they’ve done.

While allowing them to use these coping skills, at the same time, I refuse to validate them.  My parents have often wanted me to confirm their false beliefs, & I refuse to do so.  I also refuse to acknowledge that they were incompetent, innocent, ignorant, had to do what they did, or the real victims.  I may allow them to have those false beliefs, but I refuse to validate them & participate in the dysfunction.

When my parents want comfort from me about my problems, I flatly refuse to give it.  I ignore them, or change the subject.  If it gets too bad, I’ll say, “I’m the one with the problem.  I can’t comfort you when I’m the one who’s got the problem & am trying to figure out what to do about it.”  (notice I neglect to admit I’m hurting or any feelings- this is because if I said I felt badly, it’d feed their narcissism.  They’d end up hurting me even more.  Never ever admit your feelings to a narcissist!)

As far as the incessant chatter, I’m not very talkative anyway, so it works for me not to have to create conversation.  Besides, sometimes they do have very interesting things to say.  Like most narcissists, my parents are very intelligent.  Their conversations at time can be quite interesting.  My father knows a great deal about WWII & the War Between The States.  He also was a drag racer in the 50’s-60’s.  My mother knows quite a bit about varied topics, & enjoys crafts.  I enjoy crafts too, so we can have some good chats about crafts we like.  It can be a good thing when you can just sit back & let them do the talking, because you don’t have to try to come up with topics that won’t start an argument.

Even knowing how to handle these dysfunctional behaviors, I still come away hurt or angry sometimes.  My mother discussing the time my ex hit me made me physically ill for that entire day & the next, plus triggered a flashback.  But, the good thing is this sort of thing is a rarity.  Understanding their coping skills & finding ways to cope with them means this sort of thing isn’t the norm anymore.  I no longer leave every conversation with my parents feeling devastated.  In fact, understanding these things mean I usually only feel a bit frustrated or sad that things aren’t better.  That is a thousand times better than feeling devastated or physically ill each time!

This really is about the best you can hope for when dealing with narcissistic parents.  Probably this is partly why so many people think no contact is the only answer.  While it is in many cases, sometimes no contact is impossible or not the desired result.  My prayer is information like this will help those of you still in relationship with your narcissistic parents.

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“They Did The Best They Could!”

The phrase, “They did the best they could” used to make me feel so guilty.  I felt shame for being hurt or angry about the abuse I went through at the hands of my parents & ex husband.  After all, my mother had a terrible childhood, abused by her narcissistic, evil mother & no contact with her father- how could she know how to be a good mother?  My father was in a near fatal car wreck at 15, & has had problems stemming from the brain damage since, so that must be why he never felt able to intervene with my mother abusing me.  As for the ex?  Not like his parents modeled a healthy marriage- no wonder he didn’t know how to be a husband.

I’m sure if you’ve been the victim of abuse, you have heard the same tired phrase, & had the same kind of thoughts that I had.  I think it’s only natural to think things like that under the circumstances.  Today though I want to challenge that phrase regarding how it relates to your situation.

If someone is really doing the best they can, naturally they are going to make mistakes just like anyone does.  They will apologize & try to make the wrongs right somehow if possible.  They won’t repeat that mistake over & over again, make excuses or blame you for making them do what they did.

Someone who is truly doing their best won’t hide their actions or demand someone not to tell anyone what they are doing.

They also won’t be one way behind closed doors & totally different when in public situations.

They won’t criticize your every word, thought or deed.

People who truly are doing their best don’t try to gaslight others, making people doubt their own sanity.

They will try to build you up, encouraging you to be your own person who exercises whatever talents you have, rather than deliberately tear you down, discouraging you to be the person God made you to be.

They will care about others, not only themselves, & especially their children & spouse.

Now, think about the narcissist in your life.  Does this sound like her?  If not, then you need to keep in mind that she really didn’t do the best she could!  Even if she had been abused or through hard times, that does NOT give an excuse to abuse!  If being abused made the victim become an abuser, you would be abusive.  If you think she does not know what she’s doing, then think about this- does she hide the abuse from other people, only raging at you in private?  That is a sign she knows what she is doing is wrong.

Rather than feel guilty because your narcissistic mother “did the best she could”, instead, I encourage you to have a more realistic view of her situation.  In mine for example, with my mother- yes she was abused terribly as a child.  Her mother continued abusing her as an adult.  She’s been miserable married to my father for 46 years.  I do feel sorry for her for those reasons.  However, those reasons were NOT my fault or a reason to take her frustrations, anger & hurt out on me, to expect to be able to live the life she actually wanted through me.  As her daughter, it was never my job to make her happy, although she expected that.  She also knew then & still knows how she treats me is wrong.  I know this because she always worked hard to hide her actions from everyone, including my father.

Looking at my situation logically like this has helped me to no longer feel guilty when someone says that she did the best she could.  It will help you as well.  There is no good reason for you to feel bad when some insensitive, naive person says that obnoxious phrase to you!  Don’t accept their delusion as your reality!

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Telling The Truth About Narcissistic Abuse

Growing up, I think my situation was very typical of many children who have narcissistic parents in some ways.  Mainly in one way- secrecy was of the utmost importance.  My mother never clearly said don’t tell anyone what she was doing to me, but somehow, I always knew telling would be a big mistake.

When I turned 17 & wanted to start dating, her abuse magnified.  She was losing control of me & was less than thrilled with that fact.  That is when she began to scream at me on a daily basis, making sure I spent my school & work lunch breaks with her, & she even had someone at my school report to her daily what I did during the day when she wasn’t around.  It was a bad, bad time for me.  I tried to talk a little about it to friends & even a school guidance counselor.  No one was any help, so I sought out a therapist who turned out to be even less help.  I found out I was completely on my own.

My mother often said during that time that I shouldn’t “air our dirty laundry.”  I failed to realize at the time that it was *her* dirty laundry, not mine.  I did realize though that telling the truth about the abuse she put me through was a bad thing.  When she learned I’d talked to anyone about what she did, she would rage worse than usual.  More screaming at me would follow, telling me what a terrible person I was, she was only doing what she did to help me, since I was so unreasonable she had to practice tough love on me, & more garbage.

As a result, I learned to keep quiet, not discussing what she did to me.  I lived in fear that she would learn if I’d said anything about her.  Plus, I also felt I was to blame.  I believed her lies about what a terrible person  I was.  I must have been terrible to make her treat me so badly- what other reason could there be for what she did, I thought.  Telling also felt disloyal- I felt like I was betraying my mother if I told what she did.

Eventually, I had to talk about it.  I lived through hell with her, even as an adult, & couldn’t keep it bottled up inside anymore. My emotional health was a mess.  I had to talk about it & start to heal.  It was hard to do.  For years I continued to feel guilty for “airing our dirty laundry.”  It finally clicked though a couple of years ago… I felt God wanted me to write & publish my autobiography.  That task was very daunting- once you write a book & it’s published, it’s out there for the world to see.  Having a website is one thing- my parents don’t even own a computer, plus I could take it down if I was so inclined, so that wasn’t too intimidating.  But a book?!  That was terrifying!

To write the book, I finally had to get rid of those dysfunctional thoughts about sharing what happened to me, & God helped me tremendously in doing so.  He showed me the real truth about discussing narcissistic abuse.

He showed me that talking about it isn’t being disloyal or dishonorable- it’s simply telling the facts.  I have yet to embellish anything.  I tell things as they happened.  I never try to paint my parents in a bad light, although I’m sure the stories I tell do just that since they’ve done some bad things.  I try to keep the way I phrase things as respectful as possible.

He also showed me that although I wasn’t a perfect child, I was good & I did nothing to deserve what happened to me.  I never got into trouble or did drugs.  I cut a few classes in high school (which my parents never knew about), but still maintained honor roll grades.  My worst sin was sneaking behind my mother’s back to date the man who is now my ex husband.  Granted not a good thing, but not the worst thing I could’ve done either.  I only saw him at school & work so we didn’t see each other much.

God showed me too that there is nothing my parents can do to punish me anymore.  My mother can’t show up at my job again & scream at me for the whole population of the place to see (that was humiliating!) or force me to listen to her tell me what a horrible person I am for having my own thoughts, feelings & needs.  If she tries to scream at me now, I’ll either leave, hang up on her or kick her out of my home.

Accepting these truths will help you tremendously in your healing as well as your ability to talk about what happened!

And, I found a quote that helped me tremendously in writing my autobiography.  Anne Lammont said, “You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”  It’s very true!  What happened to you at the hand of your abusive narcissistic mother is YOUR story.  You have every right to share it with anyone you like.

I believe discussing narcissistic abuse to be a calling from God.  You have to respect His calling more than fear your parents’ retribution.  You aren’t betraying them by talking about it.  You aren’t being a “bad daughter” either, so long as you share things in a respectful manner.  If you believe God wants you to share your story, then share it!  Not everyone is going to like it, but that isn’t your problem!  Sharing your story will help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse & the damage it causes.  It will encourage others who have been in similar situations.  It lets people know they aren’t alone to read stories similar to theirs.  It also helps reassure people that they aren’t crazy, bad, wrong, etc.  It wasn’t their fault, & your story can help people to learn that.

Share your story, Dear Reader, however you believe God wants you to share it!  xoxo

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

Why Adult Children Of Narcissists Date Or Marry Narcissists

Adult children of narcissists often date or marry narcissists, much to their frustration.  I did- my ex husband was quite narcissistic.  When I realized how much he was like my mother, it baffled me why I married him.  I thought I was stupid.  How could I marry someone so abusive?!  I just got away from my abusive mother a few months prior to our marriage, I & wanted peace.  How could this happen?  Looking back, I understand why this happened.  I think it was pretty normal under the circumstances.

When you grow up with at least one narcissistic parent, you have no real idea of what love truly is.  Since parents are supposed to love their children, you assume your parents love you… even when they abuse you.  You end up thinking love equals criticism, yelling, invalidation, etc.  You think people who act this way genuinely love you.  You may even avoid those with healthy boundaries & who offer praise & compassion because they are so unfamiliar to you.

Narcissists are boundary squashers.  Normal, healthy people respect boundaries, but not a narcissist.  I’m not sure they even see boundaries.  Or, if they do, they seem to take it as a personal challenge to bust through them. They will wear you down.  When my ex husband first asked me out, I said no.  He kept pushing & I kept saying no.  Eventually he wore me down.  I gave in even though I wasn’t attracted to him & I knew how angry my mother would be that I wanted to date someone.  He even wore me down enough to marry him two years later.

Growing up with narcissistic parents, you are deprived of attention & love.  You become desperate for it.  This desperation puts off healthy people, but it attracts narcissists.  They realize that you will do anything or put up with anything because you are so desperate.  They see you as an easy target.

Narcissistic partners are very good at convincing their victims that their abusive behavior is actually loving behavior. Being so desperate for love, it’s very easy for a victim to believe this.  Narcissists know this & take advantage of it.

If you too have fallen into this trap of dating or marrying a narcissist, then please don’t beat yourself up for it.  It’s a very common thing.  Instead, consider it a learning experience.  I know that is hard to do, but it’s possible.  I did that for years after divorcing my ex husband, but finally realized that he was a predator taking advantage of someone very damaged.  I was so damaged then that I didn’t realize this was what was happening.  The good part is I had the sense to get away from him, & I know that if my current husband & I weren’t together, I’d never again date, let alone marry, another narcissist.

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Narcissists Lie, Especially To Themselves

One of the most intriguing things I’ve noticed about narcissists is watching one lie in order to convince herself as well as others that something is the truth.

There was a show on TV a few years ago called, “Lie To Me” that I just loved.  It was about a deception expert- basically a human lie detector.  He would work with the police or military or whoever to help solve mysteries, because he was more able to detect lies than an actual lie detector.  The show was fascinating not only because the stories were interesting, but also because it was really educational.  It taught me about micro expressions- the fleeting expressions people make without being aware of them.  It also would show examples of various faces of people expressing various emotions.  Cool stuff if you’re interested in psychology like I am.  This show taught me a lot about how to detect the truth about people.  Body language & facial expressions are much more reliable than the words they speak.

A few years ago, after watching a marathon of “Lie To Me” on netflix, my husband & I went to dinner with my parents.  While my father was away from the table, my mother was telling my husband & I that my father had just recently gotten rid of his cell phone- gave it to a neighbor lady.  She said she had no idea why he did that, what was wrong with him?   She even paused for a moment after she said that, as if allowing it to sink in.  I quickly realized what was going on…

I’d given my father a cheap cell phone a few months prior, because he complained that my mother spent so much time on the phone, he couldn’t use it often.  She has a cell, but keeps it in her purse.  I thought a simple, cheap cell phone might work for him- it’d eliminate the conflict & it was only about $15/month to maintain.  From day one, my mother was mad he had this phone.  She griped at him & I both about how he didn’t need a cell phone, how it’s a waste of money, he’s ALWAYS buying minutes for it (yea, once a month..),  he spends too much time on the phone & other nonsense.  He finally was so tired of her complaints, he gave it away to get her off his back.  My mother was glad he got rid of the cell phone, but did not want to be to blame for him doing so.  Her solution was to lie & try to convince herself, my father, my husband & I she had no idea why he got rid of it.  To admit she nagged him into doing so would make her look bad, & no narcissist can handle looking bad in any way.  Lying this way was the best way to handle it, in her mind.  Eventually it worked- she is currently convinced she has no idea why he got rid of his cell phone.

My mother isn’t the only person I’ve seen do this. (Her display was only the most obvious one.)  In fact, I think it’s a pretty common thing among narcissists. After all, they’ll do anything to prevent them from looking bad.  My mother also will talk about what a great, loving mother she was to me.  She also has bragged about how upon meeting her, my one parakeet loved her very much (that didn’t happen) & how much my furkids love her (they don’t even like her).  She has even said that she can’t keep rescuing me because if she does, I’ll never learn (my mother has not one time “rescued” me in my entire life).  She is again trying to convince herself that her lies are the truth.

Unfortunately, I think this phenomenon is a coping skill that narcissists use when the truth is too ugly for them to bear.  They simply cannot bear to look anything less than perfect.  They especially can’t handle admitting the truth that they were horrible & abusive to their own child.  I wonder if the reality of how much damage they have caused would cause them to emotionally & mentally collapse.  I find narcissists to be rather weak people, & believe that is a very distinct possibility.

When these situations happen, I know they can be frustrating & hurtful.  It especially hurts when your narcissistic mother brags about how much she’s done for you.  When this happens though, please do your best to remember, this is how she chooses to cope.  Yes, it’s hurtful to you & yes it’s dysfunctional, but it’s her choice.  Unfortunately, she has the right to exercise this ridiculous behavior.  However, that doesn’t mean that you have to condone it.

When my mother brags about how good she’s been to me, I refuse to give her the validation she is seeking.  I won’t say a lie is the truth just to support her dysfunctional coping skills.  However, I also don’t tell her she is wrong.  She can have her delusions if she wants to, just don’t expect me to agree with them.  I get around validating her by saying things like:

  • “I don’t remember that.”
  • “Uh huh” (shows I’m listening but it’s non-committal)
  • changing the subject

Unfortunately this coping mechanism of hers still hurts sometimes, but I have noticed that it hurts much less than it once did.  Once I realized that my mother’s bragging about her fantastic mothering skills is all about how she copes with abusing me, it took much of the sting out of what she said.  I think this is because I realized although she is refusing to invalidating me & refusing to accept responsibility for it, she knows what she has done.  What she did bothers her enough that she feels the need to deal with it, & this just happens to be her way to cope, dysfunctional as it is.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Narcissism