Tag Archives: narcissistic personality disorder

Speak Out Or Stay Silent?

There are conflicting messages for victims of abuse.  Some people encourage victims to speak out.  Help raise awareness!  Confronting your abuser will be good for you!  Others encourage victims to keep quiet.  Stop dredging up the past.  Forgive & forget.

 

Rather than stating what I think victims should do, I would like to encourage you to decide what is right for yourself.  After all, being vocal about being abused can be very challenging.  Being vocal about it means you’re reliving some of the most painful experiences of your life.  It also means some will criticize you harshly.  You may lose friends & family who side with your abuser.  Is this something you can deal with?

 

There are pros & cons for speaking out as well as staying quiet.  You need to consider them seriously before making any decisions.

 

Silence isn’t always good, as it can encourage an abuser to continue abusing.  Knowing the victim won’t tell anyone what is happening gives the abuser free reign to do as she/he pleases without fear of consequences.  It also means things can stay pretty much the same for the victim in that her friends & family will continue treating her as they always have.  Silence allows the victim to continue in the familiar place that she is accustomed to.  This can be a good thing, to a degree, especially if she does not feel strong enough to confront her abuser or even discuss what has happened, & if this is only a temporary place.

 

Telling her story can empower the victim.  She takes back the power that her abuser stole by forcing her to stay silent.  She realizes it’s her story & she can do as she sees fit with it.  She can help & inspire others who have been through similar circumstances if she opts to go public with her story (such as blogging about it, for example).  By speaking openly about what happened, she also can give her family the opportunity to grow & to heal.  However, telling also means that she can be setting herself up for criticism, even from those closest to her.  Those she believed were on her side may turn against her.  They may refuse to believe her, tell others she’s lying, or invalidate her pain if she speaks to them about the situation.  And, if she opts to confront her abuser, that can open up a new world of pain.  Abusers hate confrontation, especially narcissistic abusers.  The abuser may turn the entire situation around, blaming the victim for what happened or denying they did anything wrong.  Often, the one telling the truth is demonized by abusers as well as those who may have known about the abuse but did nothing.  Many people can’t live with what they have done, so they vilify the victim.

 

What do you think is your answer, Dear Reader?

 

Before you answer that question, I urge you to pray.  Let God give you advice on which way to go, & how to go about it.  Also, allow Him to give you the strength you need, because either way is very challenging.  You will need His strength.  And remember, 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.”  (GNT)  God will empower you to do anything you need to do!

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

Is Narcissism Really A Disorder?

We all know the term Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but it doesn’t take long witnessing someone with it to wonder if it is truly a disorder.  The word “disorder” implies their behavior is beyond their control, such as in the case of someone with schizophrenia.

 

This term also makes victims of narcissistic abuse feel as if they can’t do anything to protect themselves or even be angry about what is done to them, because the narcissist’s behavior is beyond their control.

 

None of this really sits right with most victims, because we have seen the narcissist in our lives go from screaming lunatic to nice person when the “right” person came along.  I witnessed it with my mother growing up.  She could be screaming at me, telling me how worthless I was, until the phone rang.  She was normal on the phone, then after she hung up, could resume screaming at me.  Although she no longer screams at me, she still controls her behavior just as well.  She can say something incredibly hurtful to me then smile at the person who enters the room a moment later as if nothing happened.

 

Calling behavior like this, so clearly controlled & planned, a disorder always left a bad taste in my mouth.  It was great to finally have a name for what was being done to me, but disorder?

 

Thankfully I found an answer a while back in reading Dr. Karyl McBride’s facebook page.  (In case you don’t know, she wrote an incredible book on narcissistic mothers entitled, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?”  I highly recommend it- it’s chock full of wisdom!)  She said that personality disorders are different than other mental disorders in that they describe a means of behavior rather than an actual physical illness.  For example, someone with PTSD has brain damage caused by trauma whereas someone with NPD is behaving in a dysfunctional way.  This means people with personality disorders can change their behavior if they desire to do so & learn healthier ways to behave, whereas someone with PTSD can’t change their behavior so easily (if at all) because their brains is physically damaged.

 

Interesting, no?

 

In a way, I found this information to be very freeing.  It means that my narcissistic mother’s behavior isn’t beyond her control & I really do have every right to set & enforce healthy boundaries.  It was also a bit discouraging learning that she could change if she wanted to, but she doesn’t want to.

 

The best way I have found to deal with this knowledge & the conflicting feelings that follow is this: I am grateful that the awful behavior has a name, because it means it isn’t my fault!  I didn’t make my mother abuse me, as she claimed.  I also didn’t force my ex husband to punch walls when he got mad at me.  These people have issues, & that isn’t my fault!  As for knowing they can change but refuse?  Well, that is their right.  Everyone has the right to live as they see fit, & some people make very bad choices in how they live.  Having that boundary in place will help you accept the fact that your narcissist may never change, while still hoping for it.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, as the saying goes.  Certainly pray they change & hope for it, as it does happen (albeit very rarely), while accepting the fact it may not.

 

And, never forget- you also have the right to protect yourself from abusive behavior however you believe is right for you to do.  Just as someone has the right to be abusive, you have the right to protect yourself.

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Mental Illness: Normal Consequences Of Abuse Or Something Wrong With You?

Something crossed my mind recently.

 

People with PTSD/C-PTSD, depression or anxiety that stems from being abused are referred to as having a mental illness, or mental health problems.  It occurred to me though that this is, in a way, false.

 

Yes, C-PTSD/PTSD, depression & anxiety are proof of damage in the brain, so they are in that sense mental disorders.  But, such things are also normal reactions to highly abnormal circumstances.  The truth is actually that these disorders were brought about by an abusive person determined to hurt you.

 

Having C-PTSD, PTSD, depression or anxiety aren’t signs that you are weak, a failure, stupid or anything else.  They are simply proof that you have been through some traumatic things, & you survived!  You are strong!

 

Rather than being ashamed of yourself for being “mentally ill”, why not instead embrace the fact that you are a normal, mentally healthy person who has been through some terrible things?

 

I’m not saying embrace your disorder- I doubt anyone could enjoy flashbacks, suicidal thoughts, panic attacks & more.  Instead, I’m saying see your disorder as proof of your strength & that you have been through trauma.  Not everyone survives being abused.  Many victims develop terrible addictions & still others commit suicide.  You haven’t done those & should be proud that you haven’t!

 

 

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Spotting Narcissists Online

A while back, someone who followed my blog disagreed with one of my posts.  She stated why she did, & although I respected her opinion, I saw she took some things I said wrong.  I explained what I wrote, & left my computer for the evening.  The next day, I saw several of my readers understood what I was saying & defended me, including one who got into a rather heated disagreement with the original commenter.  The original commenter stopped following my blog & unfriended me on facebook.  She obviously held me responsible for what other people said that she didn’t like.

A few years before, a similar incident on facebook cost me a 20+ year friendship, so obviously this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this type of ridiculous, immature behavior.  I’m sure it won’t be the last either.

I realized out of that situation with my blog that this person was a narcissist.  While she shared a great deal of insight in her own blog & facebook, sometimes there were very subtle hints of narcissism.  I thought I was reading too much into it, but as time went on, I saw more & more hints.  For example, when she shared her opinions, she stated them as fact & seemed to have no tolerance for anyone who disagreed with her.  Those people were wrong, period.  She also brags openly about any accomplishments, such as many shares of a blog post or mental health professional agreeing with something she’s said.

Most people don’t jump to ridiculous conclusions.  They don’t read into what you said- they trust that what you said is what you mean, while narcissists find a way to take everything personally.  The long friendship of mine that ended?  We shared a mutual friend, & he told this friend he “read into” what we said on facebook & knew from that how badly we thought of him.  (FYI- mostly what she & I talked about at that time was knitting.  I’m not sure how that meant we hated him.)

Most people also realize that you are going to have different opinions than them sometimes, & are OK with it.  They won’t think “if you aren’t for me, you’re against me”, but instead accept the fact that no two people agree on absolutely everything.  In fact, if they did, it would be very abnormal!  Narcissists however believe you have to share their thoughts, feelings, opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. or else you’re wrong.

Narcissists online also share only about themselves- what they think, what they’re doing, what is happening in their lives & probably plenty of pictures of themselves.  They almost never ask others how they are doing or what is happening in their lives.

They state their opinions as written in stone fact rather than simply their opinion, & won’t listen to the opinions of others or criticize them.  They also demand that you agree with them, because, after all, if you’re not for them, you’re against them!  (at least in their mind)

Spotting narcissists online can be trickier than spotting one in person, but remembering these tips can help you.

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What Do You Owe Your Narcissistic Mother?

So many adult children of narcissistic parents struggle when their parents become elderly or ill.  They feel that because these people birthed & raised them, that they owe their parents everything at any personal cost, & the narcissistic parents feed that false belief.

 

The truth is, Dear Reader, you only owe your parents one thing- to honor them.  Exodus 20:12 says, “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (KJV)  Many people upon reading that verse think that means they have to blindly obey their parents, no matter their age, no matter how their parents treat them.  That is simply not true however!!

 

You must understand what honor truly means.  According to the Merriam Webster’s website, honor in this setting means, ” a showing of usually merited respect : recognition <pay honor to our founder>”  Basically, you treat someone with courtesy & respect when you honor them.  You don’t cuss them out when you get angry, you don’t manipulate them, you don’t abuse them in any way, you don’t lie to them.

 

There is also this little gem in Acts 5:29: “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”  (KJV)  In other words, obey God before you obey your parents.  If you’re like most of my readers, this Scripture provokes a great deal of anxiety in you.  You know when your parents want you to do something for them, they demand it be done in a prompt matter, no excuses!  Not doing their bidding means you’ll have to pay & pay dearly.  Disobeying them can be a daunting prospect to say the least.  However, as a Christian, it is also good for you to follow it in spite of your fears.  God never gives bad advice!  Obeying Him will be more rewarding than disobeying them will hurt you.  I’ve had to do this myself.  Yes, it can be very scary, but clinging to the fact that God is good, loves me & wants the best for me helped me to obey him.  Also, once you do it, it gets easier the next time, then the next time, & so on.

 

Keeping these two points in mind, along with prayer, can help you to decide what you owe your narcissistic, ailing parents.  Do not allow anyone to tell you what to do.  No one but you is living your life.  You are the only one who can decide what you are & are not able to do regarding your narcissistic parents, preferably with the help of God.

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Last Straw Moments

Lately, I’ve noticed many people in a relationship with a narcissist often have something that shuts them down with the narcissist.  The narcissist says or does something that makes their victim feel like enough is finally enough.  They reach the point of being completely fed up with the games, the gaslighting & the abuse.  This one thing was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  The victim is now done.  One of my readers calls this the last straw moment.

 

A while back, I had a big fight with my parents that I have mentioned in this blog before.  Long story short, they wanted to attend my late mother in-law’s funeral, & seemed annoyed I didn’t tell them she died- they found out about her death when they saw her obituary in the local paper.  In spite of knowing how badly she treated me, both of my parents said they wanted to “pay their respects” to her & “didn’t want to disappoint my father in-law” by not going (my parents & in-laws have seen each other twice in the 20+ years my husband & I have been together).  I felt betrayed that they cared more about “paying respects” to her than me, & neither of my parents understood that.

 

As of the time I’m writing this post, neither of my parents have spoken to me in quite a while.  The evening of the fight was the last time I spoke with my mother.  That was in May.  My father only spoke to me a handful of times after that,  but I haven’t heard from him since July.  I guess now he’s not speaking to me either.  That’s fine- it’s his choice.  I realized this situation was my last straw moment with my parents.  Granted, this was not the first time they have cared more about someone else than me, even someone who has hurt me.  The reason it is my last straw moment is because my parents have the unadulterated gall to be angry at me for defending myself to their complete lack of concern over my feelings.  If they had responded by saying something like, “I never thought of it that way.  I’m sorry,” I could have lived with them wanting to pay their respects, probably without even being angry since they just tend to be so inconsiderate of me.   I accept that about them & don’t expect otherwise from them.  But, they didn’t.  They acted like something was extremely wrong with me for being upset with them.  My father quickly changed the subject after defending himself briefly.  My mother even acted bored when I was angry & crying.  Bored!  Her own daughter is upset to the point of yelling, crying & even using some profanity which are all out of character to me in her presence, yet she was bored.  My parents were offended that I defended myself & they couldn’t comprehend why I felt they betrayed me.  Wouldn’t even try to comprehend it, for that matter.  Those facts are what triggered my last straw moment.

 

I’m learning from my own experiences & from those of others I’ve spoken with that last straw moments with narcissistic parents are a plethora of conflicting emotions.

 

When things first happen, there can be a sense of being in shock.  Whatever they did may not have been the worst thing they’ve done to you, but you can’t believe it at first.  You may think things like, “They did it AGAIN?!”  or, “They really don’t care at all how I feel!”  While you know they’re capable of such things obviously, you can’t believe it happened, even when it feels like the millionth time.  You are amazed anyone can be capable of such cruelty, let alone extending that cruelty to their own child.

 

Anger kicks in too.  You may feel totally fed up.  This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Enough is enough!  You are done putting up with their abuse!

 

Sadness kicks in after the anger.  Sadness because what they did hurt you & because you realize there is truly no hope for your relationship.  Even understanding narcissism, there is usually a tiny part of the adult child of narcissistic parents that clings to the hope that maybe somehow, some day, things will change.  Whatever they did to you this time erased that tiny glimmer of hope completely.

 

Sadness morphs into grief.  Grief isn’t only for losing a loved one.  Grief happens when you experience loss, & a last straw moment with your narcissistic parent is definitely a loss.  Not only have you lost the hope I mentioned in the previous paragraph, but much more.  It often hits people in last straw moments how much the narcissist has stolen from them- their childhood, their self-esteem, their ability to be mentally healthy, their joy… Such losses can be very hard to deal with, & trigger grief.  That is the stage I’m at with my parents now.

 

You can bounce back & forth between grief & anger quite often.  I certainly have.

 

Yet, among the negative emotions are some very positive ones as well.  For me, once my parents stopped speaking to me, I finally felt free enough to be myself, the person God made me to be, not the person my parents wanted me to be.  I’d been getting further from what they wanted me to be for quite some time, but without them in my life, I was able to be completely myself, 100% of the time, for the first time ever.  It’s pretty cool!  I love feeling so free!

 

Caring over what my parents think has disappeared as well.  I know if I must deal with them at some point, the usual snarky, cruel, hateful criticisms won’t be as hurtful because I really don’t care what they think of me or my life.  It’s really not my business anyway, what they think of me.   I’m living as I believe God wants me to, & that’s all that matters to me anymore.

 

It’s also common to feel like a weight has been lifted.  Which is natural since it has been.  Whether you stopped speaking to your narcissistic parents or they stopped speaking to you, that burden is now gone from your life.  Or, if you’re still in a relationship with them, you still may feel the lifted burden feeling.  That is because you no longer care about pleasing them or gaining their approval.  You may have accepted them as they are- cruel, devious, hate-filled & abusive people- & no longer have any expectations of them to be anything but what they are.

 

Last straw moments can be difficult & confusing, but oddly, they also can be a blessing in disguise.  To deal with all of the conflicting feelings, I recommend a lot of prayer, as well as talking to a trusted, safe friend.  Journalling helps too.  Anything that helps   Writing things out helps you to see things clearly, which really can help you to heal.  Anything that helps you to get your feelings out without fear of judgment is a good thing.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

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

My New Book Is Available!!

After a conversation with a dear friend in early July, she inspired me to write a new book.  It is designed for a slightly different audience than usual.  Normally I write for those of us who know at least some about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This book, however, is written for those who know something is wrong with a person in their life who is extremely selfish & manipulative, but they just aren’t sure what it is yet.

 

“It’s Not You, It’s Them: When People Are More Than Selfish” helps these people to understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, deal with the behaviors if they opt to stay in a relationship with the narcissist, & ways they can help themselves heal.

 

I’ve learned so much about NPD in recent months & have felt such a strong desire to help victims of narcissistic abuse & raise awareness, I believe this book had to be written.  Admittedly, I’ve never written a book so quickly before, but I believe it must be for a reason.  I pray God is going to use it mightily.

 

If you’d like to check out the new book, the timing is good- my publisher is offering a sale on all print books.  15% off with free mail shipping until August 14.  Simply use code AUGSHIP16 at checkout

Links are below..

 

Ebook:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/656668

 

Print book: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/its-not-you-its-them-when-people-are-more-than-selfish/paperback/product-22817234.html

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30% Off My Print Books! Now Until July 24th

My publisher is having a really good sale right now until the 24th.  Use code “LULU30” at checkout to receive 30% off on all print books.  My books can be found at:  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Do You Protect Your Narcissistic Parents?

I believe many of us raised by narcissistic parents are very protective of those parents.  We try never to hurt their feelings, or we don’t discuss how they abused us, keeping their dirty little secret.  While very common, this can be very damaging to do!  It angers you, which can lead to health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure or even diabetes.  Mentally, it takes a toll on you as well.  It can leave you feeling depressed, angry or damage your self esteem because putting abusive people as a priority over yourself makes you feel worthless.
While I’m not saying yell a laundry list of their sins from the rooftops or cuss them out every time they abuse you, I am saying it isn’t your job to protect your narcissistic parents.  Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  (KJV)  People need to receive consequences of their actions, both good & bad, so they can learn & grow.  Consequences teach a person & help them to learn & grow.  Admittedly, narcissists aren’t exactly fans of self-improvement, but that doesn’t mean that the opportunities for such shouldn’t be there.  Interrupting the natural laws of sowing & reaping doesn’t help anyone in the long run.  It only enables their poor behavior which teaches them they can continue to mistreat you, & can cause you physical or mental health problems.
So why do it?  Why would anyone protect their abusive narcissistic parents?  I think there are a few reasons.
Narcissistic parents train their children from the moment of their birth to take care of them.  Children are supposed to be their narcissistic parents’ emotional caregiver (emotional incest).  Protect that parent from any kind of discomfort or pain at all costs.  It’s OK if the child is hurt, that is not important, but never the parent.
Part of protecting narcissistic parents is to pretend the abuse isn’t happening.  The child always knows that she is never to confront her mother about being abusive nor is she to tell anyone about it.  Secrecy becomes deeply ingrained in the child.  So much so, secrecy is second nature for her.
Narcissistic parents destroy their children’s self-esteem.  Their children grow up believing they are nothing, they don’t matter & they have absolutely no value to anyone.  This means they also believe that they have zero rights.  These children believe that the abusive parent is much more valuable than they are, so they can’t speak up.  They don’t have the right to do so.
I believe these three things work together to create a perfect storm, if you will, where the adult child of narcissistic parents grows up willing to do anything to protect her narcissistic parents in any way possible.
How do you replace this dysfunctional pattern with a healthier one?
First & foremost, as always, ask God for help.  Pray for guidance, wisdom & anything you may need to change this pattern.
Work on improving your self-esteem.  Don’t forget that you have just as much value as anyone else.  The better your self-esteem is, the more willing you are to make yourself a priority & to take care of yourself.
Remember the law of sowing & reaping.  That law is God’s law- it is NOT your place to interrupt it for anyone, not even your parents.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with telling your narcissistic mother you will not tolerate her abusive behavior.  There is also nothing wrong with answering someone’s questions truthfully if they ask about your relationship with your mother.
If you feel the desire to discuss the abuse you endured, that is OK.  You aren’t doing something bad or wrong.  I aim to discuss my experiences in a matter of fact way so as not to be disrespectful to my parents.  If they ever read anything I write, as angry & hurt as they may be, at least I can have a clear conscience that I was not cruel or trying to hurt them.  Talking about your experiences shouldn’t be done out of revenge or desire to cause pain, but instead to help yourself & maybe others as well.
It isn’t easy to stop protecting your parents after a lifetime of doing so.  Chances are you are going to slip up sometimes.  Don’t beat yourself up for that!  It happens.  We all make mistakes!  Just keep on trying, & the more you try, the easier it will get for you to behave in a more functional, healthy fashion.

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Do You Validate Abuse?

Most of us who have experienced abuse in our childhood have trouble standing up for ourselves even as adults.  It feels wrong, like something you should never do.

 

But, did it ever cross your mind that by not defending yourself, you are validating the abuse?  It gives the abuser permission to treat you however they want to.

 

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, it’s not always easy to put a stop to their evil actions.  They seem to think they have the right to do anything they want to whomever they want.  Even so, it’s a good idea to set some boundaries with them.

 

Remember, with narcissists, you can’t set boundaries like you can with normal people.  Normal people will respect it when you say that something they did hurt you.  They will apologize & try to make it up to you when appropriate.  Narcissists are the complete opposite- they will not only refuse to apologize, but remember what you complain about to do it more often.  They also may blame you for making them do that, being oversensitive or even making things up.

 

You have to get creative in setting boundaries with narcissists.

 

First, ask God for creative ideas.  He will NOT disappoint you!  Once, my mother told me where a former teacher of mine works.  She said he asked about me & she told him I don’t work (apparently being an author isn’t a real job.. could’ve fooled me!).  That made me angry, her discounting my writing yet again.  In venting to God, He put an idea in my head.  I made up new business cards, & when I saw this teacher with my parents a couple of weeks later, proceeded to give him one in front of my mother.  The look of shock on her face was priceless!  And, she couldn’t say a thing or else she would have looked bad in front of my old teacher.  HA!

 

Secondly, always do your best to appear happy or neutral when setting a boundary.  Never show your hurt or anger, as I mentioned above.  Also, it flusters them when you can set a boundary cheerfully after their valiant attempt to hurt you.  When they get flustered, they will stop what they are doing.

 

And, don’t forget- subject changes can be your friend.  Rather than saying you don’t want to talk about whatever topic they are using to hurt you, change the subject.  It may not always work, but it will help you sometimes.  Just be sure to keep changing the topic back to what they wanted to talk about if they try to change it back.

 

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Book Sale!

My publisher is having a sale again.  15% off all print books & free mail shipping through May 16, 2016.  Use code MAYSHIP15 at checkout to take advantage of the sale.

 

Go to the link below to see my books:

 

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

 

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The Fear Of Hurting Other People

Many adult children of narcissistic parents have an issue with being overly concerned with hurting the feelings of other people.  I wonder if it’s because early on, we learned that we were not to make any waves.  Just silently serve our narcissistic mothers when needed, & otherwise we were to blend silently into the background.  Speaking up & hurting someone’s feelings would make us more human & less “tool like”, which would make using us wrong.  And we all know, narcissists can’t be wrong!

As a grown woman, I still have a problem in this area.  I would rather do something I am unwilling to do than say no & potentially hurt someone’s feelings.  I would rather ignore my own hurt at someone’s thoughtlessness & tell them that it’s ok rather than speak up about how wrong what they did is, even knowing that they need to realize their actions were unacceptable.

This sort of behavior is unhealthy.  Keeping things inside rather than speaking up isn’t good for your physical or mental health at all.  High blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease & diabetes can result as well as depression, anxiety, bitterness & self-destructive behaviors.

I’m not saying you have to spew forth every bad thought that comes to mind or even be harsh with your words.  However, there are times you need to say something, & there is nothing wrong with that.  You need to have a healthy discernment of when to speak up & when to stay quiet, as well as the courage to speak up when necessary & wisdom on what words to use.

I know it sounds difficult (or even impossible), but it can be done.  I’m working on improving in this area myself.

Prayer is of the utmost importance.  Asking God to help you in this area, giving you what you need to accomplish what must be done.  He will do it!  Just follow the promptings He places in your heart.

Also, the more you heal, the more dysfunctional you realize this behavior is, & the more willing you are to change it to get away from the dysfunction.  That willingness helps to give you courage to make the appropriate changes.

Work on your self esteem.  The better you feel about yourself, the more willing you are to make yourself a priority, & to take care of yourself.  You will realize you do have the right to have reasonable boundaries, & if someone hurts you either deliberately or accidentally, it’s perfectly fine to speak up to them about their actions.

You also need to know that there is a difference between hurting & harming.  Hurting someone is temporary.  They’ll get over that pain quickly.  Harming however, the damage goes much deeper. Hurting comes from facing painful truths (such as admitting that something you did hurt someone else).  Even so, it can make a person learn & grow.  Harming, however, causes damage.  So, if you tell someone what they did hurt you or set a boundary, there is nothing harming in either of those things.

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Taking Care Of Yourself

I realize my posts can be repetitive sometimes, & this time is no different.  The reason is I feel the need to share things as God places in my heart, & sometimes He must feel a topic bears repeating.

 

Today, I feel God wants me to remind you to take breaks.

 

Learning about narcissism, even how you can heal from it, can be extremely draining.  It can exhaust you mentally & physically because it’s such an intense subject.  Even learning how to heal can be extremely exhausting, because the abuse is so insidious & invasive.  Being exhausted is not only unpleasant, but can lead to physical & emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, muscle pain, headaches & more.

 

Today, I feel God wants you to know it’s OK, & even necessary, to take breaks.

 

I understand sometimes that can be hard, especially in the early stages of healing.  It’s so incredible to find out that you really are NOT the problem!  You’re normal & reacting normally to very abnormal circumstances.  You want to learn more about NPD as well as ways for you to heal.  All of this is great, but truly, you can’t focus on such things 24/7.  So take frequent breaks where you refuse to think about such things.

 

There is no scale of how often you need to take breaks.  Simply follow your heart.  If you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed, that means it’s time to take a break.  If you’re becoming irritable, it’s time for a break.  If you feel overly emotional, physically tired or even just out of sorts, it’s time for a break.  Signs like this are your mind & body’s way of saying it’s time to relax & stop focusing on such intense topics for a while.

 

There also is no steadfast rules of what you need to do when you take a break.  Do whatever you enjoy that relaxes you.  I love herbal teas, crocheting & fun movies or music.  I also spend more time with the furkids or hang out with close friends.  What little things can you do that help relax you?  Then do it & enjoy yourself!

 

Narcissistic abuse is no laughing matter.  It is extremely painful & invasive to the victims.  Always remember that, & remember that taking frequent respites from such an intense & negative topic will help you in the long run.  xoxo

 

 

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Narcissists & Consequences

So many victims of narcissistic abuse wonder why the narcissist seems to stroll happily through life without consequences for their actions while their victims are left to suffer alone or are even blamed for what was done to them.  It’s so unfair!

 

This came to mind recently.  I had a flashback.  When thinking about it later, my mind wandered to when I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall & hurt my back.  She has not had any consequences for her actions in the 26 years since that happened.  My father said he tried talking to her about it not long after it happened, & she just said “Are you ever going to let that go?”  He dropped the subject.  I never said anything to her- I was too afraid of it happening again, or her doing something worse. Also why I never called the police, even though now I wish I would have.  My ex husband (who I was with at the time) also never did anything aside from tell me how hard it was on him, what she had done.

 

In fact, I think my father blames me for what happened that night.  A year or two ago, for whatever odd reason, he mentioned that incident & told me I didn’t need to apologize for busting up the wall- he was able to repair it.  Excuse me?  The wall was busted up because my mother threw me into it, so no, I have no plans on apologizing for that.

 

Sadly, I think this is pretty typical.  I can’t think of one victim I’ve spoken with who doesn’t have a similar story.  And like me, they are baffled that the narcissist who abused them received no consequences for their actions.  They’re also angry, which is certainly understandable.  It’s extremely unfair!  We’re the ones who suffered because of them, & they don’t get so much as a scolding for what they’ve done!

 

I really am not sure why this happens.  Maybe it’s because people are afraid of the narcissists.  If you don’t know much about NPD or have limited experience with a narcissist, the overt narcissist can be very intimidating.  Their rages can be terrifying.  Or, if the narcissist in question is a covert narcissist, maybe people are afraid of hurting them.  Covert narcissists love to play the innocent victim.  (They can make their victim apologize to them- they are that convincing).  They make the person confronting them feel guilty, even ashamed, & certainly no one wants to feel that way!

 

Some who know a little about narcissism believe that NPD is something beyond control.  They believe the term “disorder” means that the narcissist cannot control her actions at all, when the rest of us know absolutely she can & does on a regular basis.

 

Or, maybe it’s because victims are the sane, rational ones, & other people think the sane, rational one should “be the bigger person” in the relationship, the one to forgive & forget, & the one to ignore the narcissist’s “flaws”.

 

Whatever the reason, I know it’s incredibly frustrating that people don’t allow the narcissist any consequences for the abuse she dishes out.  Just once, wouldn’t it be amazing to see her get told off for how horribly she treats other people?   Maybe not the most good Christian attitude, but in all honesty, what victim of a narcissist hasn’t felt that way at some point?  I sure have!

 

So instead of waiting on others, why not give the narcissist consequences yourself?  I’m not saying go cuss her out.  If you’re a Christian, act like it!  But, there are ways to give a narcissist the deserved consequences without being vengeful.

 

Boundaries.  Have & be willing to enforce good, healthy boundaries.  You have every right to tell her no, you won’t tolerate that or do that.  Let her figure out how to do something herself or have something done if it’s something you don’t feel you should do or if it goes against your morals.  Or, for example, if you’re with your narcissistic mother & have had enough, tell her you’re going home (or need to hang up the phone).  If your narcissistic mother is like mine, she expects you to deal with her until she’s tired of you & dismisses you.  It will irk her to no end if you end the visit or call first, but it is entirely your right to do so!  She doesn’t need to get her way all the time & you need to take care of your physical & mental health.

 

Don’t allow her to order you around.  My mother is a big one for barking out orders, rather than saying something like “Would you please get that for me?”  Instead, it’s “Hand me that.”  A few months ago, I noticed this.  (Sadly, it took my entire life to notice it..)  I decided to change how I reacted to her orders.  Rather than blindly obeying, I do a couple of things.  Sometimes I tell her “In a minute” or “Ok, later” instead of interrupting what I was doing.  Other times, I do as she wanted & say “Since you asked so nicely, here is the item you wanted.  You’re welcome.”  This annoys my mother, but she has started to say “please” sometimes.  It’s a little thing, but it means a lot to me to be treated with simple respect rather than being treated like the hired help.

 

My mother also employs a very common coping skill, especially with narcissists.  She reinvents the past.  According to her, she was quite the impressive mother.  Many other victims I’ve spoken with go through this with their narcissistic mother, too.  Rather than validating her delusions, you have the right to tell her that isn’t what happened & tell her the truth.  In all honesty, I don’t do this with my mother because I see a tremendous amount of guilt in her for how she’s treated me.  I don’t think she could handle me telling her the facts & shattering her delusion.  Even so, I refuse to validate her stories.  “I don’t remember it that way” or “I don’t remember that happening at all” work for me.  She then changes the subject before I can say what the truth was.  It’s not a perfect solution but it works for us.  She can still use that coping mechanism (as dysfunctional as it is) without me validating it.  It’s her right to use it, after all.  It’s also my right to refuse to condone it.

 

Narcissists may not always get the consequences they deserve, but they do need some nonetheless.  Consequences teach us how to treat other people, & frankly, who needs to learn how to treat people if not a narcissist?  Consequences may not make them treat you like a non-narcissist would, but they most likely will improve the way they treat you in some ways.  They also will gain a little respect for you for not allowing them to push you around so much anymore.  Not that they’ll admit that, of course, but it still happens.

 

 

 

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Sale On My Books- 20% Off & Free Shipping

My publisher is having another sale!  Use code APRSHIP20 at checkout to receive 20% all print books & free mail shipping until May 1.

 

You can find my books at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Feeling Ashamed Of Being A Victim Of Narcissistic Abuse

Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is often a very shameful  feeling.  If the narcissist was our parent, we are often ashamed of the fact that our parent didn’t love us & that our childhood was so different than other kids’.  If it was a spouse, that too is embarrassing because we feel stupid- how could we not know how bad a person he was?  How could we be so stupid, we ask ourselves.

While feeling this way is understandable, that doesn’t mean it is right.

As the victim, you had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.  You are innocent.  What was done to you was done because of someone else’s dysfunction, not because of anything you did.  Damage was done to that person long before you came along.  Nothing you did could have made that person do what was done to you.

As you are healing, rather than hiding your problems, why not discuss them?  Be open with safe people as you feel able to discuss things.  Again, you have nothing to be ashamed of.  You are damaged because someone deliberately hurt you.  Would you be ashamed of yourself for having a broken leg if someone hit your leg with a tire iron?  Then why be ashamed of having C-PTSD, anxiety, depression, etc. after surviving narcissistic abuse?  You reacted normally to a very abnormal situation.

Talking about what you have experienced helps you & it also helps others.  It puts a face to narcissistic abuse.  It shows that the victims aren’t crazy, drama queens (or kings), or overreacting like so many people think.  It also shows that narcissistic abuse can happen to anyone, no matter how intelligent or how strong they are.

I’m not saying it’s necessary to talk non stop about narcissistic abuse.  That isn’t good for anyone to focus constantly on something so negative.  I’m saying though to be more balanced.  There is nothing for you to be ashamed of.  You have nothing to hide.  Don’t carry the shame of what was done to you for another day.  That shame belongs on your abuser’s shoulders, not yours.  Let him or her carry the shame & refuse to carry it any longer!

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Do People Think You Need To Do All Of The Work In Relationships?

I’ve noticed a common thread among those who have been through narcissistic abuse.  We’re the ones people seem to think need to put all of the work & make all of the concessions in relationships.

 

So many others I’ve spoken to who have been raised by at least one narcissistic parent have heard the same things by at least a few people: “You need to fix things with your mother (or father or both)!”  “She (or he or they) won’t be around forever!  You need to make things right with your mother (or father or parents)!”  “You should see a counselor.  Maybe he could help you figure out what you’re doing wrong”

 

I’ve heard those things & more myself:

  • When my first marriage was falling apart, I was told I needed to make it work or I needed to change to fix things.
  • When having problems with my in-laws, some people said I needed to make changes so we got along better.  Be the bigger person & forgive & forget, etc., don’t take the constant insults personally, & (this may be my personal least favorite one) if I didn’t have anything to hide, it shouldn’t bother me my mother in-law snooped through my purse at every opportunity.
  • I mentioned to someone that my husband watches some sports, & when he does, I go into another room, find something else to do or go out.  Her response was to scold me, telling me I needed to start watching sports with him in spite of my lifelong intense hatred of sports other than Nascar, drag racing & demolition derbies.  Interestingly, she never told my husband he needs to learn to do things I enjoy, like crocheting.  I was the one who was supposed to change, according to this person.  (Just FYI- although I hate sports, I did start watching Nascar races because my husband was into it, & it turns out I enjoyed it.  I’m all for trying something new for the sake of your spouse.)
  • When in marriage counseling, we were having money problems.  The counselor told me what I needed to do to earn extra money.  No suggestions were given to my husband, even though at the time, he was the one in charge of our finances.

 

Do these scenarios sound familiar to you?  If so, doesn’t this get under your skin?!  It sure does me!

 

I’ve wondered why this happens to so many of us.  So many people behave exactly the same way!  So what’s behind it?  I have some theories…

 

Relating to our narcissistic parents only, some people are truly blessed with great parents.  In fact, they can’t even fathom a parent who would mistreat, let alone abuse a child.  Narcissistic abuse can be hard to wrap your mind around- I still have trouble with it sometimes & I lived it!  Maybe these people have an even harder time doing so because they came from such a loving home.

 

People who know our narcissistic parents probably believe the lies they are told about us.  After all, narcissists are notoriously good actors & liars- it’s hard not to believe their stories, sometimes even after you’ve seen the truth.  Chances are, these people are told we’re the problem.  If they believe the lies, then naturally they’ll think we need to do all of the work with our relationship with our parents.  If we’ve been so bad to them, we need to make it up to them.  It’s only fair, right??

 

They also most likely have seen us serving or catering to our narcissistic parents, & blindly go along with our parents’ attitude that it’s up to us to do for them.  This could include fixing any problems in the relationship.

 

For those who don’t necessarily know our narcissistic parents, they probably pick up on us as the damaged people we are.  The people who believe that we’re always wrong & we need to fix things because that is what our narcissistic parents instilled in us when we were very young.  Even as we heal, that “vibe” can still be there for a long time, & people pick up on it.  In fact, when people treat us as if it’s our job to fix something, we may automatically do so just because it’s such a deeply ingrained habit.  This reinforces the belief that fixing things is our responsibility.

 

Or, if people don’t pick up on that “fixing vibe”, they may see you as a very responsible, mature person & the other person in the relationship as immature or irresponsible.  They figure since the immature, irresponsible person won’t do what is necessary to fix things, the mature & responsible one will, so they push that person to do all of the work.  The mature one should be the “bigger person” since the other person is incapable (or so they believe) of behaving properly.

 

I don’t know if these things are completely accurate, as I’ve never read anything on this topic before.  They’re just some random thoughts that popped into my mind, & I thought I’d share them since other people have mentioned this being an issue in their lives as well.

 

Remember though, Dear Reader, it’s not always your job to fix problems!  Sure, fix what you can.  If you’ve made mistakes or hurt others, do what you can to make things right.  But, you do NOT need to do all of the work in relationships, & don’t let anyone pressure you into believing that nonsense!  One person cannot make a relationship work- it’s impossible!  It takes two people to make a relationship work, no matter the nature of the relationship.

 

 

 

 

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A Personal Update & The Importance Of Taking Breaks

I vowed some time ago to keep my blog real, to be honest about my experiences, both the good & bad ones.  My hope is that you can learn from my mistakes.

 

A few days ago, I read a quote on Facebook from the book “Boundaries” by Drs. Cloud & Townsend.  It says,

 

“Another damaging effect of abuse or molestation is the destruction of a sense of ownership over the victim’s soul.  In fact, victims often feel like they are public property- that their resources, body & time should be available to others just for the asking.”

 

Although I’ve read “Boundaries” several times, I never related to that quote so well as I have recently.  It perfectly sums up how I’ve always felt.

 

Interestingly, this quote came to my attention a couple of hours after receiving a message from one of my readers.  When I saw I had a message, I cringed a bit.  Not because the person was someone I didn’t like (she was lovely to talk with) or I didn’t want to help this person, but because I have gotten so tired lately of all things narcissism.  I’ve also been more depressed than usual for about a month.  Considering my feelings & then this quote, I immediately realized something about myself.  I haven’t been practicing what I preach.  I haven’t been taking frequent breaks.  I slipped back into the old, dysfunctional habit of feeling as if I need to be there for anyone & everyone, at all times, always being the strong one & fixing everything.

 

*bangs head into walls*

 

I really hate backsliding!  It’s especially insulting since I was doing better in this area.  God showed me a few months ago that when I got so sick in 2015 from carbon monoxide poisoning, one of the reasons was basically to force me to take better care of myself.  Since getting sick, sometimes now my body &/or mind gets extremely tired & I have no choice but to rest, which has proven to be a good thing.  At least until this past month, when I slid back into ignoring my physical & mental health, pushing myself past my limits.

 

I decided the other day this has to stop.  Right now, I have a sick kitty who needs my attention & I also need a break from all things narcissism.

 

I started by asking a very close friend to help me manage my group by being an admin in there.  When I need a break, she can keep an eye on things.  When I told my group, they were incredibly supportive.  Another dear friend who is in my group sent me a private message, telling me it’s ok to take breaks, I don’t always have to be the strong one & she is there for me.  I was very moved by the wonderful show of support & love!  Truly, my group is amazing.  🙂  If you’re interested in joining, you can check it out here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/

 

While I was recovering last year, I was able to write many blog posts.  So many, I have them written 3 months in advance.  Plus wordpress publishes them to Facebook, Google Plus, Linkedin, etc. automatically.  I don’t write blog posts every other day, as it may look since that’s when they are published.  Please keep that in mind if you try to contact me via this blog or my social network sites.  If I don’t respond quickly, please forgive me, but I needed a break.  Otherwise, I’ll respond quickly.

 

Interestingly since I decided to take breaks, I already feel less pressure & depressed.  Knowing I can take breaks as needed has taken a large weight off my shoulders!

 

My reason for this post, Dear Reader, is two fold.  For one thing, I want you to know what is happening, so if I don’t respond to you in a timely manner, you won’t feel that I don’t care.  I truly do!  I also care about myself, though, & know being “on call” is too much pressure for me to handle.

 

For another thing, I want you to learn from my mistake.  Never, ever forget that Narcissistic Personality Disorder & recovering from narcissistic abuse are extremely serious, complex & painful topics.  Frequent breaks from thinking & talking about narcissism are absolutely vital to one’s mental & physical health!  I think it is very normal to obsess at first.  Once you have an answer to why someone treated you as they did, it’s only natural to want to know more about why they behaved that way.  It also feels so good to learn that you aren’t the problem as you were told you were.  Who wouldn’t want to understand why they were blamed for being abused?!  And, since narcissism is so complex, it’s pretty much a bottomless pit of things you can learn about it.  You should learn about narcissism.  It will empower you to do so.  That being said though, due to its complex nature & the pain of narcissistic abuse, you will need to take frequent breaks away from the topics.  During those times, refuse to think about or discuss narcissism.  Relax.  Do things you enjoy.  The balance will help you to stay strong & avoid depression.  You’ll know when you need a break, too- your mood will sink & you’ll be thinking about narcissism constantly.  Listen to these cues!  I didn’t, & look what has happened to me.  Please learn from my mistakes & don’t make the same ones I have!

 

Take good care of yourself, Dear Reader!  I’m praying for you as I hope you pray for me!  xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Tool To Help When You Must Deal With Narcissists

Years ago, I stumbled across an interesting way to help me maintain calm when dealing with narcissists- props.  A prop can be anything that comforts you or even makes you smile.  They are a wonderfully simple way to keep you grounded & keep your perspective about the difficult situation. I tend to dissociate pretty easily, & having something to physically touch helps me to stay in the moment.

 

When I had to deal with my mother in-law, I used things that made me laugh.  My personal favorite was a tiny vial for holy water a Catholic charity once sent me.  Remember the movie “The Exorcist”?  When the possessed girl was sprayed with holy water, she screamed “it burns!!”  I imagined my mother in-law doing the same thing if I sprayed her with holy water.  (I know – I have a warped sense of humor)  When she got nasty with me, I’d reach into my pocket & touch the vial.  She never knew why sometimes I’d smile when she was so wicked..

 

A friend of mine also had a mother in-law who disliked her.  We started joking saying, “pass the flask- I have to see the mother in-law today.”  One day, a flask arrived in the mail!  She bought her & I matching flasks!  The flask became a prop too, making me smile when I thought of my friend’s & my inside joke.

 

On a less silly note, I was very close to my granddad.  Butterflies are something we share (see the story in this post), & because of that, I have a small butterfly tattoo on my right ankle.  I also have a pretty yellow butterfly key chain, butterfly earrings & other various butterfly things.  Often when I’m around my mother, I look at or touch my butterfly items for comfort.

 

When you have to deal with the narcissist in your life, what prop can you keep handy to help you get through?  The item you carry doesn’t have to be anything fancy- just something that inspires you or makes you smile.  Preferably something small that can fit in your pocket, so you can touch it easily.

 

Most importantly though, never forget to pray before you must deal with the narcissist.  God will give you whatever you need- strength, courage, wisdom, etc.

 

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Brain Injuries & Narcissism

Certain problems with the brain can cause narcissistic behaviors or exacerbate ones that already exist.

 

Dementia & Alzheimer’s disease exacerbate the symptoms.  If a narcissist develops either disease, even if they have changed for the better prior to their diagnosis, chances are very good that their narcissistic behavior will return with a vengeance.  If you think about it, it makes sense this would happen.  As the brain health deteriorates, the person will become more frustrated with being able to accomplish & articulate less & less.  They have unmet needs which will make them focus more on how to get those needs met & how to tell others they need the needs met.  An already self-centered person will become even more so.  Plus, as they deteriorate, this is a huge narcissistic injury.  As they lose their looks & talents, it makes them angry like any narcissistic injury does, & they lash out.

 

Brain injuries, such as concussions or other traumatic brain injuries, also can create or exacerbate narcissistic behaviors too.

 

Until the past couple of years, little was known about traumatic brain injuries or TBIs.  Thankfully, more is known now, & many people are starting realize the severity of TBIs & its list of awful symptoms.  Some symptoms may include:

 

  • short term memory loss
  • comprehension problems
  • reduced attention span
  • confusion
  • personality changes (such as once being optimistic, but becoming pessimistic after the TBI)
  • vision changes
  • headaches
  • sleep troubles
  • dizziness &/or  vertigo
  • irritability
  • angry outbursts
  • nausea
  • sensory changes (sensitivity to light or sound for example)
  • if the TBI happens to a child, he or she may stop maturing emotionally beyond the age the TBI occurred.

 

Having had a TBI myself, I have a lot of these symptoms.  In fact, I feel like a very different person than I was before the accident.  My personality has changed so much.  And, yes, I am much more selfish than I was previously.  I believe it also caused me to develop Dependent Personality Disorder.  Once I was very independent, now I depend a lot on my husband.  I also don’t enjoy as much alone time as I once did.  I get lonely sometimes, which is something I never did before.

 

I thank God though because He has taught me so much about narcissism!  If He hadn’t done so, I believe my behavior would have taken a narcissistic turn.

 

If a person grows up seeing narcissistic behavior from one or both parents, that is the norm.  It’s all they know.  They see narcissists getting whatever they want.  If that person gets a TBI, chances are they will become more self-centered.  If that self-centered thinking is quite severe, it seems like going into narcissism is a natural course of events.  After all, they see a narcissist getting anything she wants- what she does works.  If it works for the narcissist, it should work for the TBI victim as well.  It’s only logical.

 

If you or someone you know has a brain injury or disease, cognitive behavioral therapy (talk therapy) may be a very good idea.  A professional can help you work through what you’re feeling & develop healthy ways to cope.  And remember, sometimes it takes going through a few counselors before you find one you’re comfortable with.

 

If you are dealing with someone like this, you’re in a very challenging position.  I understand totally- my father has Alzheimer’s.  There are no easy answers for you.  What works for one person may not work for another.  You will need to draw nearer to God than ever.  Listen to His promptings.  Your gut feelings are His promptings trying to lead you the right way.  Pick your battles wisely.  Some things simply are NOT worth a fight.  Don’t forget to protect yourself, too.  Yes, this person is sick & can only control their actions to a degree or maybe not at all, but you still need to protect yourself from physical or mental danger.  If you’re a caregiver, there are options out there to get help.  Your local Department of Aging or churches can help.  There are plenty of support groups available also for those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s & dementia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Books Are On Sale- Today Only!

My print book & sometimes ebook publisher is offering a really good sale but it’s today only.  All print books are 25% off, ebooks 5% off!  Use code AMAZING16 at checkout!

 

You can see my books for sale & free ebooks at this link: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

 

 

 

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Accepting That Your Suffering May Never Be Acknowledged

One thing I think all victims of narcissistic abuse would love is to have their abuser acknowledge the damage they have done, & genuinely apologize for it.  In fact, some feel they can’t heal or forgive without such actions.

Unfortunately, abusers, narcissists in particular, aren’t exactly the most compassionate people you’ll ever meet.  The chances of them owning up to what they have done are practically non existent.  (The only reason I think there may be even a slim chance is because of Matthew 19:26, that says with God, all things are possible.)

You need to accept the fact that the person who abused you most likely will never acknowledge hurting you or apologize for what she did.  I know it is hard & painful, but it is easier than continuing to wait for the acknowledgement you want.  Expecting a narcissist to acknowledge what they have done will only lead to great disappointment & frustration for you.

To help you accept this ugly truth, I urge you to learn as much as you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The more you know about NPD, the more you will understand the narcissist in your life.  Understanding it will also help you to grasp why an apology or acknowledgement from that person is not going to happen.

Pray.  Tell God how you feel & ask Him to comfort you.  He will listen & comfort you gladly!

Don’t let other people define you!  If you do, not getting the acknowledgement & apology you want will devastate you.  You will feel something is wrong with you instead of the narcissist, which is completely WRONG!  Just because a person won’t acknowledge the damage they have done to you doesn’t mean you are the problem.  Some people simply refuse to do this.  They cannot handle the guilt of what they have done, so rather than fess up to it, they will pretend it never happened or accuse you of making things up.  Isn’t it obvious that you are not the problem?

On the off chance you do get an apology from the narcissist, examine it carefully!  Often narcissists use a passive/aggressive apology just to shut their victim up (“I’m sorry you feel that way”).  The expectation is that you will hear an apology, & forgive & forget.  They aren’t truly sorry if they use the passive/aggressive apology at all.  Or, they may say they are sorry, but are looking for reassurance for you, which is narcissistic supply.  If you say, “It’s ok, I understand” & they persist on saying why what they have done is bad, basically they are pushing you into reassuring them that they are forgiven, & they are looking for you to provide narcissistic supply.

And, never forget…if you confront a narcissist, you may be attacked. It doesn’t matter how valid your claims, they often turn the tables on anyone who dares to criticize them. They will do anything to protect the image they portray of themselves.

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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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Learning About Anger

As I’ve mentioned before, like most children of narcissistic parents, I learned young never to show anger.  Instead, I stuffed it down inside & never dealt with it.

 

This year, I finally begun to stop stuffing anger & dealing with it in a healthy way.  It feels foreign, & like I’m disobeying my mother, but good at the same time.

 

I’ve realized something recently, & I think it may help others who are also finally learning how to manage anger in a healthy way.

 

I’m getting angry often over things that happened a long time ago.  Things have started just popping into my mind at random..bad memories of times when I was abused, invalidated or mistreated in some way.  Not necessarily repressed memories- things I remembered, but never really thought much about.   I finally asked God about it.  This was getting on my nerves, & I wanted an answer.  He reminded me that I  have had a lot of years of not allowing myself to feel the anger I had a right to feel.  Now that I’m getting a better grip on anger, I am finally able to process certain unpleasant events in a healthy way.  That is why these things are coming up so many years later.

 

Dear Reader, if you too are learning how to deal with anger in a healthy way for the first time, don’t be surprised if this happens to you, too!  It just may!  I doubt I’m the only person who this has happened to.  It seems like this is a logical course of events, yanno?  Especially since God wants what is best for His children, & what is best is to deal with painful things so they are no longer so painful.

 

When these events pop into my mind, I talk to God about it as soon as possible.  For whatever reason, they usually come to mind as I’m about to get into the shower, which is good- I have some private time to talk to Him uninterrupted.

 

Once alone with God, I just let it out.  Cry, tell Him how unfair it was, tell Him how much it hurt, whatever needs to get out of me.  He listens & that helps me a lot.  I also sometimes write it out in my journal at a later time.  When you feel anger, you need to purge yourself of it so it gets out of you.  It’s poison if left inside, & can cause many physical & mental health problems.  Getting it out is so much better.

 

When I’m done getting the anger out, I just sit quietly in God’s presence for a while.  It’s amazing how doing that can soothe your soul & mend your broken heart.  He doesn’t even need to say anything to you- there is just something peaceful & restorative about sitting quietly & focusing on God, His greatness & His love.

 

Once these things are done, I often find I’m a bit tired for a while & feel sort of raw emotionally.  Emotional healing is very tiring, very hard work.  If you feel that way, it’s normal.  Just try to take it as easy as you can for a little while until you feel better.  Be gentle with yourself.  You’ve been through something painful, & need to recover.

 

I hope this helps you, Dear Reader.  I know it’s no fun remembering something traumatic or painful, but it really can be helpful in your healing journey.  When things come back to your remembrance, you might as well just deal with them & get it over with rather than continue to ignore it.  Ignoring it does not benefit you in the least.  Dealing with it, especially with God’s help, however rids you of the damage it was doing to you.

 

 

 

 

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Wisdom In Reading About Narcissistic Abuse

I’ve noticed something about some people who write blogs or facebook pages.  Not all of course, but quite a few seem to think they have all the answers.  Many of these authors do have a great deal of wisdom, don’t misunderstand me.  They offer plenty of helpful insight.  However, being human, they can be wrong sometimes, too.  I have seen some provide information  I am 100% sure is wrong while stating that information as fact.

 

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not trying to trash other authors in the hopes you will follow me only, or say that I have all the answers.  I hope I don’t sound that way, because that isn’t the case.  I’m learning as I go just like you are, & share what I learn as I learn it & as I believe God leads me.

 

I’m telling you this because when you read blogs, facebook pages, books & websites like mine, you need to be aware that sometimes, the authors may make mistakes (yes, me too, even though I try not to!).  It’s never wise to blindly assume everything someone writes is 100% accurate, even if the person is an expert.  Besides, even your personal beliefs may clash with an author’s, & that is fine too.  You can follow an author’s writing without agreeing with 100% of everything he or she says.

 

Also, unfortunately some who write about narcissists are narcissists themselves.  I know it is hard to believe, but I have seen it first hand.  I used to follow someone who from pretty early on, I noticed a few signs of narcissism.  I thought I was just over sensitive.  As time wore on, she read something I wrote & commented how wrong I was.  Another fan defended me, & they got into a rather heated disagreement online.  This happened after I got off my computer for the night, so I didn’t know about it until the following morning.  I was shocked that morning to discover what happened, & to discover the other author blocked me.

 

This was a learning experience though.

 

I learned that if your instincts are telling you someone is a narcissist, even if she teaches on the topic, don’t ignore that gut feeling!  It’s there for a reason!  Watch her carefully, as what she says & how she treats her readers will reveal the truth eventually.

 

Also, watch how a person states information.  If they brag about how much they know or are admired, those are narcissistic red flags.

 

Someone who discusses her experiences in a manner as if to say no one can have a different experience is most likely a narcissist.

 

Be aware of someone who is not open to others having different beliefs or handling things in a way that isn’t as if the author would handle it.  There are so many gray areas when it comes to topics like narcissistic abuse or C-PTSD.  Some authors only believe in no contact, for example, & can be shaming to those of us who aren’t no contact.  (The one I mentioned above talked to me as if I was a fool for going low contact with my narcissistic mother instead of no contact.)  This type of person fails to realize that there is no one size fits all way to handle narcissists.

 

Mostly though, rely on God.  Ask Him to help you know who to read & what information of those authors is applicable to you.  Matthew 10:16  says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (KJV)  That is exactly how you need to be in every area in life, including your own healing from narcissistic abuse!

 

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What’s In A Name?

I’ve met a great deal of adult daughters of narcissistic mothers who have changed their names.  Some have legally changed it to something completely different while others, like me, have only tweaked the name they already have.  One thing all of us share in common though is no matter how it was changed, it felt so freeing!!

My mother always called me Cindy.  It always felt wrong somehow.  So about 15 years ago, it finally occurred to me that it is my name, & I can do with it whatever I like.  I began asking people to call me Cynthia, as that feels more comfortable for me.  Oddly, I was met with a great deal of protest from so-called friends who said I’d always be Cindy to them & they refused to make the change.  (Happily for me, all of them are out of my life now for various reasons.)  Since then, when meeting people, even introducing myself as Cynthia, some still call me Cindy, so I decided on a compromise- spell it Cyndi, which is the correct spelling anyway.

It feels so good to have made this change, as little as it is.  I feel this way- Cindy is the person my mother made.  The dysfunctional one who had no purpose in life other than to try to please her narcissistic parents.  Cindy is now dead.  Cynthia is much more functional, in spite of the C-PTSD & has her own mind, likes/dislikes & boundaries.  I feel like changing my name has helped to detach me from the dysfunctional, awful person I once was.

Something rather funny on this topic- when we adopted our little cat, Minnie Rose, her name was Baby.  She didn’t answer to it at all.  She was also extremely timid.  It took me a few days to come up with a name that seemed appropriate for her, & once I started calling her Minnie Rose, her entire demeanor changed.  She became much more confident & happy.  She likes the name so much, that she will get mad if I call her Baby even just as a term of endearment.  lol

This may sound odd to you, but I’m telling you, it does make you feel different & better to change your name after surviving narcissistic abuse.  Name changes have happened since the beginning of time, too, & God Himself changed some folks’ names.  Remember, Abraham was once Abram, Sarah once Sarai, Israel was Jacob.  When God changed people’s names in the Bible, the people changed accordingly.  God changed their names when he brought them into a better place than they had been in.  He did the same for me- I have healed so much since changing my name.

If you haven’t done so, why not consider making a change with your name?  Even if it’s just going by a nickname, it will change how you feel about yourself.  You have the right to make that change if you are so inclined, so why not exercise it?

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Weight & Daughters Of Narcissistic Mothers

Many narcissistic mothers have issues with food & weight, & they pass those issues on to their daughters.

 

My mother told me how fat & ugly I was so often, I went through anorexia at age 10, & bulimia in my teens.  She continues to insult my weight very harshly even now, at age 44.  Many other daughters of narcissistic mothers I have spoken to have similar stories.  Even if they didn’t have an eating disorder, they are convinced they are ugly because they are too fat or too thin.

 

I think this is often because insecurity in every area is behind narcissism.  Insecurity is at the root of their behavior- everything is done in an attempt to make them feel better about themselves.  Narcissists also like to project their issues & insecurities on others.  Projection allows them to be angry about the issues without admitting their flaws.

 

Also, narcissistic mothers look at their daughters as competition.  If the mother is overweight or underweight, but her daughter has a good figure, it is a guarantee that she will do her level best to make her daughter feel badly about her figure.  Making her daughter feel badly will make the narcissistic mother feel good.

 

 

If this describes your narcissistic mother, please remember these things!  The things she has said to you are a lie!  She is only saying those things to hurt you so she can feel better about herself.  DO NOT LISTEN TO HER!!!

 

I know it can be hard to do this, but you need to!  You don’t deserve to feel badly about yourself or have eating disorders, especially because of someone else cruelly putting their issues on you.  You are fearfully & wonderfully made, according to God’s word (Psalms 139:14).  You deserve to love your body, not hate it because of someone else’s issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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For Anyone Considering Writing About Narcissism

Since I began writing about narcissism, surviving narcissistic abuse & the awful effects on its victims, some people have told me I need to focus on writing about lighter, more pleasant topics.  It’s too negative.  People need to think about positive things, not just the negative.  I only write about what I do because I’m wallowing in the past.  I need to forget it & move on.

The truth is, I do agree with the fact that people need to focus on positive things, not just the negative.  That is all I agree with in the above statements however.

In all honesty, writing about narcissism isn’t easy.  I’m often learning something new, & it can be depressing just how pervasive narcissism & narcissistic abuse are.  I get tired of it all.  It’s a very emotionally draining topic & can be triggering for my C-PTSD.  I have to take time to deliberately refuse to focus on it to help me not to get mired down in the depressing negativity that is narcissism.

That being said, I don’t plan to quit anytime soon.

For one thing, I believe God wants me to write about this topic.  He has given me the ability to write & also to understand quite a lot about narcissism.  Not that I know everything on the topic of course- I don’t think anyone does- but I do know a lot.  My personal experiences have taught me a great deal as well as things I have read.

For another thing, when someone thanks me for teaching them something they’ve been searching for an answer for, it is incredibly rewarding.

It’s also rewarding to let people know they aren’t alone.  Since narcissistic abuse makes its victims feel so alone, learning they aren’t is a really big deal!

There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you helped to improve someone’s life.  That alone makes it all worth while!

And, in all honesty, writing helps me as well.  I’m finally validated!  Seeing things in writing somehow helps me to realize that what happened to me was real, & it was terrible.  It makes it more real than just remembering things, probably since I dissociated so much as a child.  It also helps validate me when people believe me & offer support & understanding.  That almost never happened until I started writing.  So please forgive my selfish motive but I need this validation!

If you are considering writing about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, just know it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

Remember that if you opt to write about it, narcissism is a terribly negative topic.  You will need to counter the negativity with positive.  Indulge in things you enjoy often, such as a favorite hobby.

Do nice things for yourself to reward yourself after writing.  Even a short blog post like this one can be surprisingly draining sometimes- reward yourself for putting forth the effort.

Make time where you flatly refuse to think about NPD or anything related to it.  Deliberately focus on something else.  Anything else.

If you opt to write a blog, write posts in advance & schedule them to publish without your assistance.  That way, if you feel inspired, you can write several posts at once, or if you feel uninspired, you can take a break.  Your blog will post anyway.  I have a lot of posts ready to go- over 3 months into the future.

Don’t feel bad for taking frequent breaks.  It’s good for your mental health!

If you choose to write a book, be forewarned- that is much more challenging than writing in a blog.  Blog posts are usually short which makes them easier to handle.  Writing a full book, however is different.  Chances are, you’ll go on a bender & end up writing a lot in one sitting, probably often, which will exhaust you.  You may plan to write for only half an hour but end up spending your afternoon in front of the computer.  Trust me on this one- been there, done that!  Writing a book about narcissism, especially if it is about your personal experiences, is an emotional roller coaster.

So if you are considering writing about narcissism, I strongly urge you to pray about it.  Ask God if this is the route He wants you to take, how He wants you to write (blog, books, etc) & if it is, to enable you to do it.  Ask for strength, courage & wisdom, because you will need all three & more.

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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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