Tag Archives: negative

Being Over Sensitive To Criticism

I’ve noticed recently that I am way more sensitive to criticism than I used to be.  It’s not that I care what people think, but I care that people feel they must share their negative opinions with me when I didn’t ask for their opinions.

When I first realized this, I chalked it up to getting older & crankier.  In time though, I realized it’s not only those things.  I firmly believe it is because of having experienced narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists are most likely the most judgmental & critical of all people.  They must share any & all opinions of their victims they have at all times.  They favor negative ones in particular as a way to chip away at their victims’ self esteem since low self esteem makes a person easy to control & abuse. 

If by some chance narcissists think something positive about their victims, they won’t offer any praise.  They prefer to do much crueler things.  The best option is they simply withhold praise, but that seldom happens.  Instead, they prefer to claim responsibility for that good thing such as by claiming if they hadn’t pushed the victim, he or she never would have gotten that promotion at work.  Narcissistic parents also claim that their victim/child got whatever talent they have from that parent.  This means that when their child gets praise for something, the parent often says something along the lines of, “She got that talent from me.”

Another common scenario with narcissists is to twist the good thing in their victim around so it looks bad, thus ruining that good thing.  For example, many years back, before I decided to focus only on writing, I did some editing work.  I was blessed to work with one amazing client & mentioned the work to my mother.  That was a huge mistake, but at that time, I didn’t know anything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I mentioned my client & the work I was enjoying doing for her because I naively thought my mother would be happy for me.  She always fancied herself a skilled writer, & she was, but she never worked in the field.  I thought she might be happy that I was working in the field & enjoying myself.  Well, not only did she not share my joy, but a few days later she ruined mine.  She did this by saying she was thinking of getting into editing work because (& this is her wording), “it’s such easy money.  Obviously anyone can do it.” 

Narcissists also beat their victims down with criticism.  When my husband & I got together, his mother repeatedly told me how much she hated my car.  For years, I heard constant hateful comments.  Many times I wanted to tell her, “I know.  You hate my car.  You think it’s the worst car in the whole world.  There’s no need to keep telling me.  I figured out how you feel after the first 50,000 times you mentioned it!”

After going through these things for years at the hands of narcissists, I really think that no matter how much we may have healed, criticism is still a very tough thing for us to handle, even when we don’t care about someone else’s opinions.  We are burned out on criticism, negativity & cruelty.  We also had it drilled into us how awful we are or something about us is.  After years of this, we get to the point where criticism, unless it’s clearly well meaning & meant to help, is incredibly irritating.  So many times I have wanted to tell someone, “Your opinion wasn’t asked for & truly means nothing.  Why must you share it?  And, why do you think it’s ok to be such a disrespectful jerk?”

If this describes you, I so relate!  It’s frustrating!  I have learned the best way to handle criticism that is unasked for & unfair is to stop for a moment.  Inhale deeply then exhale to calm your mind & body.  Remind yourself that you are having a reaction to the narcissistic abuse, nothing more.  Also remind yourself that not all people have good social skills.  Some are very critical simply because they haven’t learned any better.  That doesn’t mean they are narcissists or are out to hurt you.  They are simply oblivious.  And, remember that just because someone is criticizing you doesn’t mean what they said is true.  Consider what they have to say, & if it’s wrong, disregard it.  If they are right, although it was a painful way to learn, you still learned something.  That is a good thing.

If you know the person who is critical, then you know if you can talk openly to them or not.  If you can, gently let them know how you feel.  They may have simply not realized how what they said sounded.  Or they may be struggling with something & took their frustrations out on you. 

And as always, remember to pray.  Ask God for wisdom & help in your situation, & He will provide you whatever you need!

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

Being Too Positive Is As Unhealthy As Being Too Negative

Lately I’ve noticed something.  So many people are just over the top positive. They can find something good in every single situation, no matter what.  While that may sound good, I really don’t think it’s entirely good for a person’s mental health.

If you’re very positive, you expect nothing but good things to happen.  Since life isn’t always perfect, bad things do happen, & when they do, overly positive people can be devastated.  A realistic person hopes for the best, but  also prepares for the worst.  When something bad happens, they aren’t usually overwhelmed, because they knew it was possible something bad might happen.

Very positive people also can unintentionally invalidate others, which damages their relationships.  Look at these typical scenarios:

  • You’re recovering from a potentially life threatening illness.  The overly positive person says, “At least you’re still alive!”  Well, yes, but that comment makes you feel like you don’t have the right to be upset about the fact that you could have died, when in fact you most certainly have that right!
  • A soldier with PTSD saved his friends’ lives by killing an enemy soldier who was running at them, guns blazing.  A positive person might say something like, “You did a brave thing!  Look at the lives you saved!”  While that’s true, how about asking how he feels about the incident, or offering him comfort because he had to kill another human being & is having difficulties coming to terms with it?
  • You tell the overly positive person of trauma in your life such as your parents’ abusing you, being the victim of a mugging or maybe being in a terrible car wreck.  The overly positive person says, “Other people have been through much worse!”  Or, even worse, they don’t so much as acknowledge what you said.
  • You were adopted as a baby.  As an adult, you’re frustrated because you don’t know your family’s history, how many siblings you may or may not have, why you were given up for adoption or even what name your biological mother wanted to give you.  Or, maybe your adoptive parents abused you.  An overly positive person might tell you how lucky you were & how grateful you should be to be adopted, making you feel guilty for not feeling so lucky or grateful.

I’m not trying to say being positive is all bad.  It certainly has its place.  It can help you in tough times to focus on the good, such as remembering the good times with your loved one after he or she has passed away.  I do believe though that there must be balance.

Being too positive means a person doesn’t deal with their emotions in a healthy way.  They ignore the anger, hurt or sadness & put on a happy face.  That is never a healthy thing to do!  Emotions demand to be felt, so if they aren’t felt in a healthy way, they’ll find a way to manifest in an unhealthy way.  This can lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure as well as angry outbursts or depression.

It also can lead to deep insecurity.  If a person feels bad about themselves for feeling a negative emotion, chances are, that person will shame themselves for what they feel.  Their self talk will be awful.  They’ll tell themselves things like, “You’re so stupid for being mad/sad about that!”  Negative self talk can damage self-esteem, which is never a good thing.

You can be positive yet realistic at the same time, Dear Reader.  If something bad happened, there is nothing wrong with admitting that event was bad.  As I’ve mentioned before, in 2015, I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Good has come from it- my personality changes have worked well for me.  I’m happy to say I no longer have patience for abusive people, I’m better with self care than ever before & I finally will stand up for myself.  But, at the same time, I don’t like the fact I get tired so easily, I have constant head, neck & body pain, sometimes my moods swing like crazy, & my memory & comprehension are seriously damaged.  See what I mean?  I have found the positive, but at the same time, I admit the negative.  You can do this too, & I firmly believe when you do, you will be much happier than if you are overly positive.

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

The Little Things Can Be A Big Help

Song of Solomon 2:15  “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”  (KJV)

 

This Scripture came into my mind recently.  So often, little things can steal our joy.  A good mood can be ruined easily by someone’s insensitive, cutting criticism.  A financial blessing can be spoiled when a person learns how much they’ll have to pay in taxes.

 

However, the reverse is true too.  Something bad can be reversed by something small yet positive.

 

If you’re having a bad day, yet a handsome stranger smiles at you, does that not improve your day?  It certainly does mine.  Or, when you put your hand in your pocket to find a few dollars you didn’t know were there, would that not brighten your day at least a little?

 

When you’ve been through some awful things in your life, it’s easy to cling to the negative while ignoring the positive.  Especially if you’ve grown up with at least one narcissistic parent.  They are truly the most negative people you can meet- if there is a bad way to look at a situation, they’ll find it.  And, they train their children to do the same thing.  It can be a hard habit to break, but it is well worth it.

 

I’m not one to advocate being overly positive & optimistic, because people who are out of balance that way tend to be disappointed constantly.  However, I do encourage people to be realistic & yet still positive.  Sometimes, things just stink & nothing can make it better.  However, there are also many more times when your situation stinks but there are tiny blessings around you that can help you to get through it.

 

God has been showing me lately that good can be found in a great deal of negative situations.  Flashbacks & nightmares even have their purpose.  Yes, they’re incredibly  awful at the time they happen, but once they’re done, if I look at them, I realize they often show me areas where I need more healing.  I believe they happen when they do because God basically says, “Now is the time to face this.”  Every time I do, I make another step towards healing.

 

I’ve also noticed that when I’m very depressed or upset about something, my cats will do silly things or snuggle me more than usual.  To me, that is a wonderful blessing because even in my worst moods, they can make me smile.

 

The point is, Dear Reader, that there are often silver linings in even the darkest clouds, & those silver linings can help get you through.  Not to make us overly optimistic to the point of being foolish, but to help strengthen us when we need it the most.  If you’re having trouble finding those silver linings, then by all means, ask God to help you to be aware of them.  He will!  Be sure to notice everything, even the tiniest things, because God has sent them to help you!  Even something small like noticing the blooms on a majestic magnolia tree in the middle of summer.. as common as that is, it’s still a beautiful thing to see if you love magnolias.  Maybe God put you in the path of that lovely tree to bring you a little joy at the specific time you needed it.  Enjoy it.  Revel in it.  It’s a gift from God just for you.

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

Being Positive Doesn’t Fix Everything

I’ve been seeing so much lately about thinking positive, how a positive outlook can fix any problem in life.  It sounds great, but I disagree.

Thinking positive is certainly a good thing.  It can help you not to be discouraged or depressed.  In fact, I even have what I call “Positive Monday” every week in my facebook group, where I share something good in my life & encourage others to do the same.  That being said though, sometimes you have to be real.  There is nothing wrong with being upset when something bad happens.  It’s ok to grieve & be negative for a while after losing a loved one, being unfairly fired, finding out your spouse cheated on you or being mistreated.

Also, being realistic rather than optimistic helps you to avoid being constantly disappointed.  Optimists are constantly disappointed, because they naively expect everything to turn out well.  Unfortunately for them, that isn’t realistic!  Sometimes life is great & things turn out well, but not always.  I am a firm believer in hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.  For example, last February when I got carbon monoxide poisoning & a concussion when I passed out from it, I did a lot of research on both.  I learned that recovery is very long & slow, & in many cases, a person never fully recovers from carbon monoxide poisoning or a brain injury, even a so called mild one like a concussion.  While I hoped to be one of the few to fully or nearly fully recover, I accepted the fact it may never happen.  My symptoms have not improved in a long time, & I accept that.  I’m disappointed, sure, but not devastated because I knew it was possible, which I believe is about as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

Positive thinking also won’t heal you from the effects of abuse.  What will help you is to face what happened head on, talking about it, praying about it, getting angry about it then forgiving the person who hurt you.  Ignoring it or making excuses for the abuser (“he was abused as a child”, for example) does not benefit anyone, least of all you.

I just wanted to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to have some balance in your thinking.   There is no shame in being realistic rather than optimistic.  There is no shame when positive thinking doesn’t fix everything for you.

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