Tag Archives: NPD

Do You Have Something That Is Just Yours?

A little while ago, I was listening to some music from the 80’s.  Being a teen in the 80’s, it’s often my go to genre.  I was really enjoying the songs & a thought crossed my mind.  Most people who listen to their childhood music are transported back to happy days of their youth.  I’m not. My childhood wasn’t happy.  Even so, I still love the music of the era.  As I wondered why, & didn’t even have a chance to ask God why, He gave me the answer.  My taste in music was the first thing that was just mine, that my narcissistic mother couldn’t ruin for me.

 

My mother likes 50’s music & country music by the Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys & similar sounding artists.  My father is mostly into outlaw type country- Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt.  Neither likes 80’s music.  When I first got into it, my mother harshly criticized it, yet she didn’t spoil my love of it in spite of her valiant efforts.

 

She tried to squelch my love of other things over the years too- my taste in cars, other types of music I like (such as Southern rock & metal/hard rock), my love of feminine clothing & perfumes, knitting, scary movies & books. I’m positive her motivation was to make me dislike these things & replace them with things she likes or approves of.  (Narcissists love to change people into what they think they should be, rather than allowing people to be individuals.)  It hasn’t worked, however, & these things all bring me a great deal of joy, even when she insults them or me for liking them.

 

When you’ve experienced narcissistic abuse, holding onto something that the narcissist couldn’t ruin for you or take away from you is precious!  It makes you feel strong.  In spite of every hateful thing she tried, she couldn’t take this from me!  There was one thing she couldn’t destroy about me!  YAY ME!!

 

Do you have something that is just yours, that your narcissistic mother couldn’t take from you?  What is it?  Whatever it is, I urge you to celebrate it!  Enjoy it to the max!   Relish in the fact she couldn’t take it from you no matter what.  Be proud of yourself for having the fortitude to hang onto that thing!

 

If you can’t think of anything, that is ok too!  Find something!  Try something new- a new hobby, a new type of tea, listen to a different genre of music.  You’ll find something that is so special to you, that even the meanest narcissistic mother can’t take away, & you will thoroughly enjoy it.

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

Narcissistic Parents Don’t Want Their Children To Grow Up

When the child of a narcissistic parent is very young, the narcissistic parent is often at her happiest in her role as a parent.  Young children are easier to control & manipulate.  They also don’t want independence.

 

Unfortunately for the narcissistic parent, children don’t stay little forever.

 

As children grow up, many narcissists feel threatened or even betrayed.  The reason being, I believe, is that the harder the child is to control, the worse this is for the narcissistic parent. They want that young child to make them look good by behaving properly, being interested in what the parent wants them interested in, etc.  The younger a child, the easier the child is to control.  This is why the teen years can be extremely hard for narcissistic parents & their children.  Teens are growing up & naturally want more independence.  This is unacceptable to the narcissist, so they use whatever means they can to keep their teenager a young child.  Some weapons they use are:

 

  • Disapproval.  This can be either in the forms of disapproving looks or questioning your choices.
  • Criticism.  Insulting your choices or tastes, usually done under the guise of helping.  The narcissistic parent is trying to make you believe she knows what’s best for you, you don’t.
  • Interfering.  Telling you what you should do, who you should date or not allowing you to date, even sabotaging relationships with people the narcissistic parent doesn’t approve of.

 

Unfortunately, these behaviors don’t end when the child turns into an adult.  Often, they continue well into adulthood.  They certainly did with my parents.  My parents had very strong opinions on what I should do & who I should do it with.

 

There are no ways to get a narcissist to stop trying to infantilize their child, no matter the child’s age.  But, there are some ways you can handle this maddening behavior.

 

You’ll need to limit the amount of information you reveal to your narcissistic parent.  Any information they have can be turned into ammunition used to hurt you.

 

Use good boundary setting phrases, such as, “Thanks, but the situation is under control.”  “I’ve made my decision, & there is nothing more to discuss.”  “I didn’t ask for your opinion on this matter.”

 

Changing the subject may work too.  Often with narcissists, you can’t simply change the subject & expect them to respect that the first time.  It may take doing this a few times or doing it over & over in a short span of time, but it usually works- they get tired of fighting to talk about the topic.  The often short attention span of many narcissists can work in your favor.

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

Can You Ever Be Completely Healed After Abuse?

I recently was talking recently with a lady about this very topic- can someone be completely healed of the effects of narcissistic abuse?  We both shared the same opinion.  With God, of course, all things are possible.  However, to be completely healed isn’t necessarily the norm.

 

For one thing, narcissistic abuse infects every area of your being.  The stress of it can affect you physically, such as developing high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease.  The negativity & crazy making affect you mentally.  So many victims feel like they’re crazy.  Many lose their self esteem or live with depression & anxiety.  A lot of victims live with PTSD or C-PTSD after leaving the relationship with a narcissist.  Many people in a relationship with narcissists are affected financially.  Narcissists see people as nothing more than tools to be used in whatever way benefits the narcissist, so many victims lose a great deal of money to their narcissist.   Many victims are also affected spiritually because of the narcissist’s weird religious beliefs or being overly “religious”, using God to make the victim feel like a bad person, God is punishing them or the like.

 

For another thing, if you had a narcissistic parent (or two), the abuse is even worse simply due to the nature of the relationship.  It goes so deeply against nature for a parent to abuse a child instead of loving & caring for her, that it’s virtually impossible to accept.  That can deeply affect a child no matter that child’s age.  Many are in denial, saying their narcissistic mother was just quirky or over protective rather than narcissistic.  Some believe their covertly narcissistic parent was naive, & didn’t know any better.  Or, they believe the covertly narcissistic parent was incapable of stopping the overtly narcissistic parent from abusing them for various reasons.

 

Also, childhood forms who you are as an adult.  Whether you had a good or bad upbringing, you are a product of your childhood.  I think childhood is much like the foundation of a home.  If a home’s foundation is damaged, the home won’t be safe.  If you had a bad childhood, your adulthood won’t be healthy until you fix the damage done to you in childhood.

 

You may never fully heal from the abuse.  It’s quite normal.   If you get to the place the abuse doesn’t consume you, you’re doing great.  If you can think or talk about certain events without feeling devastated, but instead feeling more like you’re remembering an unpleasant dream, you’re doing great.  It’s quite possible you may not be healed more than that.  In my personal experience plus observations of the many other victims of narcissistic abuse I’ve spoken with, complete healing isn’t common.  In fact, I haven’t seen it myself.

 

If you are like most of us & still struggling even many years after the abuse happened, please know you’re not alone!  Not by a long shot!  You also aren’t weak or a failure.  God hasn’t abandoned you either.  In fact, He is with you during the worst times, whether you feel His presence or not. I’ll close this post with a beautiful reminder of that fact..

 

Psalm 23

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

(KJV)

 

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Feelings Can Die

If someone has hurt you repeatedly & deliberately, your good feelings or even love for that person can die.  It isn’t a matter of hating that person, or wishing them bad things.  It’s a matter of feeling complete indifference towards them.  If you hear that person is suffering, you feel nothing- no pity, no desire to help them, no concern.

 

It sounds strange if you haven’t experienced it, I’m sure, but I would guess it happens more often than people care to admit.  After all, saying it makes you sound bad or un-Christian if you don’t care about the pain of another human being.  In spite of how it sounds though, I don’t think it’s abnormal to reach this place in certain bad relationships.

 

People say the opposite of love is hate, but I believe it to be indifference.  If you love or hate someone, you have very strong feelings for someone. If you love them, you are glad when good things happen to them or sad when bad things happen.  If you hate them, you are sad when good things happen to them & rejoice when bad things happen.  If you feel indifferently towards a person though, you literally feel nothing for that person.  No joy or sadness at their blessings or trials.

 

I felt indifference towards my mother in-law, even when she was diagnosed with serious health problems then later died.  Does that sound awful to you?  I’m sure it does, but consider some background information before judging..

 

From the moment we met, I knew she didn’t like me.  She was civil & even pleasant sometimes in front of others, but when we were alone, she was cruel.  She constantly insulted me, my family, my pets, my car, everyone & everything that meant anything at all to me.  She talked to me like I was stupid & not good enough to be a part of her family.  Not long after we got married, she told me how terribly disappointed she was that Eric married me instead of an ex of his.  (A woman who cheated on him & treated him badly, mind you).  She told me I needed to get rid of my pets- I had too many.  She called my granddad stupid for living on his own at 84 years old, even knowing how important he was to me & never having met him.  Upon seeing me replace a burn out turn signal bulb in my car once, she told me I needed to get rid of it- it cost me too much money.   (The new bulb cost $.97 & had been in my car for the entire 9 years I had it at that time.  It was the only repair my car had needed in a long time.).  One evening in 2002, she called to talk to my husband, but he wasn’t home from work yet.  She screamed at me for this because she thought he should’ve been home at that time of night.  She also yelled at me because his allergies were bothering him.  This conversation made me realize she wasn’t someone I could work things out with, no matter what I did.  She blamed me for things I had absolutely no control over- how could I work things out with someone like that?  Anything I felt for her died then, & I cut ties with her shortly after.

 

So after reading that story, doesn’t it make sense that in extreme circumstances like this, your feelings for someone can simply die?

 

If you’ve experienced this, please know you’re not alone & there is nothing wrong with you.  This simply means you’re human & have been through some unfair, cruel things.  It doesn’t mean you are a bad person or even a bad Christian.

 

In spite of feeling this way, I started praying for my mother in-law a few months before she died.  I didn’t want to, I frankly didn’t care about her salvation or anything else going on with her.  However, I felt in my heart God wanted me to & doing so helped me to feel a deep peace.  I would recommend you do the same, Dear Reader, for that person you feel nothing for.  Praying for them may bless them as well as you.  It can be difficult at first, but I promise- it gets easier the more often you do it.  I believe it will give you peace in your heart as it did me.

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Why Remembering Childhood Trauma Feels Different As An Adult

I’m going to take a wild guess that I’m not the only victim of narcissistic abuse who has experienced this kind of situation.  I’m hoping sharing it will help those of you who have similar experiences.

 

When I was in either seventh or eighth grade, I experienced the scare of my young life at that time.  My parents & I went to the grocery store one night.  While there, we ran into my friend, her parents & brother.  She & I went off to check out the makeup while our families shopped for groceries.  Shortly after we were separated, a very creepy guy started following us & trying to talk to us.  He scared us both badly.  Thankfully, we found my friend’s parents as we were trying to get away from the creepy guy, & she told her parents what happened.  Her father was a very big, imposing man, which worked nicely in our favor.  As Creepy Guy approached, her father put his arms around us both & told the guy to leave his daughters alone or else!  Creepy Guy left us alone.  My friends father told me to stay with them until we found my parents.  Upon finding my parents a few minutes later, he told my parents what happened.  I don’t remember if they even thanked him for protecting me.  We went to one cash register, my friend & her parents another.  Creepy Guy was outside the store at this point.  He was looking in the window at me, waving & smiling.  My father said & did nothing.  My mother continued putting groceries on the conveyor belt & said to just ignore the guy.  By the time we left the store, Creepy Guy was gone.  That was the end of the situation.  Neither of my parents asked if I was OK or showed any concern for how scared I had been.   I never thought about the incident again until I was around 40 years old.

 

When it came to mind one day, I was suddenly very shaken up.  This guy was just very creepy, I don’t know how else to describe him.  It was painfully obvious his motivations with my friend & I weren’t good.  Yet, my parents didn’t show an ounce of concern, not even after my friend’s parents told them what happened.  These were good, Christian people- they didn’t lie or even exaggerate!  Why wasn’t what they said taken seriously?!  If I had a child & this happened to her, I would’ve called the police & spoken with the store manager, not to mention, tried to comfort my child.

 

In considering this situation, I also realized that not only do my parents still shop at this same grocery store, my mother sent me there to do her shopping a few times before I moved out.  I didn’t feel any anxiety in that store during those times I visited it.  It’s only been as a middle aged woman that I feel horrible anxiety if I’m near that store.  Thankfully I don’t shop at that store or have any reason to go near it very often.

 

I was wondering recently why this is.  Why as a child, was I ok, but now, 30 years after the fact, even a quick trip through the parking lot sends me into a panic attack.  God showed me the answer.

 

As narcissists, these parents demand to be treated as gods, basically.  There is no room for anything except for their reality.  You aren’t allowed to have feelings, needs, etc. with a narcissistic parent because that makes you a “bother.”  All that exists with narcissistic parents is their reality, period, & anything to do with you isn’t important.  If you experience a trauma, they won’t care.  It’s not a big deal to them because it doesn’t affect them.  As a child, you accept their reality as your own.  When something traumatic or even simply painful happens, & your narcissistic parent(s) acts like it’s no big deal, you internalize that.  You accept it wasn’t a big deal & ignore your feelings.

 

Years later as an adult, you see things differently.  If you’ve learned about narcissistic abuse, you definitely see things differently than you did as a child.  You realize how messed up your narcissistic parent(s) is.  You see things differently than you once did.  You no longer blindly accept your parents’ reality but instead accept the real, reality only.  You may even have a child, & see things as a parent rather than only seeing them as an abused child.  You see things through more mature eyes plus with the influence of things you have learned & things you have healed from.  That is why if you look back at something from your childhood you hadn’t thought of in a long time at this point, you realize how messed up it was!  You see your parents lack of protection or concern, & instead of taking it in stride, you get angry or hurt.

 

When this happens, it can be hard at first.  When I first thought about Creepy Guy after all those years, I was angry & very hurt that my parents showed so little concern about a potentially very serious situation.  (I also wished I’d had the chance to thank my friend’s father for protecting me before he died, but that’s another issue).  I was also less than thrilled- yet one more thing to deal with from childhood.  UGH.  I realized something though that helped me.  I realized how far I’ve come.  I was so dysfunctional back then, I accepted that this possible rapist or murder being interested in my friend & I was no big deal.  Now, I see how sick it is my parents ignored the situation.  I realized that my view now is normal & that showed me how much healing I’ve done.  Definitely a good thing!!  So please keep that in mind if you go through this experience, Dear Reader.  Seeing things in a healthy way like I did is proof that you are healing, & that is a huge blessing!

 

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When People Tell You How To Feel & How To Heal

From the narcissists’ flying monkeys to even the most well meaning of people, people like to tell victims of narcissistic abuse how to feel.

 

  • “You’re too negative.  You need to be more positive.”
  • “You need to let that go/get over it.”
  • “Aren’t you over that yet?”
  • “You need to forgive & forget.”
  • “You shouldn’t have let them abuse you.”
  • “You need to stop thinking about it.”
  • “You haven’t prayed enough.”

 

Early in healing, such statements add to the toxic shame you already feel stemming from the abuse.  You feel ashamed of yourself for not being over it, not forgiving your abuser & forgetting their awful deeds or being so “negative.”

 

Later in your healing, after you’ve gained some wisdom & experience, such comments really just get under your skin.  You know that there is no way to “just get over” the horrible things that have been done to you.  It takes a great deal of prayer & work to heal, & even then, you may never be “over” the abuse you endured.  If you live with PTSD/C-PTSD, you live with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression & more every single day because of the abuse.  As long as you have the disorder, you are forced to live with the abuse every day, like it or not.  And forgive & forget??  HA.  Even if you are able to forgive your abuser, you don’t forget abusive things done to you.  It also makes you angry people tell you how to heal, as if they know what you need better than you do.  So presumptuous & arrogant!

 

No one has the right to tell you how to feel or how you need to work on your healing.  You know what you need more than anyone else.  Besides, what may have worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too.  Different things work for different people.

 

No one has the right to blame you for being abused, saying things like “you allowed the abuse.”  No, you didn’t.  Abusers abuse, period.  No matter what you did or didn’t do, the abuser planned to abuse you & did so, all of his or her own free will.

 

No matter what happened to your abuser, that does NOT give him or her the right to abuse you.  Many people who grew up in a toxic environment became good, caring people as adults.  Anyone that tries to excuse their abusive behavior because they had a bad childhood or other lame excuses is toxic.  Avoid these people as much as possible!  If you can’t avoid them entirely, at the very least have strong boundaries when you’re with them & refuse to discuss the abuse you endured.

 

You have the right to protect & care for your physical & mental health however works best for you.

 

You have the right to have & enforce healthy boundaries by whatever means work for you.

 

You have the right to limit or end contact with people who are detrimental to your healing, no matter if those people are friends or even family.

 

You have the right (& obligation) to take care of yourself, to rest on bad days, to cry when you’re sad, etc.

 

You have the right to feel whatever you feel.  If you’re angry, you have the right to that anger.  If you’re sad, you have the right to those tears.  Feel the emotions so you can process them & heal, no matter who says you’re wrong for feeling such things.

 

You have the right to decide with who to share details of the abuse.   You don’t have to share your story with everyone.  Even if someone asks you what happened, you don’t have to tell them if you don’t feel comfortable with it.  Besides, sharing with just anyone isn’t wise, since some people will use the information to hurt you.

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Do Narcissists Change As They Age?

I’ve read so many times that narcissists never change, but I have to disagree with this.

 

Narcissists can change for the better, because with God, all things are possible.  This is quite rare, but it’s certainly something to hope & pray for.  (I believe in hoping for the best but preparing for the worst)  It happened with my husband’s father- he improved so much.  I don’t know why he changed, but it was wonderful.  He was caring & kind to my husband instead of his usual behavior- critical, bossy & generally nasty.  Unfortunately though, he later developed dementia, & returned to his old ways.  (Dementia & Alzheimer’s can exacerbate narcissistic tendencies.  Sadly, this is quite normal.)  After his wife (a covert narcissist) died in 2016, he returned to his much better behavior.

 

More commonly though, narcissists do change as they get older, & they get much more devious & creative.  They have to change because as they age, they have to use different tactics if they want to remain in control.  In my teens, my mother was a very intimidating & imposing figure.  When she screamed at me, as she did so very often, I was always afraid she’d physically hurt me.  If she tried this today at age 77, I wouldn’t be so intimidated.  How could I be?  She is much older & frailer now.  Screaming at me now wouldn’t have the desired effect, so she has changed her tactic from screaming to speaking in a soft tone & saying the most vicious things she can come up with.

 

Narcissists are smart- they know what will be the most effective way to accomplish something they want to accomplish.  They are experts at reading people, as they have to be to figure out the best way to use them.   They also are smart enough to realize what worked well for them when they were 35 most likely won’t work as well at 75, & they must adapt accordingly.  Besides, their children aren’t as easily pushed around at 40 as they were at 10.  They have to find new ways to manipulate them if they wish to continue using their children.

 

Many older narcissists also like to reminisce.  They like to talk with you about the past.  Often it’s the usual narcissistic rhetoric- bragging about their great accomplishments at work or the vast numbers of people they’ve helped.  But, narcissistic parents also can do something very hurtful- brag about the amazing childhood you had.  My mother has done this many times.  She talks about all the great things she did for me when I was a child.  Some things were simply a parent doing what she should for a child, & some things never happened at all.  When this happens, it used to hurt me a great deal.  She was invalidating & denying abusing me!  Instead she made me look like a screw up who needed her.  Finally though, God showed me something that has helped me tremendously.  This behavior is a coping skill.  Dysfunctional as it is, this is how my mother copes with the guilt she feels for being so abusive.  Rather than take responsibility & apologize to me, she reinvents the past to make herself look like a good mother.  She also even tries to get me to agree with her stories, in the hopes of convincing herself & I both that the stories really are true.  Once God showed me this, it made perfect sense to me.  I no longer was so hurt by her stories, because I knew they weren’t a personal attack (even though they may feel like it sometimes).  I knew instead they were a dysfunctional coping skill.  It is her right to use that skill if she wants.  It’s also my right not to validate her stories if I am so inclined, & I never do validate them.

 

Just be forewarned, Dear Reader.  As your narcissistic mother ages, she may not mellow out like many folks do.  She may seem a bit easier to handle in her golden years because she isn’t screaming, but don’t be fooled- just because she isn’t screaming or physically abusive doesn’t mean she isn’t still capable of hurting you a great deal.

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To Those Who Are New To Learning About Narcissistic Abuse- It’s OK, Even Necessary, To Talk About It!

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, the fear of divulging what they do to you is very real.  Narcissistic parents don’t always use threats- they don’t need to.  They have a certain look that can instill sheer terror into their child.  That fear often stays with the child into adulthood.  This benefits the narcissistic parent, because she knows her secret is safe.  However, it hurts the child.

 

Not talking about the narcissistic abuse you endured can cause many health problems, such as ulcers, high blood pressure or digestive problems.  It affects your mental health too.  Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD are very common, even under the best of circumstances- a good therapist & caring support system.  Without those things, depression, anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD are pretty much a given.

 

You need to talk about your experiences!  I’m not saying you need to publish books or write a blog like me, unless you feel that is the direction God is leading you, but you do need to talk for the sake of your physical & mental health.

 

I know talking about your experiences can be a scary prospect.  It also can feel like you’re being disloyal.  That is not true, however.  Telling the truth isn’t being disloyal.

 

Guilt happens too.  I think it’s pretty much impossible not to feel guilty at first.  You’re talking about something you were told your entire life you shouldn’t talk about, after all.  My mother used to tell me not to “air our dirty laundry.”  It took me a long time to realize it wasn’t “our” dirty laundry I was airing, it was hers.

 

If you’re considering talking about the things that have happened to you, please know that it’s OK to talk about it.  If you don’t feel up to talking, how about writing in a journal at first?  Writing is very therapeutic- there is something validating in seeing your experiences written out.  Also, if you take precautions, no one will see what you write, so you can feel free to let it all out.  I love http://www.my-diary.org, as it is a password protected, private online diary.

 

If you aren’t comfortable talking to another person, why not pray?  God is a great listener, & will comfort you like no one else can.  You can be completely open with Him without fear of judgment or criticism- it’s very freeing.

 

If you opt to try therapy, be sure you find a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse.  Not all therapists do, so it may take trying a few before you find one you’re comfortable with.

 

And, if you opt to talk about your experiences with those closest to you, use wisdom with deciding who to open up to.  If you share a person with the narcissistic parent who abused you, they may not want to hear about your experiences.  They may be very fond of the narcissist, &not want to hear anything bad about her.  They may not believe you.  It is better to find someone to talk to who isn’t close to the narcissist, such as a friend of yours who doesn’t know your parent(s) well.  You also need to speak with someone who is caring, supportive, objective & close to God.  You need someone who is honest enough to tell you the truth, but caring enough not to be brutal & painful with it.  If this person also gets mad for you about what you have experienced, that helps too.  I had a friend who in many ways was like a mother to me.  She was a very special lady, always had a ready smile & some encouragement.  But, when I told her some of the things my parents did to me, she would get angry on my behalf.  If this good, Christian lady who was utterly patient & held no bad feelings towards anyone was getting mad, it must be really bad.  Her anger helped to validate my pain.

 

Talking about the painful experiences you endured will help you to heal.  It will get the toxicity out of you, preventing further damage to your physical & mental health.  It also will help you to keep the blame on the abuser instead of on yourself, which is a battle for many victims of narcissistic abuse.  So please, open yourself up to talking about your experiences.  You deserve the freedom it brings you.  xoxo

 

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A Bit About No Contact

If you have read much at all about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you have read about the benefits of going no contact.  It is often the only solution, as many authors on the topic will feverishly tell you.  After all, it’s not like you can reason with someone who refuses to accept any responsibility for their actions.  Many times, all you can do is hope to escape the narcissist with your sanity in tact.

 

Unfortunately though, one thing I have noticed is many people who say that no contact is the only solution fail to mention that is it not a cure all.

 

Certainly, eliminating an abusive narcissist from your life is beneficial.  You no longer have the daily struggles.  Without their gaslighting, you can think clearer.  Your finances may improve as well, if the narcissist was draining your bank accounts.  You finally can focus on yourself & healing.  However, without the narcissist in your life, you still will have problems that stem from your time being abused by that peson.

 

Please believe me, I’m not speaking against no contact.  While I believe it is an individual decision & no one should attempt to force anyone into making that decision, I also realize it is usually the best solution.  I just think it is very important for people who opt to remove the narcissist from their life to realize that doing so won’t solve all of their problems.  Yes, it will improve daily life since they won’t have to deal with new, frustrating, abusive situations, which is fantastic.  But, it also won’t solve some things.

 

No contact doesn’t cure PTSD or C-PTSD.  In fact, there is no known cure for either.  All you can do is manage the symptoms, which, by the way, can be much easier without a narcissist around!

 

It also doesn’t stop repressed memories from returning to the forefront of one’s mind sometimes.

 

It also doesn’t mean you won’t have times of missing the narcissist.  They all have something that made you love them.  If they didn’t, deciding to go no contact wouldn’t have been a difficult decision at all.

 

No contact doesn’t mean you won’t think of the narcissist anymore.  Whether he or she is a parent, relative, romantic interest or friend, you have shared experiences together.  You won’t forget them just because that person is no longer in your life.  Birthdays, anniversaries or other special occasions will pop into your memory periodically.

 

Please don’t lose hope after reading these things!  They don’t mean there is something wrong with you or you are irreparably damaged.  They simply mean you are a normal person who has been deeply affected by narcissistic abuse.

 

These things also don’t mean no contact is a bad idea.  Like I said, it is often the only solution to an extremely painful & impossible situation.  The reason I wanted to share these things with you, Dear Reader, is so you will be prepared if you do opt to go no contact.

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Envy In Narcissists

When dealing with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there is one important point you must never forget- they are extremely envious.

 

Narcissists want what you have, whether what you have is a loving marriage, a great job, talents or a nice home or car.  I think it is because narcissists feel so badly about themselves, that your good thing, whatever it may be, is perceived as a threat.  By you looking good, they think it makes them look bad, as if people are constantly comparing them to others.  They simply cannot stand someone else looking better than them in any way or doing something they are unable to do.

 

One example of this that comes to mind is my mother in-law.  She’s never driven- always had to rely on others to take her where she needed to go.  From day one, my car was always an issue with her, even knowing I love cars, especially mine.  She started by accusing me of driving too fast in her neighborhood.  I thought it was odd, but slowed down.  Not long after my husband & I got together, she suggested we go out to lunch one day.  I said fine, let’s figure out when to do this.  She said, “You WILL be taking Eric’s car, right?”  I was baffled & said “No, I have my own car.”  She dropped the subject.  A couple of weeks later, she suggested we go out again, & again she asked if I was taking my husband’s car.  Again I said no.  This happened once more & by then I was getting angry.  My car wasn’t good enough for her to ride in?!  Someone who doesn’t drive or know the first thing about cars thinks she’s too good for my car?!   Anyway, a few years later, my husband & I had both of our cars at his parents’ house.  I’d been helping him work on his, then when he didn’t need my help, I replaced a burned out turn signal bulb on my car.  When I was alone, my mother in-law took this opportunity to tell me my car was costing too much money- I needed to just get rid of it.  (a $.97 bulb that burned out after 8 years was too expensive?)  She also made fun of me for “liking to get dirty & greasy” because I had car dirt on me after working on hubby’s car.

 

At the time, I knew nothing of NPD.  I did realize though that all of this nastiness boiled down to one thing- envy.  My mother in-law envied the fact that not only was I independent enough to drive, I could even fix my car if need be.  She has created this dependence on my father in-law by not driving, under the guise of helplessness, yet at the same time, she envied me for not being so dependent on my husband as she was on hers.  Obviously she was trying to hurt me not because there was something wrong with me, but because there is something wrong with her.

 

Sadly, this is typical narcissistic behavior.  Narcissists attack things that mean a lot to you for two reasons- because it causes you a great deal of pain or because of envy.  Often, for a combination of both reasons.  In the situation with my car, my mother in-law used both reasons, I believe.

 

When the narcissist in your life viciously criticizes something about you, or even simply tries to instill doubt in you about it, you can bet she envies you.  Don’t let her cruel words or actions make you feel bad about whatever it is she’s criticizing about you!  In fact, remember that whatever it is, is a good thing.  If it wasn’t, she wouldn’t care enough about it to criticize you so viciously.  Don’t let her cruelty make you feel badly or as if you’re doing something wrong.  It is simply proof that you are doing something very well & that you are blessed!  Remembering these things will help you to not be hurt by her verbal abuse.

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A Possible Cause Of Panic Attacks

I read an interesting article about anxiety:

 

http://bigthink.com/robby-berman/clinical-psychology-says-hiding-from-anxieties-makes-it-worse

 

To sum it up, the author, a psychologist, suggests that anxiety & panic attacks are a result of not dealing with emotions for too long.  The attacks are the mind & body’s way of releasing enough pressure so we don’t get overwhelmed.

 

This makes sense in a way to me.  Feelings do have a way of demanding to be heard.

 

My first panic attack happened the night before my grandmom’s funeral in 1996.  I’d never heard of panic attacks & thought I was having a heart attack.  My husband had them before & figured out quickly what was going on, thankfully.  Anyway what triggered the attack was thinking about seeing my family.  I hadn’t seen them in a few years at that point, because my mother then later also my ex husband told me my grandparents hated me.  Since my family was close at the time, I figured if my grandparents hated me, everyone else did too.  I pulled away from them in 1992.  I thought if I showed up 4 years later at the funeral, these people who hated me would kick me out or show their hatred of me in some other way.  I didn’t feel capable of dealing with losing my grandmom, who I loved, in addition to being hated.  Thinking about that was painful.  I tried to push all my thoughts aside because I felt overwhelmed.  Then, a panic attack started.

 

Other times, panic attacks have started in similar ways.  Trying to push aside fear of going into a public place or ignoring anger rather than facing it can trigger panic attacks for me.  Before I stopped speaking to my in-laws, knowing I was going to see my mother in-law triggered panic attacks.  I knew she hated me & if we were alone for any length of time, was going to say or do something hateful.  Trying to ignore the anger I felt at being forced to deal with her triggered panic attacks.

 

I don’t know if this psychologist is right about all panic attacks, but when I thought about it, I realized it’s definitely true for at least some of my panic attacks.  Does this describe yours too?

 

Unfortunately the author didn’t offer suggestions on ways to cope with these panic attacks.  I’m guessing though the best way to do so is to face the feelings that accompany them as soon as you can.  Pray, talk to a supportive friend, journal… whatever way works best for you to cope with your feelings.  I also wonder if writing in a journal on a daily basis could help.  Daily recognizing your emotions & dealing with them seems like it should cut back on panic attacks.

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Pity, Sympathy & The Covert Narcissist

When narcissism is discussed, often it is the behavior of the overt narcissist.  Very little is discussed about covert narcissists.

 

Covert narcissists are much more devious & sly in their actions, yet they are just as abusive if not moreso than overt narcissists.  Because their actions are so covert, their victims are often very hesitant to admit what was done to them was abusive.  They often doubt what was done to them was done out of maliciousness, taking the blame on themselves for being over sensitive or reading too much into things.  One way this is accomplished is by the covert narcissist using pity & sympathy.

 

Pity & sympathy are tools covert narcissists often use.  If they can make you feel sorry for them, chances of you calling them out on their actions or setting boundaries are very slim.  If you do either, you are going to feel very guilty for being so mean & unreasonable.

 

One way covert narcissists acquire that pity is by acting as if they aren’t very smart.  Whether or not they are educated is beside the point.  Covert narcissists like to give the impression that they’re very naive & innocent.  Do NOT be fooled by this act however!  There is absolutely no way a person can be stupid & extremely devious at the same time.  Someone who is genuinely not very smart won’t know how to abuse people while appearing innocent.  They also wouldn’t know what they are doing is wrong & it needs to be hidden.

 

Another way they acquire sympathy is by being married to an overt narcissist.  Very often, overt & covert narcissists marry.  It’s the perfect dysfunctional match.  The overt narcissist can do anything, gaining all the attention, without anyone standing up to him or her.  Meanwhile, the covert narcissist is able to abuse quietly, behind the scenes.  No one really notices because the overt narcissist is gaining all the attention.  The covert narcissist enjoys this because compared to the overt narcissist, the covert narcissist doesn’t look so bad.  In fact, they tend to play the role of the good spouse very well.  They look long suffering, patient, even martyr-like in the fact they can tolerate so much from their spouse.

 

Because of this appearance, many people, particularly empathetic ones, are extremely hesitant to set boundaries with or confront covert narcissists.  I was the same way with my late mother in-law who was clearly a covert narcissist.  I noticed she was especially mean to me after a disagreement with my father in-law.  I felt bad for her- sometimes he said some really hurtful things to her.  I thought, naively, maybe she was just getting out her frustrations.  And, I didn’t have the heart to say anything to her because she had enough to deal with.  As time went on though, I realized she got meaner & meaner, whether or not they had a disagreement.  Not saying something wasn’t helping her or me.

 

Most people like getting a little sympathy or pity periodically.  If you have a bad cold, doesn’t if feel good if someone says they’re sorry you’re sick & brings you some soup?  Covert narcissists take that normal thing to an extreme, though, using it to get away with any abuse they can.

 

Overt narcissists may use sympathy & pity too, but not nearly as much as covert narcissists do.  Plus, their methods are much easier to spot.  They often can turn on & off their tears as easily as most people flip a switch, for example.  I’ve seen that with my overtly narcissistic mother.  She has back problems, & uses that for sympathy.  If she isn’t getting enough attention, she has burst into tears, claiming to be in pain.  Yet interestingly, when I didn’t rush to her side, after a moment she stopped crying & went on with her activities.

 

If you notice someone in your life constantly wants pity or sympathy, be forewarned, chances are, you’re dealing with a narcissist.

 

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Narcissists & Conflict

Narcissists deal with  conflict in odd ways.

 

Many narcissists proudly claim they are neutral in the situation even in extreme situations.  If their adult child is going through a break up or divorce, for example, they stay on friendly terms with the ex even when there aren’t grandchildren involved or any other reason to stay in relationship with that person.  Even if he beat his wife or she cheated on him, the narcissistic parents stay friendly with the ex, not caring that this hurts their child or the child’s new spouse.  In fact, they may sing the praises of the ex to the new spouse.  Been there with my late mother in-law & sisters in-law, in fact.  The mother in-law told me not long after we got married how disappointed she was my husband married me instead of an old girlfriend.  His sisters loved to mention this lady to me frequently & kept my husband current on what happened in her life for years after we were married.  (I’m not sure if they still do that or not- after me getting mad about the last time (we’d been together for 12 years at that point, married for 10), my husband probably wouldn’t tell me if they did.).

 

If they are a witness to a conflict, many narcissists avoid getting involved.  If someone is being hurt physically or mentally, it’s not their problem as far as they are concerned.  That conflict is between those two people, period, so they ignore it.  Many won’t even simply call 911 upon witnessing a crime.  I heard a story once about a lady who was killed outside of her apartment building in the 1950s’s.  38 people claimed to have heard her screaming for help, some even saw the attack from their apartment windows, but only 2 called the police.  Every other person said they didn’t want to get involved, even though they knew this lady was in danger.

 

Other narcissists are afraid if they get involved, someone will end up angry with them, so they stay out of the conflict.  For example, my mother once told me of seeing the husband of a friend of hers & my father’s with another woman.  I asked if she told the woman, & she said “Oh no!  I couldn’t do that!  They might get mad at me.”  (Seriously?!  If that was my husband, I’d want to know & would NOT be angry with the person who told me- my anger would be reserved for my husband at that point. Pretty sure this is how almost anyone would feel in this position!)  She asked if I’d tell if I was in her position & I said absolutely I would.  It’d be hard, but this lady has a right to know so she can figure out what to do about this.  My mother looked at me like a deer in the headlights.  She clearly had no concept of what I was saying.

 

Sometimes narcissists will get involved, trying to rescue the victim, in a limited capacity, if they think it will make them look good.  In junior high school, a girl threatened to beat me up.  I’m not sure why.  I was afraid, but after growing up with my mother, had learned that if you don’t stand up to a bully, they’ll run right over you.   Backing down wasn’t an option in my mind.  I told my mother about this girl.  The next day, my mother went to the principle.  During class, the girl yelled at me for telling on her, but at least she left me alone.  (A good thing- she was a lot bigger than me!)  To this day, my mother tells how she saved me from getting beaten up.  According to her, I wanted to stay home to avoid that girl, but she wouldn’t let me.  She made me face my fears & she talked to the principle, & if it wasn’t for her, I would’ve been beaten up.  As usual, her version was very different than reality.

 

People who don’t have Narcissistic Personality Disorder but have some narcissistic tendencies also may behave this way.  Perhaps they grew up with at least one narcissistic parent, so they learned that this is how you are supposed to act. My husband told me years ago that his mother & I not getting along was not his problem, it was all mine. I needed to deal with it & leave him out of it.  Interestingly, his father’s mother never liked his wife, & his father never did anything about that.  My husband learned by example of his narcissistic parents.

 

In any case, the narcissist responds in the passive/aggressive the way they do for one reason only- themselves.  As with everything else, the situation comes back to them.  They’re all that matters to themselves, period.  Will they look good if they rescue someone?  Can they get involved & people will still like them?  Or, will they look better not getting involved?  After all, what if someone got mad at them?  GASP!!  The horrors!!

 

Being aware of this behavior in narcissists will help you not to expect help from them in the way a normal, healthy person would give it.  Also you’ll know they may completely ignore your crisis entirely.  When that happens, you can chalk it up to typical narcissistic behavior.

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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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Encouraging Others To Abuse You

No one knowingly encourages people to use or abuse them.  However, some people, in particular those who have been abused before, unwittingly do so.

 

To prevent this from happening, you need to “…be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16, NKJV).  You need to be observant & exercise wisdom.

 

Narcissists are particularly observant of their victims, & are very good at understanding body language.  They can pick up on your mood, your strengths, your weaknesses & anything else by watching you.  This enables them to know the most efficient ways to get what they want from you.  If you must deal with a narcissist, you need to do the same- observe them.  You will be able to pick up on their mood,  etc. & this will enable you to figure out the best way to deal with them at that particular time.  Unfortunately, dealing with narcissists is much like playing a chess game that you don’t want to play.  You have to be two steps ahead of them if you are to deal with them successfully.

 

You also need to have & enforce good, healthy boundaries.  Be very aware of what you are willing & not willing to tolerate.  Be creative in enforcing those boundaries.  Pray for God to help you if you need creative udeas.  Simply saying, “It hurts me when you do…” won’t work with a narcissist.  They will realize they can hurt you & continue to do the behavior.  Change the subject if they’re being critical.  If they are trying to control you or bully you into doing something, refuse to do it.  If it’s something you want or need to do, tell them, “Of course I’ll do it since you asked so nicely!”  I’ve done this with my mother, while wearing a smile, & she stopped bossing me around.  Instead, she started asking me to do things.

 

Always maintain your calm demeanor in their presence, especially when setting boundaries.  Any show of emotion will help narcissists understand what to do to hurt or use you in the most powerful, effective way.  If you can avoid showing them that you’re angry or hurt, their task will be much harder.  Once you’re away from them, though, you need to get your anger & hurt out of you.  It’s never healthy to hold it in, but it’s necessary to do so temporarily when around narcissists.

 

Lastly, keep all conversations superficial.  Don’t share anything important or personal with a narcissist, ever!  If they ask how you’re doing, reply “fine.”  What have you been up to lately?  “Nothing much.”  The less information they have, the less ammunition they have to hurt you with later.  This is easier to do when the narcissist isn’t a parent.  Keeping things from a parent feels like you’re going against nature at first.  But, the more you do it, the easier it becomes, especially when you realize your narcissistic mother has less & less to criticize about you.

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Benefits Of Journaling

 

I swear by keeping a journal.  In fact, I write in mine daily, & have a reminder on my cell phone to do so.   It helps me to vent when I’m upset & to remember the many things for which I’m grateful for.  It also helps me to keep track of when events in my life have happened.

 

I’ve also realized that a journal can help you heal from narcissistic abuse & keep your sanity while you’re in the midst of it.

 

There is something about seeing things in writing that brings such clarity.  It makes things more real.  It validates your experiences.  It shows you that yes, that really did happen & it happened that way.

 

Keeping a journal can help you to keep track of the truth, so when the narcissist in your life insists that a situation isn’t the way you remember, you can look back on your journal & see the truth.

 

If you’re considering going no contact, it may help you to decide what to do by seeing events in writing.  As I said, seeing things in writing brings clarity, & you need that when trying to decide if no contact is the right solution for you.

 

Journaling gives you a safe place to share your feelings without judgment.  What you write is between you & God only.  Sharing with people, even the most well meaning ones, can sometimes lead to hurt feelings.  That is something you don’t have to worry about with a journal.

 

I’ve found a website for a free, online, private journal that I just love.  www.my-diary.org  allows you to keep your journal private or make it public.  You can change the colors of the “pages” to personalize it if you like.  (No, I don’t get any bonus for recommending this diary site- I just like it & thought you might too).

 

I hope if you don’t currently keep a journal, you’ll consider doing so, Dear Reader.  It really can be a very useful tool for keeping mentally healthy.

 

 

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Is Feeling Compassion For Narcissists Good Or Bad?

I’ve read quite a few times lately that victims of narcissistic abuse should never have compassion on narcissists.  Narcissists don’t deserve compassion.  Feeling sorry for them only opens the door for you to fall for their gaslighting & abuse.

 

Honestly, I don’t totally agree.

 

While it’s true having compassion on someone can lead you to tolerate things you normally don’t allow, that isn’t the case 100% of the time.  For so many of us who have been abused by narcissists, we have learned what narcissism entails.  We can predict the gaslighting & crazy making they will do, so we know how to deal with it when it happens.  We also realize how healthy boundaries look, & have no trouble enforcing those boundaries.  We are  often also able to feel pity for the narcissist who abused us- after all, whatever made them the way they are must have been pretty terrible.  Their behavior is so dysfunctional.  It’s very sad.  We can balance compassion for them with maintaining healthy behavior on our part.

 

God has enabled me to pray for my parents daily, even on those days I am so hurt & angry, I don’t care where they spend eternity.  Sometimes, my prayers are very insincere, but I pray anyway because God understands how I feel & honors the fact I’m trying.

 

So why bother praying for them, especially during bad times?   Why care at all for people who have hurt me so deeply, & who won’t even acknowledge I live with C-PTSD?  They don’t deserve it!  They’ve done too much while refusing to acknowledge anything they’ve done!

 

One reason is because God wants us to pray for other people, even those who have abused us.  I also believe is because having compassion helps me to remember that I am NOT like them.  Some examples of ways they are different than me are:

 

Narcissists don’t care about anything about anyone.  People are nothing more than items to be used to benefit the narcissist.  They are not entitled to normal human feelings, needs, wants, likes or dislikes.

 

Normal people though care about other people.  Even people who have hurt us- we don’t wish awful things on those people.  We may not actively wish the best on those people constantly, but we also don’t wish the worst on them.

 

Feeling compassion, even periodically, for the person who abused you, who made you experience indescribable pain,  I think, can be a good thing.  It’s a reminder that you are NOT like them!  You instead have escaped what is meant to destroy you with your humanity in tact.  That is really a big accomplishment!  Definitely something to be proud of!  Escaping narcissistic abuse without being bitter isn’t an easy task.

 

I truly believe that this is an individual thing though.  Just because I’m good with feeling compassion for the narcissists in my life doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too.  And you know what?  That’s OK!  God has very individualized plans for each person, even those in similar situations.  I’ve met some people with narcissistic mothers who feel no compassion for them, only disgust their mothers chose this dysfunctional, abusive way of life.  It doesn’t mean they’re carrying around bitterness or anger, only disgust for the poor choices their mothers have made.  This works for them just fine.  It enables them to keep firm & healthy boundaries in place or to stay no contact.  It doesn’t hinder their healing process, either.   So if you feel that having compassion for your narcissistic mother is wrong for you, don’t feel bad!  That may just be the path for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Why Do Narcissists Care More About Strangers’ Opinions Than Loved Ones?

One of the hardest things to understand about narcissists & their awful actions is why they care more about what strangers think about them than the opinions of those closest to them.  I believe there are several reasons for this.

 

Narcissists can’t bond.  Most people automatically form bonds with those they love, but narcissists don’t even love in a normal, healthy way.  Everything they do is about getting their coveted narcissistic supply (what makes them feel good about themselves), so they may love what you do if you provide it, but that doesn’t mean they love you.

 

Narcissists don’t do deep, meaningful relationships.  They want superficial relationships, where there is no real responsibility.  They simply want to be adored.

 

Strangers providing narcissistic supply thrill narcissists. It’s easy to show strangers what the narcissist wants them to see, & hide the bad parts.  Strangers can provide instant supply.  This is very gratifying to narcissists.  Strangers are much easier & more fulfilling to get supply from than those close to them.

 

Narcissists don’t get their narcissistic supply from their own actions.  Most people feel good about themselves when they do something well, but narcissists aren’t that way.  They only feel good about themselves when another person provides their narcissistic supply.  It’s relatively easy to get supply from strangers.

 

I hope this helps you to understand a little about why narcissists care more about strangers than those closest to them, Dear Reader.  It truly isn’t about you or something you’ve done wrong- it’s all about them & their dysfunction!

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Type Of Children Of Narcissists

Most people who have learned at least a little about NPD & narcissistic abuse have heard of different types of children of narcissists:  the golden child, the scapegoat & the forgotten child.  Their roles are:

 

  • Golden child: The extension of  a narcissistic parent, this child can do no wrong.  Praise & gifts are heaped upon him even into adulthood.  The golden child is the one most likely to become a narcissist.
  • Scapegoat: The exact opposite of the golden child, the scapegoat is the reason for everything that is wrong in the family, according to the narcissistic parent.  Scapegoats are the children most likely to seek out the truth of the situation & escape.
  • Forgotten Child:  This child gets lost in the shuffle.  Not good enough to be the golden child or bad enough to be the scapegoat, the forgotten child barely gets noticed.  They try hard for their parents’ attention, even well into adulthood.

 

There is another child that I’ve never read about, but have seen.  The family screw up.

 

The family screw up isn’t the same as the scapegoat, but there are some similarities.  The screw up isn’t to blame for all of the problems in the family like the scapegoat is, but like the scapegoat, he can do nothing right.  Growing up, he takes courses in school or college his parents disapprove of.   He doesn’t participate in the right activities either.  As an adult, he marries the wrong person, works the wrong career & does nothing worthy of his narcissistic parents’ approval.  He is a constant disappointment to his parents.

 

When my husband & I first started dating, he told me he was the family screw up.  It didn’t take long to see what exactly he meant, even though at the time I knew nothing of narcissism.  I seemed to be his biggest mistake, at least according to his mother, but it also seemed very clear he could do nothing right according to his parents unless he was doing something for them.  He was met with constant looks of disapproval from his parents, sometimes even followed by a grunt or sigh of disapproval.  He was very accustomed to it, but it still hurt him deeply.

 

I have seen him find some ways to cope that have helped him greatly.  If you too are the family screw up, I think this information may help you as well.

 

Giving up the hope of having parental approval.  It’s hard to do at first, but any child of a narcissistic parent (or two) needs to accept the fact they will NOT get approval from their parent(s).  The golden child may get it briefly sometimes, but even that is fleeting.  No child of a narcissistic parent ever can have their parent’s approval for more than a brief moment, & even that is very rare.  If you can accept that, & release the need for it, you will be much happier.

 

Decide to live in a way that pleases God & not your parents, or any person.  1 Thessalonians 4:1 states, “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”  (KJV)  People, especially narcissists are very hard to please.  They often change what they want, so what may please them today won’t please them next week.  God isn’t like that!  He is constant, & He is not self-serving like people.  Live to please Him instead of mankind- you will be much happier!

 

Choose what contact works best for you, & know it may be subject to change at anytime.  Many people go from constantly talking with their narcissistic parents to lower & lower contact until they go no contact.  They find as they get healthier, they can tolerate their narcissistic parents less & less.  Some are able to maintain low contact.  Every person & every situation is different- you need to pray & pray often about your individual situation & let God lead you to make the decision that will be best for you.

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Respond, Don’t React, To Narcissists

Narcissists know how to push every button you have & many you weren’t even aware of having.  They do this in order to provoke an emotional reaction from you.  Whether you’re angry or hurting, your reaction makes them feel powerful, which in turn provides narcissistic supply, & makes them feel good.  That is why they often act much like a machine gun with their cruelty- quickly pumping out verbally abusive comments one right after another.  The more they can hurt or anger you, the better they feel.  When you have pretty much fallen apart, they are deliriously happy.

 

If you want to put a stop to this behavior, join the club!  We all do.  There isn’t any way I know of to stop it entirely.  But, there are some ways to slow this down.  One very effective way is to learn to respond, not react.

 

Reaction is done immediately, often without thinking.  If a doctor uses that little hammer & taps your knee is a certain spot, your reaction is for your leg to kick.  That is the type of response narcissists want from you- immediate anger or hurt without thinking as soon as they have said or done something hateful.

 

Responding however is different.  It’s slower & more deliberate.  You take time to think, possibly even putting your emotions aside before you give any sort of response.  This is not what narcissists want, & that, Dear Reader is a good thing!

 

The more you react emotionally to a narcissist, the more buttons they will push to get you to react more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  However, the less reaction you give them, the less interest they will have in hurting you.

 

Responding can seem impossible to do at first, but it really does get easier & easier with practice.  The best way I personally learned to do this is a technique common to caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.  When something is said or done, stop for a second.  Take a deep breath in & out, then speak.  That brief moment of the deep breath helps you to think, & also to remind yourself why you must stay calm & focused.  Plus the deep breath relaxes you.  This technique enables you to stay calm & focused in the face of sheer madness.

 

I urge you to give this a try the next time you must deal with the narcissist in your life.  It really does help you.  I have done this when speaking with my narcissistic father.  Now that he has Alzheimer’s, the narcissism has gotten worse than ever.  I don’t feel right about being too harsh with him since it’s the Alzheimer’s making it worse rather than him deliberately trying harder to get attention or hurt me.  (Dementia & Alzheimer’s can make someone with NPD act worse)  But, at the same time, I need to protect myself.  Stopping long enough to take in & release that deep breath helps me to maintain my composure & give a decent response rather than an angry reaction.  It may help you as well!  Try it- what do you have to lose?

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What To Expect When Your Narcissistic Parent Goes No Contact

As I’ve mentioned before, my parents have stopped speaking to me recently.  Since, I’ve been experiencing a plethora of emotions, & I’m going to hazard a guess they’re pretty normal under the circumstances.  I also realized when a narcissistic parent goes no contact with you, it feels a lot different than when you are the one to go no contact.  In 2001, I went no contact with my mother (she initiated contact with me in 2007, & I allowed her back into my life at that point).  Seeing both types of going no contact has been eye opening to me.  I’m hoping sharing this with you will help you if your parents have gone no contact with you.

 

When I went no contact with my mother, it’d been after a great deal of prayer & consideration on the subject.  I knew in my heart it was the best thing I could do, & I was as prepared as I could be to sever ties with my mother.  And, I only went no contact with my mother.  At the time, I had no knowledge at all of narcissism.  Naturally I didn’t realize my father was a covert narcissist & abusive in his own way that was different than hers, so I kept in touch with him.  Anyway, I was able to grieve losing my mother, then face some of my own issues stemming from her abuse.  The time apart was just what I needed at that time.  It was a good thing for me.

 

Fast forward to this year.  I answered my parents’ phone call not expecting the huge fight that followed.  It was a complete surprise.  I’d expected a bit of a disagreement, but not in the really big fight that actually took place with both of my parents.

 

I wasn’t surprised my mother stopped speaking to me afterwards.  She is the queen of the silent treatment, & I’m sure me defending myself to her was a huge narcissistic injury worthy of the silent treatment.  What did surprise me was my father.  Since he always wants to look like the good guy, I never expected him to stop speaking to me.

 

Another big surprise is when praying about the entire situation some time later, God told me He wants them out of my life.  I’m not sure if He means forever or a season just yet, but either way- that was a big surprise too.  He’s showed me repeatedly that I need distance from their toxicity.

 

The element of surprise can be pretty intense in such a situation.  For one thing, since narcissists are so obsessed with appearances, they seldom want to end contact with their own child because it might make them look bad.  Can’t have that now can we?!  So when they do sever ties, it can come as a complete shock.  Even though some time has passed, I still feel quite shocked at the turn our relationship took.

 

Also, any loss can trigger grief, even when the loss is your own dysfunctional & abusive parents.  When I first felt this grief, I wondered what was wrong with me.  These people have made my life a living hell ever since I can remember.  I should be glad they’re gone!  Why wasn’t I reveling in them being gone, I wondered.  God showed me that abusive or not, they’re still my parents.  Losing your parents, whether they’re loving or abusive, is a hard thing to handle for anyone.

 

No contact has triggered a lot of anger in me, too.  I’m angry my parents had the unadulterated gall to get mad at me when they were the ones clearly in the wrong in our argument.  It’s glaringly obvious to anyone who knows the story that they were wrong, yet they would prefer being wrong & pretending to be right than have me, their own daughter, in their life.

 

I’ve found too, that triggers are everywhere, & in strange places.  When I hear or read about a parent showing concern for their child, no matter the child’s age, it upsets me easily now.  It makes me sad since that’s something I’ve never had & never will have.  It also makes me angry because the reason for our fight, my late mother in-law, was never a source of concern for my parents when it clearly should have been.  I told them for years how cruel she was to me, & they truly did not care.  I know my mother didn’t even believe me when I said she choked me when my husband & I told her we had eloped.  (As if I’d make something like that up!)  You’d think a physical assault might warrant some concern from my parents, but it never did.  Anyone else I told that story to was shocked.  My parents?  Bored.

 

Intrusive thoughts have been a constant as well.  Things I’d really just as soon not think about pop into my mind constantly, against my will.  I can’t even escape at night because I have nightmares every single night.  I may not remember details of them, but I remember my parents were in them & I wake up feeling the anger, fear or depression I felt in the dreams.

 

There is sadness & depression too.  I think my parents’ going no contact with me has really made it sink in how little they have been there for me in my life.  This is just one more of those times.  Sure, growing up, they provided for some of my needs- I always had food, clothing & shelter- but there was no emotional nurturing or genuine love.  In fact, there was more abuse than anything else.

 

I also think these things were magnified because of the fact I was going through a particularly hard time at the time of our argument.  When you’re already stressed or upset, any little thing can feel even worse.  So when you experience something very painful, it really hurts, even worse than it would under better circumstances.

 

In spite of all of these negatives, something absolutely wonderful has come out of it all, & makes it all worthwhile.  Freedom!

 

Without my parents in my life, I have found a new freedom.  For the first time, I’m finally free to be the person God made me to be.  No longer do I need to be “on”  so much.  After all, when dealing with narcissists, that’s how it is- you’re on your guard the entire time you’re with them.  You also have to mentally prepare when you know you need to interact with them in the near future.  Finally, I’m able to relax.

 

I’ve also been able to get to know myself for the first time in my life.  Growing up, I was told who to be.  My ex husband tried to mold me into what he wanted me to be.  Later when I married my current husband, I tried to be what he wanted me to be & even what his mother wanted me to be in the hopes of making her hate me less.  In the last few years, I’ve tried off & on to be me, the person God wants me to be, & while I had some success with that, it’s been much more successful without my parents in my life. The constant disapproval of everything about me I think made me feel like who I am is a bad person, wrong, etc.  Without that disapproval, I’m free to be me.

 

I’ve realized something else good that came with this freedom.  Because I stood up to my parents during that argument in May, it’s given me a new confidence.  If I could stand up to them at that time when I felt weak & was caught off guard,  I can stand up to anyone about anything now.  In fact, that confidence even stirred a new fire in me to speak out more against narcissistic abuse.  I think that’s pretty cool!

 

God has been using this time apart in a great way for me.  As hard as it’s been, He has been carrying me through.  He had reasons for removing my parents from my life.  Allowing me to heal, enabling me to be more the person He created me to be & less who they want me to be & giving me more confidence to speak against narcissistic abuse have all been a huge blessing for me.

 

If your narcissistic parents have opted to go no contact with you, then please know it can be a blessing in disguise.  Yes, it hurts.   Yes, it’s mind boggling that they treated you so badly & had the gall to act like you’re such a bad person, they had to go no contact with you.  Yes, it makes you angry.  But, one thing about God is He can make good things come from bad situations.  Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  (KJV)  If you’re not seeing anything good, ask Him to make good come from this situation & to show you the good you need to see.

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My Promise To My Readers

I’ve noticed an interesting trend with this blog.  When I write about my mistakes, failures or struggles, my blog gains more followers & views.  My recent post about a bad C-PTSD day gained me quite a few more followers & a lot of views.

 

I believe this is because people are tired of people who claim they’ve been completely healed from their past, saying all you have to do is pray & believe, & God will deliver you completely from your past.  People who are completely delivered from their pain are in the minority, yet they are the ones most in the public eye, it seems.

 

The problem with this is it makes people feel like failures.  It sure did me.  I felt like I must not have enough faith or I was praying wrong.  Maybe because my experiences weren’t as bad as some other folks’ God wasn’t going to set me free- maybe He thought I was over reacting & needed to realize that.

 

Then one night while watching TV a few years ago, I saw Josh McDowell doing an interview on TBN’s show, “Praise The Lord.”  As a child, he was sexually abused.  His story was heartbreaking, but it gave me hope at the same time.  Why?  Because he admitted that as a grown man in his 50’s or maybe 60’s (my guess.. not sure) he still had issues stemming from that abuse.  He said when people touch his shoulder in a certain way, he can’t handle it, because it reminds him of his abuser.

 

Realizing that this wise, caring, good man of God still had issues from childhood abuse so many years later released the feeling of shame I had.  He’s obviously no failure, yet God didn’t wave that magic wand & set him free of all symptoms of the abuse.  Maybe, just maybe, that means I’m not a failure either!

 

Two Scriptures also came into my mind in a new way.  Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” & Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”  I realized that God is truly there with me during all the bad times.  Not only the times that I’ve lost a loved one or had a fight with a friend- all of the bad times.  He is with me during flashbacks, panic attacks & depressive episodes.  He is with me during all of those valley of the shadow of death times, not just some.  Also, I realized you learn a lot more going through something than you do if you’re just delivered from it.  The things I learn by going through are the things that I’ve been able to share in this blog, & in my books, too, & I believe people are being helped by these things.  I’ve received plenty of messages to prove it.

 

Also, He is the one who showed me I needed healing.  He started me on the healing path by gently showing me what was wrong with me & how to heal.  So, since God started that “good work,” it seems logical to me, judging by Philippians 1:6, that He will continue working on healing me until Jesus comes back.  This tells me there is nothing wrong with continuing to have issues for years after the fact.  It’s normal!

 

These revelations gave me a new heart for how I write.  Rather than constantly trying to encourage or teach readers what I have learned, I felt it would be a good idea to share my mistakes & struggles, too, to let my readers know that they aren’t alone.  Everyone who has been through narcissistic abuse struggles to some degree.  It’s ok!  God is with them & helping them to heal.

 

So, Dear Reader, this is my promise to you- to be real, not only encouraging or educational.  I’ll also let you know that I understand your struggles, because I struggle too, every single day.  And, there is nothing wrong with you or your faith if God hasn’t miraculously delivered you.  There are plenty of us in that same valley, so at least you aren’t alone!

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Before You Confront A Narcissist

I believe picking your battles with a narcissist is among the most challenging thing a person can do when in a relationship with a narcissist.  They need to know their behavior is unacceptable, yet when confronted, the person doing the confronting often ends up frustrated & even more hurt than they were after the original event that made them think they should confront the narcissist.

 

Second only to deciding when to confront a narcissist is how to confront them once you decided to do it.  Narcissists love to play the victim & also to twist a situation around so you’re the bad guy.  It can feel impossible to know the best way to go about this incredibly difficult situation.

 

I firmly believe in staying calm & sticking to the facts.  Force the conversation to stay on topic, otherwise the narcissist will steer you completely off topic, & most likely onto what they think is wrong with you.  They may provoke you into getting so caught up in defending yourself, you forget what the original topic of the conversation was supposed to be.

 

There is one thing that I have found to be even more important though, & that is prayer.  Before talking to a narcissist, pray.  If they are calling, quickly ask God should you take the call or let it ring.  If you feel you should take the call, ask Him to help you through the conversation.  He truly will not let you down!!  And, it may be in a different way than you expect, but it will be the best way possible.

 

Last May just after my mother in-law died, I didn’t tell my parents.  I realized they’d see her obituary in the local newspaper.  I expected them to call me, & say how sad it was, she was a great woman, blah blah… things I did NOT want to hear about the woman who hated me & treated me like dirt for the first 8 years of my husband’s & my relationship.  When my parents called a few days after she died, I knew the call wasn’t going to be pleasant.  I  also knew I might as well take the call because if I didn’t, they’d call back constantly until I answered since that’s what they do & they’d think this was an important topic.  I also asked God to help me have the right words to say.  My parents shocked me by saying they wanted to attend the funeral, & were upset they didn’t even know she passed until they saw her obituary.  Wasn’t expecting that!  It immediately angered me, especially when my parents acted like something was wrong with me for being angry.  I ended up yelling at both of my parents, even using some bad language which are all not my normal behaviors with them.

 

Once I hung up the phone, I told God how sorry I was- I don’t even know what happened to me, why I reacted that way.  It’s not like this was the first time my folks cared more about someone who has hurt me than me.  God spoke to my heart & said this is exactly what they needed.  They needed to know that they hurt me so badly, that I would act that way, so out of character.   He answered my prayer- He gave me the right words for the situation at hand- just not in the way I expected.

 

In the months that have passed, I realized God wanted my parents out of my life, & this was a way to do it.  They have cut ties with me, so I can’t be accused of going no contact with them.  Anyone who hears about this situation has to see the ridiculousness of it.  My parents cared more about someone they saw twice in the 22 years my husband & I have been together, than me, their own daughter.  It’s only logical I’d have been upset by that.  Not even the most devoted flying monkeys can justify their incredibly hurtful behavior, which is probably why I haven’t heard from any of them.

 

My point (finally) is that praying before confronting a narcissist is absolutely vital to dealing with them.  If I wouldn’t have prayed before talking to my parents last May, I have no doubt our relationship would be as it always was.  Extremely painful for me.  As it is though, I’m much happier than I’ve been in a long time, in spite of grieving the loss (dysfunctional or not, losing your parents is still a loss that needs to be grieved).  It’s amazing the power of prayer.  James 5:16 states in the last half of the verse, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. ” (MSG)  That is so true!  Utilize that power & God will help you in ways you never imagined, even when it comes to something so complicated as dealing with a narcissistic parent!

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Creative Ways Narcissists Get Narcissistic Supply

My overtly narcissistic mother always likes to look pitiful in front of my husband.  She has turned on the tears in front of him,  complained about how hard life is now that she & my father are older & other such things to look pitiful.  As a result, he has offered to help her in various ways.  When he does, she always hugs him tight, thanks him profusely & sometimes gives him money.

 

When my mother asked my husband about his parents, & he told her how they were doing & things he’s done for or with them, she responded by giving my husband a big bear hug & kiss on the cheek.  Granted, she always hugs him before leaving, but it’s different after he’s discussed his parents with her.

 

These two things have bothered me for a long time, but I didn’t know why.  It felt wrong somehow but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  God showed me exactly what was wrong with these scenarios a few minutes ago…

 

My mother has it in her head that my husband takes complete care of me.  She thinks he works, takes care of the yard, repairs our vehicles, does all the housework while I do absolutely nothing but spend his money (don’t even ask- I have no idea why she thinks this, but she also thought the same thing of my ex husband.).  She also knows he’s helped out his parents a lot over the years, especially once they started getting older.  Keeping these things in mind, it’s natural she assumes he takes care  of anyone in need.  She pretends to be pitiful to get his attention.  She wants his attention because she is impressed by my husband & his family (my husband is a very attractive guy, & his family gives the appearance of being a big, close, happy family).  Having the attention of someone who is a part of that AND good looking AND if she can get him ignoring me for her?!  Talk about narcissistic supply!

 

Regarding my mother basically “rewarding” my husband when he mentions doing for his parents, God showed me that my mother is trying to accomplish two things with that conversation with my husband.  1- she is trying to hurt me.  My mother knows my mother in-law has hated me since we first met & I stopped speaking to her in 2002.  Showing she cares about her hurts me, especially knowing she does this on purpose.  She also knows that if I confronted her on it, I would look mean, unreasonable & possibly even crazy since she was just being polite (or whatever excuse she would use).  2- by “rewarding” my husband & praising him for helping his parents, my mother is showing me what can happen.  If I would just do more for them, I could get this reward too.  The sad fact is though, that when I have done for my parents, it really wasn’t ever enough.  Sure, my parents thanked me & sometimes even gave me money I didn’t ask for, but my mother in particular made me feel like I was the hired help, just doing the job I get paid for.  Or, like I was disappointing her by not doing enough.  Sometimes, I wasn’t doing a task good enough.

 

Isn’t this incredible?!  But, thinking about it, it makes perfect sense to me.

 

Narcissistic supply is a precious thing to narcissists.  Everything they do boils down to getting their supply.  They will do anything to get it, period, no matter who it hurts or what they need to do.  Sometimes, they have to get creative, & they definitely can be creative when it benefits them.  Just look at the above examples- my mother got her supply in extremely creative ways!  She hurt me, she put me in a place where I couldn’t confront her without looking bad, she tried to control me, & sometimes, she even got my husband’s focus off of me & onto her.  It’s like she hit the narcissistic supply jackpot!

 

My point in sharing all of this with you, Dear Reader, is because you need to be aware that whatever narcissists do is about supply.  Even seemingly innocuous things like I described in the above examples are about procuring narcissistic supply.  Never forget that!  Even things that appear innocent but give you a bad feeling can be about supply.  If you have a bad or strange feeling about something the narcissist is doing, even if it looks totally innocent, listen to that feeling!  Go to God, & ask Him about it.  (I wish I would’ve done it years ago in those situations I mentioned- it could’ve saved me a lot of frustration & wondering what she was up to!)  And, ask Him what you should do about it.  Narcissists may be very creative, but God is much more so!  He can show you effective & creative ways to deal with the narcissist in your life!

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Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Your Mistakes

I’ve always had a knack for remembering dates.  Even after the TBI I got in 2015, I still remember many dates that have been important to me at some time in my life.  For example,  I got my first car on July 6, 1989.  I moved out of my parents’ home on June 9, 1990.  I met my husband on March 14, 1992 & our first date was November 4, 1994.

 

Don’t get me started on my furbabies- I remember who I adopted when or when who was born, & when who passed away.

 

Remembering dates can be convenient sometimes, but it also can trigger some very unpleasant memories.  For years, I beat myself up from August 23 until November 24 because that was the short time I was involved with a man who I thought was a good guy, but I was unhappy dating.  When I told him I wanted to break up, he did his best to make me feel stupid & like a failure, which sunk in with me.  I believed I ruined his life & was a terrible person for it.  Many years later, I read that he shot & killed his boyfriend & then himself in their home.  It finally clicked that maybe he wasn’t the good guy he portrayed himself as.  I started remembering our short time together & realized that he was a very disturbed man.  I didn’t have clues then to just how disturbed, though.

 

In a way, learning this information was a good thing.  I finally was set free from the guilt of leaving this man.  It was as if I finally had permission to accept that leaving him was for my own safety.  It also helped me to think about something…

 

I have spent my life beating myself up for way too many things!

 

The disturbed man I mentioned?  I was only 19, he was 28 when we dated.  He was very controlling & I was so accustomed to being controlled, although it bothered me, I didn’t realize it was wrong.  It was so bad, in fact, that I didn’t want to date him.  I only did because he was pushy & my friend at the time said I should.  After growing up with narcissistic parents, this behavior of allowing others to control me is pretty normal.  I see that now, but for years, I told myself how stupid I was for this.  I should’ve known better.  HOW?!  How could I have known better?!

 

I’ve also beat myself up for not standing up to my parents more often, for tolerating way more than I should have.  This also doesn’t make sense- they’re my parents!  Aside from the dysfunctional teaching I grew up with that said I deserve whatever is done to me, being parents puts them in a unique position in my life no one else shares.  Most people are like me in that they are more willing to tolerate things from their parents than other people.

 

Does this describe you as well?  Have you spent way too much time chastising yourself for things that really aren’t your fault?  If so, please stop it right now!

 

Everyone makes mistakes!  Those of us raised in abusive, dysfunctional environments tend to make even more than most people because we simply do not know any better.  Frankly, it sucks, but it happens!

 

Have you learned from your mistakes?  Good!  That shows you don’t want to continue being dysfunctional!  That is something to be proud of!!

 

Do you realize that sharing stories of things you did & what you learned can encourage other people?  It really can!  I’m hardly proud of sharing the things I have in this blog, but the good part is they encourage other people.  I have the emails & comments to prove it.  In a way, my mess has become my ministry.  Not only the mess of my dysfunctional upbringing, but the mess of the dumb things I did as a result.  That encourages me too, because I know it means my pain has a purpose.  It wasn’t for nothing!

 

Your pain has a purpose too, Dear Reader!  If you don’t feel that way, then talk to God about it.  He will reveal the purpose to you, & comfort you!

 

 

 

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

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

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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Another Control Tactic Of Narcissists- Interrupting

As anyone subjected to a narcissist for any length of time knows, narcissists love to control other people.  It gives them a sense of power, which gives them narcissistic supply, in other words, feeds their ego.

 

One tool they use that seems innocuous is interrupting others.

 

Interrupting seems like simple bad manners, but with narcissists, it is much more.

 

Narcissists only care about themselves & procuring narcissistic supply, & interrupting gives them a couple of ways to gain that supply.

 

For one thing, interrupting is often done if the other person in the conversation is not discussing the narcissist or anything about the narcissist’s life.  The narcissist will interrupt & turn the conversation back to what she wants to talk about- herself, her accomplishments, how talented she is, etc.  Most people who have been interrupted allow the conversation to take the new turn, seldom returning to the original topic.

 

Another reason narcissists interrupt is that taking over a conversation gives them a sense of power.  They were able to redirect the conversation, which makes them feel powerful, & provides narcissistic supply.

 

Interrupting may seem not worth fighting over, but anything that provides a narcissist supply can make them want to use you more & more.  That is why it is vital if you’re in any relationship with a narcissist to provide as little supply as possible.  The more supply you provide, the more they will use & abuse you.

 

Interrupting is pretty simple to deal with. My narcissistic mother uses this tactic constantly, & I have learned from her the best way to deal with it is not to deal with it.  I ignore her as much as possible & show no reaction to her.   If I’m talking with someone else & she interrupts, I ignore whatever she is talking about, then when she is finished talking, resume the conversation she interrupted.

 

Sometimes, she uses more unusual methods of interrupting.  Once in a restaurant, my father & I were talking about a topic she wasn’t interested in.  As we spoke, she picked up a napkin, held it to her nose & acted like she was blowing her nose, making loud, gross noises with her mouth.  My father & I stopped talking, & she took the napkin away, & began laughing a very creepy, unsettling laugh.  It was painfully obvious she did this to get attention, & it worked.  Not only were my father & I looking at her, several others in the restaurant were as well.  Thank God, He showed me immediately she just wanted attention, so I quickly resumed the conversation with my father, as if nothing happened.  When ridiculous antics are her interruption tool of choice, I ignore them too.

 

The same goes for nasty comments to interrupt.  When she says something hateful, it’s obvious it’s just to gain attention/supply.  Another example was during dinner with my parents & grandmother once many years ago.  My mother told my father what to order.  He said he wanted a change, & asked what I was going to get.  I said the taco salad, & he decided to try one.  When dinner arrived, he & I were talking.  My mother looked at our plates & loudly said, “It looks like someone threw up on your plates.”  I acted as if she hadn’t said a thing, & continued talking to my father. It annoyed her- my father reacted to her by giving her a shocked expression, but I ignored her.  I’m sure the goal was to get an equal reaction out of me.

 

Ignoring is pretty easy, but sometimes having no reaction can be difficult.  If you remember exactly why this is happening, & how you do NOT want to provide narcissistic supply, that helps you to stay calm.

 

Prayer also helps.  Ask God to help you before you answer that phone or visit your narcissistic mother.  He truly will not disappoint you!

 

Once your visit is done, you’re going to be angry &/or hurt.  Don’t hold it in!  Get it out by praying, talking with a safe person, or journalling.  Maybe a combination of all of them.  Whatever works for you.

 

By staying calm & ignoring your narcissistic mother’s petty interruptions, you are taking back control.  It also will frustrate her, & she will use this tactic less & less frequently.

 

 

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

Sometimes Out Of Your Biggest Problem Can Come Your Biggest Blessing

Recently, a friend pointed something out to me & she was absolutely right.  Since the fight with my parents in May, I’ve changed.  I’m much freer & enjoying life more.

 

I have to wonder why this is.  I think it may be because I finally realized my own value.  I don’t deserve the things that my parents do to me.  Logically I knew this but the extreme insensitivity of their actions really drove that point home for me during that fight.

 

It’s funny how things can work out.  This very painful, bad event turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I’m shocked, because I was extremely hurt & angry for quite a while after it happened, even wondering if I’d ever come to terms with it.  But, God helped me to do that.  Since I have dealt with my feelings about it though, I have become much happier than I’ve been in a very long time.  I’ve even started being myself for the first time.  Some time back, God told me to research the personality of a wolf, as I share many of their traits.  For the first time, I see those traits in myself.  I’ve also been having a lot of fun & being silly.  I crocheted a small Pennywise (the evil clown from Stephen King’s “IT”) for hubby & have been putting him in strange places around the house to surprise him. Hubby has since started doing the same thing to me.  We’re having fun just playing, & it feels good!  I’ve also almost finished a new book in record time.  I’ve been able to focus more on my writing & have a new fire in me to help those who have been affected by narcissistic abuse & to raise awareness.

 

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”  (AMP)  This Scripture is absolutely true!!  The situation I mentioned above is evidence of that.

 

Please be encouraged, Dear Reader.  Whatever you are going through, something good can come from it.  God wastes nothing.  He can bring you blessings even out of your worst hurts.

 

 

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