One thing so many of us subjected to narcissistic abuse want more than anything is validation. We’ve been ignored & invalidated so long, we’re starving for validation. It’s very normal to feel that way. Unfortunately, it also can be very hard to come by!
Many people don’t want to hear our stories, because they say it’s “too negative”, they don’t believe us (in all fairness, the things narcissists do sound so crazy it can be hard to believe), maybe they don’t believe narcissism is a real thing or that it’s so incredibly commonplace, or maybe they know the narcissist & don’t believe that person to be capable of doing the things you say she/he did to you. It can be super frustrating because we aren’t making this stuff up (honestly.. who really is that creative?!) & we’re so starved for validation
Then there is the narcissist. We would love validation from her. How many of us wouldn’t be thrilled if one day that person admitted the things they had done to us, & begged for our forgiveness? That would be the ultimate validation. It’s also a false hope that keeps us in relationship with narcissists for well beyond a time that we should be.
This need for validation, while normal, also can prove to be a problem.
Dear Reader, while validation from outside sources is a wonderful thing to have, you need to understand that some people simply will NOT give it to you, no matter what. I know that is painful, & I’m sorry, but it’s true. It’s something you need to accept. You can’t make someone believe you or show you empathy because of what you have experienced.
Some time ago, I had a strange dream. In it, my car was nose to nose with a much smaller car in a parking lot. I was maybe 50′ or so away. Suddenly, the little sedan backed up & rammed into the front of my car, then backed up & did it again over & over. I was panicked- I love my car & ain’t no one messing with her, even in a dream! As I ran towards the cars, I realized the smaller car was shrinking- every time it hit my car, my car was fine, but the small car’s front end was becoming more smushed in. It leaked fluids & smoked like crazy. I stopped running & stared at this scene in shock & with some amusement. Then I woke up. Before I could even ask God what this dream meant, He told me. It had a two-fold meaning:
I think this can be a very good lesson for you too, Dear Reader. Don’t be like the sedan! Don’t try to force people to validate your pain if they don’t want to.
Instead, learn to validate your own pain. Talk to God, journal, talk to supportive friends or a counselor, & accept the fact not everyone can validate your pain. It’s hard, but you can do this! And, not validating you is their right, after all. No one is obligated to do so. Some people simply aren’t very caring or empathetic. The invalidating people do one thing good though- they make you appreciate the kind, caring ones who do offer validation even more.
Something crossed my mind recently, I’m sure it’s due to my father in-law’s recent death: Grief doesn’t end just because the funeral is over.
I think many people act like once your loved one is buried or cremated, you’re done grieving. It’s done now so you should be ready to resume your life as it was, no problem. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Grief has no set time. It doesn’t end just because the funeral is done, because a set amount of time has passed, or because people think you should be “over it” by now.
There’s also the fact that the first year after a loved one dies is incredibly hard. You have their first birthday without them, first anniversary, first holidays… those days can be extremely difficult, but especially the first ones.
In fact, I don’t think grief ever ends completely, it only becomes less intense over time. My great grandmother that I adored died in 1982, & I still miss her a great deal to this day. No, I don’t cry all the time, but I still miss her & think of her often. If you love someone, that is just how things happen.
And if you lost a pet rather than a human, people can be even more insensitive, because after all, “It’s only a cat/dog/bird/etc!” they say. They fail to realize that pets are a big part of our daily lives. We love them, care for them, play with them, nurture them & when they get old &./or sick, we become their caregivers. Such things can form an incredible bond, & when that bond is broken, it hurts just as much if not more than when a human passes away.
If you have lost someone you love recently, please ignore people who try to tell you that you should be over it already, are taking too long to grieve or “It’s just a pet!”. It’s not their business! You take your time & grieve however you need to for as much time as you need to. Honor your loved one’s life, too. Maybe plant a garden they would like, or make or build something creative like they would have made. It really does help!
If you have been actively grieving for a long time (over a year), & it disrupts your life, I really would like to suggest you try grief counseling. Sometimes, people kinda get “stuck” & there is no shame in it. It happens! It just means you need a little help to get unstuck.
Something I’ve wondered about & I’m sure many others have as well is why does it seem like so many bad people lived charmed lives while the rest of us struggle on a daily basis. I mean, just look at most narcissists as one example- they often go through life with few health problems, while those around them have illnesses & diseases of all kinds. Many narcissists are very successful in their careers or financially comfortable. They also never seem to have any consequences for their evil actions. Meanwhile, their victims are often sick, living with mental illnesses such as C-PTSD, depression & anxiety & often broke financially.
I know, the Bible says we aren’t to worry about this. Psalm 37:1-4 says, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (KJV) I do trust God, & don’t get mired down in envying such people. But, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been curious over why things are this way.
Recently, the movie “God’s Not Dead” came on television & answered this question for me. What a fantastic movie!! If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Anyway, there is one scene where a very successful man visits his aging mother with dementia in the nursing home. As he visits her, he says that he doesn’t understand why this happened to her. She prayed & was a very good person, yet this happened to her. Meanwhile, he had no problem lying or cheating to make his money, & living the good life. His mother had a moment of clarity, & told him the devil leaves some people alone so they never feel the need to reach out to God for anything. She quickly returned to her sad, catatonic type state after saying this. The scene was quite moving.
The wisdom in that lady’s statement made so much sense to me! It answered a question I’ve had since I became a Christian over 20 years ago. These people aren’t blessed. God isn’t blessing them in spite of the bad seeds they sow. The devil is simply not opposing them like he does with many people. Instead, he allows these people to live successful lives, so they won’t feel the need to reach out to God. Most of us became Christians in dark times so it seems logical to have some people avoid dark times thus making them feel no need to reach out to God.
Believe me, I’m not one to blame the devil & his demons for every bad thing. I believe his power is limited, & he isn’t an impressive foe. However, I do believe he tries to influence people & creates some bad circumstances with his limited repertoire. It makes perfect sense to me that he would think this way.
Honestly, I can’t say this is true, or back it up with Scripture. I’m just saying I think this may be the case. Since I found it interesting, I thought I would share it with you, Dear Reader, in case you think so too.
Being a victim of narcissistic abuse is not an easy thing. You go through the abuse & somehow survive, only to be victimized further by people who invalidate what you have gone through.
I have heard comments such as…
After hearing such things, I felt victimized all over again.
Victim blaming is very common in today’s society, so it’s not surprising these cruel words & more are said to victims of narcissistic abuse daily.
Unfortunately I don’t believe there is any way to avoid them entirely. All you can do is use wisdom on who you share your story with. Even when you do this, sometimes people may hurt you by invalidating your pain.
The fact is though that you can validate yourself. You can heal from narcissistic abuse even if there is no one to support you but God.
To do this, you need to lean on God. Talk to Him about how you feel. He can handle it all & wants to be there for you! Let Him be!
As for you.. you need to trust that what happened was bad. Admit it to yourself. No more excuses, no more telling yourself you’re oversensitive or weak. Narcissistic abuse permeates every part of a person’s being. It can destroy one’s self-esteem, perception of reality or even sanity. It is nothing to take lightly! If you’re having trouble with this, write your story out. When I wrote my autobiography “Emerging from the Chrysalis” a few years ago, it was hard. Very hard. For the first time, I realized just how bad the abuse I have survived really was. Yet, as hard as it was to see things in black & white, it was very freeing too. It gave me a new perspective. I realized I’m a very strong person. I also realized God must love me a great deal to have gotten me through all of that. It also helped me to see my parents as they truly are, instead of making excuses for their behavior or thinking I was the one with the problems- I really wasn’t oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into things, etc. They have some serious problems & one of those problems is NOT me!
Once you are able to accept the truth about what you have gone through, healing will come. You will grieve, you will be angry, but these are necessary steps to freedom from narcissistic abuse. And, the more you validate yourself & heal, the less other people’s invalidation will bother you. I’m not saying it won’t hurt sometimes- it’s only human to be hurt when your pain is trivialized- but it won’t devastate you as it once did.
One of the favorite tools of a narcissistic mother is to groom her child to believe the child is the problem. If the child wasn’t so difficult, the narcissistic mother wouldn’t have to “discipline her” (translation- abuse). The child is rebellious, ungrateful, or has mental problems. Communicating this message to the child ensures that she won’t question her narcissistic mother’s cruelty. She believes the abuse is all her fault. She also may try to please her narcissistic mother endlessly to make it up to her for being such a bad child.
Not only does the narcissistic mother communicate this message to her child, but to anyone else as well. This serves the narcissistic mother well, as people believe her, without question. The child is not believed by people who know her narcissistic mother, even as an adult, even by people who have known her for a long time.
Grooming her child & spreading her vile message to anyone who will listen, along with manipulating people pretty much guarantees the adult child of the narcissistic mother won’t be believed if she ever opts to reveal the dysfunction of her family.
This has happened to me. Most people I have discussed my relationship with my parents with who also know my parents don’t believe me. They think I’m exaggerating, things weren’t so bad, I’m oversensitive or I’m the problem with the relationship. I need to forgive & forget, just let it go- it’s in the past.
When this type of situation happens, it hurts & frustrates you badly. I have had moments where I wondered if the other person was right- was I really the problem? Were things as bad as I thought they were? These people were so adamant about what they believed, maybe they had a point, I thought. It took praying & remembering the horrible events of my past to realize that no, they weren’t right. I was not the problem, & I really was abused.
When evidence of your narcissistic mother’s grooming appears, you will know it immediately, as you will be invalidated & blamed while she is praised. Unfortunately, this will happen at some point. Who does it may surprise you, too. It won’t be only those friends & relatives of your narcissistic mother, but those who aren’t particularly close to her. Those you would think would be more objective. In my case, I have had two people who my mother hates & who hate her rush to my mother’s defense. One told me I was the one who needed to fix the relationship, & the other trivialized what I have been through, telling me I needed to get over it (never admitting “it” was abuse). Imagine my surprise when these two treated me this way!
You need to be very careful who you discuss your situation with. Even then though, sometimes this type of thing may happen anyway. When it does, all you can do is deal with the hurt & anger you feel & cling to the truth. Also, refuse to discuss this topic with that person again, even if they are the ones who bring it up.
Know that this may damage your relationship irreparably with that person. In my case, the love I had once felt for the two people I mentioned above died abruptly. Not that I wish them harm, of course. I just suddenly no longer felt warmly towards them. I’m quite sure that they feel the same towards me as well. One stopped speaking to me for several months after our discussion & was very cold the few times we’ve spoken since. The other became critical of anything & everything about me since. It’s amazing how devoted people can be to narcissists, even when they despise them!
If you have C-PTSD like I do, this can be an especially painful & frustrating experience. It triggers all kinds of awful feelings that you really don’t want to feel. Personally, I felt like I did as a teenager going through the worst of my mother’s abuse- alone, hopeless & like no one cared. It is vital to be especially good to yourself during times like this.
I read something recently about how narcissists dump their inner pain & torment on others in order to attempt to relieve some of the pain they feel inside. This makes a great deal of sense when you think about it. For example, my narcissistic mother has very low self-esteem, & she has done her best to make sure I also have low self-esteem. She obviously feels a great deal of shame, so she has put that on me as well. My narcissistic mother in-law never felt good enough for her mother in-law, & from day one, she made sure I knew I was never good enough to be a part of her family.
There are so many (often very subtle) ways a person can try to put their pain on another. Did your narcissistic mother accuse you of being fat although your weight was normal & hers above average? Did your narcissistic spouse accuse you of cheating, shaming you greatly, when in fact you were faithful & he was the one sleeping around?
This trying to transfer their pain to another seems to be a pretty normal thing for narcissists to do, but that doesn’t make it right. Rather than excusing their actions, I wanted to discuss this with you today so that you know when this type of thing happens, it’s not your fault! Like many narcissistic behaviors, it isn’t even personal even though it feels like a personal attack- it’s simply the narcissist hurting & wanting to make herself feel better. You getting hurt in the process isn’t important to her, of course, so long as she feels better.
If you can keep the perspective that some abusive behaviors aren’t personal, but about the narcissist, it makes coping a bit easier. It still hurts of course, & is painful to accept it happened, but it does help some at least. Any help is better than none, right? Really grasping that what was done to you was the narcissist’s fault & not yours will help you to avoid the always painful thinking that what happened was your fault, that you made her do that terrible thing, or if you would have only done or not don *fill in the blank* then she wouldn’t have hurt you.
I urge you today to keep this post in mind when your narcissistic mother says something hurtful to you. Remember, she is trying to make you feel bad so she doesn’t have to feel bad. That is why she’s accusing you of whatever awful thing it is she’s accusing you of! You’re fine, she isn’t.
One thing I have learned in the past few years is that people do NOT like unpleasant subject matters, & will go to great lengths to avoid them. Many people with terrible health problems know this all too well- they lose friends & even family after receiving a diagnosis of a dreadful disease. The people who once were closest to them suddenly have no time for them any longer.
This also happens with adult children of narcissistic parents.
It’s happened in my own life. Once I started learning that my mother was abusive when I was seventeen, & talking to a few people about it, my circle of friends became smaller. I talked less about it until many years later, once I started learning about narcissism. Then, I began to talk more & also to write about it. While my writing career suddenly began to take off, my personal relationships changed, especially when I also admitted to having C-PTSD. Some of my relationships became closer, especially with those who also survived a narcissistic upbringing, but many did not. Some people suddenly became very judgmental, telling me how I needed to just get over it, let it go, forgive & forget, stop living in the past, I use having C-PTSD for attention & even how I needed to be the one to fix things in my relationship with my parents.
This hurt & made me so angry! It’s not fair & it’s not right! I began to feel like I did as a child- everything wrong with my parents’ & my relationship was all my fault, I should fix it & if I didn’t, I was a failure. Not a nice way to feel at all!
If you too have experienced similar losses & invalidation in your relationships, you are not alone! I understand your pain & frustration!
Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any way to completely avoid such situations. The fact is, like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, people don’t like unpleasant subject matters. They prefer light, fluffy, happy things, as the unpleasant things make them uncomfortable. Many people also cannot handle discussing unpleasant things about the parent/child relationship. They may come from a good home, & can’t comprehend that a parent would abuse a child, or they came from a dysfunctional home, & you discussing your own painful experiences trigger feelings they aren’t ready to deal with yet. Others may feel that you talk too much about your experiences. (Please see my post on taking breaks– not to make others more comfortable, but for your own mental health!) Whatever the reason, no one has the right to invalidate your pain!
To deal with the pain when this happens, please try to keep the last paragraph in mind. Most people aren’t trying to hurt you by what they say or do- they simply have their own issues or are even convinced they’re trying to help you. In any case, them treating you poorly isn’t about you doing something wrong, it’s about them.
Also, acknowledge your feelings. Yes, you’re hurt &/or angry, & it’s OK. Cry, talk to someone safe, journal or pray, but get your feelings out. Feelings are a natural part of life- respect them, don’t ignore them. Ignoring them never leads to anything good, only bad things like depression & health problems.
Be aware that part of the reason that what was said upsets you so much is it triggers old feelings that you experienced at the hand of your narcissistic mother. Narcissists demand their abuse be kept secret, so when someone else wants to silence you years later, that guilt for “telling” may show up. Or, invalidating your pain makes you feel as you did when your mother did it to you as a child- like you’re not allowed to have feelings because they’re only a nuisance to others. I’m not saying that these triggers mean you’re overreacting to being invalidated, of course. I’m simply saying that those triggers may make you less able to realize at first that you aren’t wrong for discussing this topic.
Be good to yourself afterwards. Once you get a firm grasp on your feelings & triggers, do something nice for yourself. A bubble bath, read a good book or some other little thing that makes you feel good.
And, ask God to help you let go of the hurt & anger you feel. You deserve better than to carry around those negative feelings. Besides, you have too much already to deal with considering you’re recovering from growing up with a narcissistic mother. That needs your attention much more.
Good morning, Dear Readers!
Well, it isn’t really a good morning for me. I really do want to keep my posts as encouraging & as positive as I can, but I also promised you readers that I would also be real. That means some posts won’t be all happy & positive. This post is going to be one of those. In fact, I was going to write it only in my journal, but I felt I should write it in here. Maybe someone needs to read this today. It’ll probably be pretty long, longer than normal at least, so get yourself comfortable if you want to read this.. lol
The last few days have been really rough, & the C-PTSD is flaring up badly as of yesterday. My head is simply swimming. To start with, our little American Eskimo dog, Dixie, has been sick. Thankfully, she is well on her way to recovery now, but not recognizing her symptoms at first terrified me. My pets are like my children, so when they are sick, I get extremely concerned. Then my husband’s mother went into the hospital a couple of days ago. I’m not sure she didn’t put herself there for attention, to be completely honest about it. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s done that. I think it was last year just before Christmas my husband told me she said that she quit taking her meds for a few days prior to going into the hospital. Yep, I love narcissists.. NOT. *sigh*
And, as the icing on this crappy cake, my husband & I saw my parents yesterday.
Recently, my parents bought a new chair. Once it was delivered, my mother decided she didn’t like it, & wanted to exchange it for another one. She called to ask if my husband would mind picking it up with his truck, as she didn’t want to pay another $80 delivery charge. He said he’d be fine with doing it Saturday (yesterday). So Friday, I said I should call her to be sure of what time to meet my parents at the furniture store. He volunteered to make the call instead, which was fine with me at the time. Now, I’m not happy he did this at all & that will not be happening again as I have learned a painful lesson. Although I have told him many times, do NOT say anything about our furkids or his parents to my parents other than everyone is “fine”, he told my mother Dixie was sick & probably needed to see the vet in the morning, & also that his mother was in the hospital so we couldn’t make it a long visit. If my mother hears anything other than FINE about any of them, I will end up very angry with either her nasty comments about my furkids, or fake concern over my in-laws. The fake concern hurts me very badly, because she knows perfectly well I haven’t spoken to my in-laws since 2002 because of how cruelly my narcissistic mother in-law has treated me. And a side note here- I asked God once why my mother does this. He showed me that my mother thinks my in-laws have a perfect life- been married 60+ years, financially comfortable, nice home in a nice area, their children, grandchildren & great-grandchildren visit them often. She fails to see the mountains of dysfunction in their family, only what looks good on the outside. My mother, being a narcissist & naturally overly concerned with appearances, wants to impress them. By me refusing to tolerate my mother in-law’s abusive ways, I’ve embarrassed my mother. In return, she wants to hurt me as much as possible by showing concern for them, as well as showing them even though I’m a “terrible person,” at least she isn’t bad like me. She is good enough to care about them even if I don’t. This is also why she has sent them Christmas cards since I first told her how cruel the mother in-law is. Amazing what goes on in the mind of a narcissist..
Back to the original topic..
The visit started at the furniture store. My mother sat in the car, & my father approached us in hubby’s truck. He handed hubby a booklet about county services for seniors I’d given my parents a couple of months ago. He said it was because hubby’s parents probably needed it. Really? Hubby told my father no, they’re fine- my parents need it. My father said my mother thought they needed it more, so they should have it. Hubby grabbed the booklet & spoke to my mother, telling her SHE needs this, his parents are taken care of. I heard snippets of their conversation- she kept changing the subject, showing concern for his mother being in the hospital. ARGH! So while this happened, my father & I walked into the customer service area & gave them the receipt. We waited a few minutes for him to bring the chair outside for us, & chatted. Finally we were loaded up & ready to go. I moved the truck over to beside my mother’s car to get it out of the way. My mother said hi to me, I ignored her & waited for hubby.
At my parents’ house, my mother asked me how Dixie was. i said fine. She said “Oh? Your dad said she was really sick.” I said nothing further. (I feel somewhat bad about that, because knowing her, she’ll jump on my father for lying to her even though he wasn’t lying. But, not trying to be vengeful here, he has no problems throwing me under the bus with my mother. Why should I feel bad that I inadvertently did the same to him once, yanno?) So she then talked to hubby about his mother. I continued ignoring her, but was stewing inside. How dare she?! Plus i was also angry hubby told her about Dixie when I have said many times mention NOTHING about her or the cats to my mother.
My husband, father & I assembled the chair. While working on it, my mother brought out a plate of cookies & demanded we all eat one. I refused. All my life, my mother has insulted what I eat, how much I do or don’t eat, demanded I eat what she wants when she wants me to & ridiculed me for being fat no matter how little I may weigh. When she tells me to eat something now, I refuse in order to set a boundary. Plus, the emotional flashbacks I get make me feel like I did at around 10 years old when her abuse regarding food was so bad that I became anorexic then later bulimic: terrified of her anger if I didn’t do as was told or take her criticisms with a smile, angry, like I am too hideous & disgusting to live. This feels HORRIBLE & it makes me angry that at 43 years old, I quickly can revert to feeling like I did as a child.
Finally, the chair was done, & we were ready to leave. As I said goodbye to my father, my mother spoke to my husband about his parents again, feigning such great concern for their well-being. I could feel the anger inside me bubbling by this point. Then, as I moved to say goodbye to her before my head exploded, she said “Wait a minute.” My mother went into another room & came back with a plate of cookies & a get well card for my mother in-law!! She handed them to hubby. I was in shock at this point. She then hugged us both & told me she loved me as we left. I practically ran to the truck. I also realized when she has been especially cruel to me recently, she always says she loves me. No other times. In fact, I could probably count on one hand how many times she has said that in the last 30 years until this behavior began recently.
I cannot put into words how hurt I am by this whole episode. I know my mother is extremely angry with me because I set boundaries with her early last month. (See this blog entry) I’ve been expecting a narcissistic rage because of that as I mentioned in that post, which meant I was expecting her to say excessively cruel, hurtful things to me in a public place. But this betrayal & flaunting it? And to top it off, my husband basically handed her the weapon on a silver platter & doesn’t understand why I’m upset?
I am just depressed, hurt & angry today. I feel so alone in this situation, & am so tired of feeling that way. I can’t talk to my husband about it since he doesn’t really understand. I can’t talk to my father- he’s got his own concerns with how cruel she is to him, & those concerns are very valid. He also won’t speak on my behalf to my mother. I also feel like I don’t matter. Again. I am so tired of this feeling! My mother made me feel this way growing up. Being a typical malignant narcissist, I was only there to be an extension of her, meet her needs & please her. I wasn’t to “bother” her with having needs or feelings. Growing up, things haven’t really improved with her in that area. My husband’s invalidating “I wouldn’t give it any credence” comment about my mother’s actions yesterday have made me feel the same “I don’t matter” feeling. I’m so tired of it!!!
I’m also incredibly frustrated. Something must be done with my mother, but I am too frazzled at this moment to figure out what. If I speak up about her “Caring” about my mother in-law, it’ll feed her- she will be sure to show more concern for her just because she knows exactly how much it hurts me. If I remain quiet, she will show more concern to be sure she is getting to me. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t… So, I need to pray about how to handle this after I feel better.
Right now, I’m wallowing in the self-pity place. I know this all too well, & I don’t like it at all. But, I have learned some things since I’ve been here so many times in my life: this place is necessary, & it doesn’t last forever.
So many people will tell you things like “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” but sometimes you need to wallow for a bit, to feel sorry for yourself because you have been through something very painful. I think of it as feeling compassion for yourself. If someone told me what I just told you, my heart would break for them. I would want to tell them everything will be fine & somehow make it better if I could. So why not have that same compassion for myself?
I also think that the self-pity times allow us to process painful things, & we need to process painful things! Sweeping things under the rug or ignoring the pain they cause do no good at all! In fact, ignoring things can cause a great deal of harm. I never really dealt with the abuse I endured until I was around 30 years old. By the time I was 41, I developed full blown C-PTSD after living with many of the symptoms my whole life. I wonder if I had been able to deal with things earlier, if I would have C-PTSD now. Not dealing with things also can cause physical problems such as arthritis, heart problems, ulcers, high blood pressure, & much more.
If you made it this far, God bless you! Thank you for listening to me rant & rave. I hope somehow you were able to glean something helpful from this post.
I’m revising this post only slightly…..
I saw yesterday that the card my mother gave my husband for his mother wasn’t in a sealed envelope- the flap was just pushed in. Seemed odd to me, but I figured that meant my mother wanted me to read it. Knowing her, that just made sense in her dysfunctional little world. So, I finally gave in a few minutes ago. This is the card- nothing has been altered at all. This shows just how hell bent my mother is to hurt me- she is sending a nicer card to someone she can’t stand than she has ever sent to me. I honestly don’t even know if she’s ever given me a get well card…
Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
A little while ago, I read about Brittany Maynard, the termanilly ill young woman who chose assisted suicide. Something popped into my mind..
It is amazing that people are calling her brave & strong & other such positive things, yet if someone who lives with depression, PTSD/C-PTSD or another mental illness commits suicide, they are labeled such terrible things as selfish or cowardly. I don’t understand what the difference is.
First off, I just want to say that I am not passing any judgement on Ms. Maynard. Honestly, I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same in her situation. No one knows what they would do unless in the situation. What I am saying is what makes people call her brave for opting to end her life rather than face the pain & suffering of a horrible disease, yet label someone who is depressed enough to want to end their suffering through suicide is a selfish coward? Neither person wants to suffer any longer. Both are tired of the pain.
It just breaks my heart, the lack of empathy & compassion in the world. They also seem to be very selective on the rare occasion they do show up. In fact, there is a line in the movie, “John Q” that comes to my mind often. If you don’t know the movie, it is a great one! Denzel Washington plays the father of a young boy in need of a heart transplant. He & his wife don’t have proper insurance to cover the procedure, & he holds several people hostage in the hospital out of desperation. The police are called in to try to talk him into releasing the hostages safely. The negotiator, played by Robert Duvall, tells him, “Do you think these people (the crowd & tv crews) really care? You’re just the cause of the moment!” That statement is so true! People are so fickle! They may support a cause passionately, but as soon as something else comes up, the first cause will be abandoned.
Anyway, back to the original topic. Choosing to end one’s life isn’t selfish or cowardly. it simply means someone is tired of pain & wants to avoid further suffering. It also doesn’t mean that person is weak. Any person can only handle so much suffering before wanting an end to it. I urge you to have compassion on those who are considering suicide rather than pass judgement. If you know someone is suicidal, talk to her! Show her gentleness, love & understanding. Maybe all she needs to know is that someone cares. Maybe showing her that you care will help her to choose not to take her life.
If it’s you that is contemplating suicide, please know I understand what you are going through! I’m so sorry that you are in such a terrible place! Please reach out to someone for help- a non-judgmental friend or relative , your pastor, a counselor or even the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Most of all, reach out to God! Tell Him how you feel, & allow Him to help you. The world would not be the same place without you! You are a special, unique person & the world needs you! Please think very carefully & reach out for help before doing anything rash! xoxo
I read something very disturbing on facebook this morning. It was triggering for me, so read on with caution…
One of my friends on there is the daughter of a very precious friend of mine who passed away a few years ago. This morning, she posted that her brother just committed suicide. He hung himself with his belt. She later wrote that their father would beat them as children with his belt, & he was always depressed. This poor young man must have had a very difficult life.
As if this fact wasn’t tragic enough, some of the responses she got infuriated me. People told stories of someone they knew who took their own life, or said how sad this made them. One responder even called her brother selfish for doing this.
Selfish? Really? Obviously this person has absolutely no idea what it’s like to be suicidal.
To be suicidal is to be in the most lonely, depressing place imaginable with no signs of escape or that anyone cares you are there. You believe suicide will end your suffering, & end the burden you place on your loved ones. Logically, it seems like suicide is the only means of making things better. After all, you rationalize, it’s not like anyone would care if you were gone anyway, & they might just be relieved not to have to deal with you anymore. You honestly believe you are doing the world, especially those you love, a favor by killing yourself. There is nothing selfish or cowardly about suicide.
Living with C-PTSD, I think about it often. In fact, I have for most of my life. Thankfully, I’m aware that suicidal ideation is a normal part of this awful disorder, so I won’t follow through with my thoughts.
Being suicidal is the worst feeling in the world, I believe. Then to have this young man’s suicide brushed off as if it was a stupid, selfish action like gambling away rent money, or something to be compared to others’ situations infuriated me. I realize in difficult situations, most people don’t know what to say. Rather than admit that simple fact, they often end up saying something ignorant, stupid or extremely hurtful. The truth is, however, most people would rather hear something like, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. I don’t know what to say about it, but if you need me, I’m here for you.” than to hear some anecdote, how much worse someone else has it, or even “You should be glad his suffering is over now & he’s in a better place.” Comments like this are extremely painful! How would you like to hear that you should be glad your loved one who died yesterday is gone? Wouldn’t that hurt you? Then it will hurt someone else too!
Please just think about what you say to someone in time of suffering before you speak! Don’t just blurt out cliches,because they come across as hurtful & insensitive. The last thing someone in a dark place needs to hear is something that will hurt them. Offer to listen, to pray with & for that person, to handle some chores they need done, to run errands for them or even cook for them. Encourage them to grieve- there is no other way to come to grips with a loss other than to go through the grief process, no matter how long it takes. Use common sense when dealing with people who are suffering- if it would hurt you if someone said or did something to you, then it will hurt them too, so just don’t do it!
And, when it comes to someone who has killed himself, please don’t judge! You have no idea what went on in that person’s mind to push him over the edge. You don’t know what happened in his life, or how things affected him. You have absolutely no right to judge or criticize that person!
I really hope this post doesn’t sound like my friend’s tragedy was simple fodder for my blog. That certainly isn’t the intent. I just want people to think before they comment on situation involving someone they care about. Suicide is a topic near to my heart as well, & having been called selfish as well, hearing another person called selfish who not only considered suicide but followed through breaks my heart.
Good afternoon, Dear Readers.
I would like to take a moment & ask for your prayers today. Not many of you know this, but this past January, I learned an ex-boyfriend of mine shot & killed his boyfriend, then himself. I would like to ask you to pray for everyone affected by this tragedy. No doubt his family are still trying to come to terms with what happened. And, I can only imagine the anger & shock his boyfriend’s family must still be feeling.
This has come to mind because it was this day in 1990 that I met my ex. I wonder what happened in his life since I last saw him that brought him to such a dark place. He had been arrested a week before his death, & the mug shot that was online & in the local papers showed someone who has been through a very hard life. Someone who looked at least 20 years older than he really was, & I didn’t even recognize.
So anyway prayers for those affected by this senseless tragedy that has affected these 2 families would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much!!
Good morning, Dear Readers!
I was just talking with a friend of mine about the physical pain she suffered with for years. Finally, she found someone who not only believed she was in pain, but also found the solution for her!
This got me to thinking about myself. When I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall. As soon as I hit that wall, I felt & heard what felt like every single vertebrae in my spine pop loudly. The pain & fear of that moment made me black out briefly, it was that intense. It was so bad in fact, I had to quit working a few months later at age 20 because of the pain. I had pain constantly for the next 10 years until one day when I was watching Joyce Meyer on television. After she was done preaching, she prayed specifically for people with back pain. My husband prayed too, although I didn’t know it at the time. Within a few days, my pain was gone!
The early days of that injury were awful. I spent so much time visiting doctors. No one believed I was in pain. No injuries showed up on the xrays. They said my MRI was fine, but it “disappeared” never to be found again, so no one but the one doctor, an especially cruel & sarcastic man, saw the results. One doctor even wrote in his report I was “fine & able to work” in spite of me repeatedly telling him otherwise. I had one doctor, a very sweet, gentle chiropractor, who believed everything I told her. To top it off, my mother, the reason for my pain, told people I was faking it so I wouldn’t have to work. She often poked or slapped me right where my pain was, or handed me something heavy- anything to make me hurt.
It was a painful time in many ways. Aside from the physical pain, it hurt having doctors act like I was crazy, making this whole thing up or being lazy, like my mother said. After about a year or so, I gave up seeing doctors. It was absolutely frustrating & a waste of time. I also doubted the pain I felt. With so few people believing me, & reminding me often of that fact, I really wondered sometimes if I was making it up. Even when I would be in pain, I wondered about it sometimes.
Then in 2010, July 25 was a rough day. While at a now former friend’s wedding reception, a storm moved into the area. As soon as the storm was over, we quickly came home & learned our home had been struck by lightening. The insulation around the one window air conditioner had caught fire, but quickly extinguished itself. Coming so close to losing our home & the furkids terrified me! My husband told my father about it, & the next time we spoke, Dad told me he told my mother what happened. He said “we could’ve lost our daughter” & my mother’s response was “you’re making a big deal out of nothing.” Her lack of caring, although not surprising, was extremely painful for me. I also learned my ex husband’s mother died that day. I’d loved her, so even though I hadn’t seen her in 16 years, it still upset me. Shortly after, one of our cats passed away very suddenly. A couple of weeks later, as I was leaving a store, my shoe caught on the curb, throwing me into traffic where I was almost hit by a truck. Shortly after that, I ended a 22 year long friendship. Somewhere during this very traumatic time, my back went out one day. I woke up in pain, & it got worse until I could barely move. I was afraid I was back to living with the constant pain I had in my 20’s. Thankfully, a friend of mine who does massage helped me quite a bit, & the pain was gone within a few days.
This friend suggested that rather than have a nervous breakdown as I’ve had before, I had a physical one this time. After all, I’d been through a lot recently. I researched stress & back pain. That search led me to PTSD, & how I think it was 55% of people with PTSD suffer lower back pain with no physical cause. That blew me away! It also led to me researching PTSD further, which later led to me researching C-PTSD.
PTSD & C-PTSD can lead to a lot of physical pain with no physical cause. Muscle aches & pains from the stress of being constantly “on guard” are very common, as are headaches, migraines, neck pain, digestive issues & inflammatory disorders (arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc). Personally, I have had arthritis since I was 31, but also get aches & pains all over when the C-PTSD flares up. When I am really stressed, my lower back aches terribly.
If you are suffering with some type of physical pain that your doctors say is “all in your head” or don’t believe is as bad as you say, it may be time to ask for a referral to a mental health professional. You too may be dealing with PTSD or C-PTSD. Or, you may be dealing with too much stress & need to learn healthy ways to cope. In any case, please learn from my experience- no telling how much pain I could have saved myself if I had seen a psychiatrist when I was 19.
Many people who have survived an abusive situation are told you can’t blame your abuser. He or she didn’t know what he or she was doing. Or, that person is mentally ill. Or, he/she was abused as a child. Or a plethora of other reasons a person can’t be mad at their abuser. This invalidates the pain the victim feels! It immediately makes you feel guilty because you have problems stemming from being abused. I know- I have been in this position myself.
While I’m not saying we need to blame every problem in life on being abused, I am saying we need to keep a healthy perspective on it. In my case as an example, my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Borderline Personality Disorder. When I first learned of her disorders, I felt guilty for having problems that stem from her abuse when I was growing up. I didn’t think I should hold her responsible- after all, these are disorders! She must not be responsible for how she acts! Then I can’t be angry or hurt or have problems that stem from things she did to me. Besides, that was a long time ago..
Then I learned that personality disorders describe a way someone behaves, rather than physical brain damage, such as Schizophrenia or PTSD. And, many of the things my mother did to me were hidden, even from my father. That tells me she knew what she was doing was wrong. After all, if one is proud of one’s actions, they aren’t hidden.
I have since learned to have a healthy perspective. While I do blame my mother for me having C-PTSD, I take responsibility for how I cope with it. I blame her for my lifetime of low self-esteem, yet I try to find ways to keep a healthy self-esteem. While she is to blame for the damage done to me, it is my responsibility to heal as best I can. Part of that healing, I believe, is knowing that the damage done is NOT my fault! I did nothing to deserve the horrible things that were done to me!
You did nothing to deserve the abuse you endured either! Keep the blame for what was done where it belongs- squarely on the abuser. You have absolutely NO responsibility for what was done to you. However, you DO have a responsibility to heal. Ask God to show you how- what steps you need to take. And, as you heal, you may find out that God wants to use your story to help others heal, & inspire others. That may help you heal even more than you know! Blessing & inspiring others is a beautiful feeling!
Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
The more I learn about Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the more bizarre I think it is. Not just the symptoms I live with daily, but how long I have lived with many symptoms, & the coping skills I learned early in life.
Before fully manifesting in 2012, I lived with many symptoms ever since I could remember. Headaches, body aches, anxiety, depression, sleep problems since I was in my early 20’s, nightmares, dissociation. My way to cope with these problems? Ignore them. Fantastic, eh? lol Unfortunately I’m sure this “skill” stems from learning early that I was not to bother anyone with any problems I might have. I am here to be used, not to have my own life, needs, wants, feelings, etc.
As I have been learning about C-PTSD the last almost two years, I’ve come to realize just how many symptoms I’ve lived with for a very long time, yet ignored completely. It’s so strange! I’ve had headaches when I get stressed ever since I can remember, yet it’s only recently that I have acknowledged them & begun to feel them. The same with body aches- if I get depressed or anxious, my muscles & joints feel awful, much like I’m coming down with a bad case of the flu. Dissociation? I was just daydreaming- it doesn’t matter! Or, that is what I told myself, at least. Even when the dissociation went so far after my divorce that at times, I would forget my name, family & other vital details of my life (this is known as a dissociative fugue, & can happen after traumatic events). Anxiety & depression? I pushed those feelings aside, because other people needed me not to have feelings & to do things for them.
Many people with C-PTSD learned similar faulty coping skills to mine. I also think this “awakening” I’m having is normal, although I never read anything about it. It makes sense when I think of it- I’m learning about myself, so it’s causing me to reflect on myself & my life, seeing all kinds of things I had ignored.
I wanted to let you know that if this is happening to you, too, don’t panic- you are normal! 🙂 This is just another bump in the healing road. It’s actually a good thing, I think. Honestly, I do kind of miss being able to ignore the aches & pains especially- they are just miserable! However, the symptoms of C-PTSD can be helpful- they let you know when you are getting overwhelmed, & need to take care of yourself. If you don’t notice the symptoms, you may keep pushing yourself too hard, which can create more problems with your emotional health down the road.
This past week has been very hard for me.
As I mentioned last week in THIS BLOG POST, I learned that a man I dated a long time ago recently killed his male lover, then himself. I have been in shock since learning about what happened last Tuesday. Thankfully, it’s all starting to really sink in, & I’m feeling a bit better.
I’ve noticed though that some folks who know me & know what happened haven’t been overly understanding. While I get not everyone understands this situation since most people haven’t been in it, it still triggered an automatic reaction in me that I learned when I was a child- if someone invalidates my feelings, I need to push my feelings aside & not bother anyone with them.
This is completely unhealthy, & I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it contributed to the complex ptsd showing up in the spring of 2012.
I fight this behavior every time it comes up, which is very often.
Just because other people don’t understand, or try to understand, the pain you are in, doesn’t make it any less painful. You need to learn to ignore what others say & listen to your own instincts & feelings. If you are hurting or angry, then honor that! Deal with your pain accordingly. Just because something might not upset another person doesn’t mean they are right & you are wrong. You are individuals, & people are affected by things differently. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS!
In my case, I am finally coming to grips with the fact I once shared my life with a man who used me to cover up his homosexuality, & was a murderer. This isn’t an easy pill to swallow! I don’t understand how anyone could feel otherwise.
If you have someone in your life who frequently tells you things like you’re oversensitive, overreacting, reading too much into a situation, etc., that person is invalidating you. For more information on that topic, please visit this link to my website: Invalidation. Invalidation isn’t only painful & frustrating, it is abuse. You don’t have to put up with it!
I was watching Bishop T.D. Jakes this morning. He said something that struck a chord in me- “Some people don’t confront what’s wrong, they comfort it.”
This is so true of many people. So many folks can’t seem to handle deep issues, only light & happy things. When you tell one of these people anything about your abusive mother, they just can’t handle it. They make excuses for her behavior, blame you, tell you it’s your place to make things right with her, or say other stupid things like “She’s the only mother you’ll ever have!” They have similar responses if you have mental health problems- “You need to get out more,” “Cheer up!”, “Think happy thoughts!”, “You need to get over it.”, “You’re not a soldier- you can’t have PTSD!”
Everyone who opens up about being abused or having mental health issues has to deal with someone like this at some point. It’s painful, especially when it comes from someone you are close to, & you expected to be supportive. I just want you to remember something- when someone behaves this way, it doesn’t mean you are crazy, wrong, need to make things right with your mother. When someone can’t handle the “ugly” things in life, that is something wrong with them, not you. Please remember that!
You need to exercise wisdom on how much you tell who about your experiences since some people, even ones you’re close to, may never be able to handle tales of your experiences. Only discuss your experiences with compassionate, non-judgmental people.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to be silent about your experiences! I personally believe that although God doesn’t want painful things to happen to you, He can create a purpose for them. For me, I have been able to help other daughters of narcissistic mothers via my books & website. I don’t know what your purpose is, but rest assured, you have a purpose for surviving what you have survived! Ask God to show you your purpose, & He will!
Happy mother’s day to all of you!! For those of you with bad relationships with your mothers like me, I feel your pain- today is a very challenging day. One thing that helps me on this day is to remember the following verse…
Psalm 27:10 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].
Whether you have children or pets, or none at all, enjoy the day today! If you have a bad relationship or none at all with your mother, be gentle with yourself today. Do something nice just for you! ❤
Hello, Dear Readers. I need a big favor from you today..
The 21 year old daughter of a couple of former friends of mine is currently on life support. From what I read, the doctors are only keeping her alive until some of her family members arrive. Please pray for her parents, brothers, family & her boyfriend. No doubt they all feel like they are in hell, losing such a special, good Christian woman.
Thank you for praying for these people with me in their time of immeasurable suffering.