Tag Archives: parents

How To Handle People Who Shame Adult Children Of Narcissists For How They Treat Their Parents

I saw a comment on one of my old YouTube videos I thought was rather interesting.  The comment said that this person took care of her elderly abusive mother until the end of her life.  She suffered health problems that didn’t run in her family as a result of dealing with their “complicated” relationship, but she is glad she didn’t abandon her like I did my parents.  She went on to say that although she didn’t like my video, she said she’s glad she watched it anyway because she realized maybe she wasn’t such a terrible daughter like me after all. 

Rather than simply delete the stupid comment, I left it up.  It’s sort of a lesson within a lesson.  The original lesson being my video, & the secondary lesson is how to deal with people like this.

This sort of comment happens all the time with adult children of narcissistic parents.  The smug ignoramuses of the world think they have the right to judge how we treated our parents while they truly know nothing of our experiences. We need to be aware that this can happen & how to handle it.

To start with, I believe it’s very important to realize this is a trigger, which is why your reaction may be exceptionally emotional.  Mine certainly was.  I immediately felt rage & wanted to tell this person exactly what I thought of her judgmental words.  I took a few moments to calm down because I recognized my strong reaction was a trigger.  It reminded me of things my own family has said.  If a comment like this is said to you in person or on the phone, you don’t have the luxury of taking a few minutes to calm yourself before responding as I did.  Instead, take a deep breath & let it out slowly.  This will calm your mind & body long enough for you to formulate a good response rather than react.  Reactions in situations like this only cause more problems.  You need to have a calm & calculated response instead.

It’s also important to recognize that a person saying this sort of drivel has some ulterior motive.  Often they are flying monkeys, saying such idiocy to hurt you on behalf of the narcissist.  They may even know the truth but say this anyway simply to hurt you because you hurt the narcissist that they idolize.  In my case, I don’t know this person nor does this person know my parents.  Flying monkey obviously can’t be the case.  I have another idea of what her problem is though…

The commenter in my situation is, I believe, a covert narcissist or at the very least, has narcissistic tendencies.  Covert narcissists will do anything they can to get the word out that they are wonderful, caring, & even martyr like.  That is what this person did with me.  She came across as a loving, devoted daughter who was willing to sacrifice herself & even her health for her abusive mother.  She shamed me for not being a “good daughter” like she obviously was while at the same time building up her martyr image.  I’m glad this person was so obvious in displaying those narcissistic tendencies because that enabled me to know how to handle the situation immediately: provide no narcissistic supply.  I debated deleting the comment, but that would’ve validated to this person how mean & unreasonable I am.  It also would’ve enabled her to look like the victim of my meanness, & provided narcissistic supply.  Instead, I figured it best to respond simply, without emotion.  I said that everyone has to do what they feel is right in their situation.  I did in mine just as she did in hers.  I’m not judging her so please don’t judge mine & if she can’t refrain from that, please stay off my page.  Simple, to the point & calm. 

Whether the person in question in these situations is a narcissist, flying monkey or just some poorly informed person with good intentions, it’s never wise to defend your actions.  Somehow, that always seems to make things worse, so don’t do it!  If you must say something for whatever reason, keep your comments unemotional & logical.  State only the facts, not how you felt.  And, ask logical questions like, “I don’t understand how you think me doing what you think I should makes any sense.  Why should I subject myself to being treated so poorly?”

Lastly, always remember that God is there for you.  If you don’t know what to do, ask Him for help.  Even a prayer as simple as “Please help me!” can work wonders! As the adult child of a narcissistic parent, you need to know how to handle yourself when these situations arise & unfortunately, they will arise.  I hope my situation has given you ideas on how to do that when the time comes. 

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When Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents Marry

Often, two people who were raised by narcissistic parents marry each other when they grow up.  Ideally, they understand each other’s past, offer support & help each other cope if their parents are still a part of their lives.  Sadly though, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes when two adult children of narcissistic parents marry, they learn each person is on a very different page.  One is trying to be healthy while the other remains in denial of just how toxic his or her parents are.  This is hardly an easy position to be in for either person.

If you are in this painful situation, I hope this post can help you today!

To start with, you need to pray.  Ask God for any help you need to cope with the situation, whether it be patience, understanding, wisdom or anything.  Prayer is always the best place to start in any difficult situation, & situations don’t get much more difficult than this one!

Next, you need to accept that you & your partner are in a different place.  Your spouse may never see the truth about their parents.  They also may never see the truth about yours, for that matter.  You can’t change this, so you need to accept that painful truth.

You also need to accept that you can’t change your partner.  As much as you’d like to, you can’t make him or her see the truth.  We all have to face the truth as we are able.  Forcing someone to see the truth before they’re ready isn’t good for their mental health. 

You may need to stop discussing anything about your parents with each other to avoid conflict.  I know this is incredibly frustrating because you should be able to discuss any topic with your spouse.  In an ideal world, that is how things are.  Unfortunately though, when dealing with two fallible human beings, that isn’t always feasible.  If discussing anything about parents causes strife, it may be best to find someone else with which to discuss the problems.  A close friend or relative, your pastor or even a counselor may be a much better option for you. 

If you have issues with your spouse’s narcissistic parent, unfortunately, you can’t expect support from your spouse if he or she doesn’t see that parent is narcissistic.  Don’t expect it from him or her.  I realize this goes against what is natural & is very painful & hard to accept, but you need to do it anyway.  Accepting this painful truth is hard, but it is easier than to be disappointed in your spouse repeatedly.

You also will need to find ways to deal with your narcissistic in-laws on your own, & chances are slim your spouse will approve of how you deal with them.  This is tricky.  There is no way to avoid your spouse’s anger in this situation.  The best you can do is to remain calm when dealing with your awful in-laws & your spouse.  Also be logical when your spouse gets angry.  If he or she says you’re hurting the narcissistic parent, for example, you can say that parent has hurt you too.  Why was that acceptable behavior but you setting a reasonable boundary to protect yourself wasn’t? 

Never forget to take care of yourself & your mental health.  A spouse in denial can be very good at making the healthier spouse feel as if they are wrong, over sensitive or even crazy.  Don’t buy into this gaslighting!  You are doing what is right by facing the truth about your narcissistic parents & in-laws.  Don’t let anyone, including your spouse, convince you otherwise!

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People Can Say Cruel Things When A Narcissistic Parent Is Dying Or Has Died

Three years ago on the 23rd of this month, my father died.  Naturally the date gets me thinking of that terrible time.  I thought I would share some thoughts that might help others who have been or will be in a similar situation.

When a narcissistic parent dies, it’s highly likely that you are NOT going to be prepared for what you feel.  I certainly wasn’t.  When my father died in October, 2017, I was sad, but I felt that I’d grieved him enough while he was alive that there wasn’t much left.  Yet, when my mother died just shy of eighteen months later, I was utterly devastated.  I have spoken with other adult children of narcissistic parents who felt nothing when their parents died or only felt relief.  I also have met others whose reactions lay somewhere in the middle of devastated & numb.  All reactions are normal in such an abnormal situation.

What makes this difficult time even more difficult is other people.  The death or even pending death of a narcissistic parent seems to make most people think they need to share their opinions on your situation with you, whether or not you want to hear it.

As narcissistic parents age, their adult children often hear things like, “Your parent is getting old.. you shouldn’t be so hard on him or her.” or, “You haven’t spoken to your parent in how long?!  How do you think you’re going to feel when your parent dies?”  Yet, no one ever asks narcissistic parents anything like this.  They should ask these people not to be so hard on their children or how they think they will feel if they die without trying to make amends with their children.  This never happens though.

This baffles me.  Why do abusive parents get a free pass?  Why is it supposedly the job of their victims, their own children, to make them feel that it’s ok they were abusive jerks?  Everything is supposed to be the responsibility of their children all their lives, including at the time of the parents’ death.  Why is that anyway?  In fact, when my father was dying, one of my cousins told me I needed to say good bye to him so he could die in peace.  Such unadulterated gall isn’t it?  Not only because she barely knew me (& him too for that matter), but to try to put such a big burden on me that wasn’t even my burden to bear!

Such thoughtless & rude comments make the time surrounding a narcissistic parent’s death even more difficult than it already is.  When you’re in a difficult place, your emotions are more sensitive & even raw than usual.  Dealing with comments like these can be rough at this particular time, even if you could ignore them any other time.

When in such a situation, you need to remember that you are in a bad situation.  It’s normal to feel upset by stupid, insensitive & cruel comments but it’s especially normal to feel overly upset considering the circumstances you’re in at the time.  Remind yourself of that.  You’re ok!  Really!

Also remind yourself that what these people say isn’t necessarily true or accurate at all.  Everyone has their own opinions & see things through the lens of their own experiences.  They see things differently than you, so their opinions may not be valuable to you.  There are also people in the world who are evil, & are more than happy to hurt others.  Many of those people are flying monkeys who blindly support even the most malignant narcissists.  Whichever the case, don’t blindly accept what other’s say!  Consider what they say before accepting their words as true or false.

Lastly, cling to God.  You are going to need Him more than ever during this time.  He is the only reason I’ve gotten through the deaths of my parents with any sanity in tact, let alone thrived.  What He did for me, He will do for you as well.  xoxo

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Loving Narcissistic Parents After No Contact

Both of my parents died not terribly long after going no contact with them.  My father within a few months in October, 2017 & my mother almost exactly 18 months later in April, 2019.  I have done a LOT of thinking since then because, well, that’s what I do, I overthink things.  lol  One thing I thought about though made a lot of sense & I wanted to share it with you.

When someone goes no contact with their narcissistic parent, it seems most people assume that person hates their parent.  They hate them so much, they can’t tolerate that person in their life any longer.  I find that is rarely the case.  Every person I’ve spoken with about this topic has said they loved their narcissistic parent deeply.  It was the abuse they hated, which is why they felt they had no other choice but to go no contact.

I felt the same way.  I hated how my parents treated me so badly, I felt I had no other choice but to go no contact.  I prayed a lot, I tried a lot of things, & nothing I did or said helped the relationship.  In fact, it kept getting worse.

Eventually I felt no contact was my only option & I prayed a LOT about that.  I felt God wanted me to wait, so I did even though it was incredibly difficult.  When the time felt right, I eliminated my parents from my life.  It was the hardest, most painful thing I’ve ever had to do.  Later, I learned it was also the right thing to do.

Just before my father died, he accepted Jesus as his Savior.  His miraculous story is on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you’d like to read it.  Anyway part of the reason he turned to God was because I wouldn’t go say goodbye to him as he was dying, in spite of knowing he wanted me to & the constant harassment & bullying by people trying to force me to.  Nothing else in his almost 80 years of life worked to make him turn to God, not even his own near death experience when he was a teenager.

After my mother died, I learned that she too accepted Jesus as her Savior.  Apparently she had as a young child, but stepped away from her new faith probably because of the abuse she received at home.  Me not having a relationship with her, I believe, helped to turn her towards God as it did my father.  During our almost three years of no contact at the time of her passing, I prayed for her daily.  During that time, God told me a few times that she was praying, asking God to make me contact her.  He said that her motivations were purely selfish, so He didn’t want me to.

I think my story isn’t terribly unique.  Many narcissistic parents end up alone in their final years, abandoned by the children they abused for their entire lives.  I also can’t help but think many would turn to God in their desperation for help as my parents did.  Hopefully they also would accept Jesus into their hearts as my parents did.

Dear Reader, as hard as it can be, please pray for your narcissistic parents.  God hears those prayers, even when we pray from an attitude of “I’m only doing this because I know You want me to.”  That was my attitude for a long time, yet in spite of it, both of my parents went to Heaven when they passed away.  So please, keep praying for your narcissistic parents.  Even if prayer is the only thing you can do for them, it is a very powerful & wonderful thing!

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A Message For My Younger Followers

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My Ebooks Are On Sale!

Just a friendly reminder that all of my ebooks are still 25% off until July 31, 2020. They can be found at this link:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Things Adult Children Of Narcissists Wish People Wouldn’t Say

Growing up with narcissistic parents is a horrific experience.  Neglect & abuse abound, resulting in a child who grows up with little or even no self-esteem, doubts about their sanity, no real identity beyond what their parents told them they were & other horrible traumas that often result in Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD.

In addition to this trauma, many of these children are met with disbelief & even blame for the way their parents treated them.  Sadly, this treatment comes mostly from family members.  Even as adults, this invalidation often continues & can be even more heartless & painful.

You may find some of these phrases I mention in this post sound familiar to you.  If you do, & if you think they will help the person who said them to you see the error of their ways, feel free to show this to them.  However, know many people who invalidate victims of narcissistic abuse are also narcissists, which means they only will use the information to hurt you further.  You need to use your best judgment on this.

“Why not just talk to your parents.  Tell them how you feel.”  Normally, this isn’t bad advice.  Two functional people often can create solutions to problems by discussing them.  This is impossible with narcissists, however.  They lack empathy & feel entitled to do or say anything they want.  The way people feel about their words & actions, in particular their children, mean nothing to them.  Unless they feel they can gain something by impressing someone by caring about their feelings, no one’s emotions mean anything to them.  Narcissistic parents often view their children’s feelings as selfish, unreasonable, stupid, or trivial.. that is if they even notice their feelings at all.  Many narcissistic parents don’t even notice their children’s feelings no matter how upset they are.  They also are highly likely to use their children’s emotions against them to humiliate, shame or manipulate them. 

“You need to find a way to fix this relationship!”  My aunt once told me how I needed to get into therapy to find a way to fix things with my parents, & “don’t dare tell her it won’t work!”  I thank God I was far along in my healing journey at the time she said this, because such words could’ve been devastating if I wasn’t!  I tried to do as she said when I was 17, & even saw a few therapists.  No matter how much therapy I got, no matter what I did, I couldn’t fix the relationship with my parents.  While one person can destroy a relationship, one person can never fix a relationship.  It takes two to make a relationship work.  Putting the burden of fixing it on a victim is simply cruel & stupid. 

“How do you think your behavior makes your parent feel?”  After setting boundaries or going no contact, the flying monkeys love to slither out of the wood work & tell victims how wrong, evil, selfish, & stupid they are along with them being terrible sons or daughters for acting the way they are.  They make these adult children sound like spoiled rotten little brats who are throwing a hissy fit because they don’t want to eat their vegetables at dinner.  People who say this fail to realize that child of a narcissistic parent or two spend their entire lives are spent considering their parents’ feelings!  Every single little thing is about the parent & nothing has to do with them.  No wonder the parent is upset about that child setting a boundary or even going no contact.  The parent probably never expected this to happen.  That doesn’t mean boundaries or no contact are wrong, however!

“Have you ever thought about how you make your parents feel by talking about this?”  They may add 1 Peter 4:8 that in part says “love covers a multitude of sins” to make it sound as if God Himself is ashamed of the victim for discussing the abuse.  This is incredibly shaming & cruel!  Narcissistic parents instill in their children a very large dose of fear about discussing the abuse.  Being open about it is incredibly difficult & brave.  If those parents wanted their child to discuss them in a positive light, they shouldn’t have been abusive. 

“Parents always love their children.. it’s a shame children don’t always love their parents.”  This is an utter LIE.  There are plenty of parents who lack the ability to love their children.  Narcissists may love the narcissistic supply their children provide but truly loving their children in a healthy, Godly way is beyond their abilities.  Not to mention, there are plenty of children of narcissistic parents who love them.  In fact, almost every adult child of narcissistic parents I have spoken with loved their parent a great deal.  It’s the parent’s behavior they hated.  I’m the same way.  I love my parents, I just couldn’t tolerate the abuse, which is why I went no contact.  It wasn’t done out of hatred for them.

“You kids always blame your mother & don’t take any responsibility for yourself.”  The fact is children naturally deny bad parts about their parents or find a way why their parent’s bad behavior is their fault.  It’s probably a survival skill.  If the child can deny the parent doesn’t love them or is abusive, they stand greater chances of receiving care from their parents.  These children work harder & harder to please their abusive parents, so the parent will give them some care at least.

“You need to get over it.  That’s in the past.”  When you have C-PTSD as a result of being raised by a narcissistic parent or two, the past is always a part of your present.  Flashbacks, nightmares & intrusive thoughts are triggered very easily & they don’t go away simply because we want them to.  If only it was that easy!  Even medication can’t stop such things.  It takes time & dealing with each event as it comes up to get any semblance of control over it interfering with the present, & even then, it may not go away entirely.  I still have flashbacks & nightmares once in a while about events I have dealt with to the best of my ability.  It’s rare, but it still happens.

“Your parents have always been so nice to me!”  Narcissists work hard to create an image of perfection to those who aren’t their victims.  It’s not uncommon for narcissists to have a friendly & pleasant conversation with someone, then once the person is out of their presence or they hang up the phone, they attack their victim.  People who haven’t seen behind the narcissist’s mask often have a hard time believing that the person you claim was an abusive parent is anything but the good person they see. 

To help those who suffered at the hand of a narcissistic parent or two, if you don’t know about narcissistic abuse, you will need to learn about it.  You also will need to remember not everyone has a functional family, & accept that some families are extremely complex & dysfunctional.

If you’re a victim of narcissistic parents & someone says comments like this to you, please remember what they say is wrong.  It comes from their own dysfunctional beliefs, not reality.  Try your best not to take their words to heart.

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Tips For Healing From Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is a terrible thing.  It forms so much of who we become as adults, good & bad.  Unfortunately usually there is much more bad than good.

The way to help minimize the bad is to heal.  To do this, you have to face the trauma, & that involves facing the emotions connected to it.  I know, this isn’t exactly fun but it’s quite necessary for healing.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, so not doing so will result in them manifesting in such toxic ways.  They will negatively affect your mental & physical health.  They can draw you to unhealthy relationships & circumstances.  That’s why it’s so much healthier to face trauma than to avoid doing so.

An effective way to do this that I have found is loosely based on Craig Hill’s “The Ancient Paths” book & seminars.  Start by looking at your life.  What areas are you consistently struggling with?  From there, you can ask God to show you what the root of the problem is.  When I have done this, God has shown me a memory, & usually it’s from childhood.  I focus on that memory, remembering everything about it that I can – what happened, where it happened, who was there, even more insignificant things like scents, sounds, who wore what clothing.  Remembering as much as possible makes it more real, which triggers many emotions.  Once I feel the emotions I tell God that in that situation I felt a certain way, like helpless, ashamed, stupid, ugly.  Then I ask Him to tell me if what I felt was right.  Was I right to feel the things I did?  I then listen for His response.  There really is healing & life in God’s word!  When He has spoken to me, I end up feeling so much better!  So much of the pain just disappears.

There is still a bit of work to do after this, however.  You will need to feel your feelings.  I mean really feel them.  Cry, get angry, yell… do whatever helps you to feel those emotions so you can get them out of you.  I often tell God just what I’m feeling.  He really can handle that & offer comfort during these painful times.  You may need to do this a few times to purge yourself completely of the emotions.  That depends on the trauma & how you as an individual feel about the situation.

When I first learned about all of this, I naively thought doing it once or twice would heal me completely.  Unfortunately healing from trauma is an ongoing process.  You have to heal from one incident at a time instead of all at once.  I can’t tell you it’s ever easy, but I can say that the more you do it, the easier it gets.  You get stronger as you heal, which enables you to face things better.  You also grow closer to God, because facing trauma in this manner makes you depend on Him for help.  It naturally strengthens your relationship.  It also helps you see God as He is, your Heavenly Father, rather than how you view your earthly parents.  So many abused children grow up seeing God as unreliable & untrustworthy as their earthly parents.  It’s natural, unfortunately.  Working on your healing in this way naturally changes your perspective on Him, & draws you closer to Him.

Also remember that doing this can be very emotionally draining.  It’s only natural that dealing with such negative & strong emotions would leave you feeling drained & a bit raw emotionally after.  When this happens, take good care of yourself.  Rest, be sure to eat healthy & relax as much as you can.

I know this all sounds intimidating, but truly, you can do it & you’ll be very glad you did!

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Some Thoughts About No Contact With Narcissistic Parents

As I write this post, it’s May 5.  To many people it’s no special day.  To others, it’s Cinco De Mayo.  To me, it’s a reminder of a very strange day.

In 2016, my mother in-law died on April 30.  Two days later, our oldest kitty died suddenly.  Three days after that was our dog, Dixie’s birthday & we really did try to celebrate her special day as usual.  Not easy with the sadness we both felt, but we tried & I think Dixie was ok with that since she was a very sweet, sensitive & smart little pup.

Then “it” happened.  May 5, 2016, I had a huge fight with my parents.  It wasn’t entirely unexpected, as you can tell if you read the original post in the link above.

Today, as I was driving home, the date hit me.  I had thought of it earlier remembering my sweet Dixie on her birthday (she passed in 2017), but I hadn’t thought about it relating to the argument with my parents.  I also realized I hadn’t thought of it last year, either, but in all fairness, my mother had just passed & I was still in shock at that time.  I wasn’t functioning very well.

Anyway, when I thought of the date relating to the argument with my parents, guilt about overwhelmed me.  I am so NOT proud of my behavior that evening.  That argument also was what led to me being no contact with my parents, & that led to them dying without me in their lives in any capacity.  It was my final straw.  Yet, I know what I did was the right thing.  It seems so unfair to be wracked with guilt even knowing I did the right thing, yet, it also makes sense in a strange way.

Going no contact with your family, in particular your parents, is incredibly hard.  Many people have no idea just how hard, but those of us who have done it or are contemplating doing it know.  It’s brutal.  It goes against nature, stepping away from your own blood!  Yet sadly, it also is necessary sometimes.

If you’re contemplating going no contact with your narcissistic parent or parents, my heart goes out to you.  It’s incredibly difficult!  Having been in your position, I can give you some advice though…

Seriously consider your choice.  No contact needs to be permanent, not permanent until you need your parent or miss them.  Only do it when you are certain you can make it permanent, no matter what.

Don’t do it on a whim or because you’re angry.  My story may sound like I did that but it’s not the case.  I’d been considering no contact for a while at that time, yet felt the timing wasn’t right until that argument with my parents.  It felt as if God said, “Now”.   Timing is important.  Trust His timing & ask Him to help you figure out when the time is right.

Know that going no contact can lead to tremendous guilt, even when you know there was no other choice.  I know, it seems wrong but it’s a simple fact.  As I type this, I still feel guilty about going no contact with my parents even knowing it was God’s will for me to do it.  The one thing that helps the guilt is leaning on God for reassurance.  At first, it was constant.. especially when my father was dying in 2017.  It has lightened up a great deal, but even now, sometimes guilt still kicks in.. like today.

Never, ever stop praying for your parent.  I know many people say narcissists aren’t worth praying for, they’re a lost cause, nothing can save them, etc. but you never know.  Both of my parents are in Heaven!!  When my mother died, a stranger, the funeral director who took care of her, told me that he felt God wanted him to tell me she was in Heaven.  In 2017, a former friend told me that God spoke to her about my father being in Heaven.  I realize not everyone wants to be saved & God honors the choices of each person.  That being said though… never stop praying for your narcissistic parents!  The worst case scenario is that parent doesn’t accept Jesus, which of course is terrible, but there is at least some comfort in knowing you did all you can do.  God heard your prayers.  He won’t forget you praying for your parents.  He knows you did all you could do.  Your conscience is clear, & that is a good thing.

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Why Narcissistic Parents Defend Their Child’s Abuser

 

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About Helping People

When you grow up with narcissistic parents, you’re trained from birth to do for them.  Do what?  Whatever they want.  It’s your job to please them in every way, to listen to them, to serve them… naturally this isn’t reciprocated because you aren’t important- only they are!

Once you’re an adult, this “you’re here to do for others” mentality sticks with you.  And, other people pick up on it.  Users & abusers can sniff this mentality out a mile away.  Other Christians can even pick up on it & use Scripture to back up why you should do for them or other people.

The truth is that no one can help everyone who crosses their path.  It’s too much!  You could ruin your physical & mental health, & even ruin yourself financially if you helped every single person who claims to have a need.  You truly need discernment & wisdom to know who God wants you to help, who He doesn’t, & who he simply wants you to pray for.

When you come across someone in need, the smartest thing you can do is pray.  Ask God for guidance, & to show you what this person’s position in your life is going to be.  Maybe it is to help that person in some way, but maybe it isn’t.  Maybe your position is simply to pray for that person or to guide them to someone who can help them.  Maybe you need to lead that person to Jesus.  Or, maybe you need to set boundaries & refuse to help this person because he or she tends to use people & needs a lesson in the fact not everyone is here to do for them.  Until & unless you ask God, you won’t know for sure.  So ask!  He will guide & help you!

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What It’s Like To Go No Contact With Parents

People often don’t understand what it’s like sever ties with  parents.  It’s easy to understand how shocking it can be to some people.  I want people who don’t understand to understand, & I hope to help them to do that with this post.

Looking from the outside in, most people don’t see an abusive family scenario.  They see attentive parents & well behaved children.  They see parents who are successful at their chosen careers, kids getting good grades in school, active in sports or other after school activities & their parents supporting such things.

They don’t see what happens behind the scenes, though.  Screaming, raging, sometimes even physical assaults.  Then there are the scathing criticisms said so often that it destroys the child’s self esteem.  There also is the fact that narcissistic parents do their level best to destroy their child’s identity & recreate the child into whatever it is they want.  The child’s personality, likes, feelings & even morals mean nothing to that parent, only what the parent wants is what matters.  While this may not sound so bad to someone who hasn’t experienced it, I can tell you from my own experience & that of others I have spoken to in similar situations, a child in this situation often considers suicide as it feels like the only means of escape.

When the child in this situation grows up, often, that child who is now an adult learns that their upbringing wasn’t normal.  They witnessed other people with kind & loving parents.  They have friends whose parents bought them their first car when they got their drivers’ license instead of fighting them getting a license & car.  Their friends’ parents celebrated when they graduated from high school or college rather than ignoring the accomplishments or finding some way to trivialize them.

Things like this often make this adult child look for answers.  Frequently many abused adult children learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder at this time.

Suddenly, so many things make sense!  The abuse, the belittling, the manipulation, the control.  Then they learn there is almost no hope whatsoever of changing a narcissist.  Explaining that their actions hurt only encourages them to do those things more.

After attempting every tactic they can to make the toxic relationship healthier yet failing, the adult child realizes no contact is the only option.  Even after the realization, it often takes a long time to work up the inner strength to go through with actually ending the relationship with the toxic parent.

Eventually, they do sever ties though.  Suddenly people they know, or barely know, come out of the woodwork to tell them how terrible they are, how they need to fix the relationship, how badly they’re hurting their parents, how selfish they are & more.  The guilt is horrific & people like this make it even worse.

There is also the devastation of betrayal, because most of these people are people you never expected to side with anyone who abused you.  Actually society in general often sides with parents in these situations rather than the children they abused.

People assume estranged children hate their parents, & treat them accordingly when nothing could be further from the truth.  People don’t realize the pain behind going no contact.  They don’t realize the intense guilt or the cognitive dissonance because of doing something so extremely abnormal either.  They don’t recognize the loneliness because not only did you lose your parents but also most of your family & even friends by choosing to protect your mental health.

This is what happens when someone goes no contact with their parents.  This was my experience as well as that of so many others I’ve talked to.  If anyone thinks no contact is easy or taking a cowardly way out, they are utterly mistaken.  It’s the hardest decision I ever made, yet also the best one.

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Narcissistic Parents Who Abuse Their Adult Children

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When Parents Abuse Their Adult Children

Growing up with abusive parents, most kids think that once they turn 18 &/or move out, all their problems will be over.  Many victims marry very young trying to rush this process along, & who can blame them?

The problem is though, this mindset is wrong.  The abuse merely changes, it doesn’t stop.

In my experience, I left home at 19 after my first nervous breakdown.  Although I didn’t know exactly what had happened to me at that time, I knew in my heart that I had to leave or lose my sanity.  I moved back in 6 months later for only four days.  On the last day, my mother & I got into an argument which escalated quickly into a physical fight, & she slammed me into a wall.  I believe she wanted to kill me that night.  I also believed that since I determined never to live in that house again, the abuse was a thing of the past. My mother never laid another hand on me again after that night, November 28, 1990.  That didn’t mean she never abused me again, however.

After that horrible night, my mother continued to verbally abuse me.  Everything about me was subject to her harsh judgement &  criticisms, just as it had been when I was living with her.  When I had to quit work a few months later due to my back pain from her assault, my mother made it clear she was convinced I was faking the pain because I was too lazy to work.  She never said those words exactly, but she would slap me in the back where my pain was, hand me heavy items or tell me I needed to help her move something heavy.

As my parents got older & frailer, my mother expected me to help them.  When I did help, my parents were cruel, especially my mother.  She gave me a diet soda one day when I was there.  The cruelty was the artificial sweetener in it was known to cause a laxative effect in some people.  She waited until I emptied the bottle to tell me this & how it negatively affected my father.  For the remainder of the visit, she & my father continually asked me how my stomach felt or did I need to use the bathroom.

My mother had irritable bowel syndrome.  After having an issue, she called to tell me I had to wash her clothes the next day because “I owed it to her since she took care of me as a baby.”  The next day I took rubber gloves along in case I had to touch any laundry since I’m not good with body functions.  My mother watched me take off those gloves, then told me to hold out my hands.  With a smile, she put her nasty clothes in my bare hands & said “I forgot, these need to go in the washer too.”

The point of these stories is this: narcissistic parents don’t stop abusing their children when they become adults.  They merely change the ways in which they abuse them.

As narcissists age, they can’t be the physically intimidating presence to their child anymore.  And, their child has grown up, so even if they were able to magically stay the same, their child probably wouldn’t be intimidated like they once were.  Also, threats of punishment from a parent don’t work on an adult as they would on a child.  Due to losing so many of their once successful ways of abusing their child, narcissists have to come up with new ways to abuse.

Some of those new ways may involve financial abuse, guilt trips to make their child think they owe the parent, misusing their medications to make themselves ill, or even threatening suicide.

If such things are happening to you, you’re not alone!  You also have nothing to feel ashamed of!  The shame lies with your parent, not you!  Do what you need to in order to protect yourself.  You do NOT deserve to be abused!!

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One Way Abuse Victims Process Emotions

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a huge true crime buff.  Pretty sure my poor husband is sick of it since when I turn the TV on, that’s usually what I end up watching.

I’ve also never been a big fan of stories with happy endings.  If it suits the story, that’s fine but if it seems forced, I’m not a fan of that.  I prefer real endings, even if they aren’t happy ones.

Growing up, my mother always said how negative & pessimistic I was.  She made me feel abnormal for liking such “negative” things instead light, fluffy things like she did.  I assumed she was right & something was wrong with me.  Yet, nothing changed even into adulthood.  I still dislike fluffy stories.

I finally came to a realization about my so called negativity, & I think it may help some of you as well.

So many people I’ve spoken to who were raised by narcissistic parents also dislike light, fluffy stories.  They prefer something real even if it is sad.  Many also share my interest in true crime.

Many who were abused by narcissistic parents also share some similarities.  We often are introverts, very down to earth & interested in the deeper things in life over the superficial, in particular what makes people tick.  Knowing these traits, it only makes sense that we prefer what we do.

Another thing I realized is these things allow us to feel the emotions we never were allowed to feel growing up.  Narcissistic parents deny their children the right to have emotions, in particular anger or hurt over the abuse.  This often carries into adulthood.  We grow up not comfortable showing or sharing certain emotions, & aren’t sure how to deal with them.  Feeling anything about the abuse perpetrated on us by our own parents is especially not OK, so those emotions are ignored.  Since those emotions aren’t felt, they need an outlet.  Watching sad movies or true crime, reading sad or unjust stories or even listening to sad songs provides that outlet.  They enable you to feel the sadness or anger without feeling it as it relates to the abuse.

Something else narcissistic parents can’t tolerate is their child feeling sorry for themselves.  This, too, carries into adulthood, & many struggle with feeling compassion for ourselves because of that dysfunctional teaching.  Being able to feel the emotions because of songs, stories or whatever also help you to feel them while not feeling sorry for yourself.  If you watch a story of a young woman who was abused & murdered by her parents, as an adult woman who was abused by her parents, you’re going to be able to relate to her story.  Your heart will go out to her, & you’ll feel pity, sadness, anger at the injustice.  You should be feeling such emotions for yourself, but can’t.  Instead it’s redirected.

If you realize that you too behave in this manner, all hope isn’t lost!  At least you’re feeling the emotions you need to.  That is good.  Emotions demand to be felt, so if you don’t feel them in a healthy way, they will find another outlet.  This outlet isn’t as destructive as it could be, so that is a definite plus.

Some people think about themselves as a child.. if that child was in front of you, what would you tell him or her now?  Wouldn’t you want that child to be open about their feelings & heal?  If it helps, talk to that child.  Write letters to him or her.  It may help you tremendously.

Most of all, never ever forget to talk to God.  He truly understands even when we don’t.  He wants to help & comfort you, so why not let Him?

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Lies Victims Of Childhood Emotional Neglect Tell Themselves

When a child’s emotional health is neglected, they grow up dysfunctional in many ways.  One of those ways is they learn no healthy coping skills.  As a result, lying to themselves becomes a common way for them to cope.

Lying about what?  Anything & everything!  I remember years ago, I got my father a cell phone & my mother was angry about it.  Eventually he was tired of her complaints & got rid of it.  When she told me about it, she said she had no idea why he did that.  I could see that she was trying to convince herself of that, but she knew the real reason.  Remember, my mother’s mother was a narcissist, & extremely cruel to my mother her entire life, including neglecting her emotional health.

That is just one example, of course, but there are many other lies victims of childhood emotional neglect tell themselves.

Another lie is “I don’t matter.”  Of course you matter!  Everyone matters!  The lie stems from being raised by parents who act like you don’t matter.  It’s easier for a child to believe they don’t matter than to believe their parent is incapable of treating them as if they do matter.  Any problem in a relationship between a child & his parents usually means the child assume he is to blame.

“I’m not good enough” is another lie stemming from childhood emotional neglect.  When children are treated by their parents as if they aren’t good enough, they assume it’s because something is wrong with them rather than their parents.  That, however is a big lie!

“I’m unworthy to ask for help.”  Childhood emotional neglect teaches children that they are undeserving of “bothering” others by asking for help, especially from their parents.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Another common lie is, “I should be happy.  I have no reason not to be happy.”  When a child’s emotional health is neglected, they very easily can become depressed, yet may not know why, even into adulthood.  They fail to realize they have been abused which is a valid reason for depression.

“I don’t need anything.”  is a common lie, too.  Of course you need something.  Every person has needs.  Sadly, being emotionally neglected in childhood trains children to believe that their wants & needs aren’t important, so they learn to ignore them.  Years of ignoring them means they aren’t in touch with their needs at all.

Another common lie is, “I’m ok.”  When someone is mistreated, it’s normal to be angry or hurt.  When the child of emotional neglect is mistreated, although they may feel some anger or hurt, they’re disconnected from their feelings enough that they may not realize that.  Or, they may recognize the anger & hurt, but believe they aren’t allowed to feel that way so they say, “I’m ok” instead.

“Anything you want is fine with me.”  When a child survives emotional neglect, they learn early on it’s easiest just to go with what their parents want so they don’t get in trouble.  After a lifetime of this, it becomes such a habit, that these children act this way with everyone about everything.

If you realize you have said these same lies, you are not alone!  Start paying attention to what you say more so you become aware of ways you lie to yourself.  Ask God to help you to help you recognize those lies.   Once you recognize the ways you’re lying to yourself, then you can deal with them.  My favorite way is to ask God to tell me the truth.  Am I right to feel as I do?  Please tell me the truth, Your truth.  He does & it really helps me to see things more clearly.  Writing about how & why I feel as I do is also helpful because seeing things in writing gives great clarity.

I wish you the best in defeating these lies & living a healthier, happier life!  xoxo

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About Enmeshment

Enmeshment is a term used to describe when boundaries are either very weak or non existent in a relationship, most commonly within a family.  Enmeshed families aren’t simply close.  Closeness is healthy, but enmeshment is not.  It can cause  a myriad of problems for the children.

Enmeshed families share very similar traits.  The children are expected to think & act like their parents, to work in the line of work their parents want them to & basically live the life their parents want them to live rather than what they want to.  Children are also usually the only close “friends” of sorts that the parents have.  The parents demand or guilt trip their children spend plenty of time with them rather than create an environment that would make their children want to spend time with them.  Children, no matter their age, aren’t supposed to do things they want, such as spending time with people other than their parents.  In fact, enmeshed parents don’t want their children to leave home.  Many adult children from these families didn’t leave home at an appropriate age.  Instead they lived with their parents well into their 20’s, 30’s or maybe never even moved out.  These children also feel responsible for their parents, starting at a very young age.  This can cause them to put their parents’ needs & wants over their own, & later also over their spouse’s needs & wants.  It creates a tremendous amount of stress in a marriage.

Children in enmeshed families frequently grow up feeling out of place when they aren’t with their families.  They also lack a real identity beyond who their parents tell them they are.  Their self esteem is usually quite low as well.  Other common problems include a lack of relationship skills & lack of understanding of healthy boundaries.   They also tend to be very distrustful of people who aren’t related to them, yet tolerate any abuse their family members heap on them.  Many of these adult children seek out romantic partners who need caring for, which is a pattern they learned in childhood from their needy parents.

In order to end this dysfunctional behavior, the child of enmeshed parents needs first to recognize just how dysfunctional & harmful enmeshment is.  It can be very hard to do this after a lifetime of believing the lie that the enmeshment means their family is closer & healthier t han others, but it still must be done.

Next, some distance must be set between parent & child.  This is also very hard, I know, especially since most likely the parent will shame the child for wanting some space, but it can be done.  Start small, such as not answering their call sometimes.  If your parent complains, just say you were busy (which you were.. taking care of yourself) & couldn’t get to the phone.  Also don’t spend as much time with your parent as you have.  Pull away a bit.  Don’t be so readily available to your parent.  If they need your help, unless it’s a true emergency, tell them you can’t do what they need now but you can in a few days.  These small ways to start setting boundaries will strengthen you & enable you to set bigger & better boundaries in the future.

Learn who you are, too.  Pay attention to what you truly want, like, think, feel… you may discover you are much different than what your parents always said you were.  Or, you may have some similarities.  Either way, get to know the real you & enjoy who you are.

Recognize the false guilt.  If your parent does their best to make you feel guilty for not taking their call one day or not visiting them, that is ridiculous.  You’re an adult with your own life!  Don’t accept that false guilt!

If you have close friends who understand your situation, discuss it with them.  Let them support you.  And if you don’t, check online for support forums.  No doubt you can find one that helps you.

Mostly, turn to God.  Pray about your situation & let Him help you to heal.  He loves you & will be glad to do that for you!

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Why Do Children Abused By Narcissistic Parents Fall For Abusers?

So many children of narcissistic parents end up in many abusive relationships over the course of their lives.  It starts out with abusive parents, then moves on to friends, later adding in co-workers & often eventually marrying a narcissist often from an equally narcissistic family.

As if the additional abuse isn’t bad enough, we also tend to verbally abuse ourselves about the situation.  We beat ourselves up for getting involved with people who are so much like our abusive parents.  We think we’re stupid, hopeless & much more.  We can’t imagine why we would do such a thing.  The aim of this post is to explain some possible reasons why we end up with these abusive people.

One reason is abuse is normal to us.  We’re so accustomed to it, if a person isn’t abusive, we simply don’t know what to think of that sort of behavior.  We choose an abuser over a safe, not abusive person simply because it’s familiar.  There is a degree of comfort in familiarity, even when it is abusive.  Thankfully, the more we heal from childhood, the more abnormal abuse becomes, & we stop attracting & being attracted to abusive people.

Children of narcissists grow up trying to find love, the love we never received as children.  In a romantic relationship, this can give an abusive person a great deal of power & control.  Until you recognize the signs of abuse, their power & control comes across as confidence, which can make you feel safe & loved, even there isn’t anything safe or loving about someone being controlling.

We also don’t really recognize what healthy love looks like.  It’s not like a narcissistic mom & dad could provide good example of that.  We think being loved means being abused, even though nothing could be further from the truth.  When someone comes along & claims to love you, even if that person treats you like dirt, you think that person actually loves you.

Children of narcissists also settle.  My mother told me no man would ever want me, so when my ex husband pursued me when we were in the eleventh grade, I felt like I shouldn’t pass up this opportunity even though he really wasn’t the type of guy I found attractive at all.  After all, no one else would ever want me, I thought.  Even dating other men after high school didn’t change that false belief I had.  Many other adult children of narcissists I’ve spoken with have had similar experiences, & like me, settled for someone they didn’t love & who was abusive.

Gaslighting is your norm.  You are so accustomed to being manipulated that you don’t recognize it as a problem.  Since you don’t recognize this problem, the abuser can manipulate you in any way he or she sees fit.  One common way narcissists keep their victim/spouse down is to make that person think that they are the problem in the relationship.  When a person has low (or no) self-esteem, believing they are the problem will make that person feel as if they have to work hard to please their partner to make up for all of the misery they put that partner through.

If you too have experienced abusive relationships, then please stop beating yourself up!  As you can see, it’s understandable!  What matters is you escaped the abuse & learned from the awful experience.  You’ll also find that the healthier you get & the more you learn, the more narcissists & other abusers will leave you alone.

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Guilt After A Narcissistic Parent Dies

Losing someone you love is incredibly painful & difficult, but when that person is your narcissistic parent, it’s also incredibly complex.  Part of the complexity involves a lot of guilt.  If you have lost a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you experienced it too.  If you haven’t yet, you need to be prepared & know that it may happen with you, too.

The last time I spoke to my mother was May 5, 2016 when we had a huge argument.  We hadn’t spoken in almost exactly 3 years when she passed away.  Since she died, I’ve learned that her final years weren’t good.  Apparently my mother’s health declined quickly.  I noticed her handwriting became very shaky after our argument.  I realized through her car’s maintenance records that she must have stopped driving in 2017 not long before my father died & found a fairly big dent in her car.  Probably that was why she stopped driving – she realized she wasn’t as capable behind the wheel any longer.  Clearly she also was very depressed.  One friend of hers told me that my mother said that her cat was the only reason she wanted to live.  Also when she died & I first started to care for the estate matters, her house was in a bad state because she was unable to clean it like she once had.

All of these things have led to me feeling a tremendous amount of guilt.  Since I’m positive my situation isn’t terribly unique, I thought I would share ways I have learned to help ease that guilt.

I am truly blessed with having the most amazing best friend ever.  She reminds me constantly that there is a natural order of things & people reap what they sow.  My parents were abusive, which is why I went no contact.  I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, contrary to what my family believes, I was only trying to protect myself.  That is why every functional goes no contact, & that isn’t a bad thing.  If you too went no contact with your abusive parent prior to their death, you did nothing wrong just like me.  It was simply the natural order of things!  If they wouldn’t have been abusive, you wouldn’t have been forced into going no contact.

What happens after no contact isn’t your responsibility, & you need to remind yourself of that constantly as do I.  It’s so hard not to feel guilty in these situations when you learn your narcissistic parent suffered after you were no longer in his or her life.  I feel like I should’ve been there for them & taken care of them.  If only I could’ve stuck it out for another couple of years, I’ve said to myself.  Guessing you feel much the same way.  If so, remember, you severed those ties for very valid reasons.  Probably many very valid reasons in fact.  You did nothing wrong!  Whatever happened after you went no contact is NOT your fault or responsibility.  Besides, maybe there was a reason God wanted things to happen as they did.  Me not being in my father’s life is why he turned to God at the very end of his life!  How incredible is that?!  Maybe that is what happened with my mother too, I’m not sure.  All I know is she is in Heaven & that is a huge comfort!  Anyway, ask God what the purpose was in you being no contact with your parent at the time of his or her death.  He will answer that question.

Sometimes people may say cruel things about you not being there for your parent, making you feel worse.  Remember that those people don’t know everything about the situation, which means they aren’t fit to judge it.

I know guilt after a narcissistic parent is very hard to handle.  If & when you experience it, I hope you’ll remember this post.  You have nothing to feel guilty about.  You did the best you could in an impossible situation.

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My Latest Book Is Now Available!

My latest book, “Regrettably Related: A Guide to Toxic In-laws” is now available in both print & ebook versions.

The print version is available here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/regrettably-related-a-guide-to-toxic-in-laws/paperback/product-24225183.html

The ebook version is available here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/955631

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About Accepting A Covertly Narcissistic Parent Is Abusive

Overt narcissists & covert narcissists often marry because this creates a perfect, dysfunctional union.  The real problem begins when they have children.  Overt narcissists are not only able to be the center of attention in this family but also abuse the child without interference from the covert partner who refuses to defend the child.  The covert narcissist is able to look like the martyr, the long suffering spouse.  People wonder how this wonderful person can put up with being married to that  awful spouse.  The covert narcissist is also able to convince everyone, including the abused child, that there is no way for him or her to protect the child.  In fact, often, the child becomes protective of the covertly narcissistic parent & comforts that parent when the overtly narcissistic parent abuses them rather than the parent comforting the child as it should be.  The covertly narcissistic parent appears to be the true victim in this scenario, not the child.

Once that child grows up though, she usually learns first that the overtly narcissistic parent was abusive.  She accepts that truth, as painful as it is.  She may even change her behavior to be healthier such as setting boundaries.

The problem adult children in this situation often have is the covertly narcissistic parent.  Accepting that parent was equally if not more abusive is a very hard pill to swallow.

I wondered why this is for a long time, & came up with some ideas.

When you compare an overt & a covert narcissist, the covert doesn’t look so bad.  That person isn’t the one who beat you, cussed you out, tore your self esteem to shreds or destroyed your identity like your overtly narcissistic parent did.  It was much harder to deny that your overtly narcissistic parent was abusive when that parent did such awful, hurtful things to you.  Your covertly narcissistic parent probably seemed normal or even loving by comparison because of not doing those terrible things.

Chances are, your covertly narcissistic parent also was nice to you sometimes, maybe doing nice little things for you that your other parent didn’t know about.  Nice behavior mixed in with abusive creates a great deal of confusion, especially in a child.  No one wants to believe that a person who can do such nice things can be abusive.

And, that parent made you feel as if you needed to care for him or her instead of he or she caring for you.  That created a strong bond to that parent that wasn’t created with your overtly narcissistic parent.  Caring for another person naturally creates a bond.  Look at mothers who care for their children or adult children who care for their elderly, frail parents for example.

When discussing this topic with a friend of mine some time ago, she also added that she thinks part of the reason it’s harder to accept that the covertly narcissistic parent is abusive is because that means that neither of your parents truly loved you, which is incredibly hard to face.  That is an excellent point.

Accepting one parent was abusive & didn’t love you is hard enough, but BOTH parents?!  That is incredibly painful.  No one wants to feel they aren’t loved by one parent, let alone both.  Even if you know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, realizing both your parents didn’t love you can be devastating to your self esteem.  It can make you feel unworthy, because you think if your own parents don’t love you, you must be unworthy of love.

Dear Reader, if you’re in the position of having one overt & one covert narcissistic parent, please know you aren’t alone.  This sort of situation happens more often than you might think.  And if you’re struggling coming to terms with it, you’re definitely not alone.  Many, many people have been there, including me.  As painful as it is though, you need to find a way to come to terms with the fact your covertly narcissistic parent is also abusive & not the good parent you thought he or she was.  It’s hard, but you can do it!  It will help you to accept the truth.  After all, the truth sets us free!  xoxo

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About Feelings & The Adult Child Of Narcissistic Parents

People who grew up with narcissistic parents learned early in their life that their feelings didn’t matter & in fact, they weren’t even allowed to have feelings.  The only feelings that are important to any narcissist are the feelings of that narcissist, after all.  Growing up in such an environment, it’s very common for children to learn to ignore their feelings or on the off chance they feel something, to stuff that emotion deep down inside & ignore it.

This is  very unhealthy behavior!!  Feelings don’t just disappear or die.  They remain, even when ignored & neglected.  Sure, you can ignore or even numb them successfully for a time, but they will demand attention at some point.

Feelings are actually a wonderful thing, in spite of what our narcissistic parents taught us.  They let us know when things are good or bad.  They warn us when something harmful is happening & give us a release when too many bad things are happening at once.  Sharing your feelings also can create intimacy with someone by making you vulnerable with that person.  That really is a good thing, provided you share with a safe, loving person.

After a lifetime of ignoring your feelings though, where do you begin?

First, start paying attention to yourself.  Notice how you really feel about things.  Do some things make you happy?  Sad?  Angry?  Pay attention to what those things are & how they make you feel.  This will help you to get to know yourself better as well as how you honestly feel about things.  You can journal about your discoveries, too, as having a written record to look back on can be very helpful.

Also, never judge yourself for what you feel.  Feelings just are, they just happen, even the strange ones.  You aren’t wrong if vanilla ice cream makes you angry.  Chances are that if you get angry when you see vanilla ice cream that there is some trauma in your past connected to vanilla ice cream, & that is why you feel that way.  Figure out what that trauma is & face it head on.  Sure, that sounds odd, but things like that can happen.  I believe God lets us face only what we can at a time which is why some repressed memories start as unusual things like the ice cream example.  That first strange little thing is a stepping stone to a larger thing that needs your attention.

Don’t forget to talk to safe, good people about your feelings.  It helps to have caring people validate your feelings.  There is nothing wrong with you for what you feel, but it can feel that way at first.  Having someone you can trust tell you that you’re OK, & there is nothing wrong with you for what you feel can be incredibly helpful!

Most of all, don’t forget to pray & pray often.  God will help you however you need the help, so let Him!  Tell him whatever you think & feel, ask for whatever you need & listen to His voice as He speaks to you.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Wise Thoughts On Honoring Parents

A lovely lady in my Facebook group by the name of Ella Jane Gamberi shared some extremely wise & insightful thoughts on the topic of honoring one’s parents recently.  Since so many of us with narcissistic parents have been subjected to judgmental people criticizing us for not honoring our parents, I believe her words may help others as they helped me.  I’m very happy to say that Ella allowed me to share her insight.

Check this out…

Hi. This is my first post here. I wanted to let you all know that I have studied some on this honouring abusive parents thing. Proverbs says “honour is not fitting for a fool”. If your parent is also an atheist which mine were they qualify for fools as a fool says in his heart there is no God. Look up some other characteristics of fools and you might be surprised who qualifies. God is not mocked. Nobody who treats the weak and lowly like trash gets away with it. In my opinion children, new mothers and many others qualify as vulnerable. God both loves and keeps those who cry out to Him against injustice. Remember the widow and the judge! God bless.

How much sense does this make?!

I’m embarrassed to admit I never connected the passage about honor not being fitting for a fool in relation to honoring one’s parents.  Thank God this lovely lady did though!  Isn’t this helpful?!

Dear Reader, if your parents are like the majority of narcissists & don’t believe in God, He considers them fools & unworthy of honor.  Personally, I don’t think He means we can treat our parents any old way.  As children of God, we are to glorify Him & part of that is being good to people.  That being said though, we can rest easy knowing that having boundaries with our parents, not blindly bending to their will & yes, even going no contact aren’t signs we are being dishonorable to our parents, hypocrites or “bad Christians”.  There is nothing wrong with any of the above!

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What Is Happening Since My Mother’s Death, part 2

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How Abuse In Childhood Manifests In Adults & Ways To Cope

Children who are abused by their parents without fail show signs of that abuse in their adult years.  This post addresses some of those signs.

Abused children grow up believing they have no control over what happens in their lives.  This is because abused children are not taught that they have the right to have boundaries or even to say “no.”  That faulty thinking often carries into adulthood when the abused child finally realizes that he or she has as much right to have boundaries as any other person.

Abused children also grow up into a false person of who they really are.  Children want their parents’ love & approval.  It’s only natural to feel this ingrained need so strongly.  With healthy & functional parents, it’s a good thing.  With abusive parents however, it’s not so good.  In fact, a child can be so starved for their parents’ love & approval, they learn to live in whatever way they believe is pleasing to their parent(s).  A child whose parents tell her she needs to be a nurse when she grows up may become one, all the while hating her line of work because she really wanted to be a teacher, or vice versa.  Sadly, this can continue until that child gets to know the person that God created him or her to be & discards that false self.

Abused children grow up not in touch with their emotions.  Abused children are often told that their emotions are unacceptable.  Usually the only acceptable emotions in a home with abusive parents are the emotions of the abusive parents.  They criticize their children for having a bad temper when they are righteously upset at being abused.  They call their children oversensitive & mock them for their emotions.  These children learn quickly the best way to deal with their emotions is not to deal with them, so they push them deep inside so they don’t have to feel anything.  While this is a useful survival skill with abusive parents, it doesn’t serve anyone well long term.  This child needs to learn to trust his or her emotions, to recognize them & find ways to cope with them in healthy ways.

Abused children often become people pleasers.  Children whose parents abuse them learn quickly the best ways to avoid abuse is to please their parents.  If they can just be good enough, smart enough, talented enough or pretty enough, their parents won’t hurt them anymore & will love them, they believe.  Sadly this mentality carries into adulthood, & that abused child is an adult who worries about pleasing other people at any personal cost.  This adult is angry, bitter & miserable, yet feels unable to make any changes.  Realizing what is happening is the first step.  Once that has happened, learning about boundaries & developing healthy self esteem will help tremendously.

Abused children learn not to trust their instincts.  Narcissistic parents love to gaslight their children.  Gaslighting in its simplest definition is when someone distorts another person’s reality in such a way that the victim learns quickly not to trust their own instincts or perceptions, often even their own sanity.  Children whose parents gaslight them grow up with instincts like every other person, but they lack the ability to trust those instincts.  As a result, they frequently end up in situations that are bad for them or abusive relationships.  Even if they felt somehow that something was bad for them, they ignored it since they don’t feel they can trust themselves to know what is best.  Learning to trust your instincts after a lifetime of gaslighting is NOT a fast process, but it is possible.  Listen to your instincts, & observe what happens.  Chances are, you’ll see those instincts were right time after time.  The more it happens, the more you learn you can trust your instincts.

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What Is Happening Since My Mother’s Death, part 1

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More About The Death Of My Mother

I’m really exhausted as I write this post, so I’ll just apologize in advance if it’s a bit hard to follow.

The time since my mother was found dead on April 19th has been pretty bizarre to say the least.  I still feel like I’m functioning in a state of shock, but it’s dissipating some anyway.  God’s enabling me to get through it all & do what I need to do, which is a miracle in itself.

Today (I’m writing this on Saturday), has been a tough day.  I found a note from one of my mother’s relatives from about a year ago.  Apparently my mother wanted advice & this person wrote back about how she felt about the situation & what she thought should happen.  Ugh..the narcissism!  This shouldn’t be surprising since she also called me when my father was dying & let my phone ring for 10 minutes straight one evening, which is why I blocked her number as soon as my phone stopped ringing.  Anyway apparently my mother had asked this person for advice & that was her purpose of writing the letter to my mother.  In it, she mentioned something about how she needed to get a lawyer because “you know Cyndi won’t help you.”  As I read it, I  somehow could feel the hate for me coming off the page.  Not a nice feeling to say the least.  Truly what this person thinks of me means nothing to me but it did get me thinking about something that made me mad.

My father stopped speaking to his father a year or two before he died.  It was over some changes Granddad made to his will.  My father didn’t even attend his funeral.  Not one single person said a peep about this.  Not.  One.  Yet, I stopped speaking to my parents & relatives lost their minds, like the one who showed up at my mother’s burial to give me grief.  Why?!  How does any of this make any sense?!  My father & his had a difference of opinion & no contact was fine.  My parents were detrimental to my physical & mental health yet I’m supposedly wrong for protecting myself from that.  UGH!

I’ve also been going through paperwork trying to find the information I need to take to my mother’s attorney soon.  I have found a LOT of stuff, & not just what I need.

My mother wrote out pretty much everything.  To do lists, notes about broken things that she had repaired & more.   I found some letters she wrote to my father, telling him how miserable she was.  (I have yet to read them other than enough to let me know what the paper was.  It feels too personal & not my business.)  She wrote out her feelings when she was 40 years old about how awful her life was & how she had no idea what to do about it.  Heartbreaking!  After finding that, I found a list of things she wrote that she had to do after her mother died.  In it, she mentioned how she “had to give me money from her inheritance.”  She didn’t sound amused.  Well, the reason she had to do this was because I’d found evidence that she stole my inheritance.  I threatened to go to the police unless I got my money.  I also found out she made a rather significant investment without my father’s knowledge several years ago.  Today, I found a text on one of her old cell phones from someone I don’t know who told my mother to stop calling her as they had nothing to talk about.

Things like this have been such an emotional roller coaster!  I feel sorry for my mother, then get mad at her, feel confused because I apparently knew little about her.  Often I feel these things within the span of only a few minutes.

Aside from venting, I do have a point in sharing this.

Dealing with the death of a narcissistic parent is incredibly difficult.  It’s challenging, confusing & complicated.  But, if you are in the position that I am of having to settle that parents’ estate, it gets even more challenging, & I don’t just mean the legal & financial aspects of it.

Whatever your relationship with your narcissistic parent, when that parent dies, I would guess you’ll find out you didn’t really know your parent at all, as I have.  That can set off confusing & conflicting emotions.  I keep feeling angry.  It seems my mother had good qualities, but I wasn’t fortunate enough to see them.  Why??  That makes me angry because it’s utterly unfair.

I also realized apparently my parents were proud of me to some degree.  I truly had no idea.  If this happens to you, I’d bet you’ll feel the way I have about it.  I wonder why they didn’t tell me & it hurt me that they didn’t.

The death of a narcissistic parent also shows you who your friends really are & aren’t.  I am blessed with wonderful friends who understand how awkward & painful the situation is.  But, there are also others who think I’m the scourge of the earth for not having a relationship with my parents, such as the awful relative who showed up unexpectedly at my mother’s burial solely to harass me.  The bad ones aren’t entirely unavoidable, unfortunately, so you most likely will have to deal with at least one or two at some point.  Remember to avoid these people.  Walk away, hang up the phone, block their phone number & email.  Heartless people like this thoroughly enjoy kicking a person while they’re down, & you do NOT need their abuse on top of everything else.

And lastly, Dear Reader, remember that no matter what, you can’t be fully prepared to deal with the death of your narcissistic parent.  You can try your best to be & learn all you can, but even so, there are going to be surprises along the way.  When things get hard, remember to turn to God.  Let Him strengthen you & comfort you.  He will get you through this as He is doing for me!  xoxo

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How Childhood Trauma Affects Adults

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Toxic In-Laws

I’ve been working on a book for a while now about toxic/narcissistic in-laws.  I’m struggling to write it for a few reasons.  I’ve been really distracted by things going on in my life since I started this book 2 years ago.  I also felt that I needed to put it on the back burner to write other books.  The topic is such a hard one for me to write about too, because I honestly have been through hell because of some of my husband’s family, & I’m still healing.  And, in spite of taking frequent breaks, I’m pretty burned out on all things narcissism.  These issues make this one tough book to write.  That being said, I believe the topic is an important one so I will finish it.  It just may take some time.

Since my book is delayed, here is a post to help identify whether or not your in-laws are toxic.  I will write from the perspective of a daughter in-law with a toxic mother in-law, since that is the bulk of my experience as well as the bulk of the experiences of people I’ve spoken with.  The information is good for toxic sisters in-law, fathers in-law, etc. though.

Does your mother in-law ignore you?  The purpose of this behavior is to show you that you mean nothing to her.

Does she refuse to accept responsibility for treating you badly?  Rather than say something like, “I shouldn’t have said that.. I’m sorry,” does she make excuses for her words or actions or deny them completely?  This is a big red flag.  Functional people accept responsibility for what they say & do.

Does your mother in-law have a different personality depending on whether or not you are alone with her or others are around?  Another big red flag!  Any abuser will behave differently to their victim depending on whether or not there are witnesses.  They want to hide their abuse from other people.

Does she expect you to be blindly devoted to her family, even to the point of rejecting your own family & friends?  Many toxic mothers in-law remind me of the Borg from the tv show “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”   They expect their son’s or daughter’s new spouse to become completely enmeshed in their new in-law family.

Like the Borg, toxic mothers in-law expect their new sons or daughters in-law to adapt to their opinions, religion, way of life, etc.  Individuality is highly discouraged by toxic mothers in-law.  I once told my late mother in-law I hate to cook.  I do it, but hate it.  For Christmas a few months later, she & her 2 daughters gave me nothing but cookbooks, utensils, food & other cooking paraphernalia.

Toxic in-laws show no respect.  Toxic in-laws show no respect for personal space, choices, likes/dislikes, parenting, & even boundaries.

And speaking of a lack of respect, your mother in-law makes it clear to you that she doesn’t like you.  Unless you abuse your mother in-law’s adult child or your children, if your mother in-law had any respect whatsoever for her child, she would be civil to you no matter how much she disliked you.  The inability to be civil even only for the sake of her adult child proves she is toxic.

Is she manipulative & controlling?  Toxic people, in particular narcissists, must be in charge.  Chances are, your mother in-law controls her spouse & children.  Since you married one of her children, she expects you to be as control-able & easily manipulated as everyone else.  When you say no, she is NOT happy.

If your toxic mother in-law is nice to you, it’s short lived & in front of others only.  Very few people are cruel 100% of the time.  Toxic people bring out their nice side when it can be advantageous to them.  Being nice sometimes will make their victim want to see it more, so they work harder to please the toxic person.  Also, being nice to a victim in front of others helps the toxic person prove to others that if you complain about the relationship, you are obviously the problem.

Mothers in-law like this care nothing of their adult child beyond what he can do for her.  They clearly have no respect for him either, since they treat the person he chose to spend his life with so badly.  His marriage is nothing more to this kind of mother than an embarrassment, & she would like it simply to go away.  Since she can’t file for divorce on his behalf, she becomes extremely destructive to the adult child’s marriage with her abusive ways.

Your spouse no doubt suffers greatly from his mother’s abusive behavior, yet tolerates it anyway.  This is because he is accustomed to how his mother behaves.  This is his norm & many adults in this situation have accepted this as their permanent reality.  By complaining about his mother’s behavior or even confronting her, this threatens his norm.  Facing the truth can be incredibly painful for many in this position, which is why many refuse to face the truth.  This feeling is known as cognitive dissonance.  Rather than face this miserable feeling, many people in this situation will do their best to shut down their spouse.  They don’t want to hear about the bad things their mother is doing, so they will tell their wife they don’t believe her, she is over sensitive, she just doesn’t understand Mom, that’s her problem so she needs to leave him out of it & more.  They refuse to confront their mother on behalf of their wife.

Naturally, the wife in this position feels rejected, unloved & hurt.  She wants to fight for her marriage, but it seems whatever she does is wrong, & whatever his mother does is right.  Her trying to save her marriage only causes more problems.  The reason for this is she doesn’t know that when you’re dealing with a narcissist, normal ways to cope don’t work.

For anyone in this position, you need to think of this situation more like a game of strategy than a relationship.

As always pray.  Ask God to help you to know what to do & to give you whatever you need to enable you to do it.  Pray for your husband to see the truth & for God to enable him to be able to cope with it, too.

Cope with your emotions as best you can by journaling, talking to a safe friend, pray.. whatever works for you.  Whatever you do, don’t hold in your emotions!

Don’t focus on your mother in-law’s bad behavior when it can be avoided.  Instead, focus on being the loving wife that you are.  Don’t neglect to remind your husband how much you love him.  If he complains about his mother to you for any reason, don’t join in.  Listen quietly to him & give him objective advice if he asks for it.  The reason being, the mindset of many people in this situation is they can complain about Mom, but if anyone else does, they jump to her defense.  This would only cause more problems in your marriage.

Along those lines, if you discuss his mother’s behavior with him, stay calm.  State your issues in a matter of fact way, lacking emotion.  If you rant & rave, that too will make him feel he must defend his mother, which only will hurt you & possibly your marriage.

Limit your exposure to your mother in-law as much as possible, but especially alone.  No narcissist wants to abuse their victim in front of the person they want to think well of them, so stay glued to your husband’s side as much as possible.

Keep your emotions in check around your mother in-law.  Narcissists love to twist a victim’s normal reaction around to prove how mentally unstable or even abusive the victim is to other people.  In her presence, stay calm.  Vent later when you’re away from her as needed though, so you don’t hold in all the bad emotions.

Having to deal with toxic, narcissistic in-laws is tough.  I know, I’ve been there.  But, with prayer, love, patience & wisdom, you can survive it with your marriage in tact.

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Anger In Survivors Of Childhood Narcissistic Abuse

Many survivors of childhood narcissistic abuse grow up showing virtually no anger.  Even when they have valid reasons for being angry, they don’t show anger, in particular anger at their abusers.

 

Rather than get in touch with their anger, they often stuff it deep down inside & make excuses for their abusers.  “If only I hadn’t done…”  “It’s not his fault, he had a bad childhood.”  “She was right, & I’m oversensitive.  I always have been.”

 

Sometimes, abused children grow up depressed.  They aren’t necessarily depressed though.  They may be incredibly angry about the traumas they endured.  Repressed anger can manifest as depression.

 

Anger really is a scary thing when you’ve never been allowed to express it, & even more when you were shamed for feeling anger by your parent.  The only anger that was allowed in the home where I grew up was my mother’s.  If I showed even a bit of frustration let alone anger, she shamed me for having “that Bailey temper.”  It took me until well into my 30’s before I could express any anger at all, & into my 40’s before I got comfortable with it.

 

 

Anger really isn’t a bad thing at all, Dear Reader.  I know so many people say it is, Christians in particular, but it truly isn’t.  Anger is simply an emotion & emotions are from God.  Would He give a bad gift?!  Matthew 7:11 “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (NIV)

 

What is bad about anger is when you do bad things with it.  You shouldn’t let your anger motivate you to get revenge, for example.  Romans 12:19 “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”  (NIV)

 

What is good about anger is it can let you know when you’re being mistreated.  If someone treats you well, you won’t feel anger, but let that person steal from you for example, & you WILL feel anger!

 

Anger also can motivate you to make positive changes.  No one ever started a diet who was happy with the state of their body.  They started it because they were fed up with not wearing a smaller size, getting winded walking up the steps or because they were having health problems.

 

So how can you learn to feel & express your anger in a healthy way?

 

You need to accept that you have the right to be angry sometimes.  Every single living being has the right to feel anger about some things, & that includes you.  Hiding it as a child was no doubt a very useful survival skill, but you’re not that child anymore.  You are an adult who has every right to feel it & express it in healthy ways. Remind yourself of that & do so often.

 

 

 

You also need to gain a good understanding of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It helps in so many ways, but one way that helps you is because you understand projection.  A narcissist who shames you for being angry or having a bad temper is simply projecting their bad temper or anger issues onto you.  Their cruel comments are absolutely no reflection on you.

 

You need to recognize that you have the right to be angry at your abuser(s).  During the abuse, you obviously couldn’t show your anger.  Now that the abuse is done, get angry!  Let out all that old anger you stuffed inside you for so long!  It’s hurting you physically & emotionally to hold it in so let it out.  It’s long overdue!  It’ll help to free you of shame, guilt & feeling worthless to do so.

 

**I’m not saying that by getting angry at your abusive parents you need to confront them.  That is entirely your decision.  All I am saying is you need to feel & express that anger.**

 

Everyone has ways to deal with anger that work for them, & you need to do the same.  You can journal, get a punching bag, punch pillows, yell when home alone… there are all kinds of different ways you can cope.

 

 

Don’t think that if you decide to forgive your abusive parents, the anger will vanish.  I made that mistake early in my healing, & thought there was something really wrong with me for still feeling angry with my parents after deciding to forgive them.  I didn’t realize that deciding to forgive them wouldn’t make all the anger I felt magically disappear.  I believe forgiving & getting rid of anger are two separate things.  At least they have been for me.  I make the decision to forgive those who have done me wrong immediately, but even so, it takes time to work through & release the anger.

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