Tag Archives: parents

Validation & Praise

Growing up with abusive parents is a truly horrific experience.  The abuse takes a deep root inside of you & does a tremendous amount of damage.  One common way that damage manifests is the need for validation from other people.  If you think this doesn’t describe you, then please read on anyway.  You just might learn something about yourself.

External validation is great.  It’s always nice when other people praise you or say that something that was done to you was wrong.  However, adult children of abusive parents often take the desire for such things to an extreme.  It is quite clear that is what is happening when a person displays certain behaviors.

Someone who drops hints about something good they have done or a good quality they have may be seeking external validation.  The praise that other people give them in such situations is very welcomed since it tells this person that they really are OK, good, smart, attractive, valuable, etc.

Similarly, exaggerating a person’s good deeds or qualities is another cry for external validation.  As the saying goes, you don’t see commercials for Rolls Royce cars because they know their worth & value.  They don’t need to convince others they are great.  Anyone who feels they must magnify their good qualities is doing so in the hopes of gaining praise & external validation.

Excessive posting on social media can be a sign of someone looking for external validation.  Someone who shares a lot about their life on social media may be seeking “likes” & positive comments as a way to gain some external validation.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying a person who mentions something positive they have done, a positive quality they have or who shares on social media is completely dysfunctional.  Not at all!  I’m simply saying these things when done in excess can be a sign of someone who is seeking external validation & that is unhealthy.

External validation is great, but it truly shouldn’t be extremely, over the top important to anyone.  If it is, this is a sign of something wrong, such as low self esteem or envy.  It also can be a sign of a personality disorder.  Narcissists clearly take this to an extreme since they demand approval & praise from others, but those with Borderline Personality Disorder may also seek external validation frequently.

Being hyper-focused on external validation can be truly disruptive to a person’s life.  It can damage or ruin relationships with its neediness.  Even the most patient people get tired of feeling as if they constantly must reassure someone at some point. 

If you feel a strong need for external validation, you can fix this problem!  I know, because I once felt that need but no longer do.  I hope what I did helps you too!

The first step for me was to turn to God.  I asked Him for help, to show me what I needed to do to be healthier & to help me understand who He says I am.  I also studied what the Bible says about believers.  There are a lot of Scriptures about what God thinks of His children!  It’s very eye opening!

I watched my behavior, too.  If I realized I was starting to seek validation from other people, I stopped myself.  I asked myself why I felt this was necessary.  I also asked myself why I felt I needed the approval of this particular person.  If that person was dysfunctional, I realized that their approval truly wasn’t important.  They naturally would only praise dysfunctional behaviors so why would I want their validation?!  I also realized that those who are functional won’t make me feel I have to beg for validation.  They offer it freely.

Rather than turning to people for validation, I turned inward.  I acknowledged my feelings & thoughts.  If I felt that I did something well, I praised myself.  If I recognized something I’ve been through was wrong or bad, I told myself that.  My validation became good enough for me.  That took some time but it did happen & was well worth the wait!

I hope if you are seeking external validation in excess, you can change your ways.  People are fallible human beings, which means they will fail you sometimes.  Constantly looking to them for validation is setting yourself up for disappointment.  Instead, turning to God for it & learning to validate yourself will be much more fulfilling for you!

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Blaming Abusive Parents Versus Holding Them Accountable

Life isn’t easy for adults who were abused by their parents.  The judgment of other people, often those who don’t know much if anything about the situation can be particularly painful.

Society as a whole says things like blood is thicker than water, forgive & forget, you only get one mother or father, they tried their best, & other such drivel.  Basically, this makes victims feel like holding their abusive parents accountable for their behavior is unfairly blaming them.  This is so wrong!

Blaming someone & holding them accountable are very different things!

Blame assigns responsibility for something done.  It is very critical & basically, the exact opposite of praise.  Blame is accusatory, & unwilling to listen to or consider anything other than the perception of the person doing the blaming.  It also implies shame, saying someone who did something is intrinsically bad.  Consider how narcissists speak as an example.  They blame others for making them act badly, for upsetting them & pretty much anything.  It also puts the person doing the blaming in a superior position, even if only in their mind.  Suddenly they become “good” & the other person becomes “bad.”

Holding someone accountable is different.  It states responsibility without the shame factor that is implied in blame.  It also means that you are responsible for your actions & you also are liable for them.  The person being held accountable is responsible for their actions, & can give satisfactory reasons for them.  Both people in this equation are equal, no one is “good or bad,” “superior or inferior”, unlike when blame is present.

I have spoken with a LOT of victims of child abuse as well as being one myself, which has taught me a tremendous amount about how adult victims of child abuse think.  One constant I have noticed is the lack of blame most victims have for their parents.  They don’t hate them, or feel superior to them somehow.  They would like to know why their parents treated them as they did. 

They also grew up believing that they were responsible for their parents somehow.  Abusive parents, in particular narcissistic ones, often engage in parentalizing behaviors, expecting their children to care for their needs instead of them caring for their children’s needs.  Or, the abusive parents looked to their children to fix some problems in their lives, such as their failing marriage.  These abusive behaviors led these children to feel as if they were betraying their parents if they blamed them for anything.  They excused the abuse or assumed responsibility for it themselves.

Once these children grew up & recognized their parents were abusive, they often still have trouble blaming their parents.  Instead, they hold their parents accountable, which is much more rational than blame anyway. 

Holding one’s abusive parents accountable for the abuse is perfectly reasonable.  It allows someone to have empathy for the struggles the abusive parent had that fueled their abusive ways while also allows this person to realize that setting boundaries or even removing such a parent from their life is sensible & reasonable.  This is what I did with my parents.  I recognized their dysfunction & why they were as they were.  My heart went out to them but since they weren’t willing to change their toxic ways, I had to set boundaries to protect my mental health. 

Narcissists clearly don’t handle blame or even holding them accountable well, in particular when this comes from their child, but their response isn’t your responsibility.  By holding them accountable in a reasonable way rather than angrily blaming them, any emotional reaction they have is their responsibility, not yours. 

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How To Respond To Criticism About Being Estranged From Abusive Parents

Estrangement from abusive parents when initiated by the adult child comes with a great deal of torment.  Many people have no problems adding shame to that adult child’s torment whether or not they know the adult child, the parent or anything about the situation.  They share a lot of really ludicrous comments very freely.  My goal today is to offer some responses adult children in these situations may use when exposed to these popular & heartless comments.

“You just need to get over the past & move on.”  It is perfectly reasonable to point out to the person who says that that you don’t just get over trauma & abuse.  You can do all of the right things to help yourself but chances of complete recovery from an abusive & traumatic childhood are virtually non existent in this lifetime. If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, your chances are even slimmer because the trauma physically broke your brain.  Trauma in your past won’t let you go.

“You only get one mother or father!”  Yep.  That’s how that works.  Everyone gets one mother & one father.  So what is the point?  They only got one of you, so why not tell this person to remind your parents of that & tell them to treat you like a human being?

“Nobody’s perfect.”  That is true.  But, there is a huge difference between mistakes made & being deliberately hurtful to your own child.  Knowing your own parent did things to traumatize & hurt you on purpose is devastating, especially when that parent refuses to change their behavior even knowing how much pain they cause.  Why tolerate being treated badly by anyone, let alone someone who thoroughly enjoys inflicting pain?

“He or she had a bad childhood.  He or she doesn’t know how to be a good parent.”  Someone who was abused as a child may not know exactly what a good parent should do, but they absolutely know what not to do.  When they do things that were done to them knowing exactly how it makes a child feel, that is proof they aren’t simply damaged.  They are cruel & wicked.  How does it make sense to tolerate that treatment?

“You need to figure out how to make this relationship work!”  No.  Just no.  When most adult children are at the point of severing ties with their parents, they have tried for a long time to make the relationship work.  Eventually they realized nothing they did could fix it, because to fix a damaged relationship, both parties must work together.  When only one person tries, the relationship is doomed.  Either the one trying will stop trying & tolerate any abuse from the other person, or that one will end the relationship.

“What if your parent died tomorrow?  You’d regret this!”  Possibly the ultimate in guilt trip, shaming & disapproval comments said by a person pretending to care & be helpful.  It isn’t helpful or caring, & is a cruel thing to say.  Anyone who thinks someone who has severed ties with their parents hasn’t realized this is a possibility is an idiot.  Also, children die before their parents sometimes.  Why isn’t it ok to remind abusive parents of this & tell them they should treat their children better?

“You’re not honoring your parents!”  One of my least favorite comments because it twists Scripture around into something completely ungodly!  To honor someone means to pay them respect due to their position & to want what is best for them.  There is nothing good or holy about tolerating abuse & allowing someone to continue to engage in sinful behavior.  Where is any honor in that?

I hope I have helped you to have some comments at the ready when people say these awful things to you.  I wish you the best when these situations arise!

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Big Sale On My Print Books! 20% Off!

My publisher is offering a sale- 20% off all of my print books! Simply use code SNEAKPEEK20 at checkout. This code is valid until November 4, 2022.

My print books can be found at the following link:

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

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For Those Who Blindly Support Parents Whose Children Severed Ties With Them

Severing ties with one’s parents is becoming a more common activity.  Sadly, many people abuse do this because of very valid reasons such as their parents are abusive.  Even more sadly though is it seems the parents in these situations get so much more love & support than their children.

Abusive parents in these situations are often very loud with their feelings, anger, lies, justifications but not the truth.  The closest they come to the truth is stating half truths, such as their child severing ties with them.  They fail to share the reasons why their adult child severed ties, only that they did.  That half truth combined with their lies & false accusations mean people listen to them & support them, often blindly.  They pity these poor people who are now getting older, & their own children won’t even help them out.  How selfish & entitled their adult children are, they say.

These same devoted supporters offer not one iota of concern or care for the adult children in these situations.  In a way that makes sense since they believe that the adult children in question are such horrid people as to abandon their own parents for no reason whatsoever.  It makes you wonder if these people have any desire to know the truth about what really has happened.

I want to ask these devoted supporters some questions today.

Did it ever occur to you that there are other sides to this story beyond the side you heard from the abandoned parent?  You have heard ONE side to this story only.  Why is that acceptable to you? 

Do you realize that abusive people create a false persona that they show to other people & only their victims see their abusive, evil side?  It’s true.  Look at well known serial killers.  Ted Bundy was described as charming, Jeffrey Dahmer as quiet & John Wayne Gacy as a pillar of the community. 

Did you ever take two seconds to question why any child, no matter their age, would abandon their parent?  While it’s true, some people abandon people in their lives for no valid reason, they are in the vast minority.  The majority of people have valid reasons for ending relationships, in particular those closest to them.

Did it ever occur to you that someone ending a relationship, in particular such a close one as the parent/child relationship, almost never does so on a whim?  When people end relationships of any sort, thought goes into it.  The closer the relationship, the more thought is going to go into ending that relationship.  The adult child who goes no contact with a parent may have done so in a way that appears sudden, but rest assured, PLENTY of thought went into that action prior to following through with it.  Sometimes what triggers no contact isn’t the worst act the abusive parent has done.  Instead, it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.

If the parent in this situation is so upset about their child “abandoning” them, why did they not treat that child better in the first place in the hopes of preventing this from happening one day?

Do you realize that no contact is different than the silent treatment?  Someone who gives the silent treatment will speak to that person they swore never to speak to again, then stop speaking to them, then start speaking to them, & stop, & the cycle repeats.  No contact is as its name states – no contact.  When someone truly goes no contact, they block all access to someone & refuse to interact with them on a permanent basis.  This is done to protect themselves.  The silent treatment is so wishy washy because it is all about manipulation.  It is done to punish someone, & when they have begged & pleaded enough, they will be allowed to return to the person’s life until their next transgression.  If you look at the person’s behavior that has stopped speaking to their parent, you can tell the difference very easily.  No contact is a healthy & even Godly option, unlike the silent treatment.

Where is your concern for real victims?  Do you have any?  It would do you well to spent less time trying to shame victims into returning to an abusive situation & more time showing them compassion & love.

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One Way Evil Manifests In People

When people hear the word evil, all kinds of things come to mind.  Serial killers, psychopaths, monsters with glowing red eyes & of course the devil himself.  What people usually don’t think of when they hear the word evil is those people who portray themselves as good, caring, generous & often a bit naïve, yet who always have something snide to say to or about other people while maintaining their good appearance somehow.  I’m referring to covert narcissists.  In my opinion, people like this are among the most evil people of all.

Covert narcissists are masters at appearing to be good while they are truly nothing but pure evil.  They are manipulative but claim they are just trying to help.  They cause pain while claiming they didn’t know what they said or did would hurt the person they hurt.  They gossip & spread lies under the guise of being concerned about someone.  Whatever happens to them was never their fault.  They are the perpetual victims of the world who don’t deserve anything bad that happens to them.

Elderly narcissists are especially good at behaving in this manner.  It’s human nature to want to care for those weaker than us, & they exploit that as much as they possibly can.  Many will fake, exaggerate or even lie about an illness if it will get them attention or punish someone, usually their adult children, who they perceive has done them wrong somehow.  They demand their adult children’s time even when it’s unnecessary & their adult children have other more important responsibilities.

Flying monkeys to me are the worst of the worst of covert narcissists, second only to elderly ones.  Flying monkeys often claim they are just trying to help or be supportive, yet these contemptible fiends are actually enjoying hurting the victim.  Either they get a thrill from abusing the victim on behalf of the narcissist or from spying on the victim & reporting what they learn to the narcissist.  I have a couple of them who spy on me, & very few things in life disgust me as much as these people.

These vile monsters leave a path of destruction in their wake that isn’t obvious to most people, many times including their victims.  They don’t scream, rage or hit their victims.  Instead, they quietly manipulate & disparage their victims with no other witnesses.  This even happens when multiple people live in the same house.  They carefully maintain their fake image of being a good person to everyone but their victim, so when their victim tells others about the covert narcissist, no one believes the them.  In fact, often they defend this monster & their horrible behavior.  This allows the covert narcissist to continue abusing their victims quietly, & often the victim tolerates it because they think something is wrong with them for being upset by the narcissist’s behavior.  Covert narcissists are absolutely disgusting, despicable & vile human beings.

I’m sure by now you think I’m angry about them, & you would be absolutely correct.  Covert narcissists infuriate me with their “Poor pitiful me!  I’m always the victim!  I need people to coddle me!” act.  I have dealt with more of them than I care to admit in my family, my husband’s family, former friends & even my ex husband.  The more stories I hear similar to mine, the more disgusted & more angered I am by these people. 

Many people think that since I am open about being a Christian, I’m wrong for feeling this way.  I should forgive them & love them.  I’ve been called out on my supposed “anger issues” & “ungoldly behavior” on this topic.  They are wrong, though.  Romans 12:9 in the Amplified translation of the Bible says, “Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good.”  The behavior of covert narcissists is absolutely evil!  Don’t think so?  Then consider John 10:10.  In the first half of the verse, Jesus discusses the devil.  He says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy…”  That is exactly what covert narcissists do!  They steal, kill & destroy anything they want from their victims, usually their time, peace, reputation, mental & sometimes physical health, self esteem, joy & often their will to live.

Anyone reading this today, please know that I mean every single word I’ve said here.  Covert narcissists are pure evil.  They easily can ruin your life & relationships.  They love causing misery & pain while somehow managing to look magnanimous.  Never underestimate them, as it’s never wise to underestimate an enemy.  Protect yourself from them.  Stay away from them whenever possible.  If you must deal with them, never do so alone, because they will use that alone time to victimize you & no one will believe you about that.

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Why Children Of Narcissists Find Themselves In Many Toxic Relationships

Many people who were raised by narcissistic parents find themselves in other relationships with narcissists.  They work with them, they become friends with them & worst of all, they become romantically involved with them.  I am no exception.  I grew up with an overtly narcissistic mother & covertly narcissistic father.  There are a lot of narcissists in my family on both sides.  I married a covert narcissist that I divorced six years later.  I have lost count of how many covertly narcissistic friends I have had over my lifetime.

For a long time I wondered why this happened to me.  I thought maybe somehow I put out some sort of “vibe” that told people it was ok to abuse me.  Or, maybe narcissists just have some sort of sense for people that make good victims.  I think I have some ideas though & I hope they can help answer this question for you.

For those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents, we were born with a job.  That job was to take care of our narcissistic parents.  For some, it meant doing household chores well before an appropriate age such as cooking dinner or caring for younger siblings.  For others, it meant being a parent’s therapist of sort, listening to all of their woes, & comforting them when they were upset.  For still others, it meant protecting a covertly narcissistic parent from the rages & even physical assaults of the overtly narcissistic parent.  Whatever the scenario, the fact is being born with the job of caring for a narcissistic parent means you are used to caring for dysfunctional people.  This makes you gravitate to continuing that role in other relationships. 

This role often means getting into relationships with other narcissists.  If there is a narcissist in your vicinity, you will be drawn to that person like bees to honey.  You may feel sorry for this person because he or she has few or even no friends.  After some time passes, you see why that person had no friends!  Who wants to be friends with a narcissist?! 

Or this role could mean that you get involved with another child of narcissistic parents that isn’t facing that pain.  Maybe you fall in love with someone who seems great.  You’re comfortable together, & get along great.  They might even tell you they have this awesome family & can’t wait for you to meet them.  Then you meet his or her family & see the truth.  That awesome family is anything but.  There are narcissists everywhere!  If you say anything about the toxicity of this family, you are told you’re wrong, oversensitive, & more.  They are defended fiercely & you are left wondering how to help this person you love see the truth. 

If you have been in such situations, I know it can be frustrating.  Once you realize that you keep getting into dysfunctional relationships, you probably are going to beat yourself up a lot & question what is wrong with you.  That is normal!  It also is a waste of time & energy.  Instead, try to focus on healing from the abuse.  Healing naturally helps you to develop healthier boundaries, so when you meet someone without friends, you won’t try to befriend them immediately.  The more you heal too, the more healthy people will seem attractive to you & the more you’ll want to avoid the toxic ones.  As a bonus, the healthier you become, the more toxic people will leave you alone.  Toxic people want someone dysfunctional because that is someone they can use & manipulate.  Healthy people don’t tolerate such things.

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Subtle Signs Of Dysfunctional, Abusive Families

No family is perfect, but some families are less perfect than others.  Many of those “less perfect” families are downright dysfunctional & even abusive.  Today I’m sharing signs of the dysfunctional & abusive family.

Parentification is a big indicator of a dysfunctional & abusive family situation.  This is when the parent & child roles are reversed, & the child is supposed to care for the parent.  Children in this position are supposed to do things no child should have to do, such as being their parent’s emotional caregiver including such inappropriate things as listening to their parent’s woes about their marital problems or sex life, nurse them back to health after a hangover or overdose, or even care for younger siblings as a parent should do.  Parentified children are often described as growing up so fast because their role has forced them to behave as adults rather than allowing them to be children.  They also lack healthy boundaries, tolerate one sided relationships & continue to keep their parents as their top priority over their spouse, children & even themselves.  When they are growing up, people on the outside often think these children & their parents are close, & praise this relationship.  This leads the child to feel confused & even ashamed that they are unhappy with this role.

Unmet needs are another sign of a dysfunctional, abusive family situation.  Children have a lot of needs that go beyond the basic food, clothing & shelter such as nurturing, teaching & caring for their emotional health.  Many abusive parents meet those basic needs, yet neglect those other important needs.  Children who grow up this way have trouble with being inappropriately clingy in relationships & overly dependent or they go the opposite way & become very cold & aloof.  Either way causes problems in their relationships.

Unrealistic expectations definitely point to a dysfunctional & abusive family.  Some parents hold their children to higher standards than adults.  Those children are never allowed to be in a bad mood or fail a test, yet their parents are allowed to yell or even hit the child just because they had a bad day at work or someone cut them off in traffic.  This puts incredible stress on the child who feels they must be perfect as a way to earn their parent’s love.

Parents who often fight in front of their child are creating a very dysfunctional & abusive situation.  I grew up this way, & can tell you from experience it is a horrible way to grow up!  I felt so insecure when my parents fought & also like I should do something to help them stop fighting.  This is so typical of how children in this situation feel.  It leads to these children feeling intense anxiety at any hint of conflict & also feeling overly responsible for the other people in their lives, as if they must take care of those people.

People who grow up in such environments grow into dysfunctional adults with a lot of relationship troubles.  They may become controlling people who will do anything or hurt anyone they deem necessary to avoid further pain.  More commonly though, they also may go the exact opposite way & become extremely submissive.  They become people pleasers who will do anything for anyone even at the expense of themselves. 

If any of this describes you, please remember some things.

You are only responsible for yourself.  You are not responsible for meeting the needs of other people.  Yes, you can help them, but doing so to the extent of harming yourself is dysfunctional. 

There is nothing wrong or bad about caring for yourself & having reasonable boundaries.  You need to take care of yourself just as much as & even more than you are willing to do for other people.

Family shouldn’t demand all of your time, energy, finances, etc.

Healthy relationships are a two way street.  Toxic relationships are not.  They take while giving nothing or almost nothing back.

Love should be unconditional, never conditional.  In other words, someone should love you based on who you are, not what you do for them.  Conditional love is one of the hallmarks of abusers.

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Doing Another New Thing

Recently as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve decided to get into doing podcasts. I just decided to add them to Instagram. They are the same as my podcasts on YouTube- a picture of my logo with a podcast audio attached, just on a different platform. Lots of people like Instagram, so I figured it’s a good outlet for them.

Not sure what else, if anything I’ll do with Instagram. I may add the memes about NPD I’ve made & any future ones I make. I don’t know just yet. God will show me what to do though, of that I have no doubt.

If you’re on Instagram, & want to check them out, then follow the link below. I only have uploaded 1 so far, but hubby is on vacation so I simply haven’t had the time yet to do more. I will after he goes back to work.

https://www.instagram.com/cynthia_bailey_rug/

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Feeling Burdened By Others After Growing Up With An Emotionally Incestuous/Enmeshed/Parentalizing Parent

Growing up with a parent who treats you more as their romantic partner rather than their child is extremely traumatic.  It is referred to as emotional incest, enmeshment, covert incest, parentalizing & parentification, & it’s a form of sexual abuse whether or not sexual contact is a part of this abuse.  It creates a LOT of serious problems in the lives of victims.  Today, we will focus on only one of those problems – feeling burdened by other people.

The person who grows up with an emotionally incestuous parent has spent their entire life focused on their parent.  Their parent is their top priority in childhood, & even into adulthood until they recognize this is a problem.  They listen to their parent’s woes (in particular about their marriage or relationship), they try to cheer them up when they are sad, fix their problems, protect them if the other parent is abusive, & basically anything else their parent wants them to do no matter the personal cost.  After a lifetime of this dysfunctional caregiving, it is natural to feel burned out on doing for other people.  The problem is that natural or not, it is damaging to other relationships.

No one wants to be in a relationship with another person that is totally one sided.  Whatever type of relationship this is, whether it is romantic, family or friendship, this type of relationship is miserable & dysfunctional.  Doing with receiving nothing in return is fine once in a while, but when it is the norm, it is depressing, will lead to a lot of resentment & most likely the relationship will end.

Similarly, no one wants to be married to someone knowing that their parent always will be more important to them, that the demanding parent’s needs always come first, that they are looked at as an intruder & feeling like anything they want from their spouse is a huge burden while anything the parent wants is done without complaint.  It is a miserable way to live, & the majority of people will divorce a spouse like this.

If you are a victim of emotional incest, please know that by continuing to tolerate this abuse from your parent, this is what you are doing to those people in relationships with you.  I am not telling you this to hurt you, only to open your eyes of the damage being done & the unfairness of it all.  People who love you don’t deserve to feel this way.  It’s not fair to them.  It also is not fair to you for your parent to treat you so badly & for that parent to do so much harm to you that you are damaging relationships with people you love. 

And, if you are still in this situation with your parent, please do your best to put an end to it.  Start setting limits & boundaries on what you will & won’t tolerate from your parent.  It can be intimidating to do this at first so start small.  Don’t take their call or reply to their text right away.  It’s a baby step that helps you to take back some of your power.  Do more & bigger things as you feel able to do them.  It may take some time, but you will become able to stop tolerating their behavior.  The more you do this, the less burdened you will feel in general, which means the more you will be able to give back in your relationships.

Get to know yourself better.  Chances are, you didn’t have much time for that because caring for your parent took up too much of your time.  It’s long overdue.  Get to know the real you, not the person your parent wants you to be.  It’ll help you in many ways, including learning what you are willing & unwilling to tolerate in the relationship with your parent.

Get angry about what your parent has done to you.  You have every reason to be angry, because treating anyone this way is simply cruel & wrong!  You never deserved it!  Allow yourself to feel that anger & vent it in healthy ways like prayer, talking to someone close to you, journaling, or even talking to a therapist.

And never forget that you do have one loving parent.  God is the most loving parent you could hope to have.  Talk to Him about what is going on.  Lean on him to help you heal, figure out the best way to handle this relationship with your abusive parent, & to help heal damaged relationships.  He absolutely will do it.

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When Abused Children Trust People Too Easily

When a child is abused by their parents, that child naturally grows up with plenty of issues.  They lack a healthy foundation as well as good teaching, so this is understandable.

One area in which abused children tend to struggle greatly is when it comes to trusting people.

Many abused children grow up distrustful of others, in particular adults.  Considering the only adults in their lives have caused them pain & suffering, it’s totally understandable.  It’s also a very common occurrence. 

What is less common is when abused children go the exact opposite but equally dysfunctional direction, & they trust people very easily.  The constant gaslighting, being told everything you believe, think & feel is wrong will do this to a person.  The burdens narcissistic parents put on their children of feeling like your purpose in life is to do for others & be responsible for their happiness adds to this problem.  I know, because this is how I grew up.

This abuse convinced me that any instincts I had were wrong.  If I felt someone wasn’t a good person or simply disliked a person, my mother would tell me I was wrong.  On the opposite side of the same coin, if I liked someone she didn’t, I was also wrong because she clearly knew better than me.  If I had a falling out with a friend, she told me, “to have a friend, you have to be one.”  Basically that translated to, “You’re always wrong!  You need to let people treat you however they like without complaint or protest.”  This taught me that my instincts were always wrong, that other people were always right, it was my job to blindly obey them, & tolerate any treatment, even abuse, without complaint.  So as a result, for years, I blindly trusted people. 

One former friend of mine said, upon first meeting, “We’re going to be best friends!”  I accepted that, & we were close for quite some time.  I did like her, but our personalities were very different.  She also was a rather needy friend.  Too needy for my introverted self, but I hung in there for years because I felt obligated to do so.

A few months before marrying my ex husband, I broke up with him.  People told me how miserable he was without me & that I should get back together with him.  He would call me at work & tell me the same thing.  I relented, & married him in spite of not being in love with him, & wanting to marry someone else.

Do my scenarios sound at all similar to situations in your life?  If they do, then I want you to rest assured, there is hope!

Prayer truly is the best place to start. Talk to God about whatever you feel, & ask Him to guide you.  Ask Him for healthy relationships & to spot red flags quickly so you don’t waste time with toxic people.

Start listening to your gut feelings.  If something feels off about someone, pay attention to that!  Observe this person & in time, you will understand what triggered this feeling. 

And, if something feels especially good about someone, the same thing goes.  Observe.  Their actions will tell you why that feeling was there. 

The more you learn to observe others & listen to your instincts, the healthier your relationships will be & the more wise you will be when it comes to trusting people.

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Childhood Wounds That Can Affect People Into Adulthood

Childhood experiences help to form us into the adults we become.  Those of us with traumatic childhoods naturally turn into dysfunctional adults.  Hopefully we realize this & want to become more functional & healthy.  Sometimes though we aren’t sure where to start.  I firmly believe that getting to the root of things is best.  If you garden, you know that you can spray a weed with poison & it will vanish for a while, but it’ll come back again.  However, if you pull it up by the roots, it’ll never return.  Healing is the same way, which is why I tell people that getting to the root of issues is so important.

Relating to healing, I mean you need to look at what is causing the problem, not just the problem itself.  If something makes you angry when you remember it, for example, why does it make you angry?  Did you not feel heard?  Did you feel unloved, neglected or invalidated?  Recognizing your anger is only part of the process.  Once you identify how the event made you feel, you can truly start to heal.

Certain childhood wounds cause certain behaviors, which is what we’re discussing today. 

A childhood abandonment wound happens when a parent isn’t there for their child either physically such as if the parent dies or the parents divorce, but also happens if the parent isn’t there emotionally such as in the case of narcissistic parents.  The abandonment wound manifests as someone who hates to be alone, who is afraid of loved ones leaving them, & may be codependent. People who are emotionally unavailable or out of touch with their feelings are very attracted to those who have abandonment wounds.

A childhood neglect wound results from a parent neglecting their child’s needs.  The neglect can be as obvious as not providing the child with food or medical care, or it can be less obvious such as a parent regularly not caring that their child is upset.  This type of childhood wound manifests as low self esteem or even self hatred, a lack of boundaries, being quick to anger, & repressing emotions.  People who are attracted to someone with a neglect wound are the type who don’t appreciate them & often even make them feel invisible.

A shame wound is very common among those who have experienced childhood narcissistic abuse.  Narcissists use shame as a weapon because it is so incredibly effective.  Where guilt makes a person feel as if they have done something wrong, shame makes a person feel as if they are wrong bad or incredibly broken for doing whatever they did.  Shame damages or even annihilates self esteem.  A person with very low or non-existent self esteem is easily controlled & manipulated, because they lake faith in their decision making abilities & intelligence.  They look to others because they feel so ill equipped.  This wound manifests as an intense disdain for asking for help or for things, feeling bad or flawed, & lacking boundaries.  Narcissists are attracted to those who have shame wounds.

If any of these describe you, know that hope is not lost!  You can heal!  Now that you know the root of your problem, you can find the most effective means of healing.  It will take time & work, but you can heal!  I believe in you!

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Being The Family Scapegoat

Being the scapegoat in a narcissistic family is an incredibly difficult & painful role. 

Naturally it starts with the abuse from a narcissistic parent, usually an overt one.  This parent is quick with a cruel word, invalidation, mocking or even fury.  This parent may even say they treat their child as they do out of love or they blame their child for making them treat the child as they do.

The other parent is often a covert narcissist.  Compared to the raging, screaming & berating of the overt narcissistic parent, the covert narcissistic parent seems safe & possibly even loving.  Eventually though, that mask slips.  It usually happens as the child is growing up & starting to want some independence.  Covert narcissistic parents also often confide in their children about very inappropriate topics, such as their marital problems.  Overts do this too, but coverts seem to do it more often.  That parent may tell that child that they need protection from the overt narcissistic parent rather than protecting their child, as a functional parent would do. 

Eventually, this child realizes something is wrong with their parents’ behavior.  Maybe they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder or maybe not yet.  Either way, the child starts to set boundaries with their parents for the first time in their life.  This is where the real trouble often begins.

Aside from the obvious horrors of the abuse from their narcissistic parents, they suddenly are faced with even more horrors.  Many reach out to other family members for help, & rather than get the help they need, are shunned, mocked, called awful names like liars, spoiled brats, drama queens or kings, ungrateful & more.  Those who the child expects to help & support them often end up betraying that child & adding more pain.

When narcissistic parents find out their child has revealed the kind of parent they are, they usually release some sort of smear campaign.  Some insult their child, others accuse their child of being mentally ill or addicted to drugs.  Some opt to do the same but from a position of looking concerned.  They may say things like, “I’m worried about her.  She hasn’t been the same since she started hanging around with that guy.  I think he’s making her say these things about me, or maybe she’s on drugs!”  This is even worse, because it makes the child look bad while making the parent appear loving & concerned.  Either way, this child loses loved ones & feels completely alone.

The life of a scapegoat is incredibly hard!  Yet even so, there is hope!

After surviving such horrors, a person develops the ability to handle stress well.  Compared to narcissistic abuse, most crises seem pretty tame. 

After losing friends & family who believe a narcissistic parent’s lies, a person becomes very independent & self-reliant.  In this situation when you are left alone, you can learn you have skills & abilities that you never realized you had.

Losing people in one’s life often makes people turn to God, & that is never a bad thing!  That is the one relationship that will never disappoint or hurt you.  He also can help you to heal from all the damage done by the abusive people in your life.  And, as an added bonus, He can guide the right people into your life.    

If you’re the scapegoat in your narcissistic family, if you recently have been abandoned by foolish people who chose to side with your parents rather than help or support you, then please know it will get better!  You will find new, good, loving people who would never treat you as badly as your family has & who will love you unconditionally.  You will survive this pain & heal.  One day you will look back at all that has happened in your role as your family’s scapegoat & be shocked at how much happier & healthier you are without these people in your life.

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When Children Aren’t Allowed To Say No

Narcissistic parents are notorious for not allowing their children to have any boundaries.  They have no problem going through their children’s personal belongings or even breaking or getting rid of things their child uses or loves.  Children are allowed no privacy, & some narcissistic parents go as far as removing their bedroom doors.  Possibly the worst thing narcissistic parents do is refusing to allow their children to say “no”.

Narcissistic parents are too self centered to realize or even care that by not allowing their children to say no, they are teaching their children some pretty terrible lessons.  When children learn that saying no is bad & not allowed, this teaches them that others can treat them however they wish.  This opens the door for other wicked people to abuse these children.  It also sets these children up for a life of misery because they don’t believe they have the right to say no to anyone, no matter what.  They also believe that they have to say yes to everyone & everything, & that obviously is a huge problem!

Children need to feel safe knowing that there won’t be any repercussions if they say things like, “No”, “Stop doing that,” “Don’t touch me”, “That hurts”, “I don’t agree with you” & “I won’t do that.” 

When a child doesn’t experience this ability to set reasonable boundaries, they can turn very submissive.  Their boundaries become very blurred.  They change their likes, dislikes, views, etc. depending on the company they keep.  They lose their individuality.  They do above & beyond what is reasonable for other people, even to the point of enabling terrible behavior.  They tolerate way too much, including abusive behavior, because they don’t believe they have the right to do otherwise.

When a person grows up not allowed to say no, the fear of what could happen can become paralyzing, & they literally can’t say the word no.  This fear happens because of many possible reasons.  Some of those reasons might be the fear of hurting other people’s feelings, fear of someone’s anger, fear of being punished, fear of abandonment or the fear of being seen as selfish, bad or even ungodly.  This fear also can happen because a person is too hard on themselves, & if they say no, they judge themselves very harshly.  They condemn themselves as horrible people, so they don’t say no in order to avoid feeling that way.

If you recognize this as your behavior, you’re not alone.  This is so common among children of narcissistic parents.  The good news though is that you can make healthy changes.

I always recommend starting with prayer in any situation, & this one is no different.  Asking God for help is never a mistake.  Also ask Him to show you the truth about where you end & others begin, what you should & shouldn’t tolerate, how to start setting healthy boundaries & anything else you need help with.

Also start paying attention to how you feel.  Does it bother you when someone expects something from you?  Why does it bother you?  If it feels unfair since they don’t ask others to do as much as you or they want you to do something they could do themselves, that is very reasonable!

Start small!  Start by not answering your phone if you don’t want to talk to the person calling or something like that.  The more you gain confidence in smaller boundaries, the more it will help you to go on to bigger ones.

Know people are going to be upset with you for your new boundaries.  Rather than being hurt by this, think of it this way.  Safe, good people will be happy for you & encourage you.  Only toxic people are offended by reasonable boundaries.  Seeing toxic people for who they are may be painful, but it’s also a good thing.  It shows you who you need to remove from your life.  And, removing them allows more time & energy for those who truly deserve that from you.

Having good boundaries won’t happen over night, but it will happen.  Just stay with it!  You can do this!

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Shame Over Past Behavior In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Victims of narcissist abuse are no strangers to shame.  Narcissists use it as a weapon very simply because it is such an effective weapon.  A person who feels tremendous shame is very easy to manipulate because they believe they are flawed, stupid, awful, selfish & more beyond repair, so they must listen to someone who isn’t a terrible person like they are.  It’s just common sense that someone out to manipulate & control another person would be thrilled with a victim who thinks this way.

Even when an abuse victim realizes this, that doesn’t make the shame go away.  That shame can hang around for a long time.  Thankfully, much of the shame instilled in victims by the narcissists in their lives diminishes & even disappears fairly fast when they realize that what they feel & believe was deliberately put their by a narcissist.  Other shame however tends to hang around way too long!  That is the shame we will address today.

Victims of narcissistic abuse often feel intense shame about their behavior when they were in a relationship with a narcissist.  I truly understand this since I have experienced the same myself.  In fact, my behavior made me wonder if I was a narcissist since I did some of the same things.  The truth however is no, I am not nor was I a narcissist.  And, if you have similar feelings, I’m sure you aren’t either.

Victims of narcissistic abuse must lie when in relationship with a narcissist.  One key to surviving a narcissistic relationship is to please the narcissist at all times.  Obviously common sense says no one can please any person at all times, in particular someone who is notoriously impossible to please.  However, in the midst of the relationship, that isn’t common sense.  Victims are conditioned to think they must please the narcissist & not doing so is a huge flaw on their part, deserving whatever abuse the narcissist wishes to dish out.  Rather than face that abuse, victims often lie.  It’s a survival skill.  Unfortunately this survival skill can come with a lot of shame attached after the relationship is over.  Instead, try extending mercy & understanding to yourself because it was a necessary evil at the time.

Manipulation is bad, there is no disputing that.  Yet like lying, it too is a necessary evil when in the throes of a relationship with a narcissist.  Anything to please the narcissist is what is important & if that requires manipulation, so be it.  Once the relationship is over, however, looking back on being manipulative in any capacity is shame inducing.  It even can make a person wonder if they are a narcissist as well.  If you are wondering the same, no you are not!!  The fact you wonder & are willing to research it to find out says you aren’t a narcissist.  They don’t do self reflection, & if they somehow stumble upon something stating anything negative about them, they reject it immediately.  So no, you aren’t a narcissist.  You are someone who did something that narcissists do but you only did so in order to survive a toxic environment.

Maybe you were married to a narcissist & did things sexually you aren’t proud of having done.  Again, you did this as a way to survive.  That doesn’t make you a bad person!

If you have experienced such things then please keep in mind although you feel ashamed of what you have done in the past, you aren’t a narcissist nor are you a bad person.  You did what you needed to do at the time to survive.  That is all.  If you had been in a normal relationship, you wouldn’t have done such things.  It’s ok to release that shame about your former behavior!  When you struggle with this, ask God to help you.  He will so let Him do it!  You don’t deserve to live under such a dark cloud of shame!

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Why Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Often Hate Themselves

Relatively speaking, very few victims of narcissistic abuse escape the abuse without feeling intense self-hatred.  There are plenty of reasons for this.

The main reason for this of course is narcissists.  They do their best to annihilate their victims’ self-esteem in order to control them.  A person who doubts their intelligence will listen to what others tell them to do.  A person who thinks no one else would put up with them will stay in a relationship, no matter how toxic.  A person who feels worthless will tolerate any treatment because they don’t believe they deserve better.  But, there are other reasons too.

Someone who was involved in either a romantic relationship or a friendship with a narcissist will feel terrible for not seeing the red flags of narcissism or taking too long to leave or for putting up with the abuse for however long they did.  Even understanding that narcissists are phenomenal actors that can fool anyone doesn’t really help a person in this situation feel much better. 

Also, other people who weren’t directly involved with the abuse even can make victims hate themselves.

People who imply or even outright say that the victim is to blame for the abuse can make victims hate themselves.  When you are in the fragile place of recently having escaped an abusive relationship, someone blaming you for picking the wrong partner or friend or for making the abuser abuse you can be devastating.  It makes a person wonder what they possibly could have done any better or differently.  In these relationships, victims give their all & it’s not good enough, yet they still feel like failures for not doing enough. 

It’s also common to feel guilty for constantly upsetting the narcissist to the point of abusing because that is how narcissists make their victims feel.  They never take responsibility for anything but instead, dump all responsibility on their victims.  Having survived this then being reminded of your supposed failures with the relationship by outsiders can be utterly devastating to one’s emotions as well as self esteem.

When other people suggest something is wrong with the victim for not being “over it” by now or taking too long to heal, that too can cause self-hatred.  It makes a person feel like a burden for not being ok rather than safe knowing they are with someone who won’t judge or criticize them.  And feeling like a burden is horrible for the self-esteem!

The minimization & even denial of the abuse also can cause serious blows to one’s self-esteem.  Until a person truly understands just how bad their experience was with an abusive narcissist, they are very susceptible to shaming.  When someone says the abuse wasn’t that bad or flatly denies it happened, that will create unnecessary shame in a victim which naturally devastates their self-esteem.

If you are experiencing self-hatred due to situations like I’ve mentioned, please, PLEASE know this isn’t right!  You don’t deserve to feel that way!  You weren’t abused because there is something wrong with you.  There was something wrong with the narcissist!  If other people are too foolish to see it or unwilling to see it, that is also not a reflection of you.  That is their dysfunction showing.  Don’t ever forget that!  Xoxo

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Authoritarian Parents

Many narcissistic parents fall into the category of being authoritarian parents.  In other words, they demand strict obedience to their authority from their children.

Authoritarian parents accept no excuses for disobedience.  Their children are to ignore anything that might go against obeying their parents.  If the parent wants their child to do something, it doesn’t matter if that child is sick or otherwise physically unable to do that task.  The child must do it or face serious consequences for their perceived disobedience.

They also do not have any interest in their children’s feelings or needs.  So what if the child wants to join the drama club in school?  The authoritarian parent wants that child to play football.  This means that child will be playing football, & not be allowed to participate in the drama club.

As children of authoritarian parents get older & want to begin dating, this is a real problem for these parents.  A boyfriend or girlfriend could interfere with the control the parent has over the child.  I experienced this myself.  When I told my mother I’d asked a boy to a school dance, she told me no man would ever want me because I was so pushy.  A few years later when I wanted to date, she would rage at me daily for this, calling me terrible names, accusing me of terrible things I hadn’t done & telling me how awful he was even though she knew nothing about him at that time.  This is pretty typical behavior of authoritarian parents in this situation.

They also want their children to remain children indefinitely.  While their bodies don’t stop maturing, they hope to stunt the growth of their minds.  This happens by various devious means, such as treating the child as if she or he is incapable of doing things to the parent must do them instead, talking to the child as if he or she is much younger & reminding the child of all of the things the parent has done for that child because the child couldn’t do those things.

Growing up in this way is obviously very damaging to a child.  Children of authoritarian parents don’t have a balanced view of authority.  How could they considering they grew up with the main authority figure in their life being so demanding & cruel?

Some children grow up & rebel against any authority.  They don’t tolerate anyone telling them what to do & sometimes even asking them to do things.  Often someone like this is a spouse that is incredibly procrastinating of things their spouse nicely asks them to do.  These people became fed up with being ordered about, & are simply done with it.  Any hint of someone else bossing them around & they shut down.  They may exhibit passive/aggressive behaviors to avoid doing what they are told, such as doing the task badly or doing it only on their schedule, ignoring when the task needs to be done.

Many children go in the exact opposite direction, & become very submissive.  Nothing is too much to ask of this person.  There isn’t even a need to ask nicely.  That person is always willing to do as told, no matter who is telling them to do what.  They can become extreme people pleasers.  It is likely that eventually as an adult, this child will become fed up with being such a people pleaser.  Sometimes they even go too far in the opposite direction for a while, refusing to do anything they are told to do or getting disproportionately angry when someone asks them to do something.  That behavior often doesn’t last terribly long though & they become more balanced in time.

If this post describes you, then please know you’re not alone & all is not lost!  Ask God to help you however you need.  Consider the authority figures in your life from an objective & logical point of view.  Are you respecting their authority or not?  If you give in too much, how can you set healthy boundaries with people?  If someone asks you to do something & your natural reaction is to rebel, how can you improve your attitude?  Study boundaries, too.  Learning more about where you end & others begin can be very helpful in learning balance in this area.

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Abusers Warp Victims’ Perceptions Of Abuse

When a person has been abused chronically in their childhood, naturally they grow up different than the average person.  One difference is they grow up with a very different perception of abuse over the average person.

When parents abuse a child, that child assumes abuse equals love.  Children seem to be unable to comprehend that their parent doesn’t love them, so instead they naturally equate abuse with love.  They excuse & white wash abusive acts or even subconsciously repress the memories of these acts.  Unfortunately these behaviors that help these children survive at the time also cause major problems later in life.

As this child grows up, they often end up in abusive relationships with friends & romantic partners.  This happens because they assume when someone is abusive, it means that person loves them.  The red flags at the beginning of the relationship that would cause most people to walk away from the relationship go unnoticed or are excused away by the adult abused child.  They try harder to please the unpleasable abuser.  This makes the abuser more & more demanding, because abusers enjoy watching their victims jump through hoops trying everything to please them.  The victim keeps trying, & the miserable cycle continues.

 As if this isn’t enough, abusers also encourage victims to white wash or even forget that they have abused their victim.   If an abuser can get a victim to excuse the abuser or even forget it ever happened, they can continue to abuse their victim.  If a victim can believe that this is the first time something has happened, they will tolerate more of it than if they realize this is the umpteenth time that has happened.  They simply continue the relationship as if no abuse happened.

This warped perception of abuse also raises the victim’s tolerance for abuse, because they become desensitized to it.  Their abusers have convinced them that the abuse is no big deal, they are just being too sensitive or everyone acts this way, or the victim is stupid for not realizing that this is normal behavior.  Victims assume what their abusers told them is true, so they tolerate the abuse.

Abusers use some other tactics to warp their victim’s views of abuse.  Love bombing is a very common tactic abusers use, in particular among romantic partners.  They shower their victims with romance, gifts, complements & other loving gestures.  Love bombing also can happen with friends or family, though.  They show their victims love, respect, gentleness & even kind words.  The idea is that these gestures will make the victim focus on them & less on the horrific acts the abuser perpetrated on them.  Often though the encouragement takes the form of gaslighting.  Abusers shame their victims for bringing up abusive episodes by saying things like, “You need to let that go,”  “You’re living in the past,” “You’re too sensitive!” or,  “I don’t see what the big deal is.”  They also may attack your religious beliefs by saying things like,  “You say you’re a Christian.  You need to forgive & forget,”  or, “You aren’t honoring me as your parent by acting that way.  The Bible says you should honor me.”

If you have experienced such things, you’re not alone!  Almost every victim of abuse has experienced them to some degree.

To cope, as always I recommend praying as the best place to start.  Ask God to help you have clarity & discernment, & to identify the truth over the lies.

I found a very difficult but incredibly effective way to help me in this area.  I wrote my autobiography.  I’m not saying you need to write yours & publish it as I did of course, but at least consider writing it.  There is something about seeing your story in writing that is incredibly validating!  It helps you see your story from a different angle, & it makes it more real somehow.  Like I said, it’s difficult, but it’s very well worth doing considering how much healing it can bring.

 

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My Newest Mini Book & Crochet Pattern Are Available

One question I have been asked with disturbing regularity over the years is “How can I honor my narcissistic parent?” I decided to write my newest mini book, “How To Honor Abusive Parents” to answer that question. It includes practical advice as well as plenty of Scripture to help the reader understand what it truly means to honor parents, even abusive ones. The ebook can be found here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1133395

And, because thinking about issues like Narcissistic Personality Disorder all the time is unhealthy, I also took some down time & created a new crochet pattern. It’s a scarf made from a pattern that resembles kittens. It works up fast & is super cute, if I can brag a little. That pattern ebook can be found here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1129714

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20% Off ALL Print Books!

My publisher turns 20 this year, & as a way to celebrate, they’re offering 20% off print book purchases until February 11, 2022. All you have to do to take advantage is use code 20FOR20 at checkout.

My books can be found at this link:

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

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Being The Opposite Of Narcissistic Parents

I was in my late teens when I realized I wanted to be nothing like my parents.  My now ex husband & I started dating around the time I turned 17, & oddly, although he too was a narcissist, he also was the one who helped me realize my mother wasn’t as normal as I thought she was. 

During that awful time, my mother’s abuse hit its peak because I was disobeying her by dating my ex. I realized something.  I realized I wanted to be nothing like her.  I suffered a great deal at her hand & also saw how wrong some of her actions & beliefs were.  I remember thinking that being her complete opposite would be a good thing, & I strived for that.

I later realized that was wrong.

Obviously being like a narcissist is a bad thing.  So much of their behavior is utterly toxic & just terrible at best.  But, there may be things to learn from a narcissistic parent beyond how not to behave.

My mother taught me to crochet when I was five years old.  Now?  It’s forty-five years later at the time I’m writing this, & I still crochet.  I even have created some of my own patterns.  Crocheting is one of my favorite hobbies.

My father taught me about cars during my entire growing up life.  I now know plenty about car maintenance, diagnosing problems, how to fix problems, the year/make/model of many of the old cars that he & I both loved & more.

Both of my parents were also avid readers.  They instilled a love of & respect for books in me that is still there.  In spite of losing the ability for years to read much thanks to a brain injury & C-PTSD, I never lost that love of books.

After my parents died, I was responsible for dealing with their estate matters.  It was totally unexpected & shocking to say the least, but I did it, I’m proud to say.  In that process, I learned how good my mother was with money.  While I tend to be a bit more adventurous than her as far as investing, her experiences gave me excellent insight into how to manage money well.  I also learned some about my father.  I learned some personal things I never knew before, that I was shocked by.  Accolades at work, for example.  He was a master machinist at the Naval Academy here in Annapolis, MD when I was born, & apparently was very good at what he did. 

I think it is only natural to want to be absolutely nothing like a narcissistic parent.  They cause so much pain & suffering in their children that can last a lifetime!  Who wants to be anything like someone who causes pain, let alone someone who causes pain & seems to enjoy it like narcissistic parents do?!  That being said though, going too far in the other direction may not always be a good idea.  My mother did this with her mother, who was the ignoring type of narcissistic mother, & became engulfing with me. Balance & wisdom in this area are key, I believe.

Rather than set out to be exactly the opposite, I suggest you consider things you learned from your narcissistic parent.  I know, there is a lot of negative & toxic things to wade through.  Sometimes, there is absolutely nothing positive to learn from narcissistic parents.  But, sometimes there are positive things to learn.  Did your narcissistic parent have a good work ethic?  Did this parent have some skill that you learned because they were interested in this skill?  Then enjoy those skills!  Use them however benefits you.  There is nothing wrong with that!  Doing so doesn’t mean you’re just like your narcissistic parent.  It simply means that you have the wisdom to learn & fit those skills into your life in a good way.

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If You’re Still In A Relationship With A Narcissist

January 12, 2018, I had a very strange experience.  That was my father’s birthday, his first since he died the previous October.  I was thinking about that when God told me that my father wanted Him to tell me something.  He said, “Encourage the weak, like me.”  I knew what that message meant immediately. 

After my father died, God showed me a lot about him.  He showed me how my father felt trapped in their marriage & unable to protect me.  At the time of his death, upon meeting God, he also finally saw how wrong he had been to me.  God showed me how weak my father felt he was.  When God said to encourage the weak, I knew immediately He meant that I should encourage those who are in similar situations & also feel weak for it.

Every January on my father’s birthday, I write a blog post to do just this, to encourage those who also feel weak & in a relationship with a narcissist.

If you have been unable to end a relationship with a narcissist, I don’t think this makes you weak at all, although I certainly understand why you could feel that way.  Fighting a narcissist is incredibly draining & makes you feel weak both mentally & physically. 

Maybe the narcissist in your life has destroyed you financially & you are dependent on them.  Sadly this is incredibly common.  Narcissists excel at financial abuse.  That doesn’t make you weak!

Maybe the narcissist has made you feel forced to maintain the relationship with them.  Many make terrible threats if the victim says they want to leave.  They threaten to keep them from their children or even kill their children.  They threaten to kill their loved ones or pets.  When this happens, how can you not stay out of fear the narcissist will follow through on such threats?!  That doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you someone who loves others & wants to protect them.

Narcissists also often make their victims feel obligated to them somehow.  They may twist Scripture around to make you seem evil for considering ending the relationship with your parent or spouse.  Or they may manipulate your good nature & make you pity them.  My ex husband made me feel so guilty for breaking our engagement that I later married him, even though I was incredibly unhappy with him.  Manipulation is what made me return to him & stay as long as I did.  If that is your situation too, it’s manipulation, not weakness on your part!

Maybe the narcissist has destroyed your self-esteem so badly, you feel completely unable to make it without that person.  Sadly, this happens!  Feeling this way isn’t a sign of weakness at all.  It’s a sign of a cruel person abusing you to put you in such a terrible state.

Maintaining a relationship with a narcissist is hard!  It takes a great deal of strength to maintain your sanity & courage to continue on in this way.

If ending the relationship is your goal, that is brave!  It also isn’t the easy fix many people seem to think it is.  If you live with the narcissist, it takes time to prepare financially, to arrange for a new place to live, & more.  Whether or not you live with the narcissist, it also takes time to figure out the best way to end that relationship to minimize their rage as well as for you to summon the courage to follow through with your plans.

No, you aren’t weak for staying in the relationship with a narcissist.  If you’re looking for solutions, that shows you are strong.  Obviously you want to survive this situation & that courage of yours will pay off.  You will get through this with your dignity & your sanity in tact!

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When Covert Narcissists Act Immature, Incompetent, & Dumb

A very common tactic of covert narcissists is to portray themselves as immature, incompetent & even dumb. Considering all narcissists want to be seen as special & even superior people, this sounds wrong, but I can assure you, it happens.  I’ve seen it first hand.

Whether a narcissist is overt or covert, two of their main goals are to abuse & control their victims.  Appearing not overly capable allows narcissists to do just this while receiving no consequences whatsoever, because people often believe that the narcissist who behaves this way simply doesn’t know any better.  Consider these scenarios

A child who grows up with a covertly narcissistic parent like this often is assigned the role of protector of that parent.  Since narcissists often marry, mostly an overt & a covert narcissist, the child protects the covert narcissist parent from the overt one.  The covert narcissist can get away with just as much if not more abuse than the overt one, because the overt is in the spotlight.  There is no denying the abusive ways of the overt narcissist.  Covert narcissistic parents however, can fly under the radar, abusing their children quietly through manipulation while getting their children to protect them from the overt narcissistic parent.  They end up looking like the good parent, & the child honestly believes they are until they learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  This is how I grew up with a covert narcissist father & overt narcissist mother, & my story is very common.

Consider the common scenario of the covertly narcissistic mother in-law who is verbally abusive to her daughter in-law when they are alone, & never in front of her son.  When the daughter in-law tells her husband, this can go several ways.  One is the husband defends his mother.  He hasn’t seen her do anything his wife says she has, so he doesn’t believe his wife is telling the truth about his mother.  Or, he defends his mother saying yes, she can be hurtful sometimes, but she just doesn’t know any better so the wife can’t get mad at her.  Or, maybe he does believe his wife, & then confronts his mother.  His mother claims she had no idea what she said would upset his wife.  She cries & says she meant no harm, she was just trying to help.  He believes this victim act & stops defending his wife to his mother rather than face her crocodile tears.  By acting immature & unintelligent, this person is able to get away with abusing her daughter in-law, having her son protect her instead of his wife & she has caused a giant rift in their marriage.

Using a covertly narcissistic mother in-law as an example again (since I have plenty of experience in this area), consider this scenario.  This mother in-law hates that her recently married son isn’t spending as much time with her as he once did.  Naturally all parents aren’t thrilled by that, but most take it in stride as a natural course of events.  Narcissistic parents however take it as a personal slight against them, as if their adult child’s new spouse married them for the sole purpose of stealing them from their parents.  Rather than simply call her son & say, “I miss you.  Would you & your wife like to come to dinner next weekend?  I’ll make your favorite dish”, covert narcissistic mothers plan.  The mother in this situation can come up with all sorts of things she needs her son to help her with because she claims she doesn’t know how to do these things.  Since he does, she needs his help.  She often creates more & more tasks for him, taking him away from his new wife.  She may even invent a need for him on his anniversary or his wife’s birthday, claiming she forgot the date.  If his wife protests, he feels torn because although he may want to spend more time with his wife, he feels badly for his poor helpless mom who needs him.  He may even see his wife as unreasonable & selfish.  Another giant rift in the adult son’s marriage can be caused by this situation.

If you recognize someone you know in these behaviors, then chances are excellent you’re dealing with a covert narcissist.  If that is the case, there are some ways to help you handle this situation. 

Never provide this person personal details or information, since that will be used against you at some point. 

Never show them any emotions, because showing emotions helps narcissists figure out what works in hurting or abusing victims. 

Do NOT allow this person to manipulate you.  Recognize the signs & change the subject, hang up the phone or leave when the manipulation starts. 

Try never to be alone with them.  Covert narcissists behave better when there are witnesses. 

Don’t ever think they just don’t know any better.  They DO know better, but they don’t see a reason to behave better. 

Never forget that no one can be devious & stupid at the same time. 

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Narcissistic In-Laws

For simplicity sake, I’m going to refer to the victim in this article as he & the spouse as she, but the roles easily could be reversed.

When you are married to someone with narcissistic family members, your life is full of challenges.  Narcissistic families expect their chosen victim to do as they want, which includes marrying only someone of whom they approve.  When that doesn’t happen, that victim & spouse’s life becomes incredibly challenging.

One common problem in these situations is when the victim doesn’t recognize the level of dysfunction in the family.  He may recognize that his family can be difficult or bossy, but doesn’t see them as the cruel or manipulative people they truly are.  She however, recognizes the depths of the situation.  When she tries to say anything about his family, he becomes defensive.  She gets frustrated, he gets frustrated, an argument happens & nothing gets resolved. 

This scenario is very common, & easily can result in divorce if handled the wrong way.

As tempting as it can be for you if you see the situation clearly, asking your spouse to choice you or his family is never a good idea!  The one who gives the ultimatum usually ends up on the losing end.  The person receiving the ultimatum feels unfairly pressured & manipulated.  On the rare chance the one receiving it goes along with it, he will end up feeling resentful in time.

When you feel you must mention the situation, do so calmly & as non-accusatory as humanly possible.  Anger will make your spouse defensive because he’ll feel as if you’re attacking him & his family.  Try to remain calm & leave emotion out of the situation as much as possible.  Men respond better to logic than emotions, & in this case may feel as if the emotions are less about emotions & more of an attempt at manipulation.  Women in these situations may respond to calmly expressed emotions, however, such as, “I feel like your mom tries to interfere too much in our marriage.  It makes me really uncomfortable.”

Have your own boundaries firmly in place as much as possible with your in-laws.  Don’t let them manipulate you or push you around.  Remain calm when setting those boundaries, so if your spouse sees this happen, he can’t say you were mean or unreasonable.  Your narcissistic in-law will be angry however, & your spouse will see their irrational behavior as you remain calm.

There may be a time when you have to go no contact with your narcissistic in-laws.  This can cause problems in your marriage.  A person still under the spell of their narcissistic family may not understand your reasoning.  If you firmly believe no contact is the best solution in your situation, calmly explain to your spouse that this isn’t you trying to manipulate him or come between him & his family.  Instead, this is what you feel is best for you to do.

Always remember not to have expectations of your spouse where his family is concerned.  Expectations put pressure on him & make his situation even more difficult.  Also, he may resent them, no matter how reasonable they are, which means he will resent you.  This will push him closer to his family & make him pull away from you.

Try to be patient & understanding of the situation.  This is hard, I know, but if you too had a narcissistic family, you understand how hard it is to be under their influence before recognizing what they really are.    

At some point, he is going to get frustrated or angry with his family & need to talk about it.  When this happens, do NOT say anything like, “I told you so!” or, “I always knew she was like that.”  Listen quietly while offering your support.  You can gently state the truth in a matter of fact way. If he asks for advice, give it without being critical. 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself in this situation, too.  Pray.  Write in your journal.  Talk to supportive friends or family who understand your situation for what it really is. 

Last but certainly not least, never ever forget to pray about your situation!  Let God show you how best to handle things with your spouse & toxic in-laws as well as how to take care of your own mental health.  His help is truly invaluable & He will show you the right way to handle the situation!

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When Children Of Narcissistic Parents Exhibit Narcissistic Behaviors

When you are a child, your parents are more or less like a god to you.  They are responsible for meeting your needs.  They seem to know everything, only because you are too young to have much experience in life.  They are always there.

Having good parents is a wonderful thing.  It’s also easy to learn good ways from good people.  Obviously life isn’t perfect, but the positive you learned from your good parents helps you handle the less than perfect times.  You are a good, functional, caring person who can handle what life throws at you with grace & dignity.

For those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents, this sadly isn’t the case.

One aspect of having narcissistic parents means you were deprived of learning good & healthy habits.  In fact, you may learn plenty of bad habits.  You may become judgmental & critical.  You may become selfish & not overly concerned with the needs of other people.  You also may learn other bad habits from your narcissistic parents such as lying, refusing to accept responsibility for hurting others or projection.

I still remember when I was only 20 years old.  My now ex husband chewed me out for behaving like my mother.  He was excessively critical of me since he was a narcissist, but in this instance, he was right.  We were talking about some new music that had come out recently.  I didn’t like the music, & he did.  I said that band was terrible.  He said I sounded just like my mother.  He also said, “Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they don’t have talent.  It just means you don’t like them!”  He was right.  They clearly did have talent & they became quite popular, but played music that simply wasn’t my taste. 

That conversation was a wake up call for me.  I was terrified of becoming like my narcissistic mother who said everything & everyone she disliked was bad.  It helped me to become more aware of my behavior & make good changes.

It also scared me.  I was afraid that I would turn out like my mother.  I knew first hand how critical & cruel she could be, yet I imitated her behavior by what I said about that band. 

Chances are good that if you too were raised by narcissistic parents, you have experienced similar moments of behaving like your parents.  If so, don’t worry about it!  You can & will change!  The more you heal from the abuse, the healthier you will behave.  It happens naturally.  But, if you recognize that you’re behaving in some unhealthy ways, you can change those individually.  Figure out why you are behaving as you are.  Ask God to show you the root of the behavior & how to heal from that.  Consider how you would feel if someone said or did the same thing to you that you did to others.  Recognizing how badly it’d hurt to be treated as you treat others can be a huge motivator for changing into healthier behaviors. 

If you do mirror some behaviors of your narcissistic parent & wonder why, it’s probably because children naturally imitate their parents.  It doesn’t mean you’re a narcissist!  You’re doing a natural thing, imitating your parent.  Or, it could be some sort of defense mechanism.  Many times, two narcissists marry.  You saw one parent being mistreated & retaliating by behaving as they did, so you do the same to protect yourself.  Sadly, these things happen sometimes.  Thankfully though, you are aware of your behavior & want to change!  You should be very proud of yourself for that!

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Special Days & Narcissists

Narcissists are well known for being intensely selfish.  One of the ways that selfishness manifests is by them ruining special days for their victims.  Those special days simply must revolve around the narcissist.  If those special days revolve around you or are special to you, that is totally unacceptable to a narcissist!  That must be obliterated so all attention can be turned back to the narcissist in question!  How does a narcissist do this?  They have so many tactics, & I will address a few here.

It’s your wedding anniversary falls in early April?  What a coincidence!  Tax day is just around the corner!  A narcissist might demand you or your spouse (whoever is best with financial matters) complete their taxes on this day so they can file their taxes without being late. 

Your birthday is in the near future?  Another coincidence!  It’s also time for the narcissist to have that medical procedure.  After all, that elective procedure is way more important than the birthday you have every year, so forget enjoying your birthday. 

It’s December.  Merry Christmas!  Oh wait.. you really thought you could celebrate Christmas without focusing on your narcissistic parent or sibling?!  Not likely!  Instead, know that you MUST celebrate the day however the narcissist dictates & on the exact day the narcissist dictates.  It’s not really Christmas unless it’s celebrated when & however the narcissist demands it be celebrated.

A common tactic narcissists use to turn the attention of special days back to themselves is to invent a crisis on or close to a special day.  One Christmas, my husband & his siblings decided to spend Christmas day with their immediate families rather than with their parents.  Rather than accept this or reschedule the annual Christmas celebration for a different day, their diabetic mother stopped taking insulin.  She ended up in the hospital right around Christmas day.  Her adult children rallied to her side.  When asked why she stopped taking insulin, she said she was simply too busy making everyone Christmas cookies to bother taking her insulin.  It was quite the martyr act!

Guilt is another common tactic.  If you can’t or won’t spend a special day with a narcissist, they often will say things that make you feel obligated to them like, “That’s ok.. I’m used to being alone anyway…” or, “You promised you’d be there!  You have to come!!”

Those of us who recognize the manipulation regarding special days & refuse to accept the manipulation are often shamed for being cold or selfish because we don’t go along with whateverthe narcissist wants.  Narcissists act like there is something wrong with us for not enjoying special days as they think we should, & sharing them with the narcissist in our lives.  Those on the outside are often quick to criticize us for being “too negative” & act like something is very wrong with us for not thoroughly enjoying special days.  As if they would feel differently after being subjected to the mind games of a narcissist.  How ridiculous!

If you feel this way, I want to tell you today that there is nothing wrong with you. 

If you have become angry about a narcissist ruining your joy over special days, that is totally understandable.

If you decided not to celebrate any special days because a narcissist ruined them for you, that is totally understandable.

If you have decided to create your own traditions & avoid all narcissists on special days, that is also totally understandable.

If you opt to take each special day as it comes & follow what your heart dictates on each special day, that also truly is understandable.

You have been through some pretty awful treatment & certainly you have earned the right to celebrate or not celebrate these days however works best for you!

Don’t let anyone dictate how you spend special days.  You enjoy holidays in whatever way works for you.  Ignore them, treat them as any other day, or go over the top with celebrating them your own way.  You do you & don’t let anyone convince you that you are wrong!

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Saying “I Love You”

Recently I learned that an old friend of mine passed away suddenly & unexpectedly.  We met not long after I got my first computer in 2000, on an aol message board.  We emailed frequently.  Although we only met once in person & spoke on the phone only a handful of times, I cherished her friendship.  She was the definition of a southern belle – gentle, gracious, thoughtful, loving & most of all she had a strong faith in God.

Naturally, losing this lovely lady has caused me to think a lot about relationships & life in general.  One of the things that crossed my mind was our final conversation.  She wasn’t feeling well, so it was fairly brief, unfortunately.  I remember our last words before hanging up though.. “I love you.”

When I was growing up, my paternal grandparents always did this too.  We never parted company either in person or over the phone without saying, “I love you.”  It’s something that I believe is important to do with those close to me.  Honestly, no one knows when the time comes that they may leave this earth or even when a relationship may end unexpectedly, so why not be certain that your last words to those good, special people in your life are “I love you”?

Doing this means that there will be no regrets over last words said if the relationship stops.  That can make a big difference in a person’s peace!

The last words my grandfather & I said to each other before he died in 2003 were, “I love you.”  Although I don’t remember much of the conversation, I do remember that.  It brings me comfort during those times I miss him to remember how much we love each other.

The last time I saw my father before going no contact several months before he died, our parting words were “I love you.”  As much as I hated his narcissistic behavior, I did love him, & am glad I told him so. 

I know this isn’t exactly the most cheery topic in the world, & for that I apologize.  I feel it’s something that needs to be addressed anyway.  People seem to think saying I love you should be reserved for romantic relationships only, but really, it should be said in all kinds of healthy relationships.  Children need to know their parents love them & vice versa.  Grandparents & grandchildren should hear a heartfelt “I love you” said freely & often.  Even friends need to hear it.  I love my friends dearly, & tell them often. 

It’s common knowledge that falling in love with someone releases “feel good” chemicals in the brain, but I can’t help thinking that knowing you are loved by someone you love, whatever the nature of the relationship, has the same effect.  Hearing the words, “I love you” said with sincerity certainly draws people closer together & feels good, whether the person saying it is a romantic interest, friend or relative.

I believe that it’s time to normalizing telling those you love, that you love them.  Why not start today?

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20% Off Print Books Until November 5!!

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