Tag Archives: parents

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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15% Off All My Print Books!

My publisher is offering another sale. 15% off all my print books until December 31, 2021. Use code NEWYEAR15 at checkout.

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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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30% Off All My Print Books Until November 30, 2021

My publisher is having a really good sale on print books right now! 30% off! Shipping time may be a bit slow due to supply chain issues, but if you don’t mind the wait, this is a great time to get the books you want. Simply use code SAVE30 at checkout.

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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!!

My publisher is offering a discount of 20% off all of my print books until Friday November 5, 2021. Use code EARLYBIRD20 at checkout.

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Encouragement For Those Who Pray For The Narcissists In Their Lives

Praying for people you love is easy & comes naturally as a Christian.  Praying for people who have done bad things to you is much harder.  Praying for a narcissistic parent who tried to destroy you is about a hundred times harder.  If you have taken it upon yourself to pray for your narcissistic parent, I want you to know that I truly get how hard it is.  I want to offer you some encouragement today to keep doing it, even when you don’t want to.

For many years after I became a Christian, I prayed for the salvation of my narcissistic parents.  Matthew 5:44 says we are to pray for our enemies, so I started praying for them out of obedience to God.  Honestly, my heart wasn’t really in it though.  Even before learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, I realized their behavior was that of people who didn’t think they needed God in their lives in spite of saying they prayed & loved God.  Praying for them seemed pointless.  Not because God was unable to reach them, but because they clearly turned their backs on Him.  No matter what He did, if they didn’t want to hear or acknowledge His voice, they wouldn’t.  I got more lax in my prayers for them for a while.

As they got older & their health began failing, I stepped up my prayers more.  It was obvious they weren’t going to be around for a long time, so in spite of my lack of hope, I prayed for them daily.

The day my father died, a former friend of mine got a vision from God about my father.  The story is readily available on a link on the menu at the top of my website at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com if you would like to read it.  Rather than repeat it here, suffice it to say that my father turned to God at the very end of his life.

Almost exactly eighteen months later, my mother died.  During the conversation with the funeral director, he asked my husband & I about our religious views.  Turned out he too was a Christian.  As we were discussing the final arrangements, he suddenly stopped.  He said God told him to tell me that my mother was with Him in Heaven!  A short time later, I found a tiny Bible in my mother’s house.  Apparently it was a gift to her when she was only 9 years old.  Printed towards the end was the Sinner’s prayer.  My mother signed it!  I believe that was proof that the funeral director was correct with the message he told me!

The reason I’m sharing these stories with you today is to encourage anyone who struggles with praying for the narcissist in their life.  I know it’s hard.  I also know that if you can do it, often you feel like a hypocrite because your heart isn’t in it.  There were plenty of times when I prayed for my parents I told God, “I don’t want to do this.  I don’t even care anymore what happens to them.  I’m only doing this because You want me to.”  Terrible, isn’t it?  Yet, not once did He make me ashamed of how I felt.  In fact, He understood that & was glad that I was praying for them in spite of not wanting to.  Clearly, He honored even those awful sounding prayers!

I also realize that it can be so disheartening to pray & see no improvement or hope that things will change.  Even so, please keep praying anyway!  All things truly are possible with God.  Just look at what happened with my parents.  And, just because you haven’t seen any change yet doesn’t mean that change won’t happen.

Please remember too, that you may never see the results of your prayers.  I didn’t.  When my father died, I hadn’t spoken to him in months.  When my mother died, it was just under 3 years since we spoke.  Just because I didn’t get to see the results of the prayers in this lifetime didn’t mean they didn’t happen!  Clearly, they did!

Lastly, if it seems as if God is taking too long answering your prayers, I know that can be frustrating!  Please don’t give up though!  Some people are very stubborn & close their hearts to God.  It can take a long time or something drastic to happen to break through that.  An answer delayed doesn’t necessarily mean an answer is denied.  2 Peter 3:9 in the Amplified Bible says,  “The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

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How Narcissists Instill Toxic Shame In Their Children

Instilling a root of toxic shame in children is something narcissistic parents do amazingly well.  And they really have to if they wish their child to be compliant & easily manipulated.  A person who is ashamed of everything about themselves is very easy to control, because they assume someone else always knows better than they do.  When that someone else is a person in a position of authority like a parent & the victim is a young child who naturally looks to that parent for everything, it can be very easy for that parent to plant the seeds of toxic shame in that child.

On first glance, it may be somewhat hard to recognize exactly how a parent accomplishes this goal.  That is why we’re talking about it today, to help you recognize how your narcissistic parent created this root of toxic shame in you.

Narcissistic parents primarily instill toxic shame in their children by destroying their child’s self confidence.  This is done by telling the child they can’t do anything right, by doing things for the child & claiming it’s because that child can’t do tasks right, telling embarrassing stories about them that may or may not be true, exaggerating any faults the child has or once had, or reminding the child of the many times that parent rescued the child from his or her bad decisions even though those times may not have even happened.  Such actions can destroy a child’s self confidence & leave them to think they are so incapable that they need their parent to take care of them, even as adults.

When a narcissistic parent says, “I was just joking,” you can count on that being a way to instill shame in their child.  No, they weren’t just joking.  They were deliberately saying something cruel to their child as a way to build that toxic shame.  When the child showed hurt feelings, the parent said they were “just joking” as a way to make that child feel ashamed of being upset at the parent.  If the parent can convince the child that he or she was just joking & the child was wrong to be upset, the child will tolerate the cruel words said in this instance & in the future.  Sometimes the child in this situation will defend themselves to their parent.  Their parent uses their normal reaction to prove to the child how unstable the child is.  Narcissistic parents can use either reaction to create toxic shame in their child.

Blame shifting is another effective way to instill toxic shame in children.  I remember when my mother would say the most unimaginably cruel things to me, usually screaming them at me when we were alone, & blame me for making her say those things.  I felt terrible for making her behave so awfully.  That is typical.  Blame shifting enables narcissists to abuse their child without accountability.  The child learns to tolerate abuse because they are to blame.  If they would just act right, the parent wouldn’t be abusive.  What the child fails to realize is nothing they could do would make that happen, so when their parent is abusive repeatedly, they accept that it is their fault, which results in feeling toxic shame.

Narcissistic parents who play the victim instill toxic shame in their children.  Covert narcissistic parents in particular love the victim act, but overts aren’t above using it either.  Narcissistic parents will infuriate their children then use their children’s reaction to prove to the child just how mean & horrible that child is to their parent.  This naturally makes the child in this situation feel ashamed of themselves for being so terrible to their parent for no good reason.

Talking above or below the child’s level instills toxic shame.  Talking above a child makes the child feel stupid for not understanding what their parent is talking about.  Never mind that parent may not be as intelligent as the child & is talking in circles with confidence in their words to confuse the child.  Talking down to a child by treating a child or adult child as if they are still very young makes the child feel as if their parent is superior to them. 

If you have experienced these things from your narcissistic parent, hope is not lost.  You can heal!  It will take time & effort, but you can do it.  You need to identify your parent’s shaming voice & what it tells you, then counteract that voice with the truth.  Write things down if it helps you.  If you struggle with this, asking God to help you can do wonders to shut down the shaming voice & help you to see the truth! 

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When Narcissistic Parents Try To Keep Their Children, Children Forever

One subtle way narcissistic parents abuse their children as adults is called infantilization.  This means that the parents continue treating them like they’re much younger than they are.  While this may not sound so bad, it truly is because of the damage it causes.  It often creates severe anxiety, insecurity & lack of faith in one’s abilities to the point they can be debilitating.  It sets a child up for failure as an adult by making sure that child can’t do what they need to.  Even if that adult child has the ability to do something, they honestly believe they can’t.  This means that adult child settles for relationships that are at best mediocre or at worst abusive because they don’t believe they can attract good people.  Even worse, they don’t believe they deserve to be in relationships with good people.  They settle for dead end jobs or careers they hate because they don’t believe they’re smart or talented enough for anything better.  They settle for much less than they deserve in all areas.

Possibly the saddest part of this is that this particular type of abuse is rarely acknowledged.  Parents who behave this way are seen as overprotective or maybe even a bit eccentric, but not as the vicious predators that they are.  The adult child often suffers alone & their feelings are invalidated.

Narcissistic parents accomplish this subtle & sinister form of abuse in many ways. 

Starting in childhood, these narcissistic parents don’t let their child do much.  They may start to do something but their parent takes over because they say the child is doing it wrong.  Rather than let the child learn from their mistake or simply do the activity a different way to get the same result, the parent clearly sends the child the message, “I have to do things for you because you aren’t capable.”

Normal age appropriate activities are discouraged.  Attending school activities, attending sleepovers or even simply spending time with friends are frowned upon or simply not allowed.  As children get older, narcissistic parents often discourage them from working, getting a driver’s license, going to college or even moving out. 

Narcissistic parents trying to infantilize their adult children will tell their children how they feel about things.  A prime example I witnessed was when my mother did this to my father.  At a restaurant one evening, he wanted to try something different for a change of pace.  My mother told him he didn’t want that, & to order what he usually ordered.  They were both over 60 years old at that time.

Another thing they do is discuss things with the adult child that they liked when they were children & act as if they still are into those things.  They don’t acknowledge that their child is now an adult with adult interests.

Telling embarrassing stories about their adult children is another tactic designed to keep the adult child childish.  It is designed to humiliate that adult child.  When the adult child speaks up about their feelings, their narcissistic parent will shame them for not having a sense of humor or being too sensitive.

Remember how in Genesis chapter 3 how the serpent spoke to Eve to manipulate her into disobeying God?  He instilled doubt in her by saying, “Did God really say that?”  That is much like how narcissistic parents make their children feel incapable of doing things even as adults.  They often say things like, “Do you really think you can handle doing that?”  “Aren’t you a little young to do that?”  The underlying message is “You’re too stupid to do that.”  The questions are asked to make you doubt yourself & look to your parent for answers.  The more someone relies on another for answers, the more that someone can control the one looking for answers.

If you are in this situation, you need to remember what is happening.  Your parent is trying to control you.  Whatever your parent says isn’t true- it’s said for manipulation only.  You are capable!  You are smart!  You are talented! 

I also found it helpful to ask God for creative & effective ways to handle the situation.  He definitely will provide them! 

Lastly remember, never let your narcissistic parent see how they hurt you.  If they do, they’ll only do that thing again & again.  Don’t let them have that opportunity!  Act as if their words don’t affect you in the slightest bit while you are in their presence.  Later when you’re alone, you can deal with the emotions however works for you.

I wish you the best in your situation! 

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Love Isn’t Always Warm & Fuzzy

When most people hear the word love, they think of how they feel around someone they love dearly.  Whether that person is a love interest, parent, child, other relative or friend, the person thinking of them will feel warm, affectionate, caring feelings.  But, love isn’t always about those nice feelings.

Sometimes, love feels nothing like the nice feelings I described earlier.  Sometimes love is not enabling behavior the other person enjoys but is unhealthy.  Sometimes love is not allowing the other person to use you.  Sometimes love involves arguments.  Sometimes, love even involves ending relationships.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize these things, & think love is only about the good feelings, giving in, & even tolerating abuse.

The last few months of my father’s life, I learned that is exactly what my family thought.   They clearly thought I hated him & my mother because I hadn’t spoken to them for several months at that time.  They obviously believed that I was living my life with no thought of them whatsoever.

What my family didn’t know & never would believe anyway is no contact with my parents was incredibly hard on me.  Reaching the decision to end those relationships was gut wrenching.  I took a lot of time to consider it, & said a lot of prayers.  I prayed daily for wisdom for probably a couple of years before going no contact with them, & after, I prayed daily for God to take care of them & to save them.

In John 15:17 in the Amplified translation, the Bible states, “This [is what] I command you: that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another.”  There is no mention in there about the warm, fuzzy feelings, because sometimes, there simply aren’t any.  Consider what I just told you about my situation with my parents.  There wasn’t a single warm fuzzy feeling for them for many years, & many less at the end of their lives.  But, that didn’t mean I didn’t love them.  The difference is I loved them God’s way, by doing what it says in John 15:17, seeking the best for them.  It was incredibly hard severing ties with them, but I knew in my heart it was necessary for my mental health & for them.  And, as it turns out, my father finally turned to God at the very end of his life because I wouldn’t go see him.  I’m not sure if my mother’s motivations were the same or not, but she also turned to God at the very end of her life.  When you love people as God wants, it’s not always easy but it is for the best.

If you have been told that you aren’t loving abusive people right because you have started to set boundaries or even gone no contact, or even if not but you feel like you’re being unloving for such things, this post is for you today.   You need to know that there is nothing good or Godly about letting people use & abuse you.  In fact, it goes against God’s wishes!

Remember, if you truly love someone, you may not feel all the warm, fuzzy feelings for them.  Sometimes love is best done from a distance, & praying quietly behind the scenes.  And sometimes those prayers include saying things like, “Father God, I’m sorry my heart isn’t in this.  I’m only praying for her because I know You want me to!”  If that is all you can manage to do, there is nothing wrong with that!  God truly honors those prayers, the ones you’re only praying because you know He wants you to pray.  He applauds your effort & obedience while also dealing with that other person in ways you may not know about.

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Mother’s Day

I just wanted to share a little something for those of you with narcissistic mothers who struggle on & around Mother’s Day…

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About Body Dysmorphia & Narcissistic Abuse During Childhood

Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder in which a person obsesses over flaws in their appearance.  The flaws may be real or not.  A person with body dysmorphia also often avoids other people because of feeling such embarrassment & even shame over their flaws.  They also may seek surgery or other ways of fixing these supposed flaws in their appearance.  The solutions may only provide temporary relief, but often the anxiety over the flaws returns.

Body dysmorphia can result from abnormalities or injuries to the brain.  A family history of the disorder also can lead to a person being prone to developing it.  I believe it also can be the result of narcissistic abuse.

Negative comments about something can be hurtful.  If they are negative enough, they can make a person feel very self conscience.  Narcissists don’t simply say a few random negative comments periodically, however.  They frequently say the most scathing, cruel, vicious criticisms they can come up with in order to annihilate their victim’s self esteem, because a person with no self esteem is easy to control.  One area narcissists often focus on is someone’s appearance.

Naturally when a parent says such things to their child, the likelihood of that child accepting the criticisms as truth is greater than if those same words were spoken to an adult by a stranger.  Parents have a tremendous influence over their children, & children naturally accept what their parents say as true, even when it isn’t.  Children’s brains are still forming too, which also makes it easier for them to accept their parents’ words as truth rather than question them.

When a child of a narcissistic parent grows up, it’s very likely that they will marry a narcissist.  It’s also likely that the narcissist they marry will repeat certain patterns that their parents employed.  Insulting the adult child of narcissistic parents in the area of their appearance is a common phenomenon.

When I was growing up, my mother was extremely critical of how I looked.  While she never said the word “fat”, she implied I was extremely fat more times than I can count.  Looking back at pictures of me as a child now though I realize I wasn’t fat at all, I was a normal weight.

Later when I married my ex husband, he continued her abuse in this area.  He also never told me I was fat, but constantly implied that I needed to lose weight.  I eventually lost weight & was too thin, yet I still wasn’t thin enough for his liking.

My situation is far from abnormal among adult children of narcissistic parents.

If you have experienced this as well, know that you are far from alone!  Many people who have suffered with Body Dysmorphia after experiencing narcissistic abuse.

I never went to therapy about this because I didn’t realize it was something treatable through therapy, plus after bad experiences in therapy, I lacked trust in the mental health system.  This caused me to look for my own ways to conquer Body Dysmorphia.  While therapy is most likely the most effective way, I thought I would share my ideas anyway in case anyone reading this prefers to handle the situation on their own as I did.

During the time I was going through the worst of the Body Dysmorphia, I didn’t believe in God.  Prayer wasn’t going to happen.  I wish I had because no doubt God would have helped me so much more than anything I did without Him!  Please learn from my mistake & pray. 

Also, listen to what other people tell you.  I spent my entire life dismissing complements rather than accepting them with a simple “thank you.”  People don’t give complements easily.  Listen to what they say because they mean them!

Look at yourself objectively.  Ask yourself if what the narcissist said makes any sense.  Most likely, it won’t. 

When you hear the narcissist telling you about all of your flaws, question those things. 

Doing these things won’t make Body Dysmorphia disappear overnight.  Sometimes I wonder if it’ll ever vanish entirely since even years later, I still am quite insecure about my looks.  But, at the very least they will help you to feel much less insecure, & that isn’t a bad worst case scenario!

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Good Can Happen After The Death Of A Narcissistic Parent

April 19, 2019 was a strange night for me.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was the night the police came to my home to tell me that not only had my mother passed away, but being her only child, dealing with the situation was my responsibility.  As soon as they told me she was gone, I immediately knew that my life as I knew it was over.  At that moment, it felt incredibly daunting & terrible, but as time passed, I realized it wasn’t a bad thing. 

I want to share some my story for those of you who are in the position of having recently lost a narcissistic parent or are losing a dying narcissistic parent.

In the time since my mother died, I have run through the entire gamut of emotions.  Her death made me angry, sad, hurt, happy, relieved, guilty & more.  I also had to deal with things far out of my comfort zone, such as making her burial arrangements, dealing with a huge error the cemetery made when burying my father 18 months prior, & dealing with my mother’s estate.  My parents had told me that not only would I never get any inheritance, but they had chosen a neighbor to be the personal representative of their estate.  You can imagine my surprise finding out those were all lies.

Anyway, there was good that came from all of this, & that is the point of this post. 

Without my parents, so much healing has happened!  The crippling agoraphobia I lived with since 1996 has all but vanished.  I still get anxious in stores sometimes & try to avoid crowded times, but compared to what it once was, this is fantastic! I can go out alone now!

My self esteem has improved greatly too.  I can’t say 100% healthy but I can say a lot closer to that than it once was.  As a result, I am setting healthier boundaries now & have even less tolerance of abusive behavior.

There is also a sense of freedom I have never felt in my life.  For the first time, I know I can leave home & not run the risk of running into my parents around town.  I know when my phone rings, it won’t be either of them dumping all of their complaints about their marriage on me with no respect to how uncomfortable & painful that was for me. 

Best of all, yet also the most mysterious of all, is how the level of shame I once felt has decreased drastically.  I truly don’t understand the connection but when my mother died, it was as if the toxic shame I once felt vanished.  Naturally I’m still not proud of things I have done in my life, but I no longer feel intense shame about them or the person I am.  It’s wonderful!

I am telling you this to encourage you.  If your narcissistic parent is dying or has died, it is going to be a very hard time for you.  You may feel relieved they are gone & then guilt for feeling that relief.  You may grieve the parent you never had.  You may feel all the years of anger rear their ugly head at once.  You may feel numb.  You may feel something entirely different.  It’s impossible to say what you will feel.  There seems to be no way to predict what you will feel other than guilty since that seems to be a constant among others who have lost a narcissistic parent.  If you are losing your second narcissistic parent, it may be entirely different for you than when your first one passed. When my father died, I was shocked I felt so numb. I barely shed any tears after his death, probably because I had grieved him so long while he was alive.  When my mother died almost exactly 18 months later, I felt devastated.  Losing a narcissistic parent is a strange thing to put it mildly.  That being said though, it also can open doors to some very good things.  When you feel able, look for the good.  The good things really can carry you through all of the bad.  You will be shocked at just how much good came from it! 

Also, I’m not saying only look at the good & ignore the bad.  That is unhealthy.  Feel the bad feelings.  Sit with them.  Acknowledge them.  Accept that they are there & do so without judgment.  Pray about them.  Write about them in your journal.  Talk about them with a safe friend, therapist or pastor.  Have balance & be gentle with yourself during this very trying time.

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When Narcissistic Parents Sever Ties With Their Adult Children

When someone goes no contact with their parent, it usually comes about after a lot of thought, sometimes even over a period of years.  It also comes after preparation for full no contact.  What I mean is often the adult child has tried setting boundaries & limiting contact with their parent.  Often, they start small & work up to more boundaries & less contact before full no contact is initiated.  I did this myself.  I contemplated no contact for a long time before deciding it was what I needed to do.  I knew I wasn’t ready & also that timing wasn’t right, however.  I leaned on God for guidance & also for strength.  He showed me small boundaries I could set.  That strengthened me to set larger boundaries & limit my contact with my parents.  In time, I knew the time was right for no contact, & I also had the ability to do it.

This isn’t the case when narcissistic parents cut ties with their children.

Narcissistic parents don’t go no contact as a way to protect themselves from abusive people. They inatead use the silent treatment as a way to punish & manipulate, although they may claim they are setting a healthy boundary with an abusive person.

This behavior can be incredibly hurtful to the adult child of a narcissist! It also leaves them questioning what they did wrong & what they could’ve done better. Sometimes they even question what they did because they have no idea. My mother stopped speaking to me for 18 months once, & I never learned why.

If you’re in this situation & struggling with these feelings, you’re normal! It can feel otherwise, but I promise, you’re normal!

Please keep in mind your parent is manipulating you. That’s just what narcissistic parents do. It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. In fact, you probably did something right. If you set a healthy boundary, no doubt your parent is angry & punishing you for it. Maybe you had some personal success. That could have stirred up envy in your parent & he or she wants to hurt you for looking better than them. Whatever the case, your parent is clearly the one with the problem, not you. If you remember that, it will help you not to be as upset about your parent’s behavior. In fact, it may help you to enjoy the repreive from the abusive, awful behavior.

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For Adult Children Who Went No Contact With Their Narcissistic Parents

This post is for those of you who have made the bold, painful step of going no contact with your narcissistic parents.

All of us who have gone no contact with our narcissistic parents know that in such situations, the relationship had become utterly intolerable & that pushed us to the desperation of no contact.  The constant control, vindictive criticisms & abuse became too much from the overtly narcissistic parent.  The constant shaming, manipulation, childish behavior & abuses so subtle most people didn’t see them from the covertly narcissistic parent also were too much.  Who can live with this indefinitely?!  No one with any normal human emotions could!

Upon ending the relationship, the shock of the flying monkeys & their despicable abuse was next.  The constant comments of, “But that’s your mother or father!”  “You only get one set of parents!”  “They’re getting up in years.  How do you think you’ll feel when they die?” & other venom comes from their mouths.  When guilt & shame don’t work, they attack your character.  They call you ungrateful, spoiled, a brat, evil & more.  If you’re a Christian, your faith will be attacked, too.  As they like to claim, by severing ties with your abusive parents, you obviously have no idea what it means to honor your parents.  You must be a hypocrite!   

Trauma doesn’t end with no contact.  Thanks to flying monkeys, it often continues for quite some time until they find a new target.

The time immediately after no contact is a very difficult time.  The guilt, the doubts & the abuse from flying monkeys are all incredibly hard to deal with!  Also many times, C-PTSD goes into overdrive after no contact.  No longer needing to function in survival mode seems to make the brain think that since you’re safe now, it’s time to deal with all those old issues you put on the back burner for so long.  All of these things can make you wonder if you did the right thing by going no contact.  Sometimes it seems easier to remain in the relationship just to keep the peace, but it truly isn’t easier.

Once you are no contact, you’re finally free.  Free from the barrage of abuse from your narcissistic parent.  Free from your parent trying to make you into whatever they want you to be.  Free to do what you want without your parent trying to tell you how wrong you are & shaming you for your so called bad decisions.  Free to be the wonderful person God made you to be.  You’re finally free!!

From day one, narcissistic parents try to make their children into whatever sick fantasy they have.  They don’t care one iota about the child’s talents, interests or anything like that.  They are narcissists, after all, so all that matters to them is what they want.  Growing up like this, finally experiencing freedom can be scary.  The assaults of the flying monkeys & often the harassment from the narcissistic parents can add to the fear.  You know something though?  Going through the fear is totally worth it.  On the other side of that fear are peace, joy & bravery like you have never known! 

And, you don’t have to walk through that fear alone.  God will be right by your side!  Remember, Psalm 23 says that He walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.  I have experienced that first hand, & I can tell you that as painful as those times were, especially after going no contact with my parents, it was all worth it.  I ended up closer to God than ever, & He enabled me to do the unimaginable.  He will do the same for you if you allow Him to.  Dear Reader, as hard as no contact with narcissistic parents can be, don’t give up.  Don’t go back.  Don’t listen to the absurd ramblings of those who don’t know your situation like you do.  Lean on God.  Let Him support & guide you through this process.  xoxo

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Your Feelings After No Contact With Your Narcissistic Parent Are Valid

It seems that many people have some very black & white opinions when it comes to those of us raised by abusive parents.  No doubt you have experienced some of that thinking first hand.  Hasn’t at least one person told you that parents always love their children, you’re not honoring your parent by setting boundaries, your parent didn’t abuse you because they never hit you or other similar comments? 

There is another example of black & white thinking & it comes with going no contact with your abusive parent.  Many people assume that eliminating your parent from your life means you hate that parent.  Not long after my mother died, I ran into an acquaintance.  He said, “I’d say I’m sorry to hear about your mom, but I know you’re glad she’s gone.”  I thought later that no doubt many people think exactly the same thing.

What people who think this don’t realize is the children of abusive parents don’t always hate their parents.  Some do, yes, but not all.  In fact, I would guess that most love their parents.  It’s their behavior they hate. 

These folks also fail to realize that because we don’t hate our abusive parents, we end up with a lot of confusing & mixed feelings about our parents.  Those feelings are seldom validated, even by some who have survived similar situations to ours.  Some I’ve spoken with actually got angry at me for not hating my parents like they did.  Some also said I needed to accept that they’re just evil & forget about them.  People can be very cruel sometimes!

For those who are in the position of having gone no contact with their abusive parent(s), I just want you to know that whatever you feel, your feelings are valid!

If you hate your parent(s), that is valid.  It’s understandable to feel that way after someone inflicts horrific abuse on you!

If you love your parent(s), that too is valid.  We all only get two parents & that gives them a very unique position in our lives.  It’s understandable to love them even if they have hurt you terribly.

If deciding to go no contact was an easy decision for you, that is valid as well.  You knew what you needed to do & followed through with it.  That is great you were able to do that!

If deciding to go no contact was a tough decision for you, that is valid too.  It’s a big decision, & not always an easy one to make.  Some people naturally struggle with that decision more than others. 

I also want you to know that protecting yourself is ok!  It’s a good thing to do, even if you are forced to protect yourself from your parents.  Not all parents are capable of loving their children or being good parents.  It isn’t your job or duty to tolerate their abuse just because they’re your parents. 

Protecting yourself from them also doesn’t make you a bad person, heartless, spoiled or a fake Christian.  It doesn’t mean you’re dishonoring your abusive parents, either.  It means you are putting your mental & emotional health above your parents’ sick need to abuse you, & there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Having chosen no contact with my parents, my heart truly goes out to others in that situation, because I remember the struggles, the guilt, the doubt, the intense anxiety & the useless & even cruel input of others at that time.  Many people have been in this situation other than you & I.  You’re not alone!  If you need support, there are plenty of online options.  There are counselors & pastors that can help as well.  Mostly, there is a loving God who wants to help you.  Let Him.  You won’t be sorry!

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25% Off Sale On My Ebooks Starts Tomorrow!

Don’t forget…

My publish is having their “Read An Ebook Week” sale from March 7 until March 13. This means that all of my ebooks will be 25% off!

Ebooks are the most affordable way to buy my books. Why not take advantage of the extra 25% off?

Come check them out!

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

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About Low Contact

Low contact is exactly as it sounds, when a person has low contact with another.  It isn’t discussed a lot in the circles that discuss narcissistic abuse, which is really a shame. 

If you are in the position of not being able to go full no contact, such as in the situation of having joint custody of children together, low contact is an excellent alternative.  Or, if you want to go no contact but don’t feel strong enough to take that step just yet, low contact can help you get to that point.  Low contact is different than no contact in that it doesn’t need to be done all at once.  It can be done little by little, & each little step you take increases your confidence in your ability to set boundaries with the narcissist.  Or, if the narcissist in your life is low on the spectrum, you may find that low contact makes the relationship much more tolerable & decide not to go full no contact.  In any case, low contact really can be a very helpful tool!

Whatever your situation with the narcissist, if you are considering low contact, I’m sure it’s for a very valid reason.  At their absolute best, narcissists are VERY difficult to deal with & at their worst, impossible to deal with, even dangerous to one’s physical & mental health.  Be proud of yourself for taking care of yourself!

If you think low contact is a good option for you, you are probably wondering where to start.  I’ll tell you how I did low contact with my parents, & you can decide if this would work for you or not.  I started by not answering the phone every time my parents narcissist called.  That boundary was clearly a shock to them, but although they were angry, they realized they couldn’t rage without appearing foolish.  Rather than rage, they made some snide comments like, “You didn’t answer the phone yesterday.. I thought you were mad at me.”  Naturally those comments hurt at first but I realized that was the intent behind them.  My parents were simply upset that I was setting a perfectly reasonable boundary.

I also started setting limits on how long we were on the phone together for the first time.  My parents always determined how long our calls lasted, so this was a little trickier.  Saying, “I have to go” didn’t work so I needed to get creative.  I also don’t like to lie, so that also made this really tricky.  I sometimes rang my doorbell so my dogs would bark & say, “Doorbell rang.  Dixie’s barking, you hear that?  I need to go.”  Other times I used another phone to trigger the call waiting on the phone I was using so they’d hear the beep & they’d let me go so I could respond to the beep. 

My parents lived not far from me, & my father in particular wanted to visit often.  He often invited himself to visit my home.  Thankfully he would call a few days prior at least rather than just showing up.  When he called saying he wanted to visit soon, I would say things like, “Tuesday isn’t good.. how about Thursday instead?”  It didn’t take long for him to want to come by less often.  Clearly, he didn’t like me taking some control back.

The more boundaries I set, the more confident I became in my ability to set boundaries & eventually go no contact.  This is normal!  Each small step you take creates not only more space between you & the narcissist, but also builds your confidence.  You see you can do one thing, then gain the confidence to do something a little bolder, then a little bolder yet & so forth.  Before you know it, you’re ready to implement no contact, if that is your goal. 

And something else happened – the more boundaries I set & the more comfortable I was setting them, the less my parents wanted to do with me!  They began avoiding me.  Their phone calls & visits became much less frequent.  Also, their calls & visits became much shorter in duration, too.  This also is normal!  Narcissists naturally have an aversion to boundaries & to healthy people.  Low contact truly is a wonderful thing!  It helps victims reclaim some of their power & confidence while repelling narcissists.  I want to encourage you to give it a try!  I believe you will be very pleased by the results!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents Marry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Loving Narcissistic Parents After No Contact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Message For My Younger Followers

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My Ebooks Are On Sale!

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

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

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Things Adult Children Of Narcissists Wish People Wouldn’t Say

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tips For Healing From Childhood Trauma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Some Thoughts About No Contact With Narcissistic Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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