Tag Archives: parents

Lies Victims Of Childhood Emotional Neglect Tell Themselves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Enmeshment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why Do Children Abused By Narcissistic Parents Fall For Abusers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guilt After A Narcissistic Parent Dies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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My Latest Book Is Now Available!

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

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

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

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About Accepting A Covertly Narcissistic Parent Is Abusive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Feelings & The Adult Child Of Narcissistic Parents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wise Thoughts On Honoring Parents

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

Check this out…

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

How much sense does this make?!

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

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

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

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How Abuse In Childhood Manifests In Adults & Ways To Cope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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More About The Death Of My Mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Childhood Trauma Affects Adults

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Toxic In-Laws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Anger In Survivors Of Childhood Narcissistic Abuse

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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My Ebooks Are On Sale

From March 3-9, 2019, my publisher is having a sale!  All of my ebooks will be 25% off.

Come check it out at: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Why Narcissists Have Children

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Narcissistic Families & Cults

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Forgiveness After Narcissistic Abuse

One thing that every adult victim of narcissistic parents I have spoken with has struggled with is forgiving their parents.

So many people, particularly Christians, think that these victims need to forgive & forget.  They often quote Ephesians 4:26 which says, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”  When victims struggle with forgiving & forgetting, they are shamed & even shunned by the very people who should support them, creating even more pain, guilt & shame in the victim.

I want to give you a new perspective on forgiveness that I think can help you today.

If you look at the definition of forgive, nowhere does it say you don’t feel anger.  According to Merriam-Webster.com, to forgive means:

1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON; forgive one’s enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for; forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of; forgive a debt

It’s possible to forgive someone while still feeling anger for them.  What I mean is when you forgive someone, you decide that they don’t owe you an apology or repentance. You won’t try to collect that “debt” from them.  You have released that person from paying you the debt that they owe you.  This is what I try to do any time someone mistreats me- give up expectations of an apology immediately.  That way, I have forgiven that person, as God wants me to do.  Yet, even forgiving quickly doesn’t mean I may not still feel some anger for that person for a while.  See what I mean?  You can forgive while still feeling anger.

I also firmly believe that releasing the anger you feel can be a process.  If the waitress makes a mistake on your order or a clerk is rude, those minor incidents are easy to forgive.  Big issues though, it takes time to work through the anger.   Processing anger from years of abuse takes a lot of time & work, especially if you learned early in life to ignore your anger which is the case with most children of narcissistic parents.

There is also the fact many people think to forgive your abusive parents is a one time thing.  You just forgive everything in one fell swoop & *poof* you’re not angry & you never will be angry again with them.  As anyone who has tried to forgive their narcissistic parents knows, that isn’t how it works.  You have to work through many different traumas individually, not lump them all together as one big trauma.

I honestly can say I have forgiven my narcissistic parents.   However, there are still some times I feel anger at them.

When a repressed memory comes back to mind, I feel anger at my parents about the incident.  When I have flashbacks, nightmares, the anxiety & depression get bad, I also feel  anger.  It’s their fault I have C-PTSD, after all.  Plus, when I told my father about having it, he ignored me then changed the subject.  Sometimes I also feel anger when others talk about what a great relationship they have with their parents.  I wanted that with mine, but wasn’t able to have it, because their narcissism was more important to them than me.

Do you think this means I haven’t forgiven my parents? If so, I’d have to respectfully disagree.  I have released my parents from any responsibility to apologize or make amends with me, which is the definition of forgiving.

Yes, there are times I still feel anger at them, as I admitted, & I think it’s very normal.  I also work through the anger & release it quickly.  That is the best I can do, & I know God honors that I am trying.  That’s all He asks of us, to try our best.

If someone tells you you’re wrong for not forgiving your narcissistic parents, Dear Reader, please remember what I said in this post.  If you don’t expect your parents to apologize or repay you for the trauma they inflicted on you, you already have forgiven them.  The more you heal, the less anger you’ll feel towards them.  It just takes some time.

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Unconventional Grief

Most people assume there is only one type of grief, the grief that happens when someone you love dies, but there are other types as well.

People also can grieve when they move, get a divorce or lose a job.  There is also something known as anticipatory grief, which happens when you know someone is dying.  This is especially common in families where someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s due to how this terrible disease destroys a person’s personality before it destroys their body.

Unconventional grief is different.  It is grief that is triggered by unique circumstances.  I experienced it when learning about the many new limitations because of how damaged my brain was after surviving Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  It also can happen when someone is diagnosed with mental illness or when a loved one has a substance abuse problem.  Unconventional grief also can happen as a result of trauma & abuse.

When you grow up with a narcissistic parent or two, & you finally learn about narcissism, although it is a great thing, it can trigger grief.  Suddenly you realize that you aren’t the problem, which is certainly good news of course, but realizing what your parent was is difficult  & painful to accept.  It hurts that the one person who was supposed to love you unconditionally didn’t, & lacks the ability to do so.  You also realize how much your parent took from you, such as your childhood & self-esteem.  And, it suddenly hits you that there is no hope for your relationship.  Prior to learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, most people have some hope that one day their parent will realize what she did, apologize & change for the better.  Learning about NPD squelches that hope completely.  That is a tough pill to swallow!

Facing these ugly truths absolutely can cause a person to grieve, & it’s extremely painful.  It’s also difficult to understand because of the limited view of grief that most people have.  How can you grieve when the person in question is still alive?!  Well, it’s surprisingly easy to do actually.

When my father died in October, 2017, I didn’t cry.  I cry easily especially when losing someone I love, but I didn’t cry.   I barely have felt sad at all since he’s been gone.  No doubt any of my family that may be reading this thinks it’s because I’m a cold, evil person, but that isn’t the case.  It’s because I grieved him enough when he was alive that his death didn’t have a very profound effect on me.  And you know something?  Many other adult children of narcissistic parents I’ve spoken with have said that they felt the same exact thing when their parent died.

Unconventional grief can be incredibly difficult, but you can get through it.

Pray & pray often.  You will need the wisdom, guidance & comfort of God to get through this.

Don’t judge your emotions.  Accept them.  Examine them without judgement or criticism.  Feel them.  Pray, talk or write about them to cope with them.

Anger is an especially common part of this sort of grief.  If you feel a lot of anger, it’s normal!  I know, you probably grew up like most of us with narcissistic parents did, believing you aren’t allowed to be angry.  Stop that now!  Why are you angry?  Face it head on & deal with your feelings.  The pain will lose its power over you if you face it.

You also may start to remember only the good times.  They are good to remember, but don’t forget the bad as well.  Embrace the good & heal from the bad.

Write in a journal.  Writing is very cathartic, plus it will help you to have documentation.  You may even decide that you enjoy writing, & opt to start a blog or write a book.

Find online support groups & websites.  Learning that others are experiencing similar things to you is very helpful.

Don’t expect this grief to end entirely.  It will get better, but it may never end entirely. It’s like losing a loved one- you grieve most right after the person died, but even many years later, the pain is still there, just not as intense as it was at first.

If you’re experiencing unconventional grief, Dear Reader, know you aren’t alone.  You can survive this!  It will take hard work & won’t be easy, but you can do it!

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Backlash After Going Low Or No Contact

When the adult child of a narcissist decides to go low or no contact with the abusive parents, people are often surprised.  Narcissistic parents do their best to create an image of a happy, functional family to outsiders, & many people believe this false image to be real.  They don’t realize how much serious thought & prayer went into the adult child’s decision.  Those people are shocked by the low or no contact decision.  They say things like,

  • “You were always such a good child!” (children of narcissistic parents are often incredibly obedient in order to please their parent or avoid abuse)
  • “You never said anything was wrong.”  (abused children rarely do- abuse is normal, & they don’t often realize it’s wrong.  Or, if they do know, to survive, they know they must keep the abuse a secret)
  • “Your mother/father never said one bad thing about you!” (abusers don’t show their abusive side to everyone- they hide it from those whose opinions they value.  Besides, if the abusive parent appears good to everyone, & the child claims this parent is abusive, people are more likely to believe the parent than the child if the child speaks out)

Other people react with guilt, urging the victim to continue the abusive relationship.  Often, these people came from abusive backgrounds themselves, & are in denial about it.  You facing the truth makes them feel bad for not doing the same, so often, people like this try to bring you down to their level.  They say things like,

  • “They did the best they could!”  (So?  Even on the highly unlikely chance the abuser didn’t realize they were being abusive, that doesn’t make the abuse less damaging)
  • “Your parents won’t be around forever!”  (True, but neither will anyone.  It’s entirely possible their child could die first, so why not tell the abusers this fact?  And, the Bible says you reap what you sow in Galatians 6:7-8.  People can’t abuse someone & expect that someone to tolerate it indefinitely.  Everyone has their limits)
  • “Your parents gave you everything!”  (providing food, clothing & shelter is the job of parents.  They may have done these things, maybe even spoiled their child with “stuff”, but that doesn’t make them parents of the year.  It also doesn’t mean their child owes them for doing what a parent should do for their child.)
  • Some people refuse to discuss the topic with the victim because they have chosen the side of the parent.  They often make their displeasure with the victim obvious in snide comments or disdainful looks rather than using their words.

These things can hurt a victim by further invalidating or not believing their pain.  These types of responses also send the victim the message that she isn’t important, only the narcissistic parent is.

Dear Reader, if this is your situation, I’m sure you’re hurting.  I’ve heard similar comments & know first hand how painful they are.  Know you aren’t alone!  There are so many of us who understand!  This may be a good time to reach out to other survivors of narcissistic abuse.  There are online support forums (I have one on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/ ).  There are also so many informative websites & blogs available.

When faced with these conversations, it’s best for you to simply walk away.  People who blindly defend a narcissist most likely never going to see the light about what she is really like.  Defending yourself will only lead to frustration for you.  Tell the person you don’t want to discuss the matter, & change the subject.  If the person continues to force their opinion on you, walk away.

Know that you don’t have to tolerate any abuse from anyone.  Invalidating & dismissing a victim’s pain is abuse!  You have every right to protect yourself from it!  You don’t need people who treat you this way in your life, & are well within your rights to cut them out of your life if you feel it’s the right thing to do.

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Changes Happening With My Website

I have recently changed my website domain registration & hosting to a new company.  It’s going through those changes as we speak.  From what I see, it may take about a week for things to change then possibly add in more time for me to learn the new website building software & get it back up & running.

 

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause!  It’s unavoidable, though- my last website host & domain registrar went out of business without telling its customers.  In order to make any changes to my site, I had to make a change.  I really think it’s for the best though- this new company has no limits on how big my site can be or how many visitors it has each month!  Pretty cool, really.. just the change that isn’t so cool.

 

Anyway hopefully within the next 1-2 weeks, my site will be back & better than before at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com .  Thank you, Dear Reader, for your understanding & patience!  xoxo

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Narcissistic Grandparents

My maternal grandmother was a narcissist.  She neglected & abused my mother until she died.  However, my grandmother didn’t limit her abuse to only my mother.  She continued it with the next generation.

This scenario is very typical.  I’m sure it happens with male narcissists too, but it seems to be more common with female ones, so we will discuss female narcissists in this post.

Rather than narcissistic mothers becoming loving grandmothers, they simply become narcissistic grandmothers.  Sadly, many children of narcissistic mothers think the abuse they endured won’t happen to their children, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

Many people say that narcissists never change, but I disagree.  The  methods they use to abuse change & they often get even more vicious with their manipulation & criticisms.  If they have grandchildren, they are simply new targets for their abuse rather than happy additions to the family.

Narcissistic grandmothers have zero trouble criticizing their children to their grandchildren.   This not only can affect how your child sees you, but it also can affect your relationship with your child negatively & hurt your child.  When I was quite young, my grandmother would tell me how lazy my mother was as a child & what a terrible person she was.  It really hurt to hear her say those things, but she wouldn’t stop.

Not only will narcissistic grandmothers criticize their children to their grandchildren, but they also will criticize their children in front of their grandchildren. This hurts both the parent & child, & teaches the child that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat Mom &/or Dad like dirt.  After all, Grannie Dearest does it, so it must be ok.

Since narcissists believe they always know best & boundaries aren’t for them, a narcissistic mother will run roughshod over her child’s rules with her grandchildren.  If you don’t want your child to have a cookie nearer than an hour before dinner, you can guarantee that Grannie Dearest will give your child 18 cookies 10 minutes before dinner if she has the chance!  As if this isn’t frustrating enough in & of itself to have your own mother break your rules, this also teaches your child that it’s ok to disobey Mom & her rules mean nothing.

Much of the dysfunction you grew up with at the hand of your narcissistic mother will continue with your children.  If you had siblings, & all of you have children, your children will be treated much like you & your siblings were growing up.  There will be a golden child & a scapegoat, & whichever you were, you can count on your child being in that role.  In my mother’s family, her sister was the golden child & she was the scapegoat.  While my grandmother was abusive to all of her grandchildren to some degree, I believe she saved the worst of her abuse for me.

If you have children & a narcissistic grandmother, it is your job as their parent to protect the children.  Obviously, you don’t want her hurting your children like she’s hurt you!  I believe the best place to start protecting them is to pray.  Ask God for wisdom on how to handle the situation & how to best protect your children.

Also limit your children’s contact with your narcissistic mother as well as yours.  The less contact anyone has with a narcissist, the better.  Limited contact may evolve into no contact at some point.  The less time spent around a narcissist, the clearer your thinking becomes concerning that person.  You may realize no contact is best for you & your children when you hadn’t considered it an option before.

Make sure your children know that they can talk to you about anything & you won’t get mad.  Help them to feel safe knowing that if Grannie Dearest says or does something that upsets them, they can tell you about it, you won’t be upset with them, & you will handle the situation.

Do not leave your children alone with their narcissistic grandmother.  Make sure that you or your spouse or both of you are with them at all times in her presence.  Not only will this help your children feel safer, chances are good that your narcissistic mother will behave better.  Narcissists don’t like witnesses to their abuse, after all.

If you’re in this situation, I believe these tips can help you & your children.  I wish you the absolute best!  xoxo

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Why Do Narcissists Have Children?

Have you ever wondered why people so incredibly self centered as narcissists have children?  I have.  God showed me a couple of reasons why my parents had me, but I’ve also wondered about narcissists in general, not only my parents, have kids.  I think I have figured out some of their “logic”, if you can call it that.

 

The narcissist who was abused or neglected as a child often has a root of shame, I believe, which is why they work so hard to convince people they are so wonderful, amazing, etc.  They’re also trying to convince themselves that they are so wonderful, amazing, etc.  By becoming a parent, this proves to themselves & everyone else that someone found them desirable.  Someone  took this big step with them, so they must be pretty fantastic, right?!

 

If the narcissist grew up feeling or being told she was abnormal somehow,  having a child can be a way to prove to the world that she is normal.  Having children is a perfectly normal step for many people, so if she can have a child, it proves to her & other people that she must be normal.

 

Children are also made to make their narcissistic parent look good, & we know all narcissists are obsessed with appearances.  If the narcissistic parent can mold their child into whatever she wants the child to be, that parent can then take credit for the child’s talents, successes, good looks or anything.  And, if this child is perfect, he or she will prove to the narcissistic parent that her abusive parents were wrong about her, that she really isn’t bad or unlovable as her parents told her she was.

 

This “perfect” child also can gain the narcissistic parent attention for being such a wonderful parent as to raise this perfect little human being.  People notice exceptional children, so as long as this child is perfect, the narcissistic parent will lap up all of the praise & admiration she receives for her amazing parenting skills.  What the narcissistic parent fails to realize is that no child is perfect, & expecting the child to be is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the child.  Trying to meet impossibly high standards creates a great amount of anxiety in anyone, but especially a child who just wants his or her parent’s love.

 

Often, if two narcissists have children together, one will take the main role in raising the child.  That parent gets to enjoy being in control in this capacity as well as looking self-sacrificing & martyr like by doing everything all by herself with virtually no help from the other parent.

 

Because children need their parents, this also feeds the narcissistic parent’s narcissism.  They rely on their child’s dependency because it makes them feel valuable & good to be needed.  They don’t take into consideration that at some point, that child is going to grow up & move on.  It’s as if that thought isn’t even a possibility to the narcissistic parent, so when that happens, they feel betrayed by their child.  How dare that child do something normal by growing up!  Doesn’t the child know that their role is to stay a child as long as the parent wants?!

 

Some parents also have children because they foolishly believe that will repair their relationship or force the partner to stay with them so they can raise the child together.  They mistakenly believe that if they have a child together, their partner will start treating them right or love them more, when nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Along those lines, the narcissist who was abused as a child may think that having a baby will fix her relationship with her abusive parents.  She may think no grandparent couldn’t love their grandchild, so if she gives her parents a grandchild, she finally may have her parents’ love.

 

There are countless reasons people want to start a family, but when it comes to narcissists, you can be sure all of their reasons will be unhealthy.  They will be entirely self-serving to the narcissist, & the child will suffer because of it.

 

 

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Dysfunctional Behaviors Of People Raised By Narcissistic Parents

 

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Thoughts About Honoring Parents

I recently read an article about Father’s Day. In it, the author gave valid reasons why we should honor our fathers. It was a very good article, but one thing about it bothered me- the author didn’t mention how exactly to honor our fathers. I thought I would discuss it here. Actually, I’ll refer to honoring parents, not only fathers.

When you have good & loving parents, you don’t have to have strict boundaries. Your parents respect them naturally, so boundaries aren’t a concern. However, with narcissistic parents, you have to have & enforce very strict boundaries. This is very honorable, because these boundaries encourage your parent to behave in a healthier manner.

When Mother’s Day or Father’s Day comes around, if you have good parents, you can be a blessing to them, enjoy yourself & have zero fear of repercussions. You can spend time with them, give them nice cards & gifts. Narcissistic parents? No. Doing those things for your narcissistic parents basically tells them their abuse is OK. You’ll show them love no matter how awfully they treat you. This is why it’s important to give more minimal gifts & rather neutral cards- you are recognizing them as your parents but at the same time, you’re not praising them for their great parenting skills. You never want to reward bad behavior!

Even going no contact can be very honorable when it comes to abusive parents. While many people think that no contact is dishonorable, it really isn’t. By severing ties, you are removing the opportunity for an abusive person to abuse you & commit sinful acts. You are also encouraging that person to change their behavior for the better, because you won’t have them in your life if they are abusive. You’re also removing the temptation from yourself of going off on the abuser.

Dear Reader, there is never, EVER anything honorable about tolerating abuse, & that includes tolerating it from parents. If you still have doubts, read this…

Psalm 101:5 (AMP)

“Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will silence;
The one who has a haughty look and a proud (arrogant) heart I will not tolerate.”

This verse tells me that God has no patience for narcissism. Since as His children we are called to be like Him (Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 2:4), then we should have no patience for narcissism either, no matter who that narcissist is! If people disapprove of your refusal to tolerate your narcissistic parent’s abuse, well, that is their problem. Your job is to live a life that pleases God, not man…

Jeremiah 17:5

“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (KJV)

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Is No Contact “Un-Christian”?

Some very naive people think that being a Christian means some pretty awful things.  One of those awful things is that as a Christian, you are to tolerate any & all abuse because calling people out on it is “un-Christian” or unloving.  These ingenuous people actually think that removing yourself from an abuser’s life isn’t Godly behavior, especially if that abuser is a parent.  It’s much better to allow that person to abuse you indefinitely!  After all, the Bible says you should honor your parents, & it’s honorable to tolerate anything they dish out!

Hahaha.  No.

I am certainly not claiming to have all the answers to all things Christian.  I am well aware that I don’t.  But, I have been a Christian for 22 years now & have learned a few things.

Being a Christian doesn’t mean you are better than other people or that you’re perfect.  Far from it.  If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Jesus.  And, just because we have Him in our lives & hearts doesn’t mean we’re perfect.  No matter how perfect an artist may be, if the canvas is flawed, even the greatest artist can’t paint a perfect picture on a flawed canvas.

Another important thing I have learned is that being a Christian also means we need to love God’s way, which is very different  from loving people’s way.  God’s love wants what is best, not what is easiest.   Confronting abusers is best because it encourages them to make appropriate changes in their behavior.  Granted with narcissists, the chances of them making positive changes is very slim.  However, it is not your place to force them to change.  It is your place to encourage them to change, which is much different than forcing someone to change.

 

But it’s certainly NOT easy!  Tolerating bad behavior & even abuse is much easier than standing up to someone about their behavior.  As painful as tolerating abuse is, at least you won’t lose your friends & family so long as you tolerate it.  Once you stand up to an abuser, chances are excellent that you will lose people you love.  They will call you unreasonable, unloving, cruel, abusive, a bad son/daughter/friend/etc. & yes, even attack your faith by saying you aren’t a real Christian or are a bad one.  People who stand up to abusers find out quickly who really loves them & who doesn’t.

I believe many people, Christian or not, have misinterpreted the Bible when it comes to love.  Yes, love is patient & kind & other wonderful things.  However, love also must be tough sometimes.  God proves that!  He doesn’t let His people get away with any old kind of behavior.  He lets us suffer consequences of bad actions or be blessed with good actions.  As His children, we are supposed to behave like God- Matthew 5:48 “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (KJV) 

Dear Reader, if your faith has been judged & criticized because you have removed an abuser from your life, you are most certainly not alone.  Many people have been, including me.  When this happens, I try to remember Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”  (AMP)  As painful as it is when people side with your abuser over you, & even shame you for no longer tolerating abuse, it can bring comfort when you remember God is all too aware of what is being said to & about you.  He will reward you one day!  Those who said such cruel things however??  Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…

2 Thessalonians 1:8 “dealing out [full and complete] vengeance to those who do not [seek to] know God and to those who ignore and refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus [by choosing not to respond to Him].”  (AMP)

 

Romans 12:19 “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for God’s wrath [and His judicial righteousness]; for it is written [in Scripture], “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” (AMP)

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How Untruths Become A Part Of You

One especially devious, creative ways narcissists abuse their victims is cementing facts in their brains.  What I mean is, a narcissist can imply something once, then reinforce what they said by their actions instead of words.  The result is you feel a certain way, & if you say anything to the narcissist, they will say they don’t know what you’re talking about or deny that they ever said anything in the first place.

As one example from my life, I have a terrible time admitting when I don’t feel well, taking time to recover or asking for help.  I feel like I need to be OK at all times so I don’t upset anyone or burden anyone by asking them for help.  I even question myself, wondering if I really have whatever problem I am dealing with at the time, even when my symptoms are glaringly obvious.

Do you have some false belief cemented in your mind too?  If so, you’re not alone!  This sort of thing happens all the time to children of narcissistic parents.  There are some ways to cope.

As always, I recommend praying as the first step.  Ask God for wisdom, to help you heal & anything else you can think of.

When it comes to healing, I firmly believe in getting to the root of the problem.  It’s the most effective way to resolve the problem permanently.  To do this, try to remember the earliest time in your life when you felt a certain way, & then deal with it from there.  To explain it, I’ll tell you what I did.

When considering how hard a time I’ve had admitting I have health problems, I thought back over my life, present to past, during times I was sick or injured.  I remembered many, many times when my mother didn’t believe I had a health problem unless it was something very obvious, like a bad case of the flu.  As a child, she complained when she had to take care of me when I was sick.  When I was only 5 years old, my mother woke me up one morning by tickling me.  In trying to get away from her, I slipped & hit my head on the big wooden headboard.  Long story short, the result was a trip to the ER & several stitches in my scalp.  Afterward, my mother took me to the mall & bought me a coloring book & crayons, something she complained about buying for years.  During the experience, my mother didn’t comfort me.  She was upset & I felt completely responsible for that.

These experiences taught me that I shouldn’t burden anyone with my health concerns, I should be “ok” at all times so as not to upset anyone & my problems aren’t important.

To undo this warped thinking, I found it very helpful to look at things very logically, ignoring feelings for the moment.  Here are some things I came up with:

  • Why did my mother take me to the mall after a trip to the hospital?!  I had a head injury!  I should’ve been home, resting quietly.   She could’ve called my father & asked him to pick up the coloring book & crayons on his way home from work, or asked a friend or neighbor to do it.
  • My mother should never have complained to me about how hard that incident was for her or having to take care of me when I was sick.  That is what parents do.  It’s a part of the job.
  • Why has my mother not believed me or blamed me about health issues as an adult?  Since narcissists love projection, it makes me think it’s because she has either exaggerated or even faked her own health problems & thinks other people do the same

I can’t honestly say that I’m 100% ok now.  I can say though, that since thinking about these things, I’ve already gotten better at admitting when I don’t feel well.  I haven’t needed to ask anyone for help yet, but I am certain that will be easier too.  It seems to me that when you face things, they lose much of their power over you.  When you examine them & realize how wrong they were, they lose even more power.

What false beliefs are cemented in your mind?  I would like to encourage you today to face them.  No, it isn’t easy, but it is possible.  The things I mentioned earlier did hurt me when I first thought about them, & made me angry.  However, I’m still glad I did because that enabled me to remove the false beliefs I’ve carried around my entire life & replace them with healthier beliefs.  I firmly believe the same thing can happen to you!

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Things Adult Children Of Narcissists Do Because Of Their Parents

Being raised by a narcissistic parent or two causes a person to act differently than people raised by healthy, functional parents.  Aside from the most obvious common problem, C-PTSD, being raised by narcissists creates certain unique behaviors that almost every victim exhibits.  This post addresses those behaviors.

 

Being afraid to say no.  Narcissists don’t allow their children to have boundaries.  “No” can be met with abuse- name calling, scathing criticisms, guilt trips & even physical violence.  Children use “yes” as a survival skill as a result.  They learn early in life that it’s easier to do whatever their narcissistic parent wants than to say “no” & face the consequences.  This behavior becomes such a habit that it is often carried into adulthood.   While it served a good purpose as a child, it no longer does as an adult.  Being a healthy adult means having healthy boundaries.  You need to start asking yourself why are you saying yes?  Are you saying yes because you want to or because you’re afraid of disappointing someone if you say no?  Start saying no when you’re saying yes when you don’t want to.  Some people won’t like it, but one thing to keep in mind- healthy, good, caring people respect boundaries.  Users & abusers don’t.  If someone gets upset with you for having a healthy boundary, that isn’t the kind of person you need in your life.

 

Apologizing too much.  Narcissistic parents blame their children for every single thing, so their children learn to apologize for everything, whether or not it’s their fault.  This dysfunctional survival skill also carries into adulthood, & needs to stop.  When you feel the urge to apologize, pray.  Ask God is this truly your fault?  Should you apologize or are you only doing so out of habit?

 

Being unable to express emotions in a healthy way.  Narcissists can’t handle the emotions of other people, including their children.  They force their children to stifle their emotions, often by shaming them for having them.  This tells children their emotions are bad.  To cope, may continue to repress their emotions while others express them in inappropriate ways such as getting angrier than is appropriate for the situation.  It can be hard, I know, but you need to learn to get in touch with your emotions & give them a healthy outlet.  Ask God to help you to do this, because it will get scary, especially showing anger after a lifetime of stifling it.  Journaling can be helpful, too- seeing things in writing brings clarity.

 

Not trusting your intuition & perception.  Constant gaslighting is possibly the most cruel form of abuse there is, & also a favorite of narcissists.  Gaslighting makes a person second guess everything about themselves- their instincts, perception, feelings, thoughts- because it makes a victim feel that they are wrong about everything or even crazy.  The fact is though that you aren’t wrong or crazy- you are FINE!  The gaslighting made you doubt these things but it doesn’t mean that they are actually wrong or flawed somehow.  Your instincts, perceptions, feelings & thoughts are just fine.  They are trustworthy!  Ask God to help you to learn to trust yourself.  Pay attention, too.  You’ll see that the more you you’re right about little things, the more you learn to trust yourself.

 

Over explaining yourself.  Narcissistic parents demand their children behave in certain ways that are acceptable to them, no matter how their child feels about it.  When the child fails to meet the impossibly high expectations, the parent demands an explanation for the failure.  One more dysfunctional survival skill children of narcissists learn is to explain anything & everything, & again, this often continues into adulthood.  It feels strange at first to stop over explaining yourself, but if you stick with it, it gets more comfortable as time goes on.  Always remember, not everyone needs an explanation for what you do.

 

These behaviors, although dysfunctional, don’t have to be permanent.  With prayer & work, you can make healthy changes.

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Helpful Tactics For Dealing With Narcissists

As anyone with experience with narcissists knows, you can’t avoid them entirely.  Try as you might, they are everywhere.  Because this is a sad fact of life, everyone needs to have some effective weapons in their arsenal.

 

Below is a list of things that can help stop narcissists in their tracks.  While I always recommend prayer as the best place to start, these are some useful tactics I have found that can be helpful as well.

 

  1. Show no emotions when in the presence of a narcissist.  Narcissists feed off the emotions of their victims.  If you act happy, they will do their best to make you unhappy.  If you’re sad, they’ll try to make you sadder.  Angry?  They will push your buttons to attempt to make you even angrier.  In the presence of a narcissist, show NO emotions.  You aren’t happy, sad, angry or anything.  You simply are.  This gives them nothing to work with.
  2. Ask the narcissist, “How does that make sense?”  It is best to ask this question logically, minus any signs of emotion aside from confusion.  Narcissists are highly illogical beings, so when you ask them to explain their actions, it can stop them in their tracks.  It also can cause a narcissistic injury, but not one they usually react to with narcissistic rage.  They know if they do, they’ll end up looking ridiculous, & that fact stops them in their tracks.
  3. “No.”  Simply, no.  No explanation, no excuses.  If they continue to try to pressure you for more information, simply continue saying no.  Narcissists don’t know what to do with this, especially when you refuse to explain your no.  They may try to intimidate you with their anger or make you feel guilty for your no, but if you stay dedicated to your no while showing no emotions, they will give up fairly quickly.
  4. Make eye contact.  People who have nothing to hide or are honest have no problems making eye contact.  Narcissists have plenty to hide & are very dishonest.  Eye contact will freak them out.  They don’t know what to do with a person who meets their gaze.
  5. Let them know that the world doesn’t revolve around them.  Narcissists expect the world to center on them.  If you let them know this isn’t the case where you are concerned, it will fluster them.  To do this, you can refuse to do something for or with them because you have other plans at that time.  “I can’t.. I have plans that day” without any explanation is a perfectly acceptable response.  “Oh” when they cry to you about how mean someone was to them also works.
  6. Let them know they don’t scare you.  Overt narcissists in particular love to intimidate their victims.  Intimidation means a victim will do whatever you want, & overt narcissists rely on that fact.  But think about it- what can this person do to you?  Chances are, not much.  If that person belittles or criticizes you, remember that narcissists project their flaws onto their victims & do their best to tear a person down.  That doesn’t mean what they say is true!  If you remember that & show no fear or even act a bit bored, you aren’t showing fear.
  7. Let them know their guilt trips don’t work on you.  If the narcissist is a covert narcissist, rather than try to intimidate you, chances are very good they will use guilt.  Guilt can be difficult to fight.  Instead of accepting their guilt trips, ask yourself if what they say makes sense.  Should you feel guilty for what they say you should?  Was that truly your responsibility?
  8. Show your self-confidence.  I adopted a chow chow mix dog in 2002 for my husband for his birthday.  What I didn’t know about Bear at that time was that chows are known for having a very dominant nature.  Combine that with the fact he obviously had been abused, & it was a recipe for disaster.  It took a lot of work to turn him into the wonderful, loving, kind dog he turned into.  The main thing that helped was to let Bear know he was NOT in charge.  Dominant dogs need a very strong leader or they will take over, & Bear was no exception.  Narcissists are much the same way.  If you show any sign of weakness, narcissists will take over.  If you refuse to believe the awful criticisms they say or be manipulated, & make your feelings know, narcissists will back down.  Bullies are at their heart cowards, & since narcissists are usually bullies, this applies to them as well.

 

Nothing is guaranteed to stop any narcissist from abusing you for good, but using these comments can stop them at least temporarily.  They may even stop the narcissist for good on specific topics.  I wish you the best with the narcissists you face, & hope these tactics help you!

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