Tag Archives: perspective

God Truly Works All Things Out To Good

My husband & I were talking last night about the relationship with my parents, & I thought I’d share a bit of that talk with you…

I was quickly reaching a point probably about 10 years ago where I wanted no further contact with my parents.  I prayed about it, & knew God was leaving that decision up to me, & would support me either way.  I wasn’t sure what to do, so I maintained the relationship.

As many of you know, in 2015 I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  While I was in the emergency room & still very delirious, I told my husband not to tell our parents about this at any costs, because if he did, I would kill him.  In spite of being totally in my own delirious world at that time, I still have some vague memories of thinking of how my parents would respond to my situation & knew there was NO way I could handle their lack of concern.

While recovering, I remembered this, & it hit me… my word!!  I can’t even expect comfort from my parents when I nearly died!  How messed up is this?!  That revelation threw me for a loop.  I was incredibly sad & angry about it at the same time.  That was when I told God, enough is enough.  I want these people out of my life!  I’m done!  Yet oddly, this time I felt He was saying, “No.  Wait.  I’ll show you when the time is right.”

Well, I waited & kept saying, “Now?!  Please?!”  “Wait.”  *sigh*  Ok…

Then May 5, 2016, I had a big fight with my parents.  I knew that night my mother wouldn’t speak to me for quite a while, then she’d call like nothing ever happened.  That is how she always operated.  I also knew my father would demand to me to try to smooth over this fiasco.  What I figured would happen, happened.  Over the next few months, I made the decision that I was officially done with my mother, then later decided I was also done with my father.  I felt God was saying the timing was right, so I blocked my parents’ phone numbers.

For a while, I wondered why that timing was right & why I felt God didn’t want me to end contact for that period of time.  Eventually it hit me.  I learned a LOT in the final couple of years of my relationship with my parents.  I learned a lot more in that short time than in the other years.  I started to understand what makes narcissists tick & figured out some pretty effective ways to cope with them.  This gave me a LOT of good information to write about & to share with my readers.

I am so glad to be able to help people, in particular ones for whom no contact isn’t an option.  That is such an awful place to be!  I am grateful I learned what I did during that time, in spite of how incredibly miserable that time was.

I’m telling you this so that you hopefully will be inspired to think the same way about your situation.  I’m not saying be grateful for the abuse you endured of course.  Who could be?!  But, chances are there is some good that came of it.  Being abused gives people a deep empathy & caring for other people, because they understand suffering so well.  That is a blessing.  Learning how to spot abusive people & how to deal with the ones you can’t avoid is another blessing.  Learning about how to set & enforce healthy boundaries is still another.

Like I said, I’m not saying you should be grateful you were abused.  That would be weird & I’d think very unhealthy to boot.  However, if you can find some good in it all, it can help you a great deal, because you know that your pain wasn’t pointless.  It had some purpose.  What others meant to destroy you, not only didn’t accomplish that, but it gave you some blessings as well.  God wastes absolutely nothing, & He was able to glean something good out of anything, even something so awful.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” (AMP)

So when you consider the awful experiences you have been through, please try to remember that some good things did come out of them!  Of course, it would’ve been nice if they came another way, but at least they did come to you.  Your pain wasn’t in vain!

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Solving Your Problems

There are often different ways to think about things.  For example, there is a quote that says something along the lines of “when you’re ignoring people, you’re teaching them to live without you.” (I forget the author & the exact wording)  This quote can be a good reminder to pay attention to those you love in your life, but also can be a good reminder of why you need to stay away from certain people.  If someone is too dependent on you (such as in codependent relationships for example), they need to learn to live without you to count on.

 

Years ago, I read  James 1:5 which says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (KJV)  I decided to ask God for wisdom, & have done so many times since.  God has not disappointed me.  He has given me wisdom in whatever area I’ve asked for it, which has been a tremendous help.

 

Part of that wisdom, I think, is also being able to see things from various perspectives.  That can be a tremendous help in solving problems.

 

Often, people tell me about their problems, & sometimes want my advice because I see things from a different perspective than they do.  Flattering for sure, but that isn’t always necessary.  Sometimes, people simply need to view things from a different angle.  One thing I tell people is “What would you tell me if I came to you with this exact same problem?”  It helps people to create their own solution by seeing the problem from a different angle.

 

If you are suffering with a problem today, Dear Reader, then I would encourage you to do two things.  First & foremost, pray.  Ask God to guide your actions, for wisdom & to provide you with anything else you need in this situation.  Second, try looking at your problem from another angle.  Imagine a friend came to you with this problem- what advice would you give?

 

I know this may sound simplistic, but I encourage you to give it a try.  Such a simple approach has helped me figure many very difficult things out.

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Yesterday’s Epiphany..

Yesterday, I thought was going to be an average Monday.  Chores, laundry, nothing exciting.  I needed the quiet & routine after Saturday’s panic attack & was sort of looking forward to it (well, other than chores & laundry..lol).  Instead, my phone rang about ten times before noon.  ACK!!!  Not that all the calls were bad by any stretch- it’s just I need my introvert/alone time.  I was feeling really overwhelmed, especially since a few calls were from my mother.
Then, my mother called back a bit after noon to let me know how my father’s doctor appointment went.  I was frustrated because I was trying to get a load of laundry folded, & her new phone service keeps fading out at random, so  I miss some of the conversation.  Then she said it- the thing that lit a fire in me.  She’s been seeing a chiropractor for back problems, & said, “You just can’t understand how hard it is seeing a chiropractor every day.”  *sigh*  Yes, in fact, I can, because I did this when I was 19-20 because of my mother slamming me into a wall & hurting my back.  I told her I could understand it.  She said, “Oh?  What did you ever see a chiropractor for?”  (I considered just banging my head into a wall at this point, but didn’t want to mess up my wall..lol).  I snapped “The back problems I had for 10 years!”  She said, “I didn’t mean to upset you by asking.  I’m sorry.”  I froze- instead of saying something about how could she forget since she is the reason my back was so messed up I had to quit working, I said “I’m just frazzled- I’m trying to do a lot of things at once.”  Shortly after, we got off the phone.
That’s when I began crying out of sheer frustration.  Why didn’t I say what I wanted to?  Why did I chicken out?  I called my husband in tears, & told him what happened.  His response helped me a lot.  He said, “Maybe this was God’s way of stopping you from getting into something you can’t handle right now.  You know you hate arguing with her & her pissing contests.”  I thought about it, & yea, this made sense.  Besides, I barely slept last night, which means I’m even less able to handle things than normal.  Also, in telling a friend about this, she said it may not be that I can’t handle it, it’s that I don’t need to handle it right now.  Another valid point.  I think what happened was God intervening & a combination of me not needing the drama or being able to handle it well right now.  So as a result, I stopped beating myself up.  
I think in cases like this, we need to stop beating ourselves up & try to look at things differently.  What I thought was a failure actually wasn’t so bad.  I should have prayed first, but for some reason, I didn’t, & God still was there for me in the form of my husband & friend.  He gave me the answers & comfort I needed.  🙂

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What Is The Difference Between Guilt & Shame?

Many people who have survived abuse, especially childhood abuse, don’t realize there is a vast difference between healthy, normal guilt & toxic shame.  We are taught from day one to feel shame- ashamed of who we are, what we think/feel/do/like/don’t like & more.  This is absolutely deadly to one’s self-esteem.  When you are ashamed of who you are, you want to hide from the world- you don’t want to expose anyone to the terrible person you believe you are.  You would love to be invisible.

Guilt, however, is a very useful, healthy tool in life.  Guilt doesn’t make you feel ashamed of yourself- guilt makes you feel ashamed of something you did that was wrong instead.  Guilt speaks of the action, while shame speaks of who you are.  For example, if you come home after a very trying day, & snap at your husband, you should feel guilt.  Enough guilt for acting that way to make you say, “I’m sorry, Baby.. I’ve had an awful day.  It’s not fair of me to take it out on you though.”  Once your apology is accepted, you let it go.

Shame however, would make you tell yourself that you are a terrible person.  You shouldn’t have acted that way- only a bad person acts like that!  You may or may not apologize- shame may make you feel too embarrassed to apologize- but you will beat yourself up for being such a bad person.

Do you see the difference?  Guilt says, “I did something wrong,” where shame says, “I am wrong & bad.”

Do you have a healthy sense of guilt, or do you feel shame?  If you are in doubt, ask yourself how you feel after doing something that hurts another person’s feelings.  (And yes, you will- we ALL do hurtful things sometimes, no matter how careful we are to avoid it).  If you quickly do what you can to make amends & let it go, then you are feeling healthy guilt.  If you beat yourself up for being a terrible person, you feel shame.

It can be hard to overcome shame, especially after a lifetime of experience with it, but it can be done.  As you work on your healing, your self-esteem naturally improves.  You also see things in a much healthier perspective- you begin to realize that you are NOT at fault for everything, as you heard you were when you were a child.  You realize that things were done to you that you didn’t deserve, & nothing you could have done would have made you deserve to be abused.  These things help you to feel less & less shame as time passes.  

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Keeping Blame In Perspective

Many people who have survived an abusive situation are told you can’t blame your abuser.  He or she didn’t know what he or she was doing.  Or, that person is mentally ill.  Or, he/she was abused as a child.  Or a plethora of other reasons a person can’t be mad at their abuser.  This invalidates the pain the victim feels!  It immediately makes you feel guilty because you have problems stemming from being abused.  I know- I have been in this position myself.

While I’m not saying we need to blame every problem in life on being abused, I am saying we need to keep a healthy perspective on it.  In my case as an example, my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Borderline Personality Disorder.  When I first learned of her disorders, I felt guilty for having problems that stem from her abuse when I was growing up.  I didn’t think I should hold her responsible- after all, these are disorders!  She must not be responsible for how she acts!  Then I can’t be angry or hurt or have problems that stem from things she did to me.  Besides, that was a long time ago..

Then I learned that personality disorders describe a way someone behaves, rather than physical brain damage, such as Schizophrenia or PTSD.  And, many of the things my mother did to me were hidden, even from my father.  That tells me she knew what she was doing was wrong.  After all, if one is proud of one’s actions, they aren’t hidden.  

I have since learned to have a healthy perspective.  While I do blame my mother for me having C-PTSD, I take responsibility for how I cope with it.  I blame her for my lifetime of low self-esteem, yet I try to find ways to keep a healthy self-esteem.  While she is to blame for the damage done to me, it is my responsibility to heal as best I can.  Part of that healing, I believe, is knowing that the damage done is NOT my fault!  I did nothing to deserve the horrible things that were done to me!

You did nothing to deserve the abuse you endured either!  Keep the blame for what was done where it belongs- squarely on the abuser.  You have absolutely NO responsibility for what was done to you.  However, you DO have a responsibility to heal.  Ask God to show you how- what steps you need to take.  And, as you heal, you may find out that God wants to use your story to help others heal, & inspire others.  That may help you heal even more than you know!  Blessing & inspiring others is a beautiful feeling!  

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