Tag Archives: physical

“Why Didn’t You Tell Someone?”

When victims of abuse first tell their story, people often ask why they didn’t tell someone when it was happening.  They figure it couldn’t have been so bad if they didn’t even tell anyone.

 

This thinking is incredibly faulty!  Nothing could be further from the truth!

 

Abusers of all types have some things in common.  One of those things is they love secrecy.  They don’t want people to know what they are doing to their victim, so they threaten & scare their victims into silence.

 

Some abusers tell their victims things like, “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill your child/parents/sibling.”  Others beat their victims upon finding out the victim told someone what the abuser has done.  Narcissistic abusers usually aren’t so obvious with their intimidation, but they value secrecy nonetheless.  When I was growing up, my mother used to scream at me when she thought I was “airing our dirty laundry” as she called talking about her abuse.  She would shame me for needing to talk about things, like there was something incredibly wrong with me- everything she did was completely normal, I had no right to think otherwise or talk about her behind her back.  I stopped talking.  It wasn’t worth the screaming & berating.

 

Then sometimes if we tell, people either don’t believe us anyway or they think we’re exaggerating.  When I was a teen & told some people about my mother, no one believed me.  One school guidance counselor said “it didn’t sound so bad.”  When my mother threw me into a wall, I went to my friend’s parents’ home to see if I could stay with them.  Her father laughed at me.  26+ years later & I still don’t get the joke.

 

Reasons like this are why victims don’t tell someone when the abuse is happening.  We’re terrified the abuser will follow through on their threats or hurt us in some way, or afraid no one will believe us.  As painful as staying quiet about what’s happening is, it’s easier than facing the wrath of the abuser or apathy of someone we turn to for help.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Narcissism

Comparing Experiences Isn’t Good For Victims

Many victims of abuse downplay what they have been through.  Maybe you’ve even done it yourself, saying things like, “What I went through wasn’t nearly as bad as what you did!”  “At least my mother didn’t beat me!”  “It wasn’t so bad…” “My uncle only raped me that one time, & he was drunk…It wasn’t really his fault..”

 

The simple fact is though, that abuse is abuse.  There is really no point in comparing your situation to someone else’s.  Yet, victims do it often.

 

Many victims of psychological & narcissistic abuse were abused mentally but not physically or sexually.  They often believe because there was “only” mental abuse, it wasn’t so bad.  Psychological abuse doesn’t leave visible scars, which means many people don’t think it’s as bad as physical or sexual abuse.  This is completely untrue!  All abuse causes pain & damages a person’s mental health.

 

Often abusers have their victims completely convinced that they are so incredibly unworthy, that they don’t even deserve sympathy, understanding or pity for the pain they have survived.   The lower a person’s self-esteem, the easier a person is to control, so obliterating self-esteem is a very preferred tool of all types of abusers.

 

Also, narcissists love to blame their victims.  It doesn’t matter if you were absolutely 1,000% not responsible for the problem, they will still find a way to blame you.  One year while working in the yard with my husband, he dropped a very heavy log on my foot, which broke my toe.  My mother blamed me for him dropping the log on my foot!

 

Narcissists love to flaunt to their victims that they care about someone else’s suffering & not yours.  If you experience the exact same thing as someone else, the narcissist will offer sympathy for that person while simultaneously letting you know they couldn’t care less about your problem.  For example, in 2010, one of my cats passed away suddenly.  Within a couple of days of losing her, my parents’ neighbors’ small dog passed away.  My mother shed tears over the dog’s death, telling me how wonderful she was.  Yet, when I told her about my cat, she responded with “Oh well.. at least you don’t have anyone sick anymore” then she changed the subject.  This type of behavior makes a victim feel like anything they experience isn’t a big deal, yet what other people experience, even if it’s exactly what the victim is going through, is worthy of sympathy.

 

Narcissists also are professionals at invalidating their victims.  After enough invalidation, you learn that you don’t deserve any validation.  Nothing that happens to you is a big deal, & everyone else is much more important than you are.

 

If any or all of this sounds all too familiar to you, you need to know something.  Dear Reader, what you went through was bad.  The worst.  No one should have to suffer any type of abuse!  There is no comparison between you & anyone else.  Every situation is different, & every person is different.  It’s completely unfair to say someone else had it worse than you because of those differences.

 

Instead of comparing, how about validating your experiences to yourself?  It’s OK & even healthy to admit that they were bad.  In fact, if you hope to heal, then you need to admit & accept how bad things were.  Once you do that, you can grieve or get angry or whatever you need to do to process what happened to you.  Acceptance is an important first step.

 

If you’re having trouble validating your experiences, try thinking about things from a little different perspective.  If someone you love came to you & told you their story that was just like yours, would you tell the person it was no big deal?  Would you tell that person someone else had it worse, so they need to just get over it?  Or, would you hug the person, say what they experienced was wrong, & try to help them cope?  Guessing you would do the right thing & be there for that person.  If you’d be good & understanding for someone else, then why can’t you do it for yourself?

 

If you’re having trouble being that good to yourself, then I would urge you to start praying.  Ask God why you aren’t being that good to yourself.  Let Him help you to see what the problem is, & help you to fix it.  Also don’t forget to ask Him to help you to learn to validate yourself while you’re at it.

 

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Filed under Narcissism

The Body, Abuse & Trauma

The human body is an amazing creation.  It is capable of a myriad of incredible things.  It can heal from even serious injuries.  The brain can even create ways to cope to get us through even unimaginable trauma.

 

When the brain does this, it needs to deal with that trauma at a later date, once the event is over.  If it doesn’t the body may rebel.

 

Years ago, I spoke with a lady who worked on a prayer hotline.  She mentioned that she believed many health problems were indeed caused by emotional ones.  People who repress anger often have kidney problems, & women with menstrual or fertility problems often had mothers who criticized their femininity.  It’s also a common thing for those with PTSD to have lower back pain without a physical cause.

 

I firmly believe this is the case, although I hadn’t thought of it in years.   I only thought of it because something happened to me.

 

(Sorry in advance for too much information.)  I’ve been on birth control for a long time, & it prevents me from getting a monthly period.  Suddenly out of the blue, I got a period.  Interestingly, it started on May 5, which was the 1 year “anniversary” of the big fight I had with my parents.  I felt really bad, so I didn’t even notice this until 2 days later.  Once I did, I asked God for help, please show me what’s going on!  He reminded me of how things were when I was growing up.  My periods were very painful, yet my mother said it was no big deal & refused to take me to a doctor.   For that matter, she wouldn’t even let me have so much as an asprin to help with the pain.  I also thought about how I rarely saw a doctor & saw the dentist I believe twice in my entire upbringing.  In fact, when I had the chicken pox, I had a very bad case that lasted 2 weeks.  My mother complained about having cabin fever the whole time.  About halfway into it, she insisted my parents & I go out to dinner, even though I felt horrible.  And, my father said & did nothing about any of this.

 

As I thought about this, it made me angry for the first time.  Growing up, this was simply my normal, so it didn’t make me angry.  My illnesses & injuries were treated as an inconvenience to my parents, not as a source of concern.  I prayed a lot & wrote in my journal to cope with this new anger.  Both were tremendously helpful not only to my emotional health but physical too.  As soon as God showed me what was happening & I worked with Him to heal, the period immediately stopped & I felt a thousand times better!

 

It’s not easy for me to write about such personal things, but I felt it was important to share this with you, Dear Reader.  If you are suffering with a physical problem, there may be an emotional reason for it.  I encourage you to pray.  Ask God to show you what is the root of this problem?  Is it due to past trauma or abuse?  What is the truth in this situation?  And, don’t forget to ask Him to help you to deal with it.  Facing ugly things isn’t easy, & you need God’s help doing so if you’re going to heal.

 

The mind/body connection is very real, Dear Reader.  Don’t underestimate it!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

There Is Nothing Wrong With Resting & Self-Care!

I noticed something interest in the last few hours, & I thought I’d share it with you today, Dear Readers.

As many of you know, in 2015, I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  In spite of all the time that’s passed, like many others who have survived it, I still live with many symptoms.  They get better or worse, but they’re still there.  All the time.  If this post sounds “off”, I apologize- thinking clearly isn’t my strong point at the moment because that’s part of it when symptoms flare up.  I just wanted to write this out before I forgot everything I wanted to say.

So,  bringing us to what I noticed…

I noticed when I’m way too stressed or going through an exceptionally hard time, something happens to make the symptoms get to the point of me needing to rest, to take time off, because I can’t do anything else.

Lately, I’ve been having a rough time with repressed memories & flashbacks as I mentioned previously.  As if that wasn’t tough enough, at the time of me writing this, it was 1 year ago today that I lost one of my kitties & that anniversary is making me sad.  I have a knack for remembering dates & dates like this always are very hard for me, even days before.

Yesterday evening, my husband was working on my car.  I took a shower while he was doing this.  While in there, I began to feel weird (headache, dizzy, couldn’t think clearly, body aches, shaking, etc.), but thought nothing of it.  When I got out, I came into the living room & heard my car running.  I suddenly knew why I felt so yukky & didn’t think anything of it- carbon monoxide removes my ability to realize if I feel bad, something is wrong.  I quickly found my husband & ask him to move my car away from the house while she’s running because the exhaust was sickening me.  He did, but the damage was already done.  Last night & today, I’ve felt horrible.  Today, I’m resting because there’s nothing else I can do.  Physically & mentally, I’m a whipped pup.

Since I’m finally thinking a little clearer today, I realized this sort of thing happens during especially difficult times.

My point of all this?  I realized that although God didn’t give me my health problems, He has been using them to help me.

My mother has called me lazy ever since I can remember.  As a result, I’ve always worked hard.  Too hard- I rarely took time to relax.  Self-care has been a huge struggle for me, as I feel on some dysfunctional level that it’s selfish & wrong to take care of myself.  Since I’ve even ignored God’s promptings that I need to take care of myself & relax sometimes, I firmly believe God allowed getting sick to happen because now, there are times when I have no choice but to relax & rest.

Please, Dear Reader, learn from my mistakes!!  I know so many adult children of narcissistic parents who ignore their mental & physical health because they don’t want to feel selfish or lazy by taking care of themselves as I have.  This is so wrong!!  Even God rests!

Genesis 2:2  “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”  (NIV)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with resting!  Self-care is vital to being healthy, physically & mentally, & frequent rest is a part of that.  I know shutting off the internal, critical voice calling you lazy or selfish is hard, but please try to do it for your own sake before you end up sick like I have.  I should’ve listened to God’s promptings years ago, but I kept ignoring them.  As a result, I believe God had no other choice but to allow this to happen to force me to rest before I killed myself by neglecting my needs.  I wouldn’t wish this on you, so please, make appropriate changes in your life.  You have every right to take care of yourself.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Physical Problems Can Change You

Those of you who have been reading my work for some time know that on February 27, 2015, I nearly died.  My fireplace’s flue had a problem & it caused carbon monoxide to enter my home.  It caused me to pass out, hitting my head on the logs beside the fireplace which gave me a concussion.  I easily could’ve died that day, but I didn’t.  I live with symptoms daily from the experience but my thinking has been especially odd to me.

 

My emotions & ways of thinking are different now than they were prior to my accident.  I have become much more self-centered in my thinking.  I firmly believe this is a side effect of the concussion, as many people I’ve seen who have experienced brain injuries become extremely selfish, some even narcissistic.  Thankfully I’m aware of it & do my best not to let it get out of hand.  I am also triggered VERY easily now.  Seeing a happy parent & child together saddens me, for example, because my relationship with my parents is so unhappy & downright toxic.  It’s very odd since I never thought that way before.  I also don’t lose my temper often, but when I do it is very ugly.  Even after 2 years, I’m still getting used to all of this.

 

I finally recently asked God about what is going on with me.  I’m hoping what He said will help some of you as well if you’ve experienced changes after a health scare.

 

Some health issues can change a person.  The chemical or physical changes caused by some illnesses or injuries can cause a person to respond differently than they once did.  Traumatic brain injuries & carbon monoxide are known for changing a person, but other illnesses & injuries can as well.  Many people experience depression after surgery, for example.  The changes you experience due to your physical problems may influence how your brain processes information.  In my case, my brain was already injured due to C-PTSD, & the concussion was just one more injury & one more trauma.  No wonder I’m triggered more easily now.

 

Becoming more selfish isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.  As long as it’s kept in check, it’s actually a good thing.  So many of us raised by narcissists learned early to put other people ahead of ourselves no matter what.  We need to become a bit more selfish & start taking care of us & without feeling guilty for it!

 

Everyone has a point where enough is enough.  When a person faces a serious health scare or near death experience, that may push the “enough is enough” point way up.  Something about coming close to death makes a person realize just how fleeting life is & how quickly it can end.  Often, that realization means patience for abusers vanishes & sometimes that filter that keeps you speaking nice things doesn’t always work.  You may not get mean, but you may become more blunt.  The realization also can make a person more determined to enjoy every possible moment of their life.

 

 

If you come from a narcissistic family, facing health problems means you have an additional complication to your health concerns.  Do you tell them?  If so, you know they won’t be there to help you if need be.. will they even care?  Can you deal with whatever cruelty they dish out to you on top of being sick?  Being faced with having to hide your problems or hear from your narcissistic parents about how much worse of *insert name here* has it than you are NOT nice prospects!  In fact, they hurt a great deal & they make you angry.

 

If you’re experiencing changes in your personality after illness or injury, talk to your doctors.  If nothing is physically wrong, then maybe you’re experiences are simply similar to mine.  Why not try to embrace the changes the best you can?  Maybe once you get to know the new you, you’ll think you’re pretty cool!  And maybe  too, the changes are for the best.  Losing patience for abusers is a good thing- you won’t be a doormat anymore!  Being more determined to enjoy life is a wonderful thing too.  You’ll  waste less time on fruitless things & spend more time on the things you enjoy & that are important to you.  I know it can be hard to find the good in health problems, but some things like I’ve mentioned in this article can be good.  They may be hard to get used to at first, but they really can be a good thing!

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Recent Revelations

Recently, I had a rough evening.  I had a nasty flashback to start with.  It was something I remembered, but I hadn’t thought of in a while.  A few hours later, I went to bed & had nasty nightmares.

 

As miserable as this experience was, it had a purpose.

 

The experience in the flashback & the nightmares showed me that there is a VERY common thread in my life with those who have abused or at the least mistreated me.  The abusers may have done different things to me, but they all believed that I was supposed to be their personal punching bag, obey their wishes at any personal cost to me, sacrifice anything for any whim of theirs, & take any abuse they dished out with a smile.  And, anyone I told their behavior was unacceptable acted the same way- as if I had a problem for being upset about their actions.

 

When this occurred to me the morning after the whole experience, something clicked in me.  No normal human acts this way!  While I already realized it, it really hit home to me just how messed up abusers are to think such things & act this way towards those they abuse.  How can anyone think that it’s OK to abuse & there is something wrong with victims for calling an abuser out on it?!

 

My point is that although you probably know this already, I wanted to remind you, Dear Reader, that NO ONE has the right abuse you!  You have every right to speak out, to set & enforce healthy boundaries, to stop the abuse, & to call out your abuser!  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse just because some sick person thinks you do.  You have rights!  Never listen to an abuser who thinks you should tolerate anything they dish out with a smile.  They are WRONG!  No one has to do that.  No one.  You deserve better than to be abused!  Never doubt that!  If you don’t believe me, remember, God thinks so to.  He loved you enough to send His only Son to die for you, so you could become His child.  Do you really think He would be OK with you being abused after that?

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Physical Pain, Stress And Trauma

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I was just talking with a friend of mine about the physical pain she suffered with for years. Finally, she found someone who not only believed she was in pain, but also found the solution for her!

This got me to thinking about myself. When I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall. As soon as I hit that wall, I felt & heard what felt like every single vertebrae in my spine pop loudly. The pain & fear of that moment made me black out briefly, it was that intense. It was so bad in fact, I had to quit working a few months later at age 20 because of the pain. I had pain constantly for the next 10 years until one day when I was watching Joyce Meyer on television. After she was done preaching, she prayed specifically for people with back pain. My husband prayed too, although I didn’t know it at the time. Within a few days, my pain was gone!

The early days of that injury were awful. I spent so much time visiting doctors. No one believed I was in pain. No injuries showed up on the xrays. They said my MRI was fine, but it “disappeared” never to be found again, so no one but the one doctor, an especially cruel & sarcastic man, saw the results. One doctor even wrote in his report I was “fine & able to work” in spite of me repeatedly telling him otherwise. I had one doctor, a very sweet, gentle chiropractor, who believed everything I told her. To top it off, my mother, the reason for my pain, told people I was faking it so I wouldn’t have to work. She often poked or slapped me right where my pain was, or handed me something heavy- anything to make me hurt.

It was a painful time in many ways. Aside from the physical pain, it hurt having doctors act like I was crazy, making this whole thing up or being lazy, like my mother said. After about a year or so, I gave up seeing doctors. It was absolutely frustrating & a waste of time. I also doubted the pain I felt. With so few people believing me, & reminding me often of that fact, I really wondered sometimes if I was making it up. Even when I would be in pain, I wondered about it sometimes.

Then in 2010, July 25 was a rough day. While at a now former friend’s wedding reception, a storm moved into the area. As soon as the storm was over, we quickly came home & learned our home had been struck by lightening. The insulation around the one window air conditioner had caught fire, but quickly extinguished itself. Coming so close to losing our home & the furkids terrified me! My husband told my father about it, & the next time we spoke, Dad told me he told my mother what happened. He said “we could’ve lost our daughter” & my mother’s response was “you’re making a big deal out of nothing.” Her lack of caring, although not surprising, was extremely painful for me. I also learned my ex husband’s mother died that day. I’d loved her, so even though I hadn’t seen her in 16 years, it still upset me. Shortly after, one of our cats passed away very suddenly. A couple of weeks later, as I was leaving a store, my shoe caught on the curb, throwing me into traffic where I was almost hit by a truck. Shortly after that, I ended a 22 year long friendship. Somewhere during this very traumatic time, my back went out one day. I woke up in pain, & it got worse until I could barely move. I was afraid I was back to living with the constant pain I had in my 20’s. Thankfully, a friend of mine who does massage helped me quite a bit, & the pain was gone within a few days.

This friend suggested that rather than have a nervous breakdown as I’ve had before, I had a physical one this time. After all, I’d been through a lot recently. I researched stress & back pain. That search led me to PTSD, & how I think it was 55% of people with PTSD suffer lower back pain with no physical cause. That blew me away! It also led to me researching PTSD further, which later led to me researching C-PTSD.

PTSD & C-PTSD can lead to a lot of physical pain with no physical cause. Muscle aches & pains from the stress of being constantly “on guard” are very common, as are headaches, migraines, neck pain, digestive issues & inflammatory disorders (arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc). Personally, I have had arthritis since I was 31, but also get aches & pains all over when the C-PTSD flares up. When I am really stressed, my lower back aches terribly.

If you are suffering with some type of physical pain that your doctors say is “all in your head” or don’t believe is as bad as you say, it may be time to ask for a referral to a mental health professional. You too may be dealing with PTSD or C-PTSD. Or, you may be dealing with too much stress & need to learn healthy ways to cope. In any case, please learn from my experience- no telling how much pain I could have saved myself if I had seen a psychiatrist when I was 19.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health