Tag Archives: psychological abuse

I Realized I Am Grieving

If you missed it, yesterday I posted about my narcissistic mother’s betrayal.  She currently is feigning great concern for my husband’s mother being ill, in spite of knowing the massive amount of abuse the woman has put me through.  And, she is flaunting it in my face- when we saw my parents Saturday, my mother kept bringing up his mother’s health,displaying deep concern for her. The only reason she is doing this is to cause me pain, & it is working.  Those of you who also have a narcissistic mother know that if I had said anything to her Saturday, she would have portrayed herself the innocent victim of her evil daughter.  The worst part is nothing would improve, but most likely it would only get worse.

Since Saturday, I have not been happy at all. I am deeply hurt,& crying easier than usual (normally I cry easily anyway, but this is over the top even for me). The C-PTSD has been flaring up- my head is swimming, anxiety levels are terrible & I had nightmares all night long last night.  I can’t remember many details other than being abandoned in them, which tells me my brain is still trying to process what my mother is doing to me.

I also realized this morning that I am grieving. There are five stages of grief..

  1. Denial- denying this is happening.  it’s a normal defense mechanism.
  2. Anger- when you feel as if this can’t be happening because you aren’t ready for it.  You may be angry at anyone or everyone at this point.
  3. Bargaining- “if only he had seen a doctor sooner!” thoughts invade your mind.  Or, “God if you let him live, i’ll do anything you want!”
  4. Depression- sadness becomes almost overwhelming.
  5. Acceptance- accepting what has happened, & beginning to move on.

These stages of grief not only happen when someone you love dies, but they can happen in other areas of life as well.  I believe they also can happen during especially painful times, such as what I’m experiencing. When someone goes above & beyond to hurt you, that is horribly painful, but when it is your own mother- the one person who is supposed to love you no matter what- the pain is magnified by 1,000.

So this is why I am grieving right now.  When my mother first began her “concern” for my mother in-law, I wasn’t surprised.  She has been sending her Christmas cards ever since the first Christmas after I told my parents how bad my mother in-law treated me.  However, the constant mentioning her, the “I’m praying she gets better soon”, & then the cookies & card for her were over the top, even by my mother’s standards.  It was almost impossible for me to believe she had gone this far at first (stage 1).  Once it started sinking in shortly after leaving my parents’ home Saturday, I got angry (stage 2) & stayed angry all during yesterday.  By last night, I actually began to wonder if I had done something wrong, something to deserve this from my mother or something that made her behave this way (stage 3).  That didn’t last long as anger & then depression (stage 4) kicked in.

Once I thought about this, I realized that I go through this often when my mother pulls some of her antics.  Honestly, most of them I am so used to that I only get angry or disgusted that we are going through it again.  Even so, sometimes, she surprises me & pulls something so especially painful, it catches me off guard.  This is one of those times.

I believe grieving like this to be common, & not only for me, but for all children of a narcissistic parent.  if you share similar feelings to mine after dealing with your narcissistic mother, then please be aware of two things:

First, you are not crazy!  You are not wrong, nor are you at fault for feeling this way.  You are perfectly normal! You are grieving something very painful, & need to be compassionate & gentle with yourself until you have come to terms with the incident. Take care of yourself- pamper yourself, & do things that make you feel good.  If you made a comfort box or bag, get it out & enjoy the special items you put inside.

And second, know you are not alone!  It isn’t “just you”.  Just because your narcissistic mother says nobody else is as bad/crazy/stupid/etc. as you means it is true.  She is lying to justify her abuse.  Ignore her!  She is the one with the problem.  There are others like you who understand your pain & will validate you!  I am only one of them.

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

Types Of Invalidation

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

 

If you have been in an abusive relationship of any type- whether the relationship was emotionally, physically, sexually or narcissistic abusive- then you have experienced invalidation.  Invalidation is when your feelings are mocked, judged or rejected.  It is done  to make you feel as if you are wrong, weird, abnormal or extremely flawed.  It is done in order to gain control.  When invalidation is done in childhood, the child grows up not trusting her feelings, & lacking in self confidence.

 

There are many ways to invalidate someone.  Some examples are:

  • Telling someone not to feel the way they do.
  • Calling someone harsh names like oversensitive, drama queen, worry wort, crybaby, etc.
  • Mocking someone for feeling a certain way.
  • Leading one to believe there is something wrong with them for feeling as they do.
  • Telling someone to look differently (example: “Stop looking so sad”).
  • Minimizing another’s feelings.
  • Isolating another, such as saying “No one else would be bothered by this- what’s wrong with you?”
  • Defending those who hurt or abuse you.

 

I believe there are other ways to invalidate someone that are much more subtle & insidious, & they do just as much harm as the more overt types of invalidating.  Unfortunately, they seem to be so commonplace in society that I don’t believe many people even pay them any attention.  Some examples are:

  • Not asking someone “how are you?” during the course of a conversation.  This clearly says, “I really don’t care how you’re doing.”  Granted during times of crisis, many people simply forget to ask another this question due to being caught up in the trying situation.  However, many people do this on a regular basis, no matter what the circumstances are.
  • Talking nonstop about yourself.  This sends the message, “I am much more important than you!  Don’t waste my time talking to me about you!”  In a healthy relationship, there are times where it is one-sided.  One friend is going through a crisis & the other friend is offering a listening ear & support.  That happens sometimes & is completely normal.  What is not normal, however, is when one person only talks about himself or herself & doesn’t care enough to ask the other person questions about his/her life.  This is a red flag for narcissistic personality disorder!
  • Interrupting constantly.  Not only is it rude, but it tells the other person that what you have to say is really much more important, & they need to just stop talking.
  • Changing the topic of conversation frequently when someone else is talking.  Is what you have to say so vitally important that you can’t let the other person finish what he or she is saying?  Does what you have to say need to be said right this moment?  If not, then let the other person have their say.
  • Offering unasked for advice & opinions.  This is a major pet peeve of mine.  It is rude & presumptuous, & it sends the message that the one giving the advice or offering the opinion is much smarter than the person receiving it.  It’s hurtful!  Are your thoughts really so valuable that the other person simply can’t go on living without hearing them?
  • If you don’t agree with someone’s opinion or support them, keep that to yourself or express it in a respectful way when the time is appropriate.  This is something I deal with often with having C-PTSD, & it really is frustrating!  People who don’t understand this disorder or want to learn anything about it often think it means I am dwelling in the past, unforgiving, not thinking positively, etc.  Hearing statements like these hurt me greatly, because not only are people who say such things are trivializing the potentially life-threatening disorder I live with daily & the trauma I have endured, but they are also acting as if I am stupid for not seeing what they believe to be an obvious easy solution to this problem.  This insensitivity doesn’t just pertain to mental disorders, though.  Politics is another topic where I see this happening.  So many people have extremly strong feelings on politics, & believe that if other people don’t share their views, they are stupid, naive, foolish, etc. & don’t mind letting those people know that.  It is ridiculous!  People have different views- what is the problem with that?  Everyone is entitled to their opinion & to have it respected.  If you can’t understand someone’s opinion or painful situation, how about trying to understand it?  Or at least not judge or criticize them if you absolutely can’t understand.

 

I would like to encourage you to please consider your actions.  Don’t invalidate others or tolerate it from other people!  It is painful & frustrating to experience, not to mention invalidation tears away at one’s self-confidence.  When it happens often, it makes you feel as if you don’t matter to anyone, & that your thoughts & feelings are unimportant, wrong or even flawed beyond repair.  No one should experience that pain!

More information regarding invalidation (including a free ebook on the topic) is available at my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Triggers And Coping With Narcissistic Games

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I had a strange call from my parents last night.  I realized some things from it that I’d like to share with you today..

Last night, my husband was on the phone for a while.  When he hung up, he told me my parents had called but he hadn’t clicked over because of not wanting to interrupt his other call.  Shortly after telling me this, our phone rang & my parents’ number popped up on the caller ID.  I answered it.  It was my mother.  She said that my father had been trying to call but couldn’t get through, so SHE had to call (always she does things right when others can’t yanno- typical narcissistic behavior).  She said for me to hang on & she’d get him.  Ok.. this was odd, I thought, plus the tone in her voice sent shivers down my spine.  Probably anyone else who heard it wouldn’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but it made me feel like I was a teenager again, waiting on my mother to scream in my face & accuse me of awful things I hadn’t done.  The tone basically said, “I’m being civil because there is a witness, but just wait until we’re alone.  All the immense disgust & hatred I feel for you will come out!”  *sigh*

So then my father got on the phone.  It turns out he has a new health concern & is going to get it checked out on this coming Monday.  He asked if I could take him to the doctor nearby in Annapolis.  I said fine.  (It isn’t- it interrupts my routine which makes me extremely anxious- but to take care of his health, I’ll deal with it).  I asked for details & he said that he & my mother would be by to pick me up around 9:45.  HUH?!  I asked why do I need to be there if she is driving him?  I assumed I’d be driving him since he isn’t allowed to drive after last month’s mild stroke.  He said she claims she can’t remember where the office is.  Ok, but how about getting directions?  It’s super easy to find!  It’s 8 turns (including turning out of their driveway & into the doctor’s parking lot) to find this place from their home.  Something felt very fishy & with a little prayer, God showed me what was going on.

My mother is angry with me because, being the “horrible” person I am, I set a boundary with her a few weeks ago as I’d mentioned in another blog post.  She decided to feign being clueless about where to to in order to get me alone so she can dish out her narcissistic rage.  She also knew I would go, because if I don’t, she will claim she can’t take my father to this important appointment, forcing him to miss it.  She will enjoy having me trapped in her car with no means of escape, & trapped with her at the doctor’s office for that purpose.  She loves to let me know what a horrible person I am, how crazy I am, how wrong I am for liking & disliking the things I do, what a piece of junk my car is, etc. in public places now, because if I speak back to her, I will look like the unreasonable daughter abusing her dear, elderly mother.  Her car is another good place for her, because I can’t escape.  The days of her screaming these things in my face are gone now that she is no longer bigger & stronger than me.   Those days are now replaced with quiet, scathing disapproval & verbal abuse in an attempt to bait me into looking like a raging lunatic.  Thank God, I am well aware of this game & know what to expect.

So what did I learn from this conversation??

First, I learned to appreciate triggers.  As painful as they can be, triggers also serve a purpose.  When something makes you feel afraid or angry as you felt as a child, it makes you feel that way for a reason!  It’s a warning that something isn’t right.  My mother’s tone of voice mentally took me back to the days I was a teenager & suffering the worst of her abuse.  God showed me that the familiar tone of voice was to warn me a narcissistic rage is in my near future with her.  (Something I will remember regarding future triggers!)

I also learned that I really have learn to prepare better- it’s only good self-care!  Normally in these situations, even when I have known something was brewing, I failed to prepare.  My husband suggested I take an mp3 player with earbuds so I can escape into music if it gets too bad.  A very wise idea that hadn’t occurred to me!  An idea that I had was to contact friends & see who may be available during that time so I can leave if need be.  Someone can come pick me up if I need to walk out.  I’m in the process of finding someone now.

Triggers can serve as a very good warning that something is about to happen that we need to prepare for, such as last night’s call from my parents.  If you, too, have a narcissistic mother, triggers can benefit you as well.  Pay close attention to them.  If you are unsure why her tone of voice or body language triggers fear in you, ask God for help.  Ask Him to show you what you need to know.  He will!  And, once you realize what the trigger was about, prepare to the best of your ability.  Unfortunately, all narcissists can catch their victims off-guard sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid much of their cruelty.  Again, ask God for help if you need to, & He will show you very creative & effective ways to cope.

Although often severing ties with a narcissistic personality disordered individual is best, sometimes it simply is not possible, or you know in your heart it isn’t right for you at this time.  With prayer & help from God, you can learn ways to cope with a narcissist.  It may not be easy, but it is possible.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Mental Health, Narcissism

“To Thine Own Self, Be True” (from Shakespear’s “Hamlet”)

I had the most incredible dream last night, & I wanted to share the valuable lesson learned from it.  🙂

I dreamed that I saw my car parked in front of my parents’ home.  I was a few feet away.  My car is a lovely dark green with a matching vinyl top, but in the dream, she was painted (very poorly I might add!) white on the sides & yellow on the top, hood & trunk.  Somehow I knew my mother had done this.  I was horrified upon seeing this, wondering how was I going to afford the high price of having her repainted green.  I simply said, “God, what am I going to do?”  It suddenly started to rain a bit.  A nice steady rain.  The paint started washing off my car!!  Most of it came off easily but there were a few spots that I had to scrape at with my thumbnail.  Before I knew it, there was my ’69 Plymouth, all beautiful & green again!  In fact, she looked better than ever, now that I think of it…

I woke from this dream a bit shaken, since my car means the world to me.  She once was my Granddad’s car, then my dad’s.  Dad sold her in 1979 to a junkyard, & in 2005, I found her!  Wasn’t looking, but apparently God decided I needed a big blessing, & being a car lover, blessed me with my favorite car of my Granddad’s.  So anyway, dreams where this car is messed with in any way shake me up pretty badly.

Later, I decided to figure out what this dream meant, so I asked God & immediately, He gave me my answer.

Cars represent your life in dreams.  White & yellow are colors representing purity,  innocence, joy, positivity.  Rain represents cleansing.  In the context of this dream, this all translates to this:  growing up with a narcissistic mother, she did her level best to change me into what she wanted me to be.  In fact, still tries to do this even though I am now 43 years old.  My mother likes to present herself as a wholesome, wonderful person.  She wants me to act more like her, like what she likes, dislike what she dislikes, etc.  That is why in the dream she painted my car those particular colors, to make me more like her.  The rain was a result of me allowing God to wash away what others have done to make me into what they think I should be (my mother isn’t the only one who has tried to change me, but she is where the problem started).  Me scraping off the little bits of paint that remained represented me doing my part, cooperating with God, to get the person He made me to be back.

Isn’t that fascinating?

Since many of you who read my blog, website & books are also children of narcissistic mothers, I pray this encourages you as it has me.

Narcissists try to change their children, friends, relatives & basically anyone into what they think that person should be.  I believe it is especially painful for children, because as children, we are so starved for our parents’ love & approval, we’ll do anything they want us to do.  This also sets the stage early in life for you to believe you must please other people, even at the expense of losing yourself- changing your likes, dislikes, beliefs, how you dress, how you act & more.  It’s not right!  No one should have to change so much of themselves just to be in a relationship with another person!  If you do feel you have to change to be in a relationship with someone, maybe  it is time to reconsider being in that relationship.  At the very least, it’s time to consider getting you back & being the person God made you to be!

How do you get “you” back??

  1. To start with, stop listening right now to what others say you should do, like, how you should feel or think.  Their opinions really aren’t important!  Of course you want those you love to have good opinions of you, but if they disagree with some things about you, that is perfectly ok!  No one can be pleased 100% of the time.  If they try to make you feel bad for not pleasing them, that is a big red flag saying this person isn’t safe.
  2. Ask God to help you.  Ask Him to show you who He made you to be, to have the courage to become that person & to help you shed the person you became only to please others.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone.  Try things that pique your interest that you never had the nerve or opportunity to try before.  You may discover a new passion, or at the least, will start to learn what you like & don’t like for yourself rather than what others have told you that you should like or not like.
  4. Try different clothing.  I know this sounds silly, but your clothing affects your mood.  Buy clothes that make you feel good when you’re wearing them.  Better to have 2 outfits you like than 10 you hate because someone else wants you to wear them!

At first, these things can feel kind of weird & hard to do, but I can tell you, they get easier with practice.  I’m trying them myself, & have off & on for a few years now.  From my experience, the hardest thing to do is stay focused on doing things for yourself like this.  It’s so easy to slip back into the old, dysfunctional habits!  That is what happened to me- this dream made me realize that.  To avoid conflict with my husband, I’ve even gone as far as hiding the symptoms of my C-PTSD from him no matter how hard it is on me.  This dream made me really see how bad it’s been, & how it has to stop right now.

Be good & true to yourself, Dear Readers!  You are so worth it!  I pray that God will help you if you are struggling in this area.  ❤

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Narcissists Are Amazing..

and I don’t mean that in a good way!

I was telling a dear friend of mine earlier about my mother’s horrible phone call last night. She said so many evil, hurtful things to me. The worst part of all was that I could tell she was smiling as she said those things. You know how someone sounds a little different when they smile as they speak? That is what I heard in her voice. The crueler her words, the bigger the smile was, too. It absolutely blew my mind. Although I don’t have children (well, human ones anyway- furkids only), I can’t imagine hurting my child like this, & thoroughly enjoying myself while doing it! I wouldn’t hurt anyone deliberately, let alone find the things that are the most important to them, & use those things to cause the maximum amount of pain possible. I can’t understand how anyone can do that. I know a lot about narcissism, but that doesn’t mean I understand everything about it. I don’t think I ever will.

And the worst part? I really messed up. I got so angry that I cussed at my mother. I am not proud of this at all, & prayed later, asking God to forgive me. I didn’t ask my mother to, because she acted as if I speak to her this way every day. She knew she was pushing my buttons hard, & she got the bad reaction out of me she wanted. Now she can tell people how terribly I speak to her, & she knows what to do to hurt me more than usual. Fantastic… this is going to bite me & bite me hard in the future, I’m sure. It always does when I get angry with my mother, although normally cussing isn’t part of my response.

In case you’re wondering what horrible sin I committed to deserve this treatment, here you go: my mother is mad because my father is coming by to visit me tomorrow. She is mad that I invited him & not her. The irony of this? I didn’t invite him, either. He decided he wants to come by. There was no invitation, & there never is an invitation from me to either him or my mother to come into my home. So there you have it-the reason I deserved to be treated like crap to the point of tears of hurt & frustration.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Dear Readers, please pray for me. I am beyond frustrated on how to deal with my parents. I’m praying for you as well, because I know that many of you understand this awful feeling completely. ❤

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Not All Abuse Shows On The Outside

I’m not a gambler, but I would be willing to bet that I’m not the only one who has wondered why they have so many issues. After all, other people grew up with abusive parents too & they are mostly ok…

For some odd reason this thought popped into my mind a few days ago as it does periodically. That night, I quickly realized it’s no wonder I have C-PTSD & other mental health issues.

Just after 9, my father called. It was the second night in a row he called that late. I didn’t answer the phone. As I’ve told him, I like evenings to myself, plus by 9, I want to be in bed, ready for sleep. I have tons of sleep problems (insomnia, nightmares, waking up without being able to fall asleep again) so I figure if I can fall asleep early enough, maybe I can get enough sleep to function by the time I get up in the morning between 7-8. I thought maybe he’d get the point & call back the next day at a decent hour, or I could call him back the next day. Nope. Between my home & cell, he called I think it was 13 times in the next hour. Then at almost 11, my cousin who lives 450 miles away called. I answered his call because he never calls that late. He said my dad asked him to call me & have me call him. I was beyond livid. There was no emergency! This was all about control. Trying to force me to talk to him when he wanted, not when I was available.

The next morning, my father called me before 8 a.m. He said he was worried about me since I didn’t answer the phone. So worried in fact, he called my cousin & my in-laws. My father knows I haven’t spoken to my in-laws since 2002, yet he dragged them into this mess. Fantastic..I’m now wondering what is going to happen with them.

During that call, I had to set my boundaries, YET AGAIN with my narcissistic father. And, during him acting like something was wrong with me for being upset, I realized that it’s no wonder I have mental health problems. This nasty ploy for control is far from the first head game I’ve been subjected to by my parents. They have done this sort of thing my entire life.

When you’re beaten up, you have bruises & broken bones to show for it. People see your injuries, & reinforce that it was wrong for someone to hurt you. It is ok for you to be angry in these situations- people even encourage it.

But, when you are psychologically abused, such as by a narcissistic parent, you don’t have obvious wounds. They think whatever you’re experiencing is no big deal, or no parent would hurt their child, or some other faulty thinking that invalidates your pain. Plus, you have your narcissistic parent regularly practicing gaslighting on you, manipulating, controlling & invalidating you at every turn. The combination of these things can lead to you feeling as if you are crazy, wrong, evil & much more. It also can lead to such very serious conditions as depression, anxiety & Complex PTSD. These problems don’t mean you are weak, crazy, flawed or whatever- it means you have been through a great deal of traumatic psychological abuse! You are OK!

No one escapes psychological abuse, especially at the hands of a narcissistic parent, unscathed. Even those who seem like they have it all together, still have some issues. They are just better at hiding them than other people are.

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A Sad Legacy – The Death Of A Narcissist

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I’m sorry for being missing in action. It’s been a crazy week, but I think all is settling down now & I can get back to writing. At least I sure hope so!

My husband & I were out this past Saturday, & at the last minute decided to stop by a local cemetery. His brother is buried there, as are a former classmate of mine & my mother’s mother. We visited his brother first. It was a painful few minutes- my husband was close to his brother, & his death from AIDS was a painful thing to witness. Then we visited my former classmate, Scott, who died only 4 years after graduation in a car accident. Scott & I weren’t close, but even so, his death was very sad. He was a good person, & died so young. Then we went over to my grandmother’s grave. I felt nothing as I stood there, looking at her bare gravestone- a basic metal plaque with only her name & dates on it. She had no flowers on her grave, nor did I have any desire to put any on there, although I did wish I’d taken some to my late brother in-law & classmate.

I got to thinking after we left. Hubby’s brother has a basic marker- his parents are the very no frills type, so this makes sense. Yet even so, it says “beloved son” on the marker along with his name & dates, & flowers were put on his grave recently. Scott’s family went above & beyond- they got him a huge marble plaque that covers his grave. A lovely poem is on it, Scripture & a picture taken not long before his death along with his name & dates. There are always flowers on his grave, even though he’s been gone since 1993. I even thought about my paternal grandparents. Grandmom died in 1996, Granddad in 2003, yet there is always evidence of someone having been at their graves. They also have a lovely, ornate joint headstone.

And then, there is my mother’s mother.

A basic plaque with only name & dates on it marks my grandmother’s grave. No “beloved mother” or any Scriptures. She didn’t even have flowers in the vase. It made me a bit sad thinking that no one showed love for my grandmother, including me, which made me feel rather guilty. Then I got to thinking about some of the things she did to me. My grandmother was a narcissist, which is obviously where my mother learned her narcissistic ways. She was an evil, cruel woman who cared nothing for anyone, not even her own family, other than what they could do for her. I also remembered how she once saw one of my cousins crying, saying how much our grandmother hurt he, & she turned away from my cousin, indifferent to her suffering. Countless times, I saw my grandmother hurt my mother with her cruel words & try to start trouble between my mother & father. When my grandmother died, I was upset, but not because I missed her. It was because our relationship was such a waste- she hated me & didn’t mind letting me know that. I was actually relieved when she died, not sad. She had stopped speaking to me a year before, never telling me why. I always waited thinking she would suddenly call, acting like nothing happened, & wanting something from me. When she died, I felt relief knowing that couldn’t happen.

Thinking about all of those things, it makes sense that there is no love shown to my grandmother by putting pretty flowers on her grave. It also looked as if no one has been to her grave in a while as the grass around her grave marker was somewhat overgrown. I didn’t go to her funeral, but from what I heard, there weren’t a lot of people there, nor was there a get together after.

How very sad that few people can be affected by someone’s death. What a legacy to leave! It also reminded me of the Scripture in the Bible that says, “what a man sows, that also shall he reap.” My grandmother sowed a life of discord & heartache, & she is still reaping a harvest of indifference.

I decided to write this out for those of you whose narcissistic mothers have already passed on, are elderly, or if you are thinking about what may happen when your narcissistic mother passes away. My prayer is when that time comes, you don’t feel guilty for not wanting to take flowers to their grave weekly or even for being relieved they are gone. You reap what you sow in life. No one is immune to that law, including narcissistic mothers. After years of abuse at her hand, do you really think you will feel sad for losing her? It is truly a sad legacy, leaving behind a child or grandchild that is glad you’re gone, but it is also a natural occurrence in abuse cases such as with narcissistic mothers.

Also remember when that time comes, you aren’t alone. I dare say most adult children of narcissists feel the same way, but are afraid to admit it to anyone for fear of being judged. If you have someone safe to talk to, then by all means, please talk to them about how you feel. If not, then write it out. I wrote my grandmother a letter after she died, & left it under her grave marker. No one knew I did it at the time. It helped me tremendously, getting out my feelings, even though I knew she obviously never would read it.

Pray about what you’re experiencing too. God can handle hearing it, & knows what you’re feeling & thinking anyway. You can’t shock Him. And, He will comfort you & heal your pain. ❤

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Ahhh…the joy that is a narcissistic mother

My mother has ended her silent treatment. I had a good run of a couple of months of silence this time, but it’s over now. She called me this morning & acted as if we’d just spoken yesterday. It’s like nothing happened- no silent treatment, no trashing me to my father, nothing bad…

In case I haven’t said it lately, I absolutely freaking HATE head games!!!

It was a typical conversation with my narcissistic mother. The exact same conversation that happens every time she stops speaking to me then eventually resumes talking to me. It’s also why I love it when she gives me the silent treatment & dread when she ends it.

She called under the guise of looking for my father- as he often does, he vanished for hours. Without a cell, she has no means of reaching him when he is away from home. Then there was the complaining about him, & that morphed into “did I tell you about my latest back problem?” Side note: I have no sympathy for her back problems, because, as many of you know, when I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall so hard, I was in constant pain for 10 years. I quit working outside the home a few months later. Then there was the usual guilt trip because my husband works long hours (my parents seem to believe I have some evil powers that make him work long hours against his will while I live like I’m on vacation..), & telling me again about a man who recently died who my mother is glad is dead. I must admit, that last part had me laughing. Not because the man has passed away of course or even her coldness about his passing (that was just disconcerting!), but because my mother claims he is a terrible person because he liked to present himself as such a great person when he really wasn’t. According to her, this man even wrote his own obituary & “it sure made him sound like a great guy!” Yes, you read that right. A narcissist is complaining about another person’s narcissistic behavior. Can you wrap your head around that one? I’m still working on it..

Is it any wonder I’ve had a headache all day? As if starting out my day that way thanks to anxiety & nightmares waking me last night wasn’t quite enough…throw in a Mom call & my head is not happy with me..

My mother’s call has skewed my day. I was ok considering I had a rough start to the day. Now? I feel shaken up. Anxious, angry, depressed, dissociating a lot, head achy, & exhausted. It is ridiculous things are this way, however, it is the norm for those times that I have to deal with my mother.

There was also a small part of me that was feeling guilty earlier today for not calling my parents or suggesting lunch together or something similar. Unfortunately, this seems to be the norm for children of narcissistic parents- always at least some guilt in there somewhere for something, some perceived slight against the parents or failure to measure up to their unrealistic expectations.

I think the reasoning is because we are raised by narcissistic parents to feel guilty because we never quite measure up. We don’t get good enough grades in school, or study the right subjects. We always fail because we aren’t whatever they think we should be. We don’t choose the career they want us to work, or marry the person they think we should marry, or drive the right car, or we disappoint them with some other life choices. We are conditioned to feel guilty & the frequency in our lives of knowing how often we disappoint our narcissistic mothers is so painful. That isn’t always easy to shake off, even when we are adults & know better.

But yanno something?? When we “fail” our narcissistic parents, we are simply living life according to our rules as we should. We are following God’s plan for our lives rather than their plans, which is obviously way more important! As Shakespeare said in “Hamlet”, “To thine own self be true.” What wise advice! Living for someone, anyone, else is a guaranteed way to make yourself utterly miserable!

And, as for feeling guilty for not spending time with your narcissistic parents, I’ll share something that God has shown me many times. My parents are reaping what they’ve sown with me. I don’t want to spend time with them because of the sorry way they have treated me for my entire life. Who wants to spend time with anyone who mistreats or abuses them?! If you are battling guilt for setting boundaries on your interaction with your narcissistic parents, please remember that- they are reaping what they have sown. People who sow bad seeds (being abusive, neglectful, hurtful, manipulative) will sow an unpleasant harvest (being ignored, strong boundaries that are enforced, not tolerating abuse) in return. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with you- it means you are a normal person!!

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off for some well needed self care. Music, relaxing, snuggling furkids & a shower…

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What’s Happening-June 22,2014

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you well.
 
I am making progress on my new book about narcissistic mothers.  As of today, it’s at 38,500 words (needs to be 40-60,000).  Gettin’ there!  And thank God for that, because this is one very hard book to write!  I’m very surprised at just how challenging it is.  After writing my autobiography, “Emerging From The Chrysalis,” I was sure everything else I’d ever write would be a walk in the park.  Seeing the traumatic events of my life written out in black & white was very hard for me, yet validating at the same time.  This book is not the same..not even close!
 
Devoting an entire book to the topic of maternal narcissism has been a daunting task.  I know a lot on the topic, but I was unsure if I had enough to fill up a whole book.  I have asked God to help me out- make sure I leave nothing out of this book, & please teach me what I didn’t know that He wanted to be included.  He has answered those prayers.  I have been learning a lot!  Things to include about the book as well as things in my personal life that I never thought of as abusive before. 
 
For example, today I was writing about isolation being the favorite tool of all abusers, why they do it, & how engulfing narcissitic mothers (like mine) excel at isolating their children from others.  After writing some on the topic, I decided to research it online, to see if there was anything I forgot.  What I read slapped me in the face.  Hard.  Here is a portion of it:

“The abuser may “assign” the victim numerous domestic duties designed to keep her at home. “

(see the full article here:  http://www.abigails.org/Saul&David/control%20&%20isolation.htm
Wow.  I never thought of this as abusive behavior!  My ex-husband’s mother used to do this to me during the brief time we lived with his parents.  I never understood why I had to work so much for her.  I was responsible for all housework, balancing her checkbook, & maintaining paperwork & records for my ex’s father’s trucking business.  Other miscellaneous tasks were assigned to me as well.  There were three other adults in the house- why was so much on me?  I now wonder if was because my ex was very much into isolating me, & if she was “helping” him by keeping me so busy.  They were a very dysfunctional family, so that is a distinct possibility.  Also the only answer I can come up with at the moment. 
 
Thinking back, she also didn’t like me spending time with friends or having them over to our house.  Another isolating behavior.  
 
Whatever the reasoning behind this behavior, this new realization hurts.  I loved his mother a great deal- she & I were good friends, & often had a lot of fun together, in spite of the frequent problems in our relationship during the time of living together. 
 
*sigh*
 
Something else to process.  Yay for me.. not. 
 
Sometimes it seems like healing is the most frustrating, never-ending thing in the world, & sometimes I get so tired of new revelations that show me just how abused I have been in my life.  Honestly, it gets depressing!  I don’t like feeling sorry for myself, but it is hard to avoid 100% of the time.  I know it can be healthy to indulge in a bit of self-pity sometimes, but even so, it doesn’t feel nice.  Learning these things also makes me wonder what is it about me that makes people think it’s ok to abuse me?!  Do I behave in a certain way that says “Go ahead- hurt me.  Treat me like dirt.  It’s fine!”  UGH!
 
In spite of my lousy mood, though, I’m still glad that God is helping me to heal, learn & grow.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, it can be frustrating.  However, it also is helping me understand behaviors & people a lot better.  It’s answering some questions, like why do I get angry or hurt when people behave a certain way.  Like with my ex- mother in-law.  Her list of “duties” for me to do every day used to really make me angry at the unfairness of the amount of duties I had to contend with compared to everyone else in the house.  But, I never knew why until today.  Now, I understand, & feel validated.  Angry, but validated, & at least the anger won’t last long- I am usually pretty quick to forgive.
 
This really lousy mood is telling me that it’s time to relax.  Maybe stop working on the book for a little while, too.  Relax, turn on some good music or watch a good movie or tv show, do some nurturing behavior that makes me feel good like crafting or snuggling the furkids.  & no cooking- hubby is either taking me out tonight or we will have something delivered.

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Narcissists Are All Around

Yesterday while talking to a dear friend, she mentioned how I have only written about narcissistic mothers, yet narcissists exist in other relationships & all walks of life. She’s right. I feel that God wants me to focus on maternal narcissism, but also that a little side trip would be beneficial to my readers…

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, is in people of every financial status, race, religion, etc. It truly knows no bounds. Dealing with a narcissistic mother is a bit different than dealing with a narcissistic spouse, family member or coworker, though, simply due to the different natures of the relationships. NPD is a spectrum disorder (meaning many people with the disorder act differently, because they’re at different areas on the spectrum). Some narcissists are at the malignant end of the spectrum- they are the bold ones, all “in your face” with their abuse. Others are what I think of as the sneaky narcissists. They feign innocence, naivete, & helplessness. They had no idea their actions would hurt anyone, or so they claim. How could you be mad at her when she simply didn’t know better?? This innocent act means if you get angry, you look like the unreasonable & cruel person.

In spite of the differences, there are some qualities all narcissists share…

Narcissists believe they never should be questioned. What they say is the gospel truth, according to them. This means they don’t tolerate questioning, no matter how outrageous the actions or words.
Narcissists are control freaks. And, if you end that relationship, thus ending their control over you, prepare to pay for your “crime.” How will you pay? It depends on the narcissist. (see below about narcissistic rage)
All narcissists demand supply. Narcissistic supply is praise, listening whenever they want to talk, & other actions & words showing the narcissist he/she is valuable. Anyone who doesn’t provide narcissistic supply is worthless, according to the narcissist.
When narcissistic supply is cut off, no matter the reason, narcissists will go into a narcissistic rage. Anything that threatens a narcissist’s self esteem is what is known as a narcissistic injury, & triggers rage. That rage can be simple, like giving the “offender” the silent treatment or talking badly about her behind her back. Or, it can be more serious behaviors such as screaming obscenities, physical violence, harassment/stalking.
Narcissists lack empathy. When you have a conversation with a narcissist, one giveaway you’re dealing with a narcissist is that any mention of you, your family, your job, your problems, or anything about you is disregarded & the conversation turns back to the narcissist. They are the important one, after all- you & your life mean nothing..
Most narcissists also have “minions”, “lemmings” or “flying monkeys.” That is people who believe the narcissist without question, & when you disagree with the narcissist, these minions will try to “talk sense” into you under the guise of concern for your poor judgment in disagreeing with or even ending the relationship with the narcissist.
And, narcissists love mind games. Anything that they can say or do to make their victim feel crazy, guilty, stupid or other terrible things makes them happy. They won’t hesitate to use any weapon to accomplish their goals, no matter how much damage it causes the victim. They’ll also use whatever your greatest (real or perceived) weakness is, too, such as your religious beliefs. Currently, the narcissist who is harassing me is doing exactly that, claiming I am not a good Christian for not tolerating her abuse. (I guess she believes Jesus thinks tolerating abuse is a good idea?? Doesn’t sound like the Jesus I know!)

Narcissists can be very dangerous people to those without the knowledge on coping with them. Dangerous to their victim’s self-esteem, sanity or relationships. One of the things that makes them so dangerous is that people often underestimate them. Narcissists are often described as selfish or eccentric, when the truth is they are so very much more.

If you’re dealing with a narcissist, be careful! You need to listen to your gut feelings. If something feels wrong, listen to that feeling- never brush it off! Don’t listen to others telling you that she didn’t know what she said or did would hurt you-narcissists are always VERY aware of what they’re doing & what the results will be. Also, trust your memory. If the narcissist says things happened differently than you remember, trust your memory over her words. Keep a diary if need be, so you have written evidence of the truth. Limit your exposure to the narcissist if you must deal with her, or sever ties if you feel that is the right thing to do. And, never, ever underestimate a narcissist. Not all are physically dangerous, but many are. When I was 19, my mother went into a terrible narcissistic rage, & threw me into a wall so hard, not only was there a big hole in the wall, my back was injured badly enough I had to quit working. I lived with pain for 10 years. I never expected her to do that, so I was unable to protect myself from her. Anyway if you feel you are in any danger, never hesitate to contact the police!! I never would hesitate to call them, personally, & you shouldn’t either! You don’t deserve to be abused by anyone! You have the right to be safe!

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Narcissistic Anger

Yesterday, my narcissistic mother called me after barely speaking to me since November.  She was passive/aggressively letting me know just how angry she is with me.  

This is nothing new, & I wasn’t even going to mention it here.  Then I felt God wanted me to share some of the details about it to show other daughters of narcissistic mothers how they operate.  So many emails I get are from women who are tired of the dysfunction in their relationship with their mother, & are looking for answers.  If that describes you, you may benefit from reading this blog.

My goal in sharing this is to help women like this learn some of the common types of comments narcissistic mothers use, & what these mothers hope to accomplish.  While your mother may not say exactly these comments, I would bet she uses something similar, & with similar motives.

Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, don’t handle criticism well.  They also are in constant competition, especially with those closest to them.  They must look like the best, smartest, prettiest, etc. & if they don’t, they may go into what is known as a Narcissistic Rage.  This rage can be physically violent, but I believe many narcissistic mothers leave physical violence behind as they get older, & their children grow up.  They replace the physical violence with verbal attacks, often passive/aggressive ones that leave you wondering if your anger is misplaced.  These comments aren’t blatantly abusive- they have subtle, hidden meanings behind them, & are designed to strike at whatever means a lot to you to cause you the most hurt.  If you confront your narcissistic mother about what she has said, she’ll say you are crazy or reading into things because all she said was a simple statement.  This leaves you frustrated & angry because you KNOW that she didn’t just mean that one simple thing- you have absolutely no doubt there was a hidden, nasty crack at you in that comment!  This is gaslighting/crazymaking!

If your mother does this, you are NOT alone!  It is very common behavior for narcissistic mothers!  Read on- I bet you’ll see a bit of your mother in my mother’s comments.

Also, I am a firm believer in not judging people, including their motives.  While what I say below may sound judgmental, like I am judging her motives. I don’t believe it is at all.  This is based on knowledge I’ve gained from experience with my mother’s behavior for the over 42 years I’ve been alive.  

 

“My cousin is so brave.. while she suffers so with depression, she STILL works hard cleaning her house & garden!”

A little background:  Last June, my mother started being oddly nice to me for a few months.  During that time, she mentioned her 60-something year old cousin’s battle with depression.  She has been hospitalized for it, & takes medication daily.  She has gone through many medicines, changing doses repeatedly to find out what helped her best.  While telling me about her cousin, she asked if I’ve ever had problems with depression.  This shocked since when I was about 6, I told my parents I wished I’d never been born, & many times during my childhood my mother commented on how sad I looked & needed to cheer up.  Anyway I told her yes, I have problems with depression (I haven’t told her of the other mental health problems I have).  She asked some questions & I answered some as I felt comfortable.  I told her that I am used to it, it’s miserable, but I go on even when it’s bad.  My family needs me, so I can’t afford to fall apart for long.  Fast forward to yesterday’s conversation with my mother- I have no doubt this comment was to invalidate me, to let me know what I go through is nothing, especially compared to her poor cousin.  My mother’s cousin is so much stronger than me- she suffers so much, yet does so much more than me.  Aren’t I ashamed of myself??  (Truth be told?  Nope, I’m not!)

 

“My cousin & her husband went out one day & came home to find their son had bought & set up a fancy new 55″ television!  They are so lucky to have such a good son!”

I lost track of how many times my mother has told me this story… it has ONE motivation- to let me know I don’t do enough for my parents.  A good child would do things like this for her parents!  (Well, maybe if I wouldn’t have spent my life hearing constantly what a horrible person I am, I might feel more inclined to be nicer to my parents..)

 

Telling me about how long she & a couple of other people have been friends..

From any other person?  This wouldn’t be any issue.  But with my mother, it is.  She wants me to know she keeps friends longer than me (she seems to forget sometimes she is also 32 years older than me- of course some of her friendships are older than mine!  She is older than I am!).  She has told me I’m not a good friend ever since I can remember, & this is just one more way to remind me of what a terrible friend I am.  (We won’t discuss that my best friend & I have been friends since just before we went into our senior year of high school, or how many friends I have had since kindergarten..)

 

Telling me how spoiled her cat is.

This one is really easy.  Translation:  “I am a way better cat mom than you are!  You  should strive to be as good a pet parent as I am!”  Never mind I currently have 9 cats & 1 dog, all of whom are confident, happy, loving, healthy & very well cared for.  The one cat I have with health issues is doing way better than the vet thought he would, partly due to how I care for him.  As for my mother’s cat?  My heart breaks for her- she is overweight & extremely skittish.  Most likely this comes from my mother’s “discipline” when she misbehaves (screaming at the kitty).

 

Telling me how many people wanted to buy her old Dodge when she had it.

I’m not sure how many of you know the story of my car, so bear with me if this is a repeat for you.  I’ll try to keep it as brief as possible.  My ’69 Plymouth Fury belonged to my Granddad.  He gave it to my dad when his car was stolen, then Dad junked it for a bad transmission & rear in 1979.  In 2005, I found what I thought was a twin of that car at a flea market.  After buying the car, when I compared the VIN to Dad’s old records, we learned this is the same car!  My mother knows this, & hates my car with a passion.  She constantly lets me know it’s a piece of junk, no one likes it, Granddad was a terrible mechanic (really??  He kept his & some of his daughters’ cars running for many years) so she would NEVER own a car he owned, etc.  Her motivation with this comment was to let me know how much better her car was than mine since others wanted to buy it, and as a bonus, my granddad was a terrible person.  Funny.. my car is the only one that’s still on the road after 45 years, & I often have people wanting to buy it.  And, when my grandparents gave my parents this car in 1976, my mother didn’t turn it down.  As for her disdain of her father in-law?  It is because he & I were very close.  Once she learned how close Granddad & I were, she hasn’t stopped criticizing him to me.

 

I hope this helps you, fellow daughter of a narcissistic mother.  When your mother says something that sounds innocent enough, yet you feel angry about it, there IS a reason!  You aren’t crazy- your mother has some nasty motivation for saying what she has!  Trust that anger or hurt you feel- it is responding for a reason, I promise you that!  Narcissists always have a motivation for everything they say & do!  (They want you to make themselves look better or hurt anyone who they think is better than them, which motivates probably 99% of their behaviors.)  And, I bet if you think about it for a little while, you’ll figure out exactly what it is she is trying to say.  

Remember this too- just because your mother thinks something you say, do, like, own, etc. is bad, doesn’t mean it is.  I’ve said it many times- just because your mother says something doesn’t mean it is the truth.  Ignore her judgment of you- you are special!  God made you the way He did for a reason.  She is entitled to disagree with your likes or choices, & you are equally entitled to ignore her nastiness & continue your life however you like.  

 

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Complex PTSD Bill Of Rights

I think I am pretty typical of a daughter raised by a narcissistic mother.  Like many children of narcissists, I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which means I fight depression, anxiety, insomnia & agoraphobia every day.  I am constantly over-aware of the emotions of people around me, on the guard against potentially being hurt (hypervigilance) & have flashbacks & nightmares.  I also have a list of insecurities a mile long, I don’t trust people easily, & I expect nothing less than perfection from myself, partly so as not to be a burden anyone.  

Because of that feeling of I should be perfect, it has made the C-PTSD even more difficult than it already is.  My own husband doesn’t even know how hard it is sometimes, because I don’t tell him much.  I can’t burden him with my petty problems, after all.  *sighs*  I also never have had anyone take care of me, so I have become so accustomed to taking care of myself & my own problems.  Leaning on him is almost completely impossible for me.  This also means I even have trouble talking to God about it, & asking for His help.  

Anyway, I was thinking recently about this & I have no doubt I’m not the only person with C-PTSD like this.  I decided to write up a 
C-PTSD Bill Of Rights- something I could look at to remind myself I don’t have to be perfect all the time.  I thought I would share it here.. I hope it helps you too!  ❤

 

C-PTSD Bill Of Rights

 

  1. I have the right to talk to God about my struggles and my pain.  He understands, and will help me as no one else can.  He is not angry with me or disappointed in me for having C-PTSD.  He loves me no matter what.
  2. I have the right to have a bad day sometimes.  When living with this disorder and working on healing, there will be very good and very bad days- that is completely normal.
  3. I have the right to talk about my pain and frustrations with supportive, loving, caring people.
  4. I have the right to accept my limits.  Sometimes my best may not be very good no matter how hard I try.  (Remember- PTSD causes physical changes in your brain.  You are going to forget things sometimes or have difficulty regulating your moods or even finding the right words.  This doesn’t mean you are crazy or stupid- it means you have C-PTSD.)
  5. I have the right to say no.
  6. I have the right to ask for help.
  7. I have the right to walk my own individual walk with this disorder.  My journey will not be like everyone else’s.  That does not make me right or wrong- it makes me an individual.
  8. I have the right to remember painful events from the past.  I can learn from the past, and it has made me who I am today.  (Remembering the past is NOT the same as dwelling on the past, not letting things go, etc.!)
  9. I have the right to give myself the gift of forgiveness.  Not to erase the horrible things done to me, but because I deserve better than carrying around anger and bitterness inside of me.  I also need to understand that forgiving my abuser(s) does not mean I will be healed completely- there is some damage that must be worked on, even when complete forgiveness has happened.  I also must forgive myself for any wrongs I have committed.
  10. I have the right to take care of myself.  I must not only take care of my body but my mind as well.  That may mean reducing daily activities or taking more time off.  Self-care is vital to my mental health.  I must do this for myself as well as those who love me.  They deserve the best me I can give them.
  11. I have the right to reject unnecessary negativity and drama in my life, in all its forms, as much as possible to protect my mental health.
  12. I have the right to be who I am, the person God created me to be, no matter who approves or disapproves of me.  Just because I have a mental health issue does not mean I am not still a valuable member of society.
  13. Other people have the right not to understand what I am experiencing.  That does not give them the right to mistreat me, however, and I have the right not to tolerate their mistreatment of me.
  14. Other people have the right to ask me questions about C-PTSD.  I have the right to answer those questions or not, depending on my ability to answer them, and depending on how I feel God wants me to respond. 
  15. I have the obligation to make my pain count for something.  God is not into waste, and I am not either!  I have the obligation to ask God how to use this pain for His glory.  He may call me to raise awareness of C-PTSD, help create stricter laws against child abusers, write books or something entirely different.  Whatever He asks of me, I always have the right to say no to- He will not love me any less.  However, doing what God asks of me will not only bless others, but me as well.  God will reward my faithfulness.

 

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Sale on my books!!!!

Good news! My publisher is offering 40% off all print versions of my books until November 4th!! Just enter code FALLSALE40 at checkout. All of my books are available for sale in print & ebook forms at the link below..

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books%20For%20Sale.htm

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February 9, 2013

Hello, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds all of you blessed & happy today!  🙂

I just wanted to let you know I added a new free ebook to my website.  It’s at the following link:

http://www.cynthiabaileyrug.com/free_e-books.htm

The newest ebook is about invalidation- one of the nastiest, most insidious & often most unrecognized forms of psychological abuse.  Statements such as, “You’re overreacting,” or “You’re oversensitive” are just two examples of invalidating behavior.  Invalidation can damage or even destroy one’s self esteem.  I encourage you to check out this ebook for more information.

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