Tag Archives: PTSD

You Deserve Compassion & Kindness!

Once someone has been abused, often they quietly & obliviously develop the misguided belief that they are unworthy of compassion & kindness. 

Most likely this comes from their abusers constantly telling them that they are a burden, they’re stupid, do nothing but cause problems & other things that instill a deep root of toxic shame in victims.  That toxic shame tells people that their feelings, needs, wants, pains & every other thing about them aren’t valid. 

Add into this the phrase “victim mentality” & the shame society often inflicts on anyone who says they were a victim.  Clueless & often heartless people say victims should’ve just walked away, pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, they should stop living in the past & being so negative.  It makes people feel that they deserved the abuse, & are weak for being abused or even having PTSD or C-PTSD as a result of the abuse, which only adds to the toxic shame.

Even worse than the toxic shame is the fact that being on the receiving end of such treatment makes people doubt the validity of their pain over their experiences.  They may think they weren’t abused so badly since their parent didn’t beat them, or their abusive husband “only” forced her to have sex a few times.  Other people have it so much worse, so their experiences couldn’t be all that bad, right?  WRONG!  They were bad!  In fact, they were worse than bad.  They were atrocious!  Being abused is horrible, no matter how frequently one is abused or whether it was verbal, physical, sexual, spiritual or financial. 

After being on the receiving end of such treatment, is it common for people to think they’re awful people, whining about trivial matters, so they don’t deserve any compassion or kindness.  Today, I want to tell anyone who feels this way that they are ABSOLUTELY WRONG!  I don’t care what your abusers said you were or that other people maybe had it “worse” than you.  Your pain is valid.  Your experiences were terrible.  You did NOT deserve any of it.  And, you deserve compassion and kindness! 

Whether you are comfortable admitting this or not, the truth is you have been through some pretty horrific things.  Those things weren’t your fault.  You did nothing whatsoever to deserve them.  You aren’t a bad person because others said you were & treated you terribly.  Their behavior speaks much more about them than it does you.  And, it doesn’t mean you are undeserving of compassion & kindness.  You are as worthy of compassion & kindness just as much as any other person.  In fact, you are just as worthy as any other person in every possible way, period.

If you haven’t begun to focus on your healing, maybe today is the day to start.  It will benefit you so much to do so!  Admitting the abuse was wrong & painful is an excellent place to start.  Also recognizing that the way your abuser treated you truly had nothing to do with you but with your abusers is powerful for healing.  Get angry about the unfairness & cruelty of what was done to you!  That will help you to see that you didn’t deserve it, & you deserve to be treated so much better.  Pray, write in a journal, seek a counselor that specializes in trauma or whatever helps you to heal.  The more you heal, the more you’ll recognize that you are valuable.  The more you recognize your own value, the less poor treatment from other people you will tolerate.  You also will recognize what you deserve, & that includes to be loved, respected & treated compassionately & kindly. 

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

Biggest Sale EVER On My Print Books! 30% Off!

My publisher is offering 30% off all of my print books until Tuesday November 29, 2022. Simply use code JOYFUL30 at checkout.

My books can be found at this link:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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

When People Refuse To Acknowledge Your Growth

One common thing that many victims of narcissistic abuse struggle with is how so many people treat them as if they are forever the same person they were during the height of their time as victims of the narcissist in their life.  It can be incredibly frustrating!!  I understand this as I went through it too.  I felt like during my entire adult life, my family & in particular my mother though I never grew up.  It was as if they thought I was perpetually 15 years old, no matter my real age. 

For years, I wondered why this is.  I think I have the answer to this dilemma.  Not just in my situation, but in general.

Obviously narcissists aren’t the only dysfunctional people in the world.  Their flying monkeys & scouts are at least as dysfunctional if not more so.  As a result, they don’t face reality the way healthy people do.  Instead, they try to keep reality as they want it to be.  A part of their so called reality is keeping certain people in a box. 

Doing this means that these people can convince themselves that they are truly the smart, sane, functional people who have their lives all together.  Clearly that must be the case, they think, because just look at how amazing they are compared to that person that they have decided is so weak, stupid, dysfunctional, mean, selfish, horrible, etc.  If they can convince themselves that their person of choice is terrible, by default, they also convince themselves that they are pretty spectacular by comparison.  By pushing another person down, they build themselves up at the same time.

Another reason dysfunctional people try to keep certain people down is so they have power over that person.  While not all dysfunctional people are narcissists, they do want things a certain way in their lives.  If they have control over someone, that can help them to maintain their status quo.  They can push this person around until that person does whatever they want so they can convince themselves that nothing has changed.  This comes in especially handy if their victim has been learning, growing & healing.  Clearly such things threaten the delusions of someone who wants to remain dysfunctional.  If a person like this can be subdued enough to reject their new growth, learning & healing, they will return to the old, dysfunctional patterns & that will help the dysfunctional person maintain their comfort level.  People who are comfortable in their dysfunction have zero desire to move past that place, & they have plenty of desire to return formerly dysfunctional people to their previous unhealthy lifestyle.

Another motivation for such toxic people being able to control others is the high that having that power over others provides.  Whether the person in question is a narcissist or not, chances are they will enjoy feeling that they are powerful enough to control another person

If you are in the position of dealing with someone who wants to keep you as the dysfunctional person you once were, know that you are NOT alone, & this is a typical problem for many victims of narcissistic abuse.

Naturally, the best thing you can do when faced with this situation is to pray.  Ask God to keep you from sliding back into old, toxic habits & to be aware of why people are treating you as they are so you don’t do that.  Praying for those dysfunctional people as well certainly is an excellent idea!  They clearly need prayer, whether or not they realize it.

Also remember, their behavior is absolutely no reflection on you.  It is a reflection on them.  They are comfortable in their dysfunction.  That is their right, of course.  However, you have rights, too & one of those rights is to protect yourself from toxic people.  Keep your distance from such people.  You may need to sever ties with them, & there is nothing wrong with doing that no matter who those people are!  Protect your mental health however is best for you!

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The Reality Behind Triggers

Feeling triggered has become more or less a joke in society today.  If someone is at all offended, they are often accused of being triggered & mocked for it.  This has diluted the serious nature of valid triggers.

Triggers are common after trauma.  Something happens that reminds a person of past trauma which triggers their anxiety, anger, hurt or whatever emotions they felt during the traumatic event.  These triggers also can prompt flashbacks, emotional flashbacks, intrusive memories or at the very least extreme duress. 

To help prevent being triggered by this event or a similar one again in the future, it is best to recognize what caused the trigger in the first place.  Once you do that, you can heal, which means that trigger either won’t happen again or if it does, it won’t be nearly as debilitating.

While it can be easy to say something like you were triggered because someone said or did something distressing, the fact is there is more to it.  Triggers have their root in how a person’s actions made you feel, & that feeling was put there by the original trauma.

Some common feelings behind triggers are feeling…

  • Judged
  • Unworthy, not good enough or somehow “less than.”
  • Blamed
  • Disrespected
  • Unloved
  • Unimportant
  • Unheard
  • Invisible
  • Not valuable
  • Controlled or manipulated
  • Betrayed

All of these feelings are important & very painful.  It is vital not to trivialize them or brush them off!  They are serious, & should be treated accordingly.  You need to recognize that they are abusive & you feeling these things isn’t fair!  Get angry about what was done to you that made you feel this way.  In fact, hate what was done to you!  I know for many who have been abused, thinking this way seems wrong.  Abusers do their level best to make sure victims tolerate their abuse in silence, & part of their efforts involve making victims feel unreasonable & shamed for being upset in any way about what the abuser does to them, but you know something?  That is wrong!  You have every right to hate their behavior & be angry for what they have done to you!  And, when something they did still causes you pain well after the event happened, it seems to me being angry & hating that is only normal.  So get angry because when you do, it will help you!  Being angry helps it “click” in your mind that you didn’t deserve the abuse & that whatever the abuser told you, you were not to blame for their treatment.  They clearly were the one with the problem because they think it’s ok to treat someone with such malice & cruelty.

If you were told it’s not Christian to behave this way, I want to offer you one thing to consider.  There are several Scriptures in the Bible that say we are to hate evil.  Amos 5:15 starts out by saying “hate evil & love good.”  Romans 12:9 says we are to hate evil & cling to what is good.   These are only 2 examples, but there are many more.  Clearly, this proves that hating such cruel, evil behavior & being angry about it is NOT ungodly behavior! 

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Save 10% On All My Print Books Until Sept. 2, 2022!

My publisher is having another sale. 10% off all print books until September 2, 2022 when you use code INNOVATION10 at checkout.

My print books can be found at this link:

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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My Podcasts

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to give up making videos & just go with podcasts. I have added them to a bunch of different podcast sites, so I thought I would share them here for those of you who are a fan of podcasts. I hope you decide to check them out sometime! If your favorite podcast site isn’t on this list, then please let me know. I’ll try to add it.

Amazon Music:

https://music.amazon.com/podcasts/636257ca-b20e-4c80-b0c4-76c6da81d4b6/cynthia-bailey-rug

Anchor By Spotify:

Apple Podcasts:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cynthia-bailey-rug/id1632080095

Castbox:

Google Podcasts:

https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy8yNWViYmY5OC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==

iheartradio:

Overcast:

https://overcast.fm/itunes1519449931/cynthia-bailey-rug

Player fm:

https://player.fm/series/cynthia-bailey-rug

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

Podbean:

https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/32zdh-12d533/Cynthia-Bailey-Rug-Podcast

RadioPublic:

Soundcloud:

Spotify:

Stitcher:

https://www.stitcher.com/show/cynthia-baileyrug

Tune In:

https://tunein.com/podcasts/Religion–Spirituality-Podcas/Cynthia-Bailey-Rug-p1728318/

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.)

Habits Of People With Anxiety

Living with anxiety is so incredibly difficult for many reasons.  Following are some of those reasons that most of us don’t usually think about.

Feeling relaxed makes anxiety worse.  When you are accustomed to living in a state of hyper-vigilance, feeling relaxed is very abnormal.  It can make you feel so abnormal that you immediately return to your anxious state.  If at all possible when this happens, remind yourself that there is no reason to be anxious at this time.  Take a few deep breaths & focus on how they make your body feel.  This calms the mind & body.  If you can, enjoy feeling relaxed as much as you possibly can.

External validation is of the utmost importance.  Everyone needs validation.  That’s simply how God made people.  Anxious people crave it like oxygen, because we don’t trust our decisions & have such an incredible amount of self doubt.  However people, being imperfect beings, will fail to give you all of the validation that you need.  Learning to validate yourself is so important!  Doing so requires a great deal of leaning on God & questioning yourself to decide if your beliefs are truly yours or those of some dysfunctional, abusive person. 

You are an expert at hiding your anxiety.  People with anxiety know how awkward & uncomfortable we can make other people feel.  Rather than do that, we learn to hide our anxiety to the best of our ability.  Some of us become so skilled at this, others have no idea we live with anxiety.  This isn’t always a bad thing, since some situations are made worse when someone recognizes another’s anxiety.  There are also times when it will behoove you to let someone safe know that you are struggling & ask them for help.

Along those same lines, we also hide our emotions.  Hiding emotions seems to be a natural side bar of hiding anxiety.  People may think we are naturally happy or even confident.  They see what we portray ourselves as, not the bundle of negative emotions that we truly are inside.  Similar to hiding anxiety, this can be beneficial in some situations but there also is nothing wrong with showing them to safe people & asking for help if needed.

Overthinking is normal to people with anxiety.  Overthinking can be beneficial.  When you’re packing for a trip, it helps to pack if you consider every possible scenario in that trip.  You’ll think of bringing things with you that you might not have considered otherwise.  But, overthinking in day to day life?  Not always so beneficial.  It only adds to anxiety that is already there.  When it happens, if at all possible, it’s best to take a little time to yourself.  Breathe slowly & deeply in & out a few times.  This slows down the mind & heart rate, which allows you to think more logically about the situation.  Often, it shows you that what you’re overthinking doesn’t require nearly so much thought.  Or it helps you to get a grasp on the fact that something is completely beyond your control, so there is no point in worrying about it.

Lastly, some folks with anxiety depend on certain inanimate objects to feel comforted & safe.  Remember as a child how you felt safest when you had that special teddy bear, blanket or baby doll?  That happen in adulthood now too, except now, it’s ear buds, cell phone, purse, wallet or something else.  I don’t know why this is exactly, because logically you know they won’t protect you.  Yet somehow, leaving home without this security item can lead to downright panic.  I barely even use my cell phone but if I leave home without it, I feel absolutely lost. 

If you exhibit any of these behaviors, know you’re not alone & you’re not crazy!  You simply are showing signs of having anxiety.  Work on them as you feel able to & pray for God’s help in healing.  They can improve in time!  I promise!

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What Complements Are Like For Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I have yet to talk to one victim of narcissistic abuse who doesn’t struggle with receiving complements on some level.  I certainly am one of them.  You may be able to relate to my story.

Growing up, my overtly narcissistic mother was very critical of me.  She said it was for my own good but it really didn’t feel that way.  My self esteem was about non existent. 

Just before I turned 17, I met my ex husband.  At first, he showered me with constant praise.  Eventually that stopped, & he became very critical.  Of course, he denied that because he didn’t say words like, “stupid” or “fat.”  He implied them by saying things like, “I’m surprised you don’t know that” or, “well, you certainly aren’t small…”  By the time that marriage ended, I had no self esteem.

For most of my life, if people complemented me, I would tell them why they were wrong.  Eventually I realized this made people uncomfortable, so I started to smile & say thank you.  I was still cringing inside, & thinking of how wrong they were, but at least they didn’t realize that.  I was more or less satisfied with this arrangement for a long time. 

Eventually though, I decided it was time to consider complements rather than blindly shoot them down.  I realized that people don’t usually say things with an ulterior motive or to hear themselves talk.  When they pay complements, they sincerely believe what they say.  I still struggle with trying to believe them, but knowing this helps.

Then I read about shame & suddenly things made sense!

When a person is subjected to narcissistic abuse, they develop a deep root of shame thanks to the gaslighting.  Being told how terrible, ugly, stupid, flawed, mentally unstable & more they are over & over does this.  So when someone complements this type of person, one of two things may happen..

Cognitive dissonance can happen.  That is the term for the very uncomfortable feeling of receiving new information that clashes with one’s core beliefs.  Being told you are something good after believing that you are nothing but bad creates a very painful cognitive dissonance.  The automatic reaction to cognitive dissonance is often to reject the new information immediately.  That isn’t always wise though.  That new information should be questioned!

Another possibility is the complement triggers shame, because the person feels they have somehow duped this poor person.  They feel shame because they believe they were being deceitful.

If you experience these feelings when someone gives you a complement, I would like to encourage you to challenge this.  I can’t promise you’ll become completely comfortable with complements, but at the very least, you will learn to feel better about them.

Remember what I said – most people don’t have any ulterior motive for paying someone a complement.  They’re simply being nice & sincere. 

Consider the complement.  I would bet the same thing someone praises you for is something the narcissist was quick to criticize about you.  Narcissists are quick to tear down anything good they see in their victims, so that alone should prove that it’s true. 

And never forget to pray.  God will be more than happy to help you to heal in every area!  Let Him do just that!

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Ruminating Thoughts Have A Purpose

If you have C-PTSD, you know all about ruminating thoughts, even if you aren’t aware of what they’re called.

Ruminating thoughts are when something keeps going over & over in your mind.  You either struggle with not thinking about that thing or can’t avoid it.  This can be utterly miserable & depressing!  Not to mention scary too, because not being able to have control over your thoughts is a very scary thing.

Prior to my brain injury, I could control mine to a degree.  They happened, sure, but I could distract myself & stop the rumination.  After the brain injury though, that stopped happening.  Once ruminating thoughts began, they were out of my control.  They stayed until they felt like leaving.  I hated it!  That is, until I realized something.

As miserable as ruminating thoughts can be, they do have a purpose.  Ruminating thoughts help you to process trauma, & make no mistake- trauma needs processing if you want to heal from it.

When you can’t stop thinking about something, you feel the emotions connected to it, whether they are good or bad.  Think back to when you first started dating someone you love.  At first, you couldn’t stop thinking about that person.  Everything reminded you of that person.  And, every time you thought of that person, you thought about how much you love him or her, how attractive he or she is, the good times you were having together & more.  By constantly thinking about this person, or ruminating, you naturally felt all kinds of emotions.

This happens with ruminating thoughts about trauma too.  Obviously it isn’t nearly as pleasant, but even so, it serves a purpose.  This is another way that you can process the trauma & the emotions attached to it.  It will help you to heal. 

The next time you have ruminating thoughts, I would like to urge you to sit with your ruminating thoughts.  Feel the anger, the hurt, the fear, the sadness… whatever emotions you felt at the time of the trauma.  Talk to God as you do this.  Maybe write down what you are experiencing in your journal.  I know it’s hard, but it really is worth it!  It’s worth it when the trauma loses its ability to hurt you so badly.  It’s worth it when you realize you survived something pretty horrific, & now can think of it without feeling utterly devastated.  It’s worth it when you feel more peace & joy in your life because you have healed from this trauma.

As an added bonus, when you do this, the ruminating thoughts on this won’t keep happening.  In fact, chances are slim you will think about it often.  Naturally you won’t forget it, but most likely it only will come to mind quite rarely.  And, when it does, thinking of it won’t consume you like ruminating thoughts can.  I always noticed when I’ve healed from something traumatic, remembering it feels much like remembering a really bad dream.  Unpleasant of course, & something I’d rather not think about, but also not devastating. 

Please remember too, just because you have sat with your ruminating thoughts once doesn’t mean you will be totally healed.  Maybe that will happen, but most likely it’ll take doing this a few times.  That is normal.  Each time you do it though, you are going to become stronger & more healed.

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Nostalgia After Trauma

The definition of nostalgia is a longing for the past, in particular a time that is associated with good memories.  People who have experienced trauma may have a predilection for having an appreciation for nostalgia more than the average person.

When a person experiences trauma, such as growing up with abusive parents, often times as adults, they long for certain things that take them back to a happy time in their life, in particular in their childhood.  I admit to being one of these people.  I have a small collection of toys from my childhood that I love, & I regularly listen to music from my teen years in the 80’s.  These things bring me a lot of joy. 

Eventually though I thought this was strange behavior on my part.  My childhood wasn’t exactly the best time of my life, so why would I want reminders of it?  Finally I realized why.  The answer is simple.  Security.

Whatever trauma you have experienced, it changed you & your perception of life.  That is how trauma works.  It can make you feel very insecure & skeptical, even cynical.  A natural coping skill after trauma is to want to find some sense of security wherever you can.  Sometimes finding that security manifests as mentally revisiting a time when you felt comfortable & in control. 

Consider this.  When growing up with narcissistic parents, you have very little control, especially if your narcissistic parents were the engulfing type who had to control every aspect of your life.  Those few rare moments of having control over your life felt empowering.  For me, my most empowering times of my younger days involved music.  Either listening to the radio while alone in my room as a teen or when I drove my first car while listening to any music I wanted to.  Now that I’m an adult, music still gives me that feeling of empowerment.  I frequently still listen to similar music as I did in my younger days.  I also have added more music to my repertoire that makes me feel that same feeling of empowerment.  And you know something?  There is nothing wrong with that!

There is also a comfort in knowing that not every single thing in your past was terrible, that there were some good times too.  Thinking that there was no good in your life is a dreadful feeling!  It can feel as if your life had no purpose.  Reminding yourself of the good times, even if they were few, is very comforting. 

Not to mention, only thinking of the bad times is simply depressing!  Reminding yourself of good times is much less depressing & conducive to a better mood. 

If you find yourself longing for certain things from your past, please know there is nothing wrong with you.  Even if your past was full of terrible & traumatic events, there is nothing bad about waxing nostalgic for the few good times.  Just enjoy the nostalgia when you can.  Listen to those old songs & remember your first slow dance or sharing songs with your childhood best friend.  If you see a toy at a flea market that you used to enjoy playing with as a child, why not buy it?  When you see it, it might just make you smile, & that is a lovely gift to give yourself.

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Reminders For Those Who Have Experienced Trauma

Many of us who have experienced trauma have been very deeply affected by it.  We not only develop mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or C-PTSD, but we also develop some very skewed beliefs.  In this post, I’d like to address some of them & hopefully help you to realize a healthier way to think.

It’s ok to have bad days!  Mental illness is no joke.  It’s incredibly difficult to live with & very serious!  Not all days are going to be days where you can cope well & manage your symptoms.  Some days, you’re going to want to cry all day long, have panic attacks, wake up exhausted from having several nightmares in a row & barely be able to function.  Some days you won’t function at all.  These scenarios, horrible as they are, are also normal.  It doesn’t make you unlovable or unworthy!  It doesn’t mean you have no faith in God or are a phony Christian either!  It means you are struggling with a mental illness.

You’re not a burden, even on your worst days.  I don’t care if all you could do was get out of bed long enough to make a sandwich today, that doesn’t make you a burden.  Would you consider someone a burden that is suffering from cancer & could do virtually nothing?  No?  Then why would you be a burden when you have days you can barely function?

You’re ok.  It seems all of us with mental illness have experienced the same thing- someone thinking we’re weak or attention seeking.  After all, they went through trauma & are fine! (Or so they say..).   It can make you feel as if something is wrong with you for developing the mental illness, but nothing could be further from the truth!  Every situation is different & every person in every situation is different.  There is no indicator who will or won’t develop ongoing mental illness as a result of their trauma.  Those of us who do however, aren’t “less than” those who don’t.  We’re simply different, & different does NOT equal bad!

Nothing that happened was your fault.  Narcissists do love to blame their victims, don’t they?  “You made me do it” is a common gaslighting phrase.  As if that isn’t bad enough, their flying monkeys reinforce this by saying stupid things like, “You should’ve just stayed out of his way when he was in a bad mood.”  “What did you do to make her so angry?”  While such behaviors can make it easy to believe the trauma was your fault, it truly wasn’t.  The only fault in the situation is that of the narcissist for choosing to be abusive!

It’s ok to talk about the trauma.  Narcissists love secrecy & depend on their victims never discussing the abuse.  Talking about it may feel impossible or as if you’re betraying the narcissist somehow.  I get it!  Truly!  Until my parents were gone, I was terrified they’d somehow find out what I wrote about even though I knew it was highly unlikely.  I also felt guilty for betraying them by “outing” them, so to speak by discussing the things they did to me.  The truth though is that I was wrong to feel that way.  When people abuse you, it’s not your job to stay quiet.  You have every right to divulge what they have done to you to whoever you wish.  It’s your life too, not just theirs.  If you want to discuss your situation either with a close friend or therapist or even write books as I have, that is your right!

Your feelings are valid.  I know, narcissists will say otherwise but truly, your feelings are valid!  You are entitled to them!

You owe no one an explanation.  Your life is just that.  Yours.  You owe no one any explanation for how you choose to live it, how you choose to heal, who you choose to have in your life or who you choose to eliminate from it.  What you do is up to you.  So long as you aren’t deliberately hurting others, what business is it of anyone’s how you live your life?

Please remember these points, Dear Reader.  You deserve to take care of yourself, to love yourself, to be treated well & to be respected! xoxo

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Don’t Be Ashamed Of Having PTSD Or C-PTSD!

Years ago, I remember reading that a rather well known preacher talking about PTSD.  He made it sound like no true Christian can have this disorder or if you do, just “get rid of it” as if people have a choice to hold onto it or get rid of it.

While not many people will say those exact words, it does appear plenty of people share similar sentiments about PTSD & C-PTSD.  Many clearly think people with these disorders are weak for getting it in the first place, especially if they too have experienced a similar trauma but don’t have it.  What they fail to realize is that developing PTSD & C-PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness, contrary to what many people seem to think.  It is a sign of surviving something that easily could have destroyed you either mentally or physically or both. 

Other people think they are some made up disorders so people can wallow in the past or use them as an excuse to get out of doing things they don’t want to do, such as holding down a job.  They refuse to see that those of us with one of these disorders would love to be “normal” again.  We would love nothing more than not to think about the past traumas all of the time & be able to do normal things.

There are also those who believe having PTSD or C-PTSD means you lack faith in God.  If you simply trusted Him more or prayed more, you wouldn’t have this disorder, they say.  They have no clue nothing could be further from the truth!

Something people fail to realize is that PTSD & C-PTSD can happen to anyone.  They know no boundaries.  They affect people of all ethnicities, genders, religions, intelligence, financial standings… anyone can develop PTSD or C-PTSD.

Just because you have PTSD or C-PTSD but someone you know who has experienced similar trauma to yours doesn’t have it doesn’t mean there is something very wrong with you for getting it.  Every person is truly unique, right down to our fingerprints & DNA.  What affects one person strongly may not affect someone else as strongly simply due to differences in personality & how people process information.

Some people are also naturally more in touch with their logical, or left brain, than their emotional, right brain.  Those people are often a bit disconnected from their emotions simply due to how their personality is.  There are also those who have chosen to deal with pain by disconnecting from it.  Much like our logical friends, these folks don’t feel connected to their emotions.  This means these people naturally won’t be as deeply affected by trauma as those who are more in tune with their emotions will be affected.

There is also the fact that every single person has a mental breaking point.  In other words, everyone has a point in which their mind simply cannot take any more.  This is the point where PTSD can & often does develop.  That point varies from person to person, but there is no avoiding it.  It is much like bones.  Bones too have a breaking point & that varies from person to person too.  Sometimes, people’s bones break easily & other times, they don’t.  There is nothing wrong, weak or even ungodly about the ones whose bones break easily.  This is simply how they are.

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD then please know that you aren’t flawed, crazy, abnormal or anything else.  You are a normal person who has experienced some pretty abnormal things.  Both disorders are awful I know, but having them isn’t something of which you should be ashamed.  Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise!

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Hangovers – Not Always What You Think

When people hear the word hangover, they usually associate it with drinking too much alcohol.  Did you know that other things can cause hangovers too?

Migraine headaches can cause a hangover.  I used to get migraines years ago & learned early on about the dreadful migraine hangover.  Once the headache had subsided, I was left feeling tired, drained & generally blah.

Introverts also can experience the socializing hangover.  Introverts need alone time to recharge & reenergize themselves.  Spending too much time socializing can leave them feeling physically hungover.  It sure does me.  Even spending time with people I love can leave me feeling hungover.  I need some alone time to recover from my “extroverting”.

Symptoms of C-PTSD also can lead to hangovers, & in my personal experience, they are the worst of the lot.

If a person has a flashback or nightmare, or if something triggers extreme stress or the trauma responses of fight, flight, freeze or fawn, once the episode is done, that usually leads to a hangover.  Adrenaline was forced into action.  Once it is no longer needed, the body & mind feel hungover because of what adrenaline does to a person.  It makes the body & mind work very hard to get a person through some especially challenging situation.  It’s only natural that once it’s done its job, a person would feel pretty yukky after because their muscles, joints & their mind just worked really hard for a while!  This is an adrenaline hangover.

Even a particularly nasty depressive episode can leave a person feeling hungover.  Feeling nothing but negative feelings wears a person down.  Having no hope wears a person down too.  Being suicidal absolutely wears a person down.  After such an episode ends, there is a terrible hangover.  How could there not be?  Depression is known to trigger aches & pains without a physical cause.  Also, I always feel like my muscles get very tight during depressive episodes.  Once they relax, they are going to ache from being in that state for a while.

Yet, the only hangover that is acknowledged regularly is the one that comes from over indulging in alcohol.  While that one is physically painful, the others are not only physically painful but emotionally painful as well.  They deserve to be acknowledged.

If you are in the position of having these miserable hangovers that stem from C-PTSD, I hope you realize that your hangovers are a normal part of this disorder.  They may make you feel like you are crazy, but really, you aren’t.  They are just one more facet of C-PTSD.

When you experience them, don’t judge or criticize yourself.  Just accept it for what it is & work with it the best you can.  Much like how having a cold has to run its course, that is how these hangovers work.  Process your emotions.  Also treat yourself gently & let yourself recover, like you would if you were physically sick.  The hangover will pass.

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15% Off All Print Books!

My publisher is offering a sale.. 15% off all print books when you use code SELFLOVE15 at checkout until May 20, 2022

My books can be found at the link below..

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Lacking A Healthy Perspective About Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

When you have been abused by a narcissist (or several!), you are going to have ongoing issues as a result of their abuse.  This is likely to continue for many years, even long after the abuse has ended or even after the abuser dies.  Today we’ll be discussing one of the lesser discussed yet potentially devastating issues: lacking a healthy perspective about yourself.

Not long ago, in emailing with a friend, I mentioned something traumatic that my mother did to me when I was in my teens.  She was floored, then told me how horrible it was & how badly she felt for me.  I was stunned by her reaction.  Yes I knew it was traumatic but somehow I didn’t think it was all that bad.  This same scenario happened a few times.  Then a few weeks after that first email conversation, during a phone call to a different friend, the scenario happened yet again.  I mentioned a past traumatic experience, & she too was flabbergasted.  And again, I was stunned since I didn’t think of the experience was all that terrible.

Being prone to over thinking everything, these experiences got me thinking.  I didn’t understand why I didn’t think these experiences were so bad, yet other people did.  It isn’t like they haven’t been through the same & worse experiences, & I recognized theirs were pretty terrible. 

Then, I learned something interesting that at first I thought was unrelated.  I’m always tired, & I assumed it was because I can’t get to sleep or stay asleep without medication, & have constant nightmares.  Not long ago I got a smart watch that monitors all kinds of health processes including sleep.  It showed me that I get virtually no deep sleep.  That explained why I’m always tired, but not why I don’t get deep sleep.  I researched this & found PTSD & C-PTSD cause a person not to get the deep sleep they need.  Upon learning this, my first thought was, “wow, I really DO have C-PTSD!”  My second thought was wondering what is wrong with me?!  I’ve had symptoms of it for my entire life!  How could I doubt it?  Suddenly, things began to make sense when I thought not only of this but my interactions with my friends a few weeks prior. 

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they dictate everything about that relationship as well as about you.  They do this through gaslighting.  After being exposed to this toxic behavior long enough, a person takes on the narcissist’s narrative.  If the narcissist claims you’re stupid enough, you believe you are in spite of having an above average IQ.  They claim you’re fat?  Absolutely believable, even if the scale says you only weigh 110 pounds.  This gaslighting goes much deeper than those superficial issues however.  Narcissists all convince their victims that what they’re doing isn’t so bad, clearly it’s not abusive, it never happened, or if it did then it’s their victim’s fault. 

This gaslighting also branches into the realm of health conditions too.  Narcissists are the only ones who have any sort of health problems, at least according to them.  Also, narcissists aren’t above faking an injury or illness or even making themselves sick, they assume everyone does it.  These two things mean that narcissists don’t care when their victims have any problems.  They assume their victims are just faking as they would do.  Or, if there is undeniable proof of a problem, they minimize it so they don’t have to pretend to care or to help the victim.

This gaslighting is why I was shocked my friends not only saw the events in my life as traumatic, but validated me & cared how I was affected as well.  It also explains why I felt surprised to find proof I really do have C-PTSD, in spite of having the symptoms for so long. 

If this sounds familiar to you, my heart goes out to you.  I wish I could help you fix this right now, but I can’t.  I can tell you some things that I’m finding out that help me though & I think they’ll help you too. 

Prayer certainly helps!  I have asked God to help me have a healthier perspective on myself & talk to Him regularly about this.  Also, when I recognize any minimizing behavior in myself, I tell myself the truth about the situation instead.  Progress has been slow going with me, but it’s still progress & that counts!   

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Some Lesser Known Signs Of Trauma

When you have experienced trauma in your lifetime, in particular repeated trauma, it’s going to affect you. Some expected signs of trauma in a person are things like depression & anxiety. There are a host of other, lesser known signs that can be extremely disruptive to a person’s life.


Hyper-vigilance may be the most common sign of trauma in a person’s life. It happens often in a person who has lived with their abuser, such as the child or spouse of the abuser. Living with an abusive person means you must be on your guard at all times, so you don’t do anything that upsets the abuser. That hyper-vigilant behavior often stays with a person long after they have ended the relationship with their abuser. It also leads to a host of other problems.


Physical pain in victims of abuse is often a sign not of an injury or illness, but of having experienced trauma. In particular, this pain often manifests in the neck & back. This is due to living in a hyper-vigilant state for an extended period of time. Hyper-vigilance causes your body to be in a state of not only emotional but physical stress, & that can cause physical pain in spite of there being no injury.


An extreme startle response is also caused by having to be in a state of hyper-vigilance. It manifests as being drastically more startled than you would expect to be in a specific situation. This startle response often cause anger or even tears in the startled person.


Sleep disturbances is another common sign of trauma in a person’s life. Nightmares that either relive the trauma or trigger emotions similar to those experienced during traumatic episodes happen often. Waking up often during the night or struggling to fall asleep in spite of doing things to help even including taking sleep aids are also common. Some people can wake up throwing punches, because they are so accustomed to protecting themselves. This happens quite often with those suffering from PTSD who have served in the military or those in law enforcement.


Being too busy is a trauma response that many people employ. These people will keep themselves as busy as possible during their waking hours. They work long shifts, participate in many activities & rarely take time to just rest, even when they’re sick. They do this as a way to avoid facing their pain. If they don’t have time to think, they also don’t have time to think about their pain.


Similar to being too busy is losing yourself in activities. Staring at social media or watching tv for hours is another way to escape facing pain by focusing attention elsewhere. While neither is bad, doing so for hours on end is unhealthy, especially if the one doing so is unable to stop.


Eating disorders can be another sign of unresolved trauma. They can be a way for someone to regain some control in their life when a person feels like they have no control otherwise.


Avoiding places & people that remind a victim of past trauma are more trauma responses. No one wants to face reminders of pain, of course, but those who have been through extreme trauma will go to great lengths to avoid it.


Avoiding conflict
is very common in those with traumatic pasts. When abuse happens during conflict instead of dialog designed to work things out, it instills fear in a person about conflict with anyone, not only the abuser.


If you recognize yourself in some or even all of these symptoms, hope is not lost! The more you deal with the trauma in your life, the more these unhealthy patterns will break. Not overnight, but they will happen. Keep working on your healing however works for you. Pray, write in a journal, talk to a supportive friend or therapist… whatever you do that helps you, keep on doing it even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress. Healing isn’t a simple thing. Sometimes it looks like nothing is improving, then suddenly you make big progress. Other times, you’ll slip back into old, dysfunctional habits for a brief time. It’s ok! It’s just a part of the healing journey. Don’t give up!

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Ways Narcissistic Abuse Can Make You Feel Crazy

Narcissistic abuse is a horrible thing in so many ways.  It can ruin a person’s faith in God because many narcissists twist God’s word around to justify their abusive ways.  It can ruin a person’s financial stability because narcissists feel entitled to their victim’s money & credit cards.  It can destroy a person’s self-esteem since narcissists are notorious for doing that as a way to gain control over their victims.  Narcissistic abuse also can make a person feel like their crazy, because narcissists love either implying or saying outright that their victims are crazy.

Feeling crazy isn’t only due to the direct abuse inflicted by narcissists however.  It can come as something of an after effect of the abuse, & that is what we’ll be discussing today.

When you have been abused by a narcissist, your emotions are drastically affected.  They can be rather raw due to being so overused by the constant traumatic abuse.  Being oversensitive like this isn’t always a bad thing because it can make you very sensitive to & in tune with other people.  However, it also can leave you feeling ways that are less than pleasant & even make you doubt your sanity.

One such feeling is envy when those close to you are happy.  You don’t think of yourself as being petty, but you get angry at the special people in your life that are experiencing good things happening to them.  You aren’t a mean person or naturally envious, so why does this happen?  It’s normal to feel this way sometimes when going through a hard time, such as after the death of someone you love.  You’re miserable & their joy is a reminder of that.  That being said, doesn’t it seem only logical that when experiencing something as horrid as narcissistic abuse you might feel that same way sometimes?  It does NOT mean you’re crazy!  It means you’ve been through some terrible things & are longing for better times.  Just be sure to stay aware of it & don’t mistreat anyone because of how you feel. 

Closely related is feeling envious of those with loving, healthy relationships.  Growing up with narcissistic parents makes a person feel so many things such as sadness for not having loving parents, grief for their childhood being stolen by their parents & anger for not being safe with those people who were supposed to love them unconditionally to treat them well.  Seeing people with loving, attentive, functional parents is a reminder of what you lacked.  It can trigger envy.  It may make you feel crazy or bad for being so envious, but truly, it’s normal!  The same goes for those romantically involved with a narcissist.  Seeing a happy couple can trigger envy for what you lacked.  That also is very normal! 

Another common issue is being angry & overreacting to the smallest things.  Narcissists are infamous for angering even the calmest, most laid back of people.  They also are infamous for using that justifiable anger to make their victim feel crazy & badly for being angry.  Naturally, victims learn to stuff their anger to hide it.  This works for narcissists because they know their victims will tolerate about anything they do without complaint.  Victims suffer though not only because of the abuse but also because they often lose the ability to show anger in healthy ways.  Instead, they get very angry over inconsequential things.  Something as simple as losing a pen can trigger rage.  Or, someone making an insensitive comment that isn’t even really mean can result in the victim yelling at them.  After the victim calms down, they often feel crazy for getting so angry over something so small.  The victim isn’t crazy though!  They are behaving normally in abnormal circumstances!

If you have experienced feelings like these, please know that there is nothing wrong with you!  You aren’t crazy!  You are a normal person who has experienced abnormal & horrific abuse.  The more you heal, the less you will feel these feelings.  Keep learning about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & how to heal from narcissistic abuse.  Write in a journal & look back over what you learned often, as it will help you to remember what you learned.  Most importantly, stay close to God.  Let Him help you to heal!

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Being Very Sensitive After Narcissistic Abuse

I recently learned a word I never heard before.  That word is clairsentience.  According to Merriam Webster online, it means to perceive the things that aren’t usually perceptible.  In some further reading on the topic, I realized many people think clairsentience is a psychic power like being a spirit medium or fortune teller, but I don’t think that’s the case at all.  Some people are naturally more perceptive & sensitive to things than other people.  And, some people are exceptionally perceptive & sensitive. 

I’ve always picked up on energy.  Not just the energy people naturally put off, like a happy person has a happy “vibe”.  I mean energy like if a person who loves me has been in my home, I can feel their good energy for some time after they leave.  The same goes if someone is angry or hateful has been in my home – I feel their negative energy too.  Prior to my husband & I buying his late parents’ home, he met with his sisters at that house one day.  The first time I went into that house several days after they left, I felt their negative energy the moment I walked in the door.  It was so pronounced, I felt like it slapped me in the face.

In thinking about this phenomenon known as clairsentience, I’ve noticed it is quite common in those who have been abused by narcissists, even if victims don’t always realize it.  It seems to me having to be completely in tune with a narcissist’s wants, needs, feelings & even whims in order to avoid disappointing them by facing their wrath can create this deep awareness in some people.  I believe it to be one aspect of hyper-vigilance.  I also think that many victims of narcissistic abuse aren’t aware that this clairsentience can be a good thing because of its relation to hyper-vigilance so often making it uncomfortable. 

Clairsentience can help you to be in tune with people other than the narcissist.  You can realize quickly the mood of someone you care about.  You also pick up on subtle things like how a person truly feels about you or if they’re in need of something but don’t want to ask. 

Clairsentience can make a person very empathic & in tune with those in their life, which is a wonderful thing for relationships.  It leads to having very close, good relationships partly because of this.

It also naturally means you can identify toxic people very quickly, because you can pick up on subtle cues that other people may not notice.  For example, narcissists are smug people, but not all wear that smugness proudly.  In some, it’s barely noticeable at all.  It may appear as a look in their eye or a slightly disappointed expression when talking about those they deem not as good as themselves.  Many people won’t notice those subtle cues, but a person with clairsentience will recognize those very subtle clues & (hopefully at least!) avoid people like this.  This skill means that a person with clairsentience can have very good, healthy relationships while wasting very little time on the bad ones.

Another plus is the sensitivity to energy.  Being able to feel the “vibe” of a gathering of people is a useful skill because it helps you to figure out quickly how best to act in the environment.

If you realize you fit the description of someone with clairsentience, then I urge you not to look at it as a bad thing or some strange psychic phenomenon.  Instead, just appreciate it as the useful life skill that it is. 

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Managing Triggers

Anyone who has experienced trauma knows about triggers, whether or not they recognize that is what they are called.  Triggers are things that “trigger” certain memories to come to the forefront of your mind with force & against your will.  They also trigger certain PTSD reactions such as anxiety, fear responses such as fight, flight, freeze or fawn, & even flashbacks.  To put it bluntly, triggers suck!

They are a particularly yukky part of having survived trauma & the worst part is they are unavoidable.  Sure, you can avoid some but avoiding all triggers is impossible.  The best thing you can do for your mental health is learn to manage triggers.

First & foremost, you need to be aware of what triggers are.  Recognizing them for what they are really helps, because it reminds you that as painful as they may be, the triggers can’t hurt you.  You are safe now.  Or, if the trigger was brought about by someone treating you as your past abuser has, now you can handle this situation in a way that protects you.  You can handle this!

Second, I believe in prayer.  The only reason I say prayer should be second instead of first is because lack of awareness can paralyze you.  You need to be aware first, then you can focus enough to pray.  Ask God to help you stay grounded, to keep you safe, to help you to get through this & anything else you can think of.

Third, use grounding techniques to help you to stay focused on the present moment.  Engage your senses to distract your mind from being too swallowed up by the trigger or flashback.  Touch something with a very distinct texture like silk or burlap.  Smell something with a strong scent such as lavender or strong perfume or cologne you like.  Taste something with a strong scent & flavor such as coffee or a strong mint.  Admire something beautiful such as a flower or a painting.  Turn up a song you find empowering & listen to it a few times in a row if it helps.

Fourth, think of what you can do to comfort yourself.  You can wrap yourself in your favorite blanket, snuggle a stuffed animal, indulge in a cup of your favorite tea or coffee, take a warm bath or shower, or hold a precious possession given to you by someone you love dearly.  Lavender is known for its anti-anxiety properties, so keep some essential oil handy for these times.

Fifth, after you have calmed down, make that trigger work for you.  They are unavoidable so why not make them count for something?  Get to the root of this.  If you aren’t sure what that root is, ask God to show you.  Once you know what the root of the problem is, you can heal & this trigger won’t hold such power over you.  It may even disappear entirely.  The key is getting to the root though, & that may mean going way back into childhood.

Sixth, tell yourself the truth & ask God to tell you the truth about that root of the trigger.  Did you deserve that?  Are you as bad as your abuser claims you are?  Was what that person said true?  Questions like that when faced with the truth will show you exactly how wrong & cruel your abuser was. 

Seventh, take some time to rest & be gentle with yourself.  Emotional work is hard.  You will need a little time to recover so take it & don’t be ashamed of it.

Last but not least, celebrate the fact you survived some pretty bad things.  Be proud of yourself!  Be proud of your strength.  Thank God for getting you through those dark, horrid times with your sanity & goodness in tact. 

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About Brain Fog After Traumatic Experiences

When a person dies, their surviving loved ones often go through something called “grief brain.”  Grief brain is that brain fog that happens after losing someone you love.  It happens because the grief is fresh & new so you haven’t had time to adapt to it.  It also happens because you’re trying to figure out how to adapt to this “new normal” of life without your deceased loved one.

The brain likes certainty so it can predict what is going to happen.  Going through your daily routine is comfortable.  You know what is going to happen.  Little surprises can create a bit of anxiety but seldom anything terrible.  Bigger surprises such as the sudden or unexpected death of a loved one, creates a great deal more anxiety.  Suddenly the brain has to work much harder to figure out what is happening.  It focuses on what is wrong & how to fix this situation.  With resources focused on the situation, the brain has much less resources available to focus on other things.

This brain fog, or grief brain, after someone dies is a perfectly normal part of the grief process.  Not that it feels normal at the time, but it is.  It also doesn’t last forever, thankfully!

Losing someone you love isn’t the only situation that can cause such a brain fog.  Trauma can cause it.  Repeated trauma definitely causes it.

Trauma damages the brain, it’s a well known fact.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorders are in fact less mental illness & more brain injuries due to traumatic experiences.  Brain damage from trauma as well as the brain trying to adapt to life after trauma definitely create a brain fog.  That fog can be one of the most frustrating parts of having C-PTSD or PTSD. 

I’ve had symptoms of C-PTSD ever since I can remember, but they developed fully in 2012.  One of the last symptoms to develop is this brain fog.  And, it got worse after suffering brain damage from carbon monoxide poisoning.  I’ve spend a lot of time frustrated with it, but I have learned some ways to cope.

Naturally prayer is a constant.  I ask God to help me however I need, & He listens when I get frustrated about forgetting something or can’t focus.  He is so helpful!  Even simply offering comfort is a huge help sometimes.

I also try to accept it for what it is.  I wouldn’t get mad at my body if I had cancer & became disabled because of it.  How can I get mad at my brain for not working right after all it’s been through?

I firmly believe in hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.  I hope & pray things improve, but if they don’t, I have ways to cope.  Brain injury of any sort is very unpredictable & also very unique to each person.  You just don’t know what the brain will do.  Cope with your symptoms as best you can while hoping & praying they improve. 

Use technology.  I love Google Keep for notes & to do lists.  I also love Google Calendar for helping me keep track of appointments & dates bills are due. 

Writing is very useful tool, too.  I don’t mean necessarily writing books.  I mean writing in general.  Keeping a journal is helpful for documenting your life as well as coping with your emotions.  Writing to do lists can be helpful because the act of writing things down can help the brain to remember them easier.

Spending time being creative is helpful, too.  Draw, paint, work with clay, cross stitch, take up woodworking.. whatever you decide to do isn’t important.  Making something with your own two hands is all that matters.  It helps exercise the brain by making you think of how to make whatever you’re trying to make & is incredibly rewarding when you see the fruits of your labor.

You can cope with brain fog!  xoxo

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The Value Of Appropriate Responsibility

Many people say things absolutely wrong from the perspective of responsibility.  Think of how narcissists apologize, for example.  They say things like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” which basically makes the victim feel judged & badly for being upset about the abuse that was inflicted on them.  It subtly removes responsibility off the narcissist for being abusive & puts it on the victim for overreacting or being too sensitive.

There are also other less glaringly obvious examples of this behavior that are very common. 

When you apologize, saying, “I’m sorry about that” is pretty vague.  Instead, saying, “I’m sorry I hurt you when I forgot our anniversary” is much better.  Why?  Because it acknowledges the wrong done as well as accepts responsibility for the behavior.  That kind of apology stands a much better chance of gaining forgiveness than a vaguer one does.

It’s also important to use language that isn’t minimizing when discussing abuse.  If you’re confronting your abuser, it makes an impression to tell them, “Screaming at me is unacceptable.  Until you can calm down, talk to me in a normal tone of voice without calling me stupid, I won’t listen to you.”  Saying something like, “You hurt my feelings when you yelled at me & called me names” sounds more like whining, & most abusers won’t listen to that.  It minimizes the abuse & the claims sound vaguer, which give the abuser room to further minimize his or her actions, deny they even happened or even turn the conversation around to you, saying you’re over sensitive or similar nonsense as a way of removing the focus off of them.

Even if you aren’t confronting your abuser, it’s still not a good idea to minimize anything when discussing abuse.  Saying things like, “What happened to me” glosses over the abuse.  It sounds not so bad.  It also sounds like you have some responsibility it it.  Using phrases like, “What was done to me,” or “What they did to me” place the responsibility for what happened to you where it belongs – on your abuser.  This is very important!  Not only does it help people who weren’t abused see that the abuser was responsible for the abuse, but it helps victims as well.  When victims sugar coat the abuse by saying things like, “I was abused” makes them minimize the severity of the events in their mind.  They basically invalidate themselves.  Victims need to be very aware that what happened was terrible & it wasn’t their fault.

If someone tells you that they were abused, then please don’t say things like, “I’m sorry that happened to you.”  That too can be very minimizing.  Instead, say, “I’m so sorry that person did that to you!  That was terrible & wrong, & you didn’t deserve to be treated like that.”  By saying the latter option, you have empowered the victim.  You basically said, “That person did something pretty terrible to you that they shouldn’t have done.  It wasn’t your fault!”  You acknowledge the severity of the situation, & sometimes, victims really need that.  When we see someone other than us is horrified when they find out some of the things done to us. It helps us to take what happened more seriously.  It’s harder to downplay trauma when someone else sees it as traumatic & terrible.

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15% Off All My Print Books!

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

My print books can be found at this link…

my spotlight on Lulu

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Year End Sale On ALL Of My Ebooks!

From December 17, 2021 until January 1, 2022, my publisher is offering 25% off all of my ebooks. If you’ve been wanting to read any of them, it’s a great time to buy. Simply go to my author page on my publisher’s site at the link below. The coupon will be applied automatically at checkout.

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About Scars

Most people are very uncomfortable around someone with obvious scars.  They stare at the person who has scars from surviving a house fire or they avoid even making simple eye contact with the person.  Some especially rude people ask this person what happened while wearing an expression of sheer disgust on their face.  Experiences like this make the person with the scars feel ashamed of how they look.  This sort of experience also can happen to someone who wears their scars inside as a result of surviving abuse.

So many people who live with ongoing mental health struggles such as Complex PTSD, PTSD, anxiety & depression as a result of being abused are shamed.  Some people mock these mental disorders while others deny their existence, which further contributes to the shame most abuse victims feel on some level for being abused.  This behavior is incredibly cruel but also foolish.

Everyone has scars to some degree.  Those scars shouldn’t be a source of shame.  Scars tell a story of things you have experienced.

Some scars show a woman has birthed healthy children.

Some scars show what happened to a soldier who bravely threw himself in harm’s way to protect his fellow soldiers.

Some scars show that a fireman was injured while rescuing someone from a burning building on the verge of collapse.

Some scars show the vet assistant’s job involves a lot more physical pain than most people think because scared animals scratch & bite.

Some scars even show that a person was abused by someone they thought they could trust, someone they thought loved them & would be good to them.

The one thing all scars have in common is that they tell a story of something that could have destroyed a person yet they didn’t.  They tell a story of survival, strength & bravery. 

If you have survived abuse & feel your story isn’t somehow good or worthy like the people in the examples I provided, I want you to know that you are wrong.  Having a mental disorder or even disorders doesn’t mean you are weak, stupid, or a failure.  Far from it!  It means you survived something that could have destroyed you.  Narcissists do their level best to destroy their victims in every possible way, yet you survived that!  Of course you have some issues as a result of the abuse, because that is only normal.  Rather than be ashamed of those issues, why not be proud of the fact you survived what many people don’t?  Then, as if surviving isn’t enough, here you are, not only coping with those issues but learning, growing, healing & helping others who have experienced what you have.  You should be so proud of yourself for how far you have come!! 

Rather than be ashamed of your scars & try to hide them, I would like to suggest that you to accept them without judgment as reminders of your strength & courage!  Hold your head high & be proud of the person you are!

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About Perspective Of Good & Bad Experiences

I love watching the old public tv show, “The Joy Of Painting” with Bob Ross.  He was an incredibly talented painter, & there is something so calming about watching him create his beautiful works of art.  I also especially enjoy the bits of wisdom he shared through each episode.  Not only bits of wisdom about painting, but about life in general. 

I was watching his show recently & he was painting a beautiful mountain scene in the fall.  During the course of painting, Mr. Ross said some interesting things.

The first thing he mentioned was as he was painting a lake.  To create dimension, he used dark & light colors together.  He said something like, “Don’t conceal all your dark areas or the painting will become flat.”  Immediately it made me think of the overly positive people of the world.  I don’t mean the average person who tries to be positive, but the ones who refuse to say anything negative or see anything but the good in people.  When people don’t admit that sometimes things are less than perfect & happy, they often are much the same way- flat.  They express only one mood- happy.  Honestly, I find this incredibly annoying to be around.  Not that I want to be around people who are always miserable either.  Somewhere in the middle is so much more comfortable & I think also healthy.  People who are real & honest are the most interesting people, in my opinion anyway, probably because they have many different aspects to their personalities & different moods.  They’re also more comfortable to be around, because you know they won’t judge you if you are anything less than completely positive & happy.  Many overly positive people also can come across very invalidating & shaming.  For example, if you’re laid up with a broken leg, it’s ok to be upset about that.  The unhealthy, overly positive type of person will say something like you should be glad it happened because now you have the time off to catch up on whatever hobbies you enjoy.  That comment can make you feel badly for being upset that you are in a miserable situation, even though you have every right to be upset.

Another interesting thing he mentioned was that you need darkness to show the light.  How true is that!  If you think of it in the natural realm, if you light up an average light bulb, it will look very different in the dark than it will on a sunny day.  In the dark, even a very dim bulb can look extremely bright.  Yet, in the sunlight, even the brightest bulb will appear pretty dim.  The contrast of dark & light always makes light appear brighter.

The same things happen with good & bad things in life.  The bad, or darker, things that happen make you appreciate the good, or lighter, things.  If you have only good things happen, you can count on not appreciating anything good that happens to you simply because that is the norm for you.  There is nothing to compare your experiences to that will make them appear worth appreciating.  If there is a balance of both good & bad things, however, the bad things truly will make you appreciate the good things.  The good things will look so much better in contrast to the bad, just like that dim light bulb will look especially bright in a very dark room.

It was kinda strange, realizing these things from watching a man paint a pretty landscape, but I hope you found them interesting like I did.  And, his show can be found on YouTube & I think it was Pluto TV where I found it.  Very worth checking out if you have the chance!

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

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

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

The print versions books can be found at the link below…

https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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

About My Print Books

I recently received an email from my print book publisher. There are difficulties with supply chain delays, so they recommend customers expect to receive their books in at least 3 weeks. Usually, the time is much shorter.

I was thinking about this & how it can affect my readers, I had some thoughts.

  • Ebooks are cheaper, easier to hide from abusers, & are ready for reading the moment they are purchased. They’re a great option if money is tight, you live with your abuser, don’t want him or her to know you’re reading such material, &/or are in a rush to read a book. I urge you to consider buying the ebook version of my books rather than print if you are in such situations. They can be found at this link: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug
  • If you still prefer the print copy, you have two options:
    • If you’re not in a hurry, you can simply order from my website as normal. Just be prepared for possible delays. They can be ordered at the following link: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug
    • I always have copies of most of my books to have available for anyone who would like to buy them directly from me. I can sell & ship them myself at a slightly lower price than my publisher because as the author, I get a discount on my books. I also can ship via media mail (slow but cheap) or priority mail (fast but more expensive), buyer’s choice. Simply contact me at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com & let me know what book(s) you would like. I’ll figure out your price & get back to you asap. I also added this information to my website so it’ll be readily available & easier to find than this blog post. Just visit my site at any time at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug,com

Thank you for your patience & understanding! It is very appreciated!!

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

“You Never Said That Before!”

Many times, victims are accused of changing their story when they discuss the traumatic abusive episodes of their past.  It can be understandable to a degree that people are concerned with that, because many people lie.  How many false rape accusations have you heard of, for example?  I would bet quite a few.  Or, how many times have you heard of someone being arrested & changing their story either before the trial or while they were in court? 

The problem is that with many victims of abuse, the story can change some but that doesn’t mean the accusations are false or that the victim is lying.  There are several reasons for this.

Many victims have repressed serious trauma.  One way the mind copes to serious trauma is to hide the memory until such a time as one can cope with it.  When you are in an abusive relationship, you endure trauma after trauma, with no time to cope with the first trauma when the second comes along.  Then the third.  Then then fourth & so on.  The mind can handle only so much.  Rather than try to juggle coping with the barrage of constant trauma, it hides some.   Basically, it’s as if the mind puts some events in a box on a shelf.  Later, when in a safer environment, the mind can relax & not function in survival mode.  Those times are often when it decides to take those boxes off the shelf as it is able to cope with them.  This is why immediately after a trauma, sometimes a person can forget key aspects of the situation then days, weeks or even years later, suddenly remember them.  To someone unfamiliar with the mechanics of repressed memories, they can look as if the victim is changing their story even though it is nothing of the sort.

Some details are too embarrassing to share, so they prefer to censor some of the story.  Being involved with an abusive person in any capacity is embarrassing, but it seems to me that being involved with them romantically is especially embarrassing.  It’s embarrassing to admit you fell in love with someone so awful, because it makes you feel stupid & incredibly flawed.  I never was in love with my ex husband, although I thought I was & said I was.  I tried to be.  Even so, for a long time I felt ashamed of myself for wasting my time with someone like him.  As if that isn’t enough though, a lot of narcissistic spouses are very demeaning sexually.  They have no problem raping their spouse through violence or guilt/shaming tactics.  They also seem to get a thrill from degrading them by expecting them to perform acts that cause them either physical or emotional pain or both.  Most people aren’t overly comfortable discussing details of their sex life even when they have a normal one, but discussing the details of the degrading things your narcissistic spouse has done to you or made you do is even worse.  No one wants to admit to having done or been subjected to such awful things!

Most victims also realize that not everyone is capable of emotionally handling the gory details of abuse, so they edit their story for some people while sharing more with others.  This doesn’t mean a victim is trying to get attention from certain people.  It means we’re all pretty aware that there are some folks who can handle our story better than others, & we feel more comfortable sharing details with them. 

As you heal, you become more comfortable discussing your story.  The more you heal, the more comfortable you are with your story.  You realize you aren’t the awful person the narcissist convinced you that you were.  You realize the abuse wasn’t your fault.  You also realize the shame of the abuse isn’t yours to carry, but your abuser’s.  The things you are willing to discuss today may not be things you were willing to share last year.  It’s simply part of the healing process to be more comfortable with being open about your story than you once were. 

If someone jumps you for never saying that before or some similar comment, remember these points.  There is nothing wrong with divulging more or less during certain times or to certain people as long as you’re telling the truth.

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The Body & Mind Hold Onto Trauma

At the time of this post, it’s October.  October 3, 2017, I got the call that my father was on a ventilator without much time left to live.  He died twenty days later.

During that time, as I’ve shared before, I was subjected to cruel attacks, multiple times a day, from my family because I didn’t break no contact to say goodbye to my father.  My home & cell phones rang constantly, & often when they rang, they would ring for five to ten minutes straight.  I got tons of text messages & social media messages. I dodged all calls & messages as best I could, but there was no escaping reading the first part of some messages due to how texts, emails & social media messages are designed. The hatred & venom coming from even that little bit I read was simply astounding!  And, one of the social media messages was from the account of my aunt who had been dead for three years at that point!  I’d blocked her daughter some time before & she used her mother’s account to try to bully me.  Ain’t family grand?

As a result of that horrid time, every October, I struggle.  It’s like a month long emotional flashback.  I can count on depression, anxiety & nightmares plaguing me even more than usual on top of the natural sadness connected to my father’s death.  The fact this happens during my favorite time of year makes this even more frustrating. I just want to enjoy the beautiful leaves changing & cooler temperatures in October!

The reason I’m sharing this is in the hopes of helping anyone reading this who experiences something similar. 

Sometimes we go through things that are so traumatizing, that even well after the trauma is done, we can’t help but suffer effects.  Even if we try not to think about it, it’s still lodged in the back of the mind, not going anywhere.  We might get anxious or depressed around the anniversary of the event without even realizing the date.  Or, we experience the same emotions we did at the time of the trauma.  This is known as an emotional flashback.

The body remembers too, & as a result, we may feel ill, have some unusual aches or other odd symptoms without medical cause suddenly appear for a brief time.  If you were physically injured at the time of the trauma, you also may feel the pain of that injury again.  This is what is known as a somatic flashback.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic wand to wave & make these symptoms stop.  If only it was that easy!  Instead, if you want to survive this with some semblance of sanity, you are going to have to do some work.  Not all of it will be bad, but some will be pretty unpleasant.

You are going to need to face your feelings about what happened & feel those emotions.  You can’t ignore feelings or they will manifest in some pretty unhealthy ways such as in the form of addictions, self harm or self destructive tendencies.  My best friend says, “you have to feel your feels” & it’s true.  To do this, you need to find healthy outlets that help you.  For me, that means prayer & writing in a journal.  For you, it could be speaking to a counselor, pastor or trusted friend.  Whatever works is what matters. 

“Feeling your feels” is hard work, & you will need to take breaks when you start feeling that it’s just too much.  What helps you to relax?  Creative outlets are wonderful for relaxing & healing your soul.  If you don’t have one, it might be time to find one.  If you are out of ideas, notice what your friends are doing.  One of their hobbies might appeal to you.  Or, consider what you enjoyed doing as a child & start doing that again.  Get some finger paints, doodle, or buy a coloring book & crayons. 

Take care of your physical needs as well.  Make sure to allow extra time for you to rest since emotional work requires a lot of energy.  If you like exercising, go for walks, swim, ride a horse… whatever you enjoy that helps you to feel good physically.

Most of all, don’t forget to lean on God.  He will show you what you need to do, & help you to get through this trying time.  All you have to do is ask for His help.

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10% Off All My Print Books Until October 1, 2021

My publisher is having another sale. 10% off ALL print products, which naturally includes my books. Simply use code BUY10 at checkout. You can see my books at the link below:

lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

If you’re interested in checking out the other great selection of print products my publisher sells, simply visit lulu.com & use code BUY10 at checkout

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Enjoying Life, Mental Health, Narcissism, Personality (including introversion, Myers Briggs, etc.), Writing