Tag Archives: PTSD

Sharing Some Inspiration

I recently caught a show on the Oxygen network about the Cleveland strangler, Anthony Sowell.  I believe the show was called, “Snapped Notorious: The Cleveland Strangler.” If you don’t know him, he was a serial rapist & murderer in whose Cleveland, Ohio home the bodies of 11 women were found. 

I found the show fascinating.  Not only because of my interest in true crime but mostly because of the surviving victims.  At the end of the episode, four victims who miraculously survived Sowell’s attacks were interviewed.  They were very strong & inspiring ladies!  I regret that I didn’t make a note of their names.  I was too busy jotting down notes from what each lady had to say to think of names at the time, but if you get to watch this show, you can find out their names.

Anyway, what these ladies had to say was so inspiring & I think also very valuable for victims of all kinds of abuse, which is why I wanted to share their wisdom.

One lady shared that she wants to start an organization called Cracked Not Broken whose sole purpose is to tell people there is always hope.  She said too that there needs to be more support for victims.  She’s right.  There isn’t much good support.  She & the other three ladies on this show supported each other though, & that is so wonderful!  I think victims of crimes & any type of trauma & abuse need to support each other because they can do so better than anyone else.  They understand the pain, the difficulties in healing, & more.  What healing could take place if more people supported each other rather than compared their traumas or minimize the traumas of other people!

Another lady stressed the importance of never minimizing your experiences.  Many victims of abuse minimize their trauma.  Since she said this, I assume victims of crimes do it as well.  It’s not a healthy thing to do!  To heal, you need to accept what was done to you for what it was, not some watered down version of it.  Then you can get angry about it & really start to heal.

She also said the only way to heal is to “get that stuff off you”.  That is so true!  Holding things in doesn’t help anyone & is detrimental to mental health.  This particular lady suggested reaching out for help.  If you are unwilling or unable to do so, there is always journaling.  That is incredibly helpful in “getting that stuff off you.”  Better yet is prayer.  God truly will help you to heal from anything!

Another lady said victims need to know they didn’t deserve what was done to them & not to blame themselves.  This happens to so many people who were victimized in any capacity.  The woman who was raped blames herself for wearing a short skirt, the person whose car was stolen blames himself for forgetting to lock the doors, the victim of a narcissistic parent blames herself for making her parents abuse her.  This is so wrong & it needs to stop.  No one can force another person to abuse them & no one deserves to be abused.  Period!

Another lady said just because the person who hurt you didn’t see your value, that doesn’t mean you don’t have value.  You are valuable!  You deserve to love yourself.  And, as you heal, take each day a step at a time.  Don’t rush the healing process.

Lastly, this same lady said one thing that helped her to heal was to keep her head up & never give up.  Clearly she knew she had no reason to be ashamed of what happened to her, so she wasn’t going to carry that shame!  So very wise!

I hope you were as inspired by these brave, beautiful ladies as I was! xoxo

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Making A Change

I just thought I would let everyone know I’m thinking of making a change in my writing. Instead of only sharing what I learn about NPD, narcissistic abuse, & C-PTSD, I have decided to expand that a bit into ways to add more joy into your life.

Since I turned 50 in April, I guess you could say I’m having a mid life crisis of sorts. (No, I’m not going to divorce my husband, date a guy who’s half my age & buy a Mazda Miata.. lol) I’ve come to realize how little I’ve enjoyed my life. NPD has taken up so much time & space in it! It’s time to make some changes.

You know how the Bible says that the enemy has come to steal, kill & destroy, & is looking for someone he may devour? Well, I firmly believe he does this, but not always in obvious ways. Sometimes those ways are subtle. Being abused by a narcissist is both obvious & subtle in its devastation to one’s life. The abuse itself is obvious of course, especially when it’s someone raging at you like an overt narcissist does or giving you intense guilt trips like a covert narcissist. But the aftermath is much more subtle. It is so easy to get caught up in obsessing over trying to understand what happened & ways to heal, that you can fail to enjoy your life. That has happened to me & I’m tired of it! I would guess that many of you reading this feel the same way.

At the time I’m writing this, I have about 8 months worth of blog posts written & scheduled to publish. You won’t see many posts on enjoying life for a bit because of that. I may rearrange & reschedule as I go to interject some but I’m not sure yet. That depends on what I feel God wants me to do. More of those posts definitely will be published in the future along with my usual educational type of posts though.

Please just bear with me through this. I’m not entirely sure yet how this is going to play out. I’ve felt God putting it on my heart to write more about enjoying life from a Christian perspective as I learn to, but as of the moment, not many details have been forthcoming.

Thank you for your understanding & patience with me, & always being there! I love all of you! xoxo

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

Bringing More Joy Into Your Life

Those of us with C-PTSD are all too aware of the bad triggers.  They remind us of traumatic & painful events, sometimes even to the point of having flashbacks.  They can be a good thing in the sense they show what areas need more healing, but they sure don’t feel so good when they happen!

There is another kind of trigger too, which is much more pleasant & much less talked about.  Good triggers are just as important, yet sadly there isn’t much information available on them.

Good triggers are things that can trigger joy, comfort, pleasant memories or nostalgia.  For me, the smell of Old Spice cologne always reminds me of my Granddad, who I adored.  The song “You’re My Best Friend” by the band Queen always reminds me of my husband since that is our song.  The scent of a fireplace burning on a cool autumn day reminds me of my favorite time of year & triggers a sense of coziness.

Please think about what good triggers you have, & write them down.  If you are unsure, I can offer you some ideas…

  • Some things that can trigger joy might be being kind to someone else, spending time with someone you love, or accomplishing a task you’ve been postponing.
  • Some things that can trigger comfort might be enjoying clean sheets on your bed, wearing an especially soft pair of pajamas or lighting your favorite scented candle.
  • Some things that can trigger pleasant memories or nostalgia could be listening to music you enjoyed at a particularly good time of your life, baking something your favorite relative baked or journaling about some good experience such as when you first fell in love with your spouse. 

Another thing I am in the process of learning about to bring joy into my life is the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga).  Hygge is about creating a cozy, comfortable & relaxed lifestyle that leaves you with a feeling of well being & contentment. 

There are no hard & fast rules to living this lifestyle, other than what makes you feel cozy & comfortable.  I have come to realize that less stuff is an important aspect of hygge to me.  Less stuff means less to clean & maintain, & less clutter in my home, all of which help me to be more relaxed.  This also means my home is easier to clean, because of having less stuff which also helps to contribute to a more relaxed state.

Learning about hygge also inspired me to simplify every aspect of my life.  For example, each week I have most of our bills paid automatically by going on a credit card that gives cash back.  I pay this credit card bill weekly, so it doesn’t get out of control, & sometimes I also use the cash back to help pay the balance. 

Focusing on your good triggers, creating new ones as well as living a more relaxed & comfortable lifestyle are all very good for bringing more joy into your life.  I hope you are inspired to make some healthy changes in your life!

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10% Off All My Print Books!

My publisher is offering 10% off all print books until May 28. Simply use code SELLDIRECT10 at checkout.

My books can be found at the following link:

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

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How To Help An Animal With PTSD

One of my cats, a handsome orange tabby guy named Punkin, has feline PTSD.  I didn’t know this when we adopted him, or rather when he adopted us.  He seemed a bit skittish but pretty normal.  Then one day with no provocation, he attacked our American Eskimo dog, Dixie.  Shocked, my husband & I hollered his name.  He stopped what he was doing, looked around then shook his head & ran off.  I realized he looked like I felt when I’ve had a flashback.  Thankfully, that attack was a one time incident, but even so, his symptoms aren’t always well managed.  He tries, but like a human with PTSD, sometimes trying isn’t enough to keep symptoms at bay.

One day a few years ago, Punkin was running around playing & doing weird kitty energy jag things. Another of our cats, Grace, got in on the fun with him. They ran around & played for a few minutes as they often do. They stopped playing & a minute later, she sneaked up on him.  Grace gently bumped into Punkin’s side as if to say “Boo!”. He didn’t see it coming & apparently his fight, flight, freeze or fawn instincts kicked in.  Poor Punkin froze.  He crouched low & his eyes got HUGE & he wouldn’t move.  He was frozen in place.  I honestly thought at first he might be having an aneurysm or heart attack.  I quickly went to him to decide if we had to go to the emergency vet.  I reassured & talked to him for a minute when he finally started to come out of it.  He looked like he has when he’s come out of a flashback.

Something unusual happened at that point.  He wanted me to hold him & he purred. These are two things that almost never happen with Punkin.  When he wanted me to put him down a few minutes later, Grace meekly approached him.  She checked on him then gave him a big head bonk.  Her apology, I think, although she didn’t mean to upset him.  She has been Punkin’s volunteer service cat since she was a kitten, always offering him love, help or anything she can when his PTSD flares up, so naturally she felt terrible for upsetting her buddy.

I’m sharing this because I know many of you who follow my work also love animals.  And, like me, you seem to be drawn to those with some sort of special needs.  In a cruel world, this means the chances of you adopting an animal with PTSD are fairly good.  If this happens, please don’t give up on your skittish or even aggressive furbaby!  Animals like this need someone who understands & is patient, who can help them cope with what is happening.

If you wonder if your furbaby has PTSD, there are some signs…

Nightmares are common.  If your furbaby twitches dramatically in his sleep, this is often the sign of a nightmare.  Gently pet him & talk to him.  That can help stop it.  If not, wake him up.

Being skittish or jumpy.  This is the animal equivalent of hyper-vigilance.  Try not to make sudden moves around your furbaby.  Keep a calm, quiet environment as much as possible.

Anxiety.  Some signs of anxiety are restlessness, lack of or too big of an appetite, being destructive or pottying in unacceptable places.  Along with keeping a calm environment at home, try to maintain a consistent schedule.  Medication may be helpful too.  Talk to your veterinarian about this option if you think it may help.

Flashbacks can be hard to recognize in animals but they do have them.  Punkin attacking Dixie was a pretty obvious one, but other signs of flashbacks are sudden abnormal behavior.  Our late dog, Bear, also had PTSD, & I believe his former owner caused it by being abusive.  The man wore heavy leather gloves for work, & whenever Bear saw me put gloves on, he would attack my hands.  If your furbaby has obvious triggers like Bear did, avoid those triggers as much as possible.  Also, flashbacks can take a lot out of an animal, so don’t be surprised if your little one takes a long nap after or even drags a bit for a day or two.

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you have an advantage for helping your furbaby.  You know what helps you when symptoms get bad.  Chances are, those same things will help your little one. 

If you don’t know how to help, just watch your furbaby.  Animals tell humans what they want & need from us.  With Punkin, often he wants to be left alone when things get bad.  I watch him from a distance during those times.  Other times, he obviously wants snuggles, so I give him all the snuggles he wants.  Follow your furbaby’s lead to help the most. PTSD in animals is sad of course, but it can be managed, just like it can with people.  Love, understanding & patience will go a long way in helping your furbaby life a happy life in spite of the disorder.

This is Punkin with his buddy, Grace.

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15% Off My Print Books Until May 7, 2021

If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.

My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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A Common Way Mental Illness Is Minimized

Most of us have used terms like, “That drives me crazy!”, claimed something gave us a “panic attack” when all it did was startle us, or even described a moody person as being “bipolar” even though that moody person wasn’t diagnosed with the disorder.  Phrases like this have been part of the way people talk for God only knows how long.

I believe there is a problem with using these phrases though.  By using these phrases so freely, they dilute very serious mental health disorders.

Claiming something drives you crazy makes insanity sound like an annoyance rather than a serious mental problem.

Panic attacks are also much more than being startled.  They can feel like you’re having a heart attack.  They are physically & mentally debilitating.  After I have one, I feel very emotionally drained & exhausted for quite some time after.

Saying a moody person is bipolar makes Bipolar Disorder seem much less serious than it is.  Those with Bipolar Disorder aren’t simply moody.  Manic episodes can involve some very risky & even dangerous behavior.  The down side is seriously bad as well.  The depression can be so severe as to include suicidal ideation. 

If you think I am over thinking this situation, then consider this.  As a victim of narcissistic abuse, doesn’t it offend you when someone carelessly describes someone’s selfish behavior as narcissistic?  You have seen narcissistic behavior up close & personal.  You are all too aware that it is extremely different than someone doing something without thought or consideration of other people.  It is more than selfishness.  It is abusive, malicious, cruel & dangerous to your mental & physical health.  Lumping someone who simply was thoughtless in a momentary lapse of judgment in the same category as someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is deeply offensive to anyone who has seen the unmasked narcissist first hand.

I really don’t think most people are being malicious when they say something “drives them crazy” or some other phrase related to mental illness.  These phrases have become so common place, no one really thinks twice when saying or hearing them.  They simply have become an everyday part of our vernacular.  The problem with that is over time, very subtly, they reduce the meaning of real & serious mental disorders.  Sometimes, even make them laughable.  This just should not be the case!

If you realize you use such phrases, please reconsider doing so.  On behalf of my fellow “crazy” people, I ask you to stop it.  I know what I live with having C-PTSD & there is nothing laughable or trivial about it.  Having to fight your own mind to get through the day is serious & an incredibly difficult way to live.  It isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy.  Having my mental health trivialized or turned into the butt of a joke is insulting. 

What makes this situation even worse is mental illness is seldom believed.  If a person wears a cast on their leg, people see this person obviously broke their leg.  They offer that person sympathy.  Mental illness doesn’t have a glaring piece of physical evidence that is undeniable proof of the mental illness.  Those who suffer with it often aren’t taken seriously because they look “normal.”  Living with that then the trivialization of our illness is extraordinarily hard.  Proverbs 18:21 says the tongue has the power of life & death.  Please remember that & choose your words wisely!

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The Four Trauma Responses: Fawn

Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences.  Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others.  A lot of children of narcissistic parents use the fawn response.

The fawn trauma response is when a victim tries hard to please their abuser so the abuser will stop whatever painful thing they’re doing.  They will try to distract the abuser somehow, do something they know their abuser likes, & go along absolutely anything the abuser wants.  While this may stop an abuser at the moment, over the long term, this doesn’t work.  Fawning shows abusers that their abusive, toxic ways can be used to get whatever they want from their victim.

Fawning still affects a person long after the abuser is out of their life.  Fawners are often very devoted people pleasers who have no real boundaries.  They falsely believe that losing yourself in relationships is totally normal.  They also are prone to very dysfunctional & abusive relationships, including more than one relationship with narcissists.  This leads them to focus on the needs & wants of other people much more than their own & often to their own detriment.  They also seem to have no real identity of their own, often becoming what other people say they should be. 

Fawning often is encouraged in society.  Primarily by abusers but also by ill informed people who see people who fawn as generous, loving, even Godly rather than dysfunctional.  This makes overcoming fawning behavior especially hard for those engaging in this behavior, because even though it can hurt a person, it also can be the one area they feel gets them love & approval, & maybe even makes them  feel worthy of love.

There is hope for replacing this dysfunctional behavior with much healthier behavior.  As always, I firmly believe prayer is the best place to start.  God will help you, so let Him!

Focus on healing from the trauma in your life that made you develop your fawning ways.  The more you heal, the healthier you will become in every way.  That means you will decrease your unhealthy behaviors more & more as you heal.

Remind yourself as often as you need to that not pleasing someone doesn’t mean you’re bad, wrong, or unworthy of love.  You simply may have made a mistake.  Or, maybe they were wrong to expect this particular thing out of you.  Don’t assume you were automatically wrong.  It is just as possible the other person was wrong.

Feel your feelings.  Whatever you are feeling, accept those feelings without judgment.  As you do, you may see that they aren’t appropriate to your current situation.  They could simply be triggered by old issues.  They also may give you insight on ways you can do things better.  In any case, they can teach you, so let them do that by feeling them.

Slow down & examine your motives.  Ask yourself why are you doing something for someone.. is it out of love or out of hoping to get their approval?  Am I saying I’m happy to do this even though it is too much for me right now?  Am I taking on too much responsibility?

In time, your fawning ways can & will be replaced by healthy ones.

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The Four Trauma Responses: Freeze

When someone has experienced trauma, in particular repeated trauma, they learn to use specific trauma responses to help them survive their particular situation.  While many waver between two or more, most people primarily use one trauma response.  Many people raised by narcissistic parents primarily use the freeze response.

Freezing means much like the name implies, you freeze & are unable to handle the situation in a healthy way.  Think of a deer on a highway during the night when a truck comes barreling towards him.  He stands still, staring at the truck & unable to move to save himself.  People can & do react the same way sometimes.  Sadly, freezing often is a good choice when dealing with a narcissistic parent, because it reduces the likelihood of that parent turning even more abusive.  Equally sadly though is this survival tactic doesn’t help when dealing with other people.  In fact, often the lack of response of a victim is taken as consent, so the other, non-freezing person assumes whatever they said or did was acceptable to the freezing person.

As an example from my own life, as I’ve written about before, I lived with awful back pain for ten years.  During a fight with my mother, she threw me into a wall.  I felt my entire spine crack from my tailbone into my neck when I hit the wall & was in pain for ten years after.   I saw several doctors, had over fifty x-rays & an MRI.  I was told no injuries showed up on the x-rays or MRI.  Every single person I saw with the exception of one chiropractor was convinced I was faking the pain.  I should have stood up to all of them, but instead I quietly accepted their diagnoses.  Between that & other people in my life who were convinced I was faking it, I wondered many times if they were right.  By silently accepting people’s accusations of faking my pain, that only seemed to confirm their suspicions of me.  It also made me wonder more & more if I really was faking my back problem or if something was truly wrong.

This happened all because I learned how to use the freeze response so well as a child.

If you have used it as well, you probably can relate to my story.  Also like me, you probably dissociated often as a child & possibly still do to some degree, struggle with making decisions, & isolate yourself. You also probably come up with good responses hours or even days or weeks after a confrontation but can’t think during the confrontation.

While freezing may have helped you to survive the narcissist in your life, it doesn’t help you in other relationships.  In fact, it is likely to hurt you instead of help you.

When in situations that trigger your freeze response, your best place to start is with prayer.  God will help you & ground you so you can function in a healthier way.  Also, please remind yourself that you are safe now.  You don’t have to freeze to protect yourself.  You have rights including the right to speak up for yourself & to protect yourself.  You aren’t doing something bad by taking care of yourself.  The other person in question isn’t the narcissist who would abuse you for taking care of yourself.

Also take a deep breath in & exhale slowly.  It will help you to calm your body & mind very quickly, which will help you to figure out a better way to handle your situation.

Doing this will help you over time to reduce the frequency of the freeze trauma response & enable you to respond in a healthier way.  It won’t happen overnight but it will happen.  Hang in there!

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The Four Trauma Responses: Flight

Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences.  Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others. 

Some people favor the flight trauma response over the other three options.  This basically means their instinct during a traumatic event is to do anything they can to avoid the trauma.  If they can run away, they will.  During a traumatic event, someone who favors the flight trauma response but cannot escape will be pretty easy to identify.  They are clearly anxious, which means their breathing is shallow & rapid.  They may be restless, and this shows by tapping their feet or fingers.  Their eyes dart around, looking for a means of escape.

In situations where traumatic experiences are repeated, such as in cases of child abuse, some long term problems develop from using this trauma response over & over again.  Flight is used as a coping mechanism, & it manifests in many ways.  Workaholism, perfectionistic ways, micromanaging others, the need to keep busy constantly, obsession with video games, endlessly surfing through channels or social media, & other avoidance type behaviors can be signs of someone who has experienced the flight trauma response regularly. These behaviors are designed to keep someone from thinking about past trauma.  There are other signs too, such as anxiety disorders, constant worrying, inability to relax, hyper-activity & being overly analytical.

Like other trauma responses, it is understandable a person could react this way to trauma & behave this way after repeated triggers of their flight response.  That doesn’t make the behavior healthy, however.  Being constantly on the go whether it is mentally or physically takes a toll on a person’s mental & physical health.  Changes need to be made & they can be!

As always I recommend prayer to start.  Ask God to guide you, to help you to behave in a healthier way & anything else you can think of.

Look at your life.  What is unhealthy?  Are you constantly working eighty hour workweeks?  Spending every free moment playing video games?  Do you feel as if you must stay busy every waking moment?  These are some examples of red flags.  It also may help to ask those people who are closest to you for their thoughts as well. 

Once you have identified the problem areas in your life, then figure out a plan on how to make appropriate changes.  Cut back on hours spent at work if at all possible, or find another job.  Set times for certain activities & stick to the limits.

Lastly, it will help you tremendously to finally face what you have been avoiding.  I know it’s hard!  I know it’s scary!  I also know that until you do this & focus on healing & becoming healthier, any changes you make most likely will be temporary.  Emotions demand to be dealt with, & if they aren’t dealt with in a healthy way, they will manifest in unhealthy ways.  You’re going to suffer from the pain of the trauma or of the pain of the unhealthy manifestations of your emotions.  Why not make the pain count & focus on your healing?  At least that way, the pain will end & you will be much happier & healthier for it. 

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The Four Trauma Responses: Fight

Experiencing trauma, in particular repeated trauma forces people to develop certain responses in order to cope with their horrific experiences.  Many people waver between two or even more of the four trauma responses, but usually people use one much more than others. 

During traumatic experiences, those who exercise the fight response do exactly as you would expect.  They fight.  They are obviously angry, they will cry, ball up their hands into fists, their jaws will be clenched tightly, & they look ready to attack anything that is in reach.  Sometimes they do, usually punching walls or slamming doors. 

Clearly this type of trauma response can be useful.  If someone is afraid of you, they aren’t going to attack or abuse you.  Unfortunately though it can backfire, & in particular with children with narcissistic parents.  When a young child gets angry at their narcissistic parent, that parent won’t tolerate that.  Narcissists want their children to show no emotions whatsoever, & anger at the narcissist’s abusive ways is the least tolerated emotion.  Narcissists expect everyone, in particular their children, to tolerate their abuse indefinitely & without complaint.  Standing up to a narcissist says their behavior is wrong & won’t be tolerated, which creates a narcissistic injury.  In other words, their pride is damaged when they are told their behavior is anything less than perfect.  Often narcissistic parents step up their abuse in these situations.  These children learn not to show anger towards their parents, & often take it out on innocent victims. 

The repeated use of this trauma response can cause many problems that last into adulthood.  Some problems are the inability to handle anger in a healthy way, a quick temper, becoming a bully, becoming controlling & sometimes even becoming narcissistic or showing some narcissistic tendencies while not being a full blown narcissist.  It seems to me these behaviors are all about having some control &/or hurting others before the angry person can be hurt. 

This sort of behavior doesn’t have to be permanent though!  With effort & time, you can develop healthier habits!

As always, I highly recommend starting with prayer.  Ask God to help you change, to show you what you need to do & anything else you can think of.

You will need to accept that you don’t have to control or bully others, too.  Remember, even God doesn’t control people.  If anyone has that right, it’s the Creator of the universe!  If He won’t do it, what makes you think you have the right to do so?

It will help to consider other people more often, too, not only yourself.  Consider others when you make decisions, when you make plans, when you speak.  Consider their wants & needs, too.  What do those close to you want & need?  How can you help to meet those needs & wants?

When you feel yourself getting angry, stop.  Take a deep breath & release it slowly.  This will help to calm your body & mind, & that will allow you to think clearly about the situation.  When you think clearly rather than simple react, you may realize the situation isn’t really worth being angry about like you thought it was at first.

Also please know that you are going to need to heal from the events that created this behavior in you in the first place.  I know it’s a scary thing, but you need to face those things in order to heal.  I promise you, it WILL be worth it!

The lasting effects of an overused fight trauma response don’t need to be such a big part of your life.  While it did help you survive for some time, & can be a useful tool, there are clearly many negatives!  You can make healthy changes & live a happier life!

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Another Good Sale On My Print Books!

This time, my publisher is offering 15% off all print books. Simply use code READER15 at checkout until March 26, 2021 to take advantage of the sale. Visit the link below to see my books…

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

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Another Sale On My Print Books!

This time, my publisher is offering 10% off all print books until March 19, 2021 when you use code SELL10 at checkout.

Check out my print books at the link below…

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

If you prefer ebooks, those are also availble at the link below…

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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25% Off Sale On My Ebooks Starts Tomorrow!

Don’t forget…

My publish is having their “Read An Ebook Week” sale from March 7 until March 13. This means that all of my ebooks will be 25% off!

Ebooks are the most affordable way to buy my books. Why not take advantage of the extra 25% off?

Come check them out!

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Ebook Sale!

My publish is having their “Read An Ebook Week” sale from March 7 until March 13. This means that all of my ebooks will be 25% off! Come check them out!

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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My Newest Book Is Available!

I’ve been getting tired of writing the same type of book so I’ve been considering other options. One of them is this book. It’s a journal created to help the reader help themselves heal from the damage of narcissistic abuse.

Each month in the journal will focus on one traumatic event, & each week, one aspect of the event. It also schedules time to relax so the healing work doesn’t become overwhelming.

In the future, I may create other similar journals on different topics, but honestly I’m not positive yet. We’ll see where God leads me.

The journal is available only in print, unlike many of my other books. It can be found at this link:

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Christmas Sale On My Print Books!

All of my print books are 10% off until December 11, 2020 with code FESTIVE10 at checkout.

Find my books at the following link:

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

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Anticipation Stress

During a conversation in my Facebook group, I mentioned how for years, my father would call me later in the evenings, up to 10 sometimes, usually just to complain about my mother.  Emotional incest isn’t the best way to end your day!  Plus, being an introvert & talking to people a lot during the day, nights are when I want to avoid people.  I want to relax with hubby, maybe some music, tv, or a craft project. I also get up early & don’t want to be awake at all hours.  I explained this to my father & although he said he understood, he clearly didn’t.  Not only because he lacked empathy but also because he was very extroverted.  He continued his calls until I was at my wit’s end with it.

As a result, one evening, he called at 9:58.  I decided to ignore the call.  He called back several times during the next twenty minutes.  About half an hour later, one of my cousins who lives 450 miles away called.  I almost ignored it because I had a feeling my father put him up to this.  Since he never calls so late, I thought what if this was the one time something is actually wrong?  I answered the call & found out it was my father’s doing.  He called my cousin asking him to call me & have me call my father.  We got into an argument because I refused to call him that night.  The next morning, my father called before 7.  He shamed me for not taking his call & blamed me for making him worry so much that he had to call my cousin & my in-laws.  I was livid yet in spite of that & knowing he was being manipulative & controlling, I felt guilty.  This was on top of already feeling anxious because he clearly thought he had the right to “barge into” my home anytime he wanted via the phone.

This happened in late 2014.  The conversation in my group about this incident made me think of something… I wonder if me having such trouble falling asleep is connected to my father’s upsetting late evening calls.  It could be that my brain still expects my phone to ring at any & all hours to deal with a very stressful conversation.  Logically I know it’s impossible.  My father passed away in October, 2017.  I have no other narcissists in my life, so there isn’t anyone left who would do this to me.  Yet, it happened for a long time & I naturally became “programmed” to expecting late & upsetting calls. 

The dear lady I was discussing this with came up with the term anticipation stress to describe my situation.  Thinking about it, I believe this anticipation stress is pretty common with victims of narcissistic abuse.

Narcissists can be quite unpredictable & they use that to keep their victims on a state of constant high alert.  The more a person is in that state, the more willing they can be to do anything to end this misery.  This means they are more susceptible to being controlled & doing the narcissist’s will.

Even if the narcissist is no longer in the victim’s life, when something miserable happens repeatedly like in my situation, the brain may get stuck in a place of expecting some sort of stress.  It seems to me it’s somewhat like hyper-vigilance.  With hyper-vigilance, you’re constantly looking for signs of any potential danger.  Anticipation stress is somewhat like that, except instead of danger, it’s a stressful & unpleasant situation. 

Unfortunately at this time, I don’t know how to release this anticipation stress, but I absolutely will share anything I figure out!  In the meantime, I hope it helps you to understand what is happening if you are going through something similar.

Sister Renee of Luke 17:3 Ministries is the lady who coined the term “anticipation stress”,  so I’d like to provide a link to her website.  Please check it out.  She is an amazing lady who shares a lot of true, Godly wisdom on the topic of narcissists & surviving their abuse. 

http://www.luke173ministries.org/

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Hyper Vigilence

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New Coupon For 15% Off My Print Books!

Use code FRIENDS15 & get 15% off any of my print books until November 6. All of the print versions are available at this link:

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

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Doing Weird Things After Narcissistic Abuse

I’ve done something for so long, I didn’t even realize I did it until recently.  When I drive past a building with big glass windows or some sort of reflective surface, I look at myself driving.

Recently I caught myself doing this & thought, ok, I’m weird.  I’ve known this for years & accepted my weirdness.  This looking at myself driving thing though.. wow.  I don’t even like looking at myself in a mirror when I put on makeup or looking at pictures of myself.  Making my YouTubes is a big struggle for me, so why am I doing this?!

Suddenly it hit me… because when I was a teenager, I had to fight my mother terribly to get a driver’s license.  My friends were driving at 16, & their parents often bought them their first car.  Their parents put everything in their name to keep insurance costs down.  Meanwhile I had to fight my mother badly to get a license.  She wouldn’t even let me see my birth certificate.  She showed it to the employee at the Motor Vehicles Administration after shielding me from seeing it.  When I failed the first test, she told me she knew I would because I wasn’t ready to drive.  When I got my permit & wanted to get myself a car, she told me she’d take me shopping one day so I could see how stupid I was for thinking I could afford a car.  She picked a car out for me that I absolutely HATED.  It was ugly & over priced.

A month or so later, I picked out my first car & got my license.. here is a picture that my mother took of me with that special & I still think absolutely adorable little car..

Cyndi & Baby, November, 1989.jpg

This is me in 1989 with Baby, my 1978 Buick Skyhawk that I hope to restore one day.

I realized something recently…

The reason I still ogle myself driving when I can isn’t just because I like my pretty cars.  It’s because I never take driving for granted.  I had to fight hard to get my license.  I paid for my first car, insurance, maintenance & everything by myself.  I worked hard & accomplished what I wanted to.  No one can take that away from me.  My first car in particular is a symbol of that which is why she’s special to me &  I hope to restore her.  Driving any car reminds me of what I managed to accomplish on my own though, no thanks to my parents.  I’m proud of that, & seeing myself behind the wheel of a car, in particular my own, is a reminder of that.

I mentioned this to my husband recently & was rather nervous about admitting it.  He shocked me by understanding completely & said “You should be proud of that!  Celebrate it!  Enjoy driving!  Take pictures of yourself behind the wheel!”  That helped me to see that maybe I’m not as weird as I thought I was..

Is there anything “strange” you do that is like what I do?  If so, I want to encourage you to embrace that.  Don’t think of it as weird like I have done with looking at myself when driving.  Instead, celebrate it!  Be proud of whatever it is you have accomplished in spite of your narcissistic parent.  You did something on your own without the help of a narcissistic parent.  That isn’t an easy feat when you consider you have had a narcissistic parent or two trying to keep you down your whole life.  Be proud that you overcame that & still did whatever it is that you did.  It’s ok to be proud of yourself!  You deserve to feel that way!  xoxo

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Some Ways To Cope With Triggers

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Some Life Altering Symptoms Of C-PTSD

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or C-PTSD, is a rather new mental health diagnosis.  It is common among those who have survived repeated traumas, such as those who endured child abuse or domestic violence.

C-PTSD shares many of the same symptoms of PTSD.  It also includes other symptoms that make C-PTSD more, well, complex than PTSD.

Moodiness to the extreme.  Moods can be difficult to control for anyone at times.  A person with C-PTSD has a much more difficult time controlling them on a regular basis, & sometimes is unable to control them.

Difficulty trusting people.  A person with C-PTSD has seen the  worst of people, & only naturally has a great deal of difficulty trusting people.  It takes a lot for someone with C-PTSD to learn to trust anyone.  It also doesn’t take a lot for someone with C-PTSD to lose trust in people.

Flashbacks.  There are three types of flashbacks.  The typical flashbacks where a person feels as if they are reliving a traumatic event.  There also is emotional flashbacks.  They don’t feel as if the event is being relieved per se, but the emotions of a traumatic event are being relieved.  Emotional flashbacks are extremely common with C-PTSD.  Lastly there are somatic flashbacks.  They are similar to emotional flashbacks, but rather than dealing with the emotions connected to trauma, they deal with the physical pain connected to trauma.

Toxic shame.  Toxic shame is extremely common among those who have survived abuse, in particular those who survived child abuse.  Their parents told them the abuse inflicted on them was their fault, which instilled a root of toxic shame in them for supposedly making their parents do the terrible things they did.

Dissociation.  A survival tactic, dissociation emotionally removes a person from a traumatic or abusive episode.  Many survivors of sexual assault in particular describe it as feeling as if they are not in their body as the assault happened.  It also can lead to extensive day dreaming when not in a traumatic situation or even Dissociative Identity Disorder in some extreme cases.  DID is especially common among child abuse survivors.

Hyper-vigilance.  Hyper-vigilance can take two forms.  One is when a person is extremely aware of their surroundings.  Even in a crowded place, those with C-PTSD are aware of a person heading to the restroom or leaving the building.  Another form of hyper-vigilance is when the body is constantly in a state of preparedness for attack or trauma.  This often leads to constant pain.

Suicidal thoughts.  The most serious & potentially life threatening aspect of C-PTSD is suicidal thoughts.  Those who have  C-PTSD frequently battle with severe depression, even to the point of suicidal thoughts.  Sadly, suicide seems like the only escape from the pain in the mind of many people with C-PTSD.

While these symptoms are very common with C-PTSD, their seriousness shouldn’t be underestimated.  All are life altering, & suicidal thoughts obviously can be life ending.  They can be managed, however.  I find prayer to be my most effective help when these symptoms flare up.  Journaling about them is also very useful.  It can help you to see what causes the symptoms to flare & figure out ways to cope with them.  Another helpful tip I have found is to remind myself of what is happening.  I remind myself that whatever is happening is merely a symptom of the disorder, nothing more.  I’m safe, nothing can hurt me.  Grounding can be very useful during flashbacks, & it needs to be something that is very extreme to the senses.  Smelling a strong scent like lavender or touching a scratchy blanket help by distracting your mind away from the flashback.

Lastly, when your symptoms flare, they’re showing you where you need healing.  They actually do have a purpose, so use them to help you.

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Changes On My Website

As I mentioned not long ago, I decided to stop creating YouTube videos in favor of podcasts. It’s easier for me to do podcasts & I am seriously focusing on making my life easier!

I decided to do one other thing.. I have made available on my website (www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com) my notes that I used in my podcasts & YouTube videos. Since some folks have issues with sensory processing or just prefer to read rather than watch a video or listen to a podcast, I thought I would do this for them. The notes are all on this link. Feel free to download as many as you like for your personal reference. As I add new podcasts in the future, I’ll naturally add the notes to this page. If you lose the link, simply visit www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com & look at the list of links at the top of the page. You’ll see it there.

Also, I added a search bar to my website, so you can find information on there easier now. Rather than read through lots of pages, you can simply type in your search critera & it will bring up results. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging about the changes I’ve decided to make. I truly value your input. 💖

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15% Discount On My Print Books Until July 3, 2020

My publisher is offering a 15% discount on all print books until July 3, 2020. You can find my books at the following link: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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Sale On All My Ebooks!

My ebook publisher is offering a sale on all of my ebooks from July 1-31, 2020. They will be 25% off. They’re available on my website or use this link to go to the site directly: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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I’m Doing Something New

I decided to try something new.. podcasts. The idea popped into my head recently, even though I know nothing of podcasts. It felt like God was leading me in a new direction, so I decided to give it a try.

To get started, I’ve decided to use the audio from my YouTubes. Yes, it’s a repeat of information having it on podcasts, YouTube & in this blog, but not everyone learns the same way. Some are visual learners & love YouTube. Some learn best from reading & others prefer learning audibly. I doubt many people will benefit from all three formats, so by doing them, it enables more people to (hopefully!!) learn from my work.

If you’d like to check them out, here is the link:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

I only have a few out there at the moment, but I’ll add more as time goes on. I was hoping to get all of them done asap, but yanno something? I can’t get them done quickly. Not with my mental health. So, I hope you’ll be understanding & patient with me taking my time in adding more podcasts.

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Signs Of A Mental Health Crisis You Shouldn’t Ignore

A breakdown is often referred to in different ways such as a mental breakdown, emotional breakdown or the less commonly used nervous breakdown.  All terms are used to describe a state in which a person can’t function normally due to overwhelming stress.

When I was 19, & my mother raged at me after I came home late one night.  Her screams woke my father who came in to see what was happening & then they began screaming at each other.  I ran into the bathroom & locked myself in.  I sat on the floor, unable to move, function or think.  I was catatonic for about five hours.

Other times, like when my beloved grandmom passed, the breakdowns weren’t quite as severe.  The catatonia lasted much shorter durations, but they were still awful.

I really don’t think most people take breakdowns nearly as seriously as they should.  They don’t believe such a thing exists or they claim the person having the breakdown is weak or seeking attention.  The sad truth is that breakdowns are serious & can damage a person’s mental health.  It’s vital to recognize the signs before one happens.

One of the first signs is feeling very anxious.  I don’t mean the normal anxiety that you feel before a job interview.  I mean anxiety that threatens to overwhelm you when there is no obvious reason to feel anxiety to such an extreme.  I mean panic attacks, headaches, tense muscles, tremors, upset stomach or high blood pressure.

Depression is another warning sign a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Sometimes, depression overwhelms a person, & a breakdown can happen.  This is what I experienced one after my beloved grandmom died.

Being over sensitive is another warning sign.  It is a big hint that your emotions are at their limit.  They’re overworked which is why they’re so sensitive.

Behavioral changes can be another sign of a pending breakdown.  Because your mind is so overwhelmed, naturally your behavior is different.  You may isolate yourself, lack patience, be short with people or lose interest in things that you normally enjoy.

Trouble with concentration is another red flag that a breakdown may be on the horizon.  Stress makes concentration harder, but when that stress is ongoing, it’s even worse.  Ongoing stress can increase cortisol levels in the body which over time can deteriorate your memory, ability to make decisions & problem solving skills.

Sleep changes often happen if someone is coming close to experiencing a breakdown.  Some people sleep too much while others sleep too little.  The exhaustion of being overwrought emotionally can cause a person to sleep too much.  At the same time, a can person to think too much, making sleep impossible.

Weight loss or gain & appetite changes can be another sign of a possible breakdown in the future.  Some people when stressed don’t like to eat while others overeat.  When a breakdown is likely on the horizon, those changes can be even more prominent.  Over eating in particular because cortisol can trigger cravings for high fat or sugary foods.

If you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s time to take action now.  Breakdowns can be avoided with proper self care.  Pray.  Talk to God like the Father that He is to you.  Write in a journal.  Talk to a trusted friend.  Reduce as many activities that are unnecessary as possible so you can have more time to relax.  Watch your eating habits to be sure you eat properly.  You still can indulge in a slice of cake or whatever treat you enjoy sometimes though- the key is balance, not cutting treats out entirely.  Get extra sleep, even if you need to take a sleeping pill to help you.  Do things that make you feel nurtured & comfortable.  Taking steps like these can truly help you avoid having a breakdown & are good for your mental health.

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Sale On My Ebooks Extended

My ebooks are currently on sale until May 31, 2020.  Check them out at the following link:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/CynthiaBaileyRug

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Very Wise Words About PTSD & C-PTSD.

Recently I was speaking with a fellow blogger, Linda Lee at https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com (it’s a great blog!  Check it out!).  We were talking about how we don’t believe God created people for things like surviving abuse & losing someone we love which is what makes coping with such things so incredibly hard.  During this conversation, she told me something very interesting.  Some time ago, she spent time under the care of the well known Meier Clinic.  In fact, she was blessed enough to be under the care of Dr. Meier directly!  After a lifetime of abuse & bad mental health diagnoses, this was an incredible blessing!  What he told her made so much sense in her situation, but I believe in other people’s situations as well.  It sure fit mine!  It probably will fit your situation too!

“You are NOT mentally ill.  What you have is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Although PTSD is classified as a mental illness for insurance purposes, the reality is that having PTSD after experiencing overwhelming trauma is perfectly normal — no less normal than it is to bleed, if somebody cuts you with a knife.  You see, God did not create us for abuse.  God is love, and He made us in His spiritual image, which means that we were created for kindness and love, not for abuse and hatred.  God created us to love and be loved. But when we get hate instead of love, when we receive abuse instead of kindness, we are damaged by that.  Being damaged by abuse does not mean that you are weak or crazy.  The strongest, sanest person in the world will develop PTSD, if they go through enough trauma and abuse.  Just as the strongest man in the world will bleed, if you take a knife and cut him.  Human skin was not created to withstand the sharp blade of a knife.  In the same way, the human soul was not created to be traumatized and abused.”

I have beat myself up a LOT since learning I have C-PTSD.  I’ve told myself I’m so weak & other people had it worse & all kinds of heartless, invalidating things.  It doesn’t help when other people’s words & actions re-enforce such things.   I have found that sometimes those who have suffered abuse yet don’t have C-PTSD can be as judgmental as those who lack empathy for those who have been abused.

Anyway I find Dr. Meier’s words to my friend so comforting!!  Having C-PTSD or PTSD is a very normal response to a very abnormal situation!  These disorders aren’t a sign of weakness.  They are a sign of being normal.

Also, notice that he said. “The strongest, sanest person in the world will develop PTSD, if they go through enough trauma and abuse.”  That tells me that no one is immune to traumatic responses.  Every single person has a breaking point, a point where enough is enough, & the trauma they experience will cause their brain to develop PTSD or C-PTSD.  Everyone’s breaking point is different, so there is no point in judging others who have one of these disorders.  No one is immune!

The next time you’re feeling weak or like a failure for living with PTSD or C-PTSD,  I hope you’ll remember what Dr. Meier said.  Print them out.  Save them somewhere on your computer or phone.  Share them on Facebook.  Whatever you do, please remind yourself of them!  I certainly plan to do so & do so often!  It can get too easy to go down the rabbit hole of thinking you’re a failure for having such a problem & that isn’t right!  No one is immune!  They are natural reactions to highly abnormal circumstances, nothing more!

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