Tag Archives: recover

Give Back To The Narcissist The Bad Things They Gave To You

Narcissists love to put their issues on other people rather than face them.  Shame is a big one- any shame a narcissistic parent feels is going to be thrust upon their child, for example.

 

After a lifetime of not even realizing I was carrying around my mother’s shame, it finally hit me  in 2015.  As I was recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning, I felt horrible for asking my husband to help me in any way.  I’d nearly died for pity’s sake!  Carbon monoxide poisoning has a high fatality rate & also has a very long recovery time (you do the bulk of your healing 9-12 months after poisoning) during which chances are very good you won’t heal completely.  Yet in spite of all of this, I felt horrible for asking my husband for any help.  After praying about it, God showed me this was all about shame.  It’s very common for those abused as children to experience toxic shame, & I was no exception.

 

One way God showed me to deal with this shame is to imagine myself holding a big box containing shame, handing it off to my mother while telling her “I refuse to carry this for you a moment longer”, then walking away.

 

It sounds silly, but this was very helpful for me.  Even though I can’t physically give my mother back her shame that she’s put on me, by imagining returning it to her, at least I was able to stop carrying it somehow.  It’d be the same as a real scenario if she wouldn’t hold the box.  If I placed it at her feet, I wouldn’t be carrying it any longer.  What she would do at that point would have no effect on that fact.

 

I can’t say I am 100% cured of this toxic shame, but it drastically improved my problem. I no longer feel incredibly guilty about writing about my experiences or asking my husband for things (either stuff or help), & these used to be very big issues for me.  I still fight the guilt with my husband sometimes, but that’s better than every single time.

 

Have you ever tried something like this, Dear Reader?  It doesn’t have to be shame.. it can be anything your narcissistic parent put on you- self-hatred, eating disorders, believing you’re ugly or stupid.  Obviously I can’t guarantee it’ll cure you immediately, but I do believe it’d help you as it helped me.  It’s worth a try, right?

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Speak Out Or Stay Silent?

There are conflicting messages for victims of abuse.  Some people encourage victims to speak out.  Help raise awareness!  Confronting your abuser will be good for you!  Others encourage victims to keep quiet.  Stop dredging up the past.  Forgive & forget.

 

Rather than stating what I think victims should do, I would like to encourage you to decide what is right for yourself.  After all, being vocal about being abused can be very challenging.  Being vocal about it means you’re reliving some of the most painful experiences of your life.  It also means some will criticize you harshly.  You may lose friends & family who side with your abuser.  Is this something you can deal with?

 

There are pros & cons for speaking out as well as staying quiet.  You need to consider them seriously before making any decisions.

 

Silence isn’t always good, as it can encourage an abuser to continue abusing.  Knowing the victim won’t tell anyone what is happening gives the abuser free reign to do as she/he pleases without fear of consequences.  It also means things can stay pretty much the same for the victim in that her friends & family will continue treating her as they always have.  Silence allows the victim to continue in the familiar place that she is accustomed to.  This can be a good thing, to a degree, especially if she does not feel strong enough to confront her abuser or even discuss what has happened, & if this is only a temporary place.

 

Telling her story can empower the victim.  She takes back the power that her abuser stole by forcing her to stay silent.  She realizes it’s her story & she can do as she sees fit with it.  She can help & inspire others who have been through similar circumstances if she opts to go public with her story (such as blogging about it, for example).  By speaking openly about what happened, she also can give her family the opportunity to grow & to heal.  However, telling also means that she can be setting herself up for criticism, even from those closest to her.  Those she believed were on her side may turn against her.  They may refuse to believe her, tell others she’s lying, or invalidate her pain if she speaks to them about the situation.  And, if she opts to confront her abuser, that can open up a new world of pain.  Abusers hate confrontation, especially narcissistic abusers.  The abuser may turn the entire situation around, blaming the victim for what happened or denying they did anything wrong.  Often, the one telling the truth is demonized by abusers as well as those who may have known about the abuse but did nothing.  Many people can’t live with what they have done, so they vilify the victim.

 

What do you think is your answer, Dear Reader?

 

Before you answer that question, I urge you to pray.  Let God give you advice on which way to go, & how to go about it.  Also, allow Him to give you the strength you need, because either way is very challenging.  You will need His strength.  And remember, 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But his answer was: “My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” I am most happy, then, to be proud of my weaknesses, in order to feel the protection of Christ’s power over me.”  (GNT)  God will empower you to do anything you need to do!

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Making Healthy Changes In Your Relationship With Your Narcissistic Parent

One year ago tomorrow, it’ll be one year since having that huge argument with my parents.  That means it’s also been a year since speaking to my mother, & almost five months since speaking to my father.  My mother stopped speaking to me after that argument but my father didn’t.  He called less & less frequently as time passed, & the calls were much shorter, but he kept the door open with me.

I’ve prayed a LOT about the situation this past year.  I felt God wanted me to pull away from my parents yet not tell them I want them out of my life.  So, I didn’t contact my mother, send her cards or anything.  I also haven’t sent my father any cards or called him, but I did take some of his calls & allowed him to visit me last December.  Also during this year, God has shown me via dreams & opening my eyes just how selfish & dangerous my father really is.  That visit in December really was eye opening for me.  My father told me when he was coming to my home, & what we were doing while he was here.  That on top of all of the other things that have happened made me pull away even further from him to the point I stopped taking his calls all together, & blocked my parents’ phone number.

Apparently this was an issue for my father.  He sent several people after me to tell me I needed to call him asap.  Thank God, in spite of the nasty old, dysfunctional feelings of needing to do as my parents say, God enabled me to resist contacting him.

My point in sharing this story with you, Dear Readers, is to give you hope.

When you have narcissistic parents, then learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you realize you need to make changes & it can be scary.  You’re going against your parents, which is intimidating!  They’ve trained you your entire life to be a certain way or face dire consequences.  Even as an adult, the consequences still can be scary.

You may even feel you need to go no contact with them, which is even more intimidating.  Doing it may feel impossible to you, but I can tell you it is possible.

Whichever you are planning on doing- changing your behavior yet staying in a relationship or going no contact- you can do it!

You need to begin in prayer.  Ask God to show you what to do, how to do it & enable you to do whatever you need to do.

Start small.. start setting small boundaries, such as not answering the phone every time your narcissistic parent calls.  When the phone rings, pray first.  Ask God if He thinks you are able to handle the call or not, & listen to what He says.

Say “no” to your parent sometimes.  Your parent will hate it, of course, but do it anyway.  Say no to small things at first, then bigger things.  An example is if your parent wants you to come by Friday, say no- Sunday would work better for you.  It’s small, sure, but it’s taking back a little power.

If your parent insists on driving when you get together, you say you’ll meet them there & drive your own car.  If need be, arrange to have something else to do after seeing them so you have a legitimate reason (in your parent’s eyes) to drive yourself.   This is another small way to take back some power.

Small gestures like this are a great place to start- they worked wonders for me.  Seeing I could take back some power & set some boundaries gave me strength.  It made me realize I really didn’t have to settle for being abused constantly.  And, as time wore on, I set more & more boundaries.

This behavior naturally pushes away narcissists, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!  I knew I wanted to go no contact quite some time before it happened, but it never felt right to tell my parents that.  Being healthier naturally pushed them away which put us in a low contact state that I could tolerate.  It also showed me just how abusive & dysfunctional they are because they can’t respect my boundaries.  Normal people, if they dislike a boundary, they still respect it.  Narcissists aren’t normal though.  They try to get you to change your boundary, pout or get passive/aggressive when they are faced with a boundary they don’t like.  Seeing my father’s behavior when I set boundaries with him was quite eye opening.  For example, after our argument, he tried calling me non stop for days.  When I didn’t take his calls, he called so early one morning I was still asleep!  I thought I was dreaming about answering a phone until I heard his voice & woke up quickly.  He said “he” just wanted to talk to me & “he” wanted to hear my voice & “he” thought this & “he” felt that.  When you see something like this, it’s impossible to deny someone is abusive & manipulative.  It can be very good seeing such things, because it gives you strength to either set more boundaries or to go low or no contact

I’m telling you, Dear Reader, these things work.  They are a fantastic place to start making healthy changes in your life & relationship with your narcissistic parent.  Try them, & see for yourself!

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God Will Give You Great Wisdom

James 1:5  “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.”  (TLB)

 

As many of you know, I have C-PTSD.  It’s badly damaged how I think & my short term memory.  Then in 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning which caused me to pass out & hit my head, further damaging my brain.  Thanks to these problems, I’m really not as smart as I once was, & it can be simply maddening.

 

The above Scripture has helped me a great deal with my physical limitations.  I lean on God so much more than I used to for giving me wisdom, & He has not disappointed me.  I’m not bragging about my intelligence.  I am bragging how generous God has been!

 

So many times in my life, I have been stuck in a painful situation I didn’t want to be in, & God has shown me creative ways to get out of the situation or to cope with it so it isn’t so painful to me.  One that comes to mind immediately happened a few years ago.  My narcissistic mother told me I was going to take her to & from the doctor who is almost 30 miles away.  I had things going on that day & didn’t want to do it, but she refused to reschedule her appointment.  This had happened many times & I was tired of it.  It also bothered me we’d be taking her car & not mine- I hate being trapped without my own vehicle.  I asked God to help me get through the day &  I needed a creative way to either get out of this in the future, or for Him to put it on my mother’s heart to be more open to my schedule, not only hers.  As we were leaving the doctor’s office, God gave me an idea- drive home like we were on a NASCAR track.  There wasn’t much traffic, so I did.  I had a lot of fun speeding down the highway, & my mother was especially angry because it was her car I drove that way.  That was the last day my mother saw this particular doctor.  LOL  He wasn’t doing her any good anyway- she just got narcissistic supply from him & his staff because they listened to her.  They didn’t help her pain at all.

 

So many other times in the past few years since developing my physical problems, I have needed wisdom & asked God for it. He has answered those prayers every time.  From simple things, like creating a routine for maintaining my home that keeps my place very clean but isn’t hard for me, to more challenging things like how to deal with financial problems, God has helped me every time.  He has even helped me to understand my narcissistic parents, which has helped me so much!  Understanding them has shown me that I’m not the problem, & they have some serious issues that aren’t my fault.  Talk about a blessing!  After hearing how I was always the problem, this knowledge has truly comforted me more than I can say.

 

What areas do you need wisdom in, Dear Reader?  Whatever your needs, I encourage you to ask God for wisdom.  He will grant you wisdom & creativity far above & beyond anything you can imagine.  Whether your situation is like mine where you need more wisdom to handle daily life or it is a one time frustrating situation, be prepared to be amazed when you ask God to give you wisdom.

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It Couldn’t Have Been That Bad! Just Look How You Turned Out!

When people learn that someone has been abused as a child, they often say the dumbest things, I think because it’s hard to know what to say.  Simply saying, “I’m sorry for what you went through” would be fine, but many people don’t seem to agree with that.  So, rather than saying that statement, they can come up with some pretty hurtful & stupid comments.

 

One thing some folks say is, “It couldn’t have been all that bad!  Look how you turned out!”  Bless their naive little hearts.  This actually makes sense to them!

 

People who say this fail to realize that when you grow up with narcissistic parents, you learn early on to hide your problems so as not to “bother” them.  Narcissistic parents have no time, energy or desire to deal with their child’s problems, so when their child comes to them with a problem, they ignore, trivialize or even shame the child for having the problem.  This teaches the child it’s just best to hide their pain, illness, hurt feelings, needs & anything really from their parents.

 

This behavior carries over into adulthood.  Out of habit, the adult child of narcissistic parents continues to hide their problems.  As a result, some people look at us & assume we have it all together when the truth is that we don’t!

 

No one can escape narcissistic abuse unscathed.  Every single person who was raised by a narcissistic parent or two has had issues from it.  Some end up with C-PTSD or PTSD.  Some end up with crippling depression or anxiety.  Some turn to self harm or self destructive behaviors.  Some end up with addictions to drugs, alcohol or food.  Some end up overachievers who work themselves so hard, they end up very sick from it.  Some even turn into narcissists themselves, continuing the cycle of dysfunction & abuse.  Almost all end up with some type of health problems- MS, fibromyalgia, arthritis, digestive problems, heart problems, etc.

 

 

 

We are often able to function quite well too, in spite of the problems.  Growing up as we did, learning early to hide our problems from our parents, we learned also how to function normally in spite of problems.  I went through my life normally for many years even though I was suicidal.  No one knew it.  I got good grades in school (honor roll, graduated in the top 10% of my class).  I held down jobs.  I laughed.  I lived my life normally, in spite of wanting to die, & not one person had a clue how I felt.  Even now, no one, including my husband, has any idea exactly how bad the C-PTSD is when it flares up because I hide it so well.  The habit of hiding things is so ingrained in me, I do it without even thinking about it.

 

If someone says to you that what you went through couldn’t have been so bad since you turned out so well, then please feel free to show them this post, if you think it will help.  Narcissistic abuse is a serious problem with life long, life changing problems affecting victims.  People need to understand this so they can start supporting victims!

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When People Tell You How To Feel & How To Heal

From the narcissists’ flying monkeys to even the most well meaning of people, people like to tell victims of narcissistic abuse how to feel.

 

  • “You’re too negative.  You need to be more positive.”
  • “You need to let that go/get over it.”
  • “Aren’t you over that yet?”
  • “You need to forgive & forget.”
  • “You shouldn’t have let them abuse you.”
  • “You need to stop thinking about it.”
  • “You haven’t prayed enough.”

 

Early in healing, such statements add to the toxic shame you already feel stemming from the abuse.  You feel ashamed of yourself for not being over it, not forgiving your abuser & forgetting their awful deeds or being so “negative.”

 

Later in your healing, after you’ve gained some wisdom & experience, such comments really just get under your skin.  You know that there is no way to “just get over” the horrible things that have been done to you.  It takes a great deal of prayer & work to heal, & even then, you may never be “over” the abuse you endured.  If you live with PTSD/C-PTSD, you live with flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, anxiety, depression & more every single day because of the abuse.  As long as you have the disorder, you are forced to live with the abuse every day, like it or not.  And forgive & forget??  HA.  Even if you are able to forgive your abuser, you don’t forget abusive things done to you.  It also makes you angry people tell you how to heal, as if they know what you need better than you do.  So presumptuous & arrogant!

 

No one has the right to tell you how to feel or how you need to work on your healing.  You know what you need more than anyone else.  Besides, what may have worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you too.  Different things work for different people.

 

No one has the right to blame you for being abused, saying things like “you allowed the abuse.”  No, you didn’t.  Abusers abuse, period.  No matter what you did or didn’t do, the abuser planned to abuse you & did so, all of his or her own free will.

 

No matter what happened to your abuser, that does NOT give him or her the right to abuse you.  Many people who grew up in a toxic environment became good, caring people as adults.  Anyone that tries to excuse their abusive behavior because they had a bad childhood or other lame excuses is toxic.  Avoid these people as much as possible!  If you can’t avoid them entirely, at the very least have strong boundaries when you’re with them & refuse to discuss the abuse you endured.

 

You have the right to protect & care for your physical & mental health however works best for you.

 

You have the right to have & enforce healthy boundaries by whatever means work for you.

 

You have the right to limit or end contact with people who are detrimental to your healing, no matter if those people are friends or even family.

 

You have the right (& obligation) to take care of yourself, to rest on bad days, to cry when you’re sad, etc.

 

You have the right to feel whatever you feel.  If you’re angry, you have the right to that anger.  If you’re sad, you have the right to those tears.  Feel the emotions so you can process them & heal, no matter who says you’re wrong for feeling such things.

 

You have the right to decide with who to share details of the abuse.   You don’t have to share your story with everyone.  Even if someone asks you what happened, you don’t have to tell them if you don’t feel comfortable with it.  Besides, sharing with just anyone isn’t wise, since some people will use the information to hurt you.

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How Accepting The Narcissist “As Is” Can Benefit You

One thing I have found to be very helpful when dealing with narcissists is to accept them as they are.  Accept that they are immature, competitive, envious, jealous, vindictive with no desire to change & will not hesitate to hurt you if it accomplishes their goal.

 

Accepting them as they are does NOT mean you have to tolerate their abuse, however.  You always have absolutely every right to protect yourself from any & all abuse!!

 

Accepting them does means you understand that the narcissist is this way, & you can’t change them.  You can’t even inspire them to want to change with good, healthy actions on your part.  The only hope you have of genuine change from a narcissist is God being able to get through to them somehow.

 

So why accept the narcissist as they are?  Because it can help you.

 

It seems to be a normal reaction for the victims of a narcissist to hope next time will be different.  Next time, she’ll actually care about me.  Next time, maybe she won’t be so critical.  This overly optimistic thought process only sets the victim up for disappointment.  Narcissists rarely change for the better, & when they do, usually it’s only temporarily to benefit them in some way.  (I believe with God, all things are possible, even a narcissist seeing the error of their ways & changing their abusive behavior.  However, from what I have seen, it seems to be a very, very rare occurrence.)  If you can accept that truth & accept the narcissist as she is, you won’t subject yourself for being disappointed when she doesn’t change, doesn’t apologize for hurting you, etc. You know what is coming, so you aren’t disappointed that this time wasn’t different.

 

Also, accepting the narcissist means you won’t be hurt so often.  You know they are a certain way, & you know what to expect.  Knowing such things means that their usual actions can’t devastate you like they do when they catch you off guard.  You know what is coming, & can prepare for it.  This is a good thing!

 

Dealing with narcissists is never easy, but there are ways to make it less painful & frustrating for you.  Accepting the narcissist is one of those ways.

 

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“I” Statements

I’ve always used “I” statements in conflict.  For example, “I feel hurt when you….” rather than, “you hurt me!”  During my first marriage, I read about the importance in always using “I” statements when trying to work out marital conflict.  I stepped up using them, because we didn’t need any more reasons to argue.  I tried avoiding any further conflict & thought that would help.

 

Then I realized something.  I’ve taken these “I” statements too far.

 

I’ve caught myself saying “I was abused” rather than “my mother abused me”.   “I was screamed at daily” rather than “My mother screamed at me daily.”  “I was thrown into a wall during a fight with my mother” replaced, “My mother threw me into a wall.”

 

See the problem?  “I” statements absolved my abusive mother of the responsibility she should have had for abusing me.

 

I still believe “I” statements have their place.  If a close friend said something hurtful, I’m sure they’d be more receptive to “I was hurt that you said that” over “You hurt my feelings!!”  But that is the only place I think they are appropriate.  If you’re talking about your experiences with narcissistic abuse or abuse of any kind, they are very inappropriate.

 

Whether you realize it or not, saying things like “I was abused” over “My mother abused me,” subtly removes responsibility from the abuser, at least in your mind.  For a long time, I wrestled with what my mother did to me being my fault, & I believe saying those “I” statements helped me to feel it was my fault instead of hers.

 

It also seems to soften the story a bit when you say you were abused over naming your abuser.  I’ve noticed people respond differently to me saying “I was abused” over “My mother abused me.”  Naming my mother as my abuser often shocks people.  Compassionate people seem to feel more compassion for one naming her abuser over simply saying, “I was abused.”

 

I think people respond this way because “I was abused” sounds less personal somehow than saying, “My mother abused me.”  It seems to take the human element out of abuse, I think.  It also makes you sound more detached from the abuse, which I would think would mean people would be less likely to understand why you’re still having problems stemming from the abuse.  Just my random thoughts on this..

 

I also think many victims of narcissistic abuse wrongly use “I” statements as I have, & as a result, may struggle more with accepting that the abuse was the narcissist’s fault, not theirs.  If this describes you, it’s time to make a change!

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with “I” statements in the right context, but if you’re discussing being wronged or abused, place the blame where it belongs- on the person who wronged & abused you!  There is absolutely nothing wrong, disrespectful, dishonorable, selfish, etc. about doing so.  Abusive people need the blame placed squarely on them, especially in this age of blaming victims.  And, victims need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that being abused was never their fault.

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Distracting Yourself

People are often less than thrilled with facing unpleasant things, such as emotional healing.  It’s quite understandable, really.  Emotional work isn’t fun!  It’s very hard, very draining work.  It’s also very necessary.

 

I’ve caught myself many times distracting myself from the emotional work at hand.  There have been plenty of times I’ve had a flashback at a very inconvenient time, & couldn’t deal with it right then. Times like this, I don’t think distracting yourself for a short time is a bad idea at all.  In fact, it may be absolutely necessary, such as when I had a flashback while driving.

 

There have been plenty of other times when a flashback has happened or a repressed memory pops back into my mind that I distract myself even when I have the time & ability to focus on it.  I’m just tired of things that happened 10, 20, or 30 years ago still affecting my life at 45.  It’s exhausting & maddening, so sometimes I ignore the flashback or memory & try to avoid thinking about it.

 

I’ve noticed many others who have survived narcissistic abuse do the same thing.

 

This isn’t good though!  I’ve come to realize that most of these things come to me when I have the time & I believe that is for a reason- so these awful things can be dealt with right then.

 

Avoiding facing issues only postpones the problem, it doesn’t make it go away.  It is best to deal with things as soon as possible.  After all, God allowed it to come to mind for a reason.  He must know you are able to deal with it & need to do so.  He wouldn’t allow this memory to return to your mind if coping with it wasn’t going to help you in some way.

 

Don’t get me wrong- there are plenty of times we need to distract ourselves from the work of recovery.  If you’ve been focusing on narcissism & narcissistic abuse for a long time, it’s time for a break.  If you have the awful experience of having a flashback behind the wheel like I did, you definitely don’t need to think about it then- you need to focus on driving!  If you write about the topic like I do, frequent distractions are a must to keep your sanity.

 

I believe the key is using wisdom.  I know in my heart when I should focus & when it’s time for a break.  Granted, I don’t always pay attention, but I do know.  When I ignore those “knowings,” I feel it.  The memory that came back won’t leave me alone, I get angry, moodier than usual, tired mentally & physically.

 

I realize I need to ask God to help me in this area, to do His will.  To face things as needed & to take breaks when needed.  I would encourage you to do the same, Dear Reader.  It will be good for your mental health!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Abuse Doesn’t Always Leave Bruises

Since writing my newest book, I have been feeling more of a pull to help those who don’t know why certain people in their lives treat them so badly.

 

 

I used to wonder why my mother treated me so poorly.  I felt as if I was a bother & huge disappointment to her, & like I should stay invisible until she needed me for something.  My ex husband said she treated me badly, but once we were married he treated me the same way.  Both wanted to control me- how I looked, what work I did, who I spent time with, even what kind of car I owned.

 

I never thought of this as abusive.  Not right, sure, but abuse left bruises.  If they didn’t leave bruises or broken bones, it couldn’t be abuse, right?  Wrong.

 

Abuse comes in many forms.  Most everyone knows about physical abuse- when someone causes physical harm to another person.  But, did you know physical abuse doesn’t have to cause injuries?  It is also physical abuse to be threatening (such as punching walls), refusing to allow someone to leave, or driving recklessly.

 

There is also sexual abuse.  Forcing intercourse while threatening with a weapon isn’t the only way a person can be raped or sexually abused.  Saying things like, “If you loved me, you would do this for me” is sexual abuse.  Disregard for a partner’s physical or emotional pain & forcing want you want on them through physical means or guilt is sexual abuse.  These are very common examples of sexual abuse that most people do not consider abusive, yet they are.  Behaviors like these leave victims very anxious or depressed, feeling ashamed, guilty & often thinking things like they are being silly since this request isn’t so bad, they should just do what their partner wants & ignore their own needs/feelings/wants or even that there is something deeply wrong with them for not wanting to go along with their partner’s request.  Others who have not experienced this type of abuse don’t understand the damage it can do.  Many people don’t think a husband can rape his wife, so when she tells people that he did, she is treated as if she is crazy.  Sexual abuse is extremely damaging in so many ways.

 

If you have read much of my work, you know I discuss narcissistic abuse a great deal.  That is because it is extremely common.  Many psychologically abusive people are narcissists.  (psychological abuse includes mental/verbal/emotional abuse).  People who manipulate others, put their needs/wants/feelings/etc. above those of others, who are extremely critical either overtly or more subtly, tell others how to feel, or invalidate you are often narcissistic.  You can read more about narcissistic abuse on my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

 

Because these kinds of abuse leave no bruises, many victims are told get over it, that it’s no big deal or even doubt that what the victim claims is true.  This leaves victims alone, depressed, & often feeling as if they’re going crazy.  Abuse also can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

If you are in one of these situations, please know you’re not alone!  You also aren’t crazy!  If you feel something is wrong, then it is wrong.  Trust your instincts!  Also, pray.  God will show you the truth.  He will show you what is wrong in the situation as well as what you need to do to escape it & to heal.

 

If you are looking for safe people to talk to,  I have a Facebook group.  The members are kind, caring, supportive & wise.  You’re very welcome to join us if you like.  🙂

 

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

Sometimes Out Of Your Biggest Problem Can Come Your Biggest Blessing

Recently, a friend pointed something out to me & she was absolutely right.  Since the fight with my parents in May, I’ve changed.  I’m much freer & enjoying life more.

 

I have to wonder why this is.  I think it may be because I finally realized my own value.  I don’t deserve the things that my parents do to me.  Logically I knew this but the extreme insensitivity of their actions really drove that point home for me during that fight.

 

It’s funny how things can work out.  This very painful, bad event turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  I’m shocked, because I was extremely hurt & angry for quite a while after it happened, even wondering if I’d ever come to terms with it.  But, God helped me to do that.  Since I have dealt with my feelings about it though, I have become much happier than I’ve been in a very long time.  I’ve even started being myself for the first time.  Some time back, God told me to research the personality of a wolf, as I share many of their traits.  For the first time, I see those traits in myself.  I’ve also been having a lot of fun & being silly.  I crocheted a small Pennywise (the evil clown from Stephen King’s “IT”) for hubby & have been putting him in strange places around the house to surprise him. Hubby has since started doing the same thing to me.  We’re having fun just playing, & it feels good!  I’ve also almost finished a new book in record time.  I’ve been able to focus more on my writing & have a new fire in me to help those who have been affected by narcissistic abuse & to raise awareness.

 

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.”  (AMP)  This Scripture is absolutely true!!  The situation I mentioned above is evidence of that.

 

Please be encouraged, Dear Reader.  Whatever you are going through, something good can come from it.  God wastes nothing.  He can bring you blessings even out of your worst hurts.

 

 

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God Truly Wants To Help You Heal

God gave me yet another experience last night on just how badly He wants to help His children.  I realized I needed to write it out but rather than simply write it all in my journal, I thought I would share here in the hopes of blessing you, Dear Reader.  I apologize in advance- this probably will be long.

 

A few weeks back, I developed psoriasis on my face, surrounding my mouth.  Never had it before-I’ve always had clear, healthy skin- so it’s been rather upsetting feeling like I resemble Freddy Krueger.  Immediately I looked up what causes this awful skin condition & how to treat it.  For some odd reason, I never thought to ask God about it (not proud of this!).  I chalked it up to stress since it started not long after I lost one of my precious cats plus a few days later had the big fight with my parents, & hormone imbalances.  But, my husband kept saying how odd the location was.  Most people get psoriasis on their arms or backs or chests, but not me.  I agreed, it was odd, but had no answers & for whatever reason, didn’t think to ask God about it.

 

Last night, I went into the bathroom to put cream on my face.  I looked in the mirror & was glad to see the psoriasis is improving, slowly but surely.  I began to wonder why it was where it was, & suddenly, God spoke to my heart, & I knew the answer!

 

When I had that fight with my parents, I broke their rules- I yelled at them & even used some bad language.  I had been so caught up in feeling the pain of my loss plus the anger & hurt at my parents, I didn’t even realize I felt guilty for breaking the rules.  I also felt guilty for  feeling nothing for my parents.  Any emotions died for them during that argument- it was my final straw with them.  So while yes, stress & hormones played a part in why I got the psoriasis in the first place, my own guilt was why it’s around my mouth- because my mouth was the “problem.”  Kind of punishing myself for what I did.  The body is a strange yet interesting thing.  It can take out its own feelings on itself in very unusual ways, which is what happened to me.

 

Once I put the cream on, I returned to the other room, & got into prayer.  Years ago, I read Craig Hill’s book “Ancient Paths” about emotional healing.  I used one of his techniques that I’ve found extremely helpful.  I asked God if I should feel guilty for how I spoke to my parents.  Was I wrong?  Was I overreacting?  Before I could even finish what I was asking Him, immediately, He said I absolutely was NOT wrong- this was exactly what they needed.  They may disagree with me, but they needed to know that they really hurt me with their selfish ways.  They also wouldn’t have listened to me if I had spoken in a reasonable way about the topic- they wouldn’t have realized how devastated I was by their behavior.  They needed to see their reasonable, normally calm daughter so upset, that she acted totally out of character to understand the depths of how badly they hurt me.  Basically, they don’t understand or empathize with my feelings, but they know they hurt me.  Apparently that is something God wanted them to know.

 

As I was thinking about this after praying, I had a flashback..thankfully, it was the “mildest” one I’ve ever had.  I remembered back to 10th grade.  The boyfriend of one of my friends was hit by a car while riding his bike.  The day after the accident, everyone in school was talking about it.. in all the gory details.  Although I didn’t know this boy well, it was still horrific hearing about what happened.  I lost my appetite so I just took my lunch back home after the school day.  Later, my mother asked why I didn’t eat my lunch, so I told her.  Her response was awful.  Rather than show concern for this boy who happened to be the son of one of her friends, or show concern for me being obviously upset, she attacked me.  In an extremely shaming tone, she said things like, “You must really like him to be so affected by this.”  She shamed me for being romantically interested in this boy when the truth was I was simply upset someone I knew might die from a horrific accident.  The flashback reminded me of all the shame I felt that day.  Shame for doing nothing wrong!

 

After that, I remembered a similar incident.  Also in 10th grade, I took driver’s ed.  They showed what were known as “blood & gut” films- footage of the aftermath of car accidents.  The premise was to scare us enough to be careful drivers.  The films gave me nightmares.  One of which involved a fellow student from my economics class dead on the hood my grandfather’s Oldsmobile.  I still remember the nightmare- it was very vivid & terrible.  Strange too- I barely knew him, so I have no idea why he was even in my dream.  When I told my mother of this, her only concern was whether or not I thought this boy was “cute.”  Again, I was shamed for being interested in a boy that I had no interest in as my feelings were ignored.

 

As I pondered these awful memories, I asked God what this was all about.  He showed me why my mother has acted so outrageously in these instances.  She doesn’t genuinely care about other people, she hasn’t the ability to, & is jealous that I do.  Also, when I skipped lunch that day, it was proof I don’t have her issues with food (she’s an emotional eater), which was another reason for her to be angry with me.  Basically I reminded her of a flaw she has.  And lastly, my mother didn’t want me to be interested in boys because that would mean she was losing control of me.  If she could shame me for being interested in them, that would prevent me from being interested, & I would remain under her control.

 

Interestingly, by the way, as difficult as this all should have been remembering such nasty things, it wasn’t too bad.  I’m a bit tired today & have some mild body aches, but not bad compared to when other flashbacks have happened.  God strengthened me & enabled me to handle these things.  It was as if He was somehow  holding my hand as I faced things.   I’m not sure how else to explain it, but  I’m truly grateful He enabled me to do this!

 

The reason God reminded me of these instances was to show me that I have no reason to feel guilty.  There is no reasoning with my mother.  In her eyes, I am nothing but a tool to be used.  I mean absolutely nothing to her beyond what I can do for her.  Why should I feel any guilt or shame for not being willing to tolerate being treated as such?  And, in both of those instances, she was completely unreasonable & she put the weight of her issues on me.  This is not a safe person, nor is this someone I should feel bad for standing up to, mother or not.

 

As for my father, he did nothing to defend me to my mother after those instances.  He didn’t speak one word to her about her ridiculous behavior.  This was typical of him.  In fact, he even told me how hard it was for him watching me go through what I did with her when her abuse hit its peak in my late teens.  I ended up comforting him when he said that, when should have been comforting & protecting me.

 

All of this really got to the root of some problems, which is awesome.  Admittedly, it’s not fun, but to deal properly with problems, you need to get to the root of them.  As hard as remembering such things was, I am truly grateful God showed me such things because now I can heal & ditch the guilt & shame I have felt the past two months.  Hopefully the psoriasis will heal quicker now too.

 

If God did this for me, He certainly will do the same for you, Dear Reader.  He wants you to be healed & enjoy your life!  If you allow Him, He will gently guide you on the right road for your healing & strengthen you to face whatever you need to face!  And, once you face those demons, you can be set free!

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“You’re Too Negative!”

One thing many victims of narcissistic abuse have told me is people have told them they are too negative if they discuss their experiences.   I’ve heard it too.  “You’re too negative.”  “Your problem is you don’t think positive” (I guess thinking positive will fix my C-PTSD.. if it was only that easy!)

 

What people fail to realize is telling the truth about narcissistic abuse isn’t being negative.  It’s telling facts.  It’s telling your story.  It’s raising awareness of this awful epidemic.  It also helps us to heal, discussing things.  (The constant gaslighting/crazy making made us doubt ourselves so much, & talking about things helps us to keep a healthy perspective & remember the narcissist was the real problem.)

 

There is nothing negative or critical or even dishonorable about discussing your experiences with narcissistic abuse!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!  Talk about it as you are comfortable.  Help raise awareness!  Help yourself heal!

 

One important thing to remember though- if you’re seeking validation by discussing your story, you may not get it.  Many people don’t understand narcissistic abuse, nor do they want to.  Even those close to you may invalidate your pain.  You have to accept that not everyone will provide the support & understanding you crave.

 

If you’re worried about the narcissist finding out you’re talking about what she did to you, I understand.  It’s scary.  Narcissists, in particular narcissistic parents, can be scary, especially during a narcissistic rage.  But, keep in mind- there is really nothing they can do to you anymore!  Scream at you?  Call you names?  Talk badly about you to other people?  Chances are, after years of it, you’re so used to these things they barely phase you anymore.  I understand!  As a grown woman, I sometimes get afraid someone will tell my parents what I write about.  I remember my mother screaming & raging at me as a kid.  When that happens, I remind myself that I’ve experienced her rages so many times, that I’ve become pretty numb to them.  I also remind myself that this isn’t just her story- it is mine too.  I have every right to discuss it with whoever & however I want to.

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“Just Let It Go”

I think all of us who have been abused have heard this invalidating, hurtful phrase at some point.  You say something about your experiences, & the listener tells you to “just let it go.”  They may even say “I mean this in love…” first, as if that will soften the blow of their hurtful words.

 

“Just let it go” can be among the most painful words a victim can hear, & also among the most common ones.  It’s also among the most stupid thing to say.

 

For one thing, if the person saying them says they’re saying these words out of love for you, that is a lie.  The simple fact is that what you have said about your experiences makes the person uncomfortable.  I can say this with confidence, because I believe what the Bible says about love:

 

1 Corinthians 13  1″Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.  (KJV)

 

Nowhere in there does it say love means invalidate others or hurt them.  Love is kind, rejoices in truth & bears all things- sounds to me like real love means you support those in pain instead, even if the topic makes you uncomfortable.

 

“Just let it go” also doesn’t make sense because who we are is a result of what we have experienced in life, good & bad.  You shouldn’t “just let go” of your past as if it didn’t happen because of that.  You can learn a lot about yourself by not only what you have been through, but also by how you responded to things that have happened to you.

 

When you have been through traumatic experiences, there is another problem with “just letting it go”:  you can’t.  Even if you want to, you can’t.  PTSD & C-PTSD mean like it or not, you’re going to live with depression, anxiety, flashbacks, insomnia & more because of the trauma you’ve been through.  I’ve heard it said that PTSD & C-PTSD don’t mean you aren’t letting go of the past, but they’re the past not letting go of you.  It’s VERY true!

 

There are some things that you can & should “just let go” however…

 

  • Believing you are 100% responsible for making relationships work.
  • Believing something is wrong with you or you’re a bad person, because others have mistreated you.
  • Believing that if you would just do *fill in the blank*, the other person would treat you better.
  • Believing you have to “forgive & forget” or else you’re a bad person.
  • Believing you have to be in a relationship with your abuser.  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse from anyone.
  • Hope that the other person will one day apologize to you for everything they’ve done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Cemented Beliefs

When a belief becomes an irrefutable fact in your mind, I think of it as being cemented in place.  When something is set in cement, it can later be moved, but it’s not easy to move it.  It takes a great deal of work to break down cement.

 

Beliefs are much the same way.  And, recently, I learned that while most beliefs are formed in childhood, some can be cemented while others are not.

 

Growing up, I learned that I didn’t matter other than what I could do for my parents.  Part of that meant if I was sick or injured, it wasn’t important- I needed to keep going rather than rest.  Even if it was really bad, it wasn’t particularly important.  In fact, when I had the chicken pox when I was in the fifth grade, I had a very nasty case.  It lasted for about two weeks.  My mother was so tired of staying home, & complained because my parents & I hadn’t gone out to dinner in so long.  She, my father & I went out to  dinner one night, even though I was still covered in sores.  As she drove out of the neighborhood, she told me to duck down in the backseat & hide since some neighborhood kids were playing outside.  She didn’t want them to see me.  She said if anyone at school mentioned seeing me, to tell them she was taking me to the doctor.

 

Things like this showed me I didn’t matter & that if I was sick or injured, I should keep on going rather than take care of myself, no matter what, & not bother anyone with my “petty” problems.  Thankfully I did start fighting against that belief once I became an adult, although it was a struggle.

 

Then, I married my husband.  He is of almost pure German decent.  As a result, he’s a hard worker & pretty tough. Very little gets him down, & he expects the same of me.

 

After getting extremely sick last year from carbon monoxide poisoning, I was unable to do my usual housework.  It wasn’t long before my husband was upset about having to do all of the chores.  I ended up resuming housework & cooking well before I felt able to do it (recovery from carbon monoxide poisoning can take months, even years, if recovery even happens, that is.).  I honestly believed I should stop being so lazy & get back to work.

 

Recently, I had a nasty flashback.  After the worst was over, I pushed myself to do things I needed to do around the house, in spite of feeling physically & emotionally drained.  I asked God why do I do this?  I know better!  I have C-PTSD & have had carbon monoxide poisoning along with a traumatic brain injury- I can’t just keep on going!  I need rest & lots of it, especially when something like a flashback happens.

 

God showed me the answer immediately.  My husband’s belief that I shouldn’t “let things get me down” cemented in me the belief that my parents tried to instill in me- I shouldn’t take time to rest/heal, no matter how much I need it, & don’t bother people with my problems.  Yes, I had fought against that belief, & even had made some strides in that area.  However, loving my husband & caring what he thinks of me puts him in a unique position in my life.  I don’t want to disappoint him.  Plus, feeling I should keep on going no matter what is such a habit.  I slid back into that dysfunctional pattern without thinking about it.

 

Has this happened to you too?  Are you living out dysfunctional patterns that you feel unable to break because they are cemented in your mind?

 

Dear Reader, don’t lose hope if your answer is yes.  God wants to help you as He is helping me.  He reminds me that it’s OK to take breaks, to sleep in, & take care of myself as needed.  He will do the same for you no matter what the stronghold is!  Simply ask Him,  “Why am I like this?  Please, Father, show me why!  Heal me & show me what I need to do on my end to stop this dysfunction in my life.”  I know, it sounds simple, but it really makes a huge difference!  Once you see the root cause of the bad behavior, you can heal.  It’s kind of like gardening.  If you want to rid your garden of weeds, you can pluck them, but they’ll come back soon.  If you dig them out by the root though, the weeds won’t come back.  Seeing the root of your bad behavior is much like digging that weed out.  You can see how wrong it was to have the bad belief put on you & let God fill your brain with good beliefs, with the truth.

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There Are No One Size Fits All Solutions

When people discover that what they have experienced is narcissistic abuse, they look for answers.  Some make the mistake of thinking there are obvious answers, but unfortunately, there isn’t any such thing.

 

Every narcissist is different.  Every victim is different.  There are also many gray areas when it comes to dealing with narcissists- very little is black & white.   As a result, what works for someone else may not work for you & vice versa.  You aren’t going to find anything that maps out your perfect way to healing yourself of ways to cope with a narcissists.  You have to try different things to figure out what works best in your situation.

 

An online friend & I were discussing this topic recently.  For her, understanding that her narcissistic mother was abused as a child didn’t help her in the least.  In fact, it seemed to make her angrier that her mother would take her issues out on her daughter.  While I get that, for me, learning my narcissistic mother was abused helped me to be more understanding & compassionate with her while still maintaining my healthy boundaries.  I was able to stay calmer than I once had around my mother.  I realized she was wounded & acting out of those wounds because she has no healthy coping skills.  Neither my friend nor I are wrong- we’re doing what works for us.

 

As an author who writes primarily about the topics of narcissism & narcissistic abuse, I have come to realize that as much as I want to help everyone who reads my work, I can’t.  The best I can do is explain what I have learned, talk about what works & doesn’t work for me, & discuss my experiences.  It’s up to each reader to glean from the books & articles what works for them.  Unfortunately, some will be disappointed that what I suggest doesn’t work for their situation.

 

And, ignore those who say things like, “*fill in the blank*  will work for you”.  It may work for you.  Hopefully it will.  But, it also may not work for you.  People who say they have the answers may, in fact, be narcissists themselves.  I realized that after reading a  blog about healing from narcissistic abuse some time ago.  The blogger wasn’t open to opinions other than her own.  She seemed to think what worked for her would work for everyone, & if you disagreed, you were wrong.  For example, no contact.  It was the only solution this blogger supported, & there were no excuses for not going no contact.  While that makes sense to a degree, not everyone is willing or able to go no contact.  What if the narcissist is low on the spectrum?  They may be hard to deal with but also tolerable.  Plus, going no contact is very hard, especially with your own parents.  Not everyone feels capable of going no contact.  Low contact may be a better option.  Still others live with their narcissistic parent & can’t afford to move out so again, no contact isn’t an option.

 

That is just one example.  There are other authors that are the same way- they believe they have all the answers & you need to listen to them.  Be careful whose advice you take when reading about narcissism!   If something seems off, trust that feeling.  Pray & ask God to show you who you can trust & who you can’t, & help you to get the information that will help you the most.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Personal Update & The Importance Of Taking Breaks

I vowed some time ago to keep my blog real, to be honest about my experiences, both the good & bad ones.  My hope is that you can learn from my mistakes.

 

A few days ago, I read a quote on Facebook from the book “Boundaries” by Drs. Cloud & Townsend.  It says,

 

“Another damaging effect of abuse or molestation is the destruction of a sense of ownership over the victim’s soul.  In fact, victims often feel like they are public property- that their resources, body & time should be available to others just for the asking.”

 

Although I’ve read “Boundaries” several times, I never related to that quote so well as I have recently.  It perfectly sums up how I’ve always felt.

 

Interestingly, this quote came to my attention a couple of hours after receiving a message from one of my readers.  When I saw I had a message, I cringed a bit.  Not because the person was someone I didn’t like (she was lovely to talk with) or I didn’t want to help this person, but because I have gotten so tired lately of all things narcissism.  I’ve also been more depressed than usual for about a month.  Considering my feelings & then this quote, I immediately realized something about myself.  I haven’t been practicing what I preach.  I haven’t been taking frequent breaks.  I slipped back into the old, dysfunctional habit of feeling as if I need to be there for anyone & everyone, at all times, always being the strong one & fixing everything.

 

*bangs head into walls*

 

I really hate backsliding!  It’s especially insulting since I was doing better in this area.  God showed me a few months ago that when I got so sick in 2015 from carbon monoxide poisoning, one of the reasons was basically to force me to take better care of myself.  Since getting sick, sometimes now my body &/or mind gets extremely tired & I have no choice but to rest, which has proven to be a good thing.  At least until this past month, when I slid back into ignoring my physical & mental health, pushing myself past my limits.

 

I decided the other day this has to stop.  Right now, I have a sick kitty who needs my attention & I also need a break from all things narcissism.

 

I started by asking a very close friend to help me manage my group by being an admin in there.  When I need a break, she can keep an eye on things.  When I told my group, they were incredibly supportive.  Another dear friend who is in my group sent me a private message, telling me it’s ok to take breaks, I don’t always have to be the strong one & she is there for me.  I was very moved by the wonderful show of support & love!  Truly, my group is amazing.  🙂  If you’re interested in joining, you can check it out here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/FansOfCynthiaBaileyRug/

 

While I was recovering last year, I was able to write many blog posts.  So many, I have them written 3 months in advance.  Plus wordpress publishes them to Facebook, Google Plus, Linkedin, etc. automatically.  I don’t write blog posts every other day, as it may look since that’s when they are published.  Please keep that in mind if you try to contact me via this blog or my social network sites.  If I don’t respond quickly, please forgive me, but I needed a break.  Otherwise, I’ll respond quickly.

 

Interestingly since I decided to take breaks, I already feel less pressure & depressed.  Knowing I can take breaks as needed has taken a large weight off my shoulders!

 

My reason for this post, Dear Reader, is two fold.  For one thing, I want you to know what is happening, so if I don’t respond to you in a timely manner, you won’t feel that I don’t care.  I truly do!  I also care about myself, though, & know being “on call” is too much pressure for me to handle.

 

For another thing, I want you to learn from my mistake.  Never, ever forget that Narcissistic Personality Disorder & recovering from narcissistic abuse are extremely serious, complex & painful topics.  Frequent breaks from thinking & talking about narcissism are absolutely vital to one’s mental & physical health!  I think it is very normal to obsess at first.  Once you have an answer to why someone treated you as they did, it’s only natural to want to know more about why they behaved that way.  It also feels so good to learn that you aren’t the problem as you were told you were.  Who wouldn’t want to understand why they were blamed for being abused?!  And, since narcissism is so complex, it’s pretty much a bottomless pit of things you can learn about it.  You should learn about narcissism.  It will empower you to do so.  That being said though, due to its complex nature & the pain of narcissistic abuse, you will need to take frequent breaks away from the topics.  During those times, refuse to think about or discuss narcissism.  Relax.  Do things you enjoy.  The balance will help you to stay strong & avoid depression.  You’ll know when you need a break, too- your mood will sink & you’ll be thinking about narcissism constantly.  Listen to these cues!  I didn’t, & look what has happened to me.  Please learn from my mistakes & don’t make the same ones I have!

 

Take good care of yourself, Dear Reader!  I’m praying for you as I hope you pray for me!  xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Intrusive Thoughts

In case you don’t know, intrusive thoughts are thoughts that shove their way into your mind & are often impossible to get rid of.  They are very common with PTSD & C-PTSD.  In my experience, a brain injury combined with C-PTSD made them even worse.  Yay me..

 

A few minutes ago, I had yet another experience with intrusive thoughts.  My newest cat, Minnie Rose, is named after my great grandmom, who I absolutely adore.  She passed when I was 11, but I still have many fond memories of her, some of which replayed in my mind when Minnie Rose walked into the room with me.  Suddenly, I remembered that my parents never asked if I was ok or offered comfort when she died.  My granddad held me & let me cry at her viewing, & that was the only comfort or love I was shown regarding her passing.  I began to get angry that my parents didn’t care that I was grieving or even talk to me about her death.  I decided to get on facebook & distract myself for a little while as I really didn’t feel like dealing with this anger right now.  Even a short break so I could finish my housework in peace would have been nice.  That was a bad idea.  The “today’s memories” feature popped up & in there was a link to this old blog post.  Remembering how cruel my mother was to me last year at this time was very painful.

 

So now, I’m sitting here pretty pissed off.  Fun times… Not.

 

This type of thing has happened enough times that I’m used to it.  I also have learned how to handle it in a way that works for me, & I want to share it in the hopes they will work for you as well.

 

I have yet to find a way to stop intrusive thoughts.  They seem to have a mind of their own.  Also, I’ve noticed when I try, often something else happens that pretty much forces me to deal with what is on my mind.  This has shown me that intrusive thoughts have a purpose.  They serve as a reminder to say, “Now is the time to deal with this!  Get alone, get quiet & get with God so you can do it.”  This is actually a good thing, even though it doesn’t feel like it at the time.  (Apparently for me they also can serve as fodder for blog entries..lol)

 

When I can get alone, quiet & with God, I tell Him how I feel.  I let it out, all the anger & ugliness.  In return, He comforts me.  Sometimes (well, often..) I don’t feel like saying things out loud, so instead of talking to Him, I write in my journal as if I am talking to Him.  Either way, God does the same thing- helps me to get rid of the anger &/or hurt & comforts & often heals me from that painful incident.  It’s really that simple.  Healing isn’t always complicated.  Sometimes you just need to get your feelings out, be validated & receive some comfort in return.

 

Sometimes, I also ask God to tell me the truth about what happened.  Was it right?  Did I deserve it?  His answers are always amazing!  When God tells you that you didn’t deserve to be abused, you can’t help but believe it!  I’ve often sensed His anger at the injustice of the experience I went through, which also, believe it or not, is very healing.  It validates the fact that you were done wrong, very wrong.

 

Another thing I have noticed is that doing this may help you to release some anger, but acquire a new anger.  A righteous anger.  I know this can be difficult for victims of narcissistic abuse, because we were never allowed to be angry.  Often we carry that dysfunction well into adulthood.  And, as a Christian, many folks misunderstand anger.  They often believe you should forgive & forget, anger is from the devil, & shamed if you feel any anger no matter the situation.  We often feel wrong & ashamed if we feel any anger, so we try to ignore it.  I want to tell you today, Dear Reader, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with righteous anger!  Remember Jesus in the temple, overturning tables & freeing sellers’ livestock for sale?  That was righteous anger.  People were doing something offensive to God, & that enraged Him, as it should have!  Abuse is also offensive to God- why shouldn’t anyone be enraged by that?!

 

Righteous anger has its place.  It lets you know that something is very wrong & change needs to happen.  It also motivates you to make that change by stirring up your emotions.  I have only recently learned to embrace righteous anger.  It has helped me when I have to deal with my parents & their abusive, dysfunctional behavior.  Realizing that they expect me to behave as they want after how horribly they have treated me makes me angry with that righteous anger.  That anger gives me the strength to be firm in my boundaries & not tolerate things I would have tolerated without that anger.

 

In conclusion, I know intrusive thoughts are painful, upsetting & disturbing, but please be encouraged, Dear Reader.  They do have a purpose!  Dealing with them as quickly as possible will help you to heal & grow stronger.

 

Also, when you are done dealing with your intrusive thoughts, don’t forget to take care of yourself!  Emotional work is so exhausting.  Be gentle with yourself.  Pamper yourself.  You’ve earned it!

 

And now, I’m off to write in my journal then take a relaxing, long shower & goof off for the rest of my day…

 

 

 

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“You Should Be Grateful For Everything You’ve Been Through!”

Lately I’ve seen memes & statuses on facebook stating basically the same thing- that no matter what horrible thing you have experienced, you should be grateful for it because it made you who you are today.  Frankly, it’s getting on my final nerve…lol

How can anyone be grateful for being a victim of narcissistic abuse, beaten daily by a spouse, being in a car wreck, losing their home to a fire or even a nasty mother in-law?!  I can’t fathom that.

I’ve been a victim of narcissistic abuse & other types of abuse by several people.  I’ve been physically abused.  I’ve been in a car & a motorcycle accident.  I even have a nasty mother in-law who has hated me from the day we met, before I was even dating her son.  I’m not even close to grateful for going through any of those situations.  Not that I’m still angry or bitter about them, but honestly, I’m not grateful for what happened to me.

Instead, I am grateful to God.  Grateful He brought me through such awful situations & even made sure good came from them.  I’m grateful He put it in my heart to learn about Narcissistic Personality Disorder so now I can spot narcissists easily & know how to handle them when I have to deal with them.  I’m also grateful God showed me I deserve better than to be treated so badly by people, as I once thought I deserved all of their abuse.

If someone tells you that you should be grateful that you were abused or suffered in some way, ignore them.  Even if their hearts are in the right place, those words can be so hurtful & shame inducing.  Don’t let that into your heart!  You are allowed not to feel glad that you have suffered through some rough situations!  You don’t have to try to change how you feel!  Instead, just remember what you are grateful for- the strength God gave you to survive, the love He showed you as he helped you to heal, the things you learned from the situation, maybe new friends you met at a support group or the love of those close to you who supported you through your painful time.

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You, Too, Can Be Broken Yet Beautiful

Many of you know this story I shared several months ago that explains my love of butterflies.  So keep it in mind as you read this post.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in my living room when I looked out the big window to see a lovely yellow swallowtail butterfly fluttering around the tall plants outside the window.  Naturally it made me happy, as butterflies always remind me of my granddad, who I adore & still miss even though he’s been gone for 12 years now.  I kept watching the butterfly & realized something looked different.  I took a bunch of pictures from inside the house (was afraid if I went outside, it’d spook him away) & in the pictures, I could see the butterfly had a damaged wing.  A few more pictures revealed the other wing was also very damaged.  I was stunned!  The butterfly flew so much like any other butterfly, it was hard to notice there was a problem.  And, I realized that this butterfly was just as beautiful as his counterparts whose wings were whole.  Actually, to me, he was even more beautiful since he carried on in spite of his injuries.

I’ve been thinking of this butterfly off & on since that day.  Butterflies inspire me, as you can tell.  In fact, I created The Butterfly Project as a result of the inspiration.  (Please check it out.  I believe it will bless you.)

That butterfly was such a wonderful reminder that in spite of damage, one can still be beautiful.  This turned my mind to other victims of maternal narcissism.  So many of us feel ugly because we were told we were ugly.  Ugly inside & out.  That is not the truth though!  The only ugly person is the one who abuses other people, especially her own child.  You are not ugly, Dear Reader, in any way!  Your narcissistic mother was dead wrong about that!

Also, the butterfly with the damaged wings was still able to function.  Yes, he flew a little differently than others, but different doesn’t equal bad.  The same thing goes for you, Dear Reader.  You may be a bit different because of having survived narcissistic abuse, but that doesn’t mean you are bad.  It simply means that you, like that butterfly, survived something that was meant to destroy you.

Here are some pictures of my precious butterfly visitor that day for you to enjoy…

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 IMG_73164  IMG_7313

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Anger In Adult Children Of Narcissistic Parents

Anger is a very normal part of life, yet also a difficult thing for many adult children of narcissistic parents.  Growing up, we were not allowed to express emotions, good or bad, but it often seems as if anger is the one that receives the most ridicule if we express it.  As I’ve said before, my mother always accused me of having that “Bailey temper” as she calls it.  She said that her family doesn’t get mad like my father’s family does.  Which seems to be true- from what I’ve seen, they just stuff that anger inside & pretend it’s not there.  Yea, that’s healthy…. lol

If you too were raised by a narcissistic mother, I’m sure you heard some similar shaming comments if you showed any anger as well.

The fact is though that anger is going to happen.  As you heal from narcissistic abuse, it is definitely going to come up.  As your self-esteem improves, you finally realize you didn’t deserve the terrible things that were done to you, & it makes you angry.  You realize too that it wasn’t your fault you were abused, which also makes you angry.

Holding anger inside at this point becomes very difficult & even impossible.  That is actually a good thing because it is detrimental to your physical & emotional health.  It can cause anxiety & depression.  It can cause high blood pressure, kidney, heart & digestive problems.  Even knowing such things, it can be hard for the adult child of a narcissistic parent to find healthy ways to release anger.  At first, it can be downright terrifying.  She may feel that if she lets a little anger out, she’ll end up losing control of it all & hurting herself & others.  She also may feel that if she lets it out, she’ll never stop being angry.

Dear Reader, these are simply not the case at all!  Anger is a powerful emotion that needs to be heard.  It demands to be heard in fact.  Even so, there are healthy ways to deal with it.

Some people recommend the chair method.  This involves standing in front of a chair, pretending the person who hurt or abused you is in that chair, & telling them everything you feel inside about them & their actions.

Some people beat up pillows.  It’s a good physical release, & you can’t hurt a pillow no matter how hard you beat it.

Others swear by writing letters they never send.  I have done this with a great deal of success.  I let it all out in the letters, then usually I burn them.  I found something very therapeutic about watching the letters burn.  It’s like my anger went up in the smoke.  I also kept a couple of them, which helps to keep me remember why things are the way they are.  Reading over my letter helps me if I feel weak & wanting to fix things with my mother.  It helps remind me that I can’t do all the work- fixing a relationship takes 2 people.

Journaling is akin to writing the letters.  No one is going to read what you write, so what better way to let it all out?  Although I love the feel & look of a pretty paper journal, for privacy sake, I use an online, password protected one.  I am certain no one would be able to read it, so when I need to get anger out, I let it all go in the journal.

Perhaps the most effective way I’ve found to deal with anger though is by talking to God about it.  He is such a wonderful Father.  He listens without judgment or criticism & offers you comfort.  He also helps you to purge all of that anger from you, so you no longer stuff it deep inside.

The next time you feel anger, I encourage you to try one or more of the suggestions above.  They really will help you tremendously.  You’ll feel so much better once the anger is out from inside you.

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Narcissistic Abuse?

I have been asked quite a few times how long it takes to recover fully from narcissistic abuse. I believe it to be a lifelong battle, unfortunately. However, I don’t want to discourage you with that, because there is good news. Although it can be a lifelong battle, it does get easier!

You will stumble sometimes, but even so, you are constantly getting stronger as you heal. The more wisdom you gain about NPD & the effects of its abuse, the more strength it gives you. You finally realize it wasn’t your fault, & that you’re suffering the normal effects of abnormal treatment.

The dark times of depression come less frequently & don’t last as long when they come.

There are times you feel stuck, as if you are always going to be depressed, anxious, or feel like you’re going crazy. But, the longer you have been healing, the less frequently those times happen. They, like depression, won’t last as long on the rare occasions when they happen.

Your self-esteem soars. Sure, sometimes you may backslide into feeling like the worthless piece of garbage your narcissistic mother always said you were, but at least that isn’t how you constantly feel anymore. They’re merely fleeting moments. When you realize this dysfunctional thinking is happening, you remind yourself that isn’t true. Healthy self-esteem also stops the dysfunctional people-pleasing at your own expense ways many children of narcissistic parents possess.

You try to practice good self-care rituals- prayer, relaxing activities, participating in fun hobbies. Granted, sometimes you let your schedule get too busy, but the healthier you become, the quicker you are to realize this mistake & make the appropriate changes.

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to change how you think about your recovery. While it may be a lifelong battle with no definite end, try to focus instead on the good that comes during your healing. Focus on each baby step, every bit of progress you make. Your narcissistic mother tried to destroy you, but she didn’t! You are like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Little by little, you are getting healthier & happier. Maybe right now you aren’t where you want to be, & feel like you have a long way to go. How about instead focusing on how far you have come? You are no longer that wounded, dysfunctional little child, but instead are a grown woman who is getting stronger & healthier each day!

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Telling The Truth About Narcissistic Abuse

Growing up, I think my situation was very typical of many children who have narcissistic parents in some ways.  Mainly in one way- secrecy was of the utmost importance.  My mother never clearly said don’t tell anyone what she was doing to me, but somehow, I always knew telling would be a big mistake.

When I turned 17 & wanted to start dating, her abuse magnified.  She was losing control of me & was less than thrilled with that fact.  That is when she began to scream at me on a daily basis, making sure I spent my school & work lunch breaks with her, & she even had someone at my school report to her daily what I did during the day when she wasn’t around.  It was a bad, bad time for me.  I tried to talk a little about it to friends & even a school guidance counselor.  No one was any help, so I sought out a therapist who turned out to be even less help.  I found out I was completely on my own.

My mother often said during that time that I shouldn’t “air our dirty laundry.”  I failed to realize at the time that it was *her* dirty laundry, not mine.  I did realize though that telling the truth about the abuse she put me through was a bad thing.  When she learned I’d talked to anyone about what she did, she would rage worse than usual.  More screaming at me would follow, telling me what a terrible person I was, she was only doing what she did to help me, since I was so unreasonable she had to practice tough love on me, & more garbage.

As a result, I learned to keep quiet, not discussing what she did to me.  I lived in fear that she would learn if I’d said anything about her.  Plus, I also felt I was to blame.  I believed her lies about what a terrible person  I was.  I must have been terrible to make her treat me so badly- what other reason could there be for what she did, I thought.  Telling also felt disloyal- I felt like I was betraying my mother if I told what she did.

Eventually, I had to talk about it.  I lived through hell with her, even as an adult, & couldn’t keep it bottled up inside anymore. My emotional health was a mess.  I had to talk about it & start to heal.  It was hard to do.  For years I continued to feel guilty for “airing our dirty laundry.”  It finally clicked though a couple of years ago… I felt God wanted me to write & publish my autobiography.  That task was very daunting- once you write a book & it’s published, it’s out there for the world to see.  Having a website is one thing- my parents don’t even own a computer, plus I could take it down if I was so inclined, so that wasn’t too intimidating.  But a book?!  That was terrifying!

To write the book, I finally had to get rid of those dysfunctional thoughts about sharing what happened to me, & God helped me tremendously in doing so.  He showed me the real truth about discussing narcissistic abuse.

He showed me that talking about it isn’t being disloyal or dishonorable- it’s simply telling the facts.  I have yet to embellish anything.  I tell things as they happened.  I never try to paint my parents in a bad light, although I’m sure the stories I tell do just that since they’ve done some bad things.  I try to keep the way I phrase things as respectful as possible.

He also showed me that although I wasn’t a perfect child, I was good & I did nothing to deserve what happened to me.  I never got into trouble or did drugs.  I cut a few classes in high school (which my parents never knew about), but still maintained honor roll grades.  My worst sin was sneaking behind my mother’s back to date the man who is now my ex husband.  Granted not a good thing, but not the worst thing I could’ve done either.  I only saw him at school & work so we didn’t see each other much.

God showed me too that there is nothing my parents can do to punish me anymore.  My mother can’t show up at my job again & scream at me for the whole population of the place to see (that was humiliating!) or force me to listen to her tell me what a horrible person I am for having my own thoughts, feelings & needs.  If she tries to scream at me now, I’ll either leave, hang up on her or kick her out of my home.

Accepting these truths will help you tremendously in your healing as well as your ability to talk about what happened!

And, I found a quote that helped me tremendously in writing my autobiography.  Anne Lammont said, “You own everything that happened to you.  Tell your stories.  If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”  It’s very true!  What happened to you at the hand of your abusive narcissistic mother is YOUR story.  You have every right to share it with anyone you like.

I believe discussing narcissistic abuse to be a calling from God.  You have to respect His calling more than fear your parents’ retribution.  You aren’t betraying them by talking about it.  You aren’t being a “bad daughter” either, so long as you share things in a respectful manner.  If you believe God wants you to share your story, then share it!  Not everyone is going to like it, but that isn’t your problem!  Sharing your story will help raise awareness of narcissistic abuse & the damage it causes.  It will encourage others who have been in similar situations.  It lets people know they aren’t alone to read stories similar to theirs.  It also helps reassure people that they aren’t crazy, bad, wrong, etc.  It wasn’t their fault, & your story can help people to learn that.

Share your story, Dear Reader, however you believe God wants you to share it!  xoxo

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Dealing With The Flying Monkeys

Usually when I write, I focus on healing from narcissistic abuse or narcissism. Today I would like to take a side trip & discuss the narcissist’s flying monkeys.

I’m not entirely sure who invented that phrase, but I think it was Dr. Karyl McBride, author of the wonderful book for daughters of narcissistic mothers, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” Anyway, the line was taken from the movie, “The Wizard Of Oz.” Remember the wicked witch who sent her flying monkeys out to do her dirty work? I think it is the perfect way to describe these people!

Flying monkeys are those who side with the narcissist. They think she is a great person, & you obviously have the problem if you can’t appreciate her. If you have a disagreement with your narcissistic mother, this person will come out of the woodwork, & tell you things like how great she is, how hard she tries so hard with you, & how you need to do (fill in the blank) for her because it’s the least you can do for your own mother. My mother has a flying monkey who isn’t quite so bold, but occasionally during one of my mother’s silent treatments, will email me with some lame excuse attempting to make me call or see my mother.

Simply put, flying monkeys are the evil minions of narcissists, &, much like their “wicked witch,” their behavior is also abusive.

Invalidation is abuse, & this is what flying monkeys do best- invalidate your pain, invalidate your boundaries, & invalidate anything you have to say. They also think they know best, & you should blindly listen to them, ignoring your own thoughts & feelings. (Sounds like a narcissist, doesn’t it?) In fact, they remind me of a dream I had a few months ago. I wrote about it in this post. Flying monkeys often will do anything, no matter how ridiculous they look or how much damage they do to the relationship with you to make their feelings & views known to you. They are just like that little sedan in my dream.

While I honestly believe many flying monkeys do what they do out of ignorance, probably even with good intentions, that doesn’t make their behavior any less abusive. They are narcissistic enablers, paving the way for the narcissist to wreak havoc.

If you are able & willing, cutting them out of your life may be your best option.

If you are unable or unwilling to cut the flying monkey out of your life, you need to have some very strong boundaries in place. They need to know that discussing your narcissistic mother is not an option. There are plenty of other things you can discuss- shared interests, current events, the weather, sports.. find other things to talk about- it’s pretty easy to do. If the flying monkey can’t handle this, then leave their presence or hang up the phone.

If the flying monkey is a part of your life on social media, don’t discuss your narcissistic mother on social media. Or, if you do, block the flying monkey from seeing those posts along with people that also know the flying monkey. I have a list of “acquaintances” on facebook. Generally when I post, or this blog posts to my facebook page, it posts to “Friends except acquaintances”. The acquaintances have no idea what they are not seeing or that they are blocked from seeing certain things.

Most importantly, don’t let yourself be swayed by the flying monkey! They can be very convincing sometimes, I know, but only do what you know to be right for you. My mother’s flying monkey told me once that my mother said how proud of me she is. Something I never once heard from my mother, & frankly would love to hear. No doubt my mother knows this which is why she told the flying monkey that. Or, the flying monkey knew it & lied to me about my mother saying it. In any case it was hard not to be swayed & want to work on our relationship after hearing that. I knew in my heart though that things wouldn’t improve with my mother no matter what I do since she’s a narcissist, & besides- I’ve always been the one to work on this relationship. It’s not fair & I’m very tired of being the one who does all the work! If she isn’t willing to put forth some effort, our relationship never will change. (I’ve been blamed for it being so bad by flying monkeys who fail to realize these points, by the way). Anyway if I had allowed myself to believe the flying monkey, can you imagine the huge amount of, well, crap that would have followed? My mother would’ve known the flying monkey was an effective weapon, so she would’ve been used more often. She also would’ve enjoyed the control she had over me, knowing she made me start working on our relationship. And, me working on things would have proven to her that she is right, & can treat me any way she sees fit. When your flying monkeys sweet talk you, then please keep my story in mind. Think about the scenarios that could follow if you went along with their wishes. Is anything worth going through what would happen if you obeyed the flying monkeys?

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Narcissist Project Their Flaws & Insecurities Rather Than Admit To Them

Many narcissists will  accuse you of doing some heinous act that you have never done, yet they do on a regular basis.  Or, they treat you as not good enough, which is how they truly feel inside.

  • My narcissistic mother often accused me of being cold & unfeeling.  She has no genuine empathy for anyone- she only can fake it periodically.  (for people other than me- she can’t even fake it for me)
  • A narcissist I once knew stopped speaking to me because she said I lied to her.  I didn’t lie to her once, yet I caught her in countless lies over the years.
  • My narcissistic mother in-law always let me know she didn’t approve of or like me, & she was very disappointed I married her son.  From what my husband has told me, her mother in-law never approved of her, even to the point of wanting to adopt her first born rather than let her raise her own daughter.

Does this type of behavior sound familiar to you?

Scenarios like this are  very common with narcissists.  Unlike the average person, narcissists lack the desire to look honestly at themselves.  They can’t handle the fact that they have flaws or insecurities.  They refuse to work on improving themselves, & instead prefer to accuse others of doing the bad things that they do.  This gives them a way to vent their anger at these flaws without accepting them about themselves.  Pretty sick, huh?

The reason I’m sharing this with you today, Dear Reader, is so that you understand when this happens, it has nothing to do with you.  It has everything to do with the narcissist though.  The narcissist is only trying to make herself feel better!  Just because she says you are stupid, ugly, or whatever doesn’t mean that is true- it means that is how she feels about herself.  Do NOT believe her vile words for a moment!

Also, listen to the things the narcissist accuses you of doing.  If she says you’re a liar, dishonest, cheating on your spouse, stealing.. you can safely bet that she is doing exactly those things!  Paying attention to the things she accuses you of can help you to figure out what she is capable of doing.

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It’s Not Your Job To Tolerate Abuse Or Do All The Work In Your Relationships!

A pretty common phenomenon I’ve noticed about adult children of narcissistic parents is this belief of others that we are always supposed to allow other people to mistreat or even abuse us without complaint.  Also, if something is wrong in a relationship, it’s supposed to be our job to fix everything while the other person does nothing.

My mother in-law treated me like dirt for the first eight years of my husband’s & my relationship, until I finally severed ties with her.  My husband told me constantly that I “needed to understand her better,” I should “be the bigger person & let things go.”  He didn’t believe me when I told him what she had done, or (worst of all) blamed me for her abuse.

My ex husband & I lived with his parents for about a year.  During that time, he & I had a big fight on our third wedding anniversary.  I left the house to cool off for a while.  When I came back, his mother jumped me, blaming me for the fight (which he started, not that she knew this), for making him angry & for him punching a wall in his anger.  She told me I needed to talk to him & smooth things over.

During a very bad time in my marriage, I talked to a good friend of mine about something extremely painful my husband had done.  He tried to make excuses for my husband’s behavior & suggested things I can do to help fix our marriage rather than comfort me or help me.

Do scenarios like this sound familiar to you as well?

If they do, I want to tell you today that it’s not your job, nor your purpose in life, to be used or to do all of the work in your relationships!  Relationships are NOT one sided, at least healthy ones are not.  A healthy relationship has two people working together.  Relationships where only one person does all of the work are extremely dysfunctional & miserable.

It also is not your place to tolerate abuse or make excuses for the abuser!  No one deserves abuse- NO ONE!  There is no excuse to abuse, there is nothing you can do to make someone abuse you & abusive people are sick.  None of this has anything to do with you.

I believe this warped behavior happens because of being raised by narcissistic parents.  You’re raised to be nothing more than a tool to be used as needed, much like say, a screwdriver.  You’re kept in a drawer until needed, pulled out, used, then put away until the next time you can serve some purpose. While you’re “in that drawer,” you need to be completely invisible- you have to stay out of the narcissist’s way! Don’t “bother” her with your trivial needs.  Hers are so very much more important than yours, after all.  As a result, you grow up continuing to act as if other people’s needs are more important, yours mean nothing, & being a people pleaser. People naturally read other people, & abusers in particular are extremely good at it.  Abusers look for people like this to abuse, since they’re easy targets who won’t complain about how they’re treated.  Then there are other people don’t deliberately seek out people they can abuse.  Instead, they see you believe you are: invisible, you deserve to be treated poorly, etc. & they treat you that way.

To help fix this problem in your life, work on your healing.  You will learn to spot the abusers quickly, & avoid them.  You’ll develop & enforce stronger boundaries.  Your self-esteem will improve, making you less willing to tolerate nonsense, including being the only one to work on your relationships.  You also need to really grasp the fact that you are NOT what your narcissistic mother says you are.  You are someone with great worth & value.  God loves you, no matter if your parents don’t.  If you have trouble believing that, ask Him to show you how much He loves you.  Read the Bible- there are countless times in it where God states His love for you!

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Do You Celebrate Enough?

Do you celebrate the good things in your life?  Not necessarily throw a big party over every good thing, but at least revel in your joy for a few moments.

Life can be so hard & full of negative things, the good can get pushed aside.  It’s very easy to do.  However, I would like to encourage you today to start looking for more good things & celebrating them.  Focus more on what you have accomplished than what is still left to do.  Be proud of the fact you lost five pounds or finally painted your living room.  Think about how blessed you are that a good friend of yours brought you lunch when you were sick, or offered to take your child to school when you were unable.  Enjoy the fact your spouse took off work on your birthday to celebrate & spoil you.  Take a few moments just to think about those good things & feel good about them.  Bask in the good feelings for a few minutes.  Truly this will help you to feel good, & it will help to cement these positive experiences in your memory by attaching good emotions to them.  Experiences with emotions attached stick with us much better than those with little or no emotions.

I have stressed many times the importance of taking a break from emotional healing sometimes, as it can be very draining.  As much as you need to heal from narcissistic abuse, it can be very complex & deep, so periodic distracts are very important.  However, I think equally important is looking for & celebrating the good things.

Growing up with a narcissistic parent, accomplishments were always undermined.   We heard negative, critical, judgmental things our entire lives.  In fact, I think of my parents as the “could be a tumor” kid from the movie, “Kindergarten Cop.”  Do you remember that kid?  If not, here you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaTO8_KNcuo&list=FLyHVkrFotB51_ZKqh7BqAXg&index=27

These things our parents did became habits.  We learned to do them to ourselves.  We became highly critical & negative about ourselves, even trivializing the good things we’ve done.  Why continue the abuse that your parents started?  Stop it & stop it now!  You deserve so much better than that, & you deserve to be happy.  Start today by celebrating something good.  Take a few minutes to bask in the joy of the blessing or the event, whatever it is.  Focus on how good it feels to have received something or to have accomplished something.  Even if it’s simply cleaning your house- doesn’t it feel good to have that task completed?  Focus on that good feeling for a few minutes.  Thank God for the good things.  That’s all you have to do.

Now, try that celebration with other things, big & small.  Relish the enjoyment!  You’ll be a happier person for it!  xoxo

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Narcissists & Pawning Off Pain

I read something recently about how narcissists dump their inner pain & torment on others in order to attempt to relieve some of the pain they feel inside.  This makes a great deal of sense when you think about it.  For example, my narcissistic mother has very low self-esteem, & she has done her best to make sure I also have low self-esteem.  She obviously feels a great deal of shame, so she has put that on me as well.  My narcissistic mother in-law never felt good enough for her mother in-law, & from day one, she made sure I knew I was never good enough to be a part of her family.

There are so many (often very subtle) ways a person can try to put their pain on another.  Did your narcissistic mother accuse you of being fat although your weight was normal & hers above average?  Did your narcissistic spouse accuse you of cheating, shaming you greatly, when in fact you were faithful & he was the one sleeping around?

This trying to transfer their pain to another seems to be a pretty normal thing for narcissists to do, but that doesn’t make it right.  Rather than excusing their actions, I wanted to discuss this with you today so that you know when this type of thing happens, it’s not your fault!  Like many narcissistic behaviors, it isn’t even personal even though it feels like a personal attack- it’s simply the narcissist hurting & wanting to make herself feel better.  You getting hurt in the process isn’t important to her, of course, so long as she feels better.

If you can keep the perspective that some abusive behaviors aren’t personal, but about the narcissist, it makes coping a bit easier.  It still hurts of course, & is painful to accept it happened, but it does help some at least.  Any help is better than none, right?  Really grasping that what was done to you was the narcissist’s fault & not yours will help you to avoid the always painful thinking that what happened was your fault, that you made her do that terrible thing, or if you would have only done or not don  *fill in the blank* then she wouldn’t have hurt you.

I urge you today to keep this post in mind when your narcissistic mother says something hurtful to you.  Remember, she is trying to make you feel bad so she doesn’t have to feel bad.  That is why she’s accusing you of whatever awful thing it is she’s accusing you of!  You’re fine, she isn’t.

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Abandonment Relating To Children Of Narcissistic Parents.

Abandonment comes in many forms.  It can come about for the newborn baby left in a dumpster, a child whose parents suddenly die in a car wreck, divorce, or death of a loved one.  There is a form of abandonment that many people seldom discuss- when close friends & relatives leave you.

This type of abandonment is common after divorce, especially if you are the one who initiated it.  I lost all but one friend after mine.  No one saw him as the manipulative narcissist he was, so they rallied to his side, abandoning me.  Abandonment also happens after surviving the death of someone you love.  After her daughter died, a good friend of mine said it seemed like once the funeral was done, people thought she should be over losing her daughter, as if the funeral being over meant her grief should be over. Abandonment also can happen after experiencing a traumatic event, as some people think you should “be over it by now.”

It’s also very common for children of narcissistic parents to be abandoned repeatedly in their lives.

First, we’re abandoned in the sense of not having a real mother (&/or father).  Just because a narcissist has conceived & birthed a child doesn’t make that person a parent by any means.  We also may be abandoned by the other parent, usually a covert narcissist, who throws us under the bus to the overtly narcissistic parent to cover their own butts during an argument, & who fails to protect us.  We’re also abandoned by anyone who sees the abuse yet fails to do anything to help us: teachers, counselors, relatives, friends or their parents.  As we grow up, we tend to attract narcissists & other abusive people into our lives, who will drop us in an instant once we’ve outlived our usefulness to them.  They also are often skilled at turning others against us too, so we not only lose that person, but friends as well at the same time.  Then eventually we learn about narcissism & the damage it causes, & we begin to talk about it.  That is when our closest friends & relatives often claim we just want attention, need to get over it, So & So had it much worse, your narcissist wasn’t so bad or seemed like a good person to them, & more before abandoning us for being too negative, living in the past, etc.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  I’m guessing it sounds all too familiar.

Constant abandonment like this cuts a person to the core.  It also can lead to many problems- low self-esteem, depression, anger, self-destructive habits such as addictions, & even losing your self-identity.

So how do you deal with this pain?  You grieve your losses much like you grieve when someone you love dies.

Some people say there are five stages in grief, others say seven.  I tend to believe more in seven..

  1. Denial.  What happened is too shocking to accept.  You can’t believe it happened.
  2. Guilt.  You feel guilty.  “Maybe if I had done *fill in the blank*, this wouldn’t have happened.
  3. Anger &/or bargaining with God.  This is the time when you ask “Why did this happen to me?  I don’t deserve this!” or, “God, if you bring him back, I’ll never do *fill in the blank* again.”
  4. Depression.  The magnitude of what happened becomes real to you at this stage, & it hurts.  Badly.  This is often the longest lasting stage.
  5. Starting to move on.  The depression starts to lift some & you begin to adjust in small ways to life after what happened.
  6. Moving on.  You really begin healing at this stage.  You read & learn about how to adjust & heal.
  7. Acceptance.  You have accepted what happened.  You start to look forward to things once again.  You may never again be the person you once were, but you are moving forward.

***sometimes when grieving, you may bounce back & forth between steps a few times.  This is normal***

While going through the stages of grief is never a fun process, it is a necessary one when it comes to big losses, & being abandoned, especially repeatedly, is a big loss.

While experiencing each stage, it is important to talk things out.  I encourage you to pray a lot.  Tell God everything you feel, & listen for any wisdom He wants to share with you.  Also, if you’re like me & it helps you to see things in writing, then journal.  Sometimes seeing things in black & white brings a clarity that simply talking about them doesn’t.

Always be patient, non-judgmental & gentle with yourself while experiencing the grief process.  You need such things in your life during this time, & especially from yourself.

Exercise wisdom in who you share your experiences with.  Many people don’t understand grief in any form, & others don’t wish to hear such “negativity”. Don’t discuss your journey with people like that- instead only share with people who are non-judgmental, compassionate & who love you unconditionally.

I know this is not an easy time for you, but you can get through this, & you will be a stronger person too.  Also, you’re not alone!  Many people have experienced this same pain you have, including me.  If you would like to meet others, feel free to check out my facebook group & my forum, links to both are on my website at:  www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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Getting To Know Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse

I was recently reading a very good email from Dr. Karyl McBride, author of “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?”  It’s an incredibly good book for adult daughters of narcissistic mothers.

 

Anyway, her email was discussing the new book she has coming out soon.  She included an exercise in the email for helping you to get to know who you really are.  She called it “An inner selfie”.  Collect pictures from magazines or from the internet that represent some aspect of yourself.

 

I’ve done something similar this & it really does help you to get to know & inspire yourself.  I have several folders of pictures on my tablet full of pictures that speak to me in some way.  I have a folder of pictures that are uniquely feminine- flowers, beautiful women that I would like to model myself after, & other images.  There are several folders of various pictures that help me to feel good- one has images of Ireland, another a cabin deep in the woods in a blizzard, another has pictures of the beautiful interiors of luxurious trains, still another contains pictures of Claude Monet’s paintings, another a couple of cute vintage & beautifully restored campers.  I also have a folder full of pictures of inspirational quotes & another full of informative & validating quotes about mental health.

 

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, as you know if you too have one, means you grow up not knowing who you are.  You’re simply whatever your mother wants you to be, not the person God made you to be.  It’s the same way if you were romantically involved with a narcissist.   Today, why don’t you make a decision to learn who you are?  Start by collecting pictures that you’re attracted to.  Each one will reveal a little bit about who you really are inside, & help you to get to know yourself.  You may even learn that you like who you are.  🙂

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