Tag Archives: recovery

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

“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

Anger Isn’t Always Bad

I just got myself a little ice cream. Rocky road, my favorite  🙂  Hubby brought it home probably close to a month ago by now.  I’ve been the only one eating it & it’s maybe 1/4 gone. Realizing that I haven’t been over indulging triggered a flashback.

 

When I was growing up, my mother would get candy bars at the grocery store, & often when we came home, she’d give one to my father, one to me then take one for herself.  Often, she forced me to take another one, then when I finally did, she’d call me a hog & give me a very creepy, maniacal smile.  It was so scary looking!  If I confronted her, she’d say “But it’s cute when I do it” & continue the scary smile.  I also had to eat the stupid candy bar or she’d have treated me even worse, more shaming.  I still flippin’ HATE Fifth Avenue candy bars because of her.  Not sure if they even make them- I’m not a big candy bar fan.  Gee, I wonder why??

 

It was kinda funny though.. for once, I realized how angry I am about what my mother did to me.  I also realized it wasn’t a bad thing.  I certainly have a right to be angry about this!  Not only did this awful behavior of my mother’s trigger a flashback (I sincerely hate them!), it’s things like this which are directly responsible for me having eating disorders in my younger days.  I wasn’t overweight growing up, but my mother consistently commented on my weight or my body.  She also very harshly criticized whatever I ate or didn’t eat.  Everything about me, my body, my looks & what I ate was wrong.

 

God’s been working with me on getting OK with my anger for quite a while. I’m never angry all that long, I forgive easily & I don’t get vengeful or cruel.  I’m not consumed with anger.  Also for quite a while now, I’ve envied those who say they don’t let things bother or anger them & felt guilty for not being so “good”,  being a bad Christian or even worse, proving my mother right when she said I have a terrible temper.  The Bailey temper, as she’s always called it.  According to her, the Bailey temper is the worst plague in all humanity, past or present.  So not being ashamed of my anger or feeling like it was misplaced or over the top was a breakthrough!

 

If you struggle with anger too, Dear Reader, please know you are not alone!  Many of us raised by narcissistic parents go through this.  Also, please know that feeling anger is human!  God gave people emotions so we are aware of things.  Joy means what you’re doing is a good thing- have fun with it!  Sadness helps us grieve when we lose someone we love.  Anger is a sign someone is mistreating us.  Emotions are God-given & there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of them, including anger!  It’s what you do with emotions that can be a bad thing.  Simply feeling anger isn’t bad at all.  Hurting someone in the heat of anger, however, that is bad.

 

So the next time you feel angry, feel it!  Don’t ignore your anger!  Ignoring or burying your anger only leads to problems.  Feel your anger.  Tell God what you’re feeling.  Journal about it.  Talk to a safe friend or relative.  Beat up some pillows if that helps.  Write angry letters you never send.  Find a safe way to get your anger out, & rest easy that your anger is not only normal, but God ordained.  There is nothing wrong with you for feeling angry for being mistreated!

 

Also once you get the anger out, know you’re going to be tired.  Emotional work can be very draining.  Take care of yourself.  Rest & relax.  Lay around & watch movies if that helps.  Do things that comfort you & make you feel nurtured.  It’s  good self-care to take it easy after any emotional work.

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Only You Can Decide Whether Or Not No Contact Is Right For You

After recently being told yet again that I “should just cut ties” with my parents, I felt the need to write this post to remind everyone that only you can decide whether or not no contact is right for you.  I know, I’ve written several posts like this, but sometimes information bears repeating!

 

So many people who write about narcissistic abuse preach the value of no contact for the victim.  In fact, many say it is the only solution & you’re wrong to think otherwise.

 

The simple fact is though, that not every situation is the same.  Yes, no contact is a very good solution in many situations.  Often, it is the only solution.  That being said though, it isn’t the only option.

 

There are many people who are unable or unwilling to go no contact, especially when it comes to a narcissistic parent.  Some are forced to live with this parent due to financial reasons, & have no means to move.  Others want to go no contact, but don’t feel they are strong enough to do so just yet.  They’re working towards that goal.  Still others are fine with low contact, which is what I have chosen.  I deal with my parents as I feel able to do so.

 

There are no “one size fits all” solutions for victims of narcissistic parents.  Everyone is different & everyone copes with things differently.  Just because eliminating your narcissistic parent(s) from your life worked out great for you doesn’t mean it will work as great for someone else.  And, if you’re still in a relationship with your narcissistic parent, that doesn’t mean that solution works for everyone.  Never tell someone in similar circumstances to yours that they should just do what you did & if they do it, expect them to have the same results as you.  That won’t happen.

 

 

It also isn’t right to assume you know best what someone else needs to do with their life.  It’s judgmental & makes people feel stupid, as if they aren’t smart enough to figure out solutions on their own.  Being raised by a narcissistic parent, chances are the person already feels stupid, no matter how smart they are, especially if their mother was the engulfing type.  Telling that person what they need to do with their life reinforces that wrong belief.  Obviously you wouldn’t tell them what to do if you thought they were smart enough to figure this out on their own.  This is exactly how I feel when someone tells me what to do, especially when I didn’t ask for their input.  No matter how well meaning their words, I still have to battle feeling stupid.  On some level, it takes me back to my mother constantly telling me what to do or just doing things for me because according to her, I wasn’t doing it right or didn’t know what I was doing.  It’s not a nice feeling!  Would you really want to make someone feel that way?!

 

Instead of telling someone they should “just go no contact,” tell them you’re sorry for their pain.  Listen without judgment or trying to fix their problems.  If they ask for advice, rather than say, “If I were you, I would….”, phrase your advice gentler.  Ask, “Have you ever thought about doing…?”  “What about doing…do you think that would help?”  “Have you tried…?”

 

Offer to pray for & with that person.

 

Offer to take the person to lunch, to a movie or do something that person enjoys as a distraction.  Sometimes a little time away from problems can be very helpful.

 

There are ways you can help without telling a person what to do or hurting them any more than they’re already hurting.

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

The Butterfly Project

As many of you remember, I created The Butterfly Project a few months ago in a simple attempt to help offer inspiration & comfort to victims of narcissistic abuse, while also raising awareness of the horrors of narcissistic abuse.  I hope you have visited the website or follow the Facebook page, & have decided to participate!

 

I also created a twitter page.  You can visit it at: https://twitter.com/ButterfliesProj  Everything that posts to the Facebook page will publish on twitter now, so if you are one of those who doesn’t like Facebook, then I hope twitter will give you a new option for following the page!

 

If you haven’t visited The Butterfly Project, please take a few minutes to check out the website.  It explains in detail what the project is about.

 

Thank you for your time!  I hope you will consider joining me in this project!  It won’t cost you much money or take up much of your time, but the potential to help others is great!

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Don’t Ignore Your Breakthroughs

Many of us who are healing from narcissistic abuse are more focused on how far we have to go instead of how far we have come in our healing journey.  I think this is because when raised by a narcissistic parent (or two), we learned early on to focus on our flaws.  Being harshly criticized constantly will do that to a person.

 

This is a bad habit though & needs to end!

 

I realized how guilty I am of this behavior just recently.

 

My father called one evening to let me know one of my favorite movies was coming on TV, “Christine.”  He’s never done this before, which struck me odd.  My mother has always been the one to do that.  After only a few moments of conversation, he said “Did you hear that?  The call waiting beeped.  I have to go.”  We said our good byes & hung up.  I realized that he lied about his call waiting- I know because when it’s beeped before when we were on the phone, I always heard a second or two of silence each time it beeped.  This time?  Nothing.

 

I thought about this call after hanging up.  Obviously he’s angry with me.  He’ll never say that since he wants to look like the good parent at all times.  He avoids me instead.  Not a full fledged silent treatment, but when we speak, it’s less frequently & the conversations are much shorter.   That’s why he lied about the call waiting- to get rid of me without blatantly stating he wanted to get rid of me.

 

As for him calling about the movie, that was a first.  Usually my mother calls to let me  know when it’s coming on.  She loves to tell me how “crazy”, “weird” or other nasty things I am for liking it & other Stephen King movies.  “Christine” is a bonus for her because Christine is a ’58 Plymouth Fury.  Since I drive a ’69 Fury, this opens the door for her to insult my car.  They’re too big, ugly, destroy the roads, no one needs a car that big, etc.  For her to pass up all that nastiness, she must still be very angry with me due to our argument on May 5.

 

Rather than being upset like I once would’ve been with my revelations, I found this situation funny (probably inappropriately so).  My parents would rather be wrong, pretend to be right, & act like I’m messed up for not tolerating them being hateful with me than admit they were cruel to me.  And, they’re so passive/aggressive, they won’t try to work things out.  Instead they use immature, silly ways to punish me.  The ridiculousness of the situation struck me funny.

 

God also used this situation to show me something very valuable.  Not so long ago, I would’ve been upset.  I would’ve been enjoying the silent treatment, yet wondering if I should do something.  Should I apologize?  Should I “be the bigger person” & try to work things out?  This time though, those thoughts never even crossed my mind!  Realizing that as well as that I could laugh at the ridiculousness of it all made me see just how far I’ve come.  I’m quite proud  of myself!  I’ve come a long way!

 

I also saw clearly how little I usually celebrate such victories.  Instead, I tend to focus way more on how far I have to go, which is depressing.  That isn’t happening anymore.  I realized the value of having balance, & am working on doing that.

 

Looking at how far you have to go is necessary.  It shows you what you need to work on, & when you get frustrated with being a certain way, you get motivated to change.  However, looking at how far you’ve come is equally valuable.  It helps to encourage you.  You realize that if you could improve that much, then you can continue to improve.  Only looking at how far you have to go discourages you, & only looking at how far you’ve come can make you stagnant.  Maintaining a balance & looking at both is vital to your healing journey being successful, I believe.

 

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to start focusing just as much on how far you’ve come as you do on how far you have to go.  Try to maintain that healthy balance.  It will bring you more peace & joy, & you deserve that!!  xoxo

 

 

 

 

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Do You Validate Abuse?

Most of us who have experienced abuse in our childhood have trouble standing up for ourselves even as adults.  It feels wrong, like something you should never do.

 

But, did it ever cross your mind that by not defending yourself, you are validating the abuse?  It gives the abuser permission to treat you however they want to.

 

 

Unfortunately with narcissists, it’s not always easy to put a stop to their evil actions.  They seem to think they have the right to do anything they want to whomever they want.  Even so, it’s a good idea to set some boundaries with them.

 

Remember, with narcissists, you can’t set boundaries like you can with normal people.  Normal people will respect it when you say that something they did hurt you.  They will apologize & try to make it up to you when appropriate.  Narcissists are the complete opposite- they will not only refuse to apologize, but remember what you complain about to do it more often.  They also may blame you for making them do that, being oversensitive or even making things up.

 

You have to get creative in setting boundaries with narcissists.

 

First, ask God for creative ideas.  He will NOT disappoint you!  Once, my mother told me where a former teacher of mine works.  She said he asked about me & she told him I don’t work (apparently being an author isn’t a real job.. could’ve fooled me!).  That made me angry, her discounting my writing yet again.  In venting to God, He put an idea in my head.  I made up new business cards, & when I saw this teacher with my parents a couple of weeks later, proceeded to give him one in front of my mother.  The look of shock on her face was priceless!  And, she couldn’t say a thing or else she would have looked bad in front of my old teacher.  HA!

 

Secondly, always do your best to appear happy or neutral when setting a boundary.  Never show your hurt or anger, as I mentioned above.  Also, it flusters them when you can set a boundary cheerfully after their valiant attempt to hurt you.  When they get flustered, they will stop what they are doing.

 

And, don’t forget- subject changes can be your friend.  Rather than saying you don’t want to talk about whatever topic they are using to hurt you, change the subject.  It may not always work, but it will help you sometimes.  Just be sure to keep changing the topic back to what they wanted to talk about if they try to change it back.

 

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Taking Care Of Yourself

I realize my posts can be repetitive sometimes, & this time is no different.  The reason is I feel the need to share things as God places in my heart, & sometimes He must feel a topic bears repeating.

 

Today, I feel God wants me to remind you to take breaks.

 

Learning about narcissism, even how you can heal from it, can be extremely draining.  It can exhaust you mentally & physically because it’s such an intense subject.  Even learning how to heal can be extremely exhausting, because the abuse is so insidious & invasive.  Being exhausted is not only unpleasant, but can lead to physical & emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, muscle pain, headaches & more.

 

Today, I feel God wants you to know it’s OK, & even necessary, to take breaks.

 

I understand sometimes that can be hard, especially in the early stages of healing.  It’s so incredible to find out that you really are NOT the problem!  You’re normal & reacting normally to very abnormal circumstances.  You want to learn more about NPD as well as ways for you to heal.  All of this is great, but truly, you can’t focus on such things 24/7.  So take frequent breaks where you refuse to think about such things.

 

There is no scale of how often you need to take breaks.  Simply follow your heart.  If you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed, that means it’s time to take a break.  If you’re becoming irritable, it’s time for a break.  If you feel overly emotional, physically tired or even just out of sorts, it’s time for a break.  Signs like this are your mind & body’s way of saying it’s time to relax & stop focusing on such intense topics for a while.

 

There also is no steadfast rules of what you need to do when you take a break.  Do whatever you enjoy that relaxes you.  I love herbal teas, crocheting & fun movies or music.  I also spend more time with the furkids or hang out with close friends.  What little things can you do that help relax you?  Then do it & enjoy yourself!

 

Narcissistic abuse is no laughing matter.  It is extremely painful & invasive to the victims.  Always remember that, & remember that taking frequent respites from such an intense & negative topic will help you in the long run.  xoxo

 

 

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Shipping Sale On My Books!

My publisher is offering free mail shipping or 50% off ground shipping until Friday.  Use code APRSHIP50 at checkout.

 

My books are available at this link:  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/cynthiabaileyrug

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An Update About An Update & Lessons Learned

Recently I shared a personal update in this post.  I mentioned how I realized I needed to start taking more frequent breaks.  I even asked a good friend to monitor my Facebook group when I feel I need a break.  So, a few days ago, I asked her to monitor it for the first time.  I had yet another awful headache & figured what better time to take a break.  Spend the afternoon relaxing, watching tv, maybe crocheting, while staying away from the blog, group & anything related to narcissism.

 

Sounds good in theory.  In reality though?  I botched that one big time.

 

I spent that afternoon continually checking my group & blog.  I forced myself not to respond, but at I at least read what was posted.

 

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

So much for a break.

 

Again, I haven’t been “practicing what I preach.”  I’ve been beating myself up over this.  I mean really- my group is amazing.  What could happen if I took the afternoon away from it?!  If someone needs support, other group members jump right in & support each other in spite of their own problems.  Same with those who read my blog- if people see comments by someone in need of information &/or support, they jump in.  My presence isn’t necessary 100% of the time.

 

I really hate that overdeveloped sense of responsibility.  It’s so annoying.  It’s also yet one more awful result of being raised by narcissistic, parentalizing parents.

 

What I learned from this experience is this…

 

  • Little victories should still be counted.  Like me only reading & not responding in my group that afternoon.  it still counts!  It’s a step in the right direction.
  • Victories can’t be had overnight.  Be patient with yourself when trying to make changes, especially to something as deeply ingrained as that overdeveloped sense of responsibility.
  • Old habits die hard, as the saying goes.  Keep on trying, & it’ll happen.  Maybe not the first time you try making that change, but it’ll happen if you keep on, keepin’ on.
  • Don’t beat yourself up.  Easier said than done, I know.  Just remember, you’re human.  That means you’re going to make mistakes sometimes.  It’s ok.  Things happen.  Just learn from those mistakes & move on.  Don’t dwell on how badly you screwed up when you did *fill in the blank.*  We all make mistakes, & sometimes big ole honkin’ ones!  If we didn’t, we wouldn’t need Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Do You Avoid Depending On & Trusting People?

Something else I recently learned was about counter dependency- another common issue in victims of abuse.

 

Counter dependency is where a person has issues trusting other people.  They avoid depending on, opening up to or trusting others.  They appear extremely independent, even pushing other people away.  Often they have a deep fear of intimacy & fear asking for any help.  When you consider what the typical childhood experiences of a child of a narcissistic parent are, this behavior makes sense.  Narcissistic parents don’t care about their child’s feelings & needs, basically forcing their child to be independent of them.  For a child, being pushed away by a parent is devastating.  She learns early in life not to trust other people.

 

After reading about counter dependency, I realized this describes me very well.  As an example, if my husband & I have a disagreement, I shut down with him.  If he later asks how I am, my answer is always fine.  What did I do today?  Not much.  I let him talk about his day at work or anything else he wants to, but I divulge little to no information about myself.  It happens so automatically, I didn’t even realize I was doing it until the last couple of weeks. It took some more time for me to learn this behavior has a name.

 

As of now, I’m not entirely sure how to change this dysfunctional behavior.  I am only guessing, but I think talking about my experiences would help.  Mostly with God of course- He is always the best place to start- but also with safe people or writing about it in my journal.  Talking, praying or writing about things can bring a clarity to you, & enable you to understand why you are behaving in a dysfunctional way.  And of course, once you understand the root of your behavior, you can understand the truth which is you don’t need to behave that way.  You can behave in a healthier way.

 

As I learn about counter dependency, I’ll share what I learn.  We can learn & grow together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ways To Cope With Agoraphobia

As mentioned in my previous blog post, agoraphobia is a part of anxiety.  It is the fear of public places.  It commonly accompanies PTSD & C-PTSD.

 

And to put it bluntly, it sucks!

 

I have a hard time going out with someone, but alone is an extremely nerve-wracking prospect.  It’s been very challenging trying to come up with ways to cope.  I have found a couple of things that help some, so I thought I would share them with you today in the hopes they help you as well.

 

Valerian root is an herb with anxiety combating properties.  Taking a pill before going out can be quite helpful.  It may not make you super calm, but it does help to take a great deal of the edge off.  If you haven’t tried it before, you’d be best trying it on a day when you don’t have to drive.  Normally one pill won’t make you sleepy, but there is a chance it may.  Not something you want to deal with behind the wheel!  I have found one pill about every 12 hours can help with anxiety, but more than that puts me to sleep unless my anxiety levels are exceptionally bad.  Many people are the same way, so just be forewarned you may be as well.  Valerian root capsules are readily available in some stores that sell vitamins & herbal supplements as well as online.  It’s usually quite inexpensive too.  Also be sure to follow the dosing on the bottle, as manufacturers sometimes make different strengths.  If you’re taking other medicines, it would be a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure it won’t interact with valerian.

 

I also make sure to go out during quieter times.  The middle of the afternoon during a Tuesday is often a time stores are less crowded.  Early Tuesday or Wednesday morning for DMV.  Also, off times also mean less traffic- an added bonus!

 

I like to reward myself with a little something when I’ve had to go out.  A milkshake, a new bottle of nail polish, or something similar can help motivate me to do what needs done.

 
If I’m able, I try to either go out with someone or meet someone.  Even if I go to lunch with someone then do the errands I need to do, it helps because I had some fun.

 

Motivational thoughts can help some too.  Things like,

  • The sooner I get this trip done, the sooner I can come home & relax.
  • Once this trip is done, I can do something I enjoy- watch that movie I’ve been wanting to see, do a manicure, snuggle the furkids, etc.
  • I also try to focus on something positive, like I am grateful I have this wonderful car to drive, & I am able to go out without having to rely on someone to take me out.

 

I hope these tips help you to better manage living with agoraphobia!

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About Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia can be a crippling phobia.  It is a part of anxiety, & is common among those with PTSD & C-PTSD.  Agoraphobia is a fear of public places.  In fact, some people are even afraid to step outside the door of their own home.

 

I developed it in 1996 when my paternal grandmom died.  When my husband told his mother then later his sister of my loss, both completely ignored the news, changing the subject back to themselves.  Something in their reactions made me think that I do not matter.  Nothing about me is worth acknowledging, & I shouldn’t bother anyone with my problems or even my presence.  Granted, this wasn’t new- growing up with a narcissistic mother certainly made me feel that way.  However, God showed me that their lack of acknowledging my loss cemented such awful, dysfunctional beliefs in me, & made me believe I shouldn’t even bother people with my presence.  Then, developing C-PTSD in 2012 made the agoraphobia even worse.

 

Not everyone develops it in a way like I did.  Some people develop this nasty phobia along with C-PTSD or PTSD.  No matter how it starts, anyone with agoraphobia knows it is extremely challenging to live with.  It strips you of your independence.  It devastates your self-esteem since you feel crazy or useless by not being able to go out as you once did.  You feel like a burden because you need people to go with you or do your grocery shopping for you.

 

If this describes you, please know that you are not alone, Dear Reader.  Many people, especially those who have been subjected to narcissistic abuse, suffer with agoraphobia.  It doesn’t mean you’re crazy or useless or even a burden.  It means you have been through some bad things that made you sick.  I’m sure you don’t feel that is the case, but truly it is!  You are fine- you simply have a problem resulting from trauma.

 

Tomorrow’s post will offer some suggestions I have found for coping with agoraphobia when you simply must leave home.

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Stop Comparing Your Struggles To Others!

So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse compare our experiences to others’ experiences.  “What I went through wasn’t so bad- that other person was beaten regularly.  My mother only hit me sometimes.”  Or, we hear of someone who has gone through a similar experience then wonder why we aren’t as healed as that person is.  Does that sound familiar to you?

 

Today, Dear Reader, I want to tell you to stop it!  Stop it as of right now!

 

Abuse in every single form is bad, period.  Whether you were beaten or molested or a victim of narcissistic or psychological abuse, something terrible happened to you!  Never trivialize that!  And, don’t invalidate yourself by saying “Maybe it wasn’t so bad- someone else I know had it worse.”  That isn’t fair to do to yourself.  People respond differently to things.  Two people can have the exact same thing happen to them & both will have very different reactions.  Thanks to narcissistic abuse, I have C-PTSD.  If someone else had been through what I have, they may not have developed it.  Or, they may have ended up killing themselves.  Any scenario is possible simply because people are individuals with their own unique feelings & coping skills.

 

Don’t judge yourself, Dear Reader!  You have been through something bad.  Very bad.  You survived & are learning how to heal.  That is something to be extremely proud of!  Validate yourself!  It is perfectly ok to say you were abused & that abuse caused you harm!  There is no need to compare your story to someone else’s.  It’s not a competition!

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What’s In A Name?

I’ve met a great deal of adult daughters of narcissistic mothers who have changed their names.  Some have legally changed it to something completely different while others, like me, have only tweaked the name they already have.  One thing all of us share in common though is no matter how it was changed, it felt so freeing!!

My mother always called me Cindy.  It always felt wrong somehow.  So about 15 years ago, it finally occurred to me that it is my name, & I can do with it whatever I like.  I began asking people to call me Cynthia, as that feels more comfortable for me.  Oddly, I was met with a great deal of protest from so-called friends who said I’d always be Cindy to them & they refused to make the change.  (Happily for me, all of them are out of my life now for various reasons.)  Since then, when meeting people, even introducing myself as Cynthia, some still call me Cindy, so I decided on a compromise- spell it Cyndi, which is the correct spelling anyway.

It feels so good to have made this change, as little as it is.  I feel this way- Cindy is the person my mother made.  The dysfunctional one who had no purpose in life other than to try to please her narcissistic parents.  Cindy is now dead.  Cynthia is much more functional, in spite of the C-PTSD & has her own mind, likes/dislikes & boundaries.  I feel like changing my name has helped to detach me from the dysfunctional, awful person I once was.

Something rather funny on this topic- when we adopted our little cat, Minnie Rose, her name was Baby.  She didn’t answer to it at all.  She was also extremely timid.  It took me a few days to come up with a name that seemed appropriate for her, & once I started calling her Minnie Rose, her entire demeanor changed.  She became much more confident & happy.  She likes the name so much, that she will get mad if I call her Baby even just as a term of endearment.  lol

This may sound odd to you, but I’m telling you, it does make you feel different & better to change your name after surviving narcissistic abuse.  Name changes have happened since the beginning of time, too, & God Himself changed some folks’ names.  Remember, Abraham was once Abram, Sarah once Sarai, Israel was Jacob.  When God changed people’s names in the Bible, the people changed accordingly.  God changed their names when he brought them into a better place than they had been in.  He did the same for me- I have healed so much since changing my name.

If you haven’t done so, why not consider making a change with your name?  Even if it’s just going by a nickname, it will change how you feel about yourself.  You have the right to make that change if you are so inclined, so why not exercise it?

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Changing Yourself To Please Others

I realized something a little while ago.

 

I went to choose some music to listen to while taking a shower.  I wanted something different, so I picked Michael Bolton’s “The One Thing” CD.  While it played, I realized I hadn’t listened to it in years.  In fact, I hadn’t listened to any of his music in years.  Admittedly, I usually prefer hard rock over soft, but even so the main reason I hadn’t listened to him years was because my husband dislikes Mr. Bolton’s music.

 

Did he ever ask me not to listen to those CDs?  Only in his presence, which really is just common courtesy anyway.  (I don’t care for bluegrass, but my husband does, so he listens to it when I’m not around.)  Sooooo…. what the heck?!

 

I realized quickly that this is typical behavior of someone raised by a narcissist.  Narcissistic parents expect their children to morph into whatever pleases them & abandon their own likes, dislikes, dreams, feelings, needs, etc.  Apparently I carried the habit well into adulthood & marriage.

 

I’m not amused.  It’s not even about the music- it’s the fact I so readily gave up listening to an artist whose music I enjoy just because my husband doesn’t feel the same way.  It makes me mad that this behavior was so ingrained in me, I did it without thinking.  My husband & I have been together since 1994.  It’s now 2016 & I just realized it.  That had to be a very deeply ingrained behavior, to take me so long to figure it out!

 

Have you done the same, Dear Reader?  Have you changed yourself for another person just because you thought it would please that person, even if they didn’t ask you to?

 

If so, then I urge you today to go back to what you were comfortable with.  If you & the other person in the relationship disagree on something, it won’t hurt your relationship!  Normal, healthy people respect each others’ differences in personality & taste.  They don’t expect someone to change to please them.  In fact, they encourage their friends or lovers to be the best person they can be, no matter how similar or different they are.  If someone wants you to change to please them, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.  It’s one of the warnings that you are in the presence of a narcissist.

 

Be the person God created you to be, Dear Reader, or as Shakespeare said, “to thine own self be true.”  You will be happy & at peace with yourself.  And, those who truly love you will appreciate the real you.

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One Way To More Inner Peace & Joy

Matthew 5:44  “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”  (KJV)

 

Lately, the “pray for them which despitefully use you, & persecute you” part of this Scripture has been weighing heavily on my heart.

 

Praying for those who hurt you can be extremely difficult for even the most devoted Christian.  I’m certainly no exception to that, so when God recently put it on my heart to pray more frequently for my mother after yet another difficult conversation, I was less than thrilled.  I prayed for her sometimes, but not daily.  Not even as often as it came into my mind that I should pray for her.  It was too difficult to sincerely pray for my mother since she’s hurt me so much in my life. Once in a while, fine, but that was really about the best I could manage.  Yet, God was telling me to change that.

 

In obedience, I decided to set a daily reminder on my cell phone to pray for my mother every morning.  Once I started though, I realized that daily prayer was becoming easier & more sincere.  Shortly after, God put it on my heart to add my father to the daily prayer.  Once I was feeling pretty comfortable praying for them both, He wanted me to add my in-laws.

 

*sigh*  Really?  The in-laws?  After all the awful things my mother in-law put me through?!  The nastiness of my sisters in-law, including them updating my husband on his ex for many years after we were married?!  Ok, fine.  They’re on the prayer list too, although grudgingly at first.

 

God then expanded my prayers even more, by asking me to pray daily for a former friend of mine who hurt me deeply almost six years ago.  Oh come on, God!  Seriously?!  Fine… added this person to my morning prayers.

 

Then, the icing on the cake was asking me to pray for someone who harassed me for over two years.  I did that the other night for the first time.  It was hard, but I did it.  Already, that’s getting easier.

 

I’m glad I’ve started this daily prayer, even though it was hard at first.  What the Bible doesn’t mention in Matthew 5:44 is that praying for people who have hurt you creates a deep peace inside.  I feel more relaxed & less anger or hurt when I think of these people now.  I also feel even closer to God than I did before starting this which has brought me more joy.  It’s absolutely wonderful!!

 

I know it can be somewhat overwhelming to think about doing this, Dear Reader, but why don’t you give it a try too?  It really is worth it!  Pray for the person who has hurt you a great deal in your life, just because you love God & want to please Him.  If at first you pray through clenched teeth, God will understand!  If you tell him you’re only praying for that person because you know He wants you too even though you don’t really mean it right now, He gets that too!  The more you pray, the easier it becomes, & the more peace & joy you will feel.  You will be blessed!

 

Try it today, Dear Reader.  Pray for your abuser.  Ask God to help you to do so if need be.  What do you have to lose?

 

 

 

 

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Some Encouragement For You

Last night, I had an interesting dream.  I dreamed a huge old tree fell onto the hood of my car.  Somehow I got this huge thing off my car, & realized the most amazing thing- my car wasn’t totaled like I expected!  There were a few small dents in the tops of the front fenders, but that was all the damage.  I drove the car away.

 

I woke up flustered- those of you who know me know how important my car is, & seeing it damaged, even in a dream hurts.  That hurt quickly vanished when God immediately showed me what the dream meant though.

 

In dreams, cars are symbolic of your life.  In the dream, my car survived something that was meant to destroy it with minimal damage.   God showed me this is much like me.  Going through narcissistic abuse was meant to destroy me like the tree that fell on my car in the dream.  Yet, like my car, I survived with a surprisingly small amount of damage as a result.   Yes, I have C-PTSD, but considering how much gaslighting I’ve experienced, it’s amazing my mental health isn’t worse.  Plus, God miraculously healed my back injury from my mother’s attack when I was nineteen.

 

You, Dear Reader are no different than me.  You too escaped, with minimal damage, that which was meant to destroy you!  I know, it doesn’t seem that way when you are trying to stop lifelong dysfunctional thinking patterns, having flashbacks or nightmares.  I understand that completely, as I felt the same way.  But really, think about it- the goal of narcissistic abuse is to destroy the victim completely so the victim can be molded into whatever the narcissist wants.  You weren’t destroyed!  You may have some scars (physical & mental) but you survived!  You are like my car was in my dream- some damage, but still functional!  That is no small accomplishment!  I hope you are very proud of yourself- you should be!!

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Music’s Healing Benefits

I absolutely love music.  I’m seeing its healing powers more & more.

 

Today was just not a good day.  I woke from a nightmare extremely anxious, feeling as if I had physically experienced what happened in the nightmare.  I didn’t feel like praying immediately about it, so I tried to distract myself for a while (dumb idea- my mood didn’t improve.  I should’ve prayed immediately!).  Finally, I did pray & God helped me to understand the nightmare & also to feel so much better.  Then I turned on some music & it helped the good feelings to continue.

 

I think music can give you an excuse to cry or smile or even be angry.  Who doesn’t cry at an especially sad song or feel better after listening to a song from a particularly happy time in their life?  Music can be a wonderful catalyst for helping to get your emotions out, & we all know that is so much better than stuffing them down deep inside!

 

Many Christians seem to think only Christian music can have such a positive effect, but I disagree.  I’m actually not a fan of most Christian music.  I do love Bob Carlisle’s “Shades of Grace” CD & TD Jakes’ “Sacred Love Songs” CD, but that is really  it.  I have nothing against Christian music- I just haven’t found a lot I really like for some reason.  So, I listen to what I do love, which is mostly 80’s & classic rock music that I grew up listening to.  While I don’t exactly transport back to a happy childhood like many who listen to the music of their youth, I still enjoy the sound of the music.  I also remember happy memories, such as getting my first car, when the B52’s “Love Shack” was popular.  That song always reminds me of the feeling of newfound independence of having my very own car.  Whitney Houston reminds me of a day in my first apartment when i had one of her tapes playing. I was pouring my then boyfriend & I something to drink & he pulled me away to dance.  Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” is my husband’s & my song, so it transports me back to our early dating days.

 

Sometimes though if you feel sad, a sad song is just what you need.  It helps you to cry it out.  Have you ever heard Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You“?  He wrote it after his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, & if that song doesn’t make you cry, nothing will!  It’s very sad yet beautiful at the same time.  Listening to a song from the soundtrack of a sad movie or that was popular during a particularly painful time in your life can help you too.

 

Feeling angry?  Get out some heavy metal!  I read recently how many metal fans are happy people, in spite of the stereotype.  The music helps them to get out their anger.  I can vouch for it- I love metal, & sometimes listening to Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest does help me when I’m angry.

 

No matter your mood, nature sounds or nature sounds with soft music are always good for you.  I read once that nature sounds increase serotonin in the brain greatly, which improves your mood.  Native American pan flute music is also good for a calming, joyful effect.  Here is one of my favorites: “Unchained Melody

 

I even have a folder of romantic songs for listening to with the hubby full of soft, romantic songs we both like.

 

Need a laugh?  Listen to Weird Al Yankovich or Cledus T. Judd.  They are absolutely hilarious, at least in my opinion, with their parodies of popular songs.

 

I have several folders of various songs on my tablet that cater to my mood.  Some brighten a dark mood,  others inspire tears & others still take me back to happy places in the past.  I would encourage you to do the same.  Remember the “mix tapes” we made in the 80’s?  Make your own, more modern “mix tape” by creating folders of special songs on your cell phone or tablet, & listen to them often.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much the music helps you.

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Who Determines Your Self-Esteem?

I read an interesting quote by Warsan Shire: “Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself- what you’re wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing.  Recreate & repeat.”  Since I battle low self-esteem, I thought about the times I felt my most confident in the hopes of recreating them.  It was eye opening.

 

I realized the times I felt my most confident weren’t when I had some  personal success or even was wearing a pretty new outfit.  Those feelings were always dependent on another person.  When someone obviously enjoyed being with me or a man telling me how pretty I was.

 

This bothered me.  I don’t like being depending on anyone, especially something so personal.  I asked God why was this happening?  I don’t particularly care what others think of me, so how can I let others determine how I feel about myself?  It makes no sense!  Immediately I knew the answer.

 

When you grow up with at least one narcissistic parent, you learn early that their opinion of you is what matters.  That parent determines your self-esteem, & sadly, it’s always low as a result.  Even if you get to the point of no longer allowing that person to determine your self-esteem, you don’t always know how to stop this dysfunctional habit.   You continue allowing others to determine your self-worth without even realizing it, like I have done.

 

Are you doing the same thing?  (If you are unsure, ask God to show you.)  If you are, then know you aren’t alone.  I honestly had no idea I was doing this until I read the above mentioned quote.

 

I think being aware of what is happening is an important first step, because once you know what the problem is, you can do something to fix it.  After this revelation, I repented.  I told God how sorry I was for allowing anyone but Him to determine my self-esteem & asked for His help to change.  I also asked God to help me get my self-esteem from Him, no one else.

 

Also, years ago I wrote a list of positive affirmations from the Bible that I included on my website.  I plan on reading this list more often now.  The affirmations can be found here: Positive Affirmations

 

In all honesty, I don’t know what to expect from here, but I do believe these steps to be a good starting place for me & I hope for you as well, Dear Reader.  I’m praying for you!  ❤

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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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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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