Tag Archives: relationships

When Tough Times Happen

Sometimes life is so hard.  It seems like things go wrong constantly & you are stressed, hurt or frustrated.  In those times, God seems far away.  Not only because of the problems you’re going through but also because it can be so easy to get caught up in them & forget to keep God first.  It is in those times that we need to stop behaving like the person Jesus described in Matthew 13:22 in the parable of the seeds sown in various types of soil.  That person is the one who is distracted from his relationship with God by the things of the world like personal problems.  Unfortunately no one is immune to behaving this way sometimes.

When you’re distracted by problems, it is vital to turn back to God as soon as you recognize what you are doing.  He deserves first place in your life after all!  Doing so also will help strengthen you & help you to figure out ways to handle your situation.  It may teach you some other things as well. God truly wants the best for His children, so He often uses circumstances to protect, teach & guide us.  Following are some examples of when He does these things.

Anything that isn’t Biblical, God will close the door to.  If you have to lie to get a new job for example, God will close that door so you don’t get the job or allow you to get it but you will be miserable with it.  It can be difficult & even painful in the moment, but truly it’s for the best!  You have learned not to behave that way, & He has something much better planned for you.  Seriously consider your situation.  If there is anything about it that goes contrary to God’s word, chances are it’s going wrong because God is trying to close that door to keep you away from that bad thing.

Sometimes God closes the door on relationships too.  Some people may look good on the surface, they may even be very good people, but they aren’t good for you.  God knows better than you what is in their hearts, so trust Him to lead you to people that are good for you.  It never hurts to ask God to give you good, healthy & Bible believing friends in your life.  If you’re looking for a romantic partner, this is an especially good prayer to pray.  Being a believer married to an unbeliever is not a good place to be!

Sometimes God uses difficult circumstances to teach us things.  We learn forgiveness when we are wronged by other people.  When we go through hard times, we learn mercy for others who go through similar hard times.  When someone tells us what we did hurt them, we learn humility.  None of these situations are fun at the time, but they do help us to learn some pretty valuable things.

There are also times God uses difficult circumstances to punish us.  Hebrews 12:6-7 in the Amplified Bible says, “For the Lord disciplines and corrects those whom He loves, And He punishes every son whom He receives and welcomes [to His heart].”  7You must submit to [correction for the purpose of] discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”  Obviously those times aren’t exactly pleasant, but they can be beneficial.  For example, your spouse tells you that they are upset about how disrespectfully your family treats them, but in spite of seeing evidence your spouse is correct, you ignore your family’s behavior or worse yet, make excuses for it.  Then you get a new coworker.  This person is very disrespectful to you.  They push you aside so they can deal with customers instead, or talk badly about you to other coworkers maybe even your boss.  You go to your boss with your concerns.  The boss tells you he doesn’t see this behavior as a problem or you have to let this go because this person has some sort of personal problems.  The way you feel in that situation mirrors much how your spouse feels.  God still loves you, but He is punishing you for treating your spouse badly.  Also, He uses this as a good learning experience.  Now that you know how your spouse feels, you are going to be more sensitive the next time they come to you with a complaint about your family’s disrespectful behavior.

The next time you are in a situation that is challenging or painful, I want to encourage you to try your best not to be so distracted by it that you ignore God.  Instead, turn to Him.  Ask what is going on, what is He trying to tell you & to help you get through it.  He absolutely will do answer your prayers!

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Sincere vs Insincere Apologies

Many people who apologize are truly sincere.  They realize whatever they did was bad, & they want to make it up to those they have hurt.  These people aren’t always the same ones who say the words, “I’m sorry” though.  Sometimes people who apologize are insincere or have motives that are less than genuine.  I plan to explain how to spot the differences in this discussion.

Someone who is genuinely sorry for their actions addresses the person they hurt humbly, asking for forgiveness.  Even if they don’t say the words, “please forgive me”, their meek & remorseful behavior says it.  Someone who isn’t truly sorry won’t ask for forgiveness & will be irritated when expected to show some sort of remorse for their actions.

Genuine apologies don’t come with words like, “but” or, “if.”  Those words are followed by excuses & denial.  Those are called non-apologies.  Some examples are, “I’m sorry if you think I did something that hurt you.”  “I’m sorry I did that, but I wouldn’t have done it if you wouldn’t have done what you did first.”  Non-apologies are said usually to pacify the person offended while the offender takes no responsibility for their behavior, & are nothing like a sincere apology.

A person who is genuinely interested in apologizing also admits their behavior & that it was wrong.  They don’t gloss over it with phrases like, “I messed up,” or, “we both know what I did.  I shouldn’t have to say it again.”  Admitting bad behavior is embarrassing, possibly even humiliating, but it shows the willingness to do whatever it takes to make it up to the person who was wronged.  Someone who isn’t truly sorry for what they did won’t do whatever it takes to make it up to the victim, & that includes humbling themselves in this way.

Acknowledging the hurt caused is another hallmark of a genuine apology.  A sincere person will recognize the pain & suffering their behavior has caused another person.  The person who has done wrong won’t try to minimize or invalidate the pain.  They will say, “I know I hurt you when I did what I did, & I am so sorry for that.”  A person who offers a non-apology downplays their behavior & the effect it has on the person they have wronged.

Wronging someone has consequences, & someone who is genuinely remorseful for their behavior is willing to accept them as a natural course of events no matter how uncomfortable it is for them.  They understand that Galatians 6:7 is true, & people reap what they sow, good or bad.  Those who are insincere to avoid them.  They may demand their spouse trust them again immediately after they were caught being unfaithful, for example.

A person offering a sincere apology will be willing to do whatever it takes to make things right with the person they have hurt.  If that means apologizing every day for the rest of their life, they will do it.  The insincere have no interest in this.  They may try briefly & half heartedly to make things right, but it doesn’t last long. 

And lastly, the sincere person knows that some things take time.  They don’t try to force the person they wronged to forgive them quickly.  They give the person the time & space they need to work through things, while staying close enough that they are able to do whatever is required of them at a moment’s notice.  An insincere person is nothing like this.  They want the person they wronged to forgive & forget quickly, & if that person doesn’t, they can be downright shaming.  They often accuse the wronged person of being unforgiving, heartless, petty, overreacting, over sensitive, & even ungodly.

I hope this insight helps you to identify easily when someone is being sincere or insincere in their apology to you. 

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

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

My books can be found at this link:

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

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How Surviving An Abusive Childhood Manifests In Relationships

When you come from an abusive childhood, that can create a lot of dysfunction in your life, but in particular in your relationships.  Today, I want to discuss some of the ways that dysfunction plays out.  Recognizing the dysfunctional behaviors may be painful at first, but it will help you by showing where you need healing.  That is valuable knowledge!

Many abused children struggle with having relationships with any genuine intimacy.  Even with those they are closest to, they aren’t comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts, feelings. desires & dreams.   They may listen to the innermost thoughts, feelings, desires & dreams of those they love, but they still won’t share their own.  They also may change the subject or deny any negative feelings they have if questioned because they are terrified of being this vulnerable with anyone.  This behavior comes from having a parent or two who ignored, mocked or rejected their emotional feelings.  When the most important person in your life who is supposed to love you unconditionally ignores, mocks or rejects something about you, it’s only natural to be afraid other people will do the same.  It takes time, prayer & good, loving, safe people in your life to overcome this behavior.  It also helps to remember that any parent who would do this to their own child clearly was the problem, not the child!

Many abused children have an intense fear of abandonment.  When a child grows up with parents whose behavior was inconsistent & unpredictable, they become afraid they would be abandoned at any moment.  They also assume other people are the same way as their parent.  This fear manifests as a person being clingy with the people in their life, even to the level of being co-dependent.  It also can manifest as being controlling of others with whom they are in a relationship.  My mother was like this.  Her parents divorced when she was very young, & her mother was a narcissist who kept her from her father.  I believe that left her with a deep fear of abandonment that manifested as being very controlling of my father & I.  Conquering this fear of abandonment isn’t easy but it is possible.  The more a person heals & becomes more functional, the healthier their self esteem becomes naturally.  As a result, a part of that is a person becomes more willing to end toxic relationships even if that means they are lonely for a season.  They also begin to attract healthier people who won’t hurt or abandon them, which helps to heal that fear of abandonment.

When parents show their children that their love is conditional, based on the child’s behavior & accomplishments, those children become people pleasers.  Children in this situation assume that unconditional love doesn’t exist, & to be loved, they must earn love.  It’s as if it doesn’t occur to them that the other person in the relationship should earn love though – only they must be the one to earn love.  Unlearning people pleasing behavior is TOUGH!  I’ve been there.  I did find that the more I healed, the less prone to it I was.  I’ve also found that slowing down & asking yourself why you are saying “yes” when you want to say no, or volunteering to do something you want no parts of to be helpful. 

Most abused children have dysfunctional relationships with abusers.  Friends, coworkers & even romantic interests often use & abuse these children until they reach a point in their lives where they start to focus on their own healing.  Possibly the most difficult part of breaking this pattern of behavior is to stop beating yourself up for getting involved with such toxic people, in particular, if you married one of them.  Just remember, you did the best you could with what you knew at that time.  If you didn’t know to do better, how could you expect yourself to do better?  That would make as much sense as expecting a toddler to know how to replace a car’s engine! 

If you find yourself in these situations I have described, it’s ok!  There is hope for you!  Focus on your healing, & the healthier you get, the healthier your relationships naturally will get as well.  I have found God to be vital to my healing.  Psalm 23:4 says that God walks with us through “the valley of the shadow of death” & I firmly believe that to be true!  He will be there for you during the hard, painful times of healing as He was with me. You’re not alone.  Lean on Him & let Him help you to heal!

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When Your Family Refuses To See You As Anything But A Dysfunctional Child

When you grew up in a dysfunctional family, one of the most frustrating parts of it is that your family never sees you as a mature, independent adult.  If you have done your best to escape the dysfunction & live in a healthier way &/or have decided to live your life for Jesus, this is especially common & frustrating.  The dysfunctional family never will see you as a healthy, God fearing adult.  Instead they only see you as the dysfunctional child you once were.

This is so incredibly frustrating!  Even when you know that they’re content remaining in their dysfunction, it seems like they could at least acknowledge that you have changed.  Even if they disagree with your changes, that doesn’t seem like to much to ask, yet sadly it really is for the most dysfunctional of people. 

People who are content living their dysfunctional lives hate those who are a threat to it in any way.  Anyone who doesn’t condone or enable the dysfunction obviously is a problem.  Anyone who is a part of this toxic family & doesn’t condone or enable the dysfunction is especially problematic for such people.

A member of such a family who dares to live their life in such a way as to be different from the family or the family’s expectations for them is absolutely a problem for these people.  That behavior is seen as being rebellious or even betraying the family.  It’s as if they think, how dare someone be so arrogant & think that they’re so much better than the family as to live life on their own terms rather than fit onto the mold the family has made for them!

Even Jesus faced this problem.  His own family didn’t take Him or His work seriously.  Imagine that.  The family of Jesus didn’t take Him seriously!  Isn’t that amazing?!  In Matthew 13:57-58 in the Amplified Bible, Jesus says, “And they took offense at Him [refusing to believe in Him]. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58And He did not do many miracles there [in Nazareth] because of their unbelief.”

If you’re from a dysfunctional family & they treat you as they always have in spite of you growing up, getting healthier & even turning to God, then you are truly not alone!  Even Jesus experienced this.

I know it hurts when your own family treats you so poorly.  It can seem like the best choice would be to return to your old, dysfunctional ways so they stop mistreating you, but I promise you, that isn’t best!  I have been in this position since my family never saw me as anyone but the dysfunctional, blindly obedient & foolish child I once was.  Returning to those behaviors may have made them tolerate me, but I would have been miserable!  What is best is to keep walking the path that you know God has for you.

It also helps to remember that when people treat you in such a manner, it isn’t personal.  It literally has nothing to do with you, even though it certainly feels personal.  It has everything to do with the person behaving this way, their toxicity & their desire to avoid becoming healthier at all costs.  They are so truly toxic that they have zero problem with hurting another person if that will protect their dysfunctional ways & help them to avoid facing what made them this way.  That is pretty terrible!  There is no shame in being dysfunctional of course, so long as you are willing to work on it & improve yourself!  Being determined to live that way forever, no matter how much pain it causes other people, however, is absolutely toxic.

If at all possible, your best bet it to avoid such people.  If that isn’t possible, then do your best to minimize contact with them, stay true to yourself & your beliefs, & never forget to ask God to help you find creative & effective ways of dealing with such people.

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Why Children Of Narcissists Find Themselves In Many Toxic Relationships

Many people who were raised by narcissistic parents find themselves in other relationships with narcissists.  They work with them, they become friends with them & worst of all, they become romantically involved with them.  I am no exception.  I grew up with an overtly narcissistic mother & covertly narcissistic father.  There are a lot of narcissists in my family on both sides.  I married a covert narcissist that I divorced six years later.  I have lost count of how many covertly narcissistic friends I have had over my lifetime.

For a long time I wondered why this happened to me.  I thought maybe somehow I put out some sort of “vibe” that told people it was ok to abuse me.  Or, maybe narcissists just have some sort of sense for people that make good victims.  I think I have some ideas though & I hope they can help answer this question for you.

For those of us who grew up with narcissistic parents, we were born with a job.  That job was to take care of our narcissistic parents.  For some, it meant doing household chores well before an appropriate age such as cooking dinner or caring for younger siblings.  For others, it meant being a parent’s therapist of sort, listening to all of their woes, & comforting them when they were upset.  For still others, it meant protecting a covertly narcissistic parent from the rages & even physical assaults of the overtly narcissistic parent.  Whatever the scenario, the fact is being born with the job of caring for a narcissistic parent means you are used to caring for dysfunctional people.  This makes you gravitate to continuing that role in other relationships. 

This role often means getting into relationships with other narcissists.  If there is a narcissist in your vicinity, you will be drawn to that person like bees to honey.  You may feel sorry for this person because he or she has few or even no friends.  After some time passes, you see why that person had no friends!  Who wants to be friends with a narcissist?! 

Or this role could mean that you get involved with another child of narcissistic parents that isn’t facing that pain.  Maybe you fall in love with someone who seems great.  You’re comfortable together, & get along great.  They might even tell you they have this awesome family & can’t wait for you to meet them.  Then you meet his or her family & see the truth.  That awesome family is anything but.  There are narcissists everywhere!  If you say anything about the toxicity of this family, you are told you’re wrong, oversensitive, & more.  They are defended fiercely & you are left wondering how to help this person you love see the truth. 

If you have been in such situations, I know it can be frustrating.  Once you realize that you keep getting into dysfunctional relationships, you probably are going to beat yourself up a lot & question what is wrong with you.  That is normal!  It also is a waste of time & energy.  Instead, try to focus on healing from the abuse.  Healing naturally helps you to develop healthier boundaries, so when you meet someone without friends, you won’t try to befriend them immediately.  The more you heal too, the more healthy people will seem attractive to you & the more you’ll want to avoid the toxic ones.  As a bonus, the healthier you become, the more toxic people will leave you alone.  Toxic people want someone dysfunctional because that is someone they can use & manipulate.  Healthy people don’t tolerate such things.

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Subtle Signs Of Dysfunctional, Abusive Families

No family is perfect, but some families are less perfect than others.  Many of those “less perfect” families are downright dysfunctional & even abusive.  Today I’m sharing signs of the dysfunctional & abusive family.

Parentification is a big indicator of a dysfunctional & abusive family situation.  This is when the parent & child roles are reversed, & the child is supposed to care for the parent.  Children in this position are supposed to do things no child should have to do, such as being their parent’s emotional caregiver including such inappropriate things as listening to their parent’s woes about their marital problems or sex life, nurse them back to health after a hangover or overdose, or even care for younger siblings as a parent should do.  Parentified children are often described as growing up so fast because their role has forced them to behave as adults rather than allowing them to be children.  They also lack healthy boundaries, tolerate one sided relationships & continue to keep their parents as their top priority over their spouse, children & even themselves.  When they are growing up, people on the outside often think these children & their parents are close, & praise this relationship.  This leads the child to feel confused & even ashamed that they are unhappy with this role.

Unmet needs are another sign of a dysfunctional, abusive family situation.  Children have a lot of needs that go beyond the basic food, clothing & shelter such as nurturing, teaching & caring for their emotional health.  Many abusive parents meet those basic needs, yet neglect those other important needs.  Children who grow up this way have trouble with being inappropriately clingy in relationships & overly dependent or they go the opposite way & become very cold & aloof.  Either way causes problems in their relationships.

Unrealistic expectations definitely point to a dysfunctional & abusive family.  Some parents hold their children to higher standards than adults.  Those children are never allowed to be in a bad mood or fail a test, yet their parents are allowed to yell or even hit the child just because they had a bad day at work or someone cut them off in traffic.  This puts incredible stress on the child who feels they must be perfect as a way to earn their parent’s love.

Parents who often fight in front of their child are creating a very dysfunctional & abusive situation.  I grew up this way, & can tell you from experience it is a horrible way to grow up!  I felt so insecure when my parents fought & also like I should do something to help them stop fighting.  This is so typical of how children in this situation feel.  It leads to these children feeling intense anxiety at any hint of conflict & also feeling overly responsible for the other people in their lives, as if they must take care of those people.

People who grow up in such environments grow into dysfunctional adults with a lot of relationship troubles.  They may become controlling people who will do anything or hurt anyone they deem necessary to avoid further pain.  More commonly though, they also may go the exact opposite way & become extremely submissive.  They become people pleasers who will do anything for anyone even at the expense of themselves. 

If any of this describes you, please remember some things.

You are only responsible for yourself.  You are not responsible for meeting the needs of other people.  Yes, you can help them, but doing so to the extent of harming yourself is dysfunctional. 

There is nothing wrong or bad about caring for yourself & having reasonable boundaries.  You need to take care of yourself just as much as & even more than you are willing to do for other people.

Family shouldn’t demand all of your time, energy, finances, etc.

Healthy relationships are a two way street.  Toxic relationships are not.  They take while giving nothing or almost nothing back.

Love should be unconditional, never conditional.  In other words, someone should love you based on who you are, not what you do for them.  Conditional love is one of the hallmarks of abusers.

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You Are Not Responsible For How People Feel About You

As the adult child of a narcissist, I can’t count how many times I have felt overly responsible for other people in so many ways.  One of those ways was how people feel about me.

If I met someone who didn’t like me, I felt it was my responsibility to change so they could like me.  If someone felt envious of something about me, I had to downplay that thing they viewed that way.  If they felt I was a snob, I had to prove to them that isn’t the case, & I am just quiet.  If they thought something was wrong with me because I love my cats & old cars, that too had to be trivialized around them to make them feel better about me.  And honestly, it got old.

As I healed more & learned more about people, not only narcissists, I realized something.  How someone feels about me isn’t my responsibility.

People are often quick to judge others they have just met.  I do it myself.  Upon first meeting someone new, I pick up on someone’s energy & the subtle cues they display quickly & that determines if I am willing to speak to them more or not.  Unfortunately mistakes can be made with snap judgments.  As I mentioned earlier, people have thought I’m a snob because I’m quiet.  My one sister in-law told my husband this many years ago, & she was far from the first one to make such a foolish assumption about me.  And interestingly, she also wasn’t the only one who behaved in the manner in which she accused me of behaving. 

When people make judgments about other people, often they can do as my sister in-law did, & project their flaws onto another person.  Narcissists haven’t cornered the market on projection, although they definitely do it more often than the general public.  The average person will do it too sometimes, & their projection makes them feel negatively about the victim of their projection.

Insecurity is also a reason people may feel negatively towards a person.  Their insecurity makes them feel threatened or badly about themselves.  If you are someone in a minimum wage job who dropped out of high school, for example, imagine how you would feel around a biochemist.  Clearly they make a lot more money than you & have a much more advanced education.  You easily could feel inferior.  Most people would be uncomfortable in this situation but wouldn’t act out on their feelings.  Some insecure people however, wouldn’t hesitate to let the biochemist know they dislike him or her, are unimpressed with their intelligence, etc.

Along the lines of insecurity is envy.  Envy can make a person feel badly about themselves, & wish to make the person who made them envious feel just as badly.  Women in particular are known for doing this.  Some women see another woman that they believe is much prettier than them, & they will talk negatively about her behind her back.  Their envy makes them behave badly.

No matter what someone’s reasoning for their negative perceptions of you, their perceptions are just that – theirs!  They chose to see you a certain way & not learn the truth.  A person who is unwilling to learn the truth about another clearly has issues, & those issues have nothing to do with you.  So the next time you find out someone thinks badly about you, just remember that you are NOT responsible for how other people feel about you.

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15% Off My Print Books Until October 7, 2022

My publisher is having yet another sale! 15% off all print books when you use code PUMPKIN15 at checkout.

My print books can be found at the following link:

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

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

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Admitting Your Relationship Is Abusive

People often struggle with admitting a relationship they are in is abusive.  They may say they don’t get along with someone, or that person is difficult, but the word “abusive” may be too hard for them to say. 

Although it may sound strange, I certainly understand it.  Admitting something makes it more real in the mind, & sometimes that thing is so painful, you don’t want it to be real.  When my granddad died, for a year after his death, I couldn’t say the words that he had died.  It hurt too much, & I didn’t want that to be real.  I wanted things as they had been, when we had such a loving & close relationship.  Losing what had been hurt tremendously, & felt like it was too painful to face.  Admitting a relationship you are in is abusive is very similar.  You want things to be like they once were, when things were good.  It hurts so much to admit that now, things aren’t like that anymore & in fact, they are really bad. 

I want you to know today that it’s ok to admit you are in an abusive relationship.  In fact, it is a good thing.  It is your first step to freedom from the abuse.

Being in an abusive relationship or even several abusive relationships doesn’t mean there is something terribly wrong with you.  Many other people have been in abusive relationships in their life.  It’s perfectly ok to admit that someone you love abuses you.  It is not a bad reflection on you!

Abusive people are known for making themselves irresistible to those they lure into romantic relationships.  They can appear charming, kind, & caring.  They can appear to share your beliefs, morals, likes & dislikes.  They claim their chosen victim is the one they’ve been waiting for their entire life, they have never met anyone as wonderful as their victim, & generally sweep their victim off their feet quickly, leaving them little or no time to recognize signs pointing to how toxic they truly are.  They are extremely skilled at just how to make themselves the most appealing to their victims & hiding their true selves.  By the time the abuser reveals his or her true self to the victim, the victim is head over heals in love with the abuser.  The victim doesn’t want to see that horrible true self or admit their abuser is truly abusive rather than the wonderful person he or she was at first.  Feeling that way is completely normal.  It still doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with or bad about admitting this relationship you are in is abusive, though.

Abusers also are extremely skilled at convincing their victims that they are the true problem in the relationship, not the abuser.  Abusers work very hard to get their victims to believe this so they can continue being abusive & their victims won’t protest.  Victims often believe that this is the case, that somehow they make the abuser hurt them.  That is never true however!  No one can force anyone to abuse them.  The choice to abuse lies squarely on the shoulders of abusers, never on victims.  Since you have nothing to be ashamed of, this means it’s perfectly ok to admit your relationship is abusive.

If you are in a bad relationship that you are hesitant to admit is abusive in spite of evidence of abuse, I want you to know it’s ok to admit it is abusive.  I know it will hurt by making that fact seem more real, but it will be worth it.  Once you accept that reality, you can decide what to do about the relationship from there & begin to heal.  The truth really does set us free in so many ways, & this is one of those ways.  Set yourself free & admit that your relationship is abusive. 

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Dismissive Listening

One way people can treat others poorly is by practicing dismissive listening rather than empathic listening.  It is a very common behavior.  It is so common, in fact, that many people don’t even realize that it’s not right.  They may feel badly after someone treats them this way but not necessarily know why, because in addition to being so commonplace, it’s also very subtle.

Dismissive listening can be recognized easily if you know what to look for.  Basically it is like the name says, it is when someone dismisses what you say.  Some common dismissive phrases are:

  • “Don’t be upset/sad/angry!” 
  • “The same thing happened to my friend!  She was fine though.”
  • “At least it’s not…<insert random bad thing here>”
  • “Well it could be worse!”
  • Any sort of toxic positivity phrase like, “cheer up!”, “Positive vibes only!” or “Think only happy thoughts!”

Dismissive phrases like these often try to shut down & even instill shame in the person talking to the dismissive person.  They also are a sign of someone trying to fix another person rather than listen to what they have to say.

While narcissists clearly are pros at dismissive listening, not everyone who talks this way is a narcissist.  Some people simply don’t realize how they are treating others is wrong. 

I urge you to pay attention to how people treat you when you talk.  If someone is quick to dismiss what you have to say, that is a red flag.  They may not be a totally unsafe person, but they may not be comfortable with the subject matter & as a result, want to stop you from talking about it.  Some people simply can’t handle talking about specific topics.  While that is fine, dismissing you if you bring up a specific topic isn’t fine.  The dismissive listening is a red flag that this topic isn’t a safe one to discuss with this person, so you should avoid it.  It also could potentially be a sign the person is dysfunctional or even narcissistic.  The way they behave otherwise will let you know what the case is.

I also want to urge you to pay attention to how you treat others when they are talking.  If you catch yourself being dismissive to others once in a while, it happens.  It’s normal, really.  On a regular basis though, it’s not good.  You can make changes though! 

Remember that being a good listener means you want to hear what someone has to say, & you make that obvious.  You make it clear you are willing to listen to them.  You let the other person speak without interrupting.  You don’t change the subject.  You let them speak without judgment or criticism. 

You also don’t need to offer advice unless the other person asks for it.  Unasked for advice is just rude & presumptuous! Not to mention, many people just need to vent rather than advice. 

Show empathy.  Let the other person know you care by saying things like, “That sounds really hard.”  “Can I do something to help you?”  “I’m here for you.”  & “I care.”  Those little phrases will make a huge difference to someone in need of a comforting friend.

Body language can be important too.  It sends subtle cues to the speaker that you are involved in this conversation.  Touch their hand, look them in the eye, maybe offer a hug.

Dismissive listening may not be the worst thing a person can do to another, but it still needs to be avoided in order to have healthy, happy relationships.

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Doing Something New

As I mentioned some time back, I decided to abandon making YouTube videos in favor of podcasts since they are much easier for me to make. And thankfully, they have been well received!

Because they have been doing well, I decided to expand where they can be accessed. My podcasts now be found on many platforms. Those links are below. I hope you will check them out!

So far, I’m still figuring this all out as I go. Not entirely sure what I’m doing at the moment, so please just bear with me! Plus, writing is my top priority & has been since God told me many years ago it was my purpose. This means podcasts aren’t going to get as much of my attention. I don’t have any particular schedule with them, so I won’t release new ones faithfully every day, week or even month. I release them a few at a time periodically. I have been pretty lazy about doing this over the last year or so, & I apologize for that. It’s changing, I promise! I just had so much happening in my life in the recent past, my work has fallen too far behind.

So anyway, here is the list of where my podcasts can be found. I hope you find a platform that you like, & will listen to them. Thank you as always for reading & supporting my work! I hope it blesses you as much as you bless me!

Amazon Music:

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

Anchor By Spotify:

https://anchor.fm/cynthiabaileyrug

Apple Podcasts:

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

Castbox:

https://castbox.fm/channel/id3103069?utm_source=podcaster&utm_medium=dlink&utm_campaign=c_3103069&utm_content=Cynthia%20Bailey-Rug-CastBox_FM

Google Podcasts:

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

Overcast:

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

Pocketcasts:

https://pca.st/3qvsb30s

RadioPublic:

https://radiopublic.com/cynthia-baileyrug-6BonBp

Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/show/5aY76eAGa3xOfVMimiQMai

Stitcher:

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

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25% Off Sale On All Of My Ebooks & 15% Off Sale On All Of My Print Books!!

My ebooks are going on sale for the entire month of July! From July 1-31, 2022, all of my ebooks will be 25% off! The discount is applied automatically at checkout, so there are no coupon codes necessary. If you have wanted any of my books, this is a great time to grab them cheap!

My ebooks can be found at the link below…

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

If you prefer print books, you can get 15% off of them by adding code HUSTLE15 at checkout. This sale ends July 1, 2022. My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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Best Friends

“Best friends” is a term that is used pretty freely & often without much thought.  I don’t do that, however.  I have a best friend that is incredibly special to me.  We met just before our senior year of high school in August, 1988, & in the years since, she has taught me so much about the real meaning of best friend.  I believe that others can benefit from what I have learned, so I want to share it today.

True best friends have healthy boundaries & they respect yours.  They know what you are ok with & what you aren’t, & they respect such things.  They don’t use you or are NOT ok with anyone else using you either.  They will remind you that no one has the right to mistreat or abuse you, especially when you doubt it.

True best friends are honest.  They won’t lie to you just because it’s easier for them.  They will be honest & if that means it hurts your feelings a bit to get you to a better place, they will be honest.  They will be as gentle as they can in their honesty so as to minimize the hurt because they love you, but they still will tell you the truth.  They know honesty is best & they want what is best for you.

True best friends stand the test of time.  Close friendships are somewhat like a marriage.  You love & support each other.  You have fun with each other & also are there during the hard times.  You work through disagreements & can agree to disagree.  You don’t just run at the first sign of problems.  You do your best by your friend & they do their best by you.  A wonderful friendship like this lasts for more than a few months.  It can last a lifetime.

True best friends are there for you, period, even when it isn’t easy for them to be.  I called my best friend as soon as I had a moment after receiving my mother’s death notification, & she was there for me from that moment on.  She even attended the burial & was at my side even when one of my cousins raged at me during the burial.  She listened when I was dealing with estate matters & overwhelmed.  None of that was pleasant or easy for her, but she was there for me anyway.  That is what a best friend does.  They are there for you even when it’s incredibly difficult for them.

True best friendships aren’t one sided.  There is a mutual give & take in the relationship.  There will be trying times you are needier & your best friend is there for you, but there are also times when the reverse is true, & you are there for your needy best friend.  As a whole though, your friendship is very balanced.  You both love & support each other as needed rather than one person being the only one to offer love & support.

True best friends know you very well & accept you without judgment, yet still encourage your personal growth.  Your best friend should accept you as you are because they understand why you are as you are, but they also encourage you to improve yourself.  They share things they have learned that can help you.

True best friends are a gift straight from God, & if you have a wonderful one in your life as I do, you truly are blessed!  Never forget to tell your best friend how much you appreciate them being a part of your life & that you love them.  Never let them feel you take them for granted!

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People Who Don’t Have Any Friends & Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

I have a habit that I believe is shared by others who have suffered narcissistic abuse.  I gravitate to those who don’t have any friends.  Not that this is always a bad thing, but it can be.  Sometimes these people are detrimental to your mental health.

People who don’t have friends may be in this position for valid reasons.  They may be extremely introverted, preferring very little socialization since it drains them quickly.  Maybe they just recently moved to the area & haven’t had time to meet new people.  Or maybe they recently escaped an abusive relationship, & while in it, their abuser isolated them from friends & family.  Once away from that person, they may not feel ready to trust new people in any capacity just yet.  There are plenty of valid reasons like this a person has for not having friends.  These people are not the ones I am referring to in this post.

The people I’m referring to are the ones who have no friends for years on end.  They may discuss former friends, & always in a negative light.  Those friends weren’t there for them when they went through hard times, they wouldn’t help them financially or in other ways or they say their friends just stopped speaking to them without any reason or warning.  Everyone has friendships that weren’t good or ended badly, but when someone says such things about the majority of friendships they have had, it’s a big red flag.  The average person’s friendships usually aren’t intensely negative experiences.  Their friends may not be there for them every single time, but they will be there at least most of the time.  Also, if people continue walking away from someone, there is a good reason for that.

Years ago, I felt so badly for these people.  I naively thought it was so sad that life had treated them so badly, leaving them without good friends!  I treasure my closest friends & can’t imagine not having them!  Knowing these people weren’t able to share this kind of friendship made me feel sorry for them, so I would befriend them.  It usually didn’t take long before I realized this was a mistake. 

People like this are friendless for legitimate reasons!  Some are covert narcissists, portraying themselves as innocent victims to unfair life circumstances & needing someone to take care of them.  Even ones I knew that weren’t, were still highly dysfunctional at the very least.  These friendships started out full of flattery & kind gestures, which made me want to be there for them.  Much like love bombing behavior narcissists are known for doing in romantic relationships.  Before long, they would monopolize my time whenever possible.  They would call me often, keeping me on the phone for hours listening to them drone on & on about their problems & not listening when I said I had to go.  At that time, sometimes they would ask what was happening in my life, then after a couple of minutes, turn the conversation back to them.  They never wanted my advice, even when they asked for it.  They just wanted me to pity them.  They also wanted to get together on a constant basis, even when knowing I had other things going on in my life that needed my attention.  Once in a while, they would feign interest in something in my life, but it never lasted long.  They would become minimizing or invalidating quickly, letting me know whatever I said wasn’t a big deal, & certainly not as big a deal as what was going on in their life.  Simply put, these people were emotional vampires, draining my energy to feed their dysfunction. 

There are so many people out there like this, who love gaining the friendship of victims of narcissistic abuse.  They know that victims are often very giving, understanding & patient, glad to help others.  Don’t fall for it as I have!  If someone you meet says they don’t have any friends, learn why.  If there isn’t a valid reason such as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, stay away from this person.  They may come across as naïve & a bit needy, but they are nothing so innocent.  Given time, they will use you for everything they can, & if you set boundaries with them, they’ll cry victim to anyone who will listen. 

Like so many things in life, the more you heal from the abuse, the less frequently you will interact with such people.  People like this are repelled by functional, healthy people with good boundaries who don’t tolerate their manipulation.

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15% Off All Print Books!

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

My books can be found at the link below..

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

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How People Handle You Healing From Narcissistic Abuse

When people have known you a long time, it can be difficult for some of them to handle your healing. Functional people will respect your healing though, & even encourage you.  They will be so happy to see you growing stronger & healthier, & learning how to live a good life, especially if they knew you during the abuse you endured. 

Dysfunctional people however, won’t be so happy or encouraging.

While not all dysfunctional people are abusive, of course, they still may not be happy about your healing.  Sometimes that is because it makes them feel badly about themselves.  They see you learning, growing & becoming happy, & they resent not doing the same.  The seriously dysfunctional won’t be motivated by feeling this way to work on their healing.

Others are on the side of your abuser, & can’t handle your healing because it is proof that the abusive person wasn’t the wonderful person this flying monkey thought they were.  Rather than face that truth, some especially cowardly people prefer to stay in denial & try to force the victim to maintain the status quo so they can continue to think of the abuser as a wonderful person rather than face the truth.

Whatever the motivation, these dysfunctional people have a goal of putting the victim in their place, so to speak, so they can continue living in their dysfunction.

A common way people accomplish this by refusing to acknowledge the new, healthier you.  They will mentally keep you in their box of what they expect you to be, & treat you accordingly. 

When I was growing up, I was completely submissive to my parents & did only as I was told.  I was a very good doormat.  As an adult who had focused on my healing for quite some time, my family still treated me as the doormat I once was.  Most spoke to me however they wanted, which was usually disrespectful & cruel.  This was especially evident during the time my father was dying. Their level of cruelty & vile words was astounding.  My family daily harassed & tried to bully me into ending no contact to say good bye to him.  Not one person cared about my thoughts or feelings on the matter, only theirs, & clearly they were furious they couldn’t force me to bend to their will.  The way they treated me is very common among narcissistic families. 

As you make small steps in your healing, even if those steps aren’t celebrated, they shouldn’t be diminished or totally disregarded.  Every single person changes over the course of their life, & that is to be expected.  Anyone who refuses to acknowledge changes you make or acts like something is wrong with you for growing clearly has problems. 

When you come across these people, please do NOT give in to whatever it is they want from you.  Be the best you that you can be.  Focus on your healing & never give up on it.  People like that don’t have your best interest at heart.  They only have their best interests at heart, & maybe even those of your abuser.  They aren’t worth trying to please.  Instead, be more concerned with pleasing God, pleasing yourself & pleasing those people you are the closest to, such as your spouse.  The rest really aren’t all that important, especially those who refuse to see you as anything but who you were at your worst. 

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People Who Say Those Who End Relationships Hate Or Are Unforgiving

Something I have come to learn about people is many times, when you end a relationship with someone, other people assume it’s because you hate that person.  I was reminded of this not long ago when someone made a comment on one of my old YouTube videos.  The video was made when I first learned my father was dying, & I mentioned how I wasn’t going to see him at the hospital.  The commenter said that I shouldn’t hate him, I should forgive him.  This frustrated me because I have heard similar comments before so many times, mostly from my intensely dysfunctional family.  In talking with people who read my work, I’ve learned this happens all the time.

Anyone who jumps to the conclusion that those of us who have ended relationships do so out of hatred & unforgiveness needs to know some things.

There are people who end relationships out of hatred & unforgiveness of course, but the vast majority of people have other valid reasons for ending relationships, even with their own family members. 

People change, & sometimes those changes mean people grow apart.  It’s natural.  Not every single relationship was meant to be a lifelong commitment. 

Sometimes people think someone is a certain way when the relationship begins, but as time passes, they realize that person is not like they thought.  Most people are on their best behavior at the beginning of any relationship, & as time passes, they stop trying so hard.  That can mean there are some ways people are incompatible that weren’t evident at the beginning, or it can mean that someone is dysfunctional or even abusive.  There is nothing wrong with ending such relationships.

While family should be a lifelong relationship, it isn’t always possible.  Sometimes family members seem to be good people until something happens that changes them.  Maybe the patriarch or matriarch of the family dies, & suddenly people change.  That happened in my family.  Once my grandparents died, people changed a great deal, & not necessarily for the better.  The patriarch & matriarch of a family often can keep the bad behavior to a minimum.  Once they pass away, the bad behavior is no longer restrained, & people feel free to behave however they like, including very badly.  When the bad behavior is toxic or even abusive, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ending those relationships.

People who are so quick to judge & criticize others who end relationships should consider such things before passing judgment.  There are other things they also should consider.

People who have been abused almost never exaggerate their experience.  If anything, they leave out plenty of details & even minimize it.  If someone claims another person abused them, chances are excellent it was much worse than what they said.

Abusers are excellent actors who portray themselves as good people to anyone who is not their victim.  Just because someone is nice to you doesn’t mean they are incapable of being abusive. 

Along those same lines, just because someone is active in their church, volunteers, is a teacher, doctor or in another helping type profession doesn’t mean they can’t be abusive.  Abusers can be found in all walks of life.  They exist in all religions, races, genders & careers.

Enduring toxic & abusive relationships doesn’t make you a good, Godly person.  It isn’t the “good Christian” thing to do.  There are plenty of Scriptures throughout the Bible where people are told to have nothing more to do with other people.  In Genesis 12:1, God told Abraham to leave his family.  2 Timothy 3:1-5 talks about people God wants His children to have nothing to do with.  Titus 3:10 warns to have nothing to do with divisive people.  Ephesians 5:6-7 says we are to have nothing to do with those who are deceptive.  Clearly this is a topic on which God has plenty to say, & people would be wise to take that seriously rather than judge those who end certain relationships.

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One Way To Add A Little Joy To Your Daily Life

I recently heard of something I was unaware existed before.  It’s called the errand hang.  Basically it involves spending time with someone while you take care of errands.  Silly as it may sound, I really think this is a great idea in several ways.

Obviously, you being able to get done the errands you need to is a benefit.  It can be easier to accomplish such mundane tasks as going to the grocery store when you know you’ll be spending time with someone you care about however.  My best friend & I have done all kinds of things when together, not just go out to lunch & shopping.  I enjoy those times spent with her just as much as the lunch & shopping dates.

If you don’t have much time for social activities like going to the movies or parties, errand hanging is a way to fit in social time while not losing time you need to accomplish certain tasks. Spending time with a good friend also makes those mundane tasks seem more enjoyable, so that’s another bonus.

Or, if you’re someone who dislikes some traditional social activities like parties, the errand hang is a good way to get some one on one time with your friends rather than trying to talk to them over the noise of loud music & other people at a party.

There is also something about sharing errands with someone that draws you closer together.  Maybe because doing so gives them a look at your day to day life, not only what you want another person to see.  Maybe too because it gives an opportunity to talk with this person without the constant, intrusive distractions of televisions or phones. 

There is also a potential for spontaneity, which is beneficial for those of us who aren’t good with being spontaneous.  I have a friend who is way less rigid than me & quite spontaneous.  When she lived near me, she called pretty often to ask what I was doing that day.  Then she often would talk me into doing my household duties later or maybe sooner than expected so as soon as I was done, we could hang out, often while running errands.  It was good for me to push myself out of my little box sometimes, & I wish she still lived close!  Those times were a lot of fun for me.

I had another friend who used to call & ask what I was doing.  If I needed to go out, he’d ask if he could come along.  Or, if money was tight for me he’d ask if I wanted him to drive so I could save gas.   I would do the same if times were tight for him.  It worked out well – one of us could save a little money when needed & we’d have a ball laughing & listening to the music we grew up with as we drove around.

There is another bonus for the errand hang too.  If you are struggling somehow, say with grief over losing a loved one or depression, the errand hang can help motivate you to get out, do what you need to do & have some fun while doing it.  Or, maybe you have an unpleasant chore you need to do but really don’t want to.  Having someone with you can be good moral support which will help you to accomplish that task.

If you think this errand hang stuff sounds weird, it really doesn’t have to be weird at all.  Just ask!  The next time you need to do some errands, text a friend in advance.  You can tell them this might sound weird, but you need to do these things & would like some company, then ask if he or she is busy when you need to do the errands.  In my experience anyway, most people are fine with asking them to do errands together. 

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How To Identify A Flying Monkey vs Someone That Is Misinformed

Those of us who have had relationships with narcissists have experience with flying monkeys.  They are those awful little people who feel they have the right to tell victims exactly what we need to do to please the narcissist & how wrong we are for being upset about their abusive ways.

It seems obvious that anyone who thinks this way is clearly dysfunctional & even abusive themselves.  In fact, I personally believe flying monkeys are just as bad if not worse than the original narcissist.  I also believe the bulk of them to be narcissists themselves, because the clearly have no concern for the real victim in the situation & they enjoy abusing that victim.

There are some flying monkeys who don’t fit this criteria however.  There are some people who are genuinely duped by the narcissist, & honestly believe they’re doing a good thing by trying to help the victim reconcile with the narcissist.  Sadly, these people are extremely rare, but they do exist.  Everyone needs to know the difference between the two so they can treat the person they’re dealing with accordingly.

One way to tell that the person is a flying monkey over someone who is genuinely duped is by what they say about the narcissist & you resuming a relationship.  Flying monkeys only focus on the narcissist.  They say things like the narcissist misses you, is hurting or is lost without you.  When I broke my engagement with my now ex husband, that was what I heard repeatedly.  Every single person told me how I should get back with him because he was suffering without me.  No one cared that I was happier without him.  If someone is simply fooled by a narcissist, they most likely won’t tell the victim what to do.  They may say things like, “I think he’s good for you & you should resume the relationship.”  They won’t be so presumptuous as to tell someone what to do or use guilt to get that person to do their will.

Another give away is if the person wants to hear your side of the situation.  That is a sign of someone who is reasonable.  Flying monkeys don’t want to hear a victim’s side because they simply don’t care about the victim, only the narcissist.

Flying monkeys also don’t care about the victim’s wants, needs or feelings.  They only care about what the narcissist wants, & care nothing about anything that doesn’t go along with that.  A person who is genuinely duped does care about what the victim’s wants, needs & feelings are, not only the narcissist’s.

Sometimes the narcissist disappears from the life of their flying monkey for various reasons.  The way that person treats you once that happens is another way you can identify flying monkeys over the truly fooled.  Usually in this situation, flying monkeys will vanish from your life.  They have no reason to continue dealing with you without the narcissist.  A person who is duped, however, isn’t that way.  They often wish to maintain the relationship with you.  As an added bonus, without the narcissist feeding them lies, they end up seeing the truth, that you aren’t some terrible person as the narcissist said you were.  I’ve been in this situation & it’s rather unique to say the least.  It’s interesting to watch someone lose the delusions that the narcissist put on them & gain a genuine fondness & even respect for you.

I encourage you to judge the behavior of each person you come across who also knows the narcissist in your life.  While the vast majority are true flying monkeys, not all are, & they all shouldn’t be in the same category.  The rare genuinely duped people aren’t malicious like flying monkeys, & shouldn’t be treated the same way because of that.

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15% Off My Print Books!

My print book publisher is offering 15% off all print books until April 8, 2022. To take advantage of this sale, enter code COOKBOOK15 at checkout.

My print books can be found at the link below…

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

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Why Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse Often Hate Themselves

Relatively speaking, very few victims of narcissistic abuse escape the abuse without feeling intense self-hatred.  There are plenty of reasons for this.

The main reason for this of course is narcissists.  They do their best to annihilate their victims’ self-esteem in order to control them.  A person who doubts their intelligence will listen to what others tell them to do.  A person who thinks no one else would put up with them will stay in a relationship, no matter how toxic.  A person who feels worthless will tolerate any treatment because they don’t believe they deserve better.  But, there are other reasons too.

Someone who was involved in either a romantic relationship or a friendship with a narcissist will feel terrible for not seeing the red flags of narcissism or taking too long to leave or for putting up with the abuse for however long they did.  Even understanding that narcissists are phenomenal actors that can fool anyone doesn’t really help a person in this situation feel much better. 

Also, other people who weren’t directly involved with the abuse even can make victims hate themselves.

People who imply or even outright say that the victim is to blame for the abuse can make victims hate themselves.  When you are in the fragile place of recently having escaped an abusive relationship, someone blaming you for picking the wrong partner or friend or for making the abuser abuse you can be devastating.  It makes a person wonder what they possibly could have done any better or differently.  In these relationships, victims give their all & it’s not good enough, yet they still feel like failures for not doing enough. 

It’s also common to feel guilty for constantly upsetting the narcissist to the point of abusing because that is how narcissists make their victims feel.  They never take responsibility for anything but instead, dump all responsibility on their victims.  Having survived this then being reminded of your supposed failures with the relationship by outsiders can be utterly devastating to one’s emotions as well as self esteem.

When other people suggest something is wrong with the victim for not being “over it” by now or taking too long to heal, that too can cause self-hatred.  It makes a person feel like a burden for not being ok rather than safe knowing they are with someone who won’t judge or criticize them.  And feeling like a burden is horrible for the self-esteem!

The minimization & even denial of the abuse also can cause serious blows to one’s self-esteem.  Until a person truly understands just how bad their experience was with an abusive narcissist, they are very susceptible to shaming.  When someone says the abuse wasn’t that bad or flatly denies it happened, that will create unnecessary shame in a victim which naturally devastates their self-esteem.

If you are experiencing self-hatred due to situations like I’ve mentioned, please, PLEASE know this isn’t right!  You don’t deserve to feel that way!  You weren’t abused because there is something wrong with you.  There was something wrong with the narcissist!  If other people are too foolish to see it or unwilling to see it, that is also not a reflection of you.  That is their dysfunction showing.  Don’t ever forget that!  Xoxo

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Feeling Like You Must Forget Yourself To Focus On Others In Relationships

When I was growing up, I remember feeling like my entire purpose in life was only to serve people no matter any personal cost, never burden anyone, never inconvenience anyone in any way or even cost anyone anything.  This continued into adulthood where it was reinforced by the extremely toxic narcissists I have known. 

The result of this was me believing some pretty dysfunctional things.  One of those things was that if a relationship I was in was to succeed, I “only” had to forget all of my feelings, wants & needs, & focus completely on the other person.

While this may sound utterly impossible to believe, I assure you it is quite true.  I also can assure you that such dysfunctional beliefs are ingrained in many victims of narcissistic abuse. 

If you are someone who has thought this way, I am speaking to you today.

Whatever any narcissist told you that ingrained such beliefs in you is utterly WRONG!  You aren’t responsible for other people.  Of course, doing for others is good but not to the extent you hurt yourself.  By doing too much for other people, you are distracting them from God & focusing their attention on you.  When they have a need, rather than pray, they’ll simply expect you to meet that need, which in a way makes you a god in their life.  This is NOT good!!

It also isn’t healthy to be so completely self reliant.  That is a trauma response that stems from being hurt too much by other people.  I know – I struggle with this myself on a very regular basis, so I have a lot of experience in this area.  God made human beings to need relationships, to need other people.  A relationship with Him should be first & foremost, of course, but also we should have healthy relationships with other people.  Healthy relationships involve two people being there & doing for each other.

There is nothing wrong with accepting help from someone.  Whether the help is someone giving you money, doing something for you or helping you to do something, none of this is bad at all!  As I said, God made people to need relationships. 

You aren’t burdening anyone or even inconveniencing them.  You are NOT a problem in any way!  Don’t believe this lie that the narcissist told you!

In fact, the fact the narcissist has told you this is proof that there is something pretty wonderful about you.  Narcissists don’t choose average or even below average people to abuse.  They choose those who they see as attractive, loving, intelligent, talented or successful.  People who they believe will make them look good, in other words.  The narcissist saw something special in you, which is why he or she chose you to abuse. 

If your parent is the abusive narcissist in your life, you may think that doesn’t apply to you but it still does.  Yes, you were a convenient target, but your parent also thought there was something special about you. 

When you have moments where dysfunctional thoughts like I have mentioned come to mind, then please remind yourself that these thoughts are wrong.  They were planted there by someone who only did so for self serving reasons, not because these things are true.  You have all the same rights that other people have, no more or less.  You are worthy of expecting to be treated with love & respect.  You aren’t a burden to anyone, & anyone who truly loves you appreciates the special person that you are!

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When Families Are Too Close

Most people consider close knit families to be a good thing.  And they really can be a blessing!  They obviously love & support each other through everything life throws their way, yet everyone still has their own life & a healthy amount of individuality & privacy.  Sometimes however, families become too close.  These families are known as enmeshed, & they are truly toxic.  Families like this have very lax or non existent boundaries, dysfunctional patterns in relationships & they discourage any independence.  Children who grow up with such families end up as dysfunctional adults until they break the chains of enmeshment.

Enmeshed parents are overly dependent on their children.  They rely on their children for emotional support while offering nothing in return.  They also expect their children to share their beliefs, values, to meet their expectations even into adulthood all while ignoring their own & they also expect their children to keep their parents as their top priority during their entire lifetime above anyone else including a spouse, children & even God.  These parents believe their children need nothing from the world beyond their family, & looking to that world is discouraged.  Parents like this also expect their children to maintain the status quo of dysfunction, & are chastised severely if they don’t.  Privacy doesn’t happen between parents & children, meaning any topic is suitable for discussion, any item is considered appropriate for the parents to snoop through (purses, dressers, closets, laundry, etc).  Families like this remind me of the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The children are supposed to be concerned of nothing beyond the Collective, in other words the enmeshing parent.  And, if those children opt to marry, their spouse is supposed to be assimilated, also focusing on the Collective.  Any hint of not behaving in this manner is seriously frowned upon & results in shunning, shaming & treating the spouse terribly.

Children who grow up in these dysfunctional enmeshed families have plenty of issues.  They have virtually no knowledge of their own needs, often minimizing or completely ignoring them.  Their goals aren’t their own, but their parents’.  These children never learn how to say no in a healthy way.  They have serious trust issues with other people, & a fear of abandonment in relationships.  They also feel overly responsible, in particular for taking care of their parents.  Possibly the saddest part is children who grow up like this never have the opportunity to make their own choices & mistakes, which are needed to form their own identity.  Without this, these children grow up with low or even non existent self esteem. 

If you recognize yourself in this information, rest assured you can heal from the damage done.  I can’t tell you it will be quick & easy, but I can tell you it is very possible.

I always recommend a close relationship with God because it is of the utmost importance in every area of life.  It is also incredibly helpful with healing from abuse.  (And, make no mistake about it – enmeshment IS abuse!)  Allowing God to help you heal & show you what to do is going to be vital to healing.  He knows best what you need to do & how you need to do it, so let Him show you & give you whatever you need to do these things.

There are some basic things that everyone needs to do to break this enmeshment with family.  You will need to start by setting boundaries.  There is information about this on my website at www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com, so you can start there.  Learning what is & is not your responsibility will be extremely helpful for you.  And, start small, such as not answering a text immediately.  Starting small will help you to gain the confidence to set more & more challenging boundaries in time.

Get to know yourself.  Learn who God made you to be, what you truly like & dislike,  & how to identify your feelings over what your enmeshed parent told you to feel.  To do this, start paying attention to how you really feel about things & don’t judge your feelings. 

Accept that there is no shame in not having your parents as your top priority as an adult.  People need to have God as their top priority, period.  If you are married, your spouse should be your second priority, followed by your children, then your parents. 

Your enmeshed parent isn’t going to like these behaviors, & that is your parent’s right.  You also have rights, including doing what you need to do to be a healthy, functional person!  Don’t let your parent’s disapproval take you off that path!

Do what you need to do to break free of this enmeshment.  It won’t be easy but it absolutely will be worth it!

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10% Off All Print Books!

My print book publisher is offering a sale.. 10% off all print versions of my books until March 4, 2022. Simply use code DIRECT10 at checkout.

Books can be found at the link below…

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

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When People Try To Shut Down Other People’s Anger

Many people can’t handle anger in people other than themselves.  As a result, they try to stop people from displaying their anger by invalidating them, dismissing them or even shaming them for being angry.  Clearly that is wrong in many ways.  While anger isn’t pleasant, it also isn’t a bad thing when handled properly.  People should be allowed to express it in reasonable ways without fear of being invalidated, dismissed or shamed.  And, no one should be so horrified by reasonable displays of anger that they try to stop them

I’m sure there are countless reasons people try to shut down healthy displays of anger.  Rather than try to guess them all, I’ll only deal with a few here today.

Narcissists can’t handle any emotions in people, but anger in particular bothers them.  Anyone who has been in a relationship with a narcissist has seen this first hand.  They will do whatever it takes to stop someone who is angry, in particular angry with them.  If they can prevent someone from feeling anger, their chances of getting away with abuse are much greater.

Many people were raised with angry parents.  Their parents did everything to display their anger in unhealthy ways such as guilt trips, invalidating, dismissing, screaming, & hitting.  Even years after the last abusive episode, these people are still terrified by anger in anyone.  They will do anything to avoid it, including trying anything they can to shut down someone who is angry in their presence. 

There are others who are excessively positive, & can’t handle any negativity whatsoever.  Rather than allow someone to feel valid, even righteous anger, they try to get that person to “cheer up” so they don’t have to deal with their “negativity”.

There are also people who naturally internalize their feelings.  It’s just a part of their personality.  Logical type personalities often do this.  They may come across as cold & unfeeling, but the simple fact is they don’t need to verbalize any feelings to process them.  It doesn’t mean that they don’t feel emotions, even anger.  They just don’t often feel the need to show those feelings to other people. They may look down on someone who is comfortable with expressing their feelings, especially anger, because they feel that is something that should be kept to oneself.

Some people are also very insecure & dysfunctional.  People like this try to make themselves into what they think other people would like them to be.  They seem to lack respect for people who don’t do the same, & people who show their anger clearly don’t do the same.  They are more concerned with authenticity than other people liking them.

There are also others who misunderstand what the Bible says about anger, & think it is always bad or sinful instead of realizing it is the behavior based on anger that can be bad.  They will try to shut down someone who is angry in an attempt to help them to stop “sinning”. 

When you understand reasons why someone could try to shut you down when you’re angry, it can be helpful because it shows you that there isn’t something wrong with you.  Every normal person feels anger sometimes & there is nothing wrong with showing that anger in a healthy way.

If someone clearly can’t handle your anger, it’s best if you don’t let them see your anger.  Venting to someone like this only will add to your anger because of their behavior.  Or, if they are the reason for your anger, them trying to get you to stop being angry at them will make things worse.  It’s far better to vent to someone who can handle all of your emotions, not only the good ones.  

If you do opt to talk to this person about why they insist on trying to shut you down when you’re angry, do so when you’re calmer.  State your case calmly & logically.  Statements like, “I feel like you can’t tolerate when I get angry, even when it’s not directed at you.  Why is that?”  “What do you think is going to happen when I get angry?”  Get the other person thinking & identifying their feelings.  It truly will help both of you to find a solution to this situation.  Obviously if the person in question is a narcissist, this won’t help, because they don’t want to change or have a healthy relationship.  Instead, try not to show the narcissist when you’re angry & when you do, don’t let them make you believe something is wrong with you for what you feel!

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How To Identify Safe People

When you have been in a relationship with a narcissist, whether the narcissist is your parent, friend or lover, it can skew how you see other people.  Although you want to find safe, genuine people to be in relationship with, it’s easy to become somewhat paranoid, seeing narcissistic traits everywhere.  It can become hard to figure out who is safe & who isn’t, but it doesn’t need to be.

In Matthew 10:16, Jesus tells His disciples, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (KJV)  You need to follow this wisdom, too- it isn’t only for the disciples.  To do that, you need to remember what you have learned about spotting narcissists, but also you need to learn ways to identify safe people.

Safe people:

  • have empathy.  They understand how others feel, they don’t just say they do but you can tell they have no idea.
  • are thoughtful.
  • they have good boundaries.
  • they accept people as they are, without trying to change them.
  • they learn from their mistakes.
  • they accept responsibility when appropriate, rather than pass the blame onto someone else.
  • have a good sense of humor, & don’t make inappropriate jokes at the expense of other people.
  • don’t look to others for approval.
  • aren’t judgmental.

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Why Some People Treat Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse So Badly

I use an online diary.  It sends me periodic emails saying things like, “Last year on this date, you wrote…” then includes a link to that entry.  Recently it showed me an entry I made in February, 2020.

That day, I wrote about how I had joined Instagram to follow someone who shares information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  I hadn’t even set anything up on my account when I got an email saying someone was following me.  It turned out it was one of my cousins who was so awful to me when my father was dying.  I blocked her at first, then immediately decided that wasn’t good enough.  I deleted my Instagram account, & haven’t gone to the site since.

I prayed about this, asking God why would this person follow me?  She hates me & has made the very clear for a long time.  He told me something that I thought may help other victims of narcissistic abuse, so I want to share that with you today.

“She’s insanely, obsessively, morbidly envious.  She thinks you’ve had this easy, charmed life.  When she sees you “whining” about your childhood, it justifies her hatred of you in her mind.  She felt her parents didn’t really care about her.  She saw yours shelter you.  That’s where the envy began.”

“She had to lie to herself about her parents’ loving her & being close to your aunt.  She thinks you’re lying about yours & being a spoiled brat.  She thinks you’re petty & weren’t really abused.  She also can’t accept that her uncle would be abusive or marry someone who was.”

“She thinks abuse is only physical or sexual.  Verbal abuse doesn’t count to her.  She thinks NPD is a made up thing you use to justify talking about your parents as you do.”

“The devil feeds her delusions.  He makes her think the things she does, & feeds her rage & disgust of you.”

Pretty disturbing isn’t it?  Sadly though, many people abuse victims of narcissistic abuse & I would guess many have very similar motivations behind their behavior.

My mother was definitely the engulfing type of narcissistic mother, so to the outside world, she looked attentive, caring, & somewhat over protective.  My father went along with her behavior.  Also, I never complained because this is what abused kids learn to do to survive.  To anyone not intimately involved with my parents & I, we looked like a tight knit family.

Consider my cousin I mentioned earlier.  She came from a very dysfunctional & abusive childhood.  It’s no wonder she thought my childhood was so happy & care free.  She only saw what she was allowed to see, & never knew what went on behind closed doors.  Her observations combined with the devil validating her feelings turned her into someone who is very envious for no good reason.  Her way to cope with it was to treat me badly. 

What about those in your life who have treated you similarly?  Could this fit them as well?  If so, there is only a small amount of advice I have on dealing with such people, but I believe it will help you as it has me.

Remember that their behavior stems from their dysfunction & lack of relationship with God.  It isn’t really about you, although they will make it sound that way.  Don’t accept whatever they say about you because it is wrong! 

If at all possible, end the relationship.  People like this are very convicted in their wrong beliefs.  You won’t be able to change their mind, so don’t waste your time trying.  Sever ties & block all ways they can reach you.

Lastly, pray for them.  The Bible says we are to pray for our enemies, so pray for this person to see the truth & for evil spirits to leave them alone.  Doing this helps them as well as you because over time, it helps you to release the anger you naturally feel towards them. 

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20% Off ALL Print Books!

My publisher turns 20 this year, & as a way to celebrate, they’re offering 20% off print book purchases until February 11, 2022. All you have to do to take advantage is use code 20FOR20 at checkout.

My books can be found at this link:

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

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