Tag Archives: self-esteem

How God Helped My Self Doubt

Lately, I’ve been having a problem.  I’ve been doubting myself.  A LOT.  Am I really doing God’s will by writing about narcissism?  Am I even writing the things He wants me to write about?  Is my information accurate?  Am I wrong for being no contact with my parents, even though I know beyond a doubt that relationship would’ve killed me from stress?

God taught me some interesting things while praying about all of this.  I think what He taught me can help at least some of you too.

For one thing, this doubt is normal under the circumstances.  As God reminded me, I’ve had a lifetime of my parents force-feeding me their views & allowing me no room for freedom of my own.  Even fighting it & forming my own, their views will still pop up sometimes, but it will stop in time.  Doubting what I write about is normal since my mother used to scream about how I shouldn’t “air our dirty laundry” every time she even suspected I was talking about her abuse.  No doubt you’ve been through something similar with your narcissistic mother, Dear Reader.  When you find you doubt yourself, that may be what’s happening to you too.  You can’t expect a lifetime of programming to vanish quickly.  It takes a while!  I’ve noticed it happens much less frequently with me than it did even a year ago.  I can’t say I’m delivered from self doubt, but I know I’m well on my way.

I also learned that if you ask God to send you confirmations, He doesn’t mess around!  lol  A couple of days  ago, I asked Him to show me if I’m on the right track, & it’s been interesting since!  At first, it was a ton of memes on Facebook that spoke directly to me.  Then, my father called.. six times in two minutes to be precise.  (I didn’t answer of course.  My call block lets blocked numbers ring once, then it hangs up on them, which is only long enough for the number to register on the caller ID.  That’s how I knew he called).  It hit me how that is just like him- he wants to talk to me so that is all that matters to him.  The fact I have no desire to talk to him doesn’t matter- only his wants matter.  This sort of thing has happened so many times prior to me going no contact.  He’d call repeatedly when I wasn’t home or was very busy, & when we later spoke, he was upset I didn’t answer his call.  Not being home wasn’t a good enough excuse & neither was having a life.  Thinking of this was all good for me to remind me why I’m no contact!

Then, I got a wonderful note telling me how much my work has changed someone’s life.  That was an incredible blessing!  I do what I do to help people, & hearing that because of my writing, someone’s life was drastically improved made my day!  Well, more like month!  It was also a good confirmation that I’m doing God’s will.

The icing on the cake however was this Scripture that God brought to my attention this morning.  Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV)  It was such a wonderful reminder that my pain wasn’t in vain- that God can use even the worst & most painful circumstances for good.  Joseph spoke these words to his brothers.  If all he suffered could count for something, our pain can as well!

Aside from bragging about the goodness of God, I wanted to share this with you to encourage you, Dear Reader.  I know first hand how hard it can be sometimes when self doubts kick in.  It can make you feel wrong, bad or even crazy.  I want to encourage you to do as I did- talk to God about it.  He is so patient & loving, wanting to help & encourage you when you need it!  Look at all He did for me when all I did was ask for a little help!  Pretty cool stuff, I think!  He can & will do the same for you!

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Who Are You Now?

When a person is abused by a narcissist, they learn to accept the narcissist’s view of who they are.  They accept that they are weak, stupid, ugly, etc etc.  It is especially hard to get rid of such views when the abusive narcissist is a parent, but it can be hard no matter who the narcissist is that puts such dysfunctional, inaccurate views on a person.

 

Even years after the abuse has ended, many people still believe they are weak, ugly, stupid, etc.  It takes a long time to start to see yourself in an accurate way after enduring narcissistic abuse.  I would like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to look at yourself differently.

 

For a moment, try to put aside all of the criticisms you heard from your narcissist.  Look back over your life.  Think about all of the things you have accomplished.  The things you have done in spite of hearing what a terrible person you were.  Look at how far you have come.  If you’re having trouble, write things down.  Writing things can be surprisingly validating.

 

In spite of the narcissist in your life trying to destroy you (either physically or emotionally or both), you are OK!  You are functioning.  You are surviving.  You are helping & inspiring people, whether you know it or not.  You are so much stronger than you realize!  Sure, you may have some problems stemming from the narcissistic abuse, but that is completely normal.  You are working on your healing & you are growing daily- that is impressive!

 

In spite of realizing these things I know it can be tempting to think of yourself as that dysfunctional victim you once were.  I get it- I do it sometimes myself.  But, try to remind yourself of who you are now, not of who you once were.  You are not the terrible person the narcissist once said you were & you believed you were.  You are strong & fierce.  You have not become bitter or narcissistic yourself.  You are working on becoming your own person.  You also are an adult now, not a child, so if the narcissist in your life is your parent(s), remind yourself of that.  You are no longer a child who felt she needed to obey her parents at all costs.  You are an adult with your own mind & free will.  If you’re a Christian, it is also your duty to put God first, not your parents.  If they insist you put them above God, remind yourself how dysfunctional that is!  You do not owe them anything beyond simple civility, basic respect.

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Children Of Narcissists Matter!

Narcissistic parents, be they overt or covert narcissists, make sure that their children know in no uncertain terms that the parents are the important ones, & the children don’t matter.

 

Growing up, my mother came first, always, in every area.  If I was sick, it was an inconvenience for her.  Growing up seemed to be viewed as a betrayal  rather than a normal course of events.  My father, rather than protect me from her constant abuse told me how hard it was for him that it happened.  Then last May, I had a big argument with my parents (I wrote about it here).  I told my mother flat out I felt betrayed by her behavior, & she didn’t care.  In fact, she sat in silence as I poured my heart out, only giving me an occasional bored sigh in response.  That was also the last time she spoke to me.  The conversation with my father was much the same.  He defended himself until I mentioned I felt he betrayed me, then he went silent, obviously not understanding my perspective, just like my mother, then changed the subject.  Since, he’s barely spoken to me & has yet to offer more than a flimsy attempt at an apology.  He brought up the argument a couple of months ago, & still had no concept of why I was angry.

 

Many narcissistic parents are just as hateful as mine are, so I’m sure many of you reading this can relate.  Unfortunately, I also feel safe in guessing that many of you also battle feelings of worthlessness because of it.  How can you not feel worthless when you are reminded in so many hurtful, cruel ways by your own parent that they believe you to be worthless?

 

Dear Reader, I want to remind you today that you are NOT worthless!  You have great value!  Your narcissistic parent lied to you in order to make herself feel better about herself, to feel powerful since she had the ability to tear you down, or to control & manipulate you since those with low self-esteem are easier to control.  Whatever the reason, she did NOT tell you this because you truly are worthless.  You have worth & value.  God says you’re His masterpiece.. did you know that?   Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  (NLT)  That is only one of the many, many things the Bible says about who God says His children are.  I created a list of these Scriptures & put them on my website if you’d like to check it out.  Feel free to print them out if you like, & remind yourself that those Scriptures are the truth, not what your narcissistic parent has to say about you!  Here is the link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php

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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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Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is just one of the many things that is stolen by narcissistic abuse.  It can be devastating & causes a great deal of problems in one’s life.  The good news though, is that you can learn to love yourself, & repair the damage the narcissist in your life did to you in this area.

The first step to take is to have a close relationship with God.  Lean on Him & ask Him to help you in this area.  He is a proud father, & has PLENTY of good things to say about you!

Study your Bible.  There is a lot of good information in it regarding who you are as a child of God.  I made a list & put it on my website.  You can see it here:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Positive-Affirmations.php

Always remember- when someone criticizes you & it isn’t constructive criticism that is meant to help you, what they say most likely reflects what they feel about themselves, not what they think about you.  Chances are good she is criticizing you in order to make you feel as bad about yourself as she does about herself.

Listen to what people say to you when they complement you.  People don’t complement others just to hear themselves talk.   They complement because they mean it.

Sometimes even an especially unfair incident can make your self esteem kick in.   Last February when I got very sick, only a few people close to me cared.  I lost friends & some that stayed had no desire to hear it if I wasn’t feeling well.  It hurt tremendously, but the unfairness of the situation woke me up.  I realized how wrong this was- I had been there for them repeatedly, yet they couldn’t be bothered with me after facing a life-threatening illness.  It was cruel & unfair.  I realized I deserved better than that, & suddenly my self-esteem was better.  Sometimes being abused, mistreated or taken for granted can work in your favor in that way.  Not that they are good things of course, but sometimes something good can come out of it at least. God really can work good out of bad situations!

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Narcissists Love To Determine Who You Are- Don’t Let That Happen!

Abusive, narcissistic people somehow believe they have the right to tell you who you are, what you like or don’t like & to determine your worth & value in this world.  When this happens, you can lose yourself if you are not aware of what they are doing.

This happened to me. I really had no idea who I am my entire life.  I was only aware of a very few things that I genuinely felt strongly about.  Everything else was a result of being told that I felt a certain way.  I realized this was happening when I was in my early 30’s, & tried halfheartedly to learn who I really was, who God wanted me to be for a while after that.  Once I hit 40 though, I decided I had to get to know the real me, & I am very glad I did.

I’ve come to learn that the real me is a much more interesting person than the dysfunctional, mousy person that the narcissists in my life tried to make me into.  I have no tolerance for abuse & nastiness, & will call people out on it now.  I have more varied interests now that others are not telling me what I like & don’t like.   I also have learned to trust God, to listen to what He says I am, rather than listen to the warped views of dysfunctional, evil people.

You can find these things & more out about yourself too!

Stop listening to what dysfunctional, selfish people have to say about you.  You have a great deal of value!  You are a unique, special person created by God Himself to do great things!  Start listening to what God says about you & reject what others say.  The motives of any narcissist are always self serving, & not for your best interest at all, so why would you allow someone so dysfunctional to determine anything about you?  Instead, listen to God & listen to your heart.  You’ll discover you are an amazing individual!

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Feeling Invisible

Narcissists treat their children as if they are mere tools- they take them off the shelf when they need their narcissistic supply or need the child to do something for them, then they put them back when done, & expect the child to stay out of sight & out of mind the rest of the time.  (Isn’t this also how your average screwdriver or hammer is treated?)

Many narcissists also tell their children that children are to be seen & not heard, speak when spoken to only or other such hurtful things.  They also clearly don’t wish to be bothered with their child’s needs or wants.

These things mean the child grows up learning to behave as if she is invisible.  She stays quiet, & stays out of people’s way.  People treat her as if she is invisible as well, because they see how she acts.  (Your behavior shows others how you expect to be treated.)  Their treatment reinforces to her that she needs to be invisible, & the painful cycle continues.  It is so frustrating when even total strangers treat you this way.  A few years ago, I stopped by a convenience store.  When I was done & backing out of my parking space,  I looked.  No one was behind me so I backed out.  Suddenly my car jolted to a stop.  Someone in an SUV backed into me.  We got out of our vehicles & she immediately began screaming at me for upsetting her by hitting her truck.  I couldn’t even get in a word to tell her she had backed into me, not the other way around!   Thankfully no damage was done to my car & she said none to her SUV, so we walked away from the incident.  Her behavior hurt though.  I felt like she thought I was so unimportant I shouldn’t be allowed to say one word.

This invisible thing results in a deep sense of shame about your very existence.  You feel as if the fact you exist is a bad thing, & this can destroy your self-esteem.  I know  this from personal experience- I’ve never had healthy self-esteem.  In fact, at 44 years old, I still battle low self-esteem often.

I have been working  on becoming visible instead of staying invisible off & on for a few years now.  I’ve learned that to do that, you need to start setting some boundaries.  Don’t let others call all of the shots, all of the time.  For example, I’ve always let others end the phone call first, & now  I’m starting to do end it when I feel strong enough. (sad.. such a mundane task shouldn’t be so stressful!)  If someone wants to go out with me but I have plans, instead of rearranging my plans, I suggest another time.  Basically, I’m finding little, reasonable ways of making myself noticed.  The good news is it does get easier & easier, the more I do it.  I hope you will try to do the same thing so you no longer feel invisible.  You deserve so much better than that!

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Self-Esteem & Narcissism

Today, hubby & I are having lunch with my parents.  Since my mother’s narcissism had returned with a vengeance the last time we spoke on Thursday, I’m guessing today won’t be pleasant.

While thinking about this last night, I realized I wasn’t overly anxious about that as I used to be.  Then it hit me- I have self esteem!  I’ve learned who God says I am in the Bible, & chosen to believe that over all of the horrible lies my mother told me.  God says I am special to Him, He loves me, He had a plan for me long before I was born, & so much more.  If you’d like to read about this topic, go to the “Positive Affirmations” link at http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

I’ve also started listening to the complements people say to me.  I used to tell people they were wrong, brushing them off, assuming they were only being nice.  No more.  I still feel a bit awkward when I get a complement, but much better than it once was.

Also, when either getting a complement or reading what God says about His children, I started asking God if that was really true.  His validation helped me greatly to accept that these good things were true. 

My mother told me that her criticism of me while growing up was for my own good, but it did so much harm!  Like so many other children of narcissistic parents, I had no self esteem.  It’s only been recently that I started doing the things I mentioned above, & gained some self esteem.

In gaining this new self esteem, I’ve also been able to accept fully that my mother’s narcissism that makes her act this way truly is on her.  It has nothing to do with me.  No one can make another person behave in that way!  No matter how cruel her words, they always say more about her than me.  Anyone who tries so hard to hurt another person truly has problems!  And, I have the right to protect myself from them on any way I see fit!

I hope what I learned can help you too!  If you are unable or unwilling to go no contact with your narcissistic mother, what I learned may help you too.  I encourage you to build up your self esteem, with God’s help.  Learn what He thinks of you.  Listen to complements you get as well, letting them sink in.  And always remember- your mother’s cruel words & deeds say nothing about you, but plenty about her!  Don’t believe her!  xoxo

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Types Of Invalidation

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

 

If you have been in an abusive relationship of any type- whether the relationship was emotionally, physically, sexually or narcissistic abusive- then you have experienced invalidation.  Invalidation is when your feelings are mocked, judged or rejected.  It is done  to make you feel as if you are wrong, weird, abnormal or extremely flawed.  It is done in order to gain control.  When invalidation is done in childhood, the child grows up not trusting her feelings, & lacking in self confidence.

 

There are many ways to invalidate someone.  Some examples are:

  • Telling someone not to feel the way they do.
  • Calling someone harsh names like oversensitive, drama queen, worry wort, crybaby, etc.
  • Mocking someone for feeling a certain way.
  • Leading one to believe there is something wrong with them for feeling as they do.
  • Telling someone to look differently (example: “Stop looking so sad”).
  • Minimizing another’s feelings.
  • Isolating another, such as saying “No one else would be bothered by this- what’s wrong with you?”
  • Defending those who hurt or abuse you.

 

I believe there are other ways to invalidate someone that are much more subtle & insidious, & they do just as much harm as the more overt types of invalidating.  Unfortunately, they seem to be so commonplace in society that I don’t believe many people even pay them any attention.  Some examples are:

  • Not asking someone “how are you?” during the course of a conversation.  This clearly says, “I really don’t care how you’re doing.”  Granted during times of crisis, many people simply forget to ask another this question due to being caught up in the trying situation.  However, many people do this on a regular basis, no matter what the circumstances are.
  • Talking nonstop about yourself.  This sends the message, “I am much more important than you!  Don’t waste my time talking to me about you!”  In a healthy relationship, there are times where it is one-sided.  One friend is going through a crisis & the other friend is offering a listening ear & support.  That happens sometimes & is completely normal.  What is not normal, however, is when one person only talks about himself or herself & doesn’t care enough to ask the other person questions about his/her life.  This is a red flag for narcissistic personality disorder!
  • Interrupting constantly.  Not only is it rude, but it tells the other person that what you have to say is really much more important, & they need to just stop talking.
  • Changing the topic of conversation frequently when someone else is talking.  Is what you have to say so vitally important that you can’t let the other person finish what he or she is saying?  Does what you have to say need to be said right this moment?  If not, then let the other person have their say.
  • Offering unasked for advice & opinions.  This is a major pet peeve of mine.  It is rude & presumptuous, & it sends the message that the one giving the advice or offering the opinion is much smarter than the person receiving it.  It’s hurtful!  Are your thoughts really so valuable that the other person simply can’t go on living without hearing them?
  • If you don’t agree with someone’s opinion or support them, keep that to yourself or express it in a respectful way when the time is appropriate.  This is something I deal with often with having C-PTSD, & it really is frustrating!  People who don’t understand this disorder or want to learn anything about it often think it means I am dwelling in the past, unforgiving, not thinking positively, etc.  Hearing statements like these hurt me greatly, because not only are people who say such things are trivializing the potentially life-threatening disorder I live with daily & the trauma I have endured, but they are also acting as if I am stupid for not seeing what they believe to be an obvious easy solution to this problem.  This insensitivity doesn’t just pertain to mental disorders, though.  Politics is another topic where I see this happening.  So many people have extremly strong feelings on politics, & believe that if other people don’t share their views, they are stupid, naive, foolish, etc. & don’t mind letting those people know that.  It is ridiculous!  People have different views- what is the problem with that?  Everyone is entitled to their opinion & to have it respected.  If you can’t understand someone’s opinion or painful situation, how about trying to understand it?  Or at least not judge or criticize them if you absolutely can’t understand.

 

I would like to encourage you to please consider your actions.  Don’t invalidate others or tolerate it from other people!  It is painful & frustrating to experience, not to mention invalidation tears away at one’s self-confidence.  When it happens often, it makes you feel as if you don’t matter to anyone, & that your thoughts & feelings are unimportant, wrong or even flawed beyond repair.  No one should experience that pain!

More information regarding invalidation (including a free ebook on the topic) is available at my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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My Narcissistic Mother Fired Me! Setting Boundaries With A Narcissist

Good morning, Dear Readers!

It looks like my caregiving days are over with my parents.  My mother called me the other day & told me how my father’s health has suddenly taken a turn for the better.  He was doing a little light yard work & other things.  She asked him if he could resume doing the laundry (she claims her back is too bad to carry the laundry or maneuver those basement steps).  She told me he said sure, he can do it, so I don’t need to come by on Sundays anymore.

I’ve been fired!  lol

I’m not sure I believe that my father is suddenly doing so much better than he was.  It hasn’t even been one month since he had that mild stroke.  He’s had really bad dizzy spells & weakness since.

I have a theory on his sudden “miraculous healing.”  My mother would rather make him suffer (she knows he won’t disobey her) than respect the boundaries I put up last Sunday.

As I mentioned before, I told my parents last Sunday that I have arthritis in my knees & climbing their basement steps to do their laundry in addition to doing my own thing hurt me.  Going in, I knew it would, but didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was.  This meant I wasn’t sure how reliable I was going to be in my helping them (when dealing with this situation with a narcissist, turn it around to how it affects them!).  My mother has said for years now she wants her washer & dryer moved upstairs, yet has continually dragged her feet on accomplishing this task. I offered to help clear the spot where she wants them, & help get this task done.  She said she couldn’t do it, had (lame) reasons why, & deflected off the topic.  (When my husband spoke to her on the topic, she even brought out the crocodile tears!)  When I said my knees were bad, she shut me out entirely, so I spoke with my father on the topic.  I said if they won’t get the washer & dryer upstairs, then I have a number for the county.  A social worker will come & evaluate their needs, & let them know what sort of help they qualify for.  Even if they don’t qualify, I have more numbers for home health care aides who aren’t very pricey.  My parents don’t need much help, so it wouldn’t cost much at all for a little help.  My father was all for either solution, & since my mother wouldn’t listen to me, he said he would talk to her.  Apparently he did…

When my mother called on Friday, she said my father told her I have bad knees & asked skeptically, “Is that even true?”  WHAT?!  I told her yes, & as I’ve said many times, I’ve had arthritis in my knees since 2002 when I was 31.  She asked if the doctor was talking knee replacement, & I said I haven’t seen a doctor in years about it because I don’t have insurance. She then told me how if I would just lose weight, it’d help.  I was shaking at this point due to an emotional flashback.  Growing up, my mother was so hard on me about being “fat” (even though I wasn’t), I developed anorexia when I was about 10 & it later morphed into bulimia which I lived with into my teens.  At 43 years old, I was shaking with fear & anger just like I did as a child, waiting for her to say the terrible shaming things she used to say to me about how fat & gross I am.  Thankfully, it didn’t happen.  Instead, she went on to tell me how much worse others in her family have it with their knees & how a knee replacement is no big deal (bet she’d feel differently if she had one!).  The rest of the conversation was not any better.  Constant snarky, cruel comments followed, criticizing all kinds of things about me.  The volume of the criticisms was impressive, even by my mother’s legendary standards.

This is my mother’s new narcissistic rage.  Gone are the days of her screaming in my face, calling me awful, degrading names as she did when I was a teenager.  Now that she is older & frailer, & I am stronger than her, she won’t do that.  Instead, she uses the common weapons of narcissists- invalidation, criticism, gaslighting- as often as she possibly can work into the conversation.

Why the rage?  Because I set boundaries.  Rather than seeing them as me taking care of myself while also trying to take care of my parents as any emotionally healthy person would, she saw it more as me being disobedient or disrespectful to her.  She is so accustomed to being blindly obeyed by everyone, that she simply cannot handle someone not obeying her wishes.  I think the plan was for me to continue doing for my parents, & ignoring my own physical pain.  She loves to be waited on, just like her mother, & she believes I owe it to her, as her mother also believed of her children & grandchildren.

Anyone who thinks their narcissistic mother will mellow with age is sadly mistaken.  Yes, it can happen, but it is rarer than the spotted owl.  In my personal experience plus what I have heard talking with other daughters of narcissistic mothers, they get meaner.  Just because they don’t scream in your face anymore doesn’t mean they are nicer!  Getting older only means their tactics change.  They are still as evil & hurtful as they ever were.

On a positive note, I did get an inspiration for another blog post out of that awful phone call that I’ll share tomorrow.  It’s full of good information that can help you in relating to a narcissist.

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You Matter!

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

The other night, I had a very strange dream.  I was with a small group of people.  I got my wallet out of my purse, & found a nice little amount of money in there I didn’t know I had- I think it was around $65.  I quickly stuffed it back in my wallet.  I then went to get something from my car’s glove compartment, & found an envelope with more money in it.  I think around the same amount but I’m not sure.  I quickly hid it back in the glove compartment, nervous the other people around me would know I had it, then woke up.  The dream was baffling, so naturally I prayed about it as well as looked up the symbolism of money on that dream interpretation site I like so much.  It said money represents self worth, values & self confidence.  Finding it symbolizes your quest for love or power.  This didn’t clarify anything for me.  lol

This morning as I was waking up, immediately God showed me what the dream meant.  I have been accepting the opinions of others that I don’t matter lately, & I need to stop allowing their false beliefs into my heart.  I need to guard my heart & my self-esteem as I hid the money in that dream.   As an example, as I’ve mentioned here, I told my parents my bad knees don’t like me going up & down their basement steps to do their laundry.  Either we need to move their washer & dryer upstairs (as my mother said she’s wanted to do for years) or get some help.  My father agreed with me.  My mother however?  Ignored every word I said.  This gave me the message what I want & feel isn’t important- I don’t matter.  Unfortunately I am so accustomed to this kind of thing happening I reacted automatically as I always have- by assuming I’m not important.  In fact, I was considering dropping the topic with her, & putting up with my own pain rather than pushing the issue.  Not now, though!  Thanks to God revealing what this dream meant, I realized what was happening & just how bad it’s gotten.  I usually try to take care of my skin, hair & nails often as these things make me feel pretty.  I haven’t been doing anything really good for me.  As a result, my skin & hair are dry & nails are short.  Not feeling so pretty right now!  I haven’t done well with self-care this week either, & it shows.  The C-PTSD is flaring up big time- my anxiety levels have been crazy high, depression terrible, my concentration is almost non-existent & sleep problems are even worse than usual.

Anyway, I think this is a common problem for adult children of narcissistic parents, feeling as if we don’t matter.  Everyone else is more important, because we were raised from day 1 to take care of the needs of the narcissist.  Your job is to make sure that your narcissistic mother is happy, that you are doing whatever you are told, that you don’t make any waves or else you may face a dreaded narcissistic rage.

Sound familiar??  I bet it does if you were raised by a narcissistic mother like I was.

So what to do about this?  It’s time to study what God has to say about His children.  Years ago, I did just this, then put what I found in one of my books.  I since put it in another couple of books & on my website.  Here is the link:

Affirmations

I strongly recommend you read over this page, & let what God says about you get deep into your heart.  This is all what He said, I only put these things together.  Let God’s word heal your heart.  There is truly healing power when He speaks, whether it is in the form of the written word (such as in the Bible) or if you are fortunate enough to hear His voice speaking to you.  God’s word always heals.

If you’re reading this & suffering with this same problem of feeling as if you don’t matter, I’m praying for you.  No one should feel this way!  You matter!  God loves you, & made you for a purpose.  ❤

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

What Is The Difference Between Guilt & Shame?

Many people who have survived abuse, especially childhood abuse, don’t realize there is a vast difference between healthy, normal guilt & toxic shame.  We are taught from day one to feel shame- ashamed of who we are, what we think/feel/do/like/don’t like & more.  This is absolutely deadly to one’s self-esteem.  When you are ashamed of who you are, you want to hide from the world- you don’t want to expose anyone to the terrible person you believe you are.  You would love to be invisible.

Guilt, however, is a very useful, healthy tool in life.  Guilt doesn’t make you feel ashamed of yourself- guilt makes you feel ashamed of something you did that was wrong instead.  Guilt speaks of the action, while shame speaks of who you are.  For example, if you come home after a very trying day, & snap at your husband, you should feel guilt.  Enough guilt for acting that way to make you say, “I’m sorry, Baby.. I’ve had an awful day.  It’s not fair of me to take it out on you though.”  Once your apology is accepted, you let it go.

Shame however, would make you tell yourself that you are a terrible person.  You shouldn’t have acted that way- only a bad person acts like that!  You may or may not apologize- shame may make you feel too embarrassed to apologize- but you will beat yourself up for being such a bad person.

Do you see the difference?  Guilt says, “I did something wrong,” where shame says, “I am wrong & bad.”

Do you have a healthy sense of guilt, or do you feel shame?  If you are in doubt, ask yourself how you feel after doing something that hurts another person’s feelings.  (And yes, you will- we ALL do hurtful things sometimes, no matter how careful we are to avoid it).  If you quickly do what you can to make amends & let it go, then you are feeling healthy guilt.  If you beat yourself up for being a terrible person, you feel shame.

It can be hard to overcome shame, especially after a lifetime of experience with it, but it can be done.  As you work on your healing, your self-esteem naturally improves.  You also see things in a much healthier perspective- you begin to realize that you are NOT at fault for everything, as you heard you were when you were a child.  You realize that things were done to you that you didn’t deserve, & nothing you could have done would have made you deserve to be abused.  These things help you to feel less & less shame as time passes.  

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