Tag Archives: self

Validating Yourself

Everyone needs validation. It’s simply a built in human need that God gave us all.

For those of us who survived narcissistic abuse, invalidation was a way of life, so it’s only natural that we crave validation more than the average person. We want to be heard & understood for a change! The problem with this is so many people don’t offer us the validation we crave. Instead, they make excuses for the narcissist, don’t want to listen to our stories or tell us things like we’re just angry, we need to let it go or other similar heartless comments.

You also can’t count on gaining validation from your abuser. It is the very rare abusive person who goes to a victim, admits that what they did was wrong, ask for forgiveness & makes appropriate changes in their behavior. Sure, some do apologize at some point, but their failure to change their behavior & either accept full responsibility or failure to stop blaming others for their behavior proves that they aren’t being genuine. The abusive behavior will continue & they don’t care about the pain & suffering they caused victims. They only apologize as an attempt to pacify a victim, not because they want to improve the relationship.

Situations like these are a very good reminder that you can’t rely on getting all the validation you need from outside sources. People are flawed, & they will fail to give you the validation you want & need sometimes. You have to learn to validate yourself instead of relying on others, which is where your healing truly begins.

As always I recommend starting this with prayer. Ask God to help you to learn how to validate yourself, rely less on validation from outside sources & even to give you validation.

You also need to accept the fact people won’t always give you the validation you need. Remind yourself often that people aren’t perfect, & they will fail you sometimes. It’s just a part of life. It doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t care or they don’t love you. They are simply flawed human beings like every single other human being.

You also need to accept that your abuser won’t accept responsibility for the pain he or she caused you either. That type of validation most likely never will happen. You know what happened, & that truly is good enough. Even if no one else believes you, it really can be enough when you know the truth.

What people often refer to as feeling sorry for yourself is what I think of as showing yourself compassion, & it’s something you need to do. You have been through some pretty bad things, & it’s ok to admit that both to others & to yourself. Stop minimizing your experiences & your pain! You’re only invalidating yourself by doing that!

Never compare your situation to others. Doing so often leads to thoughts like, “Well that person had it way worse than me. I shouldn’t complain.” That is so wrong & also very self invalidating! Don’t do it! Trauma is trauma. So what if someone went through worse things than you did? You went through much worse than someone else did, too. Does any of that make any difference? You need to focus on your situation & ways to heal, not whether it’s better or worse than other people’s situations.

Stop judging your feelings, too. After abuse, it’s only natural to be angry or sad sometimes. It’s natural to have ruminating thoughts about certain especially painful situations or to wonder why the abuser did what they did to you. Don’t criticize yourself for thinking these things. Accept that they’re just a normal part of the healing journey.

With a little time & practice, you can learn to be your own best “validator.” You won’t regret learning this skill. In fact, I’m certain you’ll be glad you did! xoxo

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How Narcissists Make Victims Lose Themselves

When you are subjected to narcissistic abuse, you lose yourself.  You often feel as if you’re being fake.  Sadly, the truth is you are being fake, but not because of some flaw in you.

Narcissists do their best to mold their victims into whatever they want them to be.  To do this, they start by destroying their victim’s personality.  They convince victims that they don’t like the things they do like, & they like things they don’t like.  They also convince victims that they feel a certain way about things that is completely untrue. 

Gaslighting is a very effective way to accomplish this.  By repeatedly swearing that a victim has said or hasn’t said something & even getting angry about it, a victim often starts to believe that the narcissist is telling the truth.  Denial & making a person question their memories

Invalidation is also helpful in forwarding a narcissist’s agenda.  Convincing someone that they have some deep flaws for feeling as they do will change their mind about their feelings.  No one wants to be labeled as intensely flawed or even crazy, so they change their mind.

Narcissists also make their victims feel as if they are a disappointment, & the narcissist deserves better than that.  This guilt makes victims work harder to please the narcissist, yet they can’t do it.  The narcissist continually changes what they want & makes the goals loftier & unattainable. 

Gaslighting, invalidation & this disappointment all work together to make victims feel shame.  They feel ashamed of themselves, of who they are, of their beliefs, of what they want, think & feel… of everything about themselves.  Once this toxic shame takes root in a person, they become very easy to manipulate & control, which is why narcissists work so hard to accomplish this.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone!  I have been there too.  First my mother tried to mold me into what she wanted from me, then my ex husband did.  By the time I was in my mid 20’s, I had no idea who I really was or what I really liked, didn’t like, believed… it was a nightmare!  It took time but I finally got to know the real me, & you know something?  That person is ok! 

If you’re reading this now, I want you to know that the real you is ok too!  I also want you to know that you need to get to know this person that God made you to be, without the input of the narcissist. 

Start questioning everything.  Ask yourself how you genuinely feel about things.  For example, do you like the kind of music you do because the narcissist told you that you liked it, or is it truly your taste?  What about the kind of work you do- do you enjoy it or did your narcissistic parent tell you that you needed to get into this line of work?

If the narcissist is still in your life, question everything he or she tells you, especially about how you feel about things.  While the narcissist most likely claims to know you better than you know yourself, this is nothing but a lie.  You know you better & if you get to know yourself well, then nothing the narcissist says can cause you to doubt yourself or change yourself into someone you’re not ever again!

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About Body Dysmorphia & Narcissistic Abuse During Childhood

Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder in which a person obsesses over flaws in their appearance.  The flaws may be real or not.  A person with body dysmorphia also often avoids other people because of feeling such embarrassment & even shame over their flaws.  They also may seek surgery or other ways of fixing these supposed flaws in their appearance.  The solutions may only provide temporary relief, but often the anxiety over the flaws returns.

Body dysmorphia can result from abnormalities or injuries to the brain.  A family history of the disorder also can lead to a person being prone to developing it.  I believe it also can be the result of narcissistic abuse.

Negative comments about something can be hurtful.  If they are negative enough, they can make a person feel very self conscience.  Narcissists don’t simply say a few random negative comments periodically, however.  They frequently say the most scathing, cruel, vicious criticisms they can come up with in order to annihilate their victim’s self esteem, because a person with no self esteem is easy to control.  One area narcissists often focus on is someone’s appearance.

Naturally when a parent says such things to their child, the likelihood of that child accepting the criticisms as truth is greater than if those same words were spoken to an adult by a stranger.  Parents have a tremendous influence over their children, & children naturally accept what their parents say as true, even when it isn’t.  Children’s brains are still forming too, which also makes it easier for them to accept their parents’ words as truth rather than question them.

When a child of a narcissistic parent grows up, it’s very likely that they will marry a narcissist.  It’s also likely that the narcissist they marry will repeat certain patterns that their parents employed.  Insulting the adult child of narcissistic parents in the area of their appearance is a common phenomenon.

When I was growing up, my mother was extremely critical of how I looked.  While she never said the word “fat”, she implied I was extremely fat more times than I can count.  Looking back at pictures of me as a child now though I realize I wasn’t fat at all, I was a normal weight.

Later when I married my ex husband, he continued her abuse in this area.  He also never told me I was fat, but constantly implied that I needed to lose weight.  I eventually lost weight & was too thin, yet I still wasn’t thin enough for his liking.

My situation is far from abnormal among adult children of narcissistic parents.

If you have experienced this as well, know that you are far from alone!  Many people who have suffered with Body Dysmorphia after experiencing narcissistic abuse.

I never went to therapy about this because I didn’t realize it was something treatable through therapy, plus after bad experiences in therapy, I lacked trust in the mental health system.  This caused me to look for my own ways to conquer Body Dysmorphia.  While therapy is most likely the most effective way, I thought I would share my ideas anyway in case anyone reading this prefers to handle the situation on their own as I did.

During the time I was going through the worst of the Body Dysmorphia, I didn’t believe in God.  Prayer wasn’t going to happen.  I wish I had because no doubt God would have helped me so much more than anything I did without Him!  Please learn from my mistake & pray. 

Also, listen to what other people tell you.  I spent my entire life dismissing complements rather than accepting them with a simple “thank you.”  People don’t give complements easily.  Listen to what they say because they mean them!

Look at yourself objectively.  Ask yourself if what the narcissist said makes any sense.  Most likely, it won’t. 

When you hear the narcissist telling you about all of your flaws, question those things. 

Doing these things won’t make Body Dysmorphia disappear overnight.  Sometimes I wonder if it’ll ever vanish entirely since even years later, I still am quite insecure about my looks.  But, at the very least they will help you to feel much less insecure, & that isn’t a bad worst case scenario!

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Thoughts On Being Comfortable With Who God Made You To Be

I recently had an interesting dream.  In it, I was at a concert of one of my favorite bands ever, Motorhead.  The dream was a bit odd since I’m not exactly a concert goer.  Watching them on TV is as close as I get.

When I woke up, I prayed then looked up what music & concerts meant on my favorite dream dictionary website, dreammoods.com.  According to the site, dreaming of a concert symbolizes unity & cooperation.  Very cool.. my husband & I were moving soon & the dream made me realize how well we’re working together to accomplish this.  Dreaming of music meant something different though.  The site said that dreaming of music depends on the dreamer.  Each genres means something different & if the genre is something you like, the music is offering you advice.  When I read this, it clicked in my brain immediately.

I’ve been a Motorhead fan for a long time, but in particular a fan of their late singer, Lemmy Kilmister.  In some ways he was your typical heavy metal musician.  But, in other ways he wasn’t & I always thought those ways were really interesting.  Not only was he highly intelligent but had a very unique personality.  He was fascinated by history.  Most of all though, he was unapologetic for being himself.  Not like a narcissist of course, just he had this attitude of, “This is who I am.  I like me.  Your approval isn’t required.”  Never having such an attitude myself, I admire & even somewhat envy it in others.

I believe my dream was trying to tell me that I need to share Lemmy’s attitude.  There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own skin & not caring what others think about you.  I realize narcissists try to make victims feel that way, but that doesn’t mean they’re right.  They don’t want victims to feel that way because an insecure victim with low, or better yet NO, self esteem is easy to control.  A person who is insecure doesn’t know what they want, think, feel & believe, which means they are going to be easily controlled.

Someone who has a healthy self esteem, however, is a threat to narcissists.  They know who they are.  They know what they want, think, feel & believe.  They are well aware of their boundaries.  Because of such things, they aren’t easily controlled or manipulated.  They may be briefly but they catch on fast, & put an end to being treated that way even if it means ending the relationship.

Anyway I don’t think the lesson in this dream was only for me.  I think it was for other victims of narcissistic abuse.  If it was for you too, I’m sure this resonates with you as it did with me.

I have tried to develop Lemmy’s attitude.  This is what I figured out about how to do that.

Naturally pray.  Ask God to tell you the truth about yourself.  That alone is eye opening!  I did that myself some time ago & was shocked at what He had to say.  He told me to research the personality of wolves, because that is what he created me to be like.  I assume because of being such an animal lover, that was why He used that example.  It was fascinating & so eye opening!  I never would have thought that is what God created me to be like.

Once you do this, remind yourself often of whatever it is He tells you about yourself.  Having the knowledge is a good thing of course, but reminding yourself of it often is what will get that knowledge inside of you.  This was where I made my mistake.  I didn’t focus on it as much as I should have, which is probably why I had the dream.  Learn from my mistake!  Think about what He said.  If it helps leave notes or pictures around your home that remind you of it.  Let this valuable knowledge get inside you & help you to blossom into the wonderful person He created you to be!

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“You Can’t Love Someone Until You Love Yourself”

One cliche I’ve heard my entire life was “You can’t love someone until you love yourself.”  My mother said it periodically when I was growing up, & somehow it never felt right to me even when I was just a little kid.

As an adult, I have come to realize how wrong this is, & how shaming as well.

Wrong because just because a person has low or no self esteem, doesn’t mean they are incapable of love.  It only means they don’t love themselves.  People who feel this way are very capable of loving others, & it shows when they love their spouse, children, family, friends, pets.   I was this same way for many years.  I absolutely hated myself, yet absolutely adored certain people in my life as well as my pets.  They all meant the world to me & I would have done anything for any of them.

This phrase is shaming because it makes people feel that they lack this one basic skill any human being has, to love.  Victims of narcissistic abuse already have enough shame to deal with thanks to the narcissists in their lives.  They don’t need any more false, toxic shame heaped onto them.

What can be true, although certainly is not true in all cases, is if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love others in a Godly & healthy way.  In cases where someone has been abused in childhood, that person may not yet know how to love someone in a healthy way.  They may think if they love someone enough, they can fix their abusive ways.  In fact, this may seem good or even Godly to the dysfunctional person.  Sadly, many people support such dysfunctional thinking, encouraging the unhealthy behaviors.  Some folks even will quote Scriptures that are taken totally out of context to validate their beliefs.

A dysfunctional person also may think boundaries are selfish & unloving, so they think telling someone no is a bad thing.  Out of good intentions, they allow other people to come first in their lives, even if it costs them their health, finances, or peace.  They mistakenly hurt themselves under the delusion they’re being loving.

Similarly, a dysfunctional person may think that giving a person whatever they want is the most loving thing they can do for someone.  They fail to realize that sometimes, people need to struggle for what they want in order to learn to appreciate things.

Many dysfunctional people also think that if they are just nice enough or good enough, they can make an abusive person love them.  They don’t realize that is impossible, because abusers are incapable of true, Godly love.  They also fail to realize that the harder they try, the more abusive an abuser will become, because they see this person as weak & willing to please them at any personal cost.  I experienced this first hand.  My late mother in-law hated me.  Being young & naive, I wanted her to like me, so I tried hard to make that happen.  Nothing I did was good enough, & our relationship only got worse.

The fact is, to love others, we must learn what true love really is.  It is wanting what is best for another person rather than what we want from that person.  It is wanting them to succeed in life, & enjoy their life.  It is wanting them to live whatever their best life is, even if it goes against something we would like for them.  Mostly, it is wanting others to have a close personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.  Any person can want these things for other people, even when they don’t love themselves.

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About Being True To Yourself

Anyone who knows me knows I am deeply into music.  Although I love all kinds of music, one of my favorite bands ever is the famous rock band, Queen.  Their unique sound & ability to mix all types of sounds to make music is absolutely incredible to me.  “Normal” music bores me so the uniqueness that always has been Queen is super appealing to me.

Anyone who knows me also knows my way of thinking is a bit skewed from what normal people think.  That ties into my Queen fandom, so please bear with me….

Recently I was listening to my favorite Queen song, “The Show Must Go On.”  The song was written by Brian May, the band’s incredibly talented guitarist & by the way also an astrophysicist, for the band’s singer, Freddie Mercury as he was dying from AIDS.  The band members were incredibly close friends, & this song was his gift to Freddie.  The story goes, at the time they were to record it, Freddie was quite ill & the other band members weren’t sure he would be able to sing long enough to create the single.  Upon hearing their concerns, he slammed down a shot of liquor & said he’d do it… then proceeded to create the vocals in only one take.  Pretty impressive especially for a dying man, don’t you think?

Yet, this isn’t something that was un-typical for the magnificent singer.

An extremely shy man, Freddie Mercury created an on stage persona that was very different from his true personality.  His fans loved the extrovert he was on stage, yet in spite of that, when he was off stage, he stayed true to his true shy nature.  His private life stayed private as much as possible.

In spite of being known for being shy, Freddie Mercury had a healthy self esteem.  Many people assume being shy means having low self esteem, but that isn’t always the case.  He recognized his talent as well as his shortcomings.  As a result, he also was very accepting of others & non-judgmental.

Freddie Mercury was comfortable with who he was.  Ok, he was not perfect, but who is?  Even so, this man was clearly comfortable in his own skin.

Also, he wasn’t afraid to step out of the box.  He did many unique things.  The opinions of others really weren’t important to him.  That isn’t a bad thing at all!  Everyone should have such confidence in stepping out of the box!

Thinking of these things, I was reminded yet again that Freddie Mercury is quite the role model.  Yes, I know, he had issues.  But honestly.. don’t we all have some issues??  He was true to himself & that is a wonderful thing!  We should strive to be true to ourselves as well.

I think most of us can learn a thing or two from this amazing man!

Naturally as Christians, we need to keep God first in our lives.  That being said though, it sure wouldn’t hurt any of us to learn a few lessons from Freddie Mercury.

Whatever you do, stay true to yourself, be comfortable in your own skin & don’t be afraid to step outside of the box.  What other people think isn’t important.  And yes, this is aimed at those who survived narcissists!  You take care of yourself, be true to yourself & don’t be afraid of trying anything different.  If you want to dye your hair pink or blue or purple, then by all means, DO IT!!!  Get that tattoo, change your wardrobe into something entirely different from your normal.  Don’t let the opinions of other people determine what you should & shouldn’t do.  I know this can be so hard when you were raised by narcissistic parents, but it’s so important to break away from their mindset.  They don’t know you as the person God created you to be.  They don’t understand His will for your life.  And that is fine.  You know these things & you know that you need to do God’s will for your life.  Do it & enjoy every single moment!

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My Newest Book Is Now Available!

I have published my most recent book!  It’s called, “When Love Hurts: Loving A Narcissist”.  This one is about being romantically involved with a narcissist.  It teaches the reader how to determine if his or her partner is a narcissist, about Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the best ways to cope with a narcissistic partner, how to help your children & more.  I pray it will bless everyone who reads it.

 

Want to know something interesting?  This book came to be because of a dream I had last spring.  Strange, huh?  Three ideas came to me in that one dream- a book about covert narcissists (which I wrote last year), another about narcissistic in-laws (I got a start on it & I think it will be my next book to publish) & this one about being romantically involved with narcissists.  It was one more confirmation to me that dreams are important- we need to pay attention to them!  You never know what God may show you in your dreams!

 

If you’re interested in this book, it is available in both print & ebook versions on my website at: www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com

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Revelation About Hating My Body

Lately my hormones are all over the place. In my late 40’s, I know it’s normal, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.  I griped some to my husband about it one day recently, which I almost never do.  Usually I try to hide any physical or mental problems from him.  He’s got enough to deal with plus although I’ve improved, I’m still not overly comfortable admitting when I feel under the weather.

Anyway, after listening to me gripe, he said, “Can I ask you something? Why do you hate your body so much?” I was surprised by the question & immediately thought of many things. My looks have always been the main thing my mother & ex husband insulted about me, so I’ve always felt ugly thanks to their cruel words & wished I looked differently.  I have pain from arthritis, & now out of whack hormones.  I’ve also gotten taller & just bigger from the birth control I’ve been on for years.  Then there are the symptoms I developed after Carbon Monoxide poisoning in 2015.  It seemed at the moment like I had plenty of things to hate about my body.

Then, later on that afternoon, I wasn’t even thinking about this conversation when suddenly it popped into my mind out of the blue & I realized something… I blame my body for the actions of other people, as well as hating it for doing normal things!  How ridiculous is that?!

All of this has caused me a great deal of shame over my life.  Thanks to the constant criticism of how I look, I’ve always been very ashamed of my looks & felt incredibly ugly & disgusting.  I’ve been ashamed of getting arthritis when I was only 31 years old because it’s abnormal.  Truth be told, it’s probably a direct result of living with narcissistic abuse since it often causes inflammatory disorders.  The symptoms from the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning & crazy hormones?  Both are very normal & nothing to be ashamed of.

After some prayer, I think all of my faulty thinking stems from being raised the way I was.  My mother criticized everything about my looks my entire life, I assume because I look like my father’s mother & not her side of the family.  No doubt that was a disappointment to her.  In fact, she probably felt betrayed by that as most narcissists would.  As a result, I grew up hating everything about my looks, & not believing anyone who said I was pretty.  My ex husband later reinforced this in me by being so critical.

Then there was sickness. Anytime I was sick or injured as a child was nothing but an inconvenience to my mother.  She obviously resented taking care of me.  As an adult, she didn’t believe me when something was wrong unless it was very obvious (the flu, a broken toe that was black & blue, etc).  This taught me that I was wrong to be sick or injured.  I’ve actually felt like my body has betrayed me by being sick or injured when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also had me not believing my own symptoms, thinking I must be faking them or at least exaggerating things.

When I realized all of this, I thought there may be others who are going through the same thing, so I figured I should share it.

If you feel the same way, then know you’re not alone. We can change this dysfunctional thinking.

Start by praying about it.  Ask God to show you the truth & ask Him for help healing from it.

I believe that it’s important to get to the root of problems if you wish to heal completely, so to do that, I ask God what is the root of this issue?  Sometimes, He’ll bring a specific memory to my mind.  Other times, several memories come to mind.

Once you see the root cause of your false belief, aside from asking God for more help, also look at the situation objectively.  When you look at it as an outsider rather than a victim, you can see just how evil your abuser is & how wrong the things they taught you were.

Also, look at yourself objectively not through the eyes of someone trained to self hate through narcissistic abuse.  Psalm 139:14 says that we are fearfully & wonderfully made.  Rather than hating your body, consider that verse.   God made you the way you are for a reason, & it is a good reason!  Consider the good things about your body- how you look & the things you can do.  Just because someone told you that you’re ugly or didn’t care when you were sick or injured doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.  What it does mean is that the person who said such things to you has some serious problems!

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The Real You & The False You

Some years ago, I began to realize I didn’t know who I really was.  I was the result of people telling me who I was, how to dress, what to like & not like.  It’s taken a long time but I can say honestly that now, I’ve finally shed that false person & become the person God made me to be.

 

This is very common with children of narcissistic parents.

 

As a child, you learn early on that your job is to please your narcissistic parent at all times no matter the cost.  If there’s something about you that doesn’t please that parent, it’s best to change that into something that does please that parent rather than face the traumatic consequences.  This behavior becomes such a habit, you aren’t even aware that you do it.

 

Eventually you grow up.  Not into the person God created you to be- an adult version of that false self your narcissistic parent forced you to become.

 

While creating the false self worked for surviving childhood with a horribly abusive narcissistic parent, it no longer serves you well as an adult.  Chances are, you’re unhappy & don’t even know why.  Maybe you work at a job you hate.  Even though it’s a good job that pays well, it just doesn’t fulfill you or bring you any joy.  Maybe you wear a style of clothing you hate just because it’s what you feel you’re supposed to wear, thanks to your narcissistic parent.

 

It’s time for this behavior to stop.  Whether or not your narcissistic parent is still a part of your life, it’s time to stop worrying about pleasing your parent & start worry about pleasing yourself.

 

As always, prayer is the best place you can start.  Ask God to help you become the person He made you to be, & be glorified through you.  Ask Him to show you what you need to do to accomplish this.

 

Also, start paying attention to yourself.  This is hard to do, I know.  Narcissistic parents raise their children to ignore themselves & focus on the parent, & that is a tough habit to break.  It needs to be done though!  Pay attention to how you feel about things.  Do you really like that car you drive or is it just because your narcissistic parent said you should drive it?  If your job isn’t fulfilling, ask yourself why?  What about it doesn’t work well for you?  Do you really like vanilla ice cream even though you were always told you didn’t?  Even little things like the ice cream thing are important- your likes & dislikes make you, you.  So pay attention!  The more you pay attention to how you really feel about things, the easier it gets.  And, the more you learn, the more you’ll want to learn.  You’re going to find out that you’re actually a very interesting, special, unique person!

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Getting To Know The Real You

As someone who has been through a lot of narcissistic abuse, like many others, I have had to get to know the real me.  My parents told me who I was my entire life until our relationship ended, & sadly, I believed them for far too long.  I assumed they were right- I was stupid, ugly, fat, a horrible disappointment, wasn’t allowed to have any boundaries, was responsible for fixing other people’s problems, was the reason for any problem in any relationship I had, the world’s worst pet parent & more.

 

In the last few years, I have gotten very serious about dumping their cruel ideas & getting to know who God made me to be.  I hadn’t realized it until today, but in that process, I haven’t forgotten who my parents told me to be.  Instead, I still remember it, but I no longer believe it.  I choose to believe what God says about me rather than their cruel & abusive words.

 

I think remembering what they say is important, at least it is for me, so I’m going to guess it may be for some of you as well.  It’s a good reminder just how abusive & dysfunctional my parents truly are.  That helps me to stay no contact even when the flying monkeys come out.  It also reminds me of how long I tolerated such abuse, how I refuse to tolerate that anymore & how much healing I’ve done in the last few years.

 

Remembering their words also helps me to realize how little they actually knew me.  Typical of narcissists, my parents never took the time to get to know me.   I am absolutely nothing like what they say I am & never have been.  One example is when I was 17 & my mother accused me of having sex with my entire high school football team.  I’ve always seen sex as something to be shared with someone special, & never was promiscuous.  For her to think I was capable of something like that is absolutely insane.  Just more proof of how little she knew me to believe I was capable of something like that.  And, if someone knows me so little, then why should I take their opinions of me seriously?  You only listen to the opinions of someone who knows something about a matter, right?  Would you ask an artist how to fix that pinging sound your engine makes?  No- you’d ask a mechanic.  So why would you give any credence to the words of someone who knows nothing about you?

 

Also, criticisms from a narcissist are often nothing but projection.  They have nothing to do with you & everything to do with the narcissist.  By accusing you of doing things that she actually does, it allows her to be upset about that flaw, to vent her anger or disgust, while accepting no personal responsibility about it or making appropriate changes.  If those criticisms aren’t about you, why would you hold onto them, & think they are?

 

If you think it may help you to remember what your narcissistic parent has said about you as it has me, then give it a try.  Think about what they said about you.  Or maybe write them down since writing often brings clarity that speaking doesn’t.  Chances are, you’ll see how incredibly foolish what was said about you was.  Of course it hurt, but it was also foolish.  You’ll also see how untrue it was.  And, once you realize those were all lies, you can stop believing them & get to know yourself as the wonderful person God made you to be.   xoxo

 

 

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There Is Nothing Wrong With Resting & Self-Care!

I noticed something interest in the last few hours, & I thought I’d share it with you today, Dear Readers.

As many of you know, in 2015, I nearly died from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  In spite of all the time that’s passed, like many others who have survived it, I still live with many symptoms.  They get better or worse, but they’re still there.  All the time.  If this post sounds “off”, I apologize- thinking clearly isn’t my strong point at the moment because that’s part of it when symptoms flare up.  I just wanted to write this out before I forgot everything I wanted to say.

So,  bringing us to what I noticed…

I noticed when I’m way too stressed or going through an exceptionally hard time, something happens to make the symptoms get to the point of me needing to rest, to take time off, because I can’t do anything else.

Lately, I’ve been having a rough time with repressed memories & flashbacks as I mentioned previously.  As if that wasn’t tough enough, at the time of me writing this, it was 1 year ago today that I lost one of my kitties & that anniversary is making me sad.  I have a knack for remembering dates & dates like this always are very hard for me, even days before.

Yesterday evening, my husband was working on my car.  I took a shower while he was doing this.  While in there, I began to feel weird (headache, dizzy, couldn’t think clearly, body aches, shaking, etc.), but thought nothing of it.  When I got out, I came into the living room & heard my car running.  I suddenly knew why I felt so yukky & didn’t think anything of it- carbon monoxide removes my ability to realize if I feel bad, something is wrong.  I quickly found my husband & ask him to move my car away from the house while she’s running because the exhaust was sickening me.  He did, but the damage was already done.  Last night & today, I’ve felt horrible.  Today, I’m resting because there’s nothing else I can do.  Physically & mentally, I’m a whipped pup.

Since I’m finally thinking a little clearer today, I realized this sort of thing happens during especially difficult times.

My point of all this?  I realized that although God didn’t give me my health problems, He has been using them to help me.

My mother has called me lazy ever since I can remember.  As a result, I’ve always worked hard.  Too hard- I rarely took time to relax.  Self-care has been a huge struggle for me, as I feel on some dysfunctional level that it’s selfish & wrong to take care of myself.  Since I’ve even ignored God’s promptings that I need to take care of myself & relax sometimes, I firmly believe God allowed getting sick to happen because now, there are times when I have no choice but to relax & rest.

Please, Dear Reader, learn from my mistakes!!  I know so many adult children of narcissistic parents who ignore their mental & physical health because they don’t want to feel selfish or lazy by taking care of themselves as I have.  This is so wrong!!  Even God rests!

Genesis 2:2  “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.”  (NIV)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with resting!  Self-care is vital to being healthy, physically & mentally, & frequent rest is a part of that.  I know shutting off the internal, critical voice calling you lazy or selfish is hard, but please try to do it for your own sake before you end up sick like I have.  I should’ve listened to God’s promptings years ago, but I kept ignoring them.  As a result, I believe God had no other choice but to allow this to happen to force me to rest before I killed myself by neglecting my needs.  I wouldn’t wish this on you, so please, make appropriate changes in your life.  You have every right to take care of yourself.

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Those Who Have Been Abused Don’t Think They Deserve Care

Abusers destroy their victim’s self-esteem.  The more completely they can destroy that, the more completely they can rule their victim.  Yet in spite of the destruction, many victims reach a point of breaking away from their abuser, whether the person is a spouse, friend or parent.

 

Unfortunately, that only is the beginning.  So much damage is done, especially to the self-esteem.  That low self-esteem causes all kinds of problems for a victim, including believing that she is unworthy of care.  Abusers make sure their victims know that they don’t matter, which means their pain doesn’t matter either.  That false belief can follow a person for years even after the abuse has ended.

 

So many victims don’t believe they deserve to be cared for or even validated, when nothing could be further from the truth!  They are easy to spot too- they are the ones saying their situation “wasn’t so bad,” or, “So & So had it much worse than me,” or even, “It was only mental/sexual abuse.”

 

Dear Reader, today I want you to know that you *do* matter!  Your abuser was absolutely wrong!  You deserve to have your pain acknowledged & validated!  It doesn’t matter if someone else “had it worse” than you- abuse is painful & destructive, period!

 

I know it’s hard to really understand that you matter after years of being told you don’t, but it’s the truth!  God has a purpose for everyone & everything in this world, which includes you.  You matter & God loves you!

 

If you truly want to heal, you need to start by understanding that you have been through some terrible things.  Acknowledge that rather than saying it wasn’t a big deal or someone else had it worse.  What was done to you was wrong!  You matter, & you didn’t deserve to have those horrible things done to you.

 

Also, please remember how much God loves you.  Healing is the hardest thing you may do in your life- you need His love & support.  He truly will help you to cope & even to learn to love yourself.

 

Romans 8:35-39  “35 Who shall ever separate us from the love of [a]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written and forever remains written, “For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.”  37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (AMP)

 

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Even Strong People Have Needs

I’ve always been a strong person.  In fact, the night of my first nervous breakdown, thanks to my mother’s verbal attack, I didn’t sleep at all, then went to work the following morning.  That’s pretty strong!

 

As the years have passed, I developed C-PTSD that left me much less able to cope.  Three years after that, I got a brain injury from passing out from carbon monoxide & hitting my head.  The TBI changed me a great deal.  One of those changes is I’m no longer the strong chick I once was.  I get overwhelmed by the tiniest things, such as having to change my daily routine.  And, if I’m already stressed, it gets even worse.

 

I’m still getting used to not being strong anymore.  I’ve noticed though, that people around me haven’t seemed to notice the change.  People still think I’m able to handle pretty much anything which isn’t even close to reality.

 

When you’re a strong person, people tend to forget that you need help or need a break sometimes, too.  Even if you haven’t changed like I have, you still need help or a break.  Everyone does, but often people forget that when they are accustomed to relying on you.

 

If you are in this position, then it’s time for a change.  No one, no matter how strong, can keep going indefinitely.  Everyone needs help sometimes, & there is no shame in asking for that help.  It’s time to start telling people you need a break or asking for help.  I know it’s hard to do when you aren’t used to doing it, so don’t forget to ask God to help you in this area!

 

Ask God also to help you to have & enforce good boundaries.  Don’t keep pushing yourself when you’re exhausted.  You have the right to take care of your physical & mental health!

 

Remember, “no” can be a very good word sometimes.  If people look to you for help or support constantly, they aren’t looking to God.  He is where they should be looking, not you.  God should be that person’s everything, not you!

 

One thing that helps me a lot is alone time.  If you’re an introvert too, then be sure to tell people you need time alone to recharge.  Some extroverts don’t like to hear that, but that isn’t your problem.  Make sure they understand that it’s not them- alone time makes you feel like being around others makes them feel.  Take the alone time you need.  Or, if you’re an extrovert, then plan fun times with good friends or go to parties so you can recharge.

 

Remember, just because you’re strong doesn’t mean you need to be strong 24/7/365.  Everyone needs breaks & help sometimes.  There is no shame in that!  Besides, taking care of yourself also means you’ll be more able to help others when they do need you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Do You Talk To Yourself?

 

Like I said in my last post, I realized how incredibly verbally abusive I am to myself.  My narcissistic mother has always been extremely critical of me, as have the other narcissists I’ve been in relationship with.  As a result, I copied their behavior & became very critical of myself.  Unfortunately I think this is quite normal for survivors of narcissistic abuse.

 

As I said, I was berating myself a few days ago for my anxiety levels being so high, even though it’s a normal part of C-PTSD.  In fact, many other times, I have told myself I’m stupid, weak & a failure for having C-PTSD.  I have said similar things to myself for other reasons, such as for being depressed after losing someone I love or even being sick.

 

Does this type of self-talk sound familiar to you?  If so, then like me, you need to put a stop to it!  This kind of talk is abusive!  It is basically continuing the verbal abuse of your narcissistic mother!  Why do that?!  Didn’t she do it enough?!

 

No one deserves such vicious abuse, but especially from yourself.  Absolutely nothing good comes from it!  Only bad. This sort of verbal abuse devastates & can destroy your self-esteem.  It adds to a root of toxic shame.

 

I realize it’s probably such a habit, you do it without even noticing.  That’s how it’s been with me.  I’ve noticed it some times, but never thought much about it until the other night.  If you haven’t really paid attention to your own self talk like me, then I urge you to start now.  And, if you discover your self talk is bad as mine, then it’s time to start showing yourself some compassion for a change.

 

I’m sure making changes in self talk isn’t easy.  It’s just something you’ve always done, talk to yourself that way.  Even so, I think paying attention to it & changing the negative words into more accepting ones is doable.  It seems to me it should be a matter of quitting a bad habit & turning it into a good one by showing yourself the same understanding & compassion you show other people.  It will require focus & patience with yourself.

 

Also, ask God for help as well.  He will help!  He always does!

 

Do you have other ideas?  If so, I’d love to hear them.  Feel free to post them in the comments section or email me privately at CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com

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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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Discovering Who You Are After Narcissistic Abuse

I had a rough night last night, full of strange & upsetting dreams.  This happens often, & although I’m accustomed to it, it still is very difficult.

 

One of last night’s dreams was about being at a gigantic shopping mall with someone (I know a female, but no clue who she was or even what she looked like).  We were in a Books A Million bookstore, & for some reason, I needed to go elsewhere in the mall.  I went to where I needed to go, then couldn’t find my way back to Books A Million.  I realized I’d left my cell phone with her, & was getting more & more panicky because I couldn’t even call her.  Being agoraphobic, I also was very uncomfortable being around so many people & in a public place, especially one with which I wasn’t familiar.  Plus, the mall was full of very upscale stores like Neiman Marcus & Lord & Taylor.  I’m not comfortable in such stores, even though I appreciate their quality merchandise.  I walked all over this huge mall & was very tired.  I went into several stores because I remembered Books A Million was behind a big department store, but couldn’t find them.  I woke up eventually & was very anxious.  Eventually I went back to sleep, & had an almost identical dream, which meant waking up again very anxious.

 

According to dreammoods.com, dreaming of a mall means you are trying to establish your sense of self.  Interesting, because I’ve been trying to do just that for several years, & have had similar mall dreams for several years.

 

I think many adult children of narcissistic mothers are on  the same boat as me.  We grow up learning that our sole purpose is to please Mother, to do whatever she wants, to behave as she wants us to behave, to like or dislike whatever she likes or dislikes.  This kind of treatment means we grow up as a rather empty shell, with no real awareness of who we are.

 

Do you know who you are?  Are you very aware of things you like & don’t like?  How certain things make you feel?  Your dreams, needs & wants?

 

If not, maybe today is the day you need to decide to get you back, & lose the person your narcissistic mother made you to be.

 

How do you do this??  To start with, start listening to yourself!  Pay attention to how things make you feel.  Anything!  You will learn pretty quickly what you do & don’t like, what qualities you like & don’t like in  other people, & even what things you may be interested in trying that you’ve never tried before.  As God to help you to be aware of these things.  It can be awkward at first since your narcissistic mother did her best to make sure you never paid attention to your feelings, needs, etc., so God’s help is vital!

 

Also step out of your comfort zone a bit.  For example, I’m normally very feminine, but I’ve learned I do enjoy fixing my car if I can- not exactly the most feminine activity a lady can do.  It was rather uncomfortable for me to poke around under my hood the first couple of times I did it, but even so, I kind of liked it.  And, as time passed, I’ve gotten more & more comfortable fixing my car as well as gained a lot of knowledge.  You can do the same thing- try painting a picture if you’ve never done it before, or read a completely different genre of book than you normally do, or go somewhere you normally don’t go such as a museum of modern art.  Step out & you’ll soon find out more about yourself.  If you aren’t sure what to do, ask God for creative ideas.

 

And, accept those things that you discover about yourself without judgement.  That can be very hard to do, especially when you are so accustomed to being judged constantly by your narcissistic mother.  But truly- so long as what you do & enjoy makes you happy & isn’t hurting anyone, what is wrong with that?!  My mother & mother in-law, both narcissists, hate the fact I work on my car & have ridiculed me for it.  But you know something?  I realized that my mother in-law is jealous, because not only doesn’t she know the first thing about cars, she doesn’t even drive.  She also is very dependent on her husband, where I’m not.  As for my mother, she is more concerned with appearances than anything else, & her daughter working on a car, doing a “man’s” job embarrasses her.  In both cases, THEY are the ones with the problem, not me.  I’m sure you will find the same thing once you start stepping out & getting to know yourself better. Those who are judging you are the ones with the problem, not you.

 

Something else I’ve learned- many of us adult children of narcissistic mothers are kind of quirky.  Once we start getting to know ourselves, it turns out we don’t usually follow the crowd.  We like unique things.  Accept the quirkiness!  How boring would the world be if everyone liked the same things?  Enjoy & appreciate your differences!  Those differences make you the unique & special  person  that God created you to be.

 

Learning who God made you to be isn’t an overnight process. I’ve been doing it off & on for several years now, & I still learn little things about myself periodically.  But, it’s been fun & it’s given me so much more peace.  I am much more aware of what I like & don’t like, what I’m willing or unwilling to do & my needs. In fact, I’m also becoming much more accepting of having C-PTSD than I once was.  While most people who haven’t been through narcissistic abuse don’t understand C-PTSD & will judge or even ridicule those of us with it, I am accepting the fact that this awful disorder isn’t a sign of flaws in me- it is a sign that I have been through some really bad things.  I have survived, although with some scars.  It feels good to accept that fact instead of beating myself up for having this awful disorder.

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