Tag Archives: self

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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