Tag Archives: sickness

Why Do Narcissists Doubt Those Who Say They’re Sick?

If you have a narcissist in your life, no doubt that you have had the unpleasant experience of telling that person that you are sick only to have them not believe you.  I certainly have.  I can’t count how many times my mother didn’t believe me that I had the flu or some sickness.  She didn’t even believe I was injured when clearly I was limping or bruised.  In fact, after she threw me into a wall when I was 19 & I had back pain for the next 10 years, she deliberately would hand me heavy items, smack me in the back & tell people I was faking the injury.

Does any part of my story sound familiar to you?  I would guess it does.  It’s so upsetting & frustrating, isn’t it?  Even if you don’t care what this person thinks of you, it’s hurtful knowing they actually think you’d be capable of lying, let alone about something as serious as your health.  It also can be difficult because if the narcissist is talented enough at gaslighting, you may start to doubt yourself & believe what the narcissist says.  I know, it sounds hard to believe, but it can happen.  I had plenty of times where I wondered if my mother was right, & I really was faking my back injury.

I used to wonder why this happens.  Why don’t narcissists believe people when they say they’re sick or injured?  Eventually, I think I figured it out.

As anyone who knows anything about narcissism knows, narcissists lack empathy.  If another person is sick or injured, they simply couldn’t care less.  So what if someone is suffering?  It doesn’t affect the narcissist, so it doesn’t matter to the narcissist.  If they can convince a person that they truly aren’t sick or injured, maybe the person will stop “bothering” the narcissist with their complaints & problems.

There is also the attention factor.  Narcissists expect to be the center of attention at all times.  If someone is sick or injured, other people will care.  Their attention will be on the patient, not the narcissist.  This is a problem for any narcissist.  If they can convince others that the patient isn’t really sick or injured, they may be able to divert all attention back to themselves.

Along the lines of getting attention is the fact that many narcissists will exaggerate or even outright fake illness or injury for attention.  Not long before the last time I spoke to my mother, she had a trip to the emergency room.  Suddenly she was violently sick to her stomach one day, & my father called an ambulance.  It turned out simply to be vertigo.  Highly annoying, yes, but not serious.  A few hours at the emergency room, & she was home again.  When I spoke to her that last time, she mentioned how she “was in the hospital.”  That comment made it sound much more serious than it actually was, didn’t it?

There are also those who will make themselves sick or hurt themselves in order to gain attention from their loved ones & from medical staff.  Munchausen Syndrome is what that is called.

I believe that because some narcissists will fake or exaggerate their own health issues or even harm themselves, they believe other people do the same.  Narcissists tend to see everyone as alike.  They expect other people to do the exact same things that they do, so if they will fake problems, it’s only natural to them to assume that other people will do the same. They can’t seem to comprehend that other people don’t act like they do.

The next time the narcissist in your life doesn’t believe you about being sick or injured, I hope you will remember this post.  Their lack of belief is their problem, & it has nothing to do with you at all.

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Filed under Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Illness In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse

Many of us who survived narcissistic abuse have trouble with being sick or injured.  We repeatedly have heard statements like,  “Others have it worse so you should stop complaining!”  “That’s no big deal.  What I have is so much worse!”  “You have a bad back?  It’s nothing compared to mine..”  These kind of things sink in.

As I’ve mentioned here before, last February, I got sick with carbon monoxide poisoning & when I passed out, hit my head, resulting in a concussion.  Since that time, I haven’t fully recovered, & may never do so.  In spite of that knowledge & the symptoms I live with on a daily basis, there have been plenty of times I wonder if I’m faking it.  My husband was floored when I told him that, & he said it’s impossible- I even look different when the symptoms are really bad & I can’t fake that look.

I firmly believe my irrational behavior is a direct result of being raised by a narcissistic mother.

As a child, I rarely saw a doctor or dentist, not even when I experienced anorexia when I was around 10 years old.  Fevers didn’t mean anything, I was fine according to my mother.  She made sure I knew it was hard on her if I had a problem.  Mother’s Day, 1986- I was on crutches & my father had hurt his back.  She has complained since that she had to sacrifice her Mother’s Day waiting on us hand & foot, it was such a hard time for her.  As an adult, any problem I have, she doesn’t believe.  I have had arthritis in my knees since 2002.  I told my father that was why I couldn’t do more to help my parents out sometimes around their home.  He told my mother & her response was to call me later & ask if that was even true.  Have I even seen a doctor?  Did she say I need a knee replacement?  That’s all I need- to get my knees replaced, it’s no big deal.  For 10 years I lived with back pain she caused, yet she accused me of faking.  She would slap me in the back or hand me something heavy every time she saw me.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?  If so, please know I understand your pain & frustration & that you are ok!  This is a normal reaction to an abnormal lack of empathy.

I know it is maddening when you are raised this way & as an adult, you don’t even believe yourself that you are sick or injured.  The doctor said you have a problem or you feel the pain, so why do you doubt it?  Then add in feeling that you don’t deserve to take it easy when you need to because someone else has it worse, & you really feel awful.

It’s time to start rejecting what the narcissist says.  Remember, they say nothing to help others- everything they say & do is about themselves.  Your narcissistic mother accuses you of faking your illness?  That’s because she is projecting her bad actions onto you.  She’s faked an illness before.  She says what you’re experiencing is no big deal?  It’s because she doesn’t want to be bothered with your problems, because it doesn’t provide her with the coveted narcissistic supply.

Trust the symptoms are real.  How could you fake them anyway?!  You aren’t doing this for attention or sympathy!  Narcissists do that, not normal, mentally stable people.

Another helpful tip is to read about the disorder or disease you have.  It helps make it more real.  Once I read about Edgar Allan Poe’s experiences with carbon monoxide poisoning, it helped me tremendously!  I realized that someone else felt the exact same way I did, I wasn’t crazy & I wasn’t making anything up!

While you are coming to accept what is happening, also don’t forget to ask God to heal you as well.  He wants you to be happy & healthy!  Allow Him to do that for you!

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

Stop Hating Your Weaknesses!

If there is one thing most adult children of narcissists do, often even years into their healing, is berate themselves.  Any weakness or flaw is cause to tell themselves how dumb or clumsy they are.  God forbid they get sick or injured, because then they become useless in their minds.

 

I do it myself, in spite of telling people to give themselves a break, it’s not right, etc.  I’d always done this but it went into overdrive in 1990 when my mother threw me into a wall & hurt my back, causing me to need to quit working outside the home a few months later.  I felt useless, no longer being able to earn a paycheck.  In 1996 when agoraphobia developed, I felt even more useless since I couldn’t go out alone without panicking.  2002, I got arthritis in my knees & was limited a bit more as to what I could physically do.  2012, C-PTSD fully developed, making me feel even more useless.  Then in February, 2015, I suffered carbon monoxide poisoning which made me pass out & hit my head causing a concussion, & I felt more useless yet once again when I learned most likely many of my symptoms would be life long & were untreatable.

 

Recently I was telling myself how useless I was because of all of these things.  I said something to God about being useless.  I asked too why these things have happened?  I never wanted to be a housewife or work at home- I liked a couple of jobs I had a great deal & would’ve been quite happy making either of them into a career.  Instead I’m at home, not making a lot of money which means I’m also putting pressure on my husband financially.  This just sucks!!  God listened patiently & reminded me of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 which says:

 

“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”  (MSG)

What a message!!!  It’s a great reminder that everyone has limitations & God will work through them, not just your strengths!   You are capable of great things because you are imperfect!  Even this blog post is evidence of God’s ability to work through weaknesses.  Normally, I jot notes down for posts I want to write, because my memory is so bad.  But this one, I didn’t.  I just asked Him to remind me to write it.  Not only did He remind me, He showed me what all to include in it.

 

Don’t get me wrong- there is certainly nothing wrong with asking God to heal you.  He wants what is best for you, & often that does mean healing your physical or mental health.  Sometimes though, there is a very good reason that you aren’t healed, & you certainly can ask God why.  Maybe like the apostle Paul, you could lose your humility if you were healed, failing to rely on God.  Or maybe there is another reason.

 

God told me in my case, I’ve worked VERY hard all my life.  Not as much working hard at a job, but working hard to appease the narcissists in my life (including anticipating their needs or how to deal with them the most effectively), keeping my emotions in control so as not to upset or “feed” them & trying to do everything perfectly so as not to be criticized or ridiculed.  Now, I have no choice but to rest.  My body & mind demand it often, & frankly… it feels good.  Until the carbon monoxide poisoning happened, I pushed through any illness or injury so as not to be lazy.  Growing up, my mother often said I was lazy & as an adult, I’ve always worked to prove I wasn’t.  Now?  I kinda am, & it’s OK!  My mind & body demand it, so I have to respect that in order to stay healthy.  Maybe your case is like mine, & you too need that rest after a lifetime of working hard.  Rather than feel badly about it, why not enjoy your rest?  Accept it as a well deserved rest rather than hating it.

 

Dear Reader, you are a valuable person.  God loves you a great deal & made you as you are for a reason.  It’s time to let Him work through you, weaknesses & all!

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

“You Don’t Look Sick”

I’ve been reading a lot lately about people who have a disease or mental illness, who have the handicapped plates on their car receiving nasty notes on their car that say awful things like “You don’t look sick.  Shame on you for using that parking place when someone who is really sick needs it!”  Or, others who have problems that don’t show outward signs are faced with family members & friends who don’t believe they’re actually sick.  These people are accused of things like looking for attention, faking it so they don’t have to work or even faking their illness so they can get certain drugs.

I’ve been on the receiving end of this myself.  Having C-PTSD, some people think is a walk in the park.  If only!  Try to handle a flashback when you have to focus every ounce of strength on staying in reality versus getting lost in the flashback & I dare you to tell me it’s no big deal.  Earlier this year, I’ve also been through getting a concussion when I passed out from carbon monoxide poisoning.  Each day is now a gamble on how functional I can be, because both have done damage.  But, since I look fine, & usually can hold a conversation fairly well, people assume I’m fine,  or some will flat out insult me when my symptoms show up.

It can be so hard not to internalize people’s cruel, thoughtless words!  All too often, I berate myself for being lazy when I don’t feel up to simple tasks or call myself stupid when I can’t remember things or can’t find the right words to express myself.  Internalizing such things demoralizes you & makes you doubt the legitimacy of your symptoms.  It can make you feel as if you’re crazy.

When I was 19, my mother threw me into a wall so hard, I had back pain for the next 10 years.  No one believed me, except for one chiropractor & my ex husband then later my current husband.  Everyone else said I was faking it, lazy, etc.  It sank in.  I doubted myself many times.  Even in the midst of awful pain, I thought I was making it up so I didn’t have to work (the most common thing I heard).  On good days when the pain wasn’t so bad, I was convinced I had to be lying & my back wasn’t so bad.  It was a terrible feeling!

The fact is, with most injuries, diseases & disorders, you have good & bad days.  Just because last Tuesday was a good day doesn’t mean you were lying about the other bad days!  You simply had a good day!

Most people seem to lack empathy for those suffering from debilitating health problems.  If you are one of them, STOP IT!  How do you think you would feel if you had a serious problem & someone  told you to get over it, stop faking it or even you don’t look sick?  You wouldn’t tolerate it happily, so why should someone else?

If you are someone who has been on the receiving end of such ignorant, heartless statements, please remember that the person saying such nonsense has no idea what you live with each day.  Ignore what they say.  You know what you live with on a daily basis.  You know your painful symptoms all too well.  Ignore their words & believe what you see & feel, what you live with daily.  Those things will show you that you are sick & that you aren’t lazy, faking, etc.  While you take care of yourself, don’t forget to ask God to heal you.  And, pray for the heartless person as well.  Ask God to help them to have an empathetic, compassionate heart so they don’t continue to hurt you or other people.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Illness & Injury In Adult Children Of Narcissists

As many of you know, I got very sick in February.  My fireplace’s flue wasn’t functioning right, which resulted in me getting carbon monoxide poisoning.  At its height, I passed out, hitting my head on the log holder beside the fireplace, passing out for around 25 minutes & getting a concussion.  It’s been a long six months living with all the symptoms, & I’m still getting used to them.

A few days ago, I felt really bad because of it.  Everything on my body ached, especially my head, I was exhausted even though I hadn’t done anything tiring, my moods were all over the place & I kept forgetting things.  Yet in spite of the obvious & annoying symptoms, I wondered if I was faking them!

This baffled me.  I don’t know how to convince myself of the body aches or make myself moody.  Besides, I was home alone- no one knew how I felt.  What would be the point of faking it with no witnesses besides my cats & dog?!  They weren’t going to tell anyone anything.  So why would I think this?  I didn’t even get to ask God before He started showing me some things.  I believe what I learned may help you as well.

God reminded me of many things that I experienced that invalidated any suffering I felt when sick or injured.  There are many more but here are a few examples:

  • When I was 5, my mother woke me up one morning by tickling me.  To get away from her I hit my head on the edge of the bookcase headboard on the bed.  She called the pediatrician who saw me then sent me to the ER.  I ended up with several stitches & had lost a lot of blood.  To this day, my mother says how hard that episode was for her.  She also complains that when she took me to the mall after leaving the ER (WHY?!) I wanted new crayons & I already had so many.  Seriously?  $1.50 on new crayons after that experience shouldn’t have been a big deal.
  • In elementary school, I hurt my foot in gym class, & my mother wrote a note excusing me from gym.  That teacher told me I’d never amount to anything if I refused to participate.  I was a failure, lazy & other cruel things.
  • In fifth grade, I got the chicken pox.  For whatever reason, it lasted 2-3 weeks & I was utterly miserable the entire time.  My mother complained about being “stuck in the house” because of me, so my parents & I went out to dinner while I was sick.  She told me to lay down in the back seat & hide.  She also said to tell my friends she was taking me to the doctor if anyone saw me in the car as she drove out of the neighborhood.  I never saw a doctor, by the way.  She did get me two presents during that time, which made me think she actually did love me.
  • Towards the end of ninth grade, I hurt my foot.  One weekend several days later, my mother wanted to go window shopping & I said I’d rather wait in the car.  She brags that she knew if I wouldn’t go shopping, I had to be in pain, then she got me to the doctor a couple of days later.   She later complained about how her mother’s day was ruined that year because I was on crutches & my father had hurt his back.
  • During that time on crutches, my class was to visit the local high school to see where we were attending school the following year.  My mother sent me to school that day, even knowing how big that campus was & I was on crutches.  Then while trying to keep up with my classmates, I stopped using the crutches briefly & a classmate made fun of me “faking” it.
  • When I was 19 & my mother threw me into a wall, I had back pain for 10 years.  For those 10 years, the only people who believed I was in pain were my chiropractor, my ex husband & later my current husband.  The doctors, others I knew & especially my mother said I was faking the injury to get out of working, I was lazy, & I had a low threshold of pain.
  • In 2010, I lost several furbabies & was under a lot of stress.  I got the flu 3 times, probably from the stress compromising my immune system.  My mother & another person said it was my fault for not getting a flu shot.
  • Last year, as my father was recovering from a stroke, I volunteered to help my parents get things done around their home on Sundays.  Unfortunately, the arthritis in my knees didn’t appreciate it & I had to quit.  I told my mother this & she ignored me.  My father listened & understood.  He mentioned it to my mother who called me & asked if I “really had arthritis like my father claimed.  Had I even seen a doctor about this”  Just one of many times she’s doubted I had something wrong with me.  She then told me if I’d just lose some weight, I’d be fine.
  • I’ve been insulted for how bad my memory is & how hard a time I have finding the right words sometimes even when the other person knows what causes these problems.  (C-PTSD made these things bad, but the carbon monoxide poisoning & concussion made them much, much worse.)

 

Incidents like these instilled some false beliefs in me:

  1. My pain or illness wasn’t as bad as other people’s.
  2. My pain or illness didn’t matter, but other people’s did.
  3. I shouldn’t bother anyone with any illness or injury.
  4. I just want attention, so I fake illness or injury in an attempt to get it.  I’m not really sick or hurt.
  5. On the off chance I really was sick or injured, it was all my fault & I’m weak.  I deserve whatever I get.
  6. I don’t deserve to have help while recovering.
  7. If I don’t look sick or have other solid, irrefutable evidence of illness or injury, then nothing is wrong.

 

Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I believe, set the stage for me to believe these ridiculous ideas easier than if I’d had a healthy upbringing & had normal self-esteem.
I never realized any of this until a few days ago.  These false beliefs were so deeply ingrained in me that it took me until age 44 & healing from a life threatening situation to understand why I handle things so poorly when I’m sick or injured.  Aside from wondering if I’m faking whatever the problem is, I try to cover it up so nobody knows I have the problem.  I also trivialize it.  For example, when I broke a toe last year, I said, “It’s just a broken toe.  No big deal” even though it was my big toe (which I learned sees a surprising amount of activity) & a year later, still hurts often.  I also never used crutches or sought medical care.

Dear Reader, please learn from my mistakes.  If you too have a hard time admitting you’re sick or hurt when you really are, ask God to show you why.  Chances are, you have stories similar to mine.  If so, it’s time to reject those false beliefs that cruel people instilled in you.  You are allowed to have problems, you are allowed to ask people for help in your time of need.  You aren’t weak or looking for attention if you’re sick or injured- you are simply sick or injured!  Your pain is just as bad as other people’s & just as valid as other people’s.  There is nothing to be ashamed of if you get sick or hurt.  It happens to everyone at some point in their lives.

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

Who To Talk To?

Mark 6:4 ” But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor (deference, reverence) except in his [own] country and among [his] relatives and in his [own] house.” (AMP)

This Scripture came to mind recently as it reminded me of something..

It seems like so many people have a serious physical or mental health problem, yet their families don’t believe they are as sick as they say, are faking their illness for attention or only to get those ‘good drugs.’ Personally I have been told to get over my past, learn to fix things with my parents, think more positive & just get a pill- that will fix it. I’ve also heard that I am wrong-that my parents aren’t so bad, I need to cut them some slack since they aren’t getting any younger yanno…

I have tried in vain to make other people close to me see the truth of my situation to no avail, & I have seen other people do the same with people close to them. Witnessing this made me realize exactly how fruitless it really can, & that some people, often those closest to you, just do not care. Unfortunately, people are so hungry for validation, that we sometimes keep beating that dead horse.

While it is certainly understandable to want that validation, especially from those closest to us, sometimes it is time to realize it won’t happen. When discussing your symptoms or your condition, sometimes you can tell when the other person is not interested in the subject at hand. They may look bored or try to change the subject repeatedly. They also may say invalidating things such as, “it can’t be that bad,” “It must be nice for you, not having to get up & go to work in the morning,” or defend the person who abused you “Well, I’m sure she didn’t mean it that way,” or “she did the best she could by you.”

If your conversation takes a turn like this, it’s time to make a decision- is it worth continuing to try to convince this person that you have an actual problem or should you just stop?

I have decided to stop wasting my time. It just isn’t worth the frustration on my part or making the other person angry. It hurts, but I have accepted that some people just aren’t capable of the empathy or compassion it takes to be supportive of me.

People who genuinely know & care won’t be invalidating. They will be supportive & not judgmental. They know you well enough to know you aren’t making anything up or exaggerating. People like that are a wonderful blessing!

I am also very blessed with wonderful, wonderful fans who email me often not only to say thank you for something I wrote that helped them, but also sometimes to offer me encouragement. 🙂 It seems strange to me that people I’ve never met care more than some who are closer to me, but apparently it happens. Obviously Jesus understood it well & experienced it firsthand.

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June 24, 2012

Hello, Dear Readers!

Today my post is to ask a favor… please pray for my wonderful Chow Chow mix, Bear.  He’s spent plenty of time with the vet the last few days.  I am worrying about my poor guy- he obviously isn’t feeling well, which is so unusual for him.  He’s been healthy & strong for his entire 11 years, until the last week or so.  Naturally this has me very concerned for him.  Any & all prayers are greatly appreciated!!  Thank you!

This is a pic of my handsome boy with his equally handsome little buddy, Chester… 🙂

 

Image

buddies lounging on the sofa together..

 

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