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The Real Truth About Denial

Today’s post admittedly sounds different than my usual posts. I hope you’ll continue reading anyway, because I believe the message is important.

I woke up recently from a nightmare, as I often do.  In it, I was driving a young girl somewhere while she used my phone to call one of my relatives.  As a funny aside, I know in the dream I blocked my number from showing up on the relative’s phone when she called.. just as I would do in real life.  Anyway the phone was on speaker, so I could hear the conversation.  It sounded innocent enough.  I was fairly guarded anyway, because although I haven’t had any negative interactions with this relative, I also haven’t had any positive ones either.  I wasn’t sure if this person was safe or unsafe.  This relative asked to speak to me, & the girl looked at me before answering.  I quietly said, “maybe tomorrow” & she said that to the other person.   Suddenly this person’s demeanor went from normal to viciously trashing me.  She said I was selfish to the core, a spoiled brat & many more awful things that my family has said to & about me.  I grabbed the phone to hang up as I drove & that is the point I woke up. 

It triggered a nasty emotional flashback as I woke up.  It emotionally took me right back to the time when my father was dying, when my family attacked me constantly & daily for his final almost three weeks because I didn’t say goodbye to him.  When I was able to physically calm down a bit, I began to pray, as I often do when I have nightmares.  This turned out to be very interesting.   God not only comforted me as usual, but He also told me some things.

God reminded me of that awful time when my family was attacking me, & how He told me then that they did so partly out of denial.  They wanted to believe my father was a great guy, our family was great & I was the problem.  Me not saying goodbye threatened their denial, which is mostly why they were so cruel to me at that time.

He also told me about facing truth opposed to living in denial.  He said denial isn’t simply a poor coping skill.  It comes straight from the devil himself.  Denial is about lying to yourself rather than facing the truth.  Since the enemy hates truth, of course something coming from him would embrace lies & reject truth.  John 8:44 in the Living Bible says, “For you are the children of your father the devil and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and a hater of truth—there is not an iota of truth in him. When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars..” 

People who are deeply entrenched in denial hate anyone who is a threat to it, & will do anything to protect it.  The reason being, God said, is that they become “entwined” with the enemy.  I found that choice of words interesting, so I looked it up to be sure of exactly what it meant.  According to Cambridge dictionary’s website, the definition of entwined is “closely connected or unable to be separated.” 

A person gets into this entwined state so subtly, they fail to recognize it.  It starts out as learning something painful.  Anyone’s natural reaction to pain, physical or emotional, is to pull away from it.  The devil uses this reaction to his advantage.  He convinces people just don’t think about the pain & it won’t hurt anymore.  Simple, subtle & very effective.  This happens repeatedly with other painful things, & the more it happens, the more entwined someone becomes with the enemy.

When a person is deeply entwined with the enemy, they can’t see their bad behavior as bad.  They are so entangled with him that they will not see truth.  They almost never see how their denial hurts other people.  On the rare occasion that they do see it, they are so deceived that they see any person who tries telling the truth as a real problem.  That means they think hurting anyone who tells the truth is acceptable & sometimes even a good thing to do.  With my situation that I mentioned earlier, God showed me at that time that my family truly thought they were doing the right & even Godly thing by trying to harass, bully & shame me into saying goodbye to my father.

Being involved this way with the enemy doesn’t mean they aren’t entwined with him in other areas as well.  Since he found one access point into a person’s life, he certainly can find others just as easily.

I know that all of this may sound hard to believe.  I get that.  However, I firmly believe this to be accurate since it can be backed up by Scripture.  Consider Ephesians 6:12 also from the Living Bible.  It says, “For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.”  Nowhere in the Bible does it say that the devil & his minions stopped attacking people.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Psalm 55:3, Psalm 38:20, Psalm 64:1, Psalm 69:4, Ephesians 6:11 & 2 Timothy 4:18 are just a few examples.

Please seriously consider what I have said here today.  Pray about it for yourself, & ask God to show you the truth if you have doubts.

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

My New Alexa Skills

I’ve gotten a bit creative lately. I made some amazon skills. The skills are “Scriptures On Narcissism,” “Narcissism Facts” & “Biblical Affirmations. There are links to all three on my website at:

https://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com/home/alexa-skills/

These skills work with any Alexa device & are totally free. I don’t make any profit from them.

If there are any other skills you think would be interesting, I’d love to hear your ideas!

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The Phrase, “Hurting People Hurt People”

If you have been subjected to abuse, chances are excellent you’ve heard the phrase, “hurting people hurt people.”  And, my guess is when you first heard this phrase, you immediately felt badly for being upset about being abused.  Either you felt guilt for being upset, because the abuser is wounded & has no control over acting out of those wounds or downright shame for your feelings.  I have felt that shame so I understand!  I also can tell you that there is no reason to feel that guilt or shame!  That phrase is a lie!

Saying that hurting people hurt people assumes all who have been abused have zero control over their reactions.  Abusers are absolved of any & all guilt with this phrase, & that is completely wrong!  There are very few people who truly are unaware of the differences between right & wrong.  Most people are aware of the differences.  Narcissists are aware, too.  The difference is they don’t care what is right & wrong.  They only care about what they want.  They shouldn’t be lumped into the same category as those who are so damaged they truly don’t recognize the difference between right & wrong.     

Another problem with claiming that hurting people hurt people is that it means their victims can’t be angry at being abused.  How absurd is that?!  No matter the circumstances of the abuse, abuse is wrong & every single person who has been abused should be angry about the wrongness of what was perpetrated on them!  People need to have a healthy anger at things that are wrong & cruel, because not to feel that anger normalizes the behaviors, & such things never should be normalized!

I do realize that many narcissists come from a place of being traumatized & abused.  My narcissistic mother was one of them.  Her narcissistic mother was abusive to her until she died when my mother was in her 60’s, her mother in her 80’s.  My mother’s pain isn’t solely responsible for her narcissism, however.  I think it started that just ball rolling.  She adapted narcissistic behaviors when she was a child as a way to cope with her pain & gain attention.  However, I also believe she, like many other narcissists who experienced similar circumstances, shut down the natural empathy that most people are born with by ignoring any guilt for her hurtful actions.  The more a person does this, the less affected they become by the pain & suffering of other people.  They lose their empathy & become full fledged narcissists who enjoy hurting & manipulating other people.  People who do this shouldn’t be given a free pass to be abusive because they were abused!  Many people have suffered abuse yet turned out to be good, caring, kind & empathic people. 

And lastly, the final problem I have with this phrase is that it shuts down victims.  It makes people feel as if they can’t be angry with their abusers because that poor person was hurting, too, & they didn’t have any better way to deal with their pain.  That is completely unfair!  Victims never should be shut down from discussing their traumatic experiences!  Discussing such events is helpful when it comes to coping with pain & healing from it as well as helping other people.  There is no valid reason a person should be made to feel as if they need to stop discussing their trauma!  Many people who make others feel that way only do so because they are uncomfortable.  Either they don’t want to hear about it because it makes them think less of the abuser they are so fond of, or they are reminded of their own pain that they are too cowardly to face.  Neither situation is healthy & both situations are cruel to victims of abuse!

If you come across anyone who tells you “hurting people hurt people” when you mention your traumatic experiences, then I hope & pray you will remember what I have said & that it empowers you.  Don’t feel guilty or stop discussing your experiences!  While it’s best to stop discussing them with unhealthy people, that doesn’t mean you should be quiet.  Set the world on fire with your story!  You will heal while also helping others to heal!

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Humor As A Helpful Coping Skill

Some time back, I saw a quote.  I don’t recall the name of the author but anyway the quote said something like, “What didn’t kill me made me stronger.  It also gave me a dark & twisted sense of humor.”  Immediately I felt a bit embarrassed because I know that’s me.  My sense of humor can be very dark & twisted.  Quickly though I remembered something.

In my late teen years, I had a good friend a couple of years younger than me.  His mother was also abusive, & his sense of humor could be very dark & twisted like mine.  One day, we were laughing about something & he said, “Yanno, I’m so glad to have a sense of humor.  I really believe that’s helped so much to get me through everything.” 

I believe that former friend was right.  His relationship with his mother never really got better after we grew up.  He had very limited contact with her well before I even knew that “low contact” & “no contact” were healthy options, but kept his sense of humor through it all.  One day we went to a yard sale.  He found a pot for houseplants he liked.  He commented how it looked like a spittoon from the old west & I agreed.  He paid for it then looked at me & said, “Now when Mom comes over, she’ll have a place to spit her chewing tobacco!”  She didn’t chew, but the mental picture of this made me laugh. 

I’ve laughed at some things regarding my mother too.  In high school she accused me of having sex with the entire football team.  I’ve never been promiscuous & was a virgin at the time, so the accusation was ridiculous & hurtful.  Eventually I found humor in it.  My husband has too.  Once in a while, he says something about it & we laugh at the stupidity of the comment.

Sometimes, even in the midst of dark times, humor can be a blessing.  My husband’s favorite ring tone is Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D minor, which happens to be the well known theme song from the old scary movie, “Tales From The Crypt.”  It’s very morbid sounding yet beautiful.  Anyway, while in the ER with his father one night, one of his sisters called, triggering that ring tone.  In spite of the serious situation, he & a few nurses laughed at the ring tone which helped lighten everyone’s mood.  Also, the night we received the death notification about my mother, the funeral home called my husband’s cell as we were talking with a police officer.  Again, Bach’s song played when his phone rang.  The poor policeman looked horrified, but it made me laugh.  Inappropriate?  Sure, but I was so shaken up, that laugh helped to calm me a bit so I could focus on the task at hand.

I know when times are painful, it can feel impossible to laugh.  It may even feel disrespectful to find humor in such a somber situation.  But if at all possible, I want to encourage you to try to find some humor in the situation.  It often can be done.  It also can be an incredibly helpful coping mechanism, so why not use it?

Rather than be offended & hurt by the lies the narcissist accuses you of, try to find the humor in it.  Often their lies are so incredibly outrageous, they’re funny!  Really!  Look at my mother’s lies about me with the entire high school football team.  I was in her presence constantly & had no time for that even if I had the inclination.  It was an outrageous & stupid thing to say.  No doubt the narcissist in your life has also said outrageous & stupid things about you.

I also hope you find a reason to laugh every day.  Find a comedian you like & listen to his or her routines often.  Watch funny movies or tv shows.  Spend time with your friends who make you laugh.  Doing these things will improve your mental health.  You’ll be happier & enjoy life more.

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Reinventing The Past As An Unhealthy Coping Skill

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Reinventing The Past

Anyone who has experienced a relationship with a narcissist knows that they love to reinvent the past.  In their version of events, they weren’t abusive.  They were just trying to help.

Narcissists aren’t the only ones who are able to reinvent the past, however.  Sometimes their victims do as well.   I have a very good example of this phenomenon.

I know of someone who was what I refer to as a holiday Nazi.  She demanded her adult children, their spouses & grandchildren spend holidays with her, & they had to celebrate on the exact day.  There was no acceptable reason not to do this, it seemed.

One Christmas season, her adult children decided they wanted to spend the day with their respective families rather than their parents.  Apparently, Mom didn’t approve.  She stopped taking her insulin a few days before Christmas & ended up in the hospital either Christmas day or within a couple of days after, I can’t remember which.  She told her adult children that she did it because she was too busy baking Christmas cookies that she didn’t have time to take her insulin.

Some time after this fiasco, her son who had heard what she said & even repeated it said that never happened.  It was during the time when she was having trouble regulating her insulin dosage.

Rather than admit how manipulative his mother was, & how she would risk her own health just for some attention, he convinced himself that was not the case.  He convinced himself that this happened because the doctors hadn’t regulated her insulin need at that time.

If you have done something similar, you’re not alone.  There is no need to be ashamed of yourself for doing it.  There is, however a need to change that behavior.

Reinventing the past only gives the narcissist power, because their actions are being excused rather than holding them accountable for their actions.  Narcissists realize they can do anything, & you’ll pretend they didn’t.  In fact, you may even end up blaming yourself for what they did.  You won’t punish them for their actions, so this makes them believe they can do anything without fear of consequences.  There is no reason to limit their abusive actions.

It also makes the victim feel like they have to tolerate the abuse.  They convince themselves that what happened was ok by pretending it didn’t happen as it actually did.  This means victims will tolerate a LOT of abuse.

You can change your behavior into something much healthier!

Writing is an incredibly useful tool.  I don’t mean writing a book or blogging about your experiences.  I mean writing in a journal or writing letters you don’t send.  Seeing your experiences in writing helps to make them more real somehow.  It’s very validating!  Writing also gives you an outlet for getting your emotions out with no fear of anyone judging you, which can be incredibly helpful.  It can show you, too, just how much you’ve grown & healed, which is very encouraging.  And regarding changing this habit of reinventing the past, writing also gives you a written record of events, so you can’t reinvent anything.  If you wrote something down, you can revisit that knowing that is what happened rather than this different scenario you started to form in your mind.

Dealing with the traumatic event also will help you to stop reinventing the past.  Reinventing things happens as a way to avoid pain.  If you face that pain & deal with it. you automatically won’t try to reinvent the scenario.  I know that seems terrifying, but truly it will help you a great deal if you face it.  It’ll hurt for a while but not forever.  You’ll heal & that situation won’t have power to devastate you anymore.  At most it may sting a bit when you think of it.  Wouldn’t you prefer that to being devastated?

And as always, never forget to turn to God & trust Him to help you to do what you need to in order to release that unhealthy habit of reinventing the past.  xoxo

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An Unhealthy Trauma Based Coping Skill

In today’s society, keeping busy, even too busy, is seen as admirable.  When people haven’t seen you for a while, & ask how have you been or what have you been up to, “Been busy” is an answer that always seems to get approval.  Saying, “Not much” on the other hand gets looks of disapproval.

I don’t subscribe to the admiration of busyness.  While I’m not advocating for being lazy & unproductive, I don’t think being too busy is wise in many ways.  The stress of it can cause physical & mental exhaustion.  That stress also can cause health problems such has high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease & heart problems.  Most people are aware that these things can happen.

What I don’t think most people are aware of is that making yourself too busy also can be an unhealthy way to cope with trauma.

After experiencing trauma, some people cope with it however works for them.  They do what they can to heal & they move on as best they can.  On the other hand though are people who have been through so much pain, they feel they can’t take anymore.  They don’t see that facing their pain is going to help them, or they’re afraid of the pain.  Maybe they think that it’ll take over & or they can’t recover from it, so they decide to hide from it.  Many in this position turn to addictions such as drugs, alcohol, sex or even shopping.  Making their lives too busy is a much lesser known addiction, but it is just as dangerous as the others.

A person who is too busy has no time or energy to devote to healing.  This enables the person to avoid their pain very well by removing the opportunity even to think about it.  Stuffing pain inside is unhealthy!  Doing so can cause big physical & emotional problems.  Emotions demand to be felt, & if they are ignored, they’ll find other ways to manifest, & chances are that manifestation isn’t going to be a healthy one.

It is much better to face your pain than to ignore it.  Yes, it’s painful, but it is much less painful than living with dysfunctional ways of trying so hard to ignore it.  Think of it like draining an infected wound.  Sure, the draining process is painful & well, pretty gross.  Once it’s done though, the wound heals much quickly & may not even leave a scar.  Ignoring the wound means it’ll take much longer to heal, if it does heal, & an ugly scar will be left behind.

Traumatic events are like the poison in an infected wound.  You can drain your traumatic wound by dealing with that pain.  Face the trauma, admit it happened, admit it was terrible, admit you never deserved it, admit you didn’t make anyone abuse you & feel those feelings attached to it.  Doing these things will help you so much to heal!

If you’re too busy, however, you can’t do this so easily.  You’re going to need to make some life changes first.  To begin, I strongly recommend prayer.  Ask God to guide & help you in this situation.

Also consider all of the things that are taking up your time.  How necessary is each activity?  What is your motivation for participating in each activity?  Which activities bring you joy?  Which ones do you dislike?

Once you know which activities you need to eliminate & which to continue, think about creating more efficient ways to do these things.  Let your dirty dishes soak while you run the vacuum so you spend less time scrubbing dishes.  Take turns with another parent of a child on your child’s sports team driving your kids to practice.  Common sense little time savers like these may not seem important, but they really can add up quickly, giving you more time to relax, enjoy your life do what you really need to do, including working on your emotional healing.

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Narcissists & Their Dysfunctional Coping Skills

Narcissists have incredibly dysfunctional coping skills.  Unfortunately this means that their pain can overflow onto those around them.

 

When my mother was still speaking to me, for about 2 years or so, she kept telling me what a great mother she was to me.  She bragged about forcing me to stand up to a bully in seventh grade (she didn’t), taking me to the doctor when I sprained my foot in ninth grade (as she should have) & other ridiculous things.  She also wanted me to validate her delusions, agreeing with how great a mother she was to me.

 

In talking with others who have a narcissistic parent or two, I have learned this behavior is very common.  It’s also very painful.

 

For me, this used to make me so incredibly angry.  How dare she want me to enforce her delusions & pretend I was never abused!   I felt invalidated, as if she was pretending the abuse she put me through never happened.

 

God showed me something though.  My mother doesn’t have any healthy coping skills, so this is what she does.  She knows what she did to me is wrong, but rather than admit that, she goes into denial.  She wants to convince herself she was a great mother, even going as far as to try to force me to agree with her.

 

As ridiculous & dysfunctional as this is, it is her choice & her right.  There is no law against having dysfunctional coping skills.  That being said, that choice can be respected while not reinforced.

 

There is no good reason to reinforce such delusions.  It only allows the person to continue in their dysfunction while invalidating your own painful experiences.  When approached by a narcissistic parent in this situation, I have found it best to remain as neutral & quiet as possible or to change the subject.

 

Also never forget- this is the narcissist’s coping skill.   It has nothing to do with you even though it feels like it does.  It just shows how dysfunctional she is.  Remembering that helps you not to take the comments so personally & to put the responsibility right back onto the narcissist.  This is all about her dysfunction & lack of coping skills- all the responsibility & baggage belongs squarely on her shoulders, period, so leave it there!  Don’t take it on yourself- you deserve so much better than to carry her issues & shame.

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