Tag Archives: spouse

Protecting Your Spouse From Your Narcissistic Family

If you are in a long term relationship or are married to someone & at least one of you has narcissistic parents or family members, there is something you should know.  Standing up for your partner to your narcissistic parents is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.

When a couple makes a commitment to each other, a big part of that commitment is taking care of each other.  Part of that involves not tolerating anyone hurting your partner.  If you stand up to someone on behalf of your partner, you show your partner that this person’s well being & safety are extremely important to you.  You prove that you love that person & will do your best to keep them safe.  This is incredibly good for your relationship! 

Not tolerating someone hurting your partner also shows the abusive person that you are well aware of their actions, & there are consequences for their behavior.  Not doing so only proves to an abuser that they can do anything they want without consequences.  This means that they will continue what they have been doing & in time, their behavior will get even worse.  And, your partner will be left feeling abandoned & alone, which is potentially relationship ending.  No one in a committed relationship should feel that way!

If you struggle with defending your partner to your abusive family members, then please consider a couple of things.

If it is your family that mistreats your partner, this means they are your problem!  It is NOT your partner’s job to deal with your family.  If your partner confronts your family rather than you, your family will be highly upset.  That happens in many families, but especially in narcissistic ones.  Chances are they will tell you what a terrible person your partner is, how he or she isn’t good enough to be in your life or other nonsense as a way to deflect your attention from their terrible behavior.  If you are the one to confront them, they still may try to deflect & criticize your partner, but there is a better chance of them listening to you than your partner!

Also if anyone in your family mistreats your partner, they have absolutely no love or respect for you.  If they had any respect or love for you, they would manage to be civil to your partner no matter how much they disliked this person.  If your partner is abusive to you, any children you share or your family, that is a different scenario.  They should civilly address their concerns with you, be loyal to you & care more about your safety than civility.  However, if the reason they dislike your partner is because of simple differences in personality, your family should manage basic civility at the very least to this person out of love for you.  When you love someone, it’s not that hard to be polite to someone they care about even if you can’t stand that person.  I have done it & while it can be hard to be polite to someone you really dislike, reminding yourself of the person you care about can make this much easier.

Dear Reader, if you are in this position of having someone in your family mistreat or even abuse someone you love, then please consider what I have said.  Protect your loved one!  It will protect their mental & physical safety but also help your relationship!  In fact, protecting your loved one will increase the bond you both share.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

When Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents Marry

Often, two people who were raised by narcissistic parents marry each other when they grow up.  Ideally, they understand each other’s past, offer support & help each other cope if their parents are still a part of their lives.  Sadly though, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes when two adult children of narcissistic parents marry, they learn each person is on a very different page.  One is trying to be healthy while the other remains in denial of just how toxic his or her parents are.  This is hardly an easy position to be in for either person.

If you are in this painful situation, I hope this post can help you today!

To start with, you need to pray.  Ask God for any help you need to cope with the situation, whether it be patience, understanding, wisdom or anything.  Prayer is always the best place to start in any difficult situation, & situations don’t get much more difficult than this one!

Next, you need to accept that you & your partner are in a different place.  Your spouse may never see the truth about their parents.  They also may never see the truth about yours, for that matter.  You can’t change this, so you need to accept that painful truth.

You also need to accept that you can’t change your partner.  As much as you’d like to, you can’t make him or her see the truth.  We all have to face the truth as we are able.  Forcing someone to see the truth before they’re ready isn’t good for their mental health. 

You may need to stop discussing anything about your parents with each other to avoid conflict.  I know this is incredibly frustrating because you should be able to discuss any topic with your spouse.  In an ideal world, that is how things are.  Unfortunately though, when dealing with two fallible human beings, that isn’t always feasible.  If discussing anything about parents causes strife, it may be best to find someone else with which to discuss the problems.  A close friend or relative, your pastor or even a counselor may be a much better option for you. 

If you have issues with your spouse’s narcissistic parent, unfortunately, you can’t expect support from your spouse if he or she doesn’t see that parent is narcissistic.  Don’t expect it from him or her.  I realize this goes against what is natural & is very painful & hard to accept, but you need to do it anyway.  Accepting this painful truth is hard, but it is easier than to be disappointed in your spouse repeatedly.

You also will need to find ways to deal with your narcissistic in-laws on your own, & chances are slim your spouse will approve of how you deal with them.  This is tricky.  There is no way to avoid your spouse’s anger in this situation.  The best you can do is to remain calm when dealing with your awful in-laws & your spouse.  Also be logical when your spouse gets angry.  If he or she says you’re hurting the narcissistic parent, for example, you can say that parent has hurt you too.  Why was that acceptable behavior but you setting a reasonable boundary to protect yourself wasn’t? 

Never forget to take care of yourself & your mental health.  A spouse in denial can be very good at making the healthier spouse feel as if they are wrong, over sensitive or even crazy.  Don’t buy into this gaslighting!  You are doing what is right by facing the truth about your narcissistic parents & in-laws.  Don’t let anyone, including your spouse, convince you otherwise!

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Signs You’ve Moved On After Your Narcissistic Ex

Ending a romantic relationship with a narcissist is tough.  Months or years of the constant gaslighting & abuse destroy a person’s self esteem while somehow leaving victims to feel as if they should appreciate the narcissist settling for loving them.  By the time a person ends such a relationship, their thinking is damaged, but they do realize that the narcissist was abusive.  At the same time, there is often a lot of guilt & doubt involved for ending the relationship.  I experienced it myself for quite some time after divorcing my ex husband.

After the relationship has ended though, you will feel so much better.  Time & distance from a narcissist give a person clarity & make room for healing to take place.  You may be wondering what signs you can look for that you have moved on from your narcissistic ex, & this post will explain some of them.

If your narcissistic ex tries to contact you, you have no desire to respond.  Narcissists are known for attempting to “hoover” their victims, in other words, lure them back into the dysfunctional relationship.  If you cringe when you see your ex’s phone number or email address rather than get excited, this is a big sign you have moved on.  And, if your ex reaches out to you constantly to the point of harassment, be sure you document everything.  Harassment & stalking laws are changing, & you may need that documentation if you have to get the law involved.

Having no desire to know what is happening in your ex’s life is another sign you’ve moved on.  It can be common when a couple first breaks up for at least one person in the relationship to want to know what the other is up to.  They may discreetly check out their social media or ask mutual friends about them.  Losing the desire to do these things shows you’re over that ex.

Another sign of moving on is when you no longer compare yourself to anyone that person is dating or has dated.  Narcissists love to compare their victims to others they deem more attractive, smarter, etc.  Being romantically involved with someone who does this, it can make you feel as if you have to not only measure up to their other romantic partners, but be much better than them.  Losing that baggage is incredibly freeing!

Their opinion of you means nothing to you anymore.  While it’s normal to some degree to want an ex to think you’re doing well without them, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting your narcissistic ex to think you’re doing a thousand times better without them.  When you stop thinking that way & couldn’t care less what he or she thinks of you, you have moved on.

Severing ties with toxic people is another sign you’ve moved on from a narcissistic ex.  After dealing with someone so toxic in such a close relationship, it’s easy to become tolerant of toxic people.  Deleting them from your life is a very healthy move in any case, but if it’s done after breaking up with a narcissist, it’s also a sign that you have moved on.

Gaining self confidence is another sign of moving on.  Narcissists do their best to obliterate their victim’s self esteem.  They even destroy their victims’ ability to trust their instincts, feelings & perceptions through gaslighting.  Learning to trust such things takes time, & is a big sign you have moved on.

When you end a relationship with a narcissist, you may feel like you’ll never get better, but you absolutely will!  Be patient with yourself & don’t try to rush your healing.  As time passes, you’ll notices these things happening, & they can reassure you that you are going to be just fine.

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Sexual Narcissists

The term sexual narcissist describes a narcissist who thinks they are incredibly gifted in the area of sex.  This attitude makes them feel entitled  to anything they want in that area, no matter the pain & suffering it may cause their partner.  So long as the sexual narcissist gets what he or she wants, that is all that matters.

There are some signs that show you if you’re involved with such a person.  Some people are guilty of such behaviors from time to time, but when the behaviors are a constant, that is a big red flag that your partner is a sexual narcissist.

In the beginning, the narcissist is extremely attentive, flirtatious, & complementary.  Granted, this is sort of the norm in any relationship.  However, narcissists take it to an extreme, leaving a victim swept off their feet.  They also stop this behavior suddenly & with no explanation, leaving their victim confused & willing to do anything to regain the narcissist’s attention.  This makes the victim easier to control, which is why they behave in such a manner.

Once the newness wears off, the victim’s sole purpose is to please the narcissist.  As a narcissist becomes comfortable in the relationship, their focus changes from being this perfect partner to “What can I get from my victim?”  Any degrading or deviant fantasy the narcissist has is demanded of the victim.  Nothing is off limits, even if it causes the victim physical or emotional suffering.  When the victim protests, the narcissist shames the victim for being a prude, immature or not loving the narcissist.  Sometimes they get violent & force their victim into doing what they want, & other times they use manipulation & shaming to get it.

The victim is not allowed to have needs or wants.  At this point, the narcissist’s mask is off.  The victim knows that he or she is there to please the narcissist.  The victim also is learning that his or her own needs & wants mean nothing to the narcissist.  In fact, victims are often ridiculed for having their own wants & needs.  Sexual narcissists think of their victims as inhuman, without needs or wants.  How can a thing, an inanimate object have needs or wants?  It’s ridiculous.  All that matters is the narcissist’s needs & wants.  The victim’s are at best shrugged off, at worst mocked.

Narcissists are more focused on their performance than their partner.  Since narcissists are so deathly afraid of criticism, they focus on avoiding it at all costs.  This behavior extends to the bedroom.  They often even focus more on how they’re performing than their partner.

Many sexual narcissists engage in extremely unhealthy sexual behavior, such as pornography or infidelity.  Your average person realizes there are unhealthy sexual activities, & avoids doing them.  They also realize they can enjoy sex with their mate in many ways without going near any of those unhealthy boundaries.  Narcissists however are different.  Nothing they want is wrong or unhealthy in their minds.  If someone is hurt or offended by their actions, clearly that person has a problem, not the narcissist.

If you’re involved with a sexual narcissist, the best advice I can give you is RUN!  They’re dangerous to your emotional health.  If you do as they want, your self esteem will be obliterated because of the degrading things the narcissist forced you to do.  If you refuse, they will destroy your self esteem by making you feel like the most awful, unreasonable & ugly person in the world for not being a willing victim to their depraved ways.  They’re also dangerous to your physical health.  They frequently get sexually transmitted diseases from their cheating ways & infect their partners.

Rather than deal with such dreadful outcomes, if at all possible get away from this person!  Protect your physical & emotional health!

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Rarely Discussed Abusive Behaviors Of Narcissistic Spouses

Some time back, I was watching an episode of a true crime show on tv.  The show is called “Evil Lives Here” & is about people who lived with someone who did terrible things, like being serial killers.  This particular episode was about the Truck Stop Killer, Robert Rhoades.  His ex wife was interviewed.  She told the story of how they first met & about what it was like to be married to him.

Normally stories like these are disturbing yet fascinating, but I found this one especially disturbing.  So many of Mr. Rhoades’ behaviors reminded me of my ex husband.  The way he manipulated & shamed her was exactly the same as what my ex did.  Even the words he said to her were the same as my ex said to me.  Their behaviors were so similar that it really shook me up for quite some time.  I didn’t even tell anyone for a while, because I was trying to process it all.

I didn’t plan on blogging about it, but recently I thought it might be a good idea.  If these two abusive men used the same behavior, no doubt others do as well.  These behaviors are also not really discussed openly.  Most people know of the obvious abusive behaviors like hitting.

One behavior my ex & Mr. Rhoades shared was having extremely definite opinions on how they wanted their wives to look.  I would guess most married folks like to see their spouses looking a certain way more than others, but both of these men took it to an extreme.  My ex would make me feel as if what he wanted was the only thing looked good on me.  What I liked didn’t matter.  Mr. Rhoades took the behavior further.  He did that plus laid out clothing for his wife to wear.  I remember his ex wife saying he would lay out clothing on the bed & tell her to wear that specific outfit because they were going out.  He wouldn’t tell her where they were going.  While that could be a nice surprise, his wasn’t.  One evening, his “surprise” was he took her to a swinger’s club.

That brings me to the main similarity these two men shared.  Sexual preferences.  Deviant sexual behavior like they shared is a red flag in a romantic relationship, but that red flag turns into more of a giant flashing neon billboard when they demand it from their spouse even knowing she objects strongly to it.  Both my ex & Mr. Rhoades used the same tactic in order to get what they wanted – shaming.  Both said comments like, “Any other woman would be glad to do this for me.”  “Every other woman in the world does this!”   “You’re so immature/prudish/boring in bed!”  “You should be glad I want to involve you in this instead of just going behind your back to do it!”

When someone wants something so badly that they will shame someone else for not being willing to participate, that is abuse.  Someone is putting their selfish desires ahead of their spouse’s, even though they know what they want will cause the person great physical or emotional pain.  This shows a total lack of empathy, because no one who truly loves their spouse would want to hurt them or not even care that they are hurting them.

If someone you are romantically involved with behaves in these manners, they are definite warning signs of narcissism.  If at all possible, get away from this person as soon as humanly possible!  You need to protect yourself!

If you are unable to get away, start quietly planning to do so.  If people like this change, it almost never is for the better.  I’m sure Robert Rhoades’ ex wife would agree.  So take care of yourself.  Protect yourself from further abuse.  You don’t deserve to be treated this way!  xoxo

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Signs Of Narcissism In Romantic Partners

I recently caught an episode of the true crime show “Evil Lives Here” on the ID channel.  The episode was an interview with Debra, the ex wife of The Truck Stop Killer, Robert Rhoades.  He is suspected of raping & murdering over 50 women from the mid 1970’s to 1990.

His ex wife mentioned how he was very particular about how she dressed & would tell her what to wear.  She told the story of how one night he told her to wear a particularly sexy outfit so they could go to dinner.  He failed to mention it was at a swinger’s club.  He continually pushed the swinging issue even though from that night at the club she told him that wasn’t an option.  He told her she was immature & “No other woman would feel this way” about it.

Her story horrified me because that is almost exactly how things were with my ex husband.  He wanted me to look & dress a certain way.  He also wanted me to participate in some sexual activities that I refused to do, then told me that “no other woman would feel that way about these things.”  I also remembered how at the time of our separation, he was becoming quite fascinated with weapons & there were signs he had a real potential for violence.  This made me thank God for getting me away from him safely!

This also made me think of the signs that a romantic partner is dangerous that he displayed.  No doubt other narcissists display those same signs, so I thought I would share some of them today.

In the beginning, things are good, then suddenly they aren’t.  In or out of the bedroom, the person you’re involved with wants to please you.  Then suddenly, they lose interest in working so hard to please you.  No explanation or evidence of why, they simply stop.

When the narcissist stops wanting to please you, & you ask what changed, they act like (or say) you’re imagining things or you’re crazy.  They claim they haven’t changed, so since you think they have, obviously something is wrong with you.  This obviously makes you very confused & willing to do what you can to please them so hopefully they’ll want to be that great person they were at first.

The narcissist wants you to look a certain way when you have sex.  Many people want their partners to wear sexy lingerie, which naturally isn’t terribly uncommon.  What is uncommon is how some narcissists pretty much demand it.

The more time progresses, the more unusual the sexual proclivities of the narcissist become.  At first, the sex is pretty normal.  Nothing really kinky.  Then little by little, they try introducing new & more deviant things.  The desire to have sex more often happens as they become more interested in these more deviant behaviors.

When you refuse to participate in the desired activities, the narcissist shames you.  As I mentioned earlier, my ex would tell me that no other woman in the world would feel about doing what he wanted to do as I did.  They also may call you immature, oversensitive, close minded & more.

If the activity causes you physical pain or risks your health, the narcissist won’t care.  Since all that matters to a narcissist is what they want, if their desire causes you physical pain or puts your health at risk, that won’t matter.

No is never an option.  If you’re sick, tired or simply not in the mood, that won’t be important to a narcissist.  They want what they want, when they want it, & nothing else matters.  I remember my ex punching walls when I was sick & told him I wasn’t in the mood.

Forcing sex isn’t too low for a narcissist.  After all, what narcissists want is all that matters to them, so they have no trouble using physical force, manipulation or guilt to get whatever they want.

If your partner exhibits such behaviors, these are big red flags!  Please protect yourself & get away from this person as soon as you possibly can!  You deserve to be treated better than this & to be safe!

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Closure &Narcissists

People often think it’s necessary to have some sort of closure at the end of a relationship, & it’s impossible to move on without it.  Sometimes, however, closure isn’t a possibility.  When it comes to narcissists, that is absolutely the case.

When an average relationship ends, it comes after two people have tried to work out their differences yet were unable to do so.  They agree that the best solution is separation.  Maybe some harsh words are said & the people decide to move on, each in their own direction.  Each person also grieves, but in time, they do move on.

When a relationship with a narcissist ends, none of this happens.  Narcissists see this as a rejection & narcissists’ simply can’t handle rejection in any form, ever.  It’s a narcissistic injury.  In other words, it is a direct blow to their self esteem.  Rather than risk feeling not good enough or people finding out someone thinks the narcissist isn’t good enough, narcissists rage.  The rage may be  either a physical or verbal attack on the person ending the relationship, creating a smear campaign to discredit anything their victim says, recruiting flying monkeys to attack the victim, harassment & stalking or they simply pretend the victim never existed & meant nothing to them.

However the narcissist handles the relationship ending, it leaves no opportunity for real closure for the victim.  The reason being the victim is too busy trying to process the trauma from the narcissist, survive the pain of people the victim thought cared turning on them, dodge the flying monkeys’ attacks, finding ways to protect him or herself from the narcissist’s harassment or stalking or processing the pain of the narcissist moving on as if the victim never existed.  Such situations prohibit victims from being able to get closure in the traditional way.

None of this means that a victim can’t have closure after ending a relationship with a narcissist, however.  It just has to come in different ways.

One way to help get closure is to accept the fact you won’t get it in the normal ways, & there is nothing you can do about that.  Narcissists are far from normal people, so why would getting closure after ending the relationship with one be normal?

Another helpful thing you can do is accept the fact that the relationship meant nothing to the narcissist beyond what you could do for him or her.  There was absolutely nothing you could have done to make that relationship healthy or loving, & that is NOT your fault!  The blame for that lies on the narcissist.

It’s also common for people to beat themselves up after ending a relationship with a narcissist.  Whether the narcissist was a spouse or parent, people often get angry with themselves for tolerating the abuse for too long or making excuses for it.  That is nothing to be ashamed of!  Any normal person wants to believe the person they love is a good person, which makes it hard to believe otherwise.  Plus, narcissists are excellent manipulators.  By being good sometimes, it thoroughly confuses victims.  It makes them want to think the bad times aren’t the norm, that the good times are.  This is known as Stockholm Syndrome or trauma bonding.

Since narcissists are so good at manipulation, that is why even some people close to you go to the side of the narcissist.  If someone has their own issues, they may blindly fall for the narcissist’s manipulations.  Someone abused as a child yet not facing their pain may side with your narcissistic parent because siding with you reminds them of their own pain & issues they fail to face.  Or, they may be cowardly & see siding with the narcissist as the easiest path.  The narcissist may benefit them somehow & not being on his or her side would mean losing that benefit.  People like these are easy for narcissists to manipulate.

Lastly, as always I recommend praying.  Ask God to help you.  He will show you what you need to do as well as help you to heal.  He will do so gladly, so why not let Him?

Closure with narcissists is difficult, but it is possible.  It just isn’t what most people think of when they hear the word “closure.”

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About Harassment & Stalking

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After The Divorce

Today would have been my ex husband’s & my 28th wedding anniversary.  Naturally, realizing that made me think about our relationship.  I thought I’d share my random ponderings with you, since many of you who read my blog have been divorced as well.

When I decided to end my first marriage, although I wasn’t yet a Christian, I still felt terrible for breaking my vows.  I took them very seriously.  I also felt like a total failure for not being able to make that marriage work.  No matter what I did, that marriage was still not good & he was never happy with me.  I was never good enough for him.  I also felt incredibly guilty.  Guilty for not being able to fix the marriage, for never being able to please my ex, for doing everything wrong, for wanting the divorce & more.  I felt that intense guilt for a long time, for at the very least, a couple of years after we separated.

Looking back now, I realize how wrong I was.

While marriage vows should be taken seriously, they should be taken seriously by both partners, not only one.  If one doesn’t take them seriously & mistreats or even abuses you, there is nothing wrong with breaking the vows to protect yourself & your children if you have them.  There is nothing good or holy about tolerating abuse from anyone, period!

One person also can’t save a relationship.  It takes two to make any relationship work.  It’s impossible for a relationship to work when only one person is trying to make that happen, especially if the other person is a narcissist.  They will do their best to sabotage your efforts & refuse to give you what you want or need.  So, if you couldn’t fix your marriage, welcome to the club!

Although I still don’t like that I hurt my ex, there really was no other choice.  He hurt me plenty as well, which is why I wanted a divorce in the first place.  I certainly didn’t decide to divorce him because things were going well!

Does any of this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader?  If so, I want to encourage you to change your thinking like I did.

Remind yourself that did the best you knew to do at that time.  How can you be mad at yourself for not knowing then what you know now?  It doesn’t even make sense.  That would be like being angry at a year old baby for not knowing multiplication.  We all learn as we go, even as adults.

Narcissists are also fantastic actors, so even if you knew about narcissism & married this person anyway, you still can’t beat yourself up because of what fantastic actors they are.  We all can get fooled sometimes, no matter how much we know about narcissism.  It doesn’t mean you’re stupid – it just means they are ridiculously good actors!

Don’t forget – if you grew up with narcissistic parents, you also were wounded because of your upbringing, which means you didn’t have the ability to make the best decisions. Unfortunately, this happens!  You’re learning, growing & getting healthier now & that is what matters most.

Also, never hesitate to go to God.  Ask Him to tell you the truth.  Were you stupid to marry that person?  Are you a failure for your divorce?  He really will answer you & you know what He says is the absolute truth.  Let Him help you!  He will do so & gladly!

And never, ever forget – while you may not have been the perfect spouse, that doesn’t mean the divorce is absolutely, completely your fault.  Narcissists would have their victims believe that, but it’s not true.  Wanting to escape the torture & abuse isn’t a bad thing!  In fact, quite the opposite.  It shows you love yourself enough to know you don’t deserve this kind of treatment.

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Schedule Time To Talk

At the end of July, my husband & I had a disagreement.  Not even really a fight, just a disagreement.  During the course of working things out, we began talking about our relationship in general.  We realized that when stressed, we both tend to withdraw into ourselves.  Both being major introverts (he’s INTJ, I’m INFJ), it’s hardly a surprise.  It’s also not good for our marriage, because when he withdraws it triggers me to withdraw from him & when I withdraw, it triggers him to withdraw from me also.  We tried to figure out ways to cope with this when we came up with a good solution, & I believe it’s beneficial for any marriage.

We now have daily time to talk with each other, minus tv & computer.  Maybe music but that is iffy.  In fact, we have the Amazon Echo Dot, & I have a daily reminder on there for her to tell us to talk so we are sure not to forget this time.

Every evening at 9, our Dot tells us “This is your daily reminder.  It’s talk time.”  At that time, we turn off the tv & computers, ignore the phone & talk.  The topics vary daily.  Sometimes he talks more than me, sometimes I talk more than him.  We also don’t have a set time we must talk, so sometimes it’s only 10 minutes, sometimes an hour or more.  There are also times we do it earlier in the day because maybe there’s a tv show we want to watch coming on at 9 or we’re really tired & want to get some extra sleep.  We also had an evening where one of our cats got sick & had to go to the emergency vet about 9pm, so talk time obviously was postponed that day & rescheduled for the next few days while he was in there to adapt to our spending time at the hospital.  There are no rules & there is absolutely NO pressure about talk time other than spend time together.

This ritual has been super beneficial for our marriage!  I’ve noticed we are withdrawing much less & being a lot more open about everything.  My husband used to hold a lot in about his difficulties at work but now he is talking about them.  Even when it isn’t “talk time,” he’s opening up about work more often.  He used to hold his frustrations in so this is a very good thing!  So much healthier!

We also are closer than we once were.  Focusing on each other daily has increased the intimacy in our marriage.  We are more open with each other & know we can talk to each other about anything.  I’ve felt safer to bring up topics that could start arguments because both of us are more patient, considerate & understand with each other since we started with our daily talk time.  It seems like we slow down & really think about things more during talk time.

I think we also have begun to have even more in common than we once did.  By focusing so much on each other during our talk time, it seems to have enabled us to see things from each other’s perspectives more than we once did.  We used to butt heads about how money should be spent, as one example, but now we agree on it.  Granted that area improved the longer we’ve been together, but  since we started this ritual, we’ve gotten to be a lot more on the same page.  We rarely disagree on financial things anymore.

I wanted to share this discovery with you, Dear Reader, because I think this talk time ritual can help any marriage.  I know, life can be so busy, but like I said, it doesn’t have to take long.  Even just a few minutes each day where you & your spouse focus on each other can be a good thing.  If you opt to try this in your marriage, then please do as we have done & keep it as low key as possible.  I really think pressure would make it into a burden rather than something to look forward to each day.  Schedule a time that works for you but be flexible enough to change it if circumstances dictate.  Don’t worry about having a time limit either or specific topics.  Just hang out with your spouse & talk about whatever topics come up.  The point is to have fun, relax or work through a problem.  Just go with the flow & see if your marriage doesn’t improve like mine did.

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

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is a little known type of abuse that narcissists often use on their victims.  It is a very effective way to keep someone under control, after all.

For convenience sake, we’ll assume in this article the financial abuser is male, victim female.

While dating, a financial abuser obviously can’t have the deep level of control that a married financial abuser can have.  However, he still can exert some control.  It probably will start small, like him asking to borrow $20 until payday.  Most people experience this at some point, so it’s no red flag,  Plus, it’s only $20.  Then he needs more & more, $50 or $100.  Or maybe he asks to use your credit card, claiming he’ll pay it off soon.  The problem is he never pays that money back.  And, if you say anything, he gets extremely angry.  You learn quickly it’s easiest just to give him money & not expect it to be repaid.  I went through this when dating my ex husband.  Even though he knew perfectly well how tight money was for me when we first got together, he still asked to “borrow” money often, & never paid it back.  By the time we got married a bit over 2 years later, I figured he’d taken well over $400 from me.

Sometimes an abuser controls his or her victim’s finances completely.   The victim has no access to bank accounts or credit cards.  Receipts are demanded so every penny can be tracked.  My mother did this to my father.  He got a small “allowance” while she paid all the bills, saved money, etc.  True, she was very good with money & maybe because of that should have been in charge of their finances to a degree.  But, he had literally no say in where money was spent & didn’t know how much was saved either.  My husband & I have a similar arrangement, but the healthy version.  I tell him where every penny I spend goes (even though he doesn’t ask) & he doesn’t get an “allowance.”  He has full access to all accounts, too, just like I do.

Sometimes financial abusers prevent their victim from working.  They may tell their victim outright that she isn’t allowed to work.  Or, they may sabotage her job somehow, such as by forcing her to call out often or making her run late so often that she gets fired.

Another trick of financial abusers is to ruin their victim’s credit.  If the victim has her own income & wants to leave, one way to prevent that is by ruining her credit.  How could she rent an apartment or buy a home when her credit score is 450 & her credit report is full of charged off bad debt?  It’s impossible.  He can ruin her credit by charging up her credit cards or taking out loans in her name, then refusing to pay the bills.

Some male financial abusers also keep their wives pregnant.  They may sabotage birth control so she gets pregnant.  If she has babies often, no matter how employable she may be, financially it just makes more sense for her to stay home rather than pay for expensive day care for several children.  These abusers get what they want in many ways by doing this-  they have more children to abuse/gain narcissistic supply from, their wife stays home as they want, they take away her independence & they feel powerful & in control.

There is hope for victims though, especially if you’re creative.

Ask safe friends & family for any help or advice they may have.  They may help you financially or give you some advice you hadn’t thought of.

Local churches or domestic violence hotlines can help as well.  Also, look into requirements for getting food stamps & public assistance.  No, no one wants to do this, but they can help you until you get on your feet.

Skim any little bit of money you can.  Every little bit will help you!

If at all possible, get some sort of job in secret.  Babysit while he’s at work or walk dogs.

If your credit is bad, get a secured credit card to help you reestablish your credit.  A secured card is one you send money to, then use it to pay for things instead of the other way around.  Since there is no risk of customers not paying their debt, companies give these cards out freely, even to people with less than stellar credit.

Most of all, never forget to pray.  God will help you to find ways to escape this insidiously abusive situation.

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Writing About Narcissistic Abuse

I saw a meme on Facebook earlier today.  It said, “Write as though your mother will never read it.”  Considering what I write about, I liked it.  I also realize many of you who read my blog either currently write about the narcissistic abuse you’ve been through or are considering doing it.  This meme made me think of sharing a bit of encouragement for you today.

 

I know writing about the worst, most painful experiences in your life isn’t easy.  It’s hard writing out your experiences.  Seeing them in black & white makes them more real & can make the pain of them even worse.  There is something good about this pain though.  It’s also validating, seeing your traumatic experiences in writing.  You get the validation you never got.  You can’t minimize your suffering or deny that the experiences were horrific when you see them in writing.  Writing also can help you to process the trauma in a way speaking about it doesn’t.  While you’re writing to help others, you’re also helping yourself.

 

Writing about the abuse inflicted on you also can be intimidating.  What if your abuser reads it?  That thought can be utterly terrifying.  It was for me at first.  I worried what would happen if my parents learned I was writing about the abuse inflicted on me as a child?!  How would they respond?  Could I cope with it?  How?  Would they try to sue me for libel?  Would the flying monkeys attack me?  A million awful questions ran through my mind.  After time & prayer, I finally was able to ignore those questions.  I began to trust that God would not only allow me to write about whatever He wanted me to, but He also would enable me to deal with any fallout from my parents or flying monkeys.

 

You can trust Him to help you too.  You also can use some common sense ways to protect yourself.

 

  • You can use a pen name.  Many authors have written books under a pseudonym to protect their identity.  If you’re writing a blog rather than books, you can avoid using your name entirely.  You can name your blog something like, “Daughter Of A Narcissistic Mother” or, “My Ex Is A Narcissist”.  Many bloggers use this method of protecting their identity, & it seems to be quite effective.
  • You can change the names of people in your writing.  As an example, don’t refer to your narcissistic brother Steve by his real name.  Call him Paul instead.  You also could change the relationship.  You could say he’s your cousin rather than your brother.
  • Never give specifics in your writing.  Don’t mention your abuser’s address  obviously, but also don’t mention the name of the town they live in.
  • Always remember what libel is & write accordingly.  According to the Cornell Law School, libel is defined as follows: “Libel is a method of defamation expressed by print, writing, pictures, signs, effigies, or any communication embodied in physical form that is injurious to a person’s reputation, exposes a person to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or injures a person in his/her business or profession.”
  • Stick to the facts only.  Tell your stories in a matter of fact way, leaving emotion out of it wherever possible.  When your emotions are vital to the story, you can say comments like, “When my abuser did _____, it made me feel _____.” If you come across angry in your writing or calling your abuser names, your writing could come across as libelous.  Sticking to a matter of fact way of telling your story avoids that.
  • If you’re considering writing your autobiography, you also can write it as a fictional story rather than non fiction.  Change some details around to make your fictional story a bit different than your real story.

 

Regarding your abuser & possibly flying monkeys reading your work, with any luck, they won’t.  I was fortunate in that my parents didn’t care to read my writing.  In fact, my mother told me it was nothing but a waste of time.  Not everyone is that fortunate, however.  If this happens, remember what I’ve said before about protecting yourself from these attacks.  Block the narcissist’s & flying monkeys’ access to you in every possible way.  Document their abuse in case you need it in the future.  Save screen shots, emails & texts to some type of cloud storage or email it to yourself rather than simply on your phone or computer so it’s protected against failing electronics.  If they create a smear campaign against you, don’t react to it.  Your reaction won’t change the minds of anyone who wants to believe it & the narcissist & flying monkeys will claim your reaction is proof that you are what they say you are.

 

If you feel led to write about your experiences with narcissistic abuse, it may not be easy but I can promise you that it will be very rewarding!  I wish you only the best!  xoxo

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The Narcissistic Apology

Narcissists are the most superficial bunch of people you can imagine.  Everything about them is a charade, right down to their apologies.

 

On the rare occasion they do apologize,  there isn’t one sincere thing about it.  Maybe they say the right words, but I can assure you, there is nothing sincere about apologies coming from a narcissist.

 

If you’re wondering how you can be sure whether or not the narcissist in your life truly means their apology, I am going to list some differences below between a sincere apology & a narcissistic apology.

 

  • Sincere apologies always include accepting responsibility for the wrong that was done & don’t shift blame.  Narcissists may say they are sorry for what they did, but then they make an excuse for it.  “I’m sorry I said that, but I wouldn’t have said it if you wouldn’t have done….”  Or, they may even deny doing what they did entirely, making you feel like you’re crazy.
  • If the behavior doesn’t change, the apology isn’t sincere.  People who truly are sorry for hurting another person do their best never to repeat that behavior.  Insincere apologies may sound sincere sometimes, but the fact the offending person’s behavior didn’t change is a big clue that they didn’t mean their apology.
  • Insincere apologies are passive/aggressive.  “I’m sorry you feel that way.”  “I’m sorry you think what I did was wrong.”  While the words “I’m sorry” are being said, it’s clear the person saying such things doesn’t believe they have done something wrong.  The person is angry about being called out on their behavior, & will apologize just to shut you up.
  • Insincere apologies are vague, rather than specific.  Rather than saying, “I’m sorry I cheated on you,” a narcissist may say, “I know I’ve made some mistakes in our marriage.”
  • Sometimes apologies can be used to hurt you.  My mother once told me she realized she made a lot of mistakes while raising me.  I thought maybe she realized what she did to me & wanted to apologize for it.  She sounded so sincere.  Instead, she continued by saying “Obviously I made mistakes.  Just look at how you turned out.”  She guaranteed I would pay attention by sounding sincere & by what she said.  Once she had my full attention, she dropped that cruel bomb on me.
  • Sincere apologies acknowledge the pain that was caused, while insincere ones ignore it.  Using the cheating spouse example again, a sincere apology would be something like, “I’m sorry I cheated on you.  I know doing that has devastated you.  I’m so sorry..it was wrong & it’ll never happen again, I promise.”  Narcissists lack empathy, so your pain that they caused is one of two things- not even a blip on their radar because they didn’t think of you in the slightest, or your pain is something they enjoyed causing you.
  • A narcissist expects you to accept their apology once they say it, then drop the topic forever.  Narcissists don’t want to discuss what happened.  In their minds, saying they’re sorry (no matter how insincerely it’s said) once is good enough.  They said that, so you should be over it & never bring it up again.
  • Narcissists love to make the victim feel that they should forgive & forget.  If you’re a Christian, have been wronged or abused by a narcissist & they apologize to you, chances are very good the narcissist will make you feel like you’re a terrible example of your faith if you don’t forgive & forget what was done to you.  This apology can make you feel as bad or worse than the original offense.
  • Some narcissists apologize for something they think you’re upset about in order to placate you.  My father has done this.  After my mother in-law passed away in 2016, my parents & I had a huge argument.   My father later apologized to me for asking if my husband & I were still together during that argument.  (He kept trying to deflect me off the topic).  Granted, it wasn’t a good thing to ask, but it also wasn’t the reason I was so angry with him.  I told him that & explained exactly why I was angry.  He looked at me like a deer in the headlights.  Clearly, he couldn’t understand why I’d be upset that he & my mother wanted to “pay their respects” to someone who had been so cruel & abusive to me.  Also, it was obvious he thought that all should be fine- he apologized.  Never mind the fact what he apologized for wasn’t the thing he should have apologized for.

 

Dear Reader, please keep these actions in mind when you must deal with a narcissist.  Remembering them will help you not to buy their insincere apology.  You don’t need that aggravation!  If you fall for their apology, they’ll see you as someone they can manipulate & do so more & more.  Who needs that?!  You don’t!  And, you deserve to be treated better than that.

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Having Fun In Your Marriage

Tomorrow is hubby’s & my 19th anniversary.  It’s been quite the adventure, being married for this amount of time.   It’s taught me a lot too.

 

One very important thing I’ve learned is the importance of having fun together.

 

My husband has a very good sense of humor, but he’s also very logic driven & hard working.  (If you know anything about the Myers Briggs personality test, he’s a very typical INTJ.)  Although I’m pretty hard working, I like to have fun.  Yet, when my C-PTSD flares up, depression sets in or symptoms from the carbon monoxide poisoning I survived in 2015 kick in, I lose the desire to have fun.  Also, sometimes things happen that distract us from having fun- bills pile up, someone gets sick, etc.  As a result, we sometimes do like many married couples- slip into a routine & not really do anything fun together.

 

Don’t do that, Dear Reader!  If you want to be each other’s best friend, you need to have fun with your spouse & do it often.  There is something about playing together that keeps that spark alive in your marriage.  Not sure why it works that way but it really does.

 

Do fun stuff with your spouse.  Play silly pranks on each other (nothing mean or hurtful of course).  A while back, I crocheted a clown that resembles Pennywise from Stephen King’s “IT”- a super scary movie & book, & one of my favorites.  We hide Pennywise around the house to scare each other.  I’ve put him in my husband’s lunch cooler, hanging out on the steering wheel of his truck & even taped him to the underside of the toilet lid (I can’t take credit for that- a friend of mine came up with that stroke of evil genius…lol).  He’s put Pennywise under the covers on my side of the bed, by my shampoo & on this little decoration in my bedroom.   I also crocheted a little Freddie Mercury (remember the late singer from Queen?) & sometimes Pennywise & Freddie have adventures together.  Silly?  Sure, but it makes us laugh when we find Pennywise &/or Freddie unexpectedly.

 

Play games together- video games, card games, board games- whatever you like.  My husband & I love the old video games we grew up with in the 70s & 80s.  Locally, there’s an arcade full of them that we frequent.  For $5, we can enjoy a couple of hours of fun together.  We also have a Wii & some board games we play at home.

 

There are plenty of things you & your spouse can do together that are lots of fun & that don’t cost a lot of money, if that’s an issue.  You can even find things on Craigslist or other sales sites, like ping pong or pool tables for cheap or even free.  All you really need is some creativity!

 

I hope you & your spouse start having fun together, if you aren’t already.  It really can help bring some fun into your marriage.  During the hard times, don’t forget to have some fun.  Those are the times you need that joy the most.

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Some Thoughts On Marriage

Since tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary, I thought I would share something I have learned about marriage.

 

Over the years, I have been criticized pretty harshly by a few people because I do not share a couple of my husband’s interests.  He likes football, fishing (catch & release) & camping in a tent.  Personally I  would rather have a root canal than participate in or watch any of those.  I really tried to like fishing.  I’ve gone fishing a couple of times & found it boring, although being in nature was nice.  After badly injuring the only fish I ever caught, I quickly decided I absolutely hate fishing.  As for football?  Nope.  Never could stand any sport involving a ball.  And tent camping?!  Hahahahaha.  No.

 

This left me feeling quite guilty for a long time.  I felt like I was being a lousy wife for not finding some way to like these things or sucking it & up & participating no matter how miserable it would’ve made me.  Then one day, some thoughts popped into my mind that set me free from that faulty thinking, & I’d like to share them with you.

 

I firmly believe successful couples share interests.  My husband & I enjoy classic cars, drag racing, demo derbies, late model dirt track racing, antiques, Oktoberfests, pow wows, movies & much of the same music.  These things are all fun for us to do together.  We have plenty of interests to share, but we also have a few interests that don’t involve each other.  I believe that is also important.  A couple needs to be close of course, but they do not need to be so close that they lose themselves in the relationship!  You should still maintain your individuality when you’re married.  I enjoy crocheting, writing & photography but my husband couldn’t care less about them if he tried.  This doesn’t offend me at all!  If he’d like to try them, I’d be glad to help him get started of course, but I doubt that day will happen.  There is nothing wrong with that.

 

I also think if your significant other has an interest that you never tried, you should at least give it a whirl unless you are 110% certain you won’t like it.  My husband was deep into Nascar when we first got together.  I wasn’t.  I started watching races with him & quickly developed an interest in it.  As it has changed after one of our favorite drivers died, we both lost interest in it, but there were many Sundays we spent watching races together & having fun.

 

If you would like to share a common interest but one of you is not thrilled with the interest, see if you can find a compromise.  Since I refuse to sleep in a tent, I have suggested we get a camper or RV one day when we can afford it.  Hubby can sleep in a tent if he likes, but I’ll be inside a nice, clean camper with plumbing & electric, the way I believe God intended me to live.  lol   Or, if he wants me to go fishing with him, don’t expect me to fish.  Let me take a crochet project along & just enjoy being outside & talking with him while he fishes.  There are plenty of ways to compromise things if you think about it.

 

 

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Avoiding Infidelity

I read recently that 30-60% of all married couples are affected by infidelity at some point in their marriage.  That is a staggering statistic!  Infidelity is possibly the most painful thing a couple can go through, so why are so many people cheating?

 

I firmly believe one reason, possibly the main reason, is because when a couple is going through difficulties, it is easy to look at someone else & think they are so much better than that man or woman you’re married to.  Temptation can easily become too much at that point.  I admit, I fell into that trap myself before I was a Christian.  Before I married my ex husband, I broke our engagement & told him I wanted to see other people.  I did just that, but for a few months later we were married,  I continued seeing one other man for several months until the guilt of what I was doing was too much for me to handle.  I did this because I was unhappy with my ex husband from very early in our relationship.  I had married my ex out of guilt (he was very manipulative & I was easily manipulated back then), not love, & was unhappy.  The man I was seeing was much different than my ex.  He was fun, kind & smart.  He made me feel desirable, witty, smart & more.  I had a hard time letting that go, especially when I compared him to my ex.

 

Another reason for infidelity is selfishness, often to the point of narcissism.  So many people are only concerned with themselves, that they don’t even care that what they do may hurt other people, even to the point they will cheat on their spouse.  You can identify these people easily- they are the ones that don’t want to quit their porn addiction because they claim that isn’t cheating.  They fail to realize that Matthew 5:27-8 say otherwise (27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (NLT)).  They also ignore the fact that their addiction is destroying their spouse.

 

How do you avoid this awful pitfall?  By treating your spouse like the most important person in your world.  Remind him constantly how proud you are of him, & mean it.  Tell her often how beautiful she is, & mean that.  Say please & thank you on a regular basis.  Never take that wonderful person you married for granted, because there are no guarantees in life- your situation can change in an instant.  Play together- whether it is video games, board games, ping pong or sports, have fun together & do it often.  Arrange dates often, & spend  time talking, without the TV, without your cell phones.  Refuse to talk about the fact you don’t have the money to make the car payment or your son is failing algebra, & just talk about each other- your hopes & dreams, what you want from each other (& pledge to do it!).  Most importantly, don’t forget to pray together.  It is truly a bonding experience!

 

Marriage isn’t always easy.  It’ll never be perfect either, but it can be a happy, comfortable safe haven with your best friend & lover.  If you & your spouse decide to make it that way, & both of you work on it, then chances of infidelity destroying your marriage can virtually disappear.

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Today Is A Special Day For Me- It’s My Anniversary!

Good morning, Dear Readers!  Today is my seventeenth wedding anniversary!

I thought in honor of that, I’d take a moment to remind you today to appreciate the special person you married.  It’s so easy, especially after many years together, to take each other for granted, but that’s not good for the relationship at all.  It’s depressing to feel unappreciated.  Do you want your spouse  to feel that way??

Take a moment to think about what you appreciate about your husband or wife today.  A kind heart?  A gentle nature?  The love he or she shows your children (or furbabies)?  Is he/she a good provider?  Do you share similar interests?  Think about this for a few minutes & come up with several things.  Then make sure you tell your spouse what you appreciate about him or her.

For my husband, I’m glad we’re still together.  We had many hard years, dealing with some potentially marriage ending problems, such as my problems with his family.  God helped us both to change & our marriage to survive.  I appreciate the fact we share a great friendship.  We can have a lot of fun together just hanging out, playing video games or going to a car show.  We also share a very warped sense of humor.  We both appreciate silly movies like “Airplane!” & quote it on a regular basis during conversation.  I love the fact he taught me so much about cars & we share an appreciation for the same type of classic cars.   He tolerates my quirks (& they are vast..lol) which I really appreciate since so few people do.  I am grateful he doesn’t judge or criticize things about me that many other people are quick to judge, like how I manage my C-PTSD & ongoing problems I have from the carbon monoxide poisoning & concussion.  I also appreciate him taking care of me on the days when C-PTSD or health problems flare up.  He’s a good man & I’m blessed to be married to him.

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September 24, 2012

Good morning, Dear Readers!!!

Today is my 14th wedding anniversary. I am blessed to be married to Eric. My favorite thing about him is that he is my friend, not just my husband. We have fun together. Last night, we turned out all the lights, I lit some candles, made some popcorn, & we watched a scary old Boris Karloff movie together. (“Black Sabbath”- if you like scary old movies, this one is great!!! Check it out) Today, we unfortunately have some things to do, then later, we’re going to have a picnic in our back yard with wine, cheese, & crackers. Nothing fancy, but romantic. I’m looking forward to it.

Is your husband/wife your friend too? Celebrate that friendship & have some fun together!!

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